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-   -   Birthday meads!! (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f30/birthday-meads-90191/)

Brewin_Bob 11-24-2008 05:28 PM

Birthday meads!!
 
I read somewhere about some mead makers making a batch of mead on, or around, the day of their children's birth to be shared with that child upon their 21st birthday. Have any of you done this? How did they turn out?

I'm planning 2 meads. One will be an apple-cinnamon for my 9 year old daughter and the other will be a vanilla-peach for my yet-to-be-born daughter (due at the end of February). I'll be updating this thread (may be better as a blog/journal) with questions for the resident mead experts. I know in both of the meads, I want the cinnamon and peach flavors to be dominant. I'll bottle 1-3 bottles of each as well as smaller, "sampling" bottles to taste the progression as they each age till my daughters respectively turn 21. To be consistent, I'll mix each batch up 2 weeks after their respective birthdays. Again, I'll be posting questions (gonna have lots) and observations (read: pics) here. Thanks in advance for any feedback!


Ok, here's the recipe for now. I'd still like suggestions/comments. Many thanks to BigKahuna, Tusch, and Hightest!!
Mead Base
12 lbs. honey (likely be wildflower, but open to suggestions)
top off water to 3 gallons (little less than 2 gallons of water)
5g packet Lalvin D-47
Stage 1 nutrients - 2.7g nutrient and 2.7g DAP
Stage 2 nutrients - 1.7g nutrient and 1.7g DAP
Stage 3 nutrients - 1.1g nutrient and 1.1g DAP
est. OG 1.141
target FG 1.010
appx. ABV - 17.5%

Ferment to 1.010 and rack onto fruit. Let the mead sit on the fruit in the secondary for 3 months and then rack onto fresh fruit in the tertiary. Let the mead sit for another 3 months. Continue to rack, without anymore fruit additions, every 3 months until clear. Once clear, bottle some in 750ml bottles to continue to age until my daughters turn 21 (11 years and 21 years, respectively) and the rest in 375ml bottles for semi-regular/yearly sampling.

Fruit Additions
Apple Cinnamon - 5 lbs. Red Delicious apples, 8 3in. cinnamon sticks
Vanilla Peach - 5 lbs. peaches, 4 vanilla bean pods split (similar to how the vanilla beans were used in the Leap Year Meads that were posted)

I will use the same amounts for both secondary and tertiary additions. At first, I thought that this would be too much, but given the number of years that they're going to age, it should mellow out just fine. At least, I think so.

BigKahuna 11-24-2008 05:43 PM

Sounds like a great idea. I know of plenty of people have done this....none that are more than a few years in. The great thing is you have plenty of time....make someting HUGE!

Brewin_Bob 11-24-2008 06:23 PM

I looked at your Apple Clove Mead recipe. If I want the apple-cinnamon and vanilla-peach flavors to stand out, should those be added to the secondary? Would adding these to the secondary warrant not adding additional honey at this point?

Tusch 11-24-2008 06:36 PM

Adding ingredients in secondary will tend to leave a bit more flavor and aroma in the brew. I have done it will spices and fruits with success. It is not necessary to add more honey, unless you are wanting to increase the abv a bit more then originally intended.

BigKahuna 11-24-2008 07:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brewin_Bob (Post 972896)
I looked at your Apple Clove Mead recipe.

There is some good, and some bad to that recipe. It is NOT the best mead I've ever made, however I think it's a good starting point.
Peach lends itself well to addition at secondary, and to long term aged products. It takes a long time to clear anything with Peach, and Pectic Enzyme is almost required. Eventually I will brake down and use some polyclear on mine.....if it doesn't drop clear in the next few months.

Also I think that the Apple Clove Recipe is a bit low abv for something with this potential. You should be thinking of words like EPIC and Colossal to describe what you are building here.

Brewin_Bob 11-24-2008 08:02 PM

You say make it big (read: GIGANTORMUNGOUS). Ok. Let's have this as a base:

per gallon -
  • 5 lbs. honey - undetermined variety
  • nutrient to suit
  • energizer to suit

Don't have BeerSmith at work. Don't know what O.G. will be with 5 lbs. of honey. I assume that I'll need to repitch at some point. Thoughts? Too much? Too little? Lol, not EPIC enough?

Also, what would you suggest as a fermenter? I'd like both batches to be 2 gallons. I'd like to avoid using a bucket but my 3 gallon carboy would leave too much headspace.

... I could always do 3 gallon batches ...
...^
...^
(insert "light bulb/brilliant idea smiley" here)

Brewin_Bob 11-24-2008 08:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BigKahuna (Post 973024)
...Pectic Enzyme is almost required...

Why?

............

BigKahuna 11-24-2008 08:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brewin_Bob (Post 973138)
Why?

............

It is a supreme source of Pectic Haze....spelled CLOUDY AS HELL!
I still have not seen pectic enzyme clear that up, but The proverbial "THEY" and Summersolstice say it will.....eventually.

I estimate that honey will in a 1 gallon batch will be a gravity increase of 0.033 per pound. for example a 1 gallon / 1# batch will have a gravity of 1.033 2# would have 1.066, and 5# would be 1.165. For a mead that big, you would want to do both staggered nutrient, as well as late honey additions....over say.....a week or so? But ya, now You're thinking!

Tusch 11-24-2008 08:13 PM

Peaches are notorious for creating a difficult to clear brew. Pectic enzyme collects the pectins in fruit and pulls them out of solution.

5 lbs of honey per gallon of brew or gallon of water? Because if it is per gallon of brew, you will have a SG of around 1.180 which is pretty insanely high. If it could ferment, and fermented dry, you would need a yeast that could ferment 24.3% alcohol. I would shoot more for a SG of around 1.13, which could leave around 17.8%. You could shoot more for 4 lbs per gallon of must. You can always do honey additions later on to create a higher alcohol content.

And on fermenters, whether or not you do primary fermentation in a bucket is up to you. But for secondary and aging, you should have a real carboy (glass or plastic is a heated argued topic) with almost no headspace. So brew the appropriate amount that you can fit all of it in your carboy, but just barely, with 1 or 2 inches of headspace in the neck.

Brewin_Bob 11-24-2008 08:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tusch (Post 973162)
Peaches are notorious for creating a difficult to clear brew. Pectic enzyme collects the pectins in fruit and pulls them out of solution.

5 lbs of honey per gallon of brew or gallon of water? Because if it is per gallon of brew, you will have a SG of around 1.180 which is pretty insanely high. If it could ferment, and fermented dry, you would need a yeast that could ferment 24.3% alcohol. I would shoot more for a SG of around 1.13, which could leave around 17.8%. You could shoot more for 4 lbs per gallon of must. You can always do honey additions later on to create a higher alcohol content.

And on fermenters, whether or not you do primary fermentation in a bucket is up to you. But for secondary and aging, you should have a real carboy (glass or plastic is a heated argued topic) with almost no headspace. So brew the appropriate amount that you can fit all of it in your carboy, but just barely, with 1 or 2 inches of headspace in the neck.

Thanks. Ok, so I'll back the honey down to 3.5 lbs. per gallon of water. What should that bring the O.G. to? About 1.115? I wasn't going for a HUGE alcohol content (high AC isn't as important) but I think BK had a good suggestion. If these meads are going to age over a period of 11 and 21 years, respectively, they should be, as he said, EPIC. I'll go with 3 gallons, especially if I'm going to be tasting for years down the road.


BK, what schedule would you, or Tusch, recommend for staggering the nutrient additions?


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