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Mead Lover's Digest #0550 Tue 1 April 1997

 

Forum for Discussion of Mead Making and Consuming
Dick Dunn, Digest Janitor

 

Contents:

re: Best way to prepare Buckwheat honey. (Daniel S McConnell)
Effects of pollen ("Moyer, Douglas E")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #549, 30 March 1997 (Charles Hudak)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #549, 30 March 1997 (Charles Hudak)
Fruity question (mattm@ipacrx.com)
Wisteria? (mattm@ipacrx.com)
Grains of Paradise (Gil)
Buckwheat and barrels (Francois Espourteille)
Re: Wisteria? (Bill Shirley)
contest announcement (Btalk@aol.com)
Cider fix? ("Brander Roullett (Volt Computer)")
Re: where to get [sour cherry juice] (Dan Howard)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #549, 30 March 1997 (Terry Estrin)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #549, 30 March 1997 (Leigh Ann Hussey)
Re:Wisteria? (Peter Miller)
Re:Wisteria (David J Jennings)
Re: where to get ingredients(David Ghere) (David J Jennings)
Exploding bottles (David J Jennings)
salad mead – need suggestions (Dick Dunn)

 

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Subject: re: Best way to prepare Buckwheat honey.
From: danmcc@umich.edu (Daniel S McConnell)
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 1997 05:41:44 -0500

From: Dan Cole <dcole@roanoke.infi.net>

>Our local Co-Op's premium honey this month is Buckwheat honey. I have
>purchased enough for a two-gallon batch of mead, but am now struggling to
>put together a recipe that will tone down this otherwise "in your face" honey.

>I am considering boiling the honey for an extended period of time (15-30
>mins?) to drive off some of the stronger tastes and odors. I know that
>boiling is often described as sacrilige, but does anyone else have any
>suggestions as to recipes or treatments that would yield a drinkable mead
>in 6 months or so?

Rather than boiling, which might not have the desired effect, my
simpleminded suggestion would be to dilute it with a more neutral honey.
Depending on the buckwheat character of the honey, a mixture of perhaps 50%
buckwheat and 50% clover will tone down the mead and make it milder. It
should still leave plenty of buckwheat flavor.

DanMcC


Subject: Effects of pollen
From: "Moyer, Douglas E" <moyer-de@salem.ge.com>
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 1997 8:32:22 -0500


All,

As a mead maker neophyte, as well as a new member of this list, I beg

forgiveness, in advance, if I offend with my ignorance…

As we begin to see the friendly face of spring here in the Roanoke

valley in Appalachia, we will also experience the less friendly coating
of pollen over everything that holds still for more than thirty seconds.
I intend to use my homebrew equipment for making mead, which requires
that I do it outside. (15.5 gallon converted keg as a brewpot, Cajun
cooker, etc.) How will the pollen affect the mead? What can I do to avoid
any adverse effects? Any other caveats?

(Sub note: I've only been homebrewing for the past few (cold) months, so

I also need to know the effects of pollen on beer. I haven't yet found an
active homebrew list, so hopefully someone on this list can help.)

Regards,
Doug Moyer


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #549, 30 March 1997
From: Charles Hudak <cwhudak@abac.com>
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 1997 08:48:13 -0800


Michael and Linda write:
> and I was wondering if anyone had tried
> fermenting a melomel using an unconventional and/or untraditional kind of
> fruit, like a kiwi or banana…both of which are not very juicy…but I was
> thinking of trying one or the other. Has anyone out there ever made a kiwi
> melomel, or a banana melomel? I'd love to hear a recipe if there's one out
> there…I'm saving up my honey money ๐Ÿ™‚
> – —–
> Micheal and Linda Fox – A Subscriber at Internet On-Ramp, Inc.

