‘stillin Mead

edited May 7 in Recipes

Stripping 265 gallons of 12% mead.

Most expensive thing I have ever made.

Incredible distillate, I’m floored.

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Comments

  • edited May 6

    4 week fermentation at 55f. TOSNA2 all organic.

    ~50 gallons of local honey.

  • edited May 7

    @grim said: Stripping 265 gallons of 12% mead.

    Most expensive thing I have ever made.

    Incredible distillate, I’m floored.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vD94dVu8lqQ

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • edited May 7

    Two words for you:
    fortified mead

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • edited May 7

    Be careful my friend. Beekeeping is addictive

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • Any reason why you ferneted at such low temperature ??

  • Absurdly small heads cut, no discernible tails, tremendous aroma preservation.

  • It maybe hit 59-60 the first 3 days, and I was using a yeast strain that favors lower temps.

  • edited May 7

    BTW "organic" honey is just a fantasy. Bees travel up to 2.5 miles from the hive to collect nectar. Who can guarantee that the only flowers in the 12,566 acres they could collect from are organic?

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • @Kapea said: Two words for you:
    fortified mead

    Agreed, still deciding between 'Mort' and 'Pead' for a name, and Leaning towards "Morton Pead™" (Mort and Pead)...

    a few more words: Vapor recovery during must pasteurization by adding neutral then recovering it in the still..

    I found that using 2ml good non-honey based neutral per 1g honey, recovering it in the still gave a great sanitary fermentation to which I added back about half of the 140proof distillate. So when I have time I will try 1ml neutral per gram and add 2ml water also, but still afraid of direct electric elements scorching an expensive still charge.. (55%rye is a bitch on elements, btw) Waiting on our bain-marie...

  • That's a pretty clever trick, but could you simply pasteurize in the still while running full reflux to re-condense volatiles?

  • edited May 7

    I don't know about all that. I don't pateurize my meads. I have been making no heat meads since Dan McConnell and Ken Schramm first suggested it to me at AHA NHC 1994 in Denver.

    I run mead (same floral source honey for the spirit as the receiving mead - no neutral added) a single run on gas-fired boiler with 4 plates to make the spirit. Let it age 6 months to a year, then blend back to the mead to taste. No fancy name, just fortified mead.

    Fortification allows for a higher alcohol mead built up from a lower gravity fermented mead - preserving much of the honey characteristics that are blown out through the airlock with higher gravity, longer fermenting mead. (Backsweetening is good, but the honey characteristics are not the same as saving them from being lost during fermentation, IMHO). Additional aging after fortification is a good thing as well.

    The straight up aged mead brandy will knock your socks in the dirt as well if you do it right.

    I'm working on aging mead brandy, and fortified mead on wood as well. I've been reinspired in this by tasting wood-matured gin at ADI in PDX. My previous attempts at wood-matured honey spirits were less than stellar.

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • edited May 8

    @Kapea, as an aside I had some melaleuca honey this week end. Had a rum cake like finish that was pretty forward. Was more or less amazing.

    I know what your thinking. Yes the melaleuca brought Florida in 1906 that was originally used to sop up water and ultimately became labeled as an invasive, noxious weed.

    A Century of Melaleuca Invasion in South Florida (PDF)

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • edited May 8

    @Kapea said: My previous attempts at wood-matured honey spirits were less than stellar.

    @Kapea - Interested, I was going to lay down 10 gallons in an ex-bourbon ex-rum as a third use. Was hoping to pick up some color, light oak, and rum notes.

  • edited May 7

    @Smaug No judgments from this corner on melaleuca honey. (I've see the havoc melaleuca trees have wrought in South Florida. We have melaleuca trees here too, but they mind their manners and keep to themselves. Not invasive at all). Nectar is where the bees find it. Here we have two devastating invasive plant species that have redeeming beekeeping qualities; albizia trees and gorse. Albizia trees grow like crazy and smell like skunk, especially the flowers. Super invasive! But the honey from the flowers is top quality. Light in color and flavor, with no hint of skunkiness. Gorse is good for pollen. LOTS of pollen. (I use pollen as a yeast nutrient in my meads).

    @grim I mostly used dominoes I made from grilling woods I bought at Home Depot in mason jars. The same procedures I used for testing woods on neutral and UJSSM a few years back. Pilot batch level testing to get in the ballpark of what works and what doesn't. I'm not sure how well it will scale-up to commercial barrel level.

    FWIW - gin in used bourbon barrels makes bourbon-flavored gin. Gin in used vermouth barrels rates 8 out of 10 stars. Gin used pinot noir barrels rates 9.5 out of 10 stars.

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • @Kapea said: I don't know about all that. I don't pateurize my meads. I have been making no heat meads since Dan McConnell and Ken Schramm first suggested it to me at AHA NHC 1994 in Denver.

    before I came up with the method to collect the aroma in the alcohol vapor, I never heated mead must either... do nto want to lose the aroma... why I did it is all the aroma that is lost out the airlock with CO2 during fermentation, I wanted to capture some of that in the alcohol distillation... ferment was one of the best I ever had as a bonus...

  • edited May 7

    We took it to 140 for 15 minutes to pasteurize. The temp and time were based on the microbiology studies on wild yeast in brewing.

    The local farmer who provided the honey was just that, a local guy, with a bunch of hives. I couldn't bank on the processing environment being all that sanitary, etc. Would be very easy to introduce something to spoil an entire 1000 liter batch, not taking that chance.

    We acidified the mash with citric as well, as further insurance.

    Lost aroma? No way, the distillate smells and tastes like strong mead. The floral and honey is out of this world.

    That said, the slow low temp ferment using a white wine yeast known for aroma preservation didn't hurt either.

    I was fairly concerned about losing aroma, heating the mead was not an easy decision.

  • By the way, the low wines are completely delicious and drinkable at 78 proof. A little bit hazy (we went to 210f head temp), but delicious. Never, ever, had that happen before.

  • edited May 7

    I found my mead yeast growing wild in a 55 gallon mostly empty honey drum stored at the back of my beekeeping mentor's honey house. We were cleaning house. I opened the barrel and out came the most amazing aroma. "I know that smell!" I cultured it up and keep it on slants now. In 28 years of meadmaking I've never had an infected batch. I used to be super strict about sanitation (bench lab tech habits are hard to shake). My distlling ferments have taught me to relax, a lot, and have produced no change in quality.

    For my stilling stock mead I use Lalvin R2. Low sulfide and acetaldehyde producer. I really like the distillate it produces.

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • R2 sounds very interesting, that's one of the lowest temperature (non lager) yeasts I've ever seen.

  • It works well at 68F in my temp-controlled ale house.

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • @grim said: The local farmer who provided the honey was just that, a local guy, with a bunch of hives.

    I'll bet he was thrilled when you bought 750 lbs!

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • Betcha @crozdog is following this topic. He has his eye on the 200l drum down the back here that belongs to my apiarist landlord.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • edited May 8

    @crozdog said: sure am ;)

    I don't listen to am nor fm much anymore. Too many comercials. Mostly I listen to streams coming over the cellular networks when I drive now... ;<)

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • edited May 8

    @grim said: TOSNA 2.0 (Tailored Organic SNA) @ mead made right

    Ahhh! Organic in the true sense of the word - as in a carbon-containing molecule.

    I like to yank granola-heads' chains by telling them that DDT, Sarin gas, and glyphosate are organic...

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • I took organic chemistry in college. We did not study granola formulation.

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • Damn! I don't remember that class either.

    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

    my book, Making Fine Spirits

  • I did a granola formulation as a school project, but my notes are a little stale.

  • Did it involve organic chemistry? ;<)

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

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