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Old 11-24-2012, 11:07 AM   #1
Peppers16
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Default Budget vanilla mead recipe (advice?)

Hi all
I'm a beginner with mostly JAOMs under my belt, and am trying to make a 1 gallon vanilla-based mead on a budget: That is to say I'm interested to see if I can start with a cheap, no-thrills but drinkable recipe which I can refine in the future. I'm not experienced at mead so I'm not worried about the subtleties as long as I start with something pleasant enough to drink.
I've started off with:

  • 3lb of honey
  • 2 tsp citric acid (final pH with honey was about 4)
  • 100g raisins boiled, then strained
  • a tea bag - steeped for a few minutes then removed
  • Gervin universal wine yeast

The above left me with an S.G. of 1.090, I'm aiming for about 12% ABV with a little back-sweetening. The raisins and tea were to add a little body, but I expect to end up with something fairly light and a bit crisp/acidic (like a white wine) which I imagine would complement the vanilla, especially with a little sweetening.
(I was originally going to use white grape extract but thought I'd start with raisins and acid to fit in with the 'budget' starting point).

After fermentation is over I'm planning on adding
  • 1 tsp of madagascan vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean (chopped)
  • Possibly ginger or cinnamon if the taste is still lacking?

Does this look like I'll end up with something drinkable? Does it need anything else to add depth?
Also, can anyone suggest an ingredient that would impart a sort of 'creaminess' to the mead? I understand lactose wouldn't work as well as it does in stouts.

Final question: Would nylon/muslin strain vanilla seeds successfully? I hear they have a lot of the flavour and would prefer not to remove them from the bean.

Thanks a lot for your help and patience! Cheers
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Old 11-24-2012, 11:24 AM   #2
fatbloke
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Acid up front is considered poor practice these days. The honey is generally considered acidic enough to be getting on with, but the taste is masked by the sweetness/sugars.

I'd suggest that you just make a base traditional (raisins and all, but don't bother chopping or boiling). Let it finish, then just split the vanilla pod length ways and chuck it in. Let it steep for a couple or 3 weeks, then check the taste.......

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Old 11-24-2012, 03:19 PM   #3
Arpolis
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FB is right on, the citric acid is not needed unless it is to complement a flavor that is lacking like blueberries seem to benifit from it.

The nylon bag will not hold a vanilla seeds. (I tried) But the great thing aboout mead is that everything settles to the bottom. It just takes time. So split the vanilla bean in half, chuck it in but dont be alarmed if you have little floaties a week later. Its will settle eventually. I forget how long it took my last batch with vanilla to settle.

While starting to read your post the only thing I thought might be interesting would be to take a portion of honey and caramalize it. Since it sounds like your fermentation hzas started you might think about that for a future batch. Maybe like 1/2 lb of honey caramilized/boiled over a low heat for only an hour to give a little compliment to the vanilla.

Overal it looks like a drinkable recipe, may be 6 - 9 months befor you want to give it a serious try but should be good.

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Old 11-24-2012, 09:19 PM   #4
Peppers16
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Thanks for the advice, guys, I'll note that about acid in future (in my defence we have pretty hard water in my area).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arpolis
While starting to read your post the only thing I thought might be interesting would be to take a portion of honey and caramalize it. Since it sounds like your fermentation hzas started you might think about that for a future batch. Maybe like 1/2 lb of honey caramilized/boiled over a low heat for only an hour to give a little compliment to the vanilla.
It's interesting that you should say that, because I was just thinking a few days ago how I'd like to try caramelized honey in a recipe. Perhaps if I think it's lacking I could caramelize the honey I back-sweeten with? Something to consider in future batches at any rate!
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