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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > Advice on "Bobby Flay" mead
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Old 07-10-2012, 03:10 PM   #11
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@bobbrews: I agree. In an ideal world, I would steep the peppers in the heated must to get the most oomph from the pepper. But, at this point I do not want to risk oxidation or just plain screwing up the mead. So, I think that a good compromise is rehydrating the pepper in water and racking on top of it. It will do more than just throwing in a fresh pepper and cold steeping it.

@The BrewingMedic: Cool. I have some french cubes that I bought for a vanilla methelgin. If those don't seem quite right for the job, I'll look into those American cubes.

I had read in Schramm's book that cubes are the ideal medium because they have a more consistent flavor that they impart as compared to chips.

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Old 07-10-2012, 03:12 PM   #12
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I agree. Good luck on this. I'd be curious to taste a good chile mead that isn't overbearing with smokiness.

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Old 07-11-2012, 12:52 PM   #13
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I didn't even know what the equivalent of "wort" was called for mead. Thank you for that.
You're welcome


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I assume that mead is probably 100 F at it's hottest?
100*F is the high limit almost. As a professional chef you're probably used to making reductions to intensify flavors. Honey works a little different, at higher temps you can acheive caramelization (as in a bochet type mead) however you sacrafice the volitile compounds that give whatever varietal you are using it's character.

Honey is the real expense when it comes to making mead, and just like anything in the culinary world, better ingredients make a better product. So if you are going to spend a few extra dollars on a delicious single source varietal or even if you come across a great tasting local raw wildflower or clover or whatever is indigenous to your area, you'll want to maintain the flavor and aroma of that honey. All mead varieties, with the exception of a bochet can be made with no heat, it may take a little extra elbow grease and a few more minutes to incorporate the honey and water but in the end it is worth it.


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Steeping the chiles at that temperature for a specific time is probably still better than adding them to a cold secondary. Rehydrated chiles aren't exactly as fragrant as hops or honey, but they are very flavorful......................................... .................................................. ................ For mead, I would probably steep the dried, toasted chiles in the warm to hot "must" ...(instead of hot water before adding to a soup). .................................................. .................................................. ....... I would skip a few steps there, chop up the toasted chiles and add to a steeping bag, rehydrate in the warm must, allow flavor to infuse, rack, and skip the final blending of the rehydrated chiles. Does this make sense in terms of using a similar technique for infusing chile flavor in mead?

Possibly a way to still make an infusion of decent flavor out of your base mead instead of water, and without heating all of your must and chance losing any of the honey character, would be to make your full batch of mead and let it go through primary fermentation. When it is ready to be racked into secondary, take a small portion, say 10-20% of the fermented mead and use that to make the infusion, yes it'll lose some of the honey flavor and aroma and yes the alcohol will evaporate off while heating it but you will be able to make quality infusion.

Then cool and add it to your secondary vessel, rack the remaining mead onto it so it all mixes and incorporates well.

This will help you maintain the integrity of the honey in your mead and give you the cleanest chile flavor since none of that will be lost during primary fermentation. You'll get the best of both and end up with a nice capsicumel (fancy name for mead flavored with chile peppers)

The only other thing I might suggest is possibly adding only a portion of the infusion at a time, I know that contradicts what I said before about adding it to secondary then racking your mead onto it, but if you add it in increments you can taste inbetween and balance the sweet with the heat better, keep in mind the chile flavor will intensify slightly during aging so if you added it until it is right at the edge of perfect, like a splash away, in a few months it should hit the marks exactly where you want it.
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Old 07-11-2012, 01:56 PM   #14
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Possibly a way to still make an infusion of decent flavor out of your base mead instead of water, and without heating all of your must and chance losing any of the honey character, would be to make your full batch of mead and let it go through primary fermentation. When it is ready to be racked into secondary, take a small portion, say 10-20% of the fermented mead and use that to make the infusion, yes it'll lose some of the honey flavor and aroma and yes the alcohol will evaporate off while heating it but you will be able to make quality infusion.

The only other thing I might suggest is possibly adding only a portion of the infusion at a time, I know that contradicts what I said before about adding it to secondary then racking your mead onto it, but if you add it in increments you can taste in between and balance the sweet with the heat better, keep in mind the chile flavor will intensify slightly during aging so if you added it until it is right at the edge of perfect, like a splash away, in a few months it should hit the marks exactly where you want it.
I like that. It's a sort of "tempering" of flavor using a little at a time to make it right. You're using a little bit of the hot must instead of heating up the whole batch. Kind of like adding hot cream to whipped egg yolks to make a creme anglaise, being careful not to curdle the yolks by adding too much hot cream too fast (and thus ruining the lot of it).
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Old 07-11-2012, 02:10 PM   #15
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I wonder what a drop or two of "Liquid smoke" would add?

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Old 07-11-2012, 02:47 PM   #16
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I like that. It's a sort of "tempering" of flavor using a little at a time to make it right. You're using a little bit of the hot must instead of heating up the whole batch. Kind of like adding hot cream to whipped egg yolks to make a creme anglaise, being careful not to curdle the yolks by adding too much hot cream too fast (and thus ruining the lot of it).
EEExxxxactly....I've made a couple batches of mead that I wished I had a lighter hand on some of the additions. Which is partly the reason that every batch (thats not a cyser, bochet, or acerglyn) starts as a traditional in primary. For one there is finally some documented proof that adding fruits to secondary provides better color, flavor, and aroma transfer (there is a thread with a podcast about the experiment), and two I can adjust and control the amount of the flavoring I am adding in a state that is closer to what the final product will taste like.

I have even gone so far as to start using a smaller secondary fermenter ie: 4 gallon primary and 3 gallon secondary. That way I have a gallon of the original base mead untouched for topping off, and making adjustments if I want to thin out a flavor, with out diluting with water and changing the alcohol content and flavor profile completely. And if I don't need to do any of the above, I have a few extra bottles of nice traditional mead in the cellar.



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I wonder what a drop or two of "Liquid smoke" would add?
Interesting idea, probably worth doing some scaled down experiments with it, that stuff can be pretty potent and nasty if get too much in anything. I learned that the hard way once when the little plastic cap came off the top and I poured teaspoons worth instead of a few drops into a marinade.....
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Old 07-13-2012, 06:30 PM   #17
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I don't know why you would bother rehydrating chili peppers. What's the point?

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Old 07-13-2012, 11:17 PM   #18
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I don't know why you would bother rehydrating chili peppers. What's the point?
If you wanted to do a small batch infusion with a portion of must/mead to be more precise with the addition maybe?
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Old 07-14-2012, 02:43 PM   #19
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But I still don't see the point. If you add a hydrated pepper you still have the same amount of "hot stuff" as if you just throw in a dried pepper, unless you only throw in the wet pepper and toss the hydration fluid.

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Old 07-14-2012, 04:02 PM   #20
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Not sure why but its not letting me delete a double post..

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