Bourbon Barrel aged mead

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Re: Bourbon Barrel aged mead

Postby DetroitDIY » Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:18 am

Yep, I've been doing most of my meads quite sweet. I prepped 16 gallons of water last night and have been bringing it down to the temp for the yeast. Programmed my new controller for my kegerator (really a fermenteezer) for ideal fermentation temps. Today I'm pitching 16 gallons of a buckwheat honey traditional. Had the same thought that you're expressing ShineOn... don't do it too sweet, and the barrel will add some anyways. So my plan has been to do it at 22 Brix, which will come out to 12% when fully attenuated. After 3 weeks it'll go into my rum barrel I'm just emptying. I'll have to watch it tightly so I don't overwhelm it with rum flavor. Once it's at the level I like, I'll be pulling it out and breaking it into (3) 5 gallon batches. One stays traditional, and the other two I plan to play with.
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Re: Bourbon Barrel aged mead

Postby Shine0n » Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:04 pm

Sounds interesting with pure buckwheat, I've heard many many mixed feelings on it but I like strange and unusual that's why I do what I do.

Did you read my other post on the boysenberry melomel?

If this stuff is good....I'll never loose 1/2 my batch to racking and sediment again. We'll see in the next few months!
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Re: Bourbon Barrel aged mead

Postby DetroitDIY » Sun Oct 14, 2018 5:12 pm

Yes, I know there's two camps regarding Buckwheat. I've tried a few others have made and they were good. Variety is the spice... or something like that.

Regarding sediment, rack and then let it settle, then rack, etc. Time and gravity will do wonders. Sometimes it'll take my melomel 6 months or more for me to settle. Peach is a son of a B. If I don't wait long enough, it settles in the bottle some.
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Re: Bourbon Barrel aged mead

Postby Shine0n » Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:37 am

This stuff is a puree or at least it states it on the packaging. Super concentrate and is clear in respect to its color.
I rack and rack and rack and that's why I lose so much volume.
I don't like to keep fruits in either primary or secondary no more than 2 week as the flavors have been extracted and increases the chances of off flavors and or spoilage.

I'll give this stuff a try and see what it's about and determine whether it tastes fake or not. If nothing else I'll use it in some ice cream or pastries

I'm not the best or even close to being a "great" mead maker but I'm getting better and steadily learning about the craft.

Kinda with distilling, once you get the basics down you experiment. That's where I'm at with mead, having fun and spending money. lol
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Re: Bourbon Barrel aged mead

Postby Honest_Liberty » Sat Feb 23, 2019 8:59 pm

So I've picked up some Prince & Spring clover honey on sale online. 20lb for $37.95 shipped free.
I found this recipe:

https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/ ... erry-mead/


Here is my conundrum. I want to create a fantastic mead and I'm willing to wait 2 years to drink it. However, I don't want to spend $150 on ingredients.

I tasted a wonderful raspberry mead, local in Colorado, but man that would put me way over budget.
I'm interested in a cherry mead like that recipe but they don't list initial gravity. I have no idea how to make that recipe and decide what % alcohol it will end up. I'm not sure how reliable this is, becuase if so, 2lb/gallon would be about 10.2% before any added fruit. Any fruit added would be run through my Kitchenaide slow juicer attachment. Painfully, slowly, over a few days because that would be way too much to run straight without letting everything cool.
it actually sounds like a real PITA but whatever, thats the home made way. time vs. money.

Does that sound correct? I would prefer to make 10 gallons instead of 7 if those numbers would be close, adding 15 pounds of fruit to hopefully get it near 12%, but I want the cherry flavor so I would add most during secondary.

thoughts?
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Re: Bourbon Barrel aged mead

Postby Yonder » Sat Feb 23, 2019 10:21 pm

Best to make up a small batch of 1 or 2 gallons, keep it on glass for a couple of months and see if you like the developing flavors. AHA Recipies are, in my humble opinion, just a glimpse of what could be. Do not leap right in on the deep end for big bucks. Sort of like getting a copy of your mother-in-law's recipe. Theres always somthing left out in the process...
Make your base mead, add you adjuncts sparingly, watch your acids, and taste...taste...taste.
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Re: Bourbon Barrel aged mead

Postby DetroitDIY » Sun Feb 24, 2019 7:43 pm

Lots of different ways to do mead, opportunities to explore. I have friends like Yonder who crank out 1 gallon at a time and kick off a new batch or two each month. I'm more of a mass quantity maker (5 - 15 gallons per batch), but pay the price when I get it wrong.

I will put in 3-4 lbs honey / gallon water for many of my meads. Even at 3 lbs, mine ferment completely out. At 4 lbs it'll yield 15%+ ABV and leave unfermented sugars behind for my sweeter tendencies

Look for tart cherries if you can: Balaton and Montmorency are two good varieties I'll get around here. Tartness is especially important if you're making a sweeter mead as I do.

