PDA

View Full Version : How can I get a molasses flavor to my mead?



JewishMonk
08-29-2015, 10:16 AM
I am attempting to make a mead reminiscent of my dear grandmother's pfeffernüsse cookies, which were spicy and heavy with molasses and pepper. I have done enough research to know that fermenting molasses smells like burned tires and the ass of Satan. Not quite like Christmas cookies.

I am considering making a spicy metheglin and backsweetening with molasses, but I'd like to know if there are any other options to consider. I have been told that sorghum molasses is much lower in iron, but I have no experience with it.

Any thoughts?

valverij
08-29-2015, 12:58 PM
Buckwheat honey has a pretty molasses-y flavor. If you used it, I'd recommend cutting it with another honey, though, as it has a really strong flavor.

I've also read that bamboo honey (Japanese knotweed) is similar, but with a milder flavor.

JewishMonk
08-29-2015, 04:39 PM
Ooh, I've never tried buckwheat honey before. Apparently it can have a bit of an "earthy" flavor to it. Well, I AM looking for a strong flavor.
Ah, what the hell? I'm gonna try it. If that doesn't work, I'll look for another idea.

bernardsmith
08-29-2015, 09:48 PM
I agree that you may want to cut the buckwheat honey with something else - perhaps clover honey. The first time I made mead - more than 20 years ago I used buckwheat honey and I never made another mead again until about two or three years ago it was so ... um... unpleasant.

JewishMonk
08-29-2015, 10:27 PM
Okay, fair enough. I have already ordered the honey though, so it's getting used one way or another. Does the flavor of the honey change significantly once it's fermented or will the taste of the raw honey be a good indicator of the mead? I've never used anything but clover up until now

The reason I ask is because I have a history of enjoying foods that most people shy away from. It's entirely possible that buckwheat honey is amazing

ostensibly
08-30-2015, 08:23 AM
The raw flavor of buckwheat is fine, I use it in baking all the time. Fermented, it can have a grassy flavor that will probably age out if you let it.

mannye
08-30-2015, 11:15 AM
Maybe try using it to backweeten? Make a really dry trad and mix in some raw buckwheet then age it on some black peppercorns for that cookie taste.

JewishMonk
08-30-2015, 11:29 AM
The raw flavor of buckwheat is fine, I use it in baking all the time. Fermented, it can have a grassy flavor that will probably age out if you let it.
I am absurdly patient. I can wait for as long as it takes so long as the end result is good.


Maybe try using it to backweeten? Make a really dry trad and mix in some raw buckwheet then age it on some black peppercorns for that cookie taste.
I could do that. And if the other methods don't turn out right, I will probably try that eventually. Alternatively if I'm going to be backsweetening, I could just use blackstrap molasses. Not sure how it will affect the mead, introducing that much iron to the mix. Experimentation will be necessary.

bernardsmith
08-30-2015, 01:06 PM
You want to be able distinguish between the sweetness of say blackstrap (or indeed honey) and the flavor of the sugars themselves. They are not the same thing. Others may disagree but blackstrap absent sweetness tastes pretty awful (as does molasses of any kind, IMO). You can try a simple experiment and simply dilute a bottle of blackstrap enough to ferment it dry and then taste the um... wine... If you find it enjoyable, then more power to you but I suspect most people will find it rather unpleasant. It's not a matter of aging (again, my opinion) . The flavor absent the sugar is pretty crappy.

JewishMonk
08-30-2015, 01:59 PM
You see, that's the tricky thing I'm trying to figure out. Molasses is not the same as regular sugar (or honey), so without using real molasses, I imagine the flavor is difficult to replicate.
I absolutely plan on trying a variety of techniques short of just fermenting straight blackstrap. I don't plan on making rum. :)

So it looks like my options are:
Molasses without honey (this is a bad idea)
Molasses-honey blend
Dry/semisweet mead backsweetened with molasses (seems most likely)
Buckwheat blend
Straight buckwheat + aging

I'm gonna need a few more carboys. Thanks for the ideas, guys.

Oskaar
08-30-2015, 02:43 PM
Hi Folks,

Let's try to be specific about which buckwheat honey we are dealing with here. Eastern Buckwheat honey is a grain crop and the honey has a distinct barnyard/horseblanket flavor and aroma. It is used very prominently in Polish Mead.

Western Buckwheat Blossom Honey is from an actual wildflower and does not exhibit that horsey/barnyard flavor and aroma.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Squatchy
08-30-2015, 02:45 PM
You want to be able distinguish between the sweetness of say blackstrap (or indeed honey) and the flavor of the sugars themselves. They are not the same thing. Others may disagree but blackstrap absent sweetness tastes pretty awful (as does molasses of any kind, IMO). You can try a simple experiment and simply dilute a bottle of blackstrap enough to ferment it dry and then taste the um... wine... If you find it enjoyable, then more power to you but I suspect most people will find it rather unpleasant. It's not a matter of aging (again, my opinion) . The flavor absent the sugar is pretty crappy.

