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MJJ
03-22-2012, 12:09 PM
In a week or so I will be attempting a new project. I will try to make a Vanilla Spice Mead. I will be using a 6 Gallon primary bucket.
Ingredients as follows,
Vanilla bean or beans.
Cinnamon stick or sticks
Fresh ground Ginger - 1/2 tsp per Gallon
Ground Nutmeg - 1/2 tsp per Gallon
Ground Allspice - 1/2 tsp per Gallon
Clover Honey - ?
Acid blend - 1 tsp per Gallon
Pectic Enzyme - 1 tsp per Gallon
Grape Tannin - 1/4 tsp per Gallon
Yeast Nutrient - 1 tsp per Gallon
Potassium Metabisulfite - 1/8 tsp per Gallon
Lalvin EC- 1118 yeast - rehydrated

In a steel cooking pot I will boil 1 Gallon of spring water, Lower heat to simmer & add the spices & simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off heat & add honey & stir till blended. When mix reaches room temp, Add to 6 Gallon primary bucket. Add the chemicals & enough spring water to bring level up to 5 Gallons. I will use degassing tool & drill to mix & oxygenize the must. I will add one more Gallon of spring water to complete 6 Gallons & gently stir to mix. Place cover on bucket & wait 24 Hrs before pitching yeast.

Next day: I wont use a airlock, In stead I will use a Blow off tube & a 64 oz plastic juice bottle with 10 oz of water. Just in case there is an eruption.

in 2 weeks when fermentation stops or SG is 1.000 or less, I will rack into a 5 gallon carboy with airlock. Any remaining must will be racked into smaller containers with airlocks so I can use to fill in headspace in 5 gallon carboy after rackings. I will rack 1 month later & again 6 months later & continue till clear.


This is where I need input. I want a starting gravity of around 1.130
(Just below 18% Alcohol) I need to know how much honey I need
to add to the heated water for a 6 Gallon batch. It doesn't have to be
an exact number. Just a ball park figure, I can fine tune it in the bucket.

Also,
For a 6 gallon batch,
How many Vanilla beans & Cinnamon sticks do I need?


Thank You for your time.

TAKeyser
03-22-2012, 01:04 PM
I'd skip the Acid it is unnecessary during the fermentation and usually just screws up the PH levels. Add it after fermentation, to taste, only if the mead needs it.

akueck
03-22-2012, 01:08 PM
Sounds fun! Personally I would use less ginger. A little goes a long way, especially with ground spices.

The nice thing about spice/herb additions is that you can add a little in the beginning, and then later if you find you want more you can add more. I would think that 1-3 vanilla beans and 2-6 quills of cinnamon would be a good place to start.

For the honey addition, you can use the Mead Calculator (link at left) to give you a good estimate of the amount of honey you need. Or you can use the estimate of 37 "gravity points" per pound of honey in a gallon of must--one pound in one gallon should give you about 1.037 SG.

Also I would recommend skipping the acid addition in the beginning. Too much acid can stall your mead, and if you find it needs acid at the end of the process, you can adjust it then.

MJJ
03-22-2012, 03:12 PM
Sounds fun! Personally I would use less ginger. A little goes a long way, especially with ground spices.

The nice thing about spice/herb additions is that you can add a little in the beginning, and then later if you find you want more you can add more. I would think that 1-3 vanilla beans and 2-6 quills of cinnamon would be a good place to start.

For the honey addition, you can use the Mead Calculator (link at left) to give you a good estimate of the amount of honey you need. Or you can use the estimate of 37 "gravity points" per pound of honey in a gallon of must--one pound in one gallon should give you about 1.037 SG.

Also I would recommend skipping the acid addition in the beginning. Too much acid can stall your mead, and if you find it needs acid at the end of the process, you can adjust it then.


Thank You, That was very helpful.

brian92fs
03-22-2012, 03:27 PM
Why the pectin enzyme? I doesn't look like you're adding any fruits?

For vanilla, I've used 1 per gallon and not noticed any overt vanilla flavors and aromas.

For your process, I wouldn't add the honey to the heated 1 gallon of spice water. I'd put the heated one gallon in the primary, add the remaining water, then add the honey. It's more work to mix it, but you'll avoid cooking off the more delicate honey flavors and aromas.

MJJ
03-22-2012, 03:54 PM
Why the pectin enzyme? I doesn't look like you're adding any fruits?

For vanilla, I've used 1 per gallon and not noticed any overt vanilla flavors and aromas.

For your process, I wouldn't add the honey to the heated 1 gallon of spice water. I'd put the heated one gallon in the primary, add the remaining water, then add the honey. It's more work to mix it, but you'll avoid cooking off the more delicate honey flavors and aromas.




