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HowardVic
09-24-2011, 08:24 PM
Just giving this thread a title was a trip. :)

Considering the risk of fungal, bacterial & whatever else lurks in spice leaves & seeds contaminating fermenting mead, what if I were to dip rosemary twigs with leaves into boiling water for a few seconds to kill whatever and then leave them in a second boil for a while to add to the must when it's concentrated enough? Same with crushing cardamom seeds and boiling them twice, once for killing whatever and the second to get an aromatic liquid to add to the must. Or would extracts of spices bought online be alright since they would be free of contaminants?

Should I add these home made "extracts" to the primary fermentation or mix them in a day or two before bottling?

I saw a thread asking about essential oils but I suspect they may leave an oil slick floating in the bottles giving people seconds thoughts.

Thanks for the feedback.

BTW, I got the ATF/TBB's approval and now it's the state authorities which I understand are really nit pickers. The local municipal authorities were a bit slow but came through after close to a year. What a trip.

Guinlilly
09-24-2011, 09:50 PM
We add spices directly to the must, no heating, no boiling and have never had a contaminated or bad batch of mead. We've picked rosemary and basil (Our basil mead won gold at last years MCI) straight out of the garden rinsed them in water and added straight to the fermentor with no problem. Sanitizing your spices isn't really necessary.

HowardVic
09-24-2011, 11:01 PM
Thanks for your feedback Guinlilly. It's greatly appreciated.

We have several fruit trees and herbs in our garden and I pick leaves to make different teas or to cook and see odd specks and unidentifiable things that don't look so great so I thought to ask here at the Got Mead forums.

Went for a spin around Got Mead web site. You can get lost in some really interesting info. One topic leading to another.

I'm considering a deep, pungent citric mead containing bergamot and, maybe, cardamom for the near future.

A while back, I saw a honey sampler containing about 6 or 8 different types of honey in what looked like large test tubes with corks. When I finally decided to buy it, it was no longer available. Anyone knows of any honey samplers online?

Good night & later, everybuddy... :)

Chevette Girl
09-25-2011, 01:44 AM
If you're boiling or steeping your herbs and spices, you really don't need to pre-dip them. And I think you might not want to boil the heck out of them to concentrate flavour, boiling can drive off some of the more delicate flavours...

As the difference between wine and grape juice will tell you, fermentation does make a difference to the flavours, so it's up to you and your taste buds to determine whether to add in primary, secondary or both. I would not add something days before bottling though, my thoughts being that it's not enough time for it to integrate properly so you can see whether you need to add more... I also like to give it some time in the carboy to see if it does go funky or anything.

I've never had a problem when adding anything to an active fermentation and I don't bother sanitizing the spices (I figure they're no dirtier than my clean hands were when I processed whatever fruit's in my must), it's when adding to a finished fermentation that I've had a vanilla bean make a slime layer and go all funky, many folks will dip spices in vodka or no-rinse sanitizer before adding them to the must.

Medsen Fey
09-25-2011, 10:58 AM
You don't need to boil/pasteurize spices and the risk of contamination is minimal to zero. If you do make a spice tea as part of the must, I'd suggest steeping in hot water and not boiling (unless you are talking about roots or tree bark where that may be required) as this will preserve more of the aromatics and will pasteurize the spice at the same time.

Something to keep in mind is that not all the things you may want from spices are water soluble. Extraction into an alcohol solution may be better in some cases (i.e adding it directly to the secondary).

Echostatic
09-25-2011, 12:54 PM
...it's when adding to a finished fermentation that I've had a vanilla bean make a slime layer and go all funky...

As my next mead will have vanilla beans added to secondary, I would like to know how to avoid this. Was it a fluke, or would it be a good idea to rinse them in a sanitizing solution?

Chevette Girl
09-25-2011, 02:15 PM
As my next mead will have vanilla beans added to secondary, I would like to know how to avoid this. Was it a fluke, or would it be a good idea to rinse them in a sanitizing solution?

I couldn't get the silly thing to stop floating, and the whatever it was started on the bit poking above the surface, and the must was long past making CO2 by the time I added it. Probably a fluke and would have been fine if it had either still been releasing CO2 or if I could have kept the bean submerged. Or even if I'd gone in and poked it under a couple times instead of tossing it in and forgetting about it.

huesmann
09-28-2011, 09:35 AM
Perhaps putting it in a muslin bag with a weight would work to keep that mofo from floating!

As far as sanitizing, I would say that you could blanch any herbs and spices you might want to use, or give herbs a bath in a bleach solution and rinse them clean.

Guinlilly
09-28-2011, 09:49 AM
Perhaps putting it in a muslin bag with a weight would work to keep that mofo from floating!

As far as sanitizing, I would say that you could blanch any herbs and spices you might want to use, or give herbs a bath in a bleach solution and rinse them clean.

No bleach. Bleach is bad and can cause major off flavors. Besides would you really dip your food in any sort of bleach + water combo, rinse it off and eat it? Cause I know I wouldn't.

huesmann
09-28-2011, 10:49 AM
I sure as hell would if I lived in Mexico...

Chevette Girl
09-29-2011, 03:56 PM
Potassium metabisulphite is the better choice if you need to sanitize your spices, or any of the no-rinse sanitizers. Chlorine actually starts to degrade tissues, and you won't be able to rinse off the chlorine smell.

That and in my experience with bleach, it sucks the flavour out of things... with soaking a plastic tea mug in bleach to get rid of garlic, it took weeks and several overnihgt tea steepings before anything I put in that mug had any taste at all other than bleach.

Blanching would be preferable to bleach, but you'd still lose something of the flavour and aromatics.

And Huesmann, the next time I used vanilla beans, I cut 'em in half and they sunk just fine, there must have been air trapped in the whole bean.