Daniel's Desert Mesquite Mead

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Daniel's Desert Mesquite Mead

Postby lexuschris on Sat Nov 15, 2014 12:15 am

Hey all,

Last night, I started a new mead. Its been almost 3 years since starting my Mowachaht Metheglin, which was based upon orange blossom honey, marsh rosemary, cinnamon & all-spice. This time I am trying something different (for me!) .. a straight varietal honey mead.. no spices.

On my drives out to Sedona, AZ, I frequently stop in Quartzite for fuel & food. There is a beef-jerky shop out there called 'Daniel's Fresh Jerky', and they also sell local Desert Mesquite honey. I was inspired by Lars' story of his little desert trailer selling jars of honey on an honor system, so I bought up a 12# jar of this other desert honey. I have been adding some smaller 3# jars to my collection on every pass through town. With 18# now on the shelf, it was time to put it good use.

Having waited so long to use this tasty honey, the older jars had crystallized. I tried in vain to de-crystalize the honey with a hot bath without heating it up too far and ruining the delicate flavors & aromatics. I decided to postpone a few days and improvised with an electric blanket. Covering the 3 jars of honey for a few nights in a row, and letting the gentle heat inside the blanket soften up the honey, worked like a charm! After 4 nights, all the honey was warm and very fluid!

I poured it all into 4 gallons of carbon-filtered water and pitched with D21 wine yeast, properly hydrated & innoculated. It smelled amazing, and I plan to keep this a traditional sack strength, sweet mead. However, I may pull off a gallon for oaking, depending on how it turns out.

Anyways, just wanted to share my mead 'mazing' adventure. Meads are a once every other 'year' event for me. I hope everyone has at least 1 more brew on the books before the busy holiday season!

Prost!
:happybeer:
--LexusChris

~edited to 'every other year event'~
"A woman drove me to drink, and I hadn't even the courtesy to thank her." – W.C. Fields
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Re: Daniel's Desert Mesquite Mead

Postby maltbarley on Sat Nov 15, 2014 8:26 am

Good story. I hope to try it in a year.
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Re: Daniel's Desert Mesquite Mead

Postby lars on Sat Nov 15, 2014 10:25 pm

WooHoo more mesquite mead! The honey I used for my mesquite mead came from a stand at a swap meet in Goodyear AZ. Unfortunately the swap meet is gone now, we were out in Phoenix a few months ago and the freeway had expanded to where the swap meet used to be. I believe I used D76 for the sweet mead and had an og upwards of 1.130 (I think...). The mesquite took 1st in sweet meads in the Mazer Cup in 2012 (?). Oh, I still have some of this mead in a keg... its gooooooooood

As for the trailer on the side of Route 66, I think it is still there... or it was a few years ago. I think it is called "Mystic Maze Honey." I still have some jars of honey from that place. The only honey sold in the trailer was "amber" so what would be more appropriate than making a "Trailer Trash Honey Wine" from it.

On another note, there is (was) a honey store in Prescott called "The Honey Man." He had some amazing honey.
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Re: Daniel's Desert Mesquite Mead

Postby lexuschris on Sun Nov 16, 2014 2:10 am

Hey Lars!

Glad to hear your mesquite mead did so well!! I am hoping to keep this one in the sweet category as well. My OG was 1.132 and the D21 yeast should top out ~16% abv .. so that should finish in the mid/upper teens I think. Maybe that is closer to semi-sweet. I'm not sure what the rule of thumb is on that.

Thanks for the tip on the Prescott honey store. I get through there only once in a blue moon, but now I have 2 reasons to stop there. (Prescott Brewing's Ponderosa IPA is the other!!)

BTW, found the website for Daniel's Really Good Fresh Jerky .. and honey too!

:happybeer:
--LexusChris
"A woman drove me to drink, and I hadn't even the courtesy to thank her." – W.C. Fields
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Re: Daniel's Desert Mesquite Mead

Postby lexuschris on Thu Nov 27, 2014 12:48 am

Just an update:

Fermentation is going well. It took 11 days to reach the 1/3 sugar break. I've been nurturing it along 2X a day to that point. Now its just 1 time a day. It's gone from 31 brix to 18.4 brix as of tonight... that should already put it at over 12% ABV, and it still has room to drop. 18.4 brix is like 1.041 SG and it should finish up at 1.016-1.018 I think.

