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kerbythepurplecow
10-05-2011, 01:10 AM
Hi guys, I'm new here. I've brewed a couple batches of mead, several batches of wine, and tons of batches of beer (extract only so far).

I was recently in a local Mexican supermarket and found dried hibiscus. This reminded me of the ever so delicious Viking Blod (http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/dansk-mjod-viking-blod/23988/). I decided I'd like to try to make something close to that. The descriptions list mead with hibiscus and hops. Having previously tried it, I recall that it was sweet and cloying. The hops were not even noticeable. It's also around 19%.

I'm not looking for an exact clone, just an approximation. Tons of searching on the 'net has returned very little.

The idea so far is to try a gallon batch. I'm thinking around 3.5lbs of honey, Lalvin EC-1118, and a half pound of dried hibiscus. Have any of you tried this mead and do you have any suggestions?

Thanks!

Dan McFeeley
10-05-2011, 01:01 PM
Sounds like you want to improve on the original idea.

For a start, do a forum search for "floral mead" "rose petal" or rhodamel. That'll give you some ideas on how to work with the dried hibiscus. Also try a forum search for hisbiscus and you may find someone who has already worked with this.

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kerbythepurplecow
10-05-2011, 02:52 PM
Thanks for the recommendations. I did find the following on Jack Keller's site:


Hibiscomel (Hibiscus Mead)

1.5 oz dried hibiscus flowers
2 lbs premium grade honey
3 liters water
1.75 tsp citric acid
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1 sachet Champagne or mead yeast
Boil the honey in half the water, stirring occasionally until the honey is dissolved. Reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes, skimming all scum off top as it forms. Tie flowers in nylon straining bag and place in primary. Pour the hot honey-water over flowers and stir in citric acid and yeast nutrient. Cover primary and set aside until it assumes room temperature. Add activated yeast as a starter solution and recover the primary to keep dust and insects out. Stir daily and punch down nylon bag until vigorous fermentation subsides. Remove straining bag and transfer mead to secondary fermentation vessel. Attach airlock and top up with water when fermentation ceases. Retain in secondary for 60 days from transfer date. Rack to a sanitized secondary, top up and reattach airlock. Set aside undisturbed for 60 days and rack again. If brilliantly clear, wait 30 days to see if light dusting develops on bottom. If so, wait additional 30 days and rack, top up and reattach airlock for another 30 days. If not brilliantly clear, wait full 60 days and rack, top up and reattach airlock. Then follow previous instructions when mead is brilliantly clear. Sulfite with one finely crushed and dissolved Campden tablet, bottle and set aside to age one year minimum. [Recipe adapted by author from creation by Brian Ryan, Western Australian]

Brian made his mead with 3+ ounces of fresh hibiscus flowers. I do not know how it turned out flavor-wise, but I suspect his alcohol was around 8% because of the amount of honey used and the increased volume to an Imperial gallon. Different sources report different figures, but I have always gone along with the conventional wisdom that you use 1.25 pounds of honey as an equal to one pound of sugar. To produce a 12% alcohol dry mead, one would then use 2.5 pounds of honey per U.S. gallon or 3 pounds per Imperial gallon. Of course, mead is not wine and there is no requirement for either that it be 12% alcohol. I went ahead and used the 2 pounds of honey and produced a dry mead at about 9.75% alcohol. When the mead was finished and ready to bottle, I added a quarter-teaspoon of citric acid to it to give it just a little more perk.

I think this is probably the method to use for the flowers. I'm mainly trying to figure out what other ingredients I may need to replicated the recipe. From some quick searches, I can't see that anyone here has worked with hibiscus before or at least no one has mentioned it.

Chevette Girl
10-05-2011, 03:59 PM
There are certainly a few brewlogs on here I've seen that use hibiscus, but I'm not sure how close they are to what you're looking for...

schlapppy
10-05-2011, 04:16 PM
Be on your lookout of any recipe that involves pasteurizing the honey (simmer/boiling), as those methods strip the honey of flavor & armoa.


I've actually always wanted to try Viking Blod. I wonder if I could order in a bottle to Pittsburgh.

Dan McFeeley
10-06-2011, 01:57 AM
Be on your lookout of any recipe that involves pasteurizing the honey (simmer/boiling), as those methods strip the honey of flavor & armoa.

