NewB recipe: Hibiscus/Rose Hip/Ginger Mead
I am new to the forum and to home brewing in general. At this point I have a few batches of cysar and cider under my belt but I've also done a fair amount of reading/ forum lurking. Anyway, I've come up with this recipe for a sweet mead and I would welcome any critiques before I actually put it into action:
16 lbs wildflower honey
8oz ginger chopped
3oz dried hibiscus
3oz rose hips
1oz dried orange peel
5 lemons juiced and zest
Tbs Vanilla ectract
red star montrachet yeast
1 boil ginger with 1 gallon of water for 30 minutes
2. Remove from heat add hibiscus rosehips and citrus peel/zest and steep for an hour or so.
3. Add honey to warm water. Mix, add lemon juice, vanilla and water to equal 4-5 gallons.
4. Add rehydrated yeast and yeast nutrient.
5. Stir frequently during rapid fermentation for 2-3 days.
6. Transfer to 5 gallon carboy w/ airlock, top off with water
7. Rack off solids after 7 more days, top off with water
8. Ferment to completion over ensuing months, racking as needed
i would leave lemon juice out till after fermentation has been done or check and correct the PH.
edit: i don't know that yeast but it sounds fast. possibly find a better suited yeast??
split the nutrient into stages. if its fast probably add over the first 3 days. just make sure its all in by 1/3 of fermentation.
i would leave in fermenter till almost completely fermented which i suspect about 5-7 days (ie g down to 1.000) then transfer to carboy. most likely finish completely after another week.
rack off again and then let it age.
I don't think it's necessary to rack off the solids that quickly. In doing so, you are potentially racking off a lot of live yeast which will be necessary to finish the ferment (which will likely not be done in just 7 days).
Also, what is your anticipated OG? You say you're making a 4-5gal batch. If it does turn out being only 4gals (which seems more likely since you've only got a 5gal carboy), then you'll be adding 4lbs of honey per gallon, which is A LOT! Has a potential OG of 1.144, which is gonna be very, very tough on any yeast strain, but especially Montrachet, which is not reported to do well in high gravity musts (simply put, anything above 1.110). If you're looking for a quick ferment, stick to 3lbs per gallon, which should give an OG of 1.108, much more suitable for Montrachet and an easy fermentation. If you really want to do 4lbs per gallon, go with Lalvin K1V, and expect to have to do a fair bit of fermentation management (ie more nutrient additions and aerations; look up staggered nutrient addition [SNA] if you're not familiar with it).
I'd also agree with Tweake in that you might consider waiting to add the lemon juice just because of the pH drop.
I'm working on something almost somewhat similar: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f30/new-...r-mead-217180/
but i find taking it out of fermenter near the end doesn't stop the fermenting which is kinda the whole point. very little is left behind in the fermenter. it continues to ferment in the carboy and keeps it covered in co2.
i use open top ferment so i don't really want it to completely stop while its in the fermenter.
I had never thought about the OG really affecting the yeast too much but it makes sense. I was aware that various yeasts work better or worse at different ABV's but I was leaving the OG (and the fact that I won't be at the full 5 gallons until I get into the carboy) out of my thought process. Perhaps I should use less honey originally and then top it off with honey after I add it to the carboy if I want to adjust the total amount of sugar added.
I will do the SNA, and maybe I'll check the pH (I have some leftover strips in that range from testing canning recipes). I hear yeasts should be good to around 3.7, does that seem reasonable?
I would avoid using vanilla extract at all costs... Get a couple of quality vanilla beans and add one once all fermentation is complete. Give it a week, then taste the mead. When you get the flavor profile you like, remove the bean (or rack off of it)... FAR better to do that, than to have extract in the must that you cannot reduce. With beans, you can remove the flavor element when YOU want. Also, with beans, you can get a higher quality flavor addition than from the extract. Extract is often made with the cheapest beans they can get. Sometimes, it's not even made with vanilla beans.
For those saying "real vanilla beans are too expensive" I say you're shopping poorly. Amazon has Premium Bourbon-Madagascar Vanilla Beans at $6 for 7 beans...
You can also make your own vanilla extract with vodka and vanilla beans. You'll need at least a dozen beans per bottle of vodka, but you can get the beans pretty cheap online. I use a company called Beanilla.
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