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Old 10-08-2012, 08:31 PM   #11
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Gravity is now 1.024. With the nitrogen this batch just got I would have expected it to drop by 0.0075/day. That is, if there was as much remaining sugar as the gravity reading said there might be. The way this is going I expect the batch is fairly close to FG right now, with the remaining gravity being non-fermentables of various kinds.

I just moved the batch to secondary and added the lime zest. After the lime zest was thoroughly mixed in I poured just shy of 2 quarts into a 2 quart juice bottle. Then added 4 Global Brands orange pekoe and pekoe cut black tea bags. I pulled off the tags on the strings, and shook them up in the bottle.

That tea is about as cheap as you can get, 80 tea bags for $1.00 or .0125 each.

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Old 10-09-2012, 12:19 AM   #12
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I'm going to watch this thread. I might try to make some of this for next spring and summer.

Good luck!

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Old 10-10-2012, 04:16 AM   #13
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I admit, I'm getting impatient.

I pulled another sample and took a gravity reading. Still 1.024, like I expected. The brew is not visibly clearing in secondary yet. I suspect it's going to need some help if it's going to clear.

Poured off about 2 quarts into a 2 quart bottle. Added 1/4 tsp bentonite made into a slurry to the bottle. The last time I used bentonite it left a slight metallic taste in the brew, though it was crystal clear. In that batch I used 1 tsp/gallon. So I'm going to try half that and see what happens.

The other bottle with the tea bags has an identical gravity reading. It has turned a strong orange color. The main brew is a light green color. The flavor is good. Practically no alcohol flavor. I don't know if I like the original or the tea addition better. I don't mind a little alcohol flavor in a brew, as long as it isn't overpowering.

The original batch's strong alcohol flavor has mellowed. I'm not sure if that's from the lime zest or not, but I suspect it's just the yeast doing post-ferment cleanup.

If the gravity remains stable I'll probably move some to the fridge to cold crash and start drinking this stuff. It's very yummy.

I would like to improve the aroma, and see if I can get the brew to clear. Other then that, this has been a very successful experiment so far.

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Old 10-10-2012, 05:23 AM   #14
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Why dry? Why not store the zest in a ziplock in the fridge until you are ready to add it in the secondary?
I would have put the zest in the freezer until needed. I always keep frozen orange zest in my freezer for cooking and such.
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Old 10-14-2012, 06:53 AM   #15
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Gravity is now 1.022 and has been stable for a few days. Looks like this is the FG. That makes it 11.1% abv. I expected this to end lower, I guess there were more non-fermentables in the juice concentrate then I expected.

The sample with the bentonite added to it has cleared. There is no discernable metalic flavor. The main batch has not cleared. The flavor of the sample with the tea bags added is definitely superior. The apparent alcohol in that sample is lower. The flavor also has a nice complexity to it. The main batch and cleared sample are both good, but fairly one dimensional. In subsequent batches I will be adding tea bags to secondary for the whole thing.

I will be adding bentonite at the reduced rate from above to both other bottles shortly. Before I do that, I will be decanting the bottles to get them off the sediment that has dropped out of solution already.

The aroma is still somewhat lacking, though it has strengthened somewhat since I last checked it. The color is a pale green. Clear in the sample with bentonite, murky in the main sample. The tea sample is very orange. I may add a small amount of blue food coloring to the tea sample, that may turn it greenish. I know, it doesn't change the flavor, but it seems wrong for something that tastes like limes not to be green.

Once the rest of the brew has cleared I will be bottling it as is. I had planned to backsweeten, but the flavor is nice enough I don't think that is necessary. The flavor and FG makes me think there is a reasonable amount of sugar left in the brew. That means a possibility of refermentation some time down the line. For safeties sake, I will be bottle pasteurizing.

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Old 10-15-2012, 05:23 AM   #16
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First post has been updated, and now includes a picture.

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Old 10-15-2012, 11:09 AM   #17
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I've made several wines using bentonite, and it requires a few tricks. Don't use it in the secondary. Use bentonite in the last racking before bottling. Chill the liquid as much as possible. Put your carboy in the fridge for at least a week to cold crash it, then rack it off the lees and add bentonite while it is still cold. Let it sit for about 2 weeks and you should be set.

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Old 10-23-2012, 04:23 AM   #18
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I've made several wines using bentonite, and it requires a few tricks. Don't use it in the secondary. Use bentonite in the last racking before bottling. Chill the liquid as much as possible. Put your carboy in the fridge for at least a week to cold crash it, then rack it off the lees and add bentonite while it is still cold. Let it sit for about 2 weeks and you should be set.
That would probably work very well, but I don't have the space to cold crash. I'm going from secondary to bottling bucket. I do usually give my brew a week or more in the bottling bucket before I bottle. Usually that is enough.

I just over did it with the bentonite in that previous batch. No unpleasant aftertaste in this batch.
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Old 12-18-2012, 04:15 AM   #19
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Just a minor update. I did add tea to the entire remainder of the batch. The alcohol flavor has mellowed nicely with a little time. The brew has continued to clear, and it is now crystal clear. The attached picture is of a shot glass, but it should give you an idea.

The aroma has changed a little. The alcohol aroma has been dialed back. The aroma comes across as definitively citrus, just not specifically lime.

I'd like to see if I can figure out how to get a more definitively "lime" aroma in the next batch. I will probably bite the bullet and just add food coloring the next time around, it bugs me to have something this nice look like BMC.

limeadewtealatesample.jpg  
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