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View Full Version : Are there natural alternatives for Acids and Tannins



McJeff
07-28-2013, 03:32 PM
Was looking for natural ideas(fruits, spices?) instead of just adding straight acid and tannins.

Side questions what are people fav Ingredient combos that balance each other.

kuri
07-28-2013, 04:42 PM
Was looking for natural ideas(fruits, spices?) instead of just adding straight acid and tannins.

Side questions what are people fav Ingredient combos that balance each other.

For tannins your natural alternative is oak. Don't have any idea where to go for acids, though I could imagine trying lemon or lime juice.

McJeff
07-28-2013, 04:51 PM
So could you just throw in some oak chips? How long would you let them sit? How much of a oak taste do they leave.

For acids, really any acidic fruits? Hmmm

UKTony
07-28-2013, 05:15 PM
I've seen lemon juice as acid mentioned by FatBloke for a simple mead recipe on another forum (splitter!) :-)


"This then transferred to the (cleaned and sterilised) glass demijohn. Ready for the citric acid (and yeast nutrient) - you could just use the juice of a lemon, I just happen to have a full range of the 3 usual suspects acidwise."

He also mentions tannins in the same post here:


"..... the next 2 ingredients are added, the strong tea (you may notice from the first piccy - I just showed the box - nice strong caterers tea from Preston. Not any of that namby pamby Yorkshire piddle:D).

No seriously, any normal "black tea" should do - for those overseas something named "english breakfast tea" or similar should do the job - I suspect that the original author of the recipe was thinking of Indian tea, though something like "Orange Pekoe" (which I think is Chinese black tea) or maybe Oolong etc etc would do the job.<br />

Please remember that some of the more "famous "teas are actually "flavoured"; e.g. Earl Grey has bergamot, which would probably be detectable in the finished mead - so it's up to you and what you may be trying to achieve."

I reckon the info is solid, since he's a knowledgable chap, and seems know his stuff well (not that I'd know otherwise, but he's never steered me wrong yet!)

McJeff
07-28-2013, 05:33 PM
Am I missing the tannins mention in that quote?

kudapucat
07-28-2013, 05:43 PM
Crab-apples be good for both.
We add 1:20 or 1:40 to our cidre to give it some character.
Of course, it tastes appley too.

kuri
07-28-2013, 06:43 PM
Am I missing the tannins mention in that quote?

The tannins would be coming from the tea in that quote. Make a strong pot of tea, leave the leaves in there for a good 10 minutes and drink it without milk or sugar and you'll see immediately what massive tannins taste and feel like.

Chevette Girl
07-28-2013, 06:59 PM
I make one strong cup of tea (1 bag in a mug, steeped until cold) per gallon for tannins, and I think the juice of one lemon is about the same as half a teaspoon of acid blend, although I'll have to go hunt down my source in case I'm wrong, my memory ain't what it used to be.

Watch it when adding acids to meads though, it's best done to taste after fermentation as it can make your must too acidic for the yeast since honey has its own acidity.

Any fruit that can get bitter and a lot of the ones with dark skins can have tannins, so can oak.

Particularly acidic fruits that I can think of without checking my fruit wine books are red currants, black currants, any citrus.....

McJeff
07-28-2013, 07:05 PM
Awesome answers ty. Just to confirm acids and tannins are added after fermentation is done and just to taste?

Chevette Girl
07-28-2013, 07:41 PM
See, that's where things get interesting... I believe that the yeast don't really care about tannins, and you want your tannins to mellow as long as possible so with the exception of oaking, which usually done post-fermentation, there's no reason not to add tannins pre-fermentation.

If you're making wine using fruits and sugar (sugar because most fruits don't have enough sugar in them to make a wine strong enough that it'll keep), you want to try to make everything as close in pH and tannin level (and everything else you can think of) as a grape must because that's what all the research has been done on and that's what the yeast you're likely to be using have been developed for. So you add your acids up front and you go, knowing that this is what the yeast were designed for.

Add honey, and the rules change a little since honey itself is pretty acidic, and though many of us have added acids to honey musts pre-fermentation becasue older recipes don't recognize honey's acidity and treat meads the same as fruit wines, and fermenting on some fruits can actually have a bit of a buffering effect to keep it from getting too acidic, you really can run into problems, especially with an acidic fruit (I've had to add calcium carbonate 3 times to my red currant wine because the pH is too low and that's not even using honey). So to a mead, you can still add tannins up front so the flavour blends in nicely, but we generally recommend you hold off on the acid until your mead's finished, you might find you don't even need it...

akueck
07-28-2013, 08:22 PM
IIRC the presence of tannins will cause increased yeast flocculation (they bind to yeast cells).

fatbloke
07-28-2013, 11:21 PM
Not sure McJ is aiming for/alluding to anyway.

The acids we use are weak fruit acids anyway. Just from different types of fruit (citric - lemon/lime, malic- apple mainly and tartaric - grape).

The whole point being that as, generally, to get the desired level you have to use that much of the fruit as to change the flavour of the brew for it to display characteristics from the fruit, whereas using the extracted acid is more controllable and the change from the acid is often more to do with other chacteristics from the main ingredients, body, sharpness etc and less about the fruit it comes from.

Personally I don't use citric as it imparts far too much of a sherberty lemon sharpness.

Tannins are often extracted from grape skins or from the processing of apple pulp after the juice has been pressed out....

The possible alternatives have already been mentioned.......

ScotRob
07-29-2013, 08:51 AM
In general, most berry-type fruits (including grapes of course) contain tannins, so it would be fun to experiment and see which gives the best flavour...if you simply add some grape concentrate to your mead must you will be providing it with both tannins and acids, and you will get a quicker, more thorough fermentation than you would with a show mead.

