PDA

View Full Version : Spicing a mead question



Deacon Aegis
06-05-2012, 03:24 PM
Ok all, I've sampled several meads from a friendly home brewer in the area and have determined that I prefer a little spices in my mead verses the bare traditionals and so I've decided to see what I can do to spice up the meads I have aging. I have several spices to choose from and available here right now, but the amounts to use seems to be a bit subjective. I've read Ken Schramm's book and he has some great information in it on a variety of spices, but I'd love to get some input here. The batches that I will be spicing are five gallon batches. I have the following spices:

Cinnamon
Allspice Berries - Dried
Cardamom
Cloves

I was also thinking of splitting some vanilla beans for a one gallon batch that I have aging. Is three vanilla beans enough for that batch and what other spices would you add to a batch with vanilla beans in it? Are there other spices that I am missing and should add? I am sorry for asking for a bit of a hand holding on this, but I could really use some experienced insight that would help get me started. Also, how long should I let the mead age on the spices? Thanks a bunch for the insight and input on this.

Chevette Girl
06-05-2012, 04:11 PM
So far, my experiences (mostly with JOA's and variations) have suggested that a cinnamon stick in a gallon is definitely there (the fresher the cinnamon stick, the stronger), half of a cinnamon stick in a gallon is perceptible but not overpowering. One vanilla bean in a gallon is perceptible, although it does fade over time, and I personally don't like it much when it's fresh (within the first year). One of these days I'll see how it goes with two vanilla beans. Depending on the strength of your cloves (which is generally determined by how old they are) one might be enough, or four might not be.

I put a few cardamom pods into one batch along with some fruits and other spices, but I don't think I put anywhere near enough into it because I couldn't taste it at all.

Have you tried oak? It can give a vanilla-like flavour to a mead too, I think I actually like that better than true vanilla, at least for the first year, and I think it might be a little more stable with age.

Another possiblity could be lemon or orange zest, it's easy enough to come by and it doesn't make too big a mess even if you don't bag it, it just settles out into the lees after a few weeks.

akueck
06-05-2012, 05:34 PM
Do you have the black or green cardamom? Whole pods or just the little seed-like things inside, or ground?

Spices are pretty subjective. The "how long" question depends on how much you put in, obviously, but also how much you want to taste the spice and any other flavors in there that might interact (like sweetness level). I would suggest additions on the low side of things, and then taste and check. You can always add more. Once you get to know how you like a particular spice, you'll be able to make bigger additions with less chance of overpowering the flavor.

Vanilla and cinnamon go well together (try B Nektar's version, it's good though a tad too sweet for me). Nutmeg is a spice that is often used, and in conjunction with cinnamon and allspice. Cardamom and coriander would be nice together, and you could boost that with a little orange zest. Grains of paradise are fun to play with. Pretty much look in your spice cabinet or walk down the spice aisle in the market and let your mind wander. :)

Deacon Aegis
06-06-2012, 01:24 AM
So far, my experiences (mostly with JOA's and variations) have suggested that a cinnamon stick in a gallon is definitely there (the fresher the cinnamon stick, the stronger), half of a cinnamon stick in a gallon is perceptible but not overpowering. One vanilla bean in a gallon is perceptible, although it does fade over time, and I personally don't like it much when it's fresh (within the first year). One of these days I'll see how it goes with two vanilla beans. Depending on the strength of your cloves (which is generally determined by how old they are) one might be enough, or four might not be.

I put a few cardamom pods into one batch along with some fruits and other spices, but I don't think I put anywhere near enough into it because I couldn't taste it at all.

Have you tried oak? It can give a vanilla-like flavour to a mead too, I think I actually like that better than true vanilla, at least for the first year, and I think it might be a little more stable with age.

Another possiblity could be lemon or orange zest, it's easy enough to come by and it doesn't make too big a mess even if you don't bag it, it just settles out into the lees after a few weeks.



