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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > Looking for advice on first mead
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Old 05-10-2012, 11:42 PM   #1
Stilgar
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Default Looking for advice on first mead

First off hello and thank you.

A few years back I found myself with a lot of free time and living with a backyard full of blackberries so naturally I got curious and decided to make some Blackberry wine. It was definitely a learning experience but something I really enjoyed doing, researching and sharing. After a curve ball or two(or three) in life I find myself free and wondering about mead making. I'd wanted to try for a while and decided now was a good time. I've seen a few people recommend JAOM as an easy first attempt and I debated doing the same myself but I wanted to try something that might add a bit more flavor in the end. So before diving into the fermenter I wanted to attempt a simple 1 gallon mead. More specifically I was wanting to try caramelizing.

what I had in mind ingredient wise was this;
3#s honey (clove)
gallon water
cup raisins
orange zest
red star champagne yeast
stick cinnamon

My thoughts were, instead of caramelizing all the honey, perhaps only doing so with 1# and leaving the other 2#s as is to combine later with the caramelized honey and water to boil. Would this give a nice character and toffee like backround? Or would it be best to caramelize all 3#s.


Any and all help/advice would be greatly appreciated. I know I could go extremely simple but unfortunately in my family that never seems to be the case. Again thank you.

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Old 05-11-2012, 12:38 AM   #2
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What you are proposing is a "Bochet" (burnt mead), I would suggest boiling it all. Take 1/2 out when it gets a nice deep butterscotch color. Let the rest go to dark brown. This should give you a nice flavor profile to meld together.

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Old 05-11-2012, 01:27 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by roadymi View Post
What you are proposing is a "Bochet" (burnt mead), I would suggest boiling it all. Take 1/2 out when it gets a nice deep butterscotch color. Let the rest go to dark brown. This should give you a nice flavor profile to meld together.
Have you done this? Does it work, and does it really taste that much different than a full boil bochet. Having done two bochet, both taken to a deep chestnut brown color, I would think it would be very difficult to remove/pour honey out at boiling temperature. I suppose with a just a 3# boil it wouldn't be that bad but I almost automatically scale things up mentally to a 6 gal batch. I suppose you could just do two separate boils too...

To the OP...if you are going to do a bochet, and if you haven't done so already, be sure to search out and read the multiple threads on the process...there are some procedural and safety tips I'm sure you will find helpful!

I also think orange zest would be a really great flavor to go with a bochet...
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Old 05-11-2012, 01:57 AM   #4
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Have you done this? Does it work, and does it really taste that much different than a full boil bochet. Having done two bochet, both taken to a deep chestnut brown color, I would think it would be very difficult to remove/pour honey out at boiling temperature. I suppose with a just a 3# boil it wouldn't be that bad but I almost automatically scale things up mentally to a 6 gal batch. I suppose you could just do two separate boils too...

To the OP...if you are going to do a bochet, and if you haven't done so already, be sure to search out and read the multiple threads on the process...there are some procedural and safety tips I'm sure you will find helpful!

I also think orange zest would be a really great flavor to go with a bochet...
Nope, havn't done it........he was askin for ideas and he was planning on splitting his honey anyways. 3#'s is only a quart, I didn't figure it would be a big deal to ladle some out.......
your idea to do separate batches would be safer though My first Bochet is sitting under the shelf in the cellar on a gallon of Maple syrup. I wish I would have gone a lil darker but I am anxious to try it in a year or so.

Defenitely be safe and heed the safety suggestions. Boiling honey is nuthin to take litely.
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:14 AM   #5
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Thank you for the reply. Net was down today so wasn't able to get back earlier and check. After talking with a good friend at our homebrew store he had a similar suggestion to yours and it worked out great!. Got a nice rich butterscotch coloring, did a lot for the honey from its start to finish. I'd read about the water being added to bochet causing somewhat of a napalm like effect so added the boiled honey to the water pot beside it, came together nice enough and now its sitting covered in a small space on the table waiting to hear pops from the airlock hopefully soon. Likely what will happen is I know i'll begin another after a few weeks.

Didn't add in the raisins but may go for a nutrient if needed shall see what it does, once I transfer though, should I/could I add anything to help the character. Keep the cinnamon stick with it? Thank you again!

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Old 05-11-2012, 12:24 PM   #6
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now its sitting covered in a small space on the table waiting to hear pops from the airlock hopefully soon.

Didn't add in the raisins but may go for a nutrient if needed shall see what it does
It may take a little time to start fermenting and be a slow overall ferment since you didn't add much for a nutritional source (assuming your kept the orange zest in it). Nothing wrong with that, just requires more patience and care not to stress the yeast out.

I recently started a caramelized lavender project where I boiled 3 pounds of honey to a deep rich dark caramel color and combined it with 10 pounds of raw orange blossom honey in a 4 gallon batch, initially it gave the must a nice caramely background while keeping the great flavor of the orange blossom, I'm three days into ferment, been feeding, degassing and aerating, curiously excited where the flavor will be at the end of primary.
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Old 05-11-2012, 08:23 PM   #7
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[QUOTE=TheBrewingMedic;4077098]It may take a little time to start fermenting and be a slow overall ferment since you didn't add much for a nutritional source (assuming your kept the orange zest in it). Nothing wrong with that, just requires more patience and care not to stress the yeast out.

I checked on it today around noon and it has begun slowly bubbling so taking it as a good sign. Yes I did add the zest to it, as for it being a slower fermentation how long should I ideally let it go for then before transfer?


On a side note I'd really wanted to try this with Orange blossom but most were out around here so was put on a call list, had heard some good things about it's overall flavor in mead. Looking to find out hopefully soon.

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Old 05-15-2012, 07:07 AM   #8
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Checked in on the carboy today and out of curiosity as I'm assuming this would tie with the slow ferm. Watching the airlock it's roughly bubbling once every few seconds (5-6 actually). I've been taking notes since I began and this seems to be the norm for it. Should I worry or would this be 'ok' given the lack of nutrients at the start. Any way to improve on it or just leave as is? And if all is well as is how long should I leave this before transfering, I'd assume general rule of bubbling once every 30seconds and such.

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