I made a Strawberry\Kiwi Melomel a few months back. It's still in the
tank but it's coming along nicely. Tastes more like Strawberry than
kiwi though. Kiwi's are VERY expensive lately; 3 for a buck. Cost me
eight dollars just to get a pound or so of fruit. Here's the details:

12p Mesquite Honey
5p Frozen Strawberries (ok but they were cheap)
20-25 good sized kiwis, skinned
3tsp yeast nutrient
2 pack cotes de blanc wine yeast

Bring 4G water to a boil and turn off heat. Stir in honey and nutrient
and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and skim. Place crushed fruit into
a 5G nylon sparge bag in a plastic bucket and add hot must. Let
pastuerize for 15-20 min at at least 170F in the bucket. Chill to 70F
with an immersion wort chiller. Aerate and pitch yeast. Rack off fruit
after 1 week.

You know the rest

If you can afford to I'd use at least five pounds of fruit in a straight
kiwi melomel.

Cheers

CH..

Charles Hudak
Head Mashtun Shoveler, San Diego Brewing Co.
619.284.BREW
cwhudak@abac.com


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #549, 30 March 1997
From: Charles Hudak <cwhudak@abac.com>
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 1997 08:58:25 -0800


Diana,

> Has anyone here tried making mead with wisteria blossoms, or any
> other aromatic flower? Anyone with good results, &/or tips for
> maximizing the flower scent? I'm thinking a sweet mead, with a light
> honey to keep from overpowering the flower…
>
> Cheers,
> Diana

There was an article in Zymurgy a few years back called 'Stalking the
wild Meads' which touches on the subject of making flower metheglins.
The guys name was Ralph something. Anyways, barring that, I'd suggest
adding the fresh blossoms (maybe steam them briefly) to the mead in the
secondary once the gravity has dropped a bit. You certainly don't want
to boil them and even steeping may lose some character. On the other
hand, a lot of the aroma and flavor compounds may not extract well into
cool mead like they will into say 150-170F must. Honestly, I don't
remember what Ralph's process was, but he seemed pretty well informed.
You might look into that, as will I. I've got a tree full of fresh
orange blossoms out back beckoning me to do the same thing!

CH..

Charles Hudak
Head Mashtun Shoveler, San Diego Brewing Co.
619.284.BREW
cwhudak@abac.com


Subject: Fruity question
From: mattm@ipacrx.com
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 1997 08:28:49 +0000


> Subject: Fruity question
> From: lfox@on-ramp.ior.com (Micheal and Linda Fox)
> Date: Wed, 26 Mar 97 04:23:36 -0800 (PST)
>
> My wife and I have just bottled our first batch of mead, a blueberry
> melomel. We started three at the same time: A plain sweet mead, a strawberry
> melomel, and a blueberry. Now that I have the blueberry in the bottles and
> out of the carboy I feel the need to start another batch (can't have that
> carboy sitting there empty) and I was wondering if anyone had tried
> fermenting a melomel using an unconventional and/or untraditional kind of
> fruit, like a kiwi or banana…both of which are not very juicy…but I was
> thinking of trying one or the other. Has anyone out there ever made a kiwi
> melomel, or a banana melomel? I'd love to hear a recipe if there's one out
> there…I'm saving up my honey money ๐Ÿ™‚

I have had great success with kiwi mead. I've made it serveral ways
both dry and sweet. I like 12 wildflower honey with 5lb fruit. At
certin times of the year costco will have 5lb bags of kiwis on sale.
I usually buy 2 or 3 and freez them. I peal and puree them before
using (or freezing) because they dont press very easily I just dump
the puree into the fermenter. Clearing is a bitch but well worth it.
The kiwis are very acidic DO NOT add any acid blend. I like a dry
mead so I will just ferment it out and call it good but I have also
killed it off and sweetened it to taste with great success.

As for bannana I have done 1 one gallon batch which tured out ok, the
recipe I followed had way too much clove in it. I only use half the
cloves it called for and it was still over powering. Let me know if
you want the recipe. The key to extracing the bannana flavor is to
boil the sliced bannana (very ripe) peel and all.

