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Old 10-19-2011, 01:41 AM   #1
dummkauf
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Default Hibiscus Mead technique?

So I've been researching hibiscus mead recipes, and there doesn't seem to be a lot of info out there, so I'm looking for help to formulate a recipe.

Honey Supplies
I've got 10Lbs of Citrus Blossom honey for this, as well as a 2lbs jar of local stuff I picked up at the local pumpkin place last weekend that says it's a combo of clover and basswood honey. I've also got a 2lbs jar of buckwheat too.

I'm thinking 12-14Lbs of honey plus the hibisus, but I am unsure if I want to include that 2lbs of Buckwheat or not, any thoughts on adding that to this?

Hibiscus
I have 6oz of dried hibiscus flowers from the tea shop as well, but could always pick up another bag if needed too. What I have found online seem to suggest everything from 1-4oz of hibicus per gallon of mead, which seems to be quite a large range.

My main concern is around how to use the hibiscus, and I am hoping someone with experience making a hibiscus wine/mead could offer some advice. I've seen some recipes online saying to just add the dried flowers to the primary, some saying to add it to secondary, and others saying that I should boil the flowers 20 min in a gallon of water to make a tea and then mix the "tea" into the must when I'm done. Anyone ever tried this?

How much hibiscus would be good? And should it all be used in a tea, added to primary, secondary, or some combination of those options?

My inspiration for this is StoneKeep Meadery's hibiscus mead I had last year. I'm not necessarily looking for a clone, but just something similar.

Any advice from you experts out there would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 10-19-2011, 02:52 AM   #2
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i was passed a link to a shop that sells it for like $6 a pound. I use the actual flower, not the septals.

the way i do it, and i'm by far not the be all and end all of this, is to put the flowers in a muslin bag and steep them just like you would tea. I steep mine for about 30 minutes. then i put it in my vessel, add my honey, and then fill to whatever volume i'm doing. Keep in mind, the larger the batch, the more you need to steep to begin with. I generally do 1 gallon batches. we steep in a 1 quart pot.

i too am looking to perfect my recipe and technique, so if others could chime in, i too would greatly appreciate it

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Old 10-19-2011, 05:23 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by calicojack View Post
i was passed a link to a shop that sells it for like the way i do it, and i'm by far not the be all and end all of this, is to put the flowers in a muslin bag and steep them just like you would tea. I steep mine for about 30 minutes. then i put it in my vessel, add my honey, and then fill to whatever volume i'm doing. Keep in mind, the larger the batch, the more you need to steep to begin with. I generally do 1 gallon batches. we steep in a 1 quart pot.
Just out of curiosity, what amount of flowers to batch size do you use? Or how many oz's per gallon. If you have tried different amounts, what sort of notes do you have on the differences between them?
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Old 10-19-2011, 08:42 PM   #4
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Just out of curiosity, what amount of flowers to batch size do you use? Or how many oz's per gallon. If you have tried different amounts, what sort of notes do you have on the differences between them?
okay. so i made the mistake of drying my flowers on wax paper, so they ended up shredding when i tried peeling them off of the wax paper. So that being said, I used 2 cups of crushed/shredded petals in 1 gallon.

I've since learned from my mistake and am drying them on parchment paper. I have a large tupperware container full and am still collecting for the 5 gallon batch. I'll try and find you the link to that site with them by the pound.
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Old 11-13-2011, 09:48 PM   #5
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Ok, well I figured I'd just give this a shot and made this one tonight!

Ingredients
6.3oz hibiscus tea
12Lbs orange blossom honey
2Lbs Buckwheat honey
2.8Lbs Clover/Basswood blend honey
2tsp yeast nutrients

Brought a gallon of water to a boil and turned off the heat, added hibiscus in a muslin bag and steeped for 30 min.

mixed some water in with the tea to cool it a bit, dumped honey and tea into my carboy and shook to mix. Topped off with water and shook for a while to mix and aerate. Added the yeast nutrient and the yeast, placed in downstairs closet.

I'm starting to think that I may not have mixed the honey in well enough as my measured OG was 1.062, where as BeerSmith predicted 1.106. BeerSmith is usually never completely accurate for mead, but I've also never seen it this far off. Either my honey was seriously lacking in sugar, or I didn't get it mixed well enough

I also think I should have skipped the buckwheat, this mead got much darker due to that and looks almost like a beer in primary.

Either way, we'll see how it turns out in 6-12 months

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Old 07-04-2012, 05:23 AM   #6
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Been about 8 months and this ones tasting almost ready to bottle. It was extemely bitter initially, but the bitterness has faded nicely and I think I am liking the way it's progressing. Still unsure if I want to bottle soon, or give it a few more months to age. Originally I thought i might need to back sweeten a bit to offset the bitterness, but I am now glad I didn't do that and just left it alone to age.

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Old 07-04-2012, 01:23 PM   #7
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How is the color from the buckwheat? Has that cleared a lot? Or is it still beer colored?

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Old 07-06-2012, 01:29 AM   #8
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How is the color from the buckwheat? Has that cleared a lot? Or is it still beer colored?
Nope, it's still a dark brown color, clear but still brown, which isn't the end of the world either. When I started this one I was hoping for a light pinkish colored mead from the hibiscus, but I'm still happy with the way it's turning out.

I'll try to remember to post some pics when I finally get this one in the bottles. It looks VERY dark in the carboy.
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:30 PM   #9
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i used hibiscus that i got in the spanish spice aisle - we use them for jamaica. I used one full package of them for a gallon. they are dried and it would probably be about two cups worth. I did the steep method like for tea- i let the tea cool and added honey to that. i did three pounds of honey for the gallon. i left the flowers in until i racked after about 2 months. This has been my best mead to date- the hibiscus tastes awesome, and it's a beautiful light purple color. i will definitely be making again.

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Old 11-09-2012, 02:42 AM   #10
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Think this bad boy will get bottled up this weekend! The bitterness is gone, it's slightly sweet and I am extremely happy with it! I didn't wind up with the pink hibiscus hue I was looking for, but not the end of the world.

Just pulled a sample tonight


Made: 11/13/2011
OG: 1.062
FG: 1.005
ABV: 10.03%

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