Something Cheerful, and my Mazing Plans

Both of the other posts I drafted today were about gloomy things — bigotry, on a Korean bus and in an American TV show — but I figured, since it’s the first day of semester, I’d post something cheerful. Miss Jiwaku and I stumbled on something pretty surprising in the Hyundai Department Store tonight, on the way home from dinner:


Yeah, that’s three Rogue brewery beers — Dead Guy Ale, Amber Ale, Mocha Porter — and three Lost Coast brewery beers — Indica, Great White, and Tangerine — shelved in the beer section of a department store in Bucheon.

Yes, in Bucheon. The Hyundai Dept. Store in Jung-dong, to be precise.

Of course, the clerk commented to the lady bagging the other stuff we bought about it. “Wow, foreign beer is so expensive.” I told her, “But it’s really delicious!” She didn’t seem to buy that it was delicious enough to warrant five bucks a bottle, or more. Well, but that’s not a horrible price, as foreign beers in Korea go. (But there’s room for improvement on pricing, once they stop taxing the hell out of it. I mean, it’s not cheap!)

I picked up one each of the Lost Coast, as well as a couple of bottles of Dead Guy. (Because I like Rogue and have heard good things about Dead Guy specifically.) The beer lived up to the rumors, at least for me at first try: very fruity and flavorful, not much hop (though I’ve heard fresh it’s very hoppy.) I don’t know how it can be a Maibock when they used ale yeast, but hey, styles, whatever: it’s a good beer, period.

Meanwhile, in other happy news, honey was discounted to half price at the same department store — I assume it’s the honey that has sat around and needs to be sold so newly-harvested stuff can be put on the shelf, but I figured, since I’m about to make a sweet mead, I might as well make two, and since I have more honey on hand, I can also experiment making a nice strong braggot.

So I’ve revised my mazing (meadmaking) plans and for the moment they look like this — so as to account for the fact that the mead is probably just not as fresh as could be:

  • a sweetish metheglin (spiced mead) with cardamom, a little vanilla bean, maybe some Earl Grey tea for the bergamot and tannin, and not sure what else,
  • a sweet pomegranate dessert melomel (fruit mead) made with some mixed blossom honey, a few bottles of POM juice in the primary fermentation, plus more POM in secondary, and
  • a bigger batch (3 gallon? Maybe even 5 gallons, if I have the honey?) of braggot with pale barley malt (or maybe DME), a decent amount of Special B for color as well as a little dark fruit flavor, some Crystal malt, and a hit of mixed-blossom honey (about 50% or more of the fermentables will come from the grains, and the other half from the honey. Possibly I could use some dark date honey, though I only have about 750 grams of it… but it’s very dark and flavorful stuff, so that might well be enough!) Very likely I’ll make that with some sort of Belgian yeast, probably 1214 or else the same yeast I’m fermenting my 15-Minute Hopping Challenge BPA on. I think I’m shooting for a solid 9-10% ABV on this. Nothing too outrageous, just a solid braggot.

I’ll make the first two this week, and, hopefully as it goes with sweeter meads, they shouldn’t take as long to age. The braggot I’ll make hopefully by mid-month — I imagine probably I’ll make it when the fermentation ceases on the BPA, in fact — maybe this weekend, even! (Since it seems to be slowing down, finally.) And then that’s one carboy or keg tied up for a few months, since the stuff benefits from bulk aging!

Man, though: I wish I could get my hands on some buckwheat honey… haven’y seen anything like that in Korea at all, but I’d make this if I could.

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