When should nuts be added to mead?

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BassSpy

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I'm planning on a cinnamon/pecan mead. I did a little research and understand that I need to extract the oils from the pecans by roasting them. My question is, should I had the nuts to the primary or the secondary?
 

fatbloke

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I'm planning on a cinnamon/pecan mead. I did a little research and understand that I need to extract the oils from the pecans by roasting them. My question is, should I had the nuts to the primary or the secondary?
Roasting the nuts doesn't extract the oils, that would only happen if the nuts were pressed (it concentrates it as it just tends to evaporate any water content in the nut/oil).

So I'll give you this to think about.......

Using fruit as an analogy, you can put it in the primary, but you'd often find that there's not enough "fruitiness" in the batch as a lot of the flavour/aroma is blown out the airlock by the first part of the ferment, which tends to be the most vigorous.

You can put it into secondary, as you tend to end up with a greater level of fruitiness, as it's not gone out the pipe into the atmosphere, but still most of the fruit sugars are turned into alcohol.

You can put it in tertiary i.e. when the ferment is complete, because that way, you end up with the greatest amount of the flavouring/aroma compounds left in, as it's not been blown away and there's a likelihood that if you rack the batch onto it (the fruit, that is) then most of the yeast has been left behind so there's less to try and much the fruit sugars.

All you have to do is consider that lot, and try and work out where the nuts will fit in. I understand that the alcohol can dissolve the nut oils, but I believe that it often just leaves a weird scummy mess floating on top - how much flavour is extracted is anyones guess.

And no, I wouldn't use nuts in a mead. Most nuts are best consumed plain or in savoury recipes (with a few exceptions when the kernel is included whole/chopped, but otherwise unprocessed).

Dunno if any of that helps.....

regards

fatbloke
 

Matrix4b

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Speaking from experience here.

I have used sliced almonds twice. One is drinking. I did not toast the almonds but put them in the secondary for my Vanilla Almond mead. I used 1 pound of sliced in a 5 gal batch. Put them into a bag for 2 weeks. The second time, I toasted the almond slices and put in 2 pounds in a pumpkin batch that I have.

I think that it is better to use extract if you can but in the case of pecans here is what I would do:

Fist break up the Pecans so that the meat is exposed, not too small. Toast them in the oven on a cookie sheet. Toast them so that they are not burnt but toasted how you like. Then place them in a nylon bag and that into your secondary. Leave it in the secondary for a month or more. Then take out the bag. Let settle a week and rack again. You should get a good flavor but expect for it to age longer. I would let it age for a year before even trying it.

I personally have found that Nuts are hard to get the flavor right. Also make sure that they are Raw pecans with no additives or salt.

What will happen is that the oils will get extracted into the must and then disolve over time.

Anybody else have practical advice on using nuts? Some refinements on my techniques would be great too.

Matrix
 
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BassSpy

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Thank you for the advice, and since you have experience, could I share my recipe I'm thinking of and get your thoughts. I have pecans in primary and secondary, de-oiled, so to speak. Other than possible leaving the oil in the brew, what are your thoughts? On a side-note, is the added tannin necessary?

Cinnamon Pecan Mead – 5 gallon batch
Ingredients
12 + 3 lbs Clover Honey
17-18 qt. Water
5 tbsp. Acid Blend
2.5 tsp Pectic Enzyme
5/16 tsp Tannin
3.75 tsp Energizer
5 Campden, crushed
5 + 2 lbs Shelled Pecans
5 Cinnamon Sticks
1 pk. Yeast

Directions
1. Toast pecans at 300F for 10 minutes in a single layer, then pour into a paper towel lined paper bag to sit out till cool, getting some of the oils out of them. Roll and squish the paper bag, and you should see greasy spots on the bag.

2. Smash roasted Pecans (meat mallet) to break them up a bit (halves to quarters), and roast about 10 minutes at 400F till slightly smoking. Pour into another paper towel lined paper bag, roll and squish trying to get more oil out and let rest till cool.


3. Smash roasted Pecans to break them up and roast Pecans at 350F for about 10 minutes, again, just until slightly smoking. Repeat the rolling and squishing in a new paper bag to get MORE oil out!

4. Dissolve 12 lbs. honey in 2 gallons of warm water with acid and tannin.

5. Simmer 5 lbs. toasted pecans and cinnamon sticks in honey water for 30 minutes.

6. Allow to cool to room temp. (Spoon out any oils that rise)

7. Strain out solids into nylon straining bag, weighted with marbles. Add to primary.

8. Pour remaining liquid in primary. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for yeast.

9. After 24 hours add yeast.

10. When S.G. reaches 1.030, add 3 lbs. honey and 2 lbs. toast pecans (in marble weighted straining bag) to secondary, and siphon primary into secondary.

11. When S.G. has dropped to <1.000, siphon off sediment into clean secondary.

12. Siphon off sediment every 2 months for clearing.
 

Matrix4b

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I seem to have seen almost the exact proces over at Gotmead.com that someone posted for getting the oils out. I am not sure that is neccessary.

I have thought of the boil method of getting the flavor out of the nuts but not sure. I plan on looking up how to make nut extract and then compairing it. I think that for a 5 gal batch(final volume) you listed a good amount of pecans. So this might work out. I don't think using anything less than 2-3 pounds would be benificial.

Nuts seem to be a bit of a mystry in mead making. Do people use nuts in Beer? How is that done?

Matrix
 

huesmann

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If you want the flavor from a nut in your mead (maybe you want a peanut butter chocolate mead or something) you should probably press your favored nut and toss the oil into the secondary.
 
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