OK,
That's no pectin enzyme & no acid blend.

Thank you all.

skunkboy
03-22-2012, 09:09 PM
I would suggest, if easy to obtain for you, fresh cracked allspice rather than ground (3-4 per gallon). More oils and better flavor...

Chevette Girl
03-23-2012, 12:39 AM
Sounds fun! Personally I would use less ginger. A little goes a long way, especially with ground spices.


That's funny, I was just thinking the opposite, that you'd never taste that little amount of ginger! ...of course, I used a pound per gallon of fresh grated ginger in my hydromel and thought that was just right...

And if you can get whole nutmeg or whole allspice and grate it/crack it, you'll probably get better flavour.

I second the motions of skipping the acid blend and pectinase, and since you've only got honey and boiled spices, the metabisulphite is also essentially optional at this point, there ain't gonna be anything in there that'll tangle with properly rehydrated EC-1118...

MJJ
03-23-2012, 02:13 AM
That's funny, I was just thinking the opposite, that you'd never taste that little amount of ginger! ...of course, I used a pound per gallon of fresh grated ginger in my hydromel and thought that was just right...

And if you can get whole nutmeg or whole allspice and grate it/crack it, you'll probably get better flavour.

I second the motions of skipping the acid blend and pectinase, and since you've only got honey and boiled spices, the metabisulphite is also essentially optional at this point, there ain't gonna be anything in there that'll tangle with properly rehydrated EC-1118...



How do I prepare the whole nutmeg & whole allspice? Can I put it in a blender with spring water?

fivecats
03-23-2012, 07:00 AM
How do I prepare the whole nutmeg & whole allspice? Can I put it in a blender with spring water?

I don't recommend putting whole nutmegs into a blender. They're going to bounce around wildly and may end up jamming your blender's blades. Whole allspice are too small for your blender to do much with.

Having never used them before, I'll defer to the experts. My guess would be to either put the allspice in whole or crack the allspice with a hammer (but not pulverize them) and do the same with the nutmeg. Then put them both in a cheesecloth bag for easy removal later.

(When I make chai tea I put all of my spices, including whole allspice and grated nutmeg, in a separate cheesecloth bag. It's much less messy that way.)

TheAlchemist
03-23-2012, 10:29 AM
I use a ginger grater to grate nutmeg. You can also use a coffee grinder.

Chevette Girl
03-23-2012, 11:22 AM
Allspice berries are hollow and not that hard, they are no problem with a mortar and pestle and a blender should be able to handle them, or put them in a ziplock bag and use the bottom of a drinking glass, you only need to crack them open. Truth be told I don't even crack them half the time (again with the lazy).

I use a rasp for grating things like garlic, ginger and nutmeg, but if you're careful with your fingers, a fine grater would probably work too. Or put it in a baggie and hit it with a hammer a few times, it's probably beyond the ability of mortar and pestle at that point, and although a coffee grinder might work on nutmeg, I wouldn't risk a blender.

MJJ
03-23-2012, 11:45 AM
Allspice berries are hollow and not that hard, they are no problem with a mortar and pestle and a blender should be able to handle them, or put them in a ziplock bag and use the bottom of a drinking glass, you only need to crack them open. Truth be told I don't even crack them half the time (again with the lazy).

I use a rasp for grating things like garlic, ginger and nutmeg, but if you're careful with your fingers, a fine grater would probably work too. Or put it in a baggie and hit it with a hammer a few times, it's probably beyond the ability of mortar and pestle at that point, and although a coffee grinder might work on nutmeg, I wouldn't risk a blender.



I forgot to ask, How many whole nutmeg & whole allspice per gallon ?

& ginger root too.

Chevette Girl
03-23-2012, 02:52 PM
3-10 allspice berries per gallon, depending how fresh they are (the fresher they are, the fewer you'll need), and I'd start with half of a nutmeg per gallon, some people find that strong but I've put that much in without even noticing it was there so I tend to go for a little more. And don't forget, you can always add more in secondary if the spices are too muted when you rack it off the primary lees. If you go lighter on the spices, you don't really need to bag them, they should just settle out into the lees, then if you don't feel you got enough, you can add more in secondary.

If you're using fresh ginger, well, it completely depends on how much ginger you like, apparently I like a lot, I initially used 1 oz per gallon in my pumpkin mead but couldn't taste it when I racked so I added another ounce in the 3 gallon batch. Ginger can get kind of fluffy and doesn't always sink, so you might want to put that in a small mesh bag or cheesecloth packet if you can.

fivecats
03-23-2012, 03:11 PM
Ginger can get kind of fluffy and doesn't always sink, so you might want to put that in a small mesh bag or cheesecloth packet if you can.

