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Sunday, November 12, 2017

Bottling Day

My diabetes has shut down, mostly, consumption of some of my favorite libations (what makes craft beer awesome is mostly carbs). For that matter, the last mead I kegged up finished with enough residual sugar that I've had to be very judicious about when to have a glass. That keg lasted longer than any batch I've ever made. I love to sparkle the stuff, force carbonation in the keg kicks ass, and the raspberry melomel I bottled today would have been awesome as a sparkling wine, but I bottled it still. In wine bottles. With corks. I have a morat that also needs packaged, and a pear-autumn olive melomel if I can ever get it to freaking clear. Rather than having just one or two meads on tap at a time, bottling gives me some flexibility in terms of spreading out and having some variety in what I drink. Also, if a batch turns out too sweet for my diabetes, I can spread out its consumption (and make occasional gifts of a bottle or two), so there's that.


I've been saving wine bottles. Two Buck Chuck from Trader Joe's (which is really Three Buck Chuck if you get right down to it, but it's the best cheap wine there is). I can buy empty, brand new bottles for like $17 a case, but Charles Shaw is only $32 a case filled with wine. Not great wine, but their Shiraz is pleasant enough, see also Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, etc. I stay away from their Merlot and Cab Sauv, two varieties I generally like, but those are two rough around the edges for me.

Then there's upscale Trader Joe's wines. Old Moon makes some good stuff, I'd had their old vine zin and their Velvet Moon Cabernet Sauvignon. Delightful wines for the price, about half what such wines run in a regular liquor store. But the labels could withstand a nuclear blast, I'll never buy it again if I think there's even a chance I'd want to reuse the bottles.

I only ended up bottling five 750s of pear-autumn olive melomel. 23 bottles of raspberry melomel.

I bottled five bottles of pear and autumn olive (an earlier batch than the one I'm trying to clear, one that I'd kegged and then racked back into a small carboy to see if I could get it to fall clear). It's not really my cuppa mead, honestly, something about either the pear or the autumn olive annoys me. Everyone else seems to like it, but I'm going to pass on doing another batch of that. The raspberry melomel, though, That's What I'm Talking About.

Corinna was processing nuts while I did this project, another high value added deal. Run over the walnnuts with your car to bust the hulls, then crack the nuts and dig the meat out. Mo does a fair bit of walnut processing when she's here on the weekend, it's a task she seems to enjoy, both the crushing of the walnuts and the cutting/digging the meat out. For that matter, she thinks it's hilarious to go get in Corinna's car while Corinna runs over the black walnuts in the driveway. After the first time, Corinna went to do it without her, and Mo put her tablet down and went running out in the driveway to get in the car, didn't want to miss out.

1993 walnut hulling machine

Posted by Rod McBride on Sunday, October 15, 2017

I had some corks that didn't seat flush initially, but I redid them (with fresh corks of course) and a faster motion turned out to be key.

I'm not nuts about the dent my Dad's old corker leaves in the top of the corks. For many reasons, a floor corker is in the future plans. I think I can get Bacchus & Barleycorn to order me a corker that's bisexual, can cork traditional still wine bottles or champagne bottles. Obviously, based on these links I could order the sucker from Midwest, but I try to shop local. Been a loyal B&B customer since 1995. I can count on one finger the number of times they haven't either had what I wanted or got it for me and I can't remember what that one thing was.

So I've got my bottles sitting upright for three days to allow the air pressure trapped by the corking process out and get the cork properly seated. Then the trick is going to be keeping myself out of that raspberry melomel, it really is delicious.

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