Honey/Mead Wash

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NinjaBear

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When I first got into wine making, I quickly turned to mead making. Because while there is an abundance of really good grape wines on the market. You can’t find many meads. And ones you can find are so-so.

And I’m not ashamed to admit that most, aside from a bottle or two, got consumed in under six months as my production never outpaced my consumption.

But a couple months back, I opened a bottle of one of my favorites I was saving for a special occasion. And it was a totally transformed experience.

It had the cherry and mild sweetness I loved… but the nose and finish exploded with all these floral notes that weren’t there before aging about two years.

So this is where this experience turned towards distilling thoughts.

I’m always interested in things you can’t get on the market. And while you can buy honey whiskey. It’s always just a whiskey sweetened with honey.

Not that smooth dry finish from a good whiskey or brandy that I personally love.

So if someone distilled with mead… would they need to let their wash age two years to bring out those floral notes before running through the still? Would they come out from letting the low wines age before a second run? Or still come out in the aged finished project? Or are those flavors too subtle to survive the still process?

Short of back sweetening, or making a fortified mead, are there any techniques or methods that can be used in the brewing, fermenting, distilling process that can be used to preserve the floral flavors of the honey?
 

Shine0n

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my last one had notes of honey without the sweetness ,more floral than anything.

What I would recommend to do is make enough wash for 3 run, very expensive I know but it would be worth it imho. Strip 2 runs down to 5-10% and add the low wines to the rest of the wash for a spirit run.
Put the finished product on med toast oak cubes for 6 months and check, I wouldn't go with char as it may overpower it and cover the floral notes.

Use the cheapest "good honey" you can find, the stuff from Walmart for 5lb at 12.50$
make the wash around the .075 mark and let her rip or step feed to 12% range if you like for more product.
Good luck
 

TGFV

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You won't get any real sweetness from the finished product, but you will get the a sweet nose possibly.

Most honey brandy I have had does a different format that Shineon and that is to simply do a single slow spirit run, no strip.

Definitely agree with the aging, a nice medium oak and regular checking should work great. And to bring back any sweetness wanted I would use honey, and perhaps some vanilla bean to accent it.

Another route I heard of but never had the pleasure to try is with freezing the wash to make honey Jack and then distilling that.
 
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NinjaBear

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Don’t want the sweetness.

So doing a freeze concentrate before distilling?
 

Shine0n

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Honestly I don't see a plus side of doing that, no offense to the poster.

If you make a mead of 10-12% that should do you justice, expecially if ferment out dry as you should for distilling.
Jacking will leave alot of sugars in the wash and you wouldn't want that at all imho.
if running thru a reflux colum which can and most of the time does strip alot of the flavors away, drop it to no more than 2 plates for a slow single run.
If using a pot still (which I do) do 2 very fast stripping runs, cutting only the fores, going all the way to 5% and then add the remander of wash to the low wines for a med paced spirit run and you'll get the most of the flavors you want. It won't taste like honey but it will give you the best bang for your buck!
I play alot with recipes because I work for a distillery and if I don't stay ahead of the competition I fall behind and we simply can't afford to do that.
This is just from my personal experience.
 

TGFV

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Don’t want the sweetness.

So doing a freeze concentrate before distilling?
Never done it myself, just heard about it. Supposedly it helps remove water from the wash while leaving more of the delicate phenols, esters etc that would be removed from doing two run, but like I said, never done it before so I don't know. Just heard about it being done.
 
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