Back on December 12 I wrote that my current batch of mead had pretty much fermented dry, and that I planned to let it sit for a week or two before racking. Well, on December 24 I took that step, and racked the dry mead into a three-gallon glass carboy. I have to say (and this was my experience with the old Mr. Beer fermenter as well) that having a spigot at the bottom of the vessel makes racking sooooo much easier than siphoning from the top of a carboy. Ed Wort's recipe, and I drank the last remaining 12-ounce bottle back in November. So I've been hankering to make some more. This time, however, I've decided to use the Wyeast 1388 rather than the recommended Montrachet wine yeast, because I suspect the 1388 might preserve more of the apple flavor and aroma, as well as perform better at higher fermentation temperatures. Which, in theory, would produce a drinkable product in a shorter period of time (technically, one isn't supposed to use second-generation yeast for fermentations differing from the initial pitch, ie this yeast is attuned to honey from the previous fermentation, so isn't optimized for cider or beer or wine. I'm not convinced such evolutionary adaptations will be apparent in the second generation, so that's a risk I'm willing to take). I picked up three gallons of plain apple juice from HEB--always check to make sure there are no preservatives other than ascorbic acid. Another variant to the basic recipe I'm trying is the addition of undiluted apple juice concentrate to the juice, to increase the sugar content whilst simultaneously increasing the apple-intensity. I'd originally planned on adding four cans of concentrate, but the kids took one to make some juice. I used for the above-mentioned metheglin, I added 3/4 tsp yeast nutrient and 2.25 tsp yeast energizer to the must. This is different from the DAP and Fermaid K I added to the honey must last go-round, but apple juice has a lot more nutrients in it for yeast to thrive on than honey does, and the basic apfelwein recipe doesn't call for any additional nutrients at all. I suspect I'm safe.
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