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Root beer inspired mead questions?

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Ty520

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 19, 2020
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I've had an idea for a root beer inspired mead swirling in my mind for the last few days. i think the flavor profiles of root beer would work well in a mead

I don't want it to taste just like a root beer soda - I just want to pick up subtle profiles

while doing some research, i came across other attempts at this that used pre-made root beer concentrates/starters - however, i would prefer to attempt it using real traditional ingredients.

my draft recipe for a 1 gallon run so far is as follows:


1 x 1 inch piece of ginger root
1 x 1 inch piece of licorice root
3 x 1 inch pieces of sarsaparilla root
1 x 1 inch piece of birch bark
2 vanilla beans
1 star anise
1 clove

-Do any of you have familiarity with any of these less-than-orthodox ingredients in a mead? if so, any notable things to consider, good or bad, when using them?
-Any suggestions on which fermentation to add/remove each ingredient? or perhaps if I need to do an initial decoction before adding the honey to the water to pull out flavors of some of these ingredients?

also where i might be able to track down licorice, sarsaparilla and birch ingredients?

thanks in advance. also any other ingredient suggestions welcome.
 
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Grigori

NewBee
Registered Member
May 4, 2020
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I've been looking into this myself recently, but have no personal experience, so keen to see the comments you get.

I'm keen for some caramel in the flavour, so was thinking of trying it as a bochet, or possibly back sweetening with some maple or molasses or brown sugar etc. We don't have wintergreen in my area which is common in recipes, so I'd also wondering about including a little bit of regular mint in the mix for a hint of similar flavour.
 

Ty520

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 19, 2020
19
1
3
I like the idea of doing a bochet to get some caramel qualities in it; I don't know if it is to be expected, but I just finished a bochet and it was noticeably less sweet than a traditional, so maybe upping the honey ratio up front might be in order
 

bernardsmith

Got Mead? Patron
GotMead Patron
Sep 1, 2013
1,608
16
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Saratoga Springs , NY
I really have no familiarity with "root beer" but none of the ingredients you mention are sooo alien to mead. I've made meads using ginger root, and licorice' I've used vanilla pods, and star anise (cloves are overpowering IMO) and I have never found birch or sarsaparilla root in my natural food store although I think my LHBS carries these
 

Ty520

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 19, 2020
19
1
3
I really have no familiarity with "root beer" but none of the ingredients you mention are sooo alien to mead. I've made meads using ginger root, and licorice' I've used vanilla pods, and star anise (cloves are overpowering IMO) and I have never found birch or sarsaparilla root in my natural food store although I think my LHBS carries these
when did you add and pull the ginger?
 

edaskew

Got Mead? Patron
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Jun 19, 2018
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North Carolina and Mississippi
One thing you can do is make tinctures of different flavor ingredients by adding rum or vodka to whatever in a beer bottle, cork it and keep it in the fridge. Then brew your batch and use an eye dropper to add small amounts of tincture to a 30 ml sample of your mead. You can then titrate the flavors exactly to taste. I have done this to titrate spice additions and talk myself out of adding other things to meads that I thought might taste good but didn’t.
 

bernardsmith

Got Mead? Patron
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Sep 1, 2013
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Saratoga Springs , NY
when did you add and pull the ginger?
I fermented on the ginger as if I was making a ginger beer. I don't have my notes to hand but I would have racked off the ginger about a week to 10 days after pitching the yeast. If you use too much ginger then I am sure that you can make a ginger bomb but I would not have used more than about 2 inches of ginger and I would have sliced the ginger into about 6 or 10 pieces and I would not have peeled it .
 

Ty520

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 19, 2020
19
1
3
One thing you can do is make tinctures of different flavor ingredients by adding rum or vodka to whatever in a beer bottle, cork it and keep it in the fridge. Then brew your batch and use an eye dropper to add small amounts of tincture to a 30 ml sample of your mead. You can then titrate the flavors exactly to taste. I have done this to titrate spice additions and talk myself out of adding other things to meads that I thought might taste good but didn’t.

that's a really good idea - how long do you think it would take to get a tincture? hopefully, it wouldn't require enormous quantities added to the final gallon

for some reason, mead-making tends to pit my scientific side against my craeft side - will have to mull over this idea versus a decoction
 
Last edited:

Squatchy

Lifetime GotMead Patron
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Nov 3, 2014
5,200
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Denver
that's a really good idea - how long do you think it would take to get a tincture? hopefully, it wouldn't require enormous quantities added to the final gallon

for some reason, mead-making tends to pit my scientific side against my craeft side - will have to mull over this idea versus a decoction
I think tinctures suck. Because you have to add so much you mess up the balance with the alcohol in the tincture. I would just add one adjunct at a time in a bag so you can pull it when you want to. Or you can add all of them at once. Just put them in separate bags so you can pull each one individually when you are done with that particular fraction.
 

Ty520

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 19, 2020
19
1
3
I think tinctures suck. Because you have to add so much you mess up the balance with the alcohol in the tincture. I would just add one adjunct at a time in a bag so you can pull it when you want to. Or you can add all of them at once. Just put them in separate bags so you can pull each one individually when you are done with that particular fraction.
would you recommend steeping them in hot water in the beginning, or doing it cold during secondary?
 

edaskew

Got Mead? Patron
GotMead Patron
Jun 19, 2018
260
0
16
North Carolina and Mississippi
that's a really good idea - how long do you think it would take to get a tincture? hopefully, it wouldn't require enormous quantities added to the final gallon

for some reason, mead-making tends to pit my scientific side against my craeft side - will have to mull over this idea versus a decoction
Not long. One I made using multiple spices I added to a mead about a week later and it worked out really well. I still have the tincture more than a year later sitting in the fridge. It depends on how much flavor you want. With this stuff I wanted a subtle hint of spice and have not added more than 100 ml to 5 gallons if memory serves me.
 

Grigori

NewBee
Registered Member
May 4, 2020
4
0
1
I purchased some Sarsaparilla root and made a cup of tea from it to test the taste. Using a spoonful in a tea infuser for a mug, poured in freshly boiled water, and let sit for 15 minutes. It's not a strong flavour, so I'm thinking that just putting pieces of root into secondary won't get as much flavour as I'd like. May be better to brew in a saucepan for primary to get a lot of flavour into the must, and then perhaps also include something in secondary also if it's affected too much by the ferment.
 
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