View Full Version : Additives

10-17-2007, 08:56 AM
In the The NewBee Guide to Making Mead - Chapter 10: Aeration, Fermentation and Racking it says one of the reasons to rack is To add additional ingredients for flavor during secondary fermentation. but all the recipies I have read say to add it when you boil or pasturize. So which one is best? Also if you do the no boil method when would you add spices or fruit?

10-17-2007, 10:08 AM
First, I'm far from being an expert ;D

I think this is pretty much dependent on the results you're looking for.
Anything that gets thrown in primary fermentation will be 'blended' into the mead. It'll show as one of the complex aromas and aftertastes in your finished mead.
So this is a good time to add the items which have the most strong tastes, or the ones that you want to appear more blended than singular.
Fruits with subtle or light tastes such as clementines or bananas will almost completely disappear, taste-wise, when used in the primary.
The secondary is the time to add what you want to stand out individually in your mead. It might be strong tastes (cinnamon, anise, peppers, chilis) or subtle ones (clementines, bananas, watermelon, ...)

Another reason to use some additives in the secondary rather than in the primary would be that they have a negative impact on yeast viability and/or fermentation. PH comes to mind here.

10-17-2007, 10:49 PM
Where are these recipes from? Recipes from other sources may use less than current knowledge and methods about meadmaking. Many people here make melomels using a no-heat method. Also, if you add fruit in the primary, their sugars will ferment, creating additional flavors. If you are looking to add unadulterated fruit flavor, then add to the secondary. For a big, complex fruit flavor, do both.

Finally, if you want more specific guidance for what your plans are, either post more specific questions here, or a draft of the recipe in the recipe section of the forum, and we will be more than happy to provide feedback and advice.

10-18-2007, 02:40 AM
punkideas has said it well. Recipes that involve heat are hoary,old and uninformed. You'll get much more flavor and aroma if you do it cold. Just peruse the forums here with the search tool and I think you will find it true. Charlie Parpazian probably introduced more people to mead through his "Joy Of" books than anyone else but we've learned a lot in the last twenty years or so since those books were released.

There are a few old standouts that just can't make the transistion. They are set in their ways and are either afraid of "cold" or they have something that works and they don't want to mess with it. I understand that.

Eric brings up a good point too. Primary brings complexity, secondary gives intensity. It's always a balance. And until you've done a batch or two your self, it's hard to say which one works best for you (or that combination thereof).

But honestly, from someone who started "hot", I'll definintely go with the "cold" method anyday. And I put the majority of my flavor components in primary. I do like tangelo zest in the secondary though.

10-18-2007, 11:01 AM
There are a LOT of old style recipes in the GM data base. There are some plans to make things better soon.

For excellent recipes, look in the Patron section "Recipes".

Yes, I know you will have to pay some $$ to join, but it is really really worth it to have get the most up-to-date info.


10-18-2007, 02:12 PM
i havn't done much with fruit yet, but i like spices in primary and in secondary. i like my results so far and ive been going kind of heavy in the primary and then addming more to taste in secondary, generally less. the flavors arent as obvious, ex. cinnamon isn't exactly cinnamon after fermentation, its more woody, but when you add it to secondary its just cinnamon. same with vanilla, its more of an aftertaste or background taste if used in primary, but when added in secondary, its much more "vanilla".

10-20-2007, 09:12 PM
first thanks for the help. And second if I add blueberries to the secondary do I smash, put them in whole, or boil them then let it cool and add that? I looked around add couldn't find anything that said which way.

10-20-2007, 10:08 PM
I'd suggest freezing, thawing, then mushing them up by hand, and then feed them through a funnel into a sanitized grain bag in the secondary. Let them go until you get the character you want, then pull out the bag and press the rest of the juicy goodness out of it. Let it stand for a day or two, then rack.

Hope that helps,