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Old 09-09-2011, 06:27 PM   #1
Jenks829
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Default Wedding Mead

Hello All!

I plan on making a mead for my brother's wedding. He is of Welsh and Irish decent and his future wife is German and Welsh. He grew up in Philadelphia, Pa, she in Woodbury, Mn. Together they live in Phoenix, Az. Baring cold feet, they should be engaged by the end of this month. I was planning on making a mead for them that exemplifies their nationalities, upbringing and future lives together. Here is my plan:

3 Gallon Batch

Spring Water from Pennsylvania (His Upbringing)
7.5 Pounds of Wildflower Honey from Minnesota (Her Upbrining)
2 Pounds of Desert Flower Honey (Shared Lives)

3 oz Ginger and Rose hips (Irish Influence)
Apricot Puree and Oak Chips (Welsh Influence)

Some type of German Yeast (German Influence)

I would anticipate the mead being in the primary fermenter for about 6 months or so with the ginger and rose hips, followed by a secondary fermentation for 6 to 8 weeks with the apricot puree and oak chips. If they have a one year engagement, that would leave about 3.5 months aging in the bottle before the wedding.

I've made two 1 gallon batches of mead in the past which I have enjoyed both. They were both ready to drink in about 4 months. Other than that, I've only brewed beer.

What does everyone say about my plan? Any recommendations/suggestions for the German yeast that can be used to ferment this? Or any other method to introduce a German influence into the mead would be welcomed.

Also, I do plan on using nutrient to help the fermentation along

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Old 09-09-2011, 07:16 PM   #2
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3 pounds of honey per gallon for a total time of ~11 months is going to be "iffy" and i would say it will all rely on your conditions and your yeast. the only yeast i would use in that situation is lalvin k1v-1116 because it seems to work fast without blowing out all the flavors and always seems clear and be drinkable much earlier than, say, champagne yeast.
not sure about the situation with the apricots because i have never used them, seems to me like it may cloud things up and take awhile to settle back, but again, i don't know about that, it's just a guess.
certainly aerate the heck out of it and continue aerating daily until it's almost done fermenting (gentle swirls, not sloshing) this will help with the time situation also.
best of luck, i like the creativity and generosity.

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Old 09-09-2011, 08:34 PM   #3
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3 oz of ginger seems like a lot to me for a 3 gallon batch. I used 2 oz of fresh ginger root in a 5 gallon batch and even now at 11 months the ginger flavor is very prevalent.

But I love the idea. I did a mead for some friend's wedding and gave them 4 12 oz bottles with the specific instructions that were to enjoy 1 bottle on the night of their wedding, then on their 1st, 5th, and 10th anniversaries. As their mead ages so does their marriage.

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Old 09-09-2011, 11:15 PM   #4
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But I love the idea. I did a mead for some friend's wedding and gave them 4 12 oz bottles with the specific instructions that were to enjoy 1 bottle on the night of their wedding, then on their 1st, 5th, and 10th anniversaries. As their mead ages so does their marriage.

that's a great idea! i think i will borrow that idea for a few upcoming friends nuptials myself. gonna have to increase it to 750 ml size though.
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Old 09-10-2011, 06:57 AM   #5
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Thanks for the input.

Fat hand, I actually have no idea how much ginger to add. After looking thru many recipes, I picked 3 oz as the baseline. I am now leaning more towards 1.5 oz because I don't want to overcome any of the other ingredients.

Frydogbrews, I have a good friend who runs a HBS and when I told him about my idea and asked for a "German yeast influence" he immediately made a path towards one of the fridges and handed me Vintners Harvest AW4. The website describes it as being "noted for developing powerfully fragrant, full spice aromatic wines and is a perfect match for Gewurztraminer and also recommended for Sauvignon and Semillon where the Oenologist requires a positive aromatic ester contribution from the yeast." The site goes on to state that is a "low foam yeast" which will live to 14.5% abv provided the temp is between 68° - 77°F. It doesn't talk about the attenuation; I would like a dry mead but like a marriage, this is an untested recipe so we have no idea what is will produce!

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Old 09-10-2011, 01:16 PM   #6
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your attenuation is basically the 14.5% abv limit. up to that limit, it should drop it bone dry because the sugars you are using are nearly 99% fermentable. to get sweet meads you generally need to overwhelm the yeast with alcohol and/or stabilise or pasturize when you hit the gravity you are looking for. most people just let them go dry, then stabilise and backsweetwen. doesn't matter if you are looking for dry though. at 3 pounds per gallon, your mead should be around 11% alcohol.
i have never used that yeast, but in my experience, the fastest (in terms of quality) is k1-v1116. let us know how that one turns out.

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Old 09-12-2011, 03:39 PM   #7
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Personally, I would not do less than 6 months aging. That said. Sounds like a great plan. I would definitely go with actually only 1 oz of ginger. Better to use fresh as well. The Ginger, I could see putting in a hop bag and in the primary. Less it more with spices. It is very easy to overdue spices and the last thing you want is an over ginger mead. I agree with the stiring during the primary. I also would hit it up with Sparkloid when you rack it and stabalize it with some Potassium Sorbate. This way the yeast will drop out of it better. The Sparkloid's job is to have it clear up quicker too.