I had a small bottle of my 2010 Hibiscus mead tonight, and I just love how meads seem to get better and better over time! I'm going to do my best to let this next one age properly... but man is that going to be tough!
K:-)
--LexusChris
"A woman drove me to drink, and I hadn't even the courtesy to thank her." – W.C. Fields
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Re: Daniel's Desert Mesquite Mead

Postby lexuschris on Thu Dec 04, 2014 11:40 pm

Nearly done with primary fermentation... Mead is at 15.7 brix tonight.. or about 1.022 SG. It is definitely slowing down!! :cheers:

I thought I would share my mead fermentation spreadsheet which I use to track the progress of the mead fermentation. Because of the extra steps needed to monitor various aspects of the yeast, I found this chart to be very helpful. I filled in my notes for the 1st week on this mead as an example.

This one page kicks ass over my past notes on meads, and helps me see the progress of the mead as well as the trouble points (e.g. sulfur production points).
K:-)
--LexusChris
Attachments
Meads_fermentation_sample.xlsx
Fermentation Tracking Chart for meads/ciders.
(13 KiB) Downloaded 74 times
"A woman drove me to drink, and I hadn't even the courtesy to thank her." – W.C. Fields
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Re: Daniel's Desert Mesquite Mead

Postby lexuschris on Sat Dec 20, 2014 2:25 pm

Transferred to a Better Bottle today. FG=1.012 .. that's about 16.1% ABV!
:happybeer:

Mead smells amazing, but is still very cloudy. I've not cold crashed it to get yeast out of suspension.. will save that for the end of the 2ndary period. The taste is very good, but the alcohol warmth is very high! It will be interested to see how it evolves during aging.
--LexusChris
"A woman drove me to drink, and I hadn't even the courtesy to thank her." – W.C. Fields
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Re: Daniel's Desert Mesquite Mead

Postby rcwebrew on Sun Jul 05, 2015 4:05 pm

Here it is July already. I am curious about next steps in this story. At last update you had just transferred bottles, When did 2ndary finish, or has it? What if any temp control did you do on the primary?
Will this go into a keg or bottles? Will/did you force or bottle cond?
Curious minds need to know??
Thanks!
RW
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Re: Daniel's Desert Mesquite Mead

Postby lexuschris on Mon Jul 06, 2015 11:56 pm

Thanks for the reminder Randy! Here is the update.. :cheers:

At the end of January, I moved it from the Better Bottle into a clean corny keg. It was very clear, but I put into the fridge for 2 weeks at 35-F anyways. Then, I moved into my office for long-term storage.

My next step is to pour a sample, and try some adjustments with tartaric acid to help balance it out. It needs a little something! Once, I got the proportions right, I will treat the keg and let it age a bit longer before going to 12-oz bottles.

When it was in the primary, I used a DIY fermentation chiller. I forget the common name for the design, but it is essentially an Igloo orange cooler, with a snorkel on the inside of the output port. I lower the bucket fermenter holding the mead into the cooler, which sits on a bench. Then I put a smaller rectangular cooler with cold water & a fountain pump in it on the floor.

A Ranco temp controller turns on the pump whenever the temp hits its set-point of 68-F. This pumps the cold water over the top of the Igloo, and when the water raises above the snorkel, it flows down & out, back into the floor cooler. I just put a frozen bottle of water in there every morning & night to keep it cool.

I have a modified lid to the bucket fermenter with a #7 stopper hole drilled. This allows me to remove the stopper, and drop in my drill powered lee's stirrer and take samples without upsetting very much but the mead. This also frees up my main beer fermentation fridge for other things while the mead takes its 30-40 days to ferment..

Sorry for the long winded answer!
--LexusChris

p.s. I am planning on keeping this batch 'still', so no carbonating...
"A woman drove me to drink, and I hadn't even the courtesy to thank her." – W.C. Fields
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Re: Daniel's Desert Mesquite Mead

Postby rcwebrew on Tue Jul 07, 2015 8:59 pm

Thanks! I prefer long winded to asking bunches of clarifying questions. Hope we can get a taste soon!
RW
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