Reading this made me hink of how bad chocolate taste without the sugar piece as well Think bakers chocoate and the high percent cocao bars you can buy at the healthfood stores.

Squatchy
08-30-2015, 02:46 PM
Hi Folks,

Let's try to be specific about which buckwheat honey we are dealing with here. Eastern Buckwheat honey is a grain crop and the honey has a distinct barnyard/horseblanket flavor and aroma. It is used very prominently in Polish Mead.

Western Buckwheat Blossom Honey is from an actual wildflower and does not exhibit that horsey/barnyard flavor and aroma.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Nice to see you posting on here Oskaar. Thanks for all you do!

edblanford
08-30-2015, 03:19 PM
Many years ago, I read that an allocation of molasses was one of the incentives offered in England to entice settlers to the new world. It also stated that the new settlers fermented it to make a mead like drink. Being a new mead maker at the time, it sounded good to me so I made a 5 gallon batch of molasses "mead", substituting molasses for honey, pound for pound and used the boil method that was popular at the time. The result had virtually no body, one hell of an alcohol kick, and was drinkable only by hardcores that usually drank mouthwash or aftershave. Just to be sure, I kept a number of bottles of it to see if it aged well. I opened the final bottle about 10 year later and it was still virtually undrinkable. During this time I moved and left the remaining case or so with my son, who was a "starving college student" living with the same. They thanked me for it, so desperation must have made it better to them! Backsweetening might be a good way, as you could control the amount of flavor you add by going slowly, but I would recommend not adding it to the fermentation.

My .02 worth (if it has any value)

Ed

bernardsmith
08-30-2015, 03:37 PM
[QUOTE=JewishMonk;247422].
I absolutely plan on trying a variety of techniques short of just fermenting straight blackstrap. I don't plan on making rum. :)
/QUOTE]

ah.. but unless you are distilling the mead/wine you are not going to be making rum. You are making a wine with molasses - a very different horse.

JewishMonk
08-30-2015, 06:26 PM
ah.. but unless you are distilling the mead/wine you are not going to be making rum. You are making a wine with molasses - a very different horse.
True, but fermenting molasses if the first step. I guess it must be to get the iron out of it. Idk.


My .02 worth (if it has any value)
Ed
Absolutely it does, but I have no intention of fermenting straight molasses. I just want to impart the molasses flavor to my mead. I have heard many horror stories.


Reading this made me hink of how bad chocolate taste without the sugar piece as well
But you know? Dark black chocolate is one of those flavors that I love. I live bitter, spicy candy. Chocolate and molasses fit perfectly, though I probably want this to be a sweet and spicy mead.


Western Buckwheat Blossom Honey (...) does not exhibit that horsey/barnyard flavor and aroma.
Now THAT is a thing I didn't know. That's valuable information. Do you have any idea if the BeeFolks Buckwheat is the Eastern or Western variety?

jem
08-30-2015, 07:38 PM
Try werthers candies in the secondary.

Sent from my SM-N910T using Tapatalk

pokerfacepablo
08-31-2015, 12:58 AM
I am attempting to make a mead reminiscent of my dear grandmother's pfeffernüsse cookies, which were spicy and heavy with molasses and pepper. I have done enough research to know that fermenting molasses smells like burned tires and the ass of Satan. Not quite like Christmas cookies.

I am considering making a spicy metheglin and backsweetening with molasses, but I'd like to know if there are any other options to consider. I have been told that sorghum molasses is much lower in iron, but I have no experience with it.

Any thoughts?
My beer recipes that involved molasses turned out great. Can't say I've made it with mead.

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

JewishMonk
08-31-2015, 01:18 AM
My beer recipes that involved molasses turned out great.
But you didn't use just molasses, did you? What kind of ingredients did you use? I am curious now/

pokerfacepablo
08-31-2015, 01:28 AM
But you didn't use just molasses, did you? What kind of ingredients did you use? I am curious now/
Various grain malt, honey, and .5 lb of molasses. Ended up about 7%. Molasses wasn't a huge contributer but the flavor was there.

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

pokerfacepablo
08-31-2015, 01:30 AM
The honey contribution was small so this wasn't a braggot by any means.

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

JewishMonk
08-31-2015, 02:46 PM
Various grain malt, honey, and .5 lb of molasses. Ended up about 7%. Molasses wasn't a huge contributer but the flavor was there.
Okay, that's a good starting point. How big was the batch?

pokerfacepablo
08-31-2015, 05:23 PM
Go to my post, "I am gruit". That'll give you the #'s.

