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abejita
01-20-2006, 08:01 PM
I started a sassafras mead the end of September and it's the first thing I've made so far that's had me saying, "Wow, I might be kinda good at this." The first time I racked it, I thought it was horrendous-- between the alcohol bite and the herbal bitterness/bite I wanted to pitch it out on the spot. But the color was so pretty, and all you guys are always telling people "No! Patience!" So I drew out a sample at second racking. Wow. Good stuff. It's smooth, it's fragrant, it's lightly sweet. The color is a rich, brown-tinged sassafras red. I have some other good meads going, but this one takes the cake.

2 lb blackberry honey
1.5 lb Stroope's Texas Wildflower Honey
tiny pinch of tannin
40 oz sassafras decoction
2 teabags of sassafras
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 oz chopped, unsulphited raisins
Lalvin D47 yeast
added a bundle of fresh sage for one month
currently aging with one star anise

hedgehog
01-29-2006, 01:25 AM
Congrats on the yummy mead!
Have a question for you..
Are you/did you have any carbonation issues with your sassafrass mead?? (ie. too much CO2 in the mead.. instant volcano if the carboy is disturbed during ferment?? anything of the sort?? )
I realize that you used a completely different sassafrass source than I did, but I am wondering if there is something in sassafrass extracts to hold extra CO2 into the mead. Or perhaps I messed something up. Anyhow, just wanted to ask, since you made a sassafrass mead that turned out nicely.
just wondering,
hedgehog

abejita
01-29-2006, 01:41 AM
I haven't had any problems with carbonation at all. What sassafras source did you use? Pappy's? I used the straight bark to make the decoction and in the teabags.

hedgehog
01-29-2006, 03:15 AM
Yeah,
I used the Pappy's extract. Besides the fact that sassafrass bark/roots are really tough to get around here, I did not want to take the chance with the safrole. (i have enough possible sources of cancer as it is, why add another??)

abejita
01-29-2006, 12:48 PM
Yeah,
I used the Pappy's extract. Besides the fact that sassafrass bark/roots are really tough to get around here, I did not want to take the chance with the safrole. (i have enough possible sources of cancer as it is, why add another??)


Eh. As a West Virginian, it's something I've been drinking all my life, and I test with normal liver function. I'm really skeptical about the warnings regarding safrole, especially after watching what the FDA did, banning comfrey sale for internal use for similar reasons. Comfrey contains less concentrated carcinogens than commercial beer, yet it's now illegal for all but external use products.

I wouldn't drink sassafras every day, but it's a good spring tonic or occasional drink. The testing they did on rats involved daily dosing.

abejita
01-29-2006, 12:58 PM
"The root bark of sassafras contains the compound safrole, which is banned by the FDA for use in food, along with sassafras. This ban was instituted in 1960, after laboratory animals developed cancer when injected with large amounts of safrole. The flavoring used in root beer must be "safrole-free." Smaller amounts of safrole are also found in black pepper, star anise, basil, cinnamon leaf, nutmeg, sage and witch hazel, but so far these herbs have not come under fire.

The results of some studies suggest that comfrey, coltsfoot and sassafras may have anti-cancer properties—in one study, a comfrey leaf tea was shown to decrease tumor growth. Bruce Ames, Ph.D., Chairman of the Biochemistry Department, University of California, Berkeley, has said that the risk of one cup of root tea is comparable to that of a peanut butter sandwich, a diet soda containing saccharin and one raw button mushroom. Mice given an extract made from the whole comfrey plant had their immune systems stimulated. When people were given small doses of safrole, it did not create any cancer-producing substances. This led researchers to suggest that the toxic reaction in humans is different from that in rats. It seems that we have much more to learn about determining herbal toxicity."

http://www.mothernature.com/Library/Bookshelf/Books/15/104.cfm