In which Ricky the Meadmaker answers questions about sulfites for fruit additions, de-gassing, lazy brewing, whether or not he can speak Danish, and his stance on “Heather Fogg.”
How We Brew Everything We Brew
Remember when I promised to show you the nursery when it was all done? It's finally done because it has a baby in it. This episode is going to be quieter than usual.
Welcome to Ask the Meadmaker, where I, Ricky the Meadmaker, answer your questions about mead making, mead drinking, mead brewing, and really any question you're willing to send to me.
I have a guest today. Her name is Nora. As you know, for the last 90-something episodes I will say from time to time, I'm not a shill for, and then some company. I am officially a shill for the boba wrap company. This thing is a lifesaver for her, for me, and for mommy.
Our first question this week comes from Dennis in Ireland, who wants to know if sulfite additions change when you add concentrate versus fresh fruit or some other form. The answer is I'm not overly particular, or some might say superstitious, about my sulfite additions. I would say, look it up online, find a good rule of thumb, and I don't think it really matters what form the fruit is in. Addendum to Dennis's question. He also wants to know whether he should add more nutrient when he adds the fruit, if it goes in in secondary. The cool thing about fruit is, for the most part, it is usually its own nutrient.
Our next question comes from Ed, who wants to know whether I support degassing, even though I support closed fermenters. Now you can actually degas in closed fermenters. If you're a homebrewer, you can put your toe on the edge of your bucket or carboy and shake it back and forth. If you're bigger than that, 15 gallons or more, you can use CO2 to degas the CO2, which is kind of cool. If you shoot a little gas in at the bottom and the bubbles come right out the top. So, I do support degassing, but not extensively to the point that you risk oxidation.
Charles has watched a bunch of my videos and he is a lazy homebrewer. A little lazy with his spellcheck as well, but he wants to know if I support fermenting in growlers, the poor man's way of brewing, and then just capping them when it's done and drinking them from there. Will it spoil with time? If you leave your mead on the yeast indefinitely, it can cause problems. But then again, I'm a huge proponent of the lazy way of doing anything.
Matthew K, you are in luck. I have gotten innumerable questions over the years about heather fog. And I have never answered one because I did not feel comfortable answering about this very esoteric subject. For those who don't know, heather fog is an ancient, I mean, we're talking like 500-600 years ago, kind of reference to a way of brewing, where you use heather with what is called fog. We don't know what fog is. But the working theory, just explored in a paper a couple months ago, is that fog is a type of fungal growth related to ergotism. So yes, Heather fog has hallucinogenic properties, and also liver-failure-causing properties. So, all these people who want to brew a legitimate heather ale or heather mead, I now recommend officially, Groennfell Meadery, Ricky the Meadmaker's stance is: wash your heather first. Please don't introduce egotism into your family's lifestyle. So, Matthew K, congratulations. That is my official stance and the end of our show.
Keep sending your questions and we'll get to them as soon as possible. Cheers.