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WikdWaze
08-06-2004, 02:49 PM
Tell me if this sounds potable

12# Buckwheat honey
2# American Red malt extract (from Williams Brewing)
1# Crystal 80L malt
.5# Flaked rye
EC-1118 yeast

I went with the buckwheat honey because I apparently have some sort of fetish for it. The malts were chosen mainly for their color and added body. The rye is just to provide a contrast to the residual sweetness. I chose the yeast based on what I've read about the effects of various yeasts on the taste of the finished mead. I may increase the malts a bit to get a higher SG for a sweeter mead, and I'm not entirely sure how much rye would be sufficient.

A special thanks to Joe for inspiring the name.

Jmattioli
08-06-2004, 07:59 PM
:D Good name for it--- Sounds like a real man's drink.
Interesting ingredients! However, there will be no residual sweetness if you are making 5 (my guess since you didn't specify) gallons with EC-1118 and that recipe unless you stop it prematurally. The alcohol tolerance is 18% or better with that yeast and because of its attenuation it is not known for leaving any significant residual sweetness. Of course, you could keep feeding it honey til it quits and then add more but what you will have will surely knock a man out after just a few drinks. In fact, I doubt he will notice the barnyard smell after the first glass.
Joe

WikdWaze
08-07-2004, 02:05 AM
In other words I need to increase the honey and maybe the malts to ensure that the yeast can't convert it all. I may stop it early anyhow, not sure if I want that much alcohol. I selected that yeast because it supposedly doesn't alter the taste much and clears well. Then again, alcohol is at least part of the point. Otherwise we'd forget all the hassles of fermenting and racking and aging and just drink the fresh must.


Good name for it--- Sounds like a real man's drink.
8) Exactly what I'm shooting for. I know there are no historical records of actual recipes, but I want a drink that tastes like something the Vikings would have drank. Guess I haven't outgrown the whole machismo thing yet.

Oskaar
08-07-2004, 02:21 AM
Ummm,

Mayhap you could use a yeast like the Lalvin D-47 (Alc. Tol. 12-15%) with a lower alcohol tolerance so you won't have to keep feeding it honey?

Or, maybe use the K1-1116 (Alc. Tol. 18%) which will leave some residual sweetness if you want just a little but with a good alcohol kick to it!

Hope that makes sense.

Oskaar

Derf
08-07-2004, 02:27 AM
If you do feed it untill it reaches its alcohol tolerance (or stabilize at a lower percent) you would have to force carbonate or be stuck with flat braggot. Sweet and flat at 18% doesn't seem very beery, if that's what you're aiming for.

I would research some ale yeasts with high alcohol tolerances if I were you. They don't process all the different sugars as efficiently so they ferment some giving you plenty of alcohol and CO2 while leaving others behind for sweetness. That's my very un-technical understanding of them anyway.

I'm very interested in hearing how your braggot turns out. I haven't got around to putting a recipe together yet, but a braggot will be one of my next projects. If I can get my hands on a package--yeast selection can be somewhat limited at my otherwise prefered LHBS--I think I will use a Trappist high gravity yeast from Wyeast. Mostly, the choice is a nod to some of my favourite Belgian beer styles, but the discription sounds like it's a good pick for this sort of experiment. "This type of yeast benefits from incremental feeding of sugars during fermentation, making suitable conditions for doubles and triples, to frement to dryness with good alcohol tolerance approximately 11-12% ABV"

Derf
08-07-2004, 04:13 AM
Oh, I think a few of us were writing at the same time.

Anyway, if you want a yeast that doesn't add any flavour of its own, then you certainly wouldn't want to try my Trappist idea.

WikdWaze
08-07-2004, 06:27 AM
Seems I need to research the yeast a bit more. I had thought the EC-1118 would handle the carbonation since they say it's good for stuck fermentations. I'm not too stubborn about the alcohol. I could happily use a lower-yielding yeast. At the same time I don't want it to drop too low, that'd make it just a strong beer. I think 12-15% would make me perfectly happy.


Ummm,

Mayhap you could use a yeast like the Lalvin D-47 (Alc. Tol. 12-15%) with a lower alcohol tolerance so you won't have to keep feeding it honey? Sounds worthy of a closer look anyhow.


If you do feed it untill it reaches its alcohol tolerance (or stabilize at a lower percent) you would have to force carbonate or be stuck with flat braggot. Sweet and flat at 18% doesn't seem very beery, if that's what you're aiming forForce carbonation is cheating and a still mead is NOT an option. I'm not really after "beery", but I understand what you mean. I want a drink that doesn't really taste like anything else out there. A braggot seems to fit the bill quite nicely since it doesn't have enough malt to really taste like a beer and it certainly won't taste like any wine.


