Ci-Nilla-Tea Cyser... WOW
10 Lbs. Pure Honey
2 Gallons Fresh Apple Cider (Mellick's Orchards No Preservatives)
2 Cinnamon Sticks
2 Tbsp. Crushed Cinnamon
4 Ounces Pure Vanilla Extract
1 Tbsp. Whole Cloves
2 Lemons Squeezed Juice Only
1 Cup Strong Tea
40 Raisins Sliced into Halves
1 Packet (5 Grams) LALVIN Bourgovin RC 212 Yeast
Prepare the Must:
In a 3 gallon pot bring about a gallon and a half of spring water to a boil. Remove from heat and blend in all the honey. Mix well to an even consistency. Return to low heat and simmer until foam begins to form on top. Skim the foam away as this is unwanted baddies from the honey - natural yeasts, bee legs etc. Keep simmer time to a minimum, just long enough to clean the must up a bit about 10 minutes after foaming begins. While waiting for the must to simmer, it's a good time to sterilize the carboy (Ale Pail), spoon and airlock.
Pour the honey/water blend into the Ale Pail. If using a glass carboy, let the mixture cool down or the glass could crack. Let the mixture fall into the pail so that it splashes nicely for aeration. Add in the gallon of apple cider and all the rest of the ingredients except the yeast. Top off must with spring water to bring level to about 4 ½ gallons. Stir the must vigorously, aerating all the while. At about 75 degrees F pitch the yeast. Install the lid and airlock. Expect bubbles in about 12 hours.
Batch 1 Log
Starting SG: 1.102 Racking SG: 1.001
10/2/08 Prepared the must as described above but without raisins. The whole process took about 2 hours. I simmered the honey/water blend in the kitchen but did all the mixing outside on the deck. Nice autumn day and the must smelled nice. Starting SG 1.102. Once the airlock was in place, I brought the batch indoors. I left for work within an hour or so and had no visible bubbling yet. Jen took a look at about the 6 hour mark and still no bubbles. Such stress for the first timer.
10/3/08 I got home from work this morning and went straight to the must... BUBBLES!
I timed the bubbler at about 4 second intervals. From what I've read this seemed kind of slow. I read further about nutrients and the fermentation process. I decided to add the sliced raisins as a nutrient and I saw a rate quickly increase to 2 second intervals amazing. The must smells unbelievably good!
10/4/08 Continuing to bubble at 2 second intervals. Temperature of must 70F.
10/7/08 Bubbling at 4 second intervals. Temperature 68F.
10/11/08 Bubbles slowed to about 20 second intervals so I added yeast energizer and nutrient. Since I had the lid open, I added 12 ounces honey and 1 ounce vanilla extract. Topped it all off with a half gallon of apple cider to bring total up to an even 5 gallons.
10/12/08 Back in action bubbling strong every 2.5 seconds.
10/14/08 Still going strong, about 3.5 seconds. Smells nice.
10/22/08 Racked the mead into secondary. I'm using a glass carboy so we can watch clarification. First sip hard to explain. More sips brought out a variety of flavors. This is shaping up to be a really nice cyser. It's not too cloudy and is about the color of honey at this point. Specific Gravity: 1.001
Primary 1: Happy Holiday Ale
Primary 2: Available
Primary 3: Ancient Orange Melomel
Secondary 1: Ci-Nilla-Tea Cyser
Secondary 2: Matt and Jenny's Hard Apple Cider