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BMB
06-20-2010, 04:08 PM
So, a friend just loaded me up with more rhubarb than I know what to do with. Besides cranking out two pies, I thought making a rhubarb mead would be entertaining.

I searched the forums and read basically all the rhubarb-centric discussions, but was a bit bummed that most of the brewlogs didn't have any follow-up comments about how these recipes actually turned out. I realize some are probably still aging, or people forgot to post results to their logs, etc. So, if anyone has successfully used rhubarb, I'd be pleased to hear your methods and what you liked/disliked.

The basic parameters: This will likely be a 3-gallon batch, made with orange blossom honey (that's what I have on hand), and I'm shooting for a dry/barely sweet finish. I might just go dry and back-sweeten. I'll be adding calcium carbonate to precipitate the oxalate as well as maintain proper pH, and will do the typical nutrient additions at sugar breaks. The rhubarb is already cut in 1 cm. pieces and frozen. Finally, I'm considering adding a gallon of apple cider, since I have one sitting around, and possibly some spices like cinnamon or nutmeg (since I always put freshly ground nutmeg in rhubarb pies, where it turns out nicely).

So, I'm looking for thoughts on:
1) Fruit in primary, secondary, or both?
2) Yeast suggestions? (I'm thinking something bright to complement the tartness of the rhubarb)
3) Oak? Suggestions on type/toast?

Thanks for your insight.

jayich
06-20-2010, 06:53 PM
I too have thought of making a rhubarb melomel but I have worried about the tartness. I like your idea of using CaCO3 to ppt. out the oxalic acid which should bring down the tartness! I would use either sweet cherries or strawberries to complement the rhubarb. I think I would opt for KV1 yeast because it will dry it out and it is supposed to preserve fresh fruit flavors(according to Lallemand). As far as oak, I don't think you could not go wrong using Hungarian oak cubes with a med. toast, since this is the mildest of the oaks. Good luck and please let us know how it turns out.
Steve. Oh yes, as far as primary vs. secondary, I prefer adding fruit in the secondary with more honey to ferment it out, which I believe will preserve more of the fruit flavors and aroma- or you could do both.