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Old 02-17-2014, 02:10 AM   #1
IJesusChrist
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Default Mead "portfolio"

I'd like to make a variety of meads to create a mead portfolio of sorts. Here is the humble list I've come up with;

Plain - just honey, yeast strain(s) will be crucial.
JAOM - Well documented.
A mint mead
A coffee mead
A pomegranate / citrus melomel (in the fermentor, 1wk old!)
And a cherry mead

I'm wondering if anyone's done or heard of meads with an enormous amount of spices and hops? I want something that will kind of bring wine lovers and beer lovers together to drink a mead.

Something with cloves, and hops, and perhaps some steeped grains. Has anyone tried something like this?

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Old 02-17-2014, 02:37 AM   #2
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Last one I did was a Pyment with juice from orange muscat grapes


Sent from my iPhone using Home Brew

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Old 02-17-2014, 05:27 AM   #3
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Show mead
A mead made with only honey, water, and yeast, with very limited additives.
Traditional mead
May include other ingredients to add complexity or depth, but should not feature other flavors.
Varietal mead
Mead made with honey from a single source, created by bees used to fertilize a single crop.
Melomel
Mead made with fruit; usually refers to fruits other than grapes or apples.
Metheglin
Mead made with herbs and spices.
Pyment
Meads made with grapes or blended with wine.
Cyser
Meads made with apples or blended with cider.
Braggot
Meads made with malt or blended with beer.

Traditional, show, and varietal are the same to me and I will be adding mint mead and coffee mead to this list.
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Old 02-17-2014, 05:59 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IJesusChrist View Post
I'm wondering if anyone's done or heard of meads with an enormous amount of spices and hops? I want something that will kind of bring wine lovers and beer lovers together to drink a mead.
A new friend on the forum offered to send me a bottle of his spiced mead that he thought was far too extreme. Said he'd let it last a year to mellow before tossing most of it. I raised the challenge that in my experience a heavy dose of spice can take two years to mellow, but we agreed on one thing.. that overspicing is not a good idea! If I don't like the mead he's sending, I'll try to make it into a new brew, a spiced honey ale of sorts, send him a bottle back in reply. I just can't think about spilt mead!

Take heed, don't overspice mead! Or anything else, for that matter. Can't say I remember how much cinnamon I put in my dandelion wine that time it took 2 years, but I do know it didn't seem like all that much. Caution!

My first successful brew was a full-honey (no added water) mead with lime peel, ginger and wild cactus fruit juice (self-harvested). My only regret was that I made less than half a gallon of it! So far as the additions, I've found that while fresh ginger root is spicy, its mellow enough not to overpower the brew. Lime peel is now one of my favorite additions to any homebrew.. hard to describe the flavour it brings. Slight bitterness, definitely citrusey.. but not as strong as orange or lemon. I've added lime peel to about half of my mixed brews because its that good. As far as the cactus fruit juice, I'm sure many other fruits would serve just as well. Cactus pear tastes similar to passionfruit, but without the tartness. I've not done another including them, but I'm sorely tempted to go visit my mom and make a side trip to do some pure cactus fruit wine.

Hope you'll try a mead like mine, full-honey with no added water. I've never had a brew like it, before or since. Heaven in a bottle! But it also took 2 years to finish right. It was so precious to me that it took almost that long to drink! Thankfully I had other brews that were less valuable to me available by then

Good luck and..

Cheers!
~BV

P.S. Check out "mead beer" if you can.. I don't know if its on the site here. It's basically a mead that's brewed with water as well. Dilutes the flavour and alcohol content (some people go 1:3, honey to water, for about a 5% result), but it can be ready in less than 6 mo.s and keeps better than a malt beverage. Might be a good idea for someone who's willing to experiment batches, get a good idea of what you're doing before waiting over a year to find out!
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Old 02-17-2014, 12:48 PM   #5
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Habaneros and fresh ginger root work very well together in sack meads sometimes oaked, sometimes not

