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honey recipes

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#1 neddles

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 03:07 PM

Ok I'm new here and haven't made tons of mead so I am hoping to draw from the experience of the collective brain here. Sure would appreciate any feedback you're willing to throw my way. Here is the recipe I am almost ready to make.10lbs. Honey (variety TBD)1 Qt. maple syrup (B-Grade)Water to About 3.5 Gallons or about SG:1.12410 Lalvin 71B-1122 yeast5 lbs. Thawed pitted Montmorency cherries10 oz. Bourbon of choice2 oz. Med.- plus American Oak cubesGo-FermGeneric DAPFermaid-KMix honey, syrup, and water. Add yeast rehydrated in go-ferm and oxygenate. Add stage 1 Hightest SNA protocol. Add stage 2 and 3 SNA when appropriate. 14% tolerance of the yeast should take this to about 1.020. When complete or nearly complete rack onto 5 lbs. (~1/2 gal.) thawed/pitted Montmorency cherries in a 3 gal. carboy. Rack leftover mead from primary into a gallon jug or half gallon growler and seal with an airlock. Age on cherries for 3-6 months or to taste. When level of desired cherry flavor is obtained (take into consideration cherry flavor will be diluted somewhat by topping off below) soak oak cubes in bourbon for 48hrs. then rack onto the oak cubes and the bourbon in another 3 gal. carboy. Top off lost volume from cherries with mead from the growler. Leave on oak to taste (tasting after one week and periodically until satisfied) and rack again into another 3 gal. carboy. Top volume again from growler and bulk condition for 6 months or more. Backsweeten or add acid or neither to taste and bottle.Please be critical, pick it apart if you will, just tell me the "why" if you do. Please tell me both why this will or will not work.Technical considerations?Any obvious errors. Suggestions?Recommendations for a good honey variety to employ here… OB, Tupelo, Meadowfoam?Should I use D47 instead of 71b since the cherry aging will presumably be on lees for a while and the tolerance is similar? Will it matter?Is 5 lbs. of Montmorency cherries going to be enough? Too much?Would the full 10g of yeast be too much for the batch size?Perhaps a touch of a split vanilla bean along the way somewhere wouldn’t hurt?Thank You.
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#2 neddles

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 03:42 PM

71B can take a mead to 16% with SNA.Cherries and maple syrup will ferment out with a different flavour than they are before fermentation. Doesn't mean it won't be good, but don't expect too obvious maple.

I wondered about that as I recently had a Fall's Bounty Cyser drop from 1.126 to 1.004 in 10 days w/ SNA. Would you up the gravity to compensate or just plan to backsweeten pending the outcome of the FG reading. Also with the yeast maxed out and the bourbon addition at the end, would you still sulfite/sorbate before backsweetening?Also I wasn't expecting too much maple to come through with the relatively small amount used, just wanted a touch. However if it is thought that the single quart here is insignificant/unnoticable I'll probably drop it. I've no experience fermenting maple syrup.
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#3 MtnBrewer

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 08:07 AM

One other suggestion I'd make when it comes time to add the bourbon is to try just a little in a glass with the mead to see if those flavors are going to work together.

#4 Genesee Ted

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 09:17 AM

I think that you may need more cherries depending on how much flavor you want from them too. I have never used Montmorency cherries, but with other cherries, I usually shoot for 1.5 to 2 lbs per gallon. Also, did you already pit the cherries? If not, perhaps keep them in there. They add a nice flavor according to Schramm.

#5 MtnBrewer

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 10:37 AM

I think that you may need more cherries depending on how much flavor you want from them too. I have never used Montmorency cherries, but with other cherries, I usually shoot for 1.5 to 2 lbs per gallon. Also, did you already pit the cherries? If not, perhaps keep them in there. They add a nice flavor according to Schramm.

Teed that one up for Guest quite nicely. :cheers:

#6 neddles

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 12:13 PM

Yeah good ideas here and just what I was looking for, thanks.Perhaps some more cherries wouldn't be a bad idea. Will definitely try a sample with the bourbon first. Try a sample backsweetened with the maple first too. Alternatively I have considered carbing one gallon, bourbon and oaking one gallon, and using oak and a very small amount of fresh spearmint on one gallon. We'll see I guess.Montmorency is a tart cherry and they came to me pitted and frozen. If this goes well I will be using cherries from my own tree this summer to make this again. My tree is the variety Evans, similar to Montmorency, and the owner of the nursery I bought it from suggested that it makes exceptional mead, we'll see. All I know at this point is that it makes great pies and preserves. I would definitely leave some pits (not crushed first) in next time around.Any other ideas?
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#7 armagh

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 08:39 AM

Other than providing an additional source of fermentable sugars, the maple syrup will serve little purpose. I would consider replacing it with honey. The reason($) being is that having done acerglyns, maple syrup when aged to completion has an almost citrusy bouquet. That will be covered up in this recipe by a.) cherries and b.) bourbon. I agree with doobahstop the recipe would benefit from more cherries. If you're concerned about using pits, Penzeys sells mahlab which, when cracked and added in secondary enhances cherry esters (they are dried cherry pits from the Middle East that have been used in baking for centuries). As Guest mentioned earlier, if you want to back sweeten with maple syrup, you might get some taste of it in the finished product, but not likely if it is fermented.

Edited by armagh, 22 February 2012 - 08:40 AM.

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#8 MtnBrewer

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 09:36 AM

There is also a spice called fenugreek that has a flavor similar to maple syrup. It is used in artificial maple flavoring. So if you really want that maple flavor, you might consider adding some of that to the mix. Also make sure you use the spice and not the herb.

#9 neddles

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 09:16 PM

Ok so you've convinced me that the maple syrup is not going to add much here. Fenugreek is a good idea and I wonder how it might work in some other meads but I'm afraid it is too familiar to me to try to sub it for maple. However, you mentioned extract and I hadn't even thought of that. Pure maple extract. Once I've got the cherry and bourbon where I like it i think I may try a touch of extract in a glass the way MtnBrewer suggested with the bourbon. So now if I go straight honey for the fermentable portion of the must does anyone have a honey recommendation? As with the maple syrup am I likely to overwhelm most honeys with the cherries and bourbon?I will definitely look into the mahlab. Seen it at Penzeys but it didn't even cross my mind.Again thanks for the help here everyone. Part of the fun of this is being able to come up with my own recipe and then put it into practice. As a part of that I want to put at least some thought in to it. I don't just want to throw a bunch of s__t together "'cause it sounds good" and then see what happens.
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#10 armagh

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 06:21 AM

For that recipe, I would be looking for something simple, like clover, alfalfa or something equally mild. The finer aromatics/esters of something like OB or Tupelo will surrender to the cherries/bourbon anyway. If you want to get radical, avacado with a spalsh of buckwheat would provide a strong canvas for the fruit/spirit additions, but that would be a bold move as both are "robust" (I love that word) honeys.
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#11 MtnBrewer

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 08:32 AM

I concur with armagh on the choice of honey. Certainly there's nothing wrong with using Tupelo if you happen to have a bunch of it lying around. However the subtleties of some of the finer honeys will be lost. So something neutral like clover or alfalfa would be what I'd recommend.

#12 neddles

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 11:55 AM

Started this a couple of days ago. Skipped the maple used 13.8# local wildflower honey that is said to be mostly clover, 10g of 71b. She's cooking away pretty good right now. I think im going to try the mahlab. Having never used it can anyone recommend a quantity? Should I tea bag steep it in secondary like I would herbs or spices?
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