Matt Maples
mattm@ipacrx.com

"A Honest Brew Makes Its Own Friends"


Subject: Wisteria?
From: mattm@ipacrx.com
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 1997 08:41:16 +0000


> Subject: Wisteria?
> From: Di and Kirby <trillium@magibox.net>
> Date: Wed, 26 Feb 1997 03:49:46 -0600
>
> Hi…I've got a wee question. I was driving home today, and saw a huge
> overgrown patch of wisteria vines. I snuck over and snagged a couple of
> bunches, partly to smell them in the car on my way home, and partly
> because they make delicious fritters. Anyway, as I wandered around the
> house sniffing them (and I hope you've all had the chance to smell
> them–otherworldly), a Thought hit me. "Man, if I could get this scent
> into a batch of mead, it would be unbearably wonderful." But I think I'd
> like to *try* to bear it. ๐Ÿ™‚
> Has anyone here tried making mead with wisteria blossoms, or any
> other aromatic flower? Anyone with good results, &/or tips for
> maximizing the flower scent? I'm thinking a sweet mead, with a light
> honey to keep from overpowering the flower…

I have not done a flower mead yet (I'm saving up my rose petals) but
when I want to maximize aroma I will ferment the honey first then add
the fruit for a secondary fermentation. With flowers you shouldnt get
an increase in sencondary fermentation but the alcohol should extract
the aroma nicely. good luck.

Matt Maples
mattm@ipacrx.com

"A Honest Brew Makes Its Own Friends"


Subject: Grains of Paradise
From: Gil <gilbertv@efn.org>
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 1997 09:07:35 -0800 (PST)


Greetings, In the most recent digest, someone wrote that Grains of
Paradise are the same Cardamon seeds. This is not correct, though they
both belong to the ginger family. Grains of Paradise, also known as
Guinea Grains, Melegueta pepper, and Alligator pepper, is Aframom
melegueta. Most of the various species of Cardamon belong to the genus
Amomum. Grains of Paradise is native to W. Africa, but cultivated in
Surinam and Guyana. It is the leading spice of the Gold Coast of Africa,
and was widely traded as late as the 13th century in Europe. King George
III abolished the practice of putting the spice in beer and wine. Today
it is used in the American food industry as a flavoring agent in ice cream
, candy , and soft drinks, although in tiny amounts. Gil


Subject: Buckwheat and barrels
From: fespourteille@mmt.com (Francois Espourteille)
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 1997 12:53:26 -0500

From: jane@swdc.stratus.com (Jane Beckman)

>Grains of Paradise usually refers to cardamom seed.

Maybe colloquially, but these are two different plants. They are both
in the ginger familly and are both used as spices, but they are
definitelly not the same thing.

From: Dan Cole <dcole@roanoke.infi.net>

>Our local Co-Op's premium honey this month is Buckwheat honey. {snip}
>does anyone else have any suggestions as to recipes or treatments that
>would yield a drinkable mead in 6 months or so?

This is not a honey that lends itself well to quick meads. I made a
straight buckwheat about 4 or so years ago, and is now becoming approachable

but could still age some more. You could try to mix it with another, very
light (clover) honey, where the light honey would dominate (60-40 or 80-20).

That would give you some of the flavors of the buckwheat honey, but it
wouldn't take so long to mature. You can't just lower your quantity of
buckwheat honey in the mead until you reach an acceptable level of buckwheat

flavor w/out replacing it with another honey because the resulting mead
would be extremely low in alcohol. Another approach would be to make a
melomel and use some of that honey in it (50-50 with another honey). I did
that with plums and liked it (the buckwheat was pretty obvious), but it took

three years to mellow out.

From: Jeff Duckworth

> anyone has ever tried aging mead in oak? Sounds like it might be
>interesting. Although I would have trouble filling the 40 gal barrels
>they use at the wineries!

