Did a coffee mead today

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Teufelhunde

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The wife says she wants some coffee mead, so I gave it a shot:

1 gallon water
3 lbs honey
2 Starbuck's cold brew pods (1.35 oz of concentrate each)
1/4 tsp fermaid k
1/4 tsp fermaid o (1/4 tsp to be added at 24,48,72)
5g Lalvin EC-1118

O.G. was 1.096 so should be in the 11-12% range. Wife wanted just a hint of coffee flavor, therefore only 2 pods of concentrate. She tasted the water after the coffee in and before the honey added and said not to add more coffee (I thought it should have more), so we shall see.

I'm new at this, so any comments/suggestions will be taken to heart and I will not get butt hurt.....here to learn.

YMMV

Lon
 

bushpilot

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It sounds reasonable to me, but I am still a noob.

Why both K and O? I have used DAP and K, and I have used O by itself. Both worked out fine. I have seen variations on the themes, but never bothered to ask until now.
 
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Teufelhunde

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It sounds reasonable to me, but I am still a noob.

Why both K and O? I have used DAP and K, and I have used O by itself. Both worked out fine. I have seen variations on the themes, but never bothered to ask until now.
Added both per watching a youtube video (LOL). Like you, a noob, and stumbling along trying to learn
 

Cogswell

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I'm a noob too but I just researched nutrients for a batch of cider. Fermaid O doesn't have DAP. Fermaid K does have DAP. People use O when they don't want DAP or when they plan to add DAP separately.

Please let us know how it turns out! :D
 

bernardsmith

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Your wife may have a good approach. In my opinion, most coffee meads (or wines) are very bitter. I tend to find Starbuck's coffees to be burnt rather than well roasted but that's a personal opinion (but then my stepson roasts and sells coffee directly from the growers. But that's another story). What I have found is that treating coffee beans like nuts rather than as a source of coffee and so adding the beans to the secondary rather than fermenting on the beans as if you were fermenting sweet coffee highlights more the coffee flavors and reduces the bitterness of the beans. But coffee should not be bitter.
 
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Teufelhunde

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Your wife may have a good approach. In my opinion, most coffee meads (or wines) are very bitter. I tend to find Starbuck's coffees to be burnt rather than well roasted but that's a personal opinion (but then my stepson roasts and sells coffee directly from the growers. But that's another story). What I have found is that treating coffee beans like nuts rather than as a source of coffee and so adding the beans to the secondary rather than fermenting on the beans as if you were fermenting sweet coffee highlights more the coffee flavors and reduces the bitterness of the beans. But coffee should not be bitter.
That's why I used cold brew concentrate. Cold brewing doesn't draw the bitterness out of the beans....takes heat to do that....
 
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Teufelhunde

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Pulled this out for an update.

Racked this into a carboy for clearing today. We gave it a taste. Really yeasty (no surprise), the coffee note was there, but way in the background. It really wasn't very good, but then, it's only three weeks old and still had lots of crap floating in it.

I think once it clears, it will be OK. May not be exactly what she wants, but it IS a starting point. The coldbrew pods worked well, no bitterness whatsoever.

YMMV

Lon
 

Ty520

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I have no experience using a coffee concentrate, but have made a few using real coffee.

I add course ground in secondary - as others noted, cold brewing naturally gives a smoother, less astringent flavor, but also, adding in primary will blow off subtle aromas and flavors.

I also use the traditional ratio of beans to water used in cold brew for my coffee meads to give it a robust flavor: 1.3 lbs per gallon

Another issue is that you're going to slowly lose flavors and aromas from your adjuncts over time - you'll almost always find that a mead that had the right aromas and falvors early on will have been significantly reduced at around 8+ months on.

I also find vanilla in secondary really helps to smooth and balance things out.

and finally, I find that a dry coffee mead is unpleasant, regardless - needs decent residual sweetness...I'd say no less than 1015, but I prefer somewhere between 1020 and 1030
 

BWRIGHT

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Agreed that the final product almost certainly will need to be fairly sweet. However, I suppose I disagree that the reason will be to balance the bitterness level. IF you are using cold brewed coffee, it won't be bitter. At least not compared to traditional/hot brewed coffee. It will still have some level of bitterness but not anything like traditional coffee. Coffee mead seems to be a bit of an El Dorado type of situation. I have tried multiple times with little success. It's not that the final product is undrinkable, I've just found that is just not good. I do; however, think that this CAN be done and am committed to keep trying. As Bernardsmith has suggested before, I think I will try and just make a traditional mead (fairly high ABV) and then add coarse ground beans to the secondary. I have made 3 different variations with cold brew but have not been happy with any of them. As Ty520 indicated, the one I left quite sweet (1.030) was definitely the best. That being said, it was far from what i would call good. I will be watching, if you have any success. Let us know. Post Script: I think I will also make a batch that I specifically brew the coffee quite hot in an effort to intentionally make the coffee bitter. As counterintuitive as that may seem, my intention is to have a fairly bitter coffee that i will also leave quite sweet. Hopefully will find some sort of balance. I will also try the "brew a traditional and then steep coffee beans in secondary" route. This can be done. Let's figure it out.
 

Ty520

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It May have come down to the quality of the initial fermentation, prior to even adding the coffee.

Or perhaps an incompatible combination of yeast, honey and/or coffee
 

BWRIGHT

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I can only speak for what I've made myself. I am confident that the fermentation was clean, strong, healthy, etc. I have not really used different honeys though (wildflower only). Or more than 2 types of coffee. I'm sure certain coffees would work better than others but I suspect that the coffee is not the aggravating factor. I have used 71B and either US04 or US05. Noticed little difference between those 2. Honestly seems a little strange that they were not noticeably different; one being a wine yeast and one being an ale yeast. The one thing I have not tried is to make a traditional and then rack that onto coarse ground beans and let it sit. I suspect that this might be a bit better but not decidedly so. I think you may be right that the key to this will be a magical triumvirate of yeast, honey, and coffee.
 

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