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DanM
10-07-2010, 03:06 PM
First, I want to thank everyone for their help last fall with their advice on my first cyser. It turned out really good with a dry, slightly acidic finish. It won third place in the Fruit Mead category at the regional competition.

Now it is time for batch #2... and I am feeling ambitious. I talked to my honey guy today and he gave me a taste of tulip poplar honey. I love the caramel and subtle molasses flavors. So here is my plan

9 lbs tulip poplar honey
1 lbs buckwheat honey
5+ gallons of unpasteurized honey
Sweet mead yeast
Mulling spices?
Medium Toast Oak Cubes?
Pectic Enzymes
Yeast Nutrients

I am going back and forth on the mulling spices and oak cubes.

I plan on using the mulling spice blend from The Spice House. It contains cassia cinnamon bark, allspice, cloves, cassia buds, cardamom, and mace. How should I add it, when, and how much? I assume that I should soak it in vodka to sterilize it.

Would Oak help at all? I think the flavors would meld well with the honey I am using. I will probably use 3 oz for 2-3 months.

Thoughts, opinions and insults are welcome.

Dan

akueck
10-07-2010, 11:29 PM
5 gallons of honey, o my! I assume you mean apple juice. ;)

I think oak is a good idea. I would start with either less than 3 oz or check on things before 2 months goes by. But...I'm a subtle oak kind of guy. You might use some med toast and some med+ or heavy to add more of the vanilla components.

Spice...a little goes a long way. If you have nice complex honey, I'd be tempted to tell you to leave out the extra spices, especially if you use oak. You can always decide 6 months from now to add the spices if the mead is lacking. Soaking in vodka seems unnecessary if all you're trying to do is sanitize. I'd just throw it in there. If you want to add the spice sooner, I'd suggest waiting until around the 1/2 way mark or perhaps at first racking. Not sure how much to add, I think I was using teaspoon-size quantities last time I was playing with spices. You could also soak the spices in vodka and add the extract at racking, sometime during aging, or even right at bottling.

AToE
10-08-2010, 03:50 PM
I'll second lowering that oak amount, 3oz for more than a couple weeks in a batch this size is liable to go overboard.

I'd personally do 1oz and leave it for a couple months. It's harder to over-oak with 1 oz, and you can always add more. Can't take it out once it's in there though.

DanM
10-09-2010, 01:49 PM
What do you think about the addition of buckwheat honey? I think the malty flavors will blend well with the caramel flavors of the tulip poplar.

Dan

akueck
10-10-2010, 05:08 PM
Buckwheat can be a nice addition. I've only used it once at about 20% of the total; it did take some time to get over the barnyardy character even though I used western buckwheat. But I do think it added a nice depth to the mead.