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!