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View Full Version : JAO, oak and buckwheat, oh my!



Echostatic
05-22-2011, 08:48 PM
After hearing much on how strong buckwheat is, and reading recipes where people added small amounts of it to their mead, I have been toying with the idea of replacing part of the honey in a JAO with buckwheat. I was wondering if anyone had any idea what amount might make a good addition.

I also went up to the local brew shop and picked up some things, like a wine thief and hydrometer (yay!) as well as a baggie of medium toast oak cubes, since I have read of some getting positive results from them. I was wondering what would be a good amount of oak per gallon for a standard JAO. Thanks for your time!

veritas
05-22-2011, 08:53 PM
I was wondering what would be a good amount of oak per gallon for a standard JAO. Thanks for your time!

I was given this link in regards to oak. I found it useful.

http://www.cfhb.org/mead/oak.htm

Echostatic
05-22-2011, 09:39 PM
Ah thanks! I remember seeing that site once, just couldn't remember it. According to them, it comes out to just about over half an ounce of cubes per gallon. Reckon I will try that.

Anybody have any thoughts about buckwheat?

Chevette Girl
05-22-2011, 09:45 PM
I think I used a 600 ml jar in 5 gal and it was totally lost. I'm thinking about trying a traditional mead with some buckwheat in it when I do my next honey run.

Echostatic
05-22-2011, 11:12 PM
I think I will try a larger amount of buckwheat in my next batch then. Worth a shot!

akueck
05-23-2011, 12:41 AM
Buckwheat honey can be a good addition. It tends to be on the earthy side, often with "barnyard" characteristics (especially in the Eastern US version, the Western US honey is less "horsey"). Used in the right dose, it will lend your mead some depth and complexity of flavor. In one of my OB meads, I used about 25% buckwheat honey. I don't think anyone would pick it out specifically, but it's a much different mead than your typical 100% OB. Definitely worth playing with.

I think the 10-33% range is a good place to explore.

AToE
05-23-2011, 03:39 AM
I'd go for a third personally. Less might make the best mead, but 1/3 will tell you a little more about what buckwheat does. Buckwheat makes the best smelling ferments I've ever had, but the finished result is... different. Not bad, just different.

Echostatic
05-23-2011, 03:58 AM
Sounds like a plan... I like 3 gallon batches, so I guess that makes for about 3 1/2 pounds of buckwheat honey in my next JAO. I think I will use clover honey for that one, and make a second batch experimenting with orange blossom honey. I need to buy some 1 gallon carboys so I can experiment with oaked vs. unoaked...

Medsen Fey
05-23-2011, 10:35 AM
I think that amount of buckwheat sounds reasonable. It is strong stuff.

On the other hand, 1/2 ounce of oak in a gallon is a lot. I often find 1/2 ounce in 5-gallons works well enough. If you aren't sure about oak, go slow. You can always put more in (I've added it to batches that are 1 or 2 years old) but you can't take it out. A good place to start is 1 gram per liter. For a 1-gallon batch, that would be 4-5 oak cubes; very little, but it may surprise you. The buckwheat may tolerate a lot more, but you can judge it by the aroma and flavor.

veritas
05-23-2011, 11:17 AM
I think that amount of buckwheat sounds reasonable. It is strong stuff.

On the other hand, 1/2 ounce of oak in a gallon is a lot. I often find 1/2 ounce in 5-gallons works well enough. If you aren't sure about oak, go slow. You can always put more in (I've added it to batches that are 1 or 2 years old) but you can't take it out. A good place to start is 1 gram per liter. For a 1-gallon batch, that would be 4-5 oak cubes; very little, but it may surprise you. The buckwheat may tolerate a lot more, but you can judge it by the aroma and flavor.


Having just used oak for the first time and going with the advise of forum members I used a half oz in a 5 gallon batch and found it had a profound impact on my mead in that small amount over two weeks. Again its the first time I have tried it so I cant compare it to other amounts or times. But I was happy with that amount.

For what its worth I used medium toast Hungarian oak cubes. The mead was also made with earl grey tea water.

Echostatic
05-23-2011, 02:28 PM
Maybe I should use a tiny amount then... How long do you let it soak in there?

Medsen Fey
05-23-2011, 02:34 PM
Sometimes I leave it for years.

Echostatic
05-23-2011, 02:42 PM
Ah. Wow. I'm not really up to that level of patience yet o.o

Chevette Girl
05-23-2011, 04:12 PM
I think AToE also advocates a small amount over a long time, but I suspect most of the rest of us do oaking on a scale of weeks... :)