Dates in your Mead ?

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Gertrude

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So once again,
I am completely new to making Mead, and I find myself wanting to try every conceivable concoction that my imagination has going.

I have read a few threads where folks have used Dates in their Meads will favorable results. It seems that most of these attempts have been done using fresh whole/pitted Date fruits, and it got me to thinking. As I was scouring my cupboards (for things to throw yeast at), I found some of my favorite "Date Crystals" and "Date Sugar", that I have used for years to make Date Shakes.
(If you've never had a Date Shake,... you are missing out on the BEST Shake you've ever had).
These are simply pitted Dates that are then Freeze-Dried, and then ground coarse for (crystals), and more fine for (sugar).
They are made by Shields Date Farms, (located in Indio, California), and I stop there to pick them up anytime I am passing through that area.
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So since Dates also have such a high natural sugars content, and I love their flavors, it got me to thinking.
it seems that in the threads I've seen so far where folks have added Dates to their mead, the common problem is getting the Dates to fully break down during fermentation.
(Do I have that correct ?)

So, my thoughts are...
What if I was to run these through a coffee bean grinder (or food processor), to reduce them into a "Date Powder" per se', and add that powder to my Mead ?
Would I get that wonderful Date flavor in my Mead?
and if you all think this might be a good idea, would you use it during the primary fermentation ?
Would you just add the "dry" powder directly to the honey/water prior to pitching the yeast ?
OR...
Would you perhaps first steep the powder (with hot - but not boiling) Spring water to create a "Date Tea", then allow it to cool, then use that to dissolve the honey for fermentation ?
and also,
How much of the Dates would you use in a 1 gallon Batch ?
The package states that 40 grams equals about 5 or 6 whole Dates.

What are your thoughts and/or experience with this idea ?
Thanks for any and all replies.
 

Ty520

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I have yet to do a date mead, but am getting ready to try an experimental date mead I've been drafting up.

My initial instinct would be to not use those date crystals as they really are just ground up dates and not proper sugars, and would just result in a crap-ton of sediment to filter out.

I would cut them into quarters and put them in a nylon bag in secondary and begin tasting after a couple weeks.

I hear many people who do date meads supplement with figs - I guess it does something to help supplement and round out the date flavor. I seem to recall carvin wilson discussing a date recipe on one of the very first few episodes of mead made right podcast
 
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scbison

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I have done a bit of research on date mead and it is on my list to try soon. From what I have read numerous people have reported that a date wine (dates/sugar/water/yeast) has almost no flavor. I extrapolate from this that for a date mead I am going to want to add dates to both primary for any residual small flavors as well as in secondary after at least the 2/3s sugar break to retain any residual flavor.

If I was going to try these I wouldn't grind them any finer than they already are. It would become a nightmare for clearing I think. My approach would be to use the date crystals in both primary and secondary with honey. Once fermentation is over I would back sweeten using a ratio of 2/3 honey 1/3 date sugar. I would taste along the way and adjust as needed but taking a shot in the dark approach this might be how I would go. But, i'm a noob to this forum so take that for wht it's worth.
 
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Gertrude

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thanks for the replies.
HMmmmm,... well I admit that I did not realized the flavor of the dates would not be present if I were to use them during primary fermentation. Double Dog Dang it !
My whole objective would be to Get Their Flavor into the Mead.

I'm am all new to this and have only made my first (4) batches of fruited Meads. I've not learned what or how to "Back Sweeten yet, so I'll have to do some reading and research on that.
Perhaps I can try doing this "back sweetening" to one of my first batches that I have racked already ?

So if I do try that as an experiment, Would I simply add some of the Date Sugar to the carboy I've already racked into ?
And then,
How would I prevent that from reactivating a fermentation, which may end up becoming a bomb of glass shards ?

I apologize if these questions are dumb,.... I just dont want to create a huge mess.
Thanks for your replies and taking the time to help this rookie out.
Cheers
 

Maylar

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Once your mead has completed fermentation and you've racked it you can "stabilize" it with potassium sorbate and potassium metabisulfite. Then you can sweeten or add any type of sugar without worry of restarting fermentation. This is standard practice in the mead / wine world.
 
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Gertrude

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Once your mead has completed fermentation and you've racked it you can "stabilize" it with potassium sorbate and potassium metabisulfite. Then you can sweeten or add any type of sugar without worry of restarting fermentation. This is standard practice in the mead / wine world.
Thank you Sir,
I guess a little trip to my HBS store will be on todays "to do list" to get some Potassium Nitrate.
OOPS !,... Wait a minute,... Wrong Stuff !!!... Scratch That ! ! ! ..... LOL ! ! !

I meant to say Potassium Sorbate or Metabisulfite ! Hahahahaha !
Thanks
 

bernardsmith

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Whoa, Nelly. - Sorry: Hi Gertrude and welcome.
I make date mead and date wine fairly frequently and the mead and the wine have a rich date flavor. But I use date syrup (also known as silan). What you might do is treat the silan as honey and dilute this down to a gravity of about 1.090 and see if the taste hits the mark. If it does you might blend this with the same volume of mead (honey, water, nutrients and sugar) and see if that hits the sweet spot. Not sure what the likely pH or TA might be so be prepared to add some acidity (malic, I think is found in dates). Dates are tannin rich so you may not need to add tannin to this silan wine or date mead (melomel)...
BUT... I've had BJCP certified tasters attest to the fact that they have detected some trace of salt in my date mead. Never been able to definitively determine the source... (not detected it myself either , but that is another story) but it is possible that the sodium chloride that was tasted came from the soil in which the dates were grown. Putting the Brine in Wine | Wine-Searcher News & Features.
That said, I tend to always use the same source of spring water for my wine making (a state park close to my home that is state monitored) and it was only with my date wine that the salinity was detected...
 
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