Monday, August 11, 2008

Dandelion wine and mead

This weekend saw the development to the next phase of our alcohol producing projects. To refresh memories, about 3 months ago we made some dandelion wine as well as some mead. This weekend we finally racked them into bottles – thank goodness for IKEA having a range of one litre bottles which are ideal for the job.

/Of course our little “factory” is somewhat rudimentary, and the small is neither being humble nor an over exaggeration, we made 3 litres each of wine and mead. With as much care as possible it as my job to siphon the liquids into the bottles – which I think went quite well. Or at least I didn’t end up with cascades of booze all over the floor. This little video was fun to make - with the camera we bought as a wedding present.


I must admit that the temptation to try both the wine and the mead was too much for me to overcome, so I took the tiniest of sips. The wine is sweet, but has a nice fresh aftertaste, which I imagine is the product of the oranges and lemons from the original boil. The wife describes it as “like being in a field of sunflowers on a summer’s day”, although when she isn’t being flowery she describes it as sweet, smooth yet potent. To coin a phrase my wine loving dad uses often, the wine has legs, it is slightly sticky. I would happily drink it in its current state as a light dessert wine, or an aperitif. If, in common with most alcoholic drinks, the wine improves with age, we will be having a very merry Christmas.

As for the mead, I was disappointed – the recipe I followed called for the use of baker’s yeast, which I found somewhat strange. It assured me that after about 6 to 9 months in the bottle, the mead would be smooth enough to drink. That’s just as well, because at the moment it is somewhat rough.

The most important thing in these experiments from my perspective was to test the viability of 5 litre glass bottles as fermenting vessels – in the absence of homebrew shops in the Czech Republic. Next up will be my long awaited debut into the world of brewing beer. I have decided to start off with an extract-based ale, although I plan to use speciality grains to give the beer body, colour and freshness.

As with the products used in the dandelion wine, I will be returning to the Hop Shop in the UK for my grains, hops and yeast.

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