Friday, October 10, 2014

Fermented Grape Jelly

The post title is a bit of a misnomer, since what I'm making is actually wine jelly.  I could have written "Fermented-Grape Jelly" to distinguish it from "Fermented Grape-Jelly."  The recipe is from the Cook's Illustrated D.I.Y. cookbook, and it was pretty easy.  Ma femme and I don't eat a lot of sweet stuff like that, so I doubt it will become a regular thing, but the few licks from the spoon I had are very tasty.  It has a rich, tart fruitiness, rather than a purple candy flavor you can get with grape jelly in a packet.  Also, apparently wine has a hot break, I would not have guessed that there would be enough protein to make that happen, but there it was.

On the back burner (about which I will not attempt to make a pun) there is a quart of honey that I softened to add to my New Year's Ale.  It took a solid four days for the lag phase to end and that beer to develop a kreusen, and it never got more than an inch thick.  Potential causes: Under pitching, since the yeast pack spent two months in my fridge, and was on clearance when I bought it anyway.  Low temperatures, since the temperatures are low and I set it on the basement floor.  High gravity, which I should really start measuring, but aghh.  The big beers I like to make for long term bottle aging need big starters to get going.  I have had so much success with beers that took forever to get going that it's not really motivating to try any harder.  I'm in no hurry, so if the yeast need an extra week in primary or an extra few months in secondary, well then they can have it.

I will say that things took off again after the addition of honey.  The blow off hose had settled down to maybe a bubble a minute, but after just a few hours with some extra sugars, it's up to once every few seconds, once it settled back from vigorous emissions of gas after being agitated and having a bunch of warm honey lobbed at it.  I want it to be drinkable by the New Year, so I moved it up off the floor, and it will get Champagned soon, perhaps as early as next weekend.  I very rarely brew a beer with a specific deadline, and I still reserve the right to delay the release if that's what the beer needs; I shall not compromise my vision!  

LOL j/k, no srsly.