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Old 09-30-2011, 02:26 PM   #1
james93711
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Default wanna try some brown sugar in my mead, good or bad idea?

hey all,
i'm gonna try to make a caramel apple mead with 10lbs of honey and maybe a lb or two of brown sugar. was gonna drop two bags of melted butter scotch candies and apple jolly ranchers in the secondary.

thinking the brown sugar will give it a good caramel taste, gonna be a 5gal batch. any advice?

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Old 09-30-2011, 04:11 PM   #2
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We actually tried carmelizing the sugar for an apple pie mead that I make, but it just tasted like burnt marshmallows so we didn't add it to the batch. My boyfriend makes a cyser from The Complete Meadmaker called Fall's Bounty which uses brown sugar in the primary. I can't say I've ever listed caramel as one of the flavors in the aged mead, though.

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Old 09-30-2011, 04:18 PM   #3
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Brown sugar doesn't taste caramelly, it tastes molassessy.

If you want caramel taste then heat up some simple syrup on the stove constantly stirring until it begins to darken then remove it from the heat quickly because you don't want it to burn. Or you can buy belgian candi sugar from the LHBS.

I've also heard of people boiling apple juice way down, like boiling 5 gallons down to one gallon to caramelize the natural apple sugars that way.

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Old 09-30-2011, 04:23 PM   #4
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Hey James, have you tried the butterscotch candies before? I haven't experimented with candies at all, but that sounds good!

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Old 09-30-2011, 05:28 PM   #5
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I'm pretty sure you could use a lot more brown sugar than that and have it come out great. I just did an experiment with a batch of mead and made a half-gallon that by rough estimate is about half honey, half brown sugar. (Here's a shot of them side-by-side on my blog.)It's still fermenting; the brown sugar variant tastes different from the pure honey, but not a lot different. There is a more caramelly note. The "cidery" flavor of white sugar also seems to be there (on account of brown sugar being white sugar with molasses added back in) but this works with my other flavor adjuncts and you want apple flavor anyway! Go nuts.

I don't know if I'd use the candies, though. The only thing the Jolly Ranchers would contribute would be corn syrup, synthetic apple flavor, and acid. If those are things you want, you could probably add them individually in measured amounts to get the results you want. I agree with mutedog that toasting some sugar will probably give you a better caramel flavor than butterscotch candy, because there you've got the corn syrup and the synthetic flavors again.

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Old 10-02-2011, 02:50 AM   #6
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no i havent but im gonna give it a shot, i got apple jolly ranchers and a bunch of butterscotch candies i'm gonna throw in my next batch i make ill let you know how the turn out

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Old 10-02-2011, 07:09 AM   #7
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It doesn't matter whether you try butterscotch candy like jolly ranchers or Werthers Originals etc etc.

It's unlikely that much, if any, of the taste will make it through.

You need to think on how something tastes if the main taste/flavour is removed, in this case, the sweetness.

You end up with just a burned type flavour, which doesn't really work. You'd probably be better placed looking for a toffee/butterscotch vodka recipe. Even then you do need quite a lot of the sweets/candy for the taste to work.

The whole point of mead, is that the main taste is from the sweetness of honey. If you try a melomel or something, then you still need a fair amount of fruit/juice for any of the taste of it to come through.

It's all rather imprecise anyway. Even if someone does post a "cast iron" recipe, there's no guarantee that your attempt/version will work as there'd be differences between the honey, the fruit, the water, etc etc etc...

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Old 10-02-2011, 10:28 AM   #8
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Thanks Bloke. My DB and I have only been doing this for 2 years, so we're still in the experimental stages. He totally balked at my attempt at a chocolate cherry mead, but after it aged it turned out really good. So now he just looks at me funny and let's me run with my ideas. I hadn't thought about how much of the butterscotch "taste" would disappear along with the sugar. I'm not giving up on the idea, mind you, I'll just have to figure out a way to get that taste another way.

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Old 10-02-2011, 01:56 PM   #9
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Think about it: how many candies would you need to use if you were using just water (no honey) and you wanted the result to taste like butterscotch?

I think mutedog is on the right track. If you want butterscotch flavoring, you need to basically make butterscotch: heat a concentrated simple syrup to the soft crack stage (270-290 deg F).

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