I'done some mead ageing in oak. I should have called my first mead
in oak Pandora's mead. It's a little bit like stepping into another
dimention. Lots more work, more things to worry about, $$$ for
barrels, but in the long run worth it. I like the more complex
meads, more vinous, rather than pure expression of honey. Barrel
aged mead picks up lots of different flavors; oakiness, vanilla
(from the oak, even when not charred), tannins (feels dryer), just
like a good white wine, as you noticed. Then you have to think
about microorganisms. Typical problem is Brettanomyces yeast (a
problem in the wine industry), which while great in your lambic, may
be problem in your mead. They love the wood and can colonize your
barrel if you are not careful. A hint of Brett. flavor in your mead
might be intriguing, even good, but too much and it really detracts.
Once the barrel is infected, it's hard to almost impossible to
reclaim it. I find barrel meads to be better rounded that
non-barrel meads, but the amount of work barrel ageing require
should be considered before getting into it. BTW, barrels do come
in smaller size than 40 gal. The smaller ones used for beer/mead
are 5 gal. Let me know if you need more info.

Sorry for the long post, but there were lots of good topics

Cheers,

Francois.


Subject: Re: Wisteria?
From: Bill Shirley <gaucws@fanniemae.com>
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 97 13:05:54 -0500


> Subject: Wisteria?
> From: Di and Kirby <trillium@magibox.net>
> Date: Mead Lover's Digest #549, 30 March 1997
>
> Hi…I've got a wee question….
> Has anyone here tried making mead with wisteria blossoms, or any
> other aromatic flower?

this (aromatic flowers) is exactly what hops are,
(when not boiled for bitterness)

> Anyone with good results, &/or tips for maximizing the flower scent?

so I would suggest
"dry hopping" with the wisteria (if you're sure it's "edible").
basically just rack onto the flowers. Bunches of them, of small
amounts many times. After the main fermentation is done would
keep the aromatics from being "scrubbed out" by the CO2.

It does sound good,

> I'm thinking a sweet mead, with a light
> honey to keep from overpowering the flower…

MMmm,…

> Cheers,
> Diana

I have not dry hopped a mead (yet), but it's on my short list.

  • bill

Bill_Shirley@FannieMae.com


Subject: contest announcement
From: Btalk@aol.com
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 1997 13:56:58 -0500 (EST)


Parlor City Brew Off
BJCP sanctioned event.
Last chance to get points for the NY Brewer of the Year award!
April 19, 1997
Binghamton , NY
Entry deadline Friday April 11

All recognized styles of beer, mead and cider may be entered.
Mead and cider will have separate Best of Show award.

Judges and stewards needed! Lunch and breakfast goodies will be provided.

Questions? Ask one of us…
Organizer, Kurt Nelson, k_nelson@sunybroome.edu

Asst Organizer, Roger Haggett, rhaggett@juno.com

Head Judge, Bob Talkiewicz, btalk@aol.com


Subject: Cider fix?
From: "Brander Roullett (Volt Computer)" <a-branro@MICROSOFT.com>
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 1997 10:13:08 -0800


I recently made a batch of hard cider that didn't turn out so well. I
would like to save the batch, and not waste it. I was thinking of
getting 2 more gallons of natural apple juice, mixing that and the 1
gallon of hard cider, and 1 gallon of filtered water in a 5 gallon
carboy with 3 lbs of honey per gallon (12 total) and pitching a Wyeast
Sweet Mead yeast packet.

do you think this would work? is this going to make a 1 gallon ruined
batch into a 4 gallon ruined batch?

also, what sort of yeast is best for making hard cider from bottled
pure, organic, non preservative type apple juice?