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

Stasis
09-01-2015, 01:38 PM
When I read this thread my mind thought of bochets. Somehow my mind links molasses to burnt sugar to bochets. Anyway, check it out if you haven't heard of bochets before. I hear it could be a bit tricky to get the correct amount of caramelisation though

JewishMonk
09-01-2015, 09:26 PM
Check it out if you haven't heard of bochets before.

I have heard of bochets before, though I've never made one. Burnt sugar is absolutely a flavor that I enjoy, but caramel is not quite molasses. Maybe I'll combine the two when I figure out the molasses quandary.

JewishMonk
09-02-2015, 05:08 PM
Okay, I have received a pound of buckwheat honey today. I gotta say, this is some DAMN GOOD honey. It's a molasses-y, caramel-y, smoke-y honey with a MILD earthy flavor. The jar doesn't specify, but maybe I got the western buckwheat?
I must find a way to buy a large bucket of this wonderful substance.
Shame there's not enough for a mead. Maybe a very small one?

Stasis
09-02-2015, 05:17 PM
A very small test batch seems like a good idea. Some people have tried using buckwheat unsuccessfully so this would be a low risk endeavor. A small batch would also easily blend with other batches

JewishMonk
09-02-2015, 05:24 PM
Yeah, I should get a grip on how this stuff ferments out before I do anything stupid. A gallon is obviously too much for just one pound. I may have to brew this in a bottle.

Stasis
09-02-2015, 09:10 PM
I wouldn't brew it in an actual bottle since it would be so easy to overflow. You wouldn't be able to fill it to the neck and there would be losses from racking so the end amount would be very small. I usually do the primary for test batches in 1 gallon jugs which easily fit airlocks.
If I were to actually use a pound of honey I'd aim for around 1.8 litres. The end result would be two bottles at 0.75l each bottle (1.5l). The extra 0.3l I will keep to top up after racking losses. The mead will be around 10% abv which is ok. Managing such a small test batch could probably be rather tricky.
Yep 2 bottles bare minimum sounds just about right. One bottle after about a year, the second bottle I'd open depending on how much more aging I judge the mead needs. With just one bottle of mead you wouldn't be sure if it's good or not if you happen to open the bottle a bit early. Bottling in smaller bottles would be ideal for tasting but I haven't gotten round to getting smaller bottles myself

JewishMonk
09-03-2015, 02:04 AM
If I were to actually use a pound of honey I'd aim for around 1.8 litres.

You know what? that actually works out really well. I could easily get a half-gallon carboy (1.9 Liters) and ferment it down to bone dry. Thanks.

EJM3
09-04-2015, 06:09 PM
I noticed a bit back in the messages here (#11 from Oskar) that there is something I can object to. I got some buckwheat honey from a local source here in Eastern Washington, that stuff was so barnyard, horse blanket & mousey that I had to give it away! Even then it took them over a month & 3 people to empty that quart jar, never again will I buy buckwheat...

JayH
09-04-2015, 06:25 PM
I wouldn't just write off buckwheat completely, I suspect there is a lot more that goes into how a honey comes out than just the primary flower source.

Several years ago I made 4 batches of JAO side by side. One Buckwheat, one wildflower, one Orange Blossom and one Clover honey, otherwise to the recipe and as close to the same as possible.

I took them to one of our club meetings and had about 40 different people taste and grade them by preference. The Buckwheat won hands down with almost half of the total votes. Since then I have used it often and never noticed a barnyard smell and have been quite please with the outcome.

I'd find a different supplier and try some of theirs.


Cheers
Jay

pokerfacepablo
09-04-2015, 06:39 PM
Not all buckwheat is created equal. I've too had great success with buckwheat but I blend mine. Never done a straight up buckwheat traditional.

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

EJM3
09-05-2015, 01:40 AM
Probably localization, as thus:

Over the hills & through the Dales...

of the Pacific North West's

Eastern North Central

Washington's clime

we go......


I'll ask my friends about what they plant locally....

kuri
09-05-2015, 02:12 AM
I noticed a bit back in the messages here (#11 from Oskar) that there is something I can object to. I got some buckwheat honey from a local source here in Eastern Washington, that stuff was so barnyard, horse blanket & mousey that I had to give it away! Even then it took them over a month & 3 people to empty that quart jar, never again will I buy buckwheat...

I don't have any experience with buckwheat yet, but I have tried Goldenrod, which has a bit of a bad foot-odor smell to it. That smell completely disappeared through fermenting and the resulting mead was great, so I'd be willing to be that even your barnyard horse blanket mousey buckwheat has potential to produce a good mead. At the very least, I wouldn't pass judgment until you've actually tried it in a mead.