View Full Version : Maple Syrup, Buckwheat Honey, and Oak

12-02-2004, 03:31 AM
Ho, I'm thinking about making a batch of this mead once the ones that are going right now finish up. (although, I somehow have the feeling that the sage mead will have to be allowed to bulk age for a while, if I want to drink it).

Maple Syrup: I've seen this referenced to be used in a 1:1 proportion with honey, or 1:2, or whatever. What are your experiences using it, and do I need to pasteurize it before I add it to the must or should I treat it like honey otherwise? I am planning on getting grade B for maximum flavor (so I won't have to replace as much honey with it, meaning more honey flavor). Is this not recommended?

Buckwheat Honey: I'll need at least a gallon of it for this project, where do you suggest I locate a gallon of it for cheap? Unpasteurized and unfiltered.

Oak: I've been eyeing these oak cubes, and have a few questions, can you describe the differences in taste between toasts, and what toast do you recommend I get for a good balance with the rest of the mead? Should I add these to bulk aging, or sometime during secondary fermentation?
American, french or croatian?

12-04-2004, 06:53 AM
Man, you guys sure are quiet. So I decided to go for 8 oz of medium plus toast croatian oak cubes, should I use 1 or 2 oz per 7 gallon batch?
I was at sam's today and saw that they had half gallons of maple syrup for 9 dollars... Its not grade B, but it is grade A dark amber. Still worth going after a gallon of that instead of mail order for grade B?
And, I'm looking at dutch gold honey's website and their 5 gallon pail of buckwheat honey. Has anyone used it and is it raw or processed?

12-04-2004, 08:52 AM
Leaving this one for Oskaar since he has lots of oak cube experience. Buckwheat cheap comes in 5 gallon pails from Dutch Gold at less than 2.00 per lb. Smaller quanties are expensive. Have no experience with maple syrup so I can't comment.

12-04-2004, 05:16 PM
Hey fortuna,

Generally there are three types of oak that you can choose from, American, French and Hungarian. Each of them has their own unique flavor and the toast level basically manipulates that flavor to a greater and lesser degree.

Generally the heavy toast level imparts more of the vanilla flavor with some nice sweet overtones, and some pronounced smokey/carbonized oak, dark chocolate and caramel flavor. The medium to medium plus toast levels impart a mild combination of vanilla and caramel, a hint of chocolate and some smokey/woody characteristics. The low toast level will blow most meads out of the water, it is a very aggressive full-on oak bomb. There is sweetness but it is in the flavor of the wood rather than a separate flavor. I tell people to take a small snifter of Jack Daniels and heat it up in the microwave for about 15 seconds. Take a deep breath and the oak will be fully apparent.

Generally I use medium plus toast for a two month infusion of oak, and then finish off with heavy toast for some additional complexity and flavors. Start with one half to one ounce of oak per 5 gallon carboy and taste test at the end of that period to determine where you want to go with the flavor. As far as the origin of the Oak, that one is really up to the palate of the maker and his/her target audience. I make what I like to keep it simple. I use American and French mostly with some Hungarian on occaision.

Here's some links to earlier posts on oak and oaking your meads.

http://gotmead.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=process;action=display;num=109923790 5;start=6#6

http://gotmead.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=process;action=display;num=109612985 8;start=4#4