Once clear enough to read through, rack again and wait a couple of days for it to settle. Then you could bottle. Or you can just leave it in the caroby to bulk age and bottle just before the wedding. This would be the most benificial. I also would put the oak in the secondary. I have heard many wine brewers use Irish Moss (bought in the brew store) in a primary to help clearing. Many times I have heard that it isn't neccessary for mead.

A good thing about the Oak that I have noticed is that it will speed up the aging a little and make it drinkable quicker.

Good luck. Don't forget to let us know how it turned out.

What may be a great way to do this is to do one German Welsh Mead and one Irish Welsh type mead and blend them prior to bottling. To "Marry" the two influences together. I would go with 2 two gallons to start as you will lose some in the racking of it.

Matrix

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Old 09-12-2011, 04:15 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Matrix4b View Post
I would definitely go with actually only 1 oz of ginger. Better to use fresh as well. The Ginger, I could see putting in a hop bag and in the primary. Less it more with spices. It is very easy to overdue spices and the last thing you want is an over ginger mead.
Agreed. I will take your advice and use 1 oz. I originally didn't know how much I would need. The 3oz idea was a stab in the dark.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matrix4b View Post

What may be a great way to do this is to do one German Welsh Mead and one Irish Welsh type mead and blend them prior to bottling. To "Marry" the two influences together. I would go with 2 two gallons to start as you will lose some in the racking of it.

Matrix
This is a fantastic idea. While I believe I am set on the combination mead, this would be a great plan as well.


What is everyone recommendation on how much rose hips to use? I was thinking 2oz. Again, this is a 3 gallon batch and I'll be using 1 oz of fresh ginger. They smell like dried cranberrys to me when I put my nose in the bag.
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On Deck: This will be the summer of wheat beer experiments!

Primary: Pomegranate Wheat, Apricot Wheat, Wine Beer

Secondary: 2012 Washington State Merlot, 2012 Italian Carmenere, 2012 Italian Montepulciano, 2012 Italian Barolo, 2012 Central Valley Viognier

Aging in bottle: 2010 Washington State Merlot, 2010 California Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011 Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon

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Old 09-12-2011, 10:17 PM   #9
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What is everyone recommendation on how much rose hips to use? I was thinking 2oz. Again, this is a 3 gallon batch and I'll be using 1 oz of fresh ginger. They smell like dried cranberrys to me when I put my nose in the bag.
I think that the best way that I have heard rose Hips used is to make a Tea, then add the liquid. It is that way with most flowers that are added.

Here's how: Take the rose hips and boil 2 cups of water, put the rose hips in when you take it off the boil. Then let it steep for a good 10 minutes. Strain out the rose hips. Then use the Liquid in the mead.

As far as how much, I would add it to some in the secondary, sort of to taste. I don't think that 1 of the 2 cups will do harm.

Another way is to put the rose hips in a jar with 1/2 cup of 35%ABV alcohol, like Vodka or my personal favorite, Clear cheap rum.

Then let it extract for a month 1/2. Add the extract to the secondary. It shouldn't take more than a tablespoon. Keep the rest for cooking.

Mostly using the herb directly is sometimes a bit of a mistake, less control and less ability to test it.

I make extracts all the time. Currently I need to get some rum to make a Hazelnut Extract. I took a cup of chopped hazelnut and toasted it at 300 degrees in the oven for 12 minuts. Then I hit it up with the coffee grinder a little, then I am going to seal it up in a Jar with 1 cup of Rum. Let extract for 2 months and then strain it. I plan on using a tablespoon in my Chocolate Mead as well as a Pumpkin Hazelnut Mead.]

Hope it turns out well for you.

Not sure what it will do to the flavors but I read that Cardamon is a very well used German Spice. Ofcourse you may just want to hop it a little instead, but that is more of a beer thing. You may be getting too bitter with the rosehips.

Matrix
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Old 09-14-2011, 03:13 PM   #10
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I mixed this up last night. I only mixed the honey, water, nutrients and yeast; I was originally planning on including the ginger in the primary fermentation but after making the ginger tea, I felt that the flavor was not something I was looking for in the mead. It seemed too harsh. When I first concocted this recipe, I did it by which regions (countries) traditionally included which ingredients in their meads. I saw ginger was used in Irish meads and I though great, there's my Irish influence (along with the rose hips). But after tasting the tea and attempting to extrapolate how the end product will taste and how I wanted it to taste, I didn't feel it was a good match.

I understand how many ingredients will change during fermentation and aging but how does ginger typically taste in meads? ***Brace for stupid question*** Does it taste like ginger, as in ginger ale?

If I decide later or get a chance to taste a ginger mead, I still have time to add it in the secondary if I choose but as of last night, it is out.

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On Deck: This will be the summer of wheat beer experiments!

Primary: Pomegranate Wheat, Apricot Wheat, Wine Beer

Secondary: 2012 Washington State Merlot, 2012 Italian Carmenere, 2012 Italian Montepulciano, 2012 Italian Barolo, 2012 Central Valley Viognier

Aging in bottle: 2010 Washington State Merlot, 2010 California Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011 Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon

Drinking:

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