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Mike in arkansas
11-10-2011, 03:13 PM
Hi all,

Back in 2006 I made a couple of gallons of Metheglin. I recently started 5 gallons of just plain mead. It Is in the secondary and completely fermented to dry.

The other evening we finished the last two bottles of Metheglin. They were INCREDIBLE after 5 years :o I guess patience does pay off when it comes to mead-- . Just slightly sweet and the Herbs de provance gave a wonderful flavor.

My question is: Can I add the spices to the already fermented 5 gallons of mead? If so, how long does one suggest leaving the spices in?

PS: any mead makers in Arkansas?

Thanks for your help!

Braxton
11-10-2011, 03:49 PM
Welcome to the forums!

Yes, you can definitely add the herbs to the secondary. Some people prefer to do it this way. The time it takes to extract depends a lot on the type of herb used. I googled "Herbs de provance" and it seems to be a blend of spices including basil, fennel, savory, thyme, and sometimes lavender. I haven't used all of these in alcoholic beverages, but I've used a couple. You can try searching the forums for peoples' experiences with each. I'd suggest taking a sample two weeks after adding the spices to see where it's at. It may be good to go at that point, or may need a bit longer.

Alternatively, you can make an extract by soaking the herbs in vodka, then straining and adding to the batch. This allows you to control the strength of the spice flavors.

Soyala_Amaya
11-10-2011, 07:42 PM
Welcome to Got Mead!

Man a 5 year mead...can't imagine. Most people I see on here have it all drank by the second year ;D Anyway, one of the main reasons some people suggest spicing in secondary is that some herbs give off their best essences in the pressence of alcohol. Such as vanilla or wormwood. Other's are water soluable and are fine in primary, but it all depends on the level of flavor you want, where you're going, and what it tastes like.

So the answer is...if you want to, do it!

Mike in arkansas
11-11-2011, 11:05 AM
Thanks for the input -- and glad to hear the positive comments. And yes -- I was pretty pleased that I left those two bottles for 5 years to share with friends. I think everyone was impressed at how good it was, and now that I know how GOOD it gets after several years it will make it easier to wait. (Although at 65 I can't wait too many years or my friends will be drinking it at my funeral!!)

Blessings,

Mike

wildoates
11-11-2011, 10:52 PM
But what an awesome contribution to your own wake!

JohnS
11-16-2011, 04:17 AM
What about adding it into the pasteurizing pot? I have recently added 2 sticks of Indonesian vanilla that were chopped into quarter inch pieces, one stick of cinnamon that were broken up into small pieces, and about one teaspoon of cloves that were semi ground into the primary fermenter. I guess from what you have said it does not really matter that much. What would pastruizing spices in the afore mention do to the patch?

Also you mentioned soaking spices into a extract using vodka. How long would you to this before pitching?


Welcome to the forums!

Yes, you can definitely add the herbs to the secondary. Some people prefer to do it this way. The time it takes to extract depends a lot on the type of herb used. I googled "Herbs de provance" and it seems to be a blend of spices including basil, fennel, savory, thyme, and sometimes lavender. I haven't used all of these in alcoholic beverages, but I've used a couple. You can try searching the forums for peoples' experiences with each. I'd suggest taking a sample two weeks after adding the spices to see where it's at. It may be good to go at that point, or may need a bit longer.

Alternatively, you can make an extract by soaking the herbs in vodka, then straining and adding to the batch. This allows you to control the strength of the spice flavors.

Soyala_Amaya
11-16-2011, 10:27 AM
The difference between boiling the spices and extracting it with vodka depends on whether that particular spice is water soluble or not. I think vanilla is one that has to extracted, it can't be boiled. I'd have to double check, but there are several that are alcohol soluble only.

On your other question, making an extract, it's to taste basically. Most people recommend at least a full twenty-four hours, some people leave it there up to a week. How much flavor extraction do you want? There isn't really a table to tell you "x many days in x many ml of vodka for x spice for x flavor". It's dependent on the freshness of your spice, the heat of the room it's soaking in, what the base you're adding the extract to tastes like, and a whole lot of other factors.

JohnS
11-16-2011, 02:01 PM
Soyala. thanks for your post. Well I guess I made another newbee mistake by not adding the vanilla extract to the must. Now, after the fermentation slows or even stops I will have to add the extract to the mix.

Soyala_Amaya
11-16-2011, 05:24 PM
Vanilla extract is a whole different beastie than whole vanilla beans, which is what you mentioned in the other post. Vanilla extract is basically what you'd be making by soaking the vanilla beans in the vodka, already extracted flavor and what not. You could add vanilla extract at basically anytime, even during fermentation.

And right now I'm playing with the taste differences between adding vanilla beans to primary vs secondary. I know the vanilla can't be extracted by the non-alcoholic must, but I'm hoping as the yeasts ferment and produce alcohol, it'll create a deeper, smoother vanilla flavor than the long soak in primary I did before.

There are really very few rules on when, how, and how much of any spice or flavor to add to a homebrew. Add it in primary, secondary, warm it up with spices to mull it, so many ways, so little time! It's not a mistake, it's an experiment! In fact, it's fun to run three or four one gallon batches next to each other and just change one variable in each one, just to see what it changes!

Welcome to the addiction...yeah, some of us surpassed hobby looong ago!