View Full Version : Why are raisins important for making mead ?

12-11-2012, 03:07 AM
While I've been brewing beer for years, this is a whole new concept for me and as a noob I'm curious why I'me seeing them listed in so many recipes.

12-11-2012, 03:22 AM
still a noob myself but if iremember correctly from what ive read they are a basic/natural alternitive to useing DAP. mainly used to help the yeast get strong and helathy, must is very low on nutrients so they are used to increase the YAN? wort has much higher nutrient levels then a must so would not need much extra help for a healthy fermentation.

12-11-2012, 04:30 AM
not only some nutrient, but they can also help with body/viscosity, tannins, etc.

All the stuff that is different in a basic wine must when compared to a basic honey must and it's finished taste, mouthfeel, viscosity etc etc

Sorry, can't really explain it very well.

It's a bit like having a finished mead that's light on body, sweetness, etc. there are some white grape concentrates that have a distinctly honey like flavour and characteristics (I like Chenin Blanc).

You can add them to a stabilised must and it not only improves sweetness but some of the above qualities as well.

12-11-2012, 06:22 PM
Mostly the raisins are a holdover from the "dark ages" of meadmaking. They are used because mead was made in a way that winemakers understood (so tannin and acid additions become important) and it was known that honey needed...something...to support the yeast health. Raisins do have some nutrient content, but you'd have to add a ton of them to get to the recommended levels for "modern" meadmaking.

A lot of recipes out there on the interwebs, including here, are taken directly or slightly modified from the original playbooks of the 1970s-1990s. Much has changed since then, so take a look at some of the more recent recipes. The best ones are in the Patron section, but you can find good ones in the Mead Log section as well.

Mead with honey, raisins, and a scoop of acid blend do ferment and can make good products; so don't think that you have to throw out all the old recipes. But definitely take the new information into account as well. Generally the newer recipe formulations will give you a faster, cleaner, more predictable outcome. Whether or not that means "better" is up to you.

12-11-2012, 07:21 PM
i would suspect it also comes from the days of using natrual yeasts found on grapes.

12-11-2012, 08:44 PM
I've actually used pure raisin juice (raisins boiled and mashed in water) to make a good yeast starter for ciders. Whatever it has in it, the yeasts like mucho.

Chevette Girl
12-11-2012, 11:17 PM
I regularly use a pound of raisins per gallon (soaked in water then puréed) or a few hundred mililitres of white grape concentrate for wines that tend to lack body, like pear wine. I can definitely taste the difference between batches where I used it and batches where I didn't.

I forgot the raisins last time I made JAO, I really should check the SG on those batches to see if it came out any differently from the usual...

And yes, I have read old recipes where you'd use a piece of fruit for its naturally occurring yeast to get things started :)

12-13-2012, 05:10 PM
I converted a family cider recipe to a more modern version, but left the raisins in. They will leave quite a difference in flavor when used in large enough quantities. In this case I think it was 4lbs of raisins per 5 gallons.

Before the recipe update was made, the recipe tended to make vinegar much more often than cider ;D Sometimes though, awesome cider. Tough depending on fruit for natural yeast. Doable, but you gotta have patience. And somewhere to use/stash all the resultant vinegar... :eek: