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  1. Default How can I get a molasses flavor to my mead?

    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?

  2. #2
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    Dec 2014
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    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.

  3. Default

    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.

  4. #4
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    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.

  5. Default

    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

  6. #6

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    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.
    It goes ding when there's stuff.

  7. #7
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    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.

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ostensibly View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by mannye View Post
    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.

  9. #9
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    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.

  10. Default

    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.

  11. #11
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    Dec 2004
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    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
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

  12. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bernardsmith View Post
    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.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  13. #13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Oskaar View Post
    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!
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Salt Lake City, Utah
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    Default

    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
    You may see the stars but still not see the light!

    Storm1969 "when you know the rules, you are a tradesman, when you follow the rules you are a craftsman, when you know when to break the rules you are an artisan"!

  15. #15
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    [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.

  16. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bernardsmith View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by edblanford View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatchy View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oskaar View Post
    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?

  17. Default

    Try werthers candies in the secondary.

    Sent from my SM-N910T using Tapatalk

  18. #18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JewishMonk View Post
    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
    Making fake establishing dates since 1864!

  19. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pokerfacepablo View Post
    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/

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by JewishMonk View Post
    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.

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    Making fake establishing dates since 1864!

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