Meadowfoam Show Mead

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RPh_Guy

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I wanted to double check my process. I have 6 lbs of meadowfoam honey for two batches.

Batch 1
Dissolve about 2.7lbs of honey to target 1.090 in a bit over 1 gallon.
Rehydrate 3g D47 yeast with 3.75g Go-Ferm.
Ferment in bucket covered with towel at about 63/64F (17C) controlled via insulated probe on bucket.
Follow TOSNA 2.0 with frequent degassing/aeration until 1/3 sugar break.
When s.g. hits 1.005 to 1.010, rack into glass carboy adding about 30ppm free sulfite.
Add glass marbles to remove extra headspace. Airlock.
Allow to clear.

If It tastes good dry I'll just rack and bottle.
Otherwise I'll rack onto 0.6g sorbate (130ppm) and add honey to taste. I'm not exactly sure how sweet I want it, probably semi-dry.

For batch 2 I'll start at 1.105 and step feed honey until the D47 gives up (no sulfite or sorbate).
For step feeding you add honey additions to primary until fermentation quits, right?
 

loveofrose

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When Meadowfoam honey is dry, it has a bitter flavor that is part of the marshmallow flavor profile. It is not a pleasant mead when dry. I would suggest going Sweet from the beginning gravity and save yourself the trouble of step feeding.

Also consider adding medium toast American oak cubes and vanilla bean in secondary to further enhance the wonderful marshmallow character of this honey. Cheers!
 
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RPh_Guy

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When Meadowfoam honey is dry, it has a bitter flavor that is part of the marshmallow flavor profile. It is not a pleasant mead when dry. I would suggest going Sweet from the beginning gravity and save yourself the trouble of step feeding.

Also consider adding medium toast American oak cubes and vanilla bean in secondary to further enhance the wonderful marshmallow character of this honey. Cheers!
Thanks! Any suggestion for a starting gravity with D47? 1.110-1.115?
 
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RPh_Guy

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My OG was 1.125. My FG is 1.006. It tastes very alcoholic and unpleasant. I don't think it's fusel, just very strong and dry.. but maybe.
I used raw honey, maybe some wild friends had a little party.
The honey in the background is very nice, like vanilla.

I'll try sweetening with sugar.
 
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In my opinion, back sweetening with sugar is something I'd never do....especially with a meadowfoam traditional.

Is there a reason you can't backsweeten with more meadowfoam?

If you don't have any, just stabilize with campden and sorbate and wait until you get some more. It'll be fine, topped off and under an airlock, for a long time... (until you get more meadowfoam)
 

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Yeah, the meadery I visited last week said that if cost were no issue they would use lots more meadowfoam in their mead making. It's just the cost and scarcity of the meadowfoam that holds them back, they said.
 
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It is disappointing.

It was kinda foul right from the beginning. Maybe that indicates something about the honey was bad? I figured it would get better at some point but it obviously didn't.

I rehydrated 2g D47 in warm water with GoFerm, temperature adjusted at 15-20 minutes with the must, pitched into 72°F must, and then chilled and fermented at 64°F, with daily aeration and TOSNA for the first week. I moved it from a towel-covered bucket to a carboy with airlock after a week. It was really slow fermenting, only dropping a few points each day.

I had to use a little imported wildflower honey to hit my target OG. I wonder if there was something bad in there or maybe it was a microbial contamination from the raw meadowfoam.
 
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Well I bottled it anyway. Hopefully time will do its thing.
In my experience, I never bottle a "bad" mead hoping that time will improve it....

What I really like about mead is that you can keep tinkering with it, for literally years if you want to, especially if you add metabilsulfite occasionally to stave off oxidation.

And if it truly is bad and there's no saving it, it's easier to dump a carboy than to open a bunch of bottles to dump them. :p
 

NeverDie

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In my experience, I never bottle a "bad" mead hoping that time will improve it....

What I really like about mead is that you can keep tinkering with it, for literally years if you want to, especially if you add metabilsulfite occasionally to stave off oxidation.

And if it truly is bad and there's no saving it, it's easier to dump a carboy than to open a bunch of bottles to dump them. :p
What kind of tinkering might fix rps_guy's batch?
 

Steveruch

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My OG was 1.125. My FG is 1.006. It tastes very alcoholic and unpleasant. I don't think it's fusel, just very strong and dry.. but maybe.
I used raw honey, maybe some wild friends had a little party.
The honey in the background is very nice, like vanilla.

I'll try sweetening with sugar.
That's almost 16%. The best thing for it is a year, or two, of aging.
 
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RPh_Guy

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I don't think it's good to add $$ ingredients to try to cover up off-flavors. Either it won't work or the mead will be incredibly unbalanced.

This fusel/waxy off-flavor wasn't something tannins or flavoring would fix (e.g. it wasn't just insipid).

I did add some calcium chloride to try to counter the dryness. I added sulfite to protect it during aging.

I corked 3x 750mL bottles. I'll just hope for the best. I needed to liberate the carboy.
 

NeverDie

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Gosh, you guys have almost geologic patience. I guess that must come from having a very abundant pipeline so that you aren't bothered by such long waits.