Ditto for recipes calling for acid additions at the start of a fermentation.

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kerbythepurplecow
10-06-2011, 04:32 AM
Thanks guys, I had no idea about the heating or acid issue. I haven't boiled the honey in past batches, so I'm glad this came up before I did it with this one. I'm still trying to decide if I want to add any other ingredients or just go with the basic honey, water, hibiscus, yeast, and nutrients. I've been reading reviews trying to look for flavors I may have missed when I had this this mead. So far, the only common touch I've seen is a slight vanilla characteristic. No one has mentioned actually detecting the hops.

I'll probably get this going in the near future. I'll post the exact details when I put it together.

schlapppy
10-06-2011, 07:57 AM
I'm still trying to decide if I want to add any other ingredients or just go with the basic honey, water, hibiscus, yeast, and nutrients.

One strategy to keep in mind, is that adding additional flavors into your brews is easy enough to do. There are a few members here that will brew a traditional mead, and then add the spices to taste later.

This works especially well for methiglyns. A melomel has some pros/cons about adding the fruit to the primary, to the secondary, or both. Plenty of good info out on the forum about that. If you can't dig it up, let me know. I have it saved off into my notes.

Dan McFeeley
10-06-2011, 10:14 AM
Guess it depends on which way you want to go with this. With an ABV of 19%, that may take some work, not only to ferment to that level with a high alcohol tolerant level yeast, but to then backsweeten the mead once it's fermented to dryness without waking up the yeasties again. Balancing the hibiscus flowers with the hops while keeping it at a level with the sweetness of the mead will also be a job. The high alcohol level to me suggests this is a mead that needs to be aged, like any mead, but this one really seems to need aging.

From the reviews, a lot of people seem to like Viking Blod, on the other hand, this is something made acording to the demands of commercial production. You can take your time with this, do it exactly the way you like, and probably come out with the same recipe themes, but a much better mead.

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AToE
10-06-2011, 03:13 PM
Not to mention that fermenting to 19% (being very difficult to do) isn't even what you need to do, you need to ferment even higher, because adding the honey for backsweetening will dilute it down.

Brimminghorn
10-06-2011, 07:58 PM
I have had Viking Blod a few times I can't say its a favorite of mine. Yes a 19% abv mead is a bit more complicated than most to make. Though I believe Viking Blod is fortified with brandy or grain alcohol judging by the taste of it.The recipe states that it has hibicus flowers and hops in it. There must not be much hibiscus in it because it doesnt show in color, it would be more red in color and the hops are low as well.

Dan McFeeley
10-06-2011, 08:42 PM
Found a recipe for Viking Blod -- take a look here:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f30/viking-blod-recipe-assistance-244915/

Recipe as listed in the post:

Batch Size 6g
OG 1.146
FG 1.036
Honey 25lbs
Boil 30min
7 HBU .5 Ounce Magnum 30 Minutes
2.5 HBU .5 Ounce Goldings 15 Minutes
2.5 HBU .5 Ounce Goldings 5 Minutes
7 Ounces Hibiscus

Yeast Lalvin D-47


From Brimminghorn's description, especially the possibiity of fortification with brandy or grain alcohol, this may not match the original, might still be tasty though.

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kerbythepurplecow
11-03-2011, 05:16 PM
Hello again,

Sorry it's been a while since I last commented on the thread. I was gathering the rest of my ingredients and getting ready to make the mead. I finally have everything all together and ready to go.

I'm planning on making just a gallon. I have an ounce of Goldings and Magnum, but haven't decided on the final amounts to use.

What I'm curious about are thoughts on the hibiscus. I have about 8 ounces. I thought perhaps have around 4 ounces in with the hops boil for the 60 minutes would be appropriate. Afterwards I would cool the hopped and hibiscused water down and then add the honey. Does that seem like the best method? It seems like more of the hibiscus flavor would be added this way.

calicojack
11-03-2011, 06:04 PM
when i did mine i used something like 2 cups of shredded petals. the only reason they were shredded was cause i used wax paper instead of parchment paper to dry them out on. I did not weigh them.

however, i've come to trust brimminghorn's recipe's/advice.

kerbythepurplecow
11-03-2011, 06:42 PM
when i did mine i used something like 2 cups of shredded petals. the only reason they were shredded was cause i used wax paper instead of parchment paper to dry them out on. I did not weigh them.

however, i've come to trust brimminghorn's recipe's/advice.

