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Old 10-24-2013, 01:32 AM   #1
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Default Steeping Grains in mead (NOT braggot)

Hey guys,

I'm planning on starting a new project over the weekend, as I just got a large amount of local honey. I'm hoping to make a mead using a smoked barley. However, I do not wish to make a braggot. Essentially, I am hoping to get a large amount of flavour from the smoked barley, but as few fermentables as possible.


A bit of background information before I ask some questions, though. I mostly make meads, and I've done a couple of braggots (a few hopped, a few unhopped). In my experience, unhopped braggots bring out a lot more of the grains, but end cloyingly sweet. My partner is not a fan of hops. She prefers my meads over my beers, and dislikes how sweet unhopped braggots come out. However, she also likes smokey flavours.


So... in trying to make a more savory winter-friendly mead without the need for a bittering agent, I figured that I could steep a smoked barley, and use this as the base for my mead. Problem is, I want to 1) activate as few maltose producing enzymes as possible, while 2) still being able to boil the wort to sterilise it. (Campden tablets are nice, but they merely chemically neuter yeast, and are ineffective against acetic acid producing bacteria. Honey has antimicrobial properties, but this is due to its high sugar content and low nutrient density. Upon being diluted, it loses these properties. Given that I plan on aging this mead, boiling the steeped-grain water is ideal).


I was planning on cold-steeping the smoked malt in whole (uncrushed) form, removing the grains, and THEN bringing it to a boil, allowing it to cool, and then proceeding with the regular mead making process. I hope that this would minimise or eliminate any maltose production.

Has anybody on here tried this before, or know any way of acquiring the aroma and flavour of a malt without pulling or creating sugars?



Thanks for taking the time to read my long-winded, over-explained post.


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Old 10-24-2013, 03:53 AM   #2
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Peat smoked malt doesn't have any diastatic power so it won't convert itself unless you have some other grain in the mash with it. Steep it at whatever temp you would like. Here's a chart with the diastatic power of some grains: http://norbrygg.no/forum/index.php?a....0;attach=2080

Don't forget, a grain needs a diastatic power of about 30L to be able to convert itself.


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Old 10-24-2013, 07:23 AM   #3
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Thank you very much. I literally couldn't have asked for a better resource.
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Old 10-25-2013, 03:16 PM   #4
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I'm curious to hear how it turns out.
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Old 10-25-2013, 06:10 PM   #5
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Please continue to post your results. Interested in trying this. My wife does not like beer. I have made one mead and have a cider in secondary for her.
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Old 10-30-2013, 02:19 PM   #6
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Hey guys,

I began as stated above by cold steeping the grains. I used a smoked malt and a peated malt. I used one pound of each and cold steeped for about 20 minutes. Pulled the grains, and proceeded as stated above. Once cooled back to pitching temperature, I pulled a sample and gave the "wort" for tasting before the honey was added. No sweetness, so even if there were conversion, it was below the flavour threshold, very peaty (that's a plus for me, a minus for others). Normally, 1 lb of peat smoked malt would be WAY too much, but as I was cold steeping for only about 20 minutes, it worked out quite nicely to my taste.

I added the honey and threw it into primary. I aerated and added my first dose of yeast nutrients before pitching and sealing her up. I aerated twice more within the first 36 hours, and have continued with normal staggered yeast nutrient additions. Primary should be done within the next day or two. It smells wonderful, but I have yet to taste it at any point after pitching.

I think this is going to come out quite wonderfully. By far the easiest fermentation I've had with a mead or braggot.
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Old 08-12-2015, 08:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcownz747 View Post
Hey guys,

I began as stated above by cold steeping the grains. I used a smoked malt and a peated malt. I used one pound of each and cold steeped for about 20 minutes. Pulled the grains, and proceeded as stated above. Once cooled back to pitching temperature, I pulled a sample and gave the "wort" for tasting before the honey was added. No sweetness, so even if there were conversion, it was below the flavour threshold, very peaty (that's a plus for me, a minus for others). Normally, 1 lb of peat smoked malt would be WAY too much, but as I was cold steeping for only about 20 minutes, it worked out quite nicely to my taste.

I added the honey and threw it into primary. I aerated and added my first dose of yeast nutrients before pitching and sealing her up. I aerated twice more within the first 36 hours, and have continued with normal staggered yeast nutrient additions. Primary should be done within the next day or two. It smells wonderful, but I have yet to taste it at any point after pitching.

I think this is going to come out quite wonderfully. By far the easiest fermentation I've had with a mead or braggot.
How did this turn out?
Regards, GF.
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Old 08-16-2015, 08:04 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by gratus fermentatio View Post
How did this turn out?
Regards, GF.
It went well, but I'd like to say a few things about it.

1) I've since learned about the potential problems with cold steeping grains. It potentially introduces numerous beer spoiling agents. However, as I was treating this more like a mead than a beer, it was sulfited and sorbated (Sulfited first, sorbated about 24 hours later). I had no problems with souring. I would imagine that a lower ABV beer might be more prone to souring than mine.

2) I would never use this much peated malt again. I LOVE peat, but I don't know anybody else who does. It was nice to my taste, as it had intense peat... but I got stuck drinking 5 gallons of peated mead. If I were going to do this again, I'd use mesquite or beech wood smoked malt. The latter if I wanted to emulate the smoke of a Rauchbier, the former if I wanted to give an aroma that reminded people of Barbeque

3) there were problems with haze not settling out. I used Pectic enzyme first, then used some finings, waited a bit, and still had some haze. A second round of finings took care of it. But PLEASE make sure your mead is where you want to rack it from when you start with finings, because this stuff was SERIOUSLY hard to get out of solution, and it was mad easy to get stirred up again.

4) The mead never dropped to 1.000, however, it was clearly fully dry. This is due to the proteins and starches that the smoked malts brought to the mead. I don't have the exact notes on the final gravity. I only know that it came to somewhere between 13.5 and 14.5.

5) drinking 5 gallons of 14% abv peat smoked mead is a lot harder than it sounds.


I hope that helps!

(Oh, and in case anybody is interested, since posting this I've gotten a job as the assistant vintner at a winery, and have gotten my Cicerone level 1.)


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