Thanks for the input Chevette Girl. I think what I may do is start with a cinnamon stick per gallon for a brief period of time and rack off that in two weeks if the cinnamon flavor starts getting too strong. I also went ahead and put in three whole cloves in the five gallon batches I am wanting to spice to see how that goes. Again, about a two week test period and ready to rack if anything seems to be getting overly strong. I also added about five crushed allspice berries to each of these batches. Not sure how that is going to go.

I haven't tried oak, but I may pick some up for the next batch that I run and see how a medium-toast oak serves to flavor the batch.

Deacon Aegis
06-06-2012, 01:30 AM
Do you have the black or green cardamom? Whole pods or just the little seed-like things inside, or ground?

Spices are pretty subjective. The "how long" question depends on how much you put in, obviously, but also how much you want to taste the spice and any other flavors in there that might interact (like sweetness level). I would suggest additions on the low side of things, and then taste and check. You can always add more. Once you get to know how you like a particular spice, you'll be able to make bigger additions with less chance of overpowering the flavor.

Vanilla and cinnamon go well together (try B Nektar's version, it's good though a tad too sweet for me). Nutmeg is a spice that is often used, and in conjunction with cinnamon and allspice. Cardamom and coriander would be nice together, and you could boost that with a little orange zest. Grains of paradise are fun to play with. Pretty much look in your spice cabinet or walk down the spice aisle in the market and let your mind wander. :)

Akueck, the type of Cardamom I have is the green Cardamom and it appears to be the little seeds and not the whole pod. I haven't added any of this yet to any of the batches, though it looks like maybe waiting and getting a batch together with some coriander may be the way to go as you suggest.

I wonder if a stick of cinnamon and two vanilla beans for a one gallon batch would work out well. Is a whole stick (3 inch stick) too much for a single gallon? Any suggestions on how long to leave the mead on the spices? I stoked two batches of five gallons each with five cinnamon sticks, three cloves, and five crushed allspice berries. My plan is to taste test these at the two week mark and rack off the spices if the cinnamon is getting too strong. Does that sound like a good plan or should I give them more like a month before worrying about the cinnamon getting too strong?

PitBull
06-06-2012, 07:35 AM
Here's an excellent thread in the patron's section on the on the amounts of spices to use: Oskaar in a Nutshell (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10631). Definitely bookmark this thread because the information contained therein is one of the MANY reason's that I'm a patron here. The part on spices is post #5 of 9 in this thread.

I'd just like to say thanks to Oskaar and all those who complied this summary! You all are incredible!

Just remember, the spice amounts are "Rules of Thumb". If you are not sure how much you'd like, start light, you can always all more.

TheAlchemist
06-06-2012, 10:24 AM
I have a blend of Indian inspired spices cooking in Ahaladita but she's too young yet to tell how it will all work out.

Deacon Aegis
06-06-2012, 01:30 PM
Here's an excellent thread in the patron's section on the on the amounts of spices to use: Oskaar in a Nutshell (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10631). Definitely bookmark this thread because the information contained therein is one of the MANY reason's that I'm a patron here. The part on spices is post #5 of 9 in this thread.

I'd just like to say thanks to Oskaar and all those who complied this summary! You all are incredible!

Just remember, the spice amounts are "Rules of Thumb". If you are not sure how much you'd like, start light, you can always all more.

Ah, great info, thanks a whole bunch!

Deacon Aegis
06-06-2012, 01:31 PM
I have a blend of Indian inspired spices cooking in Ahaladita but she's too young yet to tell how it will all work out.

Sounds interesting, yeah the only thing about mead is it take forever to get to the results...

hepcat
06-08-2012, 06:28 PM
Sounds interesting, yeah the only thing about mead is it take forever to get to the results...

So true....which is why I made a braggot, lol. Enjoying a bottle of my first braggot now, after only 11 days bottle conditioning and only 19 days total since I made it. I'll be making more braggot!:cool: