The raisins have plumped up nicely, the blow off tube has stopped burping and I’ve even thought of a name last minute while working on a label. It’s time for the Meadkat to come out of it’s container…and go into other containers, ready to be enjoyed.
What is this Meadkat you speak of?
Meadkat is my first ever attempt and brewing up a small batch of mead and so far so good. Started earlier this year, Meadkat was a fun afternoon of getting messy in the backyard (I could think of worse things to be covered in than delicious raw honey) and my next step in home brewing. I’ve tried beers before and so for something new, I moved to a mead. Hence Meadkat was born.
All the ingredients were locally sourced and now that things have finally calmed down (ie the yeast has finally stopped burping away during the sugars to alcohol conversion, it’s time to bottle it up and make it all look pretty.
A quick note on water
The original 3.8 litre batch is pretty strong and while the recipe does say you can add water to it later, it doesn’t mention how much. I added an extra 300 ml but still found it packed a punch (‘I can’t taste the honey. It tastes like very strong desert wine’ -Wifey) and so I’ve calmed it down even further with an extra 500ml mixed in. So now I have roughly 4.6L of the good stuff ready to go.
Meadkat bottling – the tools
Originally like craft beers brew previously, I was going to opt for beer bottles but this idea came with two main problems 1) I hardly have any and 2) I don’t have any caps for them. I mean I could go out and source them from somewhere (a small batch like this would probably net you anywhere from 11-14 bottles) but then comes the more interesting issue on the strength – it tastes pretty strong and I really don’t think it’s going to be as easy drinking as a beer, so anything with a one shot bottle cap would be pretty useless here. So what I’d need preferably is something a little smaller and a little classier than random beer bottles.
Enter Treasure Hunter here in Albury that had a fantastic collection of various bottles including these hip flask sized ones from ‘The spice kitchen’ that hold 200ml. A bargain at $2.50 each, basic math tells me I’ll get close to 20 of these bottles out of this batch and I’ll never be short of a random Kris Kringle gift ever.
Plus the Meadkat will look far better in a clear bottle than a brown one.
To prevent a random plumped up raisin, section of cinnamon stick, solitary clove or chunk of well marinated orange getting in these classy bottles, I’m adding a mini strainer to the smallest funnel. Chunk free mead sounds good to me!
Having never made anything with raisins before, I had no idea they’d balloon up in size and at first I wondered if the kids had snuck in and filled up my batch with grapes they didn’t want to eat at school. I’m not sure what the ABV (alcohol by volume) would be on one of these raisins right now but I’d suggest not operating any heavy machine after ingesting a couple.
Before we bottle though..
Time to give everything a good sanitising, just to be on the safe time (who knows who may have done weird things to my new funky bottles while they were on the shelves?). So into a bucket with a couple of teaspoons of Neo Pink to soak overnight, then a fresh water bath before we can start filling them before applying the labels.
Yes labels, I like to give everything I brew a label because that’s part of the fun.
Meet the Meadkat
The label started as this:
Until I googled the name and found out in record time that Mead for Speed is actually a mead brand name and in the spirit of originality, I can’t have that. What I can and will have though is this play on words, my mead the Meadkat.
I think that’s half an hour in photoshop well spent don’t you?
My plan was to print these out at work and then glue stick them to the classy bottles but apparently wifey has some sticker paper and will print them out soon so I’m looking forward to seeing how that works out.
Edit: Pretty damn good actually!
She was also insistent that if I was planning to give some of these away to family and friends (which I am doing) that I had to boil these bottles first. I tried arguing over the fact that not a single brew of anything I’ve made has ever been infected with anything save desirability once they go through the sterophos treatment but she wouldn’t have it. There’s plenty of feet in both camps here but it’s not like I don’t have the time to do this so away they boil for ten minutes (caps as well) and then I can put back the labels I had there originally.
The finished gift
I’m not calling it a product because I’m not selling it. Sans the nectar of the gods, it looks a little like this.
And I’m super chuffed by the look of these things already. Like I said earlier, Meadkat in these bottles is going to look so much better than being lost behind green or brown glass. Wifey on the other hand is slightly annoyed at the sticker paper because the group who sent it to her (rhymes with ‘Spotlight’) actually sent her the wrong one – it was supposed to be clear where the white is. Still, I think it’s bloody hilarious and I’m enjoying these Meadkat bottles just the way they are (if you squint they almost look medicinal!)
Strainer aside, the Meadkat is still a little cloudy and if you look closely you can see tiny particles that I assume must be from the raisins, cinnamon and orange pieces breaking down over time. I’m not too concerned though as long as they add to the flavour. But if I get my hands on some coffee filters, I’ll give it a crack on the clearest mead *for science!*
And lo and behold, Al’s first batch of mead is bottled and ready to go. Of course I’m quite a few bottles short of emptying the entire five litre batch but that’s nothing a trip back to Treasure hunter can’t fix. For now I’m very happy that things have gone exceedingly well with attempt number one and I can’t wait to try another different type of batch next.
Official tasting notes coming soon (preferably when I get my sense of smell back – it’s a long story) but in the meantime, happy #Meadkat!