How do you know it will get better and not worse with time? Is it simply that the odds favor that, or is it almost guaranteed? Or, maybe you simply have no choice but to hope that it does get better with time if it seems especially bad now....
 

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I'm lucky in that I've only made a few things that were "dumpers". Early in my brewing career, luckily small batches. Some things age out, some don't. Fusels usually do, bitterness usually doesn't. But the OP isn't a noob, and I don't see that he did anything wrong. This sucks.
 
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RPh_Guy

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BTW I started this batch back in mid-November.
It went right in the temp-controlled fridge after pitching, so it probably chilled pretty quick given that it's 1 gal.
day 0: 1.125 pitched
day 1: ????? nutrient
day 2: 1.120 nutrient
day 3: 1.116 nutrient
day 4: ?????
day 5: 1.102
day 6: 1.100
day 7: 1.097
day 8: 1.093 nutrient

Doesn't seem to me that fermentation was overly active. I'll take your advice and use D47 cooler next time though.
I used a drill-powered stir tool for thoroughly aerating/degassing, once daily.
My rehydration temp was a bit low at 83F -- not ideal but I didn't think it would screw up the batch entirely. ?
Don't think I did anything major that would have caused off-flavors. Just kind of scratching my head wondering.

I have 3lbs of meadowfoam left. My next attempt I may try a different yeast, let it ferment dry to 11%, and then stabilize and backsweeten with meadowfoam (diluting to ~10% ABV).
Do you generally need to use more fining for clarity after backsweetening? Or do you just let it sit for a while?
 

Maylar

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Do you generally need to use more fining for clarity after backsweetening? Or do you just let it sit for a while?
Adding honey does muck up the clarity a bit. Some people fine it again (SuperKleer), some people filter. I have a mesquite traditional mead that's been backsweetened and is currently aging with oak. It seems to be clearing on its own but I'll probably filter it if there's still haze when the oaking period is up.
I'll see if I can get some pics.
 
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I have 3lbs of meadowfoam left. My next attempt I may try a different yeast, let it ferment dry to 11%, and then stabilize and backsweeten with meadowfoam (diluting to ~10% ABV).
Do you generally need to use more fining for clarity after backsweetening? Or do you just let it sit for a while?
I'd consider DV10 yeast...

I use bentonite in the primary, and then don't use superkleer until after backsweetening and prior to final racking.

Also, meadowfoam usually needs some acid....prior to bottling consider adding some tartaric acid (bench trials are best to determine the amount......, 0.2-0.4g/L seems to be about right for my tastes).
 

Maylar

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What size filter is adequate for clarity?
The #2 pad (1.8 micron) with my Buon Vino Mini filter is excellent. But I think most people would be happy with even 5 microns. The cyser below was filtered with a 5 -



You can filter haze from backsweetening, but the mead must have been fined before sweetening else the filter just clogs and leaks.
 

loveofrose

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My first meadowfoam wasn’t that good. Process was fine but it just didn’t have the flavor everyone raves about. So I switched suppliers. Round 2 from an Oregon supplier (where meadowfoam is grown) was a whole different thing. The quality of honey was so much better. I imagine you got a batch that wasn’t as meadowfoamy.

First one was from BeeFolks. I don’t even count that as meadowfoam.
 

NeverDie

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My first meadowfoam wasn’t that good. Process was fine but it just didn’t have the flavor everyone raves about. So I switched suppliers. Round 2 from an Oregon supplier (where meadowfoam is grown) was a whole different thing. The quality of honey was so much better. I imagine you got a batch that wasn’t as meadowfoamy.

First one was from BeeFolks. I don’t even count that as meadowfoam.
If you don't mind saying, what is the name of the supplier that you do like for meadowfoam?

I think we all might save time and money spent on bad suppliers if we pooled our knowledge about which suppliers we thought are good. As this case illustrates, just knowing the alleged type of honey (meadowfoam) isn't sufficient.

In general, good sources for 5 gallon pails would be especially worth knowing, since getting 5 gallons of disappointment would be an even bigger loss. I tried to make a start at this with my "what is your favorite type of honey for mead" thread, but it didn't get a lot of traction, aside from everyone saying to buy local (which, in the case of meadowfoam and some other varietals, is impossible).
 
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RPh_Guy

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I got this meadowfoam from MoreBeer ... I think the honey is good & not why this batch failed (unless it was the wild microbes in the honey, which is still a process issue). It tastes and smells very nice, with notes of vanilla and marshmallow. The batch I got is 37ppg.
 
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loveofrose

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Miraculix

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If anybody knows good honey sources for the UK, please let me know. I pay 12 pounds per 1.2kg at the moment.
 
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RPh_Guy

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If anybody knows good honey sources for the UK, please let me know. I pay 12 pounds per 1.2kg at the moment.
$5.94 USD per lb of honey is pretty good.

For comparison, AZ linked to honey $10.75/lb (for 12lb, before shipping).
Bray linked to $7.75/lb (12lb, before shipping)
And Maylar $7.20/lb (5lb, before shipping).

I paid $10/lb & free shipping.
 

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