You shouldn't have to wait 2 years for fantastic. Don't cook your honey (unless you're making a bochet), look up staggered nutrient regimes, use temperature control during your fermentation, consider step feeding of honey if you're using a lot like I do, avoid turbulence and oxygenating as you transfer from your primary to secondary and whatever vessel after that.

I did everything wrong (none of what I'm describing above) when I first made meads. Some took 4 years to become drinkable, but never got good. Now I'm enjoying the meads in 6-12 months.

Have a good time Liberty
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Re: Bourbon Barrel aged mead

Postby Honest_Liberty » Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:38 am

Oh boy. Thanks Detroit. So many steps. I wanted to dilute with spring water, add half weight juiced fruit to primary, pitch decent yeast that cold tolerate 70-75°F without creating off flavors, (since it'll be in my brew room that shares the furnace room in the basement), rack to secondary, add the rest of fruit also juiced, and hopefully bottle within a year.

Maybe I could start with 10-12 pounds honey, equal cherries, or maybe juice the 4lb raspberry, blackberry, blueberry blend from Costco for primary, and 6 pounds cherry in secondary.

Would that be too crazy? From what I've read, it is my understanding little flavor remains from adding fruit into primary, so it may be a nice subtle undertone with a more pronounced cherry. Thoughts?

This would keep my efforts and about $50 for five gallons, or $2/bottle which is super cheap
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Re: Bourbon Barrel aged mead

Postby still_stirrin » Mon Feb 25, 2019 1:25 pm

DetroitDIY wrote:Lots of different ways to do mead:
1) Don't cook your honey (unless you're making a bochet), look up staggered nutrient regimes, use temperature control during your fermentation,
2) consider step feeding of honey if you're using a lot like I do, avoid turbulence and oxygenating as you transfer from your primary to secondary and whatever vessel after that.

Wise words here DDiY.

I use this protocol for all my mead ferments. Rich, flavorful and quite "warming". Mead...it's a dessert.

Honest_Liberty wrote:...This would keep my efforts and about $50 for five gallons, or $2/bottle which is super cheap

Don"t "cheap out". Better to "invest wisely". Better product, greater satisfaction. And, the women LOVE IT.
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Re: Bourbon Barrel aged mead

Postby Yonder » Mon Feb 25, 2019 10:24 pm

Honest_Liberty wrote:Maybe I could start with 10-12 poundts honey, equal cherries, or maybe juice the 4lb raspberry, blackberry, blueberry blend from Costco for primary, and 6 pounds cherry in secondary.


Well, seems lite on the honey to start with, which will cut down the abv. I go 2.5-2.75 per gallon to hit 12.5. 1 lb per gallon will net you right about 6. You'll get some fruit flavor and a little boost in the primary, and a lot of muck. Hit around 2 lb a gallon in secondary, maybe less, let it go for around 3 weeks to a month to develop. Then kill the fermentation, and either bottle it or put on oak to soak up some of the fruity tartness. Watch that acid in fresh berry fruits. Taste it for smoothness and back sweetening before deciding. I'd hold some of the same honey in reserve for sweetening, maybe up to 1/4 lb per gallon if it gets real dry or real tart. Be sure to use potassium sorbate or some other to kill the ferment before back sweetening or you'll go dry again and maybe bust some bottles.

Or not.... :moresarcasm:
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Re: Bourbon Barrel aged mead

Postby Honest_Liberty » Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:25 am

Thanks for the input. Still... I'm a cheap bastard when it comes to just about everything. Maybe better, a value guy. However, I'm fighting everyday with that behavior because you folks are right. It's just that I typically drink what i make so fast that i can't afford to spend tons on ingredients, but I'm slowly learning to ease off volume. Taking days off from consumption, having less with each session, etc. Unfortunately, my wife does not enjoy Mead. She loves my sweet feed though. She really loves bourbon but I am struggling with aging so far

I notice step additions were mentioned, how would I do that while minimizing the possibility of contamination. Start with 6 gallons, then add another 2 mixed with more honey, then two more?

If 2 pounds per gallon honey nets 12% abv, and I add 6 pounds of mixed berries, juiced, so they don't have any pulp, just liquids, that should at least up there abv another % or 2, no? I read that blueberries have 85% available sugar.

What yeast would work best, in your opinion, temperature of 70-75F? I would like to end up around 13% abv Max, with semi sweet flavor. Maybe the cherries in secondary would offset the residual sweetness of the honey.