Anyway, if you want a yeast that doesn't add any flavour of its own, then you certainly wouldn't want to try my Trappist idea It's not that I don't want the yeast to contribute to the flavor, I'm just trying to minimize the variables. That's why I picked the malts I listed, they are supposed to be mildly flavored and produce the reddish color I want. The honey should be the main flavor, which is why I picked the most potent varietal. The flake rye is just to provide a slight spice/bitterness to counter the sweetness of the honey and help hide the alcohol. If I were to use a yeast that added flavor I may not be able to decipher which ingredients needed adjustment if the batch came out "wrong".

I know this is a bit of an ambitious recipe for my first mead, but there is a method to my madness. I had considered doing just a straight mead first, even came close to buying a 5# jar of clover honey at Sam's Club, but logic got the better of me fortunately. The way I see it, trying a straight mead to "see if I like it" would be exactly the same as trying a Bud Light to see if I like beer. It's not that there's anything wrong with a straight mead, it's just not the taste I'm after.

Please, feel free to offer guidance on my recipe. Y'all have the experience, you know what different yeasts do and how some ingredients interact. Just don't try and talk me out of the buckwheat honey, it ain't gonna work ;D

Oskaar
08-07-2004, 09:59 AM
Ya know,

You may want to try and find some alfalfa honey or steep some alfalfa to add to your braggot. You're going for a barnyard kinda feel, maybe the alfalfa would be a good compliment to the buckwheat. I used to drink alfalfa tea and always enjoyed it, and when I go hunting, the freshly cut alfalfa fields smell wonderful.

Anyhow, hope that is helpful.

Oskaar

WikdWaze
08-07-2004, 11:22 AM
Hmmmmm, alfalfa and buckwheat. If it gets any more barnyard than that I'll have to put on my coveralls to drink it.

More research has led me to consider the K1V-1116 and WLP720 yeasts. The White Labs yeast tops out at about 14% alcohol IIRC. Now I'm also thinking about malolactic fermentation. I'm not sure if mead has enough malic acid in it for MLF to make any real difference. Anybody know the acid profile of mead?

Jmattioli
08-07-2004, 07:59 PM
(snip)More research has led me to consider the K1V-1116 and WLP720 yeasts. The White Labs yeast tops out at about 14% alcohol IIRC. Now I'm also thinking about malolactic fermentation. I'm not sure if mead has enough malic acid in it for MLF to make any real difference. Anybody know the acid profile of mead?
Malic acid is negilible in honey but common in grapes, it is added as an additive for taste in mead. Its roughness/harshness is not a problem with mead except where lots of fruits and some vegetables are used. It is present in citrus fruits and in apples. It is commonly found in your acid blend or can be added as a separate additive. Most meadmakers do not MLF. The only reason I was concerned with it is because I use so much malic acid in my English mead for effect and want to limit the aging time and the harshness of the acid .
Joe

WikdWaze
08-07-2004, 09:23 PM
Guess I can cross MLF off my list then.

In related news, it won't be much longer before I get started. Mrs. Wikd discovered we already have a 1-gallon jug so it looks like I'll be starting with a 1-gallon batch. I need to hit the flea markets and see if I can find another gallon jug. While the smaller batch is certainly more economical, I do have some concerns. A small mistake in the ingredients shows a lot more in a small batch. Suppose I'll just have to be extra careful with the measurements. I am excited that I won't have to wait as long to start though. Hopefully by this time next week I'll at least have the ingredients and supplies ordered.

Jmattioli
08-07-2004, 09:53 PM
Good idea going with the 1 gallon. It would be a shame if you did 5 gallons and something went wrong and you were disappointed in your first mead and had to pour it out. Most mistakes are made in the first couple batches so 1 gal will be a good test of what you learned. Its a lot more trouble with 1 gallon batches but its much safer for experimentation and when you get it like you want you can make an Oskaar batch. ;D
Joe

WikdWaze
08-08-2004, 01:28 AM
Good idea going with the 1 gallon. It would be a shame if you did 5 gallons and something went wrong and you were disappointed in your first mead and had to pour it out. Most mistakes are made in the first couple batches so 1 gal will be a good test of what you learned. Its a lot more trouble with 1 gallon batches but its much safer for experimentation and when you get it like you want you can make an Oskaar batch. ;D
Joe
Yeah, I had considered Mrs. Wikd's reaction to pouring some $60 worth of ingredients down the drain if it didn't come out right. :o The biggest concern I have with the small batch is the amount of rye. I love rye bread so I know how potent rye can be. With a 1-gallon batch I'm only going to need about 2 oz. of rye. There's not a lot of room for error there. And with such a strong honey it won't be hard to use too much and wind up too sweet.

Actually, I was hoping that since I posted the recipe Oskaar would make it up first and tell me what was wrong with it. ;D

Oskaar
08-08-2004, 10:11 AM
snip . . . Its a lot more trouble with 1 gallon batches but its much safer for experimentation and when you get it like you want you can make an Oskaar batch. ;D
Joe

Hey!?

I resemble that remark! ::)

WikdWaze
08-08-2004, 12:39 PM
What's your normal batch size, Oskaar?