Did you boil them, add them to the primary, or into the secondary?

What size of batch did you do and most importantly, how did it come out?

calicojack
11-03-2011, 08:04 PM
i brought my water to a boil, added the petals, turned the heat down and steeped them for 25-30 minutes. Then i strained it, poured it into a gallon tea jug and set it aside. in a separate bucket i poured in my honey, and then all of the gallon of hibiscus "tea". After dissolving the honey i filled a 1 gallon glass carboy with the mixture, and then put the rest in a sealed container which went in the fridge. The extra was saved for back filling for after racking. the last thing i did was to beat up some fresh mint leaves and threw them into the carboy before sealing.

Everyone that has tried it liked it. I had one guy offer to buy a 1.5l off of me, but i gifted it to him. never did get my bottle back either come to think of it.

kerbythepurplecow
11-06-2011, 01:03 AM
Hi again, I finally made the mead tonight. I used the recipe listed above, but made some modifications.

Batch Size 1g
OG 1.149 (measured as 1.136 @ 124.4F)
FG shooting for 1.006 for 19%
Honey 4lbs
Boil 30min
7 HBU 3 grams Ounce Magnum 30 Minutes
2.5 HBU 3 grams Ounce Goldings 15 Minutes
2.5 HBU 3 grams Ounce Goldings 5 Minutes
4 Ounces Hibiscus 5 minute boil, 20 minute steep

1 tsp yeast nutrient
1 campden tablet
Yeast Lalvin EC-1118

I boiled a gallon of water. I then did the hops as listed. After the hops finished, I pulled them and then added the hibiscus for a 5 minute boil. I boiled them to be extra sure of sterilization since they were just in a big open barrel at the store. I then put the lid on the pot and let them steep for 20 minutes.

I added the honey, nutrient, and campden to the primary. After the hibiscus finished steeping, I added threw that into the primary and mixed it all together.

The yeast is in and should hopefully be taking off soon.

Robusto
01-02-2013, 02:07 PM
hey purple-

how is this recipe progressing? I'm thinking of cooking up a batch.

thx

kerbythepurplecow
01-03-2013, 12:13 AM
Sadly, my batch stalled at around 14% instead of making it to the full 19% I was hoping for. It's now been in the bottle for about 9 months. I cracked the first bottle a couple weeks ago.

I first tasted it at room temperature. I was expecting residual sweetness due to the high finish (about 1.046), but found that it tasted a bit dry. I didn't actually taste the hops in it. Most of the flavor was dominated by hibiscus.

I've chilled the bottle in my beer fridge to around 40 degrees. Chilled, I find it to be quite delicious. Not perfect, but definitely tasty. I think it might be a bit too much hibiscus. If I were to make it again I think I might drop the hibiscus a bit and work harder to get it to ferment down fully. It's definitely a good starting point.

It has however now been nearly 2 years since I last tasted Viking Blod. I think this ends up being close, but not quite perfect. If I can find a bottle locally I intend to grab one and compare.

Robusto
01-03-2013, 11:22 AM
Thanks for the info- Iím kind of surprised that EC1118 pooped out on you at 14%. Iíve had it take one of my meads to over 18%, and many to 16% before I stopped them by cold crashing and sorbating. You said that your OG was 1.149Ö which is pretty high, so maybe the yeast was stressed, and never really got a good foothold. To get it to go the distance, maybe try step-feeding; in other words, start with a lower OG, say 1.08-1.1 and let the yeast get a good healthy start, and then slowly add more honey day by day to feed the yeast a steady diet. From what I have read (and have experienced for the most part) is that this will result in both a higher ABV and a cleaner ferment (due to minimizing the stress on the yeast). I also find it easier to accurately feed the yeast their nutrients a little at a time- instead of one to three larger doses.

I will definitely give this recipe a try, although reducing the hibiscus as you have recommended, and I will step-feed to try to get that higher ABV.

kerbythepurplecow
01-03-2013, 03:25 PM
I've used EC to great success as well. I should have step fed this one, but I wasn't aware of the technique before starting the batch. I would definitely go that way in the future. Good luck on your batch!