When choosing berries I would go for things like bilberries (which i think is the best berry, after grape, for wine-making) or you could try blueberries, cranberries, blackberries etc. These also contain a good deal of acid so you might not need to add any extra. In my view, tannins and acid both ensure good fermentation and prevent undesirable (flat, lifeless, medicinal) flavours in your mead. If available you could even try adding some almost-ripe Persimmon (these are high in tannins when unripe)

A word of caution with oak leaves: I would use only young leaves, and even then only sparingly....mature leaves contain a HUGE amount of tannin which would not taste great.

McJeff
07-29-2013, 01:06 PM
And that's really what I'm trying to figure out is natural combinations of fruit/ingredients that will balance each other without adding additional stuff.

Chevette Girl
07-29-2013, 06:36 PM
And that's really what I'm trying to figure out is natural combinations of fruit/ingredients that will balance each other without adding additional stuff.

A good deal of that will come with practice :) Don't be afraid to try stuff, some of the weirdest stuff I've ever done has turned out awesome.

WVMJack
07-29-2013, 08:29 PM
Elderberries and oak for the tannins, lemons and oranges used by the olden folk for the acids. Are you going to go out and select your own yeast or but that at a store? WVMJ


Was looking for natural ideas(fruits, spices?) instead of just adding straight acid and tannins.

Side questions what are people fav Ingredient combos that balance each other.

McJeff
07-29-2013, 10:05 PM
I have a 10 pack of D47 yeast, which ive read is a pretty standard decent all around yeast. I plan stickin with one yeast for awhile so I can hope to expect similar results from my meads.

My next project is 3 one gallon patches using same yeast and process. One will have 3lb, then 3.5lbs and then 4lbs of honey. So I can get a baseline of what I like.

danr
07-30-2013, 12:25 AM
You may want to check on this thread on using D-47: LINK (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=21443&highlight=d47+yeast)

If you are using it in the summer, make sure you watch your fermentation temperatures. D-47 is best fermented in the low 60s (deg. F).

Dan

Chevette Girl
07-30-2013, 07:18 AM
I think if you're looking for an all-around sensible yeast, you might want to consder K1V-1116, it's good at most temperatures, doesn't demand a lot of nutrients and has a pretty high tolerance and also has a kill factor to keep wild yeast from taking over.

McJeff
07-30-2013, 07:46 AM
Hmm I thought everyone used the D47, but the 1116 does sounds better.

kudapucat
07-30-2013, 09:10 AM
IMHO D47 requires a brew fridge. At least in my climate, it's awfully hard to keep in its narrow 'happy band'

McJeff
07-30-2013, 10:10 AM
10 pack of 1116 ordered !

mannye
07-30-2013, 01:07 PM
I think if you're looking for an all-around sensible yeast, you might want to consder K1V-1116, it's good at most temperatures, doesn't demand a lot of nutrients and has a pretty high tolerance and also has a kill factor to keep wild yeast from taking over.


Kill factor? Tell me more!:D

McJeff
07-30-2013, 01:18 PM
Kill factor? Tell me more!:D

lol I was sold also

fatbloke
07-30-2013, 03:55 PM
Kill factor? Tell me more!:D
Google for lalvin yeast chart, scroll down to K1v1116 and follow their link for a decent explaination about how it becomes the dominant yeast etc.

Its a property that most yeasts don't have and while handy, can be an issue if you use it when trying something with other, less competitive yeast.....

Luckily it has a very good rep with meads, especially traditionals....

Chevette Girl
07-30-2013, 08:55 PM
I think I really like D47 especially for traditionals and methyglins but I only ever use it up in the kitchen in winter, now with computers running downstairs, the basement where I do most of my brewing is too warm all year round...

ScotRob
08-03-2013, 01:31 PM
I have to say that 1116 is fast becoming a favourite, since it doesn't seem to induce a really fast ebullient fermentation which blows all of the subtle esters and frangrances of the honey out of the airlock....of course if you heat/boil your honey before you make your must then you don't need to worry since you will already have driven off many of said compounds

joemirando
08-03-2013, 06:46 PM
IMHO D47 requires a brew fridge. At least in my climate, it's awfully hard to keep in its narrow 'happy band'
I've got a packet of D47 sitting and waiting for the fall. Temps upstairs routinely sit in the upper 70's during the summer (thank gawd for central air), and low 70's in the winter. But downstairs, it's a relatively steady 64 from fall to spring. Right now its too warm for D47 down there.

Now all I need to do is decide WHAT to make and how much.

Joe

Vance G
08-03-2013, 09:34 PM
I have seen KIV blow thru a 1.120 must in three days when it unexpectedly got up to 75 degrees. I don't know about blowing the berries off as I put the fruit in the secondary and everything turned out very well. As in all brewing--mileage may vary.
I have to say that 1116 is fast becoming a favourite, since it doesn't seem to induce a really fast ebullient fermentation which blows all of the subtle esters and frangrances of the honey out of the airlock....of course if you heat/boil your honey before you make your must then you don't need to worry since you will already have driven off many of said compounds

Chevette Girl
08-04-2013, 01:35 AM
Vance, by putting your berries in secondary, any fermentation at that point will be pretty gentle compared to the initial vigorous fermentation, although you may have lost some of the delicate aromatics from the honey with a ferment that goes that fast. Or not. I've never noticed it myself, need to do some side-by-side comparisons with the harsher and more gentle yeasts.

Ebullient - looks like it's boiling.