Oskaar
08-08-2004, 08:26 PM
I normally make a 15-20 gallon batch, but the last one was a 45 gallon batch because a bunch of my family and friends asked for it. Some even went so far as to pitch in to buy honey and help me with the maual labor tasks (cleaning, sterilization, etc.)

Whenever I get help I make a larger batch and then once it's kegged or bottled we take it out to my family and friends houses and "Laizzes les bonne temps roulez!" Most of us have either converted refrigerators with taps or the smaller keg tappers in the garages. In October we have a chili cookoff with a lot of family and friends, and a LOT of mead disappears at that event. LOL

I actually made a mead with poblano, chilhuacle rojo and pasada chiles which are all very low on the spiciness scale, but all impart wonderful hints of citrus, nuttiness, apple, licorice, fig and cherry flavors, and fit in very well with the chili we all bring to the cookoff. It was medium to medium-high on the sweetness scale, and I did carbonate it. It actually went very well with the chile and the sweetness really helped to knock down the chilis that were extremely spicy.

I have a three vessel stainless brewing system that I used for all grain brewing before I really switched over to mead several years ago. Each of the vessels is 20 gallons and I have three burners so I state my maximum yield as 45 gallons in one three vessel orgy of brewing.

I suppose I could go higher, but I prefer to have some working room at the top of each vessel. Each has a thermometer, a drain stem and shutoff valve and a lid. I have a copper counterflow chiller (which I love) that I hook up when it's time to decant into the fermenters. My dad and I made some little rolling platforms for the fermentation vessels so I can roll them to one side of the brewhouse and out of the way. I really like having those little rollers because it makes moving those heavy buckets around very easy.

Ooops,

Went off on a tangent!

Oskaar

WikdWaze
08-09-2004, 01:04 AM
Ooops,

Went off on a tangent!

Oskaar
No need to apologize for that, lots of useful information in that post! I am slightly confused about one detail. You say you transfer into the fermenters, why? If everything is already mixed in the 3 stainless vats, why do you need to move it to something else to ferment? And what do you ferment in? Carboys? That seems like an awful lot of trouble to go through and I can't figure out why you would want to do it that way instead of just fermenting in the vats.

Derf
08-09-2004, 01:17 AM
Man, you need a sealed environment to keep your meed safe from contaminants and oxidization. I hope you weren't planning on leaving your mead open to the air untill it was done fermenting.

WikdWaze
08-09-2004, 01:25 AM
Don't the vats have lids?

Oskaar
08-09-2004, 04:16 AM
The stainless steel brewing vessels I own are for brewing and the lids do not seal.

I also want my mead to ferment in smaller lots so they are easier to move, adjust, test for pH, check gravity etc.

If I want to "tweak" my meads (add honey, fruit, spices, other stuff) I can do so more effectively in smaller lots which in my experience lends to better quality control and consistency.

It's much easier wrangle the 5, 7.5 or 8 gallon plastic buckets than it is to move a 20 gallon brewkettle. My brewkettles also sit on top of 250,000 btu natural gas burners. I wouldn't want to try and move 135 pounds of liquid around when it's time to go from primary to secondary, or to take them off the burners. :P

From the plastic fermenters I go to carboys now for secondary, and then I either keg or bottle. Mostly keg. it's easier than bottling, it goes into my refrigerator and stays cool, and it lasts a whole lot longer than a bottle does. ;D

Bottom line is the right tool for the right job man. The twenty gallon stainless steel brew vessels I own are not designed for fermenting, and it would be a waste to use them for that.

Derf is absolutely right when he said that you need a sanitary environment for your primary, especially when it comes to being able to seal your juice up.

Hope that helps,

Oskaar

WikdWaze
08-09-2004, 11:58 AM
The stainless steel brewing vessels I own are for brewing and the lids do not seal.

I also want my mead to ferment in smaller lots so they are easier to move, adjust, test for pH, check gravity etc.

If I want to "tweak" my meads (add honey, fruit, spices, other stuff) I can do so more effectively in smaller lots which in my experience lends to better quality control and consistency.

It's much easier wrangle the 5, 7.5 or 8 gallon plastic buckets than it is to move a 20 gallon brewkettle. My brewkettles also sit on top of 250,000 btu natural gas burners. I wouldn't want to try and move 135 pounds of liquid around when it's time to go from primary to secondary, or to take them off the burners. :P

From the plastic fermenters I go to carboys now for secondary, and then I either keg or bottle. Mostly keg. it's easier than bottling, it goes into my refrigerator and stays cool, and it lasts a whole lot longer than a bottle does. ;D

Bottom line is the right tool for the right job man. The twenty gallon stainless steel brew vessels I own are not designed for fermenting, and it would be a waste to use them for that.

Derf is absolutely right when he said that you need a sanitary environment for your primary, especially when it comes to being able to seal your juice up.

Hope that helps,

Oskaar

Makes perfect sense. Absolutely logical. Now all you need are a few stainless steel conical fermenters to match the brewkettles, then you could just pump the must where you needed it. That's even easier than moving buckets or carboys. Let's see, a dozen 5-gallon conical fermenters, a pump, plenty of teflon-lined stainless steel hose... you'd be just like the big boys then! 8) You can just print this list out and hand it to Santa in a couple months.

Oskaar
08-10-2004, 05:03 AM
Normally I do a fifteen gallon batch (one vessel) I'm going to rack a 45 gallon batch of Orange Blossom Sweet Show Mead this week, and my maxium in one brewing would be sixty gallons using all three of my vessels.

I have access to a couple of larger vessels, but haven't really wanted to go there because I'd have to bump up my fermenters, secondary and aging vessel capacity.

Since I pasturize and use a counterflow chiller, I could whip out about four batches (240 gallons) in a not too long day if I was ever feeling really ambitious.

Oskaar

WikdWaze
08-10-2004, 04:16 PM
Pardon my ignorance, but what is a counterflow chiller? How does it differ from those immersion wort chillers?

Derf
08-11-2004, 03:26 AM
A counter flow chiller has on smaller diameter pipe within a larger one. It's set up so you can run your hot wort or must through the inner pipe in one direction and run cold water through the outer pipe in the oposite direction. Thus the name counter flow. It's a much more efficient heat exchanger than an imersion chiller, but it's harder to clean.

WikdWaze
08-11-2004, 03:34 AM
A counter flow chiller has on smaller diameter pipe within a larger one. It's set up so you can run your hot wort or must through the inner pipe in one direction and run cold water through the outer pipe in the oposite direction. Thus the name counter flow. It's a much more efficient heat exchanger than an imersion chiller, but it's harder to clean.I had a sneaking suspicion it was something like that, given the name. Figured it was better to ask than assume I already knew. Thanks for the info.

A quick update on the recipe. Firstly, I've decided after further research, prompted by several of you, to switch to White Labs WLP720 yeast. It should finish a bit sweeter and with lower alcohol content than the EC-1118, making a more drinkable mead. Secondly, recent financial setbacks are going to delay the start by another couple weeks. C'est la vie.

WikdWaze
08-28-2004, 04:27 PM
I don't know if it's legal to update a recipe that hasn't been made yet, but here goes ;D

This is for a 1-gallon batch;

3# buckwheat honey
1# Northwestern Weizen malt extract (unhopped)
1# flaked rye
1# oatmeal
White Labs WLP720 yeast

Boil 1/2 gallon of water to sterilize it. Put rye and oatmeal in grain bag and steep at 160 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove and drain the grain, let the tea/wort cool to about 80, add the malt extract and honey. Pour the must into the primary, pitch the starter, top off with boiled water. I didn't add nutrients to the list because the ingredients should provide plenty of sustenance for the yeast. I also decided not to boil the extract, contrary to advice I received in another post. If the only purpose of boiling the extract is to prevent protein haze, I'm not concerned. This concoction is going to be strictly for my pleasure, not a show judges, and I don't mind a cloudy drink.

Jmattioli
08-28-2004, 10:00 PM
I am curious why you choose that particular yeast. It is quite particular about its temperature range.(70.0 F - 75.0 F) and has an attenuation of 75%.
With the amount of honey and the malt in your recipe it might be a rather extremely sweet mead and being unhopped my guess is it will need acid added to balance the sweetness in the end. What are your thoughts?
Joe

WikdWaze
08-29-2004, 04:16 AM
I am curious why you choose that particular yeast. It is quite particular about its temperature range.(70.0 F - 75.0 F) and has an attenuation of 75%.
With the amount of honey and the malt in your recipe it might be a rather extremely sweet mead and being unhopped my guess is it will need acid added to balance the sweetness in the end. What are your thoughts?
JoeI chose the yeast precisely because it would leave a fair amount of residual sweetness. I'm counting on the rye to provide a spicy/bitter note to counter any excessive sweetness. As you mentioned, if it comes out too sweet to be potable I can add acid. I was also thinking that the sweetness would help cover the alcohol since I plan to let the yeast run out to it's 14-15% ABV limit. I'm after a sweet mead, so it may not be too much for me. Would you recommend any particular acid for this recipe, if it needs it at the finish?

Jmattioli
08-29-2004, 04:46 AM
(snip) Would you recommend any particular acid for this recipe, if it needs it at the finish?
You can't go wrong with citric acid. Its the least harsh of the 3 most used. It also is a good preservative and acts as an antioxidant among other things.
Joe

WikdWaze
08-29-2004, 05:42 AM
You can't go wrong with citric acid. Its the least harsh of the 3 most used. It also is a good preservative and acts as an antioxidant among other things.
Joe
Straight acid, or maybe some lemon juice? Lemon juice would be nice because I can get it at the grocery store, but if it wouldn't work as well as straight acid I wouldn't want to use it.

Jmattioli
08-29-2004, 06:35 AM
Straight acid, or maybe some lemon juice? Lemon juice would be nice because I can get it at the grocery store, but if it wouldn't work as well as straight acid I wouldn't want to use it.
Lemon juice is just fine to use for citric acid. 1 tablespoon of bottled lemon juice from the store is approximately 1/4 t of Citric acid from your brew shop. Of course, lemon juice is more than citric acid and contains absorbic acid and lemon oil and limonene plus other stuff like proteins, carbohydrates and sugars. The difference that I notice is that lemon juice will ferment and imparts an off-flavors until it mellows out. ( like an overipe lemon or orange) Citric acid just imparts the tartness so I prefer it.
Joe

WikdWaze
09-02-2004, 03:50 PM
I ran this recipe through the equations which JamesP was kind enough to post under "The Process of Making It" forum. I assumed the malt extract to be 75% fermentable since it's not nearly as pure a sugar as honey, does this sound reasonable? Going with that assumption I used 3.75 for the amount of honey, 3 for the honey and 0.75 for the one pound of malt extract. It ended up with an SG of 1.169, a good ways from the 1.200 suggested on the other board. This would allow for a whopping 23% ABV if I could get it dry. With the 15% ABV tolerance of the WLP720 yeast that leaves about 8% residual sweetness. That doesn't sound excessive to me. I feel better having some numbers to back up my hunches, even if the numbers are somewhat questionable ;D

Hey, Joe. Got that new diploma ready? I'm only one post away from 200 as I edit this ;D ;) 8)

JoeM
09-02-2004, 06:06 PM
i apologize if this has been addressed elsewhere but, traditionally braggots are carbonated (not that braggot is really a traditional drink). do you plan on carbonating this recipe? and if so how do you plan on doing so if you are going to run the yeast to the point of their alcohol tolerance?
Just wondering
JMV

ScottS
09-02-2004, 06:57 PM
Let's use your numbers, and assume that a 1.169 OG is correct. If you get 8% residual sweetness, that means your FG is roughly 1.059. That is sickeningly sweet. Remember, anything above 1.020 is considered a dessert mead. I have a raspberry melomel that I accidentally oversweetened to 1.025. I have to mix it with carbonated water for it to be palatable. Straight, it tastes more like cough syrup than mead.

I have a very pleasant uncarbonated braggot too. They most certainly do not need to be carbonated to be good. Though in hindsight I am kicking myself for not carbonating half the batch... ;)

Oskaar
09-02-2004, 07:50 PM
Hey Scott,

Let's not forget that there are plenty of us out there who like the sweet stuff. ;D Especially us cigar smokers. A really sweet dessert mead is a wonderful counterpoint to a good, earthy, oily, leathery, cedary cuban cigar. It really brings out the other flavors like the chocolate and spice in a well aged cuban!

Cheers,

Oskaar

ScottS
09-02-2004, 08:21 PM
Oh I agree, I prefer things on the sweet side too. But :P I think with a FG of 1.059, you might as well just drink the honey straight. ;) Remember, 1.080 is not an unreasonable starting gravity for a dry mead.

The very first thing I did when I started making mead was to find out what different FGs tasted like. The results are certainly not what I expected. Your FG doesn't have to be much above 1 for it to be sweet, and it is surprisingly easy to go from pleasantly sweet to gaggingly sweet. I would recommend that anyone try meads of varying FGs before making assumptions about what a certain FG is going to taste like.

Oskaar
09-03-2004, 12:23 AM
I think gravity readings are fine and they help you dial into the range you like your meads to be in, but, I generally go by mouth feel.

I've made some meads that are ended right at 1.04+ and others above that as well as below that were just fine sweetwise, but had enough other influences to keep it from being cloying. I think it's also important that there are other flavors to help balance the finish and overall feel. I know that's high on the sweet range, but as I said mouthfeel and overall impression is important.

For example, our family makes a drink called Prosek (Pronounced proSHECK) that we've never pulled a gravity reading from because hydrometers were not part of the process back in the old country. They are loudly sweet, but they change as they cross the palate and the finish is smooth and clean without being over the top on the sweet side. I think it really depends on what other influences are in the mix.

Honestly it is Prosek that I am trying to model a lot of my mead characteristics after because it is so very different than most other drinks, and it is big and boldy sweet up front. But the range it exhibits on the palate is simply amazing. It's like you're traveling through a series of rapids in a raft and experiencing the different classes of rapids from a class 1 through a class 5 as it works it's way through your mouth. My uncle makes the best and there is no measurement involved. It's scary how precise he is, but at the same time, he just knows from the look and feel if it is right or not. I hope to get that good some day!

Cheers,

Oskaar

Jmattioli
09-03-2004, 06:32 AM
Hmm... Interesting If your calculations are correct and it finishes at 8%, it will definitely be very very sweet. If you make alot of it at that sweetness, maybe only you and Oskaar will be able to drink it. But that could be good. You won't have to worry about all the neighbors coming over asking for seconds. ;)
Everybodys tastes is different in meads and the only thing I can say is you should make it how you THINK you will like it. When its done you will know for sure. But I think it would be safe to say from experience that the majority of mead drinkers that have posted here and on MLD show a preference for their sweet meads at or below 1.040 and I think you have exceeded that figure by a significant amount. Thus you may find it not necessarily drinkable for all ocassions by too many other people.
But --- to each his own. Only you know what you are looking for and I eagerly await your first taste and critique.
Joe

P.S. Send me your address so I can send you a professional Diploma worthy of your significant efforts in breaking the 200 barrier without making your first official solo mead.

Oskaar
09-03-2004, 07:19 AM
Here, here (with the traditional "pomp and circumstance" resonating in the background!

Don't get me wrong, I don't aspire to brew everything I make to that high level of sweetness because I know not everyone likes it. Sooner or later one even likes a break from the sweet stuff, hence the medium sweet and dry styles I like to take a shot at making.

However, I do prefer them on the sweet to dessert sweet style most of the time.

OK, is it me, or is this thread in need of a final rest and we move on to a new subject. I think we started out on barnyard braggot??

Oskaar

WikdWaze
09-03-2004, 02:18 PM
Here, here (with the traditional "pomp and circumstance" resonating in the background!

Don't get me wrong, I don't aspire to brew everything I make to that high level of sweetness because I know not everyone likes it. Sooner or later one even likes a break from the sweet stuff, hence the medium sweet and dry styles I like to take a shot at making.

However, I do prefer them on the sweet to dessert sweet style most of the time.

OK, is it me, or is this thread in need of a final rest and we move on to a new subject. I think we started out on barnyard braggot??

OskaarHeh, I don't know how this thread got to 3 pages. I really didn't mean to resurect it by posting the modifications, but I didn't see the sense in starting a whole new thread to update the changes I made in the recipe. I apologize, Oskaar. Be forwarned, it will come up again once I put everything in the primary, then once more when I rack to secondary, and then a third time when I bottle it.

There's no doubt, it may turn out far too sweet for general consumption, if so it'd make a dandy topping for a sundae. I put the wheat malt and the rye in to provide something to counter the sweetness and I hope that will do the trick. If it were a straight mead I'm almost certain it would be too sweet, the plan is that the other flavors will save the day. One thing I've definitely learned, as Joe mentioned above, what's sweet to one may not be to another. I read a post in which the guy claimed Chaucers was far too sweet and viscous for his pleasure, I found Chaucers to be almost devoid of sweetness and honey essence. So even if somebody had made this exact recipe before I couldn't necessarily rely on their judgement of it. I've noticed the same thing reading the reviews on "beeradvocate.com", a dozen guys will taste the same beer and give 13 different opinions on it. It'd be nice if the numbers told the whole story.


P.S. Send me your address so I can send you a professional Diploma worthy of your significant efforts in breaking the 200 barrier without making your first official solo mead. I would, but I'm afraid you'd send Ninjas to steal my keyboard so I couldn't post anymore ;D

WikdWaze
09-03-2004, 05:23 PM
i apologize if this has been addressed elsewhere but, traditionally braggots are carbonated (not that braggot is really a traditional drink). do you plan on carbonating this recipe? and if so how do you plan on doing so if you are going to run the yeast to the point of their alcohol tolerance?
Just wondering
JMVYep, I do plan to carbonate. Exactly how is still a bit of a question. I considered forced carbonation, but I don't have the equipment for it and I'm not sure exactly how to do it when you plan to bottle, everybody does it when they keg a beer. I don't want to have to buy a small keg just to get bubbles in my mead. I thought about just priming it as is usually done since that seems to reactivate yeast that have been chemically stopped, so it might urge on those at their limit as well. My favorite option thus far is a slight modification of the usual technique. It still involves priming with sugar or malt, but also involves slightly diluting the mead. Stand by for another long-winded explanation ;D

Let's say you have 1 gallon of mead at 15% ABV. If you add 12 ounces of sugar water (10% of a gallon) you drop the % ABV to somewhere between 13.5 and 14%. That should give the yeast enough room to slowly reanimate and supply the desired CO2. I think this is actually more controlled than the standard method since you can dilute more or less depending on how much carbonation you want. The downside is that you have to experiment with each recipe to find out how much to dilute it to get what you want. I think I'll give this a shot, pour the priming mix into a bottling bucket, rack the finished mead on top of it to thoroughly mix it, then bottle and wait.

Can't I ever give a simple answer to a simple question? :-[

JoeM
09-03-2004, 08:49 PM
from personal experience i can tell you that if you push a yeast to its alcohol toleranace you can prime all you want and it will not carbonate. to produce CO2 the yeast must produce alcohol as well and they just arent going to do it if you push them to their limit. Diluting the mead is another issue, i supoose that could work but realize that you will also be diluting the flavor and sweetness of the mead as well, and really i think the results will be unpredictable. I've tried carbonating various ways and have also created quite a few bottle bombs and flat meads in the process...in my experience, fermenting to below the yeasts alcohol tolerance and then priming with measured amounts of priming sugar is the the most controlled, predictable way of attaining the product that you want.

WikdWaze
09-04-2004, 03:09 AM
from personal experience i can tell you that if you push a yeast to its alcohol toleranace you can prime all you want and it will not carbonate. to produce CO2 the yeast must produce alcohol as well and they just arent going to do it if you push them to their limit. Diluting the mead is another issue, i supoose that could work but realize that you will also be diluting the flavor and sweetness of the mead as well, and really i think the results will be unpredictable. I've tried carbonating various ways and have also created quite a few bottle bombs and flat meads in the process...in my experience, fermenting to below the yeasts alcohol tolerance and then priming with measured amounts of priming sugar is the the most controlled, predictable way of attaining the product that you want.Yeah, I didn't really hold out much hope for the idea of just priming it and thinking happy thoughts. I figured the yeast wouldn't go past their limit. I don't understand the difference between stopping the yeast at 13%, priming and bottling and my idea of diluting to 13%, priming and bottling. It looks like the exact same idea accomplished two different ways. You're right that it would alter the flavor somewhat, but if the priming solution had the same proportions of honey, malt, and water the difference should be minimal. Forced carbonation would probably be the easiest, most predictable, most controllable method. The only problem is that I have no idea how to do it without a keg and I can't afford to buy all the equipment for it.

JoeM
09-04-2004, 10:54 AM
when you say "stopping the yeast at 13%, priming and bottling" do you mean stopping the yeast chemically? because once you stop the yeast chemically priming will not produce carbonation. in fact one of the leading reasons to stabilize with sulfites is to prevent refermentation and the production of pressure within the bottle. i apologize if i misunderstood what you were saying.

WikdWaze
09-04-2004, 01:23 PM
I'm not entirely sure I had a specific method of stopping the yeast in mind. My brain is on the verge of overload these days. I think I'm getting confused with the method for priming a dry mead, and trying to apply it to a sweet mead.

Yup, time for a mental vacation.

JoeM
09-05-2004, 12:14 AM
the only reason i'm trying to get you to really think about what your going to do is because i've had meads that i have worked on very hard and wanted to be sparkling and screwed up somewhere along the way and they would not carbonate. it can be very very dissapointing when you wait 10 months and the mead tastes wonderful but instead of having a sparkling champagne or ale like mead you have something thats either completely flat or worse...has just a very small amount tingle when you were looking for a big sparkle. its obvious that youve put alot of planning into this batch and are excited about it, i would just hate for it to be a big dissapointment for you.

WikdWaze
09-05-2004, 05:44 AM
Believe me, I'm thinking about it constantly. I've seen lots of posts saying it's impossible to naturally carbonate a sweet mead, I take that as a challenge. Sometimes "knowing" something can't be done is a self-fulfilling prophecy. I'm going to try the technique I described, if it doesn't work, no great loss. I'll just have to invest in some kegging equipment then so I can carbonate.

Jmattioli
09-05-2004, 10:07 AM
Believe me, I'm thinking about it constantly. I've seen lots of posts saying it's impossible to naturally carbonate a sweet mead, I take that as a challenge. Sometimes "knowing" something can't be done is a self-fulfilling prophecy. I'm going to try the technique I described, if it doesn't work, no great loss. I'll just have to invest in some kegging equipment then so I can carbonate.
Those posts are incorrect and your idea IS a workable possibility as long as you let it stop at its alcohol limit with your desired sweetness and then dilute it down as you indicated in your post so that it will restart fermentation and then stop back at the alcohol limit again naturally in the bottle. Your calculations of course will have to be precise or you will either have bottle bombs or insufficent carbonation. The other possiblity is that you may have to add more yeast at bottling time or it may not restart up as planned. Would I recommend you go that route for your first mead ???? My better judgement says absolutely not, especially since you are working with limited funds. But my intuition tells me that you might as well go for it cause.... well because its you-- and its the only way you are going to learn whether you are bordering on genius or bordering on insanity. ::) And I for one would like to find out. ;D
Joe (on the lighter side) :)

JoeM
09-05-2004, 11:09 AM
i have to tell you guys, we've heard so much about this mythical braggot of WikdWaze's that i think we need to start up a charity called the "WikdWaze barnyard braggot fund" and send him enough money to make ten gallons of this stuff so he can send us each a bottle when he's done.

Oskaar
09-05-2004, 12:58 PM
Insanity is the act of doing the same thing the same way and expecting different results.

Oskaar

WikdWaze
09-05-2004, 03:04 PM
i have to tell you guys, we've heard so much about this mythical braggot of WikdWaze's that i think we need to start up a charity called the "WikdWaze barnyard braggot fund" and send him enough money to make ten gallons of this stuff so he can send us each a bottle when he's done.
Hey, I like that idea!! ;D

Quite unnecessary, though. Most of the ingredients and supplies are on order. I'll order the honey this week. A couple more jugs so I can do a split batch, the temperature controller for the freezer, and the yeast are all I really have left to get.

With two gallons to be mazed, I do plan to share some. I would really value the input from my fellow board members as to what I did wrong or right. Let's see, two gallons would be about 20 beer bottles, a few for me, a few for my family, I might be able to share a dozen bottles or so. Have to pull names out of a hat so as not to hurt any feelings by leaving somebody off the list.


Those posts are incorrect and your idea IS a workable possibility as long as you let it stop at its alcohol limit with your desired sweetness and then dilute it down as you indicated in your post so that it will restart fermentation and then stop back at the alcohol limit again naturally in the bottle. Your calculations of course will have to be precise or you will either have bottle bombs or insufficent carbonation. The other possiblity is that you may have to add more yeast at bottling time or it may not restart up as planned. Would I recommend you go that route for your first mead ? My better judgement says absolutely not, especially since you are working with limited funds. But my intuition tells me that you might as well go for it cause.... well because its you-- and its the only way you are going to learn whether you are bordering on genius or bordering on insanity. And I for one would like to find out.
Joe (on the lighter side) ;D If I didn't know better, I'd think you were saying I'm stubborn ;D

I'm not sure the difference between genius and insanity has ever been clearly defined.

The logic of the idea is sound, I guess we'll know in a few months whether it works in practice. I am concerned about the calculations. I'm fairly certain I'll end up under-carbed tis first attempt. Better to play it safe than have exploding bottles everywhere.

Jmattioli
09-05-2004, 07:09 PM
Wlkdwaze wrote:
;DIf I didn't know better, I'd think you were saying I'm stubborn ;D
Stubborn? No. Just persistantly trying to make a better bicycle before you ever rode one. And after Oskaar's definition, I would say you could eliminate insanity and are most definitely bordering on genius. But---- can a genius make mead--- or just conceive it in his mind? Time will tell, and I for one am cheering for you. None I know has put more effort in research and thinking before making it as you have. I salute you.
Joe

WikdWaze
09-06-2004, 03:57 AM
Wlkdwaze wrote:
Stubborn? No. Just persistantly trying to make a better bicycle before you ever rode one. And after Oskaar's definition, I would say you could eliminate insanity and are most definitely bordering on genius. But---- can a genius make mead--- or just conceive it in his mind? Time will tell, and I for one am cheering for you. None I know has put more effort in research and thinking before making it as you have. I salute you.
JoeAll the research is just a way to bide my time until I get everything together. If I had already had the ingredients, it would already be fermenting. Then I'd be researching and saying "Oops, shoulda done that instead".

I would like to thank everybody who has provided input, both positive and negative. Every suggestion has caused me to think things through from a different angle, to ponder things I had overlooked. Within 2 weeks or so it will be happily bubbling away in the freezer and I can commence developing my next recipe.

Oskaar
09-06-2004, 05:47 AM
But the fact that some geniuses were
laughed at does not imply that all
who are laughed at are geniuses.
They laughed at Columbus, they laughed
at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers.
But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.
Carl Sagan

Great spirits have always encountered
violent opposition from mediocre minds.
Albert Einstein

Shaddup and pass the Ketchup!
Oskaar

ScottS
09-06-2004, 07:19 PM
Hey Oscaar (and anyone else for that matter),

When you make these ultra-sweet (from my point of view) meads with FG at or above 1.040, how long do you age these things? And what is your typical FG? I'm just curious because in retrospect, my bias against meads that sweet comes from a raspberry melomel that is now just over a year old. If I can expect it to mellow further, perhaps my opinion will end up changing a bit.

Oskaar
09-06-2004, 11:21 PM
They do take a long time.

Final gravity on my favorite so far (a cherry melomel) was 1.043. It was laying down for about four years. I kept tasting every six months and tweaking it to add flavor balance.

In the secondary I put some coriander, blood orange zest and two cloves (whole) in a separate bag. Also added more extrememly ripe cherries (King Sweet, Bing and Brooks)

I used oak chips (then cubes) twice along the way the first was for six weeks, the second was for four weeks. I used a light toast the first time, and a heavy toast the second time. Also added some acid blend in small amounts the last two rackings.

I'm about done with the last of this mel. Someone somewhere mentioned that they had a seven year old mead. My hat is off to anyone who can keep it that long. This lasted four, and that is the longest I've had any around. It's funny because I have bottled of Scotch that are 33 years old and some wines that are between 20 and 30 years old, but I can't keep mead very long.

I would say that the flavor of this melomel is very much like a good super ripe cherry followed by a Chambord flavor, with a hint of Gran Marnier and vanilla down the center with some caramel and spice on the sides.

Hope that helps,

Oskaar