Jump to content
Mr.Beer Community
Sign in to follow this  
swenocha

#15: (Almost Free) Berry and Lemongrass Mead

Recommended Posts

I thought I was going to do one of the beers I have queued up tonight, but decided at the last minute to do the mead instead. This may totally stink when complete, but here goes...

The honey ended up being free due to Kroger's policy to give the product free if you are overcharged (it was tagged on sale, but rang up full price)... Bonus! The frozen berries were on hand, as was the ginger, the hops, the corn sugar, and the wine yeast (most of the recipes called for champagne yeast, so I hope this yeast works out). The only outright purchase was $1 worth of lemongrass. So ROI on this brew is pretty darn good if it is good, and the loss is not much of anything if not...

I scaled down and modified to the ingredients on hand a Winner's Circle recipe to suit my needs. We'll see how it turns out. I don't know how accurate QBrew is with this type of concoction (the OG and FG in the book are wildly different, and the FG is listed in the book is below 1, but since I scaled down so much, and changed some ingredients, so no worries), and thus the characteristics may not be totally accurate...

Here's the recipe:

(Almost Free) Berry and Lemongrass Mead
----
Brewer: Swenocha
Style: Spice, Herb or Vegetable Beer
Batch: 1.00 galExtract

Characteristics
---------------
Recipe Gravity: 1.095 OG
Recipe Bitterness: 21 IBU
Recipe Color: 3° SRM
Estimated FG: 1.024
Alcohol by Volume: 9.2%
Alcohol by Weight: 7.2%

Ingredients
-----------
Corn Sugar 0.50 lb, Sugar, Other
Honey 2.00 lb, Sugar, Other
Raspberries. Blueberries, Blackberries (frozen)0.28 lb, Extract, Extract

Cascade 0.20 oz, Pellet, 60 minutes

Dry Wine Yeast 1.00 unit, Other,
Ginger 0.20 oz, Other, add to hop boil
Irish Moss 0.25 unit, Fining, add to hop boil
Lemongrass 2.50 gram, Other, steep, strain, add after ferment

Notes
-----
Recipe Notes:
Bring honey and 1.25 gallon to boil. Add hops, ground ginger, irish moss. Boil 60 min. Add sugar late in boil. Remove from heat. Add fruit. Cool to room temp. Load in 1 gallon fermenter, pitch.

After primary fermentation, steep lemongrass in a small amount of water. Strain and add steep liquid to the fermenter.

Ferment for approx 3 weeks. Bottle and let set for 6 months.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just added the lemongrass steep. Took the opportunity to take a little taste. Still pretty sweet, and has another week or two left to ferment, but it's quite tasty... Mmmm....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mmmmm... Mead...

4603099890_476c2d7b42_o.jpg

Just put this 1 gallon baby ferment to bottle. Pretty alcohol-y in taste right now. We'll see how it tastes at Thanksgiving (maybe I'll open one in a couple months)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks good dude!
I just bottled my 1st 2 batches last week and it had a alcohol kick to it. I'm going to let them sit for a few more months then I'll crack one open just to see where I'm at.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Almost six months in the bottle... Finally time for a first taste to see if it will be presentable to serve at Thanksgiving. Into the fridge!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

5152624236_8707e34f59_b.jpg

Not bad, but still pretty alcohol-y up front. I get the impression that it will be quite good once the edge is gone. There is a nice berry taste in there, but the alcohol flavor is a bit too up front.

I think I'll instead look to extend to Christmas... maybe Easter... ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't remember reading this before. I'm not sure how I missed not only the original post but the followups.

What was your FG reading? I would expect that with corn sugar, honey and wine yeast, I wouldn't be surprised if you ended up near or below 1. Which would put your ABV higher than QBrew estimated. Which would account for some of the alcohol taste.

I just did a quick google for mead aging and some people say it needs to age for at least a year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

swenocha wrote:

Nope. Don't intend to until Christmas...


...only 331 more shopping days left!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest System Admin

So did you sneak an easter taste?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest System Admin

I am thinking of trying a Mead, I am going to do the basic, with Honey and fruit, no sugar or add-ons later.

Just to try, the one I seen said 3-6 months ready to drink and sweet fruity taste.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmm.... long holiday weekend... in the bottle for a bit over a year... should I?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well did you ever taste it? Good grief your a bigger tease than Mary Jane Snagglecrotch was at my prom!! :blush:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

k9dude wrote:

Well did you ever taste it? Good grief your a bigger tease than Mary Jane Snagglecrotch was at my prom!! :blush:

:laugh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

oly wrote:

k9dude wrote:

Well did you ever taste it? Good grief your a bigger tease than Mary Jane Snagglecrotch was at my prom!! :blush:

:laugh:

I heard she is now called Murray James. :silly:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Zobl wrote:

oly wrote:

k9dude wrote:

Well did you ever taste it? Good grief your a bigger tease than Mary Jane Snagglecrotch was at my prom!! :blush:

:laugh:

I heard she is now called Murray James. :silly:

Well that explains it! For any woman to resist this package :dry: would just be insane! :blink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No tastes... In the bottle for something like 14 months now. Kinda forgot about 'em. I guess I could get up right now and throw one in the fridge... hmm...

EDIT: done...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've read alot of people tend to shy away from the champagne yeast anyway in favor of wine/bread yeasts usually. I've been thinking about trying a simple recipe myself as well. The recipe you posted seems like alot less work then alot of the others which have you continuously racking for months on end which is nice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It has smoothed out considerably in the last 10 months and the alcohol bite has subsided quite a bit (though it definitely is pretty potent... did a hydro reading and it's at 1.004, which means I hit about 12.3% abv), and the fruit has come forward quite nicely. I'm not totally digging it... It's not bad per se and there is nothing that jumps out as a funky off-flavor or anything... it's very drinkable, but I'm glad I only made a gallon (three more 750ml bottles remaining). Maybe I just don't like mead... or maybe I need to buy a mead for comparative purposes. I served this one cold. Maybe I should also try the next one at room temp.

EDIT: Actually I'm liking it a lot better as it warms. Either I need to drink at room temp, or at the very least at not nearly as cold as I had it to start...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did you carbonate this? I know lots of meads are not carbonated, but some are. I would love to brew a batch, but I'm not sure I have the patience. :laugh:

They are actually having a "Mead Day" at a local brewery here in about a week and a half. They have a home-brewers club that I have been meaning to join as well. They are doing a lecture on the process of making some meads and a bit of tasting as well. I very much look forward to it and would not be the least bit surprised if I had a batch in the works at the same time next month. ;)

Try it at room temp and let us know. I think you should also think about adding a few splashes of some club soda or something to a small glass of this and see how it works at a slightly lower ABV and with a touch of bubbles. Sometimes that can detract a bit from the harsh alcohol flavors if they are overwhelming.

Also, what kind of honey did you use for this? And was your ginger fresh or the powdered kind you find in the spice aisle? I've been told that (at least in beer), the powdered stuff winds up with a very different taste than grating the fresh stuff, which can be much more pleasant.

Perhaps more fruit is in order next time as well, if you're interested in that flavor standing out more (as it must subside considerably over the 1 year+ conditioning time).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This mead is carbonated. Fresh ginger and lemongrass, but frozen berries. Plain ol' Kroger brand honey. As it warmed, the fruit came very much more up front. I think I have found that chilled but not cold is the sweet spot for this one...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

swenocha wrote:

This mead is carbonated. Fresh ginger and lemongrass, but frozen berries. Plain ol' Kroger brand honey. As it warmed, the fruit came very much more up front. I think I have found that chilled but not cold is the sweet spot for this one...

Ok cool. How has the carbonation been affected over the year+ conditioning? It is my understanding that carbonation weakens with age, but I'm not sure to what degree as I haven't had any beers that lasted more than a couple months and I use Oxygen barrier caps, so I haven't had any problems that I've noticed.

Obviously different types of honey are going to impart different flavors. Getting store brand honey, you're never going to know what type it is. Most likely clover or wildflower honey, but it's probably whatever they get cheap that month. This may have an impact on the flavors your getting.

I think if I were to do a mead, I'd probably pick a specific type. I tend to like Orange Blossom for it's flavor, but I dunno.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only reason I made the mead was because I got all of the Kroger honey for free (see first post), so the type was never a consideration. Carb is still very strong in this one...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Swen, thanks for updating. I've tried to do my field research on mead recently to get a feel for what I like and I've found the same thing as you on temperature: chilled but not ice cold is best. 'Tis a delicate balance between the flavor of the honey and the alcohol bite. I also tend to like it still or just barely with a hint of carbonation. Also Swen I think if after this experiment you decide you do like meads all right, I'd try one batch with a flavorful varietal as Dragun mentioned. Orange Blossom seems pretty popular but anything local, less processed and/or more natural will have a totally different kind and depth of flavor as you probably know. I still have yet to see exactly how the complete changes in flavor from supermarket to local varietal honey actually affects the final product but I'd be willing to bet it will be a noticeable difference. Much better? I don't know, but I'll keep all ya posted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I posted on the "drinking tonight" thread, but thought I'd update this thread a touch. I'm seeing here that I actually tasted around 7 months ago instead of at Easter. On a whim, I grabbed a bottle warm out of the cellar and popped it open. It proceeded to foam out a bit (so no worries on holding a carb in a Grolsch bottle, apparently), but I was able to pour it off. Highly carbed at this point. Flavor was a bit alcohol-forward on all previous tastes, and I was fearing a vinegar taste poking through. This time, the flavor is rounding out nicely, but man is this potent. I may have to do a hydro reading again, because I can't imagine that this is only 12%, as it is smacking me in the face after a few sips. Flavor is really coming together, but this is definitely a sipping wine, and definitely an exercise in patience...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just did a hydro reading, and it's now at 0.996 (estimated, since it's off of the hydro scale!). That puts me at 13% now...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...