I love the idea of "fluffy ginger."

CG, did you grate your ginger with a micrograter? When I'm making ginger rice I usesliced and minced ginger to start and then finish with a good amount of very finely grated ginger on top. It seems to me that thinly sliced ginger would suffice for brewing purposes, but I'm far from certain.

Chevette Girl
03-23-2012, 04:04 PM
I love the idea of "fluffy ginger."

CG, did you grate your ginger with a micrograter? When I'm making ginger rice I usesliced and minced ginger to start and then finish with a good amount of very finely grated ginger on top. It seems to me that thinly sliced ginger would suffice for brewing purposes, but I'm far from certain.

That's what I'd thought too, but the times I've used sliced ginger, I didn't end up with anywhere near the extraction I'd hoped for even after leaving it in there for weeks, so now I always grate it (or use frozen ginger cubes that I chopped with the blender). I use a microplane wood rasp (http://www.leevalley.com/US/garden/page.aspx?cat=2,40733,44734&p=32458). Best thing I've found for grating small things without also grating your knuckles...

And the fluffy ginger is fine in tea, but you stand to lose a lot when racking because the stuff just won't compact.

skunkboy
03-23-2012, 08:30 PM
How do I prepare the whole nutmeg & whole allspice? Can I put it in a blender with spring water?

I crush allspice between two soup spoons. Put then in the bowl of the first, set the second on top, and push together. Pop...instant allspice bits... You might want to do it over a bowl the first time...

Chevette Girl
03-25-2012, 01:08 AM
I crush allspice between two soup spoons. Put then in the bowl of the first, set the second on top, and push together. Pop...instant allspice bits... You might want to do it over a bowl the first time...

Heh, that's how I crush campden tablets... never thought to try it with allspice for some reason!

skunkboy
03-25-2012, 11:50 AM
Heh, that's how I crush campden tablets... never thought to try it with allspice for some reason!

I crush a lot of stuff that way, even though I eventually bought a mortar and pestal.

MJJ
03-25-2012, 11:26 PM
I went grocery shopping yesterday & as I walked pass the gadget isle something caught the corner of my eye. It was a Cuisinart coffee grinder for under $20. I bought it. Next stop was the spice isle & got whole allspice & nutmeg. Next stop was fruit & vegges for fresh ginger root & finally off to the vegan isle for whole vanilla bean. I already have cinnamon sticks at home.
That little machine works pretty good. So the must is in a 6 gallon bucket sitting on my table waiting for tomorrow when I pitch the yeast. I decided to play it safe & added Potassium Metabisulfite.

Should I add the Yeast Nutrient & Energizer before or after pitching the Yeast ?

wayneb
03-25-2012, 11:32 PM
I always add yeast nutrients (with the exception of Go-Ferm) after I pitch, and the bulk of the addition happens once lag is over (i.e. once you can see signs of active fermentation). That way, any inorganic nitrogen (DAP) in the nutrient won't stress newly hydrated yeast cells until they're ready for it, and also you don't end up adding nutrients that could benefit spoilage organisms that may have taken hold before your yeast colony grows.

TAKeyser
03-25-2012, 11:34 PM
Should I add the Yeast Nutrient & Energizer before or after pitching the Yeast ?

Your going to want to pitch anything containing DAP after the lag period is over, which is probably both your Energizer and Nutrient.

MJJ
03-26-2012, 12:07 AM
Wow!, Revelation time. I think I now know why my wines & Meads taste like yeast.
Adding Yeast Nutrient & Energizer before pitching the Yeast.

Chevette Girl
03-26-2012, 12:40 AM
Wow!, Revelation time. I think I now know why my wines & Meads taste like yeast.
Adding Yeast Nutrient & Energizer before pitching the Yeast.

It was only in the last year where I started waiting until after lag phase to add nutrients and energizer to my musts, and I don't believe it makes them taste more "yeasty". And age generally takes care of yeasty-tasting musts anyway.

Have fun with your new toy! :) I like mine (Black & Decker), it's just a pain to clean out when you're only using small amounts.

MJJ
03-26-2012, 12:49 AM
It was only in the last year where I started waiting until after lag phase to add nutrients and energizer to my musts, and I don't believe it makes them taste more "yeasty". And age generally takes care of yeasty-tasting musts anyway.

Have fun with your new toy! :) I like mine (Black & Decker), it's just a pain to clean out when you're only using small amounts.



I have to clean it?

Chevette Girl
03-26-2012, 01:58 AM
I have to clean it?

I wipe mine out with a paper towel, I wouldn't necessarily want the cardamon remnants from last batch in the nutmeg I grind next. Although in retrospect I think a can of compressed air would probably work better :p