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Old 05-31-2011, 02:24 AM   #1
Brewkowski
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I was at the grocery and they were having a sale on figs and dates and I thought I'd test them out in a mead. I've read some threads where they said the dates didn't come through a lot unless you used a large amount. Neither ingredient has any preservatives, but I've never used dried fruits before. I was thinking about steeping them with the honey and some varioius spices ( orange zest, grains of paradise, cinnamon, corriander, and maybe a vanilla bean) to kind of rehydrate them after chopping them up. Any idea of I'll actually get any of the fruit character out of the dried fruits?

Thinking about a 3 gal test batch, this is what I have on hand

7 lbs of honey
28 oz of dried kalamata figs
60 oz of dried tunisian dates

 
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Old 05-31-2011, 01:46 PM   #2
mccann51
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I've never heard of anybody using dry fruit (except raisins in JAOs), but there's not reason it wouldn't work; the sugar is still there. I don't think you'd have to rehydrate them before use; just chop em up and throw em in.

From what I remember, dates and figs are pretty subtle fruits to begin with, so it may be hard to get their flavor coming through strong in a mead. If I were personally making the mead, I'd add more along the lines of (assuming the fruit is pitted):
5lbs honey
2lbs figs
2lbs dates
OR
4lbs honey
2lbs figs
3lbs dates

Firstly, you probably want the final product a little less alcoholic, because the alcohol might mask the flavor of the fruit a bit. Also, since you're working with dry fruit, and these two fruits especially, it's pretty much all sugar, so your suggested recipe is probably equivalent to around 4lbs of honey per gallon.

Also, you may want to wait until secondary to add any spice.

 
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Old 05-31-2011, 06:19 PM   #3
Brewkowski
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So maybe I'll do something like the above ratio of 5lb/2lb/2lb and reserve the remaining fruit to make a spiced syrup out of to add in secondary as kind of a flavor pack.

 
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Old 05-31-2011, 06:24 PM   #4
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http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f79/quick-sherry-198985/

Here is an all dried fruit concoction that I make. It uses dates, figs and raisins. I have the second batch sitting on oak and will bottle in about 2 weeks. You can taste each one of the fruits' flavors but they all blend nicely. Honey would work great with this in a mead.
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Old 05-31-2011, 06:49 PM   #5
Brewkowski
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That does look like an interesting recipe, how much oak did you end up using and did it improve the recipe?

 
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Old 06-01-2011, 12:39 PM   #6
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You might also use fresh figs, or even fig juice:
http://www.smartjuice.us/fig.php
Regards, GF.

 
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Old 06-01-2011, 01:01 PM   #7
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I used 2 oz. of medium toasted french oak cubes. I will give you an update in a week when I bottle.
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