Brander (Badger) Roullett badger@nwlink.com a-branro@microsoft.com
Homepage: http://www.nwlink.com/~badger
Brewing: http://www.nwlink.com/~badger/badgbeer.html
Resume: http://www.nwlink.com/~badger/resume.html

  • ———————-In The SCA———————-

Lord Frederick Badger of Amberhaven, TWIT, Squire to Sir Nicholaus
Red Tree Pursuivant-Madrone, An Tir Marshal-College of St Bunstable


Subject: Re: where to get [sour cherry juice] 
From: Dan Howard <howard.dan@baznet.ic.gc.ca>
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 1997 14:04:31 -0800


If you live near a cherry growing area, there may be a processing plant
around. The machine they pit cherries with has juice as a "waste"
product. If you ask nicely, there's a good chance they'll set a bucket
or two aside for you.

Dan Howard
Ottawa, Ontario


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #549, 30 March 1997
From: Terry Estrin <estrin@sfu.ca>
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 1997 11:47:17 -0800 (PST)


Re: Best Way to Prepare Buckwheat Honey

No, no, no, no, no! Please do not try to boil the honey to mute the

flavor. Sure, you can gently boil it, as many do, so as to pasteurize prior
to pitching the yeast, but do not expect to get a drinkable mead within six
months. Stronger-tasting honeys just *do* require more time to mellow out.
I happen to be a big fan of the taste of buckwheat honey, so last year I made a
6 gallon batch of buckwheat show mead. I spoke to a few people who had
experience with buckwheat mead, and all suggested that with some aging, I
would end up with a sherry-like drink. Granted, that is what I am aiming for.
If you find the taste buckwheat honey to strong and earthy, one alternative
would be to make some sort of melomel or a braggot out of it. Let us know what
you end up doing.

Terry Estrin


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #549, 30 March 1997
From: Leigh Ann Hussey <leighann@sybase.com>
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 1997 12:38:43 -0800


Jane Beckman wrote:

> Grains of Paradise usually refers to cardamom seed. You'll have to
> figure out which variety works (green, black, or white).

Really? I have a jar of grains of paradise, and they look nothing like
cardamom seeds (or if they do, they look like cardamom seeds on
steroids). They neither smell nor taste like cardamom.

Curious, I just went and looked them both up; the scientific designation
for grains of paradise is "Aframomum melegueta"; the scientific
designation for cardamom is "Elettaria cardamomum". So they're not
the same thing…

Cheers,

  • Leigh Ann


Leigh Ann Hussey leighann@sybase.com
"You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline–it
helps if you have some kind of football team, or some nuclear weapons,
but at the very least you need a beer."

  • – Frank Zappa

 


Subject: Re:Wisteria?
From: Peter Miller <ocean@mpx.com.au>
Date: Tue, 1 Apr 97 10:13:01 -0000


>From: Di and Kirby <trillium@magibox.net>
>Date: Wed, 26 Feb 1997 03:49:46 -0600

> Has anyone here tried making mead with wisteria blossoms, or any
>other aromatic flower? Anyone with good results, &/or tips for
>maximizing the flower scent? I'm thinking a sweet mead, with a light
>honey to keep from overpowering the flower…

You can make mead/wine from just about any flower you can safely eat (I'm
currently in the midst of a rose geranium wine). I had a squiz at some of
the petal wine recipes I have and the two most salient points seem to be:
use _lots_ of flowers (typically 2-4 quarts of flower heads per gallon)
and pour boiling water _onto_ the petals to infuse them, but do not boil
the infusion (to avoid driving off the essential oils). Additionally I
would offer that you should try for a gentle fermentation (which
shouldn't be too hard with a mead) and try not to agitate the must too
much during racking/handling.

I don't actually have any recipes for a specific flower mead (they're all
wines) but it shouldn't be too hard to make the substitutions (I've
always thought that a rose petal mead would be something special, but the
vast quantities of petals needed has been a bit daunting…) If you'd
like a typical petal wine recipe, mail me and I'll send you one.

Peter.

Perpetual Ocean Music & Sound Design
http://www.mpx.com.au/~ocean/


Subject: Re:Wisteria
From: osrik@juno.com (David J Jennings)
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 1997 20:52:20 EST


You could try using them like a dry hop would be used in beer that is to
float the blossoms on top of the secondary fermentation and leaving this
for several days before racking to a third fermenter. This is similar to
the treatment a friend does to lavender which he soaked in Vodka and the
flavor is wonderful
have fun and enjoy

Dave

ps I have never here of Wisteria what is it and where does it grow?
thanks.


