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Old 04-21-2012, 08:43 PM   #1
jondthechemist
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Default Juniper Mead Recipe

So I have been working out a recipe for the last 2 or 3 weeks in order to figure out a mead that would go good with juniper berries (never tried them before).

I already made a blackberry ginger mead (so far not bad 14 days fermenting) and a blueberry mead with fennel, star aniseed and coriander (so far it is fantastic and it only recently quit fermenting!). As well, I made a coriander, star aniseed, fennel, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, clover honey, and orange zest mead (been fermenting 10 days now and tastes like a very strong cup of tea made with all of those spices).

So here is my recipe to-date, but I have a feeling it is going to need a lot of work.

1 US Gallon Batch
3# Wildflower honey
1/2 tsp clove
1/2 tsp star aniseed
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 oz dried juniper berries
zest of one medium orange (sliced)

Now I cut down on the spices by 2/3 from the earlier mentioned metheglin since it tasted so bad (even though it could benefit from aging, I tend to like to drink them young 'cus I age few and drink many).

I also considered maybe using apple cider as a base (for flavor and malic acid) instead of mostly water for dilution or a mix of apple cider and tea (for tannic acid).

Any suggestions are anticipated and hoped for!

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Old 04-21-2012, 08:59 PM   #2
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1/2 oz of Juniperberries is going to be next to non noticeable.

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Old 04-21-2012, 09:20 PM   #3
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Even if they were dried? From what i could find online, 0.5 oz is approximately 1 or 2 berries. Are juniper berries not as strong as I thought?

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Old 04-21-2012, 11:57 PM   #4
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I certainly don't think so, but I like them very much and use many for various things, and a lot of them. Their flavor is not nearly as noticable when compared to the same weight of a branch from the tree.

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Old 04-22-2012, 05:45 PM   #5
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Well two questions:
1) How many juniper spice berries should I use? I was thinking 3 ounces?
2) How does the recipe look? I am scared to make a metheglin again because the last one is still fermenting, smells good, tastes like crap.

Thanks!

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Old 04-22-2012, 08:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jondthechemist View Post
Well two questions:
1) How many juniper spice berries should I use? I was thinking 3 ounces?
2) How does the recipe look? I am scared to make a metheglin again because the last one is still fermenting, smells good, tastes like crap.

Thanks!
3 oz of juniper ? bloody hell, are you trying to make Gin ?

from your original post, in a 1 gallon batch, I'd say there's too much clove and nutmeg. If you have druggies scales, weigh 1 or 2 cloves (that's how much you'd probably need) then match the weight with ground nutmeg (freshly ground).

The problem with spices, is that is you use too much, the brew might indeed be wonderful smelling, but from a flavour angle, undrinkable. All you've really succeeded in making is almost like a tincture.

Less is usually more. Use a small amount initially in the brew, and then you can always add a little more during the clearing/ageing process to increase the flavour. Don't forget, most spices extract rather well in the presence of alcohol.

Hell, you could even make a tincture of the spices with vodka. With good sealed bottles/jars, say 50mls of vodka, or even everclear, with 25 cloves, and you then just leave it too steep. So then 2mls of the tincture would have the flavour of 1 clove, so it's easy to add the flavour in small increments, and adjust to taste. It's almost impossible to remove too much if you go over the top with the spices in the early stages......
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Old 04-23-2012, 02:01 AM   #7
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yeah, 3 oz may be a bit much for a 1 gal batch...I did use 4 oz for a 5 gal batch of beer this past year, and it wasn't overpowering at all; in fact, was quite subtle.

Cloves, on the other hand, are very strong and can very, very easily become overpowering. For reference, I use 1 tsp in a 6 gal batch for my spiced cider.

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Old 04-23-2012, 01:17 PM   #8
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I used 1oz of dried juniper berries in a 1gal batch of braggot. I also let it age on the berries for 2 full months. It turned out delicious.

Remember that juniper berries aren't going to taste quite like gin; gin uses green, unripe berries, which have a different flavor than purple, ripe berries. That difference, plus the fact that a mead or braggot or whatever is not going to be 50% or more ABV, means that the taste will be quite a bit less harsh than one might think.

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Old 04-23-2012, 01:58 PM   #9
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So it is sounding like I need to scale down on the other spices a little more (specifically the strong, aromatic clove) and I was about right for my original concentration of juniper berries(1/2 ounce-1 ounce)?

Thanks for all the suggestions! Like I said, I am beyond scared of metheglins because I mess them up everytime! (but points for trying another? )

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Old 04-23-2012, 02:18 PM   #10
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I would go with 1oz or more, and figure out how much you like, and you can always add them in secondary. And clove would be absolutely minimal. I did a 10 gallon braggot, with 1/2 oz clove, and that taste and aroma was definitely in the forefront.

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