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Old 02-17-2014, 04:06 PM   #6
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My first successful brew was a full-honey (no added water) mead with lime peel, ginger and wild cactus fruit juice (self-harvested).
What?? How can the yeast even swim around? Or was there a large amount of the juice? And by cactus juice do you mean prickly pear fruit? The season is coming up for that, and I've always wanted to!
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Old 02-18-2014, 08:10 AM   #7
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Yeah, prickly pear. But I say cactus fruit because that's what it is.. not everybody has seen The Jungle Book or grew up in the Southwest.. Where I'm from we even have the paw-paw, but there we call it a cherimoya. Mediterranean climate on the central coast. Mmm. I miss everything about it, especially the Spanish black olive trees that like to do a second bloom in late fall and produce huge black olives without the summer bug infestation. I cure them, myself, to go with my prickly pear picknicks.

All I know was that I had beer yeast in full honey for almost a full year before I added anything else. Seems to me he yeast breaks down the honey eventually because honey is pretty much just water and sugar, after all. But the sugar is so complex (having been eaten and then vomited up by bees, rechewed with enzymes, then naturally matured in wax containment ) that the yeast takes a while to do this, undo the bond the bees created, to start making alcohol out of the sugar. If there's extra water in there, I'm sure the yeastie beasties have an easier time moving around. To make sure they were doing their duty I'd sometimes swirl or shake the bottle to keep it all mixed.

My mead certainly started slow, I can tell you. Real thick to begin, but eventually becoming more like a syrup. Keeping it warm in the bathroom wasn't hard, and the warmer it was the swifter the process went. A couple of times I pulled it out of there and let the bottle sit in the California heat, protected by a towel from the sun..

Whether in mead or not, I'd definitely recommend the Prickly Pear to you. Next time I visit my mom down there I'll be harvesting as many as I can and making pure prickly pear wine. Another thing that's really available is bananas (making one here to test the project) since all the stores donate them to food banks, and there's too many that go bad for them to be stored long-term. There's also sugar dates, guavas, strawberry trees, loquats, and sapote.. just to name a few of the fruits off the beaten track. I'm game to try them all! Probably use real raw sugar cane for the "ripple" effect.

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Old 02-18-2014, 08:16 AM   #8
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I also want to try a pineapple mead.. pineapple wine ("Wado" in Honduras) has a real healthy-feeling zing to it!

Down there on the central coast I've been fortunate to find wild bee colonies, and I also know quite a few people with large beekeeping operations.. I know who to visit to get a gallon of unprocessed honey for under 30 bucks. Up here in Washington, its a common backyard hobby and I'm learning what I can. I certainly plan on having a regular source of honey in the near future Besides being great for mead, honey just happens to be one of my favorite substances on the planet

And having happy bees around is a great bonus!

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Old 02-18-2014, 02:57 PM   #9
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I'm still confused... Honey is hypotonic, meaning basically any organism can't live on it (in it) as it will suck all the water out, and they will shrivel up and die. You literally just had honey and yeast? Thats it? Nothing else?!

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Old 02-19-2014, 08:57 PM   #10
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I'm still confused... Honey is hypotonic, meaning basically any organism can't live on it (in it) as it will suck all the water out, and they will shrivel up and die. You literally just had honey and yeast? Thats it? Nothing else?!
That's so.. but the yeast I used had been in a beer that I'd chucked cuz it was just too hoppy.. technically my first brew. I was so upset with my failure (but then I found out plenty of IPA fans woulda killed for a brew that damned bitter) that I scooped out some of the yeast sediment from the bottom of my bucket and drowned it in honey in a 24 oz. bottle. So I guess it was strong enough? or there was enough liquid with it that it could survive? Until I added the prickly pear juice there wasn't anything else I put in.. though the way you put it, I probably would have been smarter to at least put maybe half a cup of water in there.

Like I said, honey's basically sugar-water with some added processing. My (soggy) yeast survived probably just long enough to start the conversion of the sugars, thereby freeing up the water. That's the best I can figure. It wasn't a planned brew, really, so maybe it was just a fluke? I don't know.
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