Subject: Re: where to get ingredients(David Ghere)
From: osrik@juno.com (David J Jennings)
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 1997 20:52:19 EST


Dave have you ever herd of choke cherries they grow wild in the midwest
and I and several other brewer friends usually go and gather all we can
when they come ripe, can't remember when that is exactly but good mead is
worth waiting for.

Dave Jennings


Subject: Exploding bottles
From: osrik@juno.com (David J Jennings)
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 1997 20:52:19 EST


I have noticed a string of posts dealing with final gravities and
exploding bottles and so forth so I thought I would add my two cents
worth on the subject.
first of all a little background so you all know that I do know a bit
about brewing (ale and mead) I began brewing in 1993 not all that long
ago tis true but I brew on average 125 to 150 gallons per year (law
allows me and my wife 200 and I've only made that one year) about 40% of
that production is mead so I've seen a lot in only 4 years of brewing.
The most important thing to know about the yeast that you are using is
what its alcohol tolerance is. for example the sweet mead yeast that I
use (Wylabs) has a tolerance of 12% which means that it will die when the
12% level of alcohol is reached regardless of the gravity. I have made
sweet meads that hydrometer ed out at 1.12-1.16 but were at 12-14% so the
yeast was done that's it (It was very good btw) dry yeast stops at about
14% and although I don't know the tolerance of champagne yeast off the
top of my head your local supplier should know or be able to find out.
The best advice ever given to me by my supplier was to throw my
hydrometer away and trust in my ability to know when the stuff is done
and I haven't been wrong yet and I haven't taken a O.G or F.G in almost
two years.
As far as exploding bottles goes at some point everybody will experience
that and the causes can be may such as over priming bad bottle rough
handling ect. so clean up the mess and brew another batch and halve the
amount of priming sugar used
Lastly never treat a recipe as gospel if the recipe calls for 3/4 cup of
sugar to prime and you keep blowing up bottles then forget the recipe and
try 1/3 of a cup nobody can stop you from trying something different

good luck hope this helps

Dave


Subject: salad mead - need suggestions
From: rcd@raven.talisman.com (Dick Dunn)
Date: 1 Apr 97 00:00:40 MST (Tue)


My wife is very much a mead-lover. (Uh, I guess that could be a double-
entendre, couldn't it?) She is also very much a salad-lover…she grew up
during a time of rationed food and very scarce fresh food, and has reacted
in later years with a fondness for vegetables in general and salad in par-
ticular. So I was thinking to merge the two attractions and make a salad
mead for her.

Starting from the easier points…I've made a metheglin that had black
pepper in it, among other spices, so I know that works. I think I could
treat radishes the way I'd put ginger in a mead–thin slices.

Should I use tomato slices, or should I just cop out and use the juice?

Lettuce seems problematic. Sure, I could just slice a bunch of lettuce
into the fermenter, but there is a vast untrodden ground here…should it
be iceberg (has the most structure to resist turning into slime), or leaf,
or maybe bibb (would the richness carry through? probably not) or romaine?

Cucumber should work, but I'm dubious about other lesser salad ingredients.
Bacon bits are right out, as are hard-boiled eggs. Scallions should work
OK, with care.

I thought about the salad-dressing side of it. Oil is out, no need to try
to copy so close, but one could approach the vinaigrette side. You
wouldn't want to turn the whole batch acetic (as in adding mother of
vinegar) but you might play the Guiness game and acetify a part of it, then
boil to sterilize and blend. I couldn't begin to think of emulating any
style of dressing other than an oil/vinegar, although I'm open to sugges-
tions.


Dick Dunn rcd at talisman.com Boulder County, Colorado USA

…Simpler is better.




End of Mead Lover's Digest #550


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