It seems the more I read the more I confuse myself

So, to summarize at I understand this:

2lb honey/gallon is approximately 12%
If I add fruit I need to monitor acid, even in primary? So i might need to something basic to up the pH?
I thought the nutrients from the fruit would assist in primary fermentation

I'm going to need to keep reading and formulate an exact process and recipe before I begin this. Hopefully by next weekend
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Re: Bourbon Barrel aged mead

Postby Shine0n » Wed Feb 27, 2019 1:29 pm

Been away for a while and im still on the road but checked in and see alot going on, good deal folks!

One of my favorite meads is blueberry so ill tell you what i did, it was fantastic too!

5 gallon batch with decent clover honey
15 lb clover
Water to 5 gallons
71B yeast
Fermaid o nutrient (dont remember the amount) tonsa
20lbs blueberry (pectic enzyme 24 hours before pitching yeast),
I split the berries, 10 lb primary 10 in secondary

When i say water to 5 gallons means add the honey then fill to 5, not the opposite or youll have a thin product imo.

Batchbuilder has a nice and easy program you can use to tailor you batch according to your needs and give you the option for fermaid k and fermaid o. Great tool for free, there are other sites you can join for a small price but im like you...cheap bastard! Lol

When using fruit they will have some of their own nutes so you can dial back on the amount shown on batchbuilder but remember that honey is damn near void of them so to make a batch ferment quicker and cleaner youll still need to use nutes. I myself use ferm o and love it, as a matter of fact i have 2 kg i got in the mail the other day my wife told me so im hoping to get home soon to make some new meads.

Fruits DO have sugars but remember that they also contain ALOT of water for the vast majority of fruits and will lower your sg.

If i ever get enough money saved up id love to use all fruit and no water, like 50 lb berries for a 5 gallon batch or what ever it ends up being total but thats down the road at some point.

Scottlab handbook it a great "free" pdf and has every yeast known and their specs on each and description of each.

Yonder, still havent forgotten ya buddy! My wife says the bb mel is chillin in the fridge waiting and damn i cant wait to get home. Its been a long couple months thats for sure.

Im sure I've forgotten some things but if you look into those sites i mentioned, you'll find any and everything youll need to get going and make some fine mead.

Modern mead makers on fb is a great resource too, ill say hi when you join but you may never know my real name lol.
Peace folks, gotta get in the work mode for round two now.
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Re: Bourbon Barrel aged mead

Postby Honest_Liberty » Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:36 pm

Shine, thank you!
Dang I didn't realize it would lower the SG.
I'm going to follow your instructions. I'm still going to juice them so there should be minimal volume and pulp.

I'm excited. Just ordered the Hillsdale large cherry bar for my basement, got it used in very good condition for half price!

My basement will be finished in less than three weeks. Then I can get this going. I'm excited. Thanks everyone!
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Re: Bourbon Barrel aged mead

Postby Honest_Liberty » Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:55 am

So that batch builder gave me the files for a 6 gallon batch:
20 lbs honey
for 13% abv
Semi sweet
I'm confused. I apologize but I really want to dial this in exact.
1. That seems high compared to your numbers
2. I can't determine how straight juiced cherries will add to that ABV
3. I want to end up with 6 gallons after multiple rackings

It doesn't mention a specific yeast. I'd like to pitch this Sunday so approval input is appreciated

I'll submit screen shots when i can get in my computer and do the editing
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Re: Bourbon Barrel aged mead

Postby Yonder » Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:35 pm

Well,to get 6 gals you could start around 6.5- 6.75 to allow for loss. Some liquid will be lost in each rack. 3 lbs of good honey per gallon is going to put you in that ballpark. Sweetness of the final product is determined more by back sweetening after killing the yeast in secondary, remember fermentation eats the sugar so unless you're grossly over sweet goin in your product in primary will be pretty dry. Split the cherries between primary ferment and secondary. Use pectic acid to break 'em down the day before. That may still be pretty tart so look to mellow a bit with some oaking or a little vanilla. You can rack off a pint before bottling and make a bunch of 3 oz glasses. Add a touch of tannin or acid or whatever a little at a time until you add too much then back up one step. The rest is just math...bottle it.
By the way, this is why I start a new recipe at 1 or 2 gals.
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Re: Bourbon Barrel aged mead

Postby DetroitDIY » Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:23 pm

One other thought. I've not done much back sweetening. Lots of mead makers I know say they can taste the difference of residual honey that went through the fermentation process and was not attenuated, vs. new honey added in after the fact. So far I just ferment it and get what I get. But the way to back sweeten and not have the new honey aspect is to ferment a dry version and a sweet version and then blend until you're happy.
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Re: Bourbon Barrel aged mead

Postby Yonder » Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:03 pm

Ya also asked about yeasts. I roll with 71B for straight meads and D47 for melomels.
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