And Now For Something Completely Different…

This Thursday, April 8, on what would normally be a Brew Day, I have been asked to speak at a lunch meeting of the local Rotary. I am really not sure why, but I am honored, and looking forward to it. The downside, of course, is that I won’t be able to brew. Which may be a good thing, give me a chance to get some more bottles emptied and others filled before I brew again on the 15th… Anyway, I hope to post the text of my speech here, in case anyone is interested (outside of the Rotarians, of course).

In the meantime, however, I decided to try a little experiment. OK, so yes, I did brew, sort of. I made a batch of mead today, but here’s where it gets “different” – instead of honey, I used agave nectar. Several people have mentioned to me that they threw agave into lots of different recipes where honey was called for, although I can’t remember if anyone actually brewing with it.  I have never been a big Tequila drinker, only a couple glasses on Cinco de Mayo, and I don’t like Margaritas… But wouldn’t it be cool to make a mead that tasted something like Tequila? That’s what I thought too!

So here I went. I made a 5-gallon batch, which, if this turns out well, will be great, but if it doesn’t, it will be a colossal waste of agave nectar. Of which I used 10.75 lbs. Like most meads, this was very simple and straightforward – 5 gallons of water, including the rinsings from the agave jars, a tablespoon of winemaker’s acid blend, 2 tablespoons of yeast nutrient, plus of course the nectar. Bring to a boil, boil 30 minutes. Chill to 80°F, pitch the yeast. I recultured a couple expired vials of White Labs yeast – the English Cider (WLP775) and the Champagne (WLP715), and not being convinced that they were really strong cultures, I also added a packet of dry wine yeast (Red Star Côte des Blancs). I got an OG of 1085, about what I expected (I assumed that the agave would have about the same extract per lb. as honey).

I’ll keep you posted – I don’t expect to taste this much before late fall, perhaps it’ll be ready for el Día de los Muertos?

Oh, and then a funny thing happened – looking ahead, I got online in search of a recipe. I had an idea for a brew, but wanted to see if anyone else had already posted something that I could draw inspiration from. I found an article, began to read it, looking over  the recipe, etc., when I had this weird feeling of déjà vu – and then I realized it was my own article, in Brew Your Own, from 1997 – “Clone Your Own”, the article that started it all! Kinda surreal!

One Reply to “And Now For Something Completely Different…”

  1. Couple of years ago I made a batch of way heavy agave wine. used 20 lbs and topped with water to 6 gallons. Details of OG were lost to a computer crash. After I finished the fermentation, I split off into different 1 gallon containers for batches of blueberry (1lb), raspberry (1lb), vanilla (5 beans) apricot (1 15 oz can) and straight agave. Way too much residual sugar, though results were good enough that I will repeat process with 10 lb agave and only use one or 2 vanilla beans. Should make an excellent dessert wine.

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