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Thread: *Theoretical* Distilation

  1. Default *Theoretical* Distilation

    I have heard of various people distilling their mead to increase alcohol content, or rather to reduce water and such. This is usually discouraged for varous reasons (i.e. its illegal), but if one was to theroretically (sp*) distill a mead what would be the danger from methanol. Also, is there any way to remove the trace amounts left from distillation (probably the freezing method). I know that the boiling point of methanol is lower than that of ethanol, so it should be theroretically possible to boil out the methanol w/o losing to much more of the mead. However, im not sure what effect this might have on the meads quality. Any input would be interesting.

  2. #2

    Default Re: *Theoretical* Distilation

    A reflux still is what you want. It is the most effecient and if you use the proper building materials it will be completely safe to drink.
    My dad and I were considering building one to try and make ethanol and see if it would be possible to get off the oil addiction. Unfortunetly it is impractical. After the cost of the copper needed. Which after some research we were able to locate materials at a very affordable rate, the amount of "beer" to finished alcohol is about 10-1. This all compounded the reasons not to bother.
    In the process I found a lot of great information on the web about building a reflux still. I even found plans to build a small output still from a regular stove top hot water kettle. I don't have the links handy but google reflux still and you will find loads of info.

    The thought to distill my mead has crossed my mind a few times, but the thought of making 5 gallons of mead to come up with .5 gallons of mead liquor seems like a huge waste of time and of good mead.

  3. Default Re: *Theoretical* Distilation

    I think it would be primarily useful on some sort of quick mead that doesnt tie resources for very long.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: *Theoretical* Distilation

    Quote Originally Posted by RunningMan
    ... but if one was to theroretically (sp*) distill a mead what would be the danger from methanol. Also, is there any way to remove the trace amounts left from distillation (probably the freezing method). I know that the boiling point of methanol is lower than that of ethanol, so it should be theroretically possible to boil out the methanol w/o losing to much more of the mead. However, im not sure what effect this might have on the meads quality. Any input would be interesting.
    If one were to "theoretically" continue this line of discussion on this board, they may find that the moderators will inform them that home hooch distillation is:

    1. illegal
    2. imprecise
    3. discouraged

    Distillation can happen accidentally when mead is frozen. I'm not going to go into particulars because this board is about mead not distillation. There are a number of other boards out there on the web that have lots of very good information on distillation. I'd suggest them as a better resource than gotmead.

    As Kace mentioned above, distillation of mead seems like a terrible waste of mead to me.

    Cheers,
    Oskaar
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

  5. Default Re: *Theoretical* Distilation

    Distilling mead in a reflux still sounds like a terrible waste of mead to me, too. You're better off using fermented sugared water.

    Distilling mead in a pot still sounds like it would make a brandy beyond all delight. You can buy a hand-hammered copper pot still kit for about the same price as an intermediate homebrewing kit. Unfortunately, they are only legal in NZ.

    If you freeze-distill, you will eventually go blind.

    If you find someplace to legally purchase mead brandies, please let us know. It sounds delightful.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: *Theoretical* Distilation

    Again, distillation is not the core competancy of this forum and is illegal if you are not properly licensed.

    Please move on.

    Oskaar
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: *Theoretical* Distilation

    There aren't any mead brandies out there, that I know of, but there *are* brandy *fortified* meads..... I've got these in the US:

    Woodstone Creek in Ohio:
    CROWNE AMBER - INDIANAPOLIS INTERNATIONAL BRONZE MEDAL WINNER 2005, FINGER LAKES INTERNATIONAL BRONZE MEDAL WINNER 2006. Woodstone Creek exclusive and our best selling dessert wine! Spiced honeywine fortified with oaked brandy. Serve like port or over ice. Use as substitute for rum in mixed drinks. Also, add to caramel, chocolate or raspberry sauce over desserts like cheesecake, ice cream or pound cake. Good in coffee drinks.
    Sweet, 19% ABV, residual sweetness - 9
    ===========================
    LEGACY - Plain honeywine, aged with oaked brandy, port style. Unique to Woodstone Creek.
    Sweet, 19% ABV, residual sweetness - 9


    and these outside the US:

    Bartholomew's Meadery - West Australia
    Bartholomews Honey Liqueur ~

    ... is an outstanding drop. Made with premium quality honey, sweetened with a selection of honeys from the South Coast of Western Australia and fortified with first class brandy spirit. This liqueur is a pure delight. It is smooth and round in flavour, has a great nose and a long palate. Drink now or cellar for years. (17.5 % alc/vol)


    So, while you can't get a *distilled* mead, you can see what they might taste like.....

    Vicky - who has a bottle each of the Woodstone Creek meads to taste and review later this month
    Wassail!

    Vicky Rowe
    Owner & Webmistress, Gotmead.com
    Executive Director, American Mead Makers Association
    http://www.mead-makers.org
    Making Mead since 1995

  8. #8

    Default Re: *Theoretical* Distilation

    Barenjager, imported from Germany is some sort of honey liquor. I'm not exactly sure about the specifics but I have recently read a little history on the drink.

    Beekeepers in Germany in the past made this type of drink of distilled alcohol and honey to lure bears away from their colonies. The word BarenJager translates to "Bear something" I will have to find the article.

    I bought some a year or two ago and it is defenitly different. But not something I plan on buying again. It goes for just over $20 a bottle.

  9. Default Re: *Theoretical* Distilation

    I was not actually planning to distill, but was more interested in the method, and if the mead flavor would be preserved.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: *Theoretical* Distilation

    I think, based on what I've learned about the process via books, websites and such, that it depends on what you distill, and the process used.

    The distilled products I've tasted (both commercial and otherwise) have had a residual flavor of the original wine that was used, but most of the flavor goes away.

    Vicky - who had some yummy peach hooch last week
    Wassail!

    Vicky Rowe
    Owner & Webmistress, Gotmead.com
    Executive Director, American Mead Makers Association
    http://www.mead-makers.org
    Making Mead since 1995

  11. #11

    Default Re: *Theoretical* Distilation

    Take it for what it's worth ... I had some distilled mead several months ago and I thought it tasted like crap!

  12. Default Re: *Theoretical* Distilation

    Quote Originally Posted by RunningMan
    I was not actually planning to distill, but was more interested in the method, and if the mead flavor would be preserved.
    Even though they are somewhat inefficient, a pot still would be one of the best ways to preserve some of the mead essence. Others have already commented on the legal aspects, unless you are luck enough to live in New Zealand where home distallation is legal

  13. Default Re: *Theoretical* Distilation

    I tend to agree with Vicki. Since honey is almost 100% fermentable, sweet meads have a lot of the honey character. Dry meads have much less and once distilled, the honey flavor and aroma would probably be all but lost... But I'll try anything once!

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