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Old 01-25-2012, 06:33 PM   #1
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Default Hops, High ABV, and Long Term Aging

I am planning on starting a long term aging project next month to please my sweetheart. We are unable to get his favorite mead, Dansk Mjod's Viking's Blod in Texas, so would like to attempt a clone.

Here is what a review of the stuff has to say-

"This artisan metheglin-style Danish mead has hibiscus & hops, which give it a soft, citrus-like flavor and very floral aroma. Its finish is hoppy-dry, spicy, and very warming. "


It is also 19% alcohol, so I anticipate 3-5 years of aging time. Are we that patient? Not sure, but going to find out!

I haven't been able to find a recipe, and am playing around with ideas. Here is the rough draft of my recipe-

for 3 gallons-
6 pounds fireweed honey
6 pounds orange blossom honey
5oz hibiscus
an as of yet undertermined amount of hops, probably Fugle and Goldings
Uvaferm 43 yeast

The honey depends on what I can get at the time. Might end up being all Orange Blossom.

I have been reading about hops but am still confused as to what to use. Fugle and Goldings have been spoken of as having an "earthy flavor", and Citra hopps is another one I am debating on using. I think I am going for mainly flavor and aroma, and not bitters with this. Maybe just a tiny bit.

Other ingredients I am thinking of adding are orange and lemon peels (no pith), and nutrients. Probably Fermaid K. I expect I will have to stagger the nutrients as well, another thing I have to figure out. I recall seeing a calculator for this somewhere, need to go dig it up.

I plan to add the hibiscus in secondary in a mesh bag and remove it when I like the taste.

Hops will either be boiled and added to primary, or dry hopped in secondary.

Will probably rack once a month or so until it is clear, then bulk age at least a year before bottling.


Anyone have advice or suggestions, or has made something like this? I feel quite lost in regards to the hopps, what kind, how much, and how to add them, but suggestions on any of this would be a huge help.

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Old 01-25-2012, 06:54 PM   #2
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I have been reading about hops but am still confused as to what to use. Fugle and Goldings have been spoken of as having an "earthy flavor", and Citra hopps is another one I am debating on using. I think I am going for mainly flavor and aroma, and not bitters with this. Maybe just a tiny bit.
While I can't be of much assistance, I can say it probably doesn't matter much what hop you use if you are intending to age it for 3 to 5 years. Whatever flavor and aroma that would have been attributed to the hops will be long gone by then. I can tell you my pale ales and IPAs are a shadow of their former selves by 6 months and it only gets more and more mellow as time progresses.
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Old 01-25-2012, 06:55 PM   #3
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I'm afraid I cannot help with this, but I am very curious to see how this turns out!

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Old 01-25-2012, 07:03 PM   #4
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Vikings Blod, from what I understand is aged 2-3 years and the hopps flavor is very much intact. I've also read on other threads on this site, that hops flavor is quite well preserved in homemade meads as well.

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Old 01-26-2012, 03:45 AM   #5
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Vikings Blod, from what I understand is aged 2-3 years and the hopps flavor is very much intact. I've also read on other threads on this site, that hops flavor is quite well preserved in homemade meads as well.
+1, I have found this in my hop metheglins too.

for the OP, check out this other thread on hop metheglin.
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Old 01-27-2012, 12:48 AM   #6
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Biochemedic, I was sort of hoping you would be along. I had read that post previously, it was what motivated me to lean more towards fuggle and goldings hops. That is a LOT of hops! The end result, was that more like an IPA of braggots or was it milder? And how large was the batch of mead you made using that, 5 gallons? Thanks!

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Old 01-27-2012, 01:19 AM   #7
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I do 6 gal batches of mead. It was indeed very close to a metric a$$ton of hops, and especially with fuggle and EKG which are relatively low alpha! I used whole hops, and it was a lot to filter out when I went into the carboy, but probably easier than if I used pellets. If I ever get around to doing a version using noble hops, I think I'll do a bittering addition with Magnum and use the Saaz, Hallertau, etc. just in the last 30 min and for dry hopping.

The bitterness is quite mild, but I that particular batch did come out a tiny bit sweeter than I wanted. Nothing cloying, but it was a little more than I thought was necessary to balance the hops. Honestly, I think the aroma, and the soft, herbal, earthy character of the hops is what is more present than the bitterness.

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Recent Meads: Mead Day '11 Ginger Metheglin, Mead Day '12 Traditional (orange blossom) Mead, Fresh Simple Cyser '12
Primary: Hopefully being refilled next week!
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Planned: Hop Metheglin #3 (NZ hops), Trad. Gesho T'ej
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Old 01-27-2012, 01:31 AM   #8
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Excellent, thanks again. That flavor profile is about what I am looking for. Personally, I am not a terribly huge fan of sweet stuff either, but this particular batch I am hoping to have somewhat sweet. Granted, with as much honey as I plan on using it will be sweet no matter what even with the Uvaferm 43.

Hmmm.... since this is a long term aging project, do you think additional hops would be a good idea? I am planning on only doing a 3 gallon batch of this stuff, likely I will just cut the amount you used in the thread you linked in half. My lhbs is sold out of most whole leaf hops, but should be getting more next month. May have to do a batch of Apfelwein in the meantime.

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Old 01-27-2012, 12:27 PM   #9
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Additional word on FG's...I looked up my numbers and my English hop version ended at 1.021, and my American hop version at 1.008. I've never been able to figure out why the one didn't ferment as well, but what I learned is that the optimal FG/residual sweetness is probably about 1.012-1.014. I don't suppose it's any surprise that this is what you would expect as a FG for many ales... I do wish I had backsweetened my American hop version slightly...

In terms of adding more hops, I'm not quite sure what you mean...I did dry hop both of my hop metheglins for a few weeks in secondary, then racked a final time to bulk age and clear. FYI, one of the reasons I use 6 gallon batches is b/c I rack to a 5 gallon for secondary and beyond, and I save the additional volume in separate wine bottles (usually get about 3 or 4), and use these to top off subsequent rackings. My procedure next time will be to fully ferment in primary, and if gravity is below my desired end, I'll stabilize when I transfer to secondary and add the dry hops, then add my backsweetening when going to the final racking, allow to clear then bottle.

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Recent Meads: Mead Day '11 Ginger Metheglin, Mead Day '12 Traditional (orange blossom) Mead, Fresh Simple Cyser '12
Primary: Hopefully being refilled next week!
Secondary: Why do I keep this line here...?
Bulk Aging: Cocobochet
Planned: Hop Metheglin #3 (NZ hops), Trad. Gesho T'ej
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Old 01-27-2012, 02:37 PM   #10
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Thanks for all that. When the time comes, I am going to follow your hopping schedule, just reduce the amounts by half. I guess I was thinking it might not be a bad idea to shoot for a higher hop concentration in case some of the flavor does fade away over all that time. I guess though, only way to find out is to make a batch and see what happens. When I bottle, I'll probably fill a few beer bottles or so and cap with oxygen barrier caps (maybe 375ml wine bottles, not sure how long the beer caps are good for) Try one every year or so until we like it.

One last question with your hops schedule, were those English or American hops? I really don't know much about hops yet, though I am learning!

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