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Apple Pie Mead Attempt

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tcardenjr

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Hey y’all! First off, I just wanted to thank everyone here. I’m pretty new to the mead world, and your posts have helped me learn a lot in the short time I’ve been here.

To business, I’m trying to make an Apple pie mead to be enjoyed around Thanksgiving/Christmas time, and I wanted to run the recipe by y’all to see how this sounds. This will be my second mead attempt; the first was a traditional that started very hot but has mellowed significantly after being bottled for a few months. Sorry if I’m too verbose! And thanks in advance for any help/advice! Hopefully if this goes well I can submit it to the recipe section for someone else to try.

Recipe for 2 gallons:

5lbs honey
1 gallon Musselmann’s Apple Cider
1 Quart organic 100% honeycrisp apple juice
McCormick’s Pure Vanilla Extract (to taste)
McCormick’s Apple Pie Spice (put into a teabag and placed in secondary)
Lalvin D-47 yeast.
1/2 gallon of spring water
I plan on using some combination of Campden and Potassium Sorbate to stabilize.
Sugar In The Raw (not quite brown sugar but it’s what I have on deck)
Fermax Yeast Nutrient

The current gameplan is to create a starter with maybe a pound of the honey, a half gallon of water and the yeast. I’ll then pasteurize the honey (thinking lower temperature, longer time). I’m then going to split the cider, apple juice, honey and starter down the middle and put into two 1 gallon car boys to ferment. I’ve been researching staggered nutrient additions, and I might try for that this time around.

After fermenting is done, I plan on racking both gallons into different car boys, stabilizing them with the combo mentioned in the ingredients, and then adding the vanilla extract (maybe a couple capfuls per gallon) and the apple pie spice (maybe a teabag full for a couple days). I’ll also add a honey/water mix to backsweeten and fill back to 1 gallon for each carboy. The Savannah Bee Company near me sells a lot of honey, so I’ll just get some from them and maybe do a 50/50 honey/water mix. After they clear sufficiently I will move to bottling.

Should I add the sugar in the raw in the primary/secondary/at all? I was trying to go for a brown sugar flavor, but I’m not sure how to go about it. Would I be better off trying to find/order some brown sugar, or will that come through at all? How does this sound to you all? Am I missing anything glaringly obvious? Am I overthinking this? I’m eager for any and all feedback that y’all may have.

Happy brewing, and thanks again!

-Tom
 
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Seamonkey84

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This is one of the few times I’d recommend cooking the fruit first. Cooked fruit have a different taste than raw, and that can transfer over to the wine/mead too. Since your going for apple pie, and not a spiced cider, I’d recommend baking the apples. I’d also omit the water and just use apple juice and apples. Maybe add some peptic enzyme too.
 
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tcardenjr

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This is one of the few times I’d recommend cooking the fruit first. Cooked fruit have a different taste than raw, and that can transfer over to the wine/mead too. Since your going for apple pie, and not a spiced cider, I’d recommend baking the apples. I’d also omit the water and just use apple juice and apples. Maybe add some peptic enzyme too.
I’ll definitely pick up some more apple juice, thanks for the heads up! I wasn’t gonna use any solid fruit, just juice; do you think that will have a noticeable negative impact? I don’t know that I have the necessary brewing hardware for brewing with solid fruit just yet. As far as cider vs pie, I’ll be happy as long as the apple flavor comes out as apple, not necessarily apple pie-level apple.

I’ll definitely do some research on peptic enzyme, would you recommend adding that in the secondary? Or should I put some in at the primary?
 

Seamonkey84

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Doh! I swear I saw you mention apples and not just juice lol. Well, forget what I said, but the flavor thing can still be different. Maybe boiling the juice for a bit? Hope someone else can chime in
 
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tcardenjr

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Doh! I swear I saw you mention apples and not just juice lol. Well, forget what I said, but the flavor thing can still be different. Maybe boiling the juice for a bit? Hope someone else can chime in
No worries, sorry for the confusion! And thanks for the help! One of these days I’ll use actual apples and I’ll come back to look at this. I think I may put some of the juice on some heat for a while to see if it adds a different flavor. I’ll also try to grab some pectic Enzyme for good measure, in case it has trouble clearing up.
 
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tcardenjr

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Not sure if anyone is following, but an update:

Went for a no-heat brew aside from warming about 1/3 gallon of apple juice so the honey would mix better.

Used 1.6 quarts of Martinelli’s filtered apple juice, 1.6 quarts of Martinelli’s unfiltered, a quart of organic honeycrisp apple juice I snagged at Kroger, 5lbs of honey and topped off with Musselmann’s apple cider. 2 gallons total in 2 one gallon glass carboys. Lalvin D47 yeast, SG of 1.125 (29 Brix).

I put ~ 1/2 a tablespoon of Fermax in each carboy on day 1, and a few days later I added another 1/3 of a tablespoon or so. I had to stir/shake it a little the first few days because I was an idiot and didn’t install a blowoff tube (and don’t have the means to get enough tubing for one given the pandemic and the nearest brew-store being 90 minutes away), so I emptied just enough from the carboys that it stopped bubbling up into the airlock.

Fermentation is still going a week and a half in based on the bubbling, but I’ll probably test the gravity again this coming weekend to see where it’s at. I’ve got some McCormick’s vanilla extract, some McCormick’s apple pie spice and some cinnamon sticks ready for the secondary, as well as some campden Tablets and potassium sorbate to stabilize it. Still hoping this will be drinkable by thanksgiving/christmastime.

If anyone has any thoughts so far, feel free to comment! I can give more details on the recipe and I’m always open to constructive criticism. Happy brewing everyone; y’all stay safe.

-Tom
 
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tcardenjr

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Looks gorgeous. How was the taste?
Taste on the first batch is terrific. Not quite as smooth as I was shooting for just yet, but some time in the bottle should remedy that!
The second batch is sweet like a dessert wine. I haven’t cracked open a bottle yet, but I did a taste test when I bottled it, and I think this one will turn into what I was originally shooting for in terms of a warm, sweet drink for the holidays. Added more vanilla & honey during back-sweetening for this one.
 
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