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Infusing color into meads

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jens183

NewBee
Registered Member
Jan 22, 2012
63
0
0
Europe
What are the most common spices, herbs, fruit, vegtables ... that can alter the color of the mead? Into blue, red, green, orange, white ...

Things I know are:
Elderberries(purple), blueberries(purple), hibiscus flowers(purple), beetroot(purple), st.johns wort(red), carrot(orange), malt extracts(brown,black) , blackstrap molasses(black), st.johns wort(red), kiwi(green?)

Any suggestions or link to threads that have discussed it?
 

fatbloke

good egg/snappy dresser.....
GotMead Patron
What are the most common spices, herbs, fruit, vegtables ... that can alter the color of the mead? Into blue, red, green, orange, white ...

Things I know are:
Elderberries(purple), blueberries(purple), hibiscus flowers(purple), beetroot(purple), st.johns wort(red), carrot(orange), malt extracts(brown,black) , blackstrap molasses(black), st.johns wort(red), kiwi(green?)

Any suggestions or link to threads that have discussed it?
Kiwi will not impart green, it doesn't have enough pigment in the fruit. Unless you use fruit that has a very high pigment level, then you will get off straw yellowy browns etc.

Strawberry looks red, but you have to have a massive amount of fruit to get even vaguely close.

Plus, it depends on whether you want to impart some of the flavour as well i.e. blueberries are fine for a good colour, but for flavour black currants are better (stronger flavour, but only when cooked).

So if you want some weird colour you're gonna have to head toward edible food colourings. Then you can get an amazing range.....
 

JLindsey

NewBee
Registered Member
Jan 5, 2009
41
1
0
Modesto, California
My plum tree produces a very dark-purple-skinned, sweet plum. Not sure of the variety. 9lbs in secondary (5gal) produced only a very delicate pink. Primary addition might have given something darker but would obliterate any plum flavor.
 

jens183

NewBee
Registered Member
Jan 22, 2012
63
0
0
Europe
Thanks both of you.

I was basically thinking about examples of spices, herbs, fruits with alot of pigments that are commonly used in the mead community to incorporate color even though it might also impact flavour, I will consider the flavour impact before I add it(If I add it). The flavour impact is also an very interesting part.

That example about st johns wort are just based on the very nice red color vodka infused with the wort gets, but might be poisonous in bigger quantities so probably unsuitable unless you were making some form of medicine mead.
 

akueck

Certified Mead Mentor
Certified Mead Mentor
Jun 26, 2006
4,958
10
0
Ithaca, NY
I've used roobis to get a light red-gold color.

In small quantities, most roasted malts will give you a red or brown more than a black. You need a lot to get black.

Same for the purple fruits (blueberry, etc). If you don't use much you'll get a red color instead of purple.
 

huesmann

NewBee
Registered Member
Aug 22, 2011
184
2
0
The trouble is you're basically diluting your coloring agent by a huge margin if you use most natural colorants. To get color you really need food dye.
 

Soyala_Amaya

NewBee
Registered Member
Mar 21, 2011
991
6
0
Missouri
Never used it myself, but the few people I've seen post about food coloring says it falls out of suspension with age. Dunno, only read it.
 

Chevette Girl

All around BAD EXAMPLE
Moderator
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Apr 27, 2010
8,398
18
0
Ottawa, ON
My experiences do suggest that food colouring will adhere to any particles and settle out. I made mint wine and when I tried to colour it green with food colouring, all I got was green sediment and clear wine! :)

I've got a hibiscus-rosehip tea available at my bulk food store and I plan to use it for a nice red wine, the tea it makes is awesome...

Raspberries and cherries are better for colour than strawberries, and from experience, I'll second that kiwis don't give you a green wine. I wonder if matcha would, or if it'd settle out too...

I am definitely going to try using purple heritage carrots and purple sweet potatoes if I can ever find them again, to see if the purple lasts. I've found that in cooking at least, it does seem to be more colourfast than beets or purple potatoes.

Most blues turn red with acidity (wild grapes and red cabbage being the two that come to mind immediately) so you're going to get the purple profile rather than the blue for a lot of them. I made pumpkin mead and tossed in a few purple sweet potatoes and it came out a really pretty orange when previous pumpkin batches have been white wine coloured.

I'm also looking into how much heat plays a part in colourfastness when it comes to wines and meads, for example, I find when I add fruit to a JAO I don't get anywhere near the amount I would have expected if I'd poured hot sugar water over it like when I make wine.

Good luck and keep us posted if you try anything funky that works! Also remember that a lot of reds and yellows might fade to orange.
 
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