From the HBD Archive
From: Jay Hersh <75140.350@compuserve.com>
Subject: Mead Color
Date: 1990-04-17 14:39:08 GMT

Hello,
Since I moved to Mass. my new apartment seems to have a house flavor
it is imaprting to my beers. This had led me to making a number of
wonderful melomels instead. I made a blueberry one a few years ago that
had a beautiful rose color. I have recently made a cranberry which was
very red and just a bit tart. Most recently a blueberry strawberry
which while not aged enough yet promises to be fantastic. The recipes
tend to be pretty easy

Boil down 1oz of mild hops like cascade with water crystals and yeast
nutrients for 45 min or so to make a hop tea. Use irish moss in this
if so desired. Keep this at 180 to 200 F and add the honey. Steep the
honey and the fruit (well sliced for strawberries) at 180 to 190 F for
45 min or so.
I use 6lbs of light honey like clover for 3 gallons, or 12lbs for 5.5
gallons. This works pretty well. I always use red star pasteur champagne
yeast in my mead with nothing but excellent results. Pretty high OG and
FG of .995 are typical. This yields alcohol rates of 8 to 11 percent.

As for color steeping usually provides enough, but leaving the fruit in
the primary well deepen it even more. No additional colors are needed
unless you really want something Kool-Aid colored. Most of the colors
I get are deep but the mead is still clear enough to see through, as
I feel it should be.

I don't boil since it drives off the honey aromatics. You can get honey
made from specific flowers (I've seen blueberry) which is rich in these
aromatics. Not boiling also keeps the fruit aromas. The high temp steep
sterilizes the must and the preboil with the hops drives off chlorine
and other tap nasties. I ferment for 3 - 4 weeks primary, rack to a
secondary and ferment another 2 - 4 weeks depending on how lazy I am.
I then bottle and forget about it. Give it at least 6 months. I find
6 - 8 months is a critical age where the flavor improves radically.
After that it will improve more slowly. Mostly the harsher alcohol
flavors (rmember Night train or MD20/20 .... cheap wines) are what
age out to yield a truely pleasant light bodied product. Similar in
many respects to rose wines, but with a distinct flavor and character
of its own

Cheers,
Jay H


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