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> Chat with return guest Ken Schramm, meadmaker, author
post Jun 28 2005, 02:39 PM
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Group: banned
Posts: 666
Joined: 16-March 02
From: Mooresville, NC
Member No.: 201

This week's chat will feature return guest Ken Schramm, author of "The Compleat Meadmaker". Mr. Schramm's book is undoubtedly the most comprehensive book on Mead, Braggot, Cyser, Melomel, Metheglin, and Pyment that I've ever read. Very impressive. In his book he delves deeply into the history of Mead, the chemistry of honey and how it's harvested, using fruits (Cyser, Melomel, Pyment) and spices (Metheglin), techniques, equipment, and plenty of recipes. His book is a 'must' read for anyone interested in producing fine Honey Wines.

ale: Our guest has arrived. Hello Ken.
Ken_Schramm: Hello
Ken_Schramm: Sorry, I guess i was not validated
twocents: Hello ken
Ken_Schramm: I'll make up for the lost time on the back side
Ted: judging by the crowd, I'd say you're validated by us!!
ale: You had to register all over again?
Ken_Schramm: Yes
ale: DAMN!
Ken_Schramm: I kept getting a User name or password invalid post
Ken_Schramm: Ah well, let's talk mead.
Spectre: ?
ale: Kernel_Panic has a question for you, through ineedacatscan...
ineedacatscan: (on behalf of Kernel Panic) Is there a difference, when sweetening mead, aiming to have fermentation leave you with the desired amount of sugars, or sweetening later after fermentation has stopped is it a different ?kind of sweetness??
ale: go catscan
Ken_Schramm: Yes, to some extent. The aftersweetening will leave you with a fresh honey character, while hitting it just right will give you a more complex ad integrated arama and flavor.
twocents: ?
Ken_Schramm: the yest character and the blending of any other fruit or spice components will be softened if you are able to hit the target FG just right.
Ken_Schramm: yeast. end
ale: Go Spectre
Spectre: What's your opinion on bulk ageing (i.e. carboys or 5gal bottles)vs. bottle ageing?
Spectre: Sorry, 750ml bottles
Ken_Schramm: I like to go in bulk as long as I can. Bottle aging accelerates the process somewhat, but can subject you to the hazards of O2. I keg. end
Spectre: Long as I can meaning how long?
Jimvy: ?
ale: Go twocents...
ineedacatscan: ?
twocents: I have a mead that has been sitting in a carboy with a fermentap for over a year. I draw a glass when I want one. It has a real alcohol 'pre' taste to it. any ideas? is this normal?
Ken_Schramm: I've gone up to 2 years. I blanket w.CO2 and Check the airlocks every week. end
twocents: was just wondering about the alcohol taste to it
twocents: end
Ken_Schramm: Well, I have had this hapen in some meads I did with 1118 or other champagne yeasts. Age worked it out, but I'd want to keep that headspace full. end
ale: Whoa, you've gotten ahead of me. Has everybody's questions been addressed completely?
twocents: ty
twocents: I think I have.. just not sure it will last long enuf =)
Drunken_Master: ?
ale: Go Jimvy
Jimvy: When making melomel, how do you feel about using real fruit versus puree, and when would you suggest adding the fruit?
Spectre: ?
Ken_Schramm: Please forgive my typos. I like real fruit.\
ale: typos are never a problem here (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/biggrin.gif)
Ken_Schramm: I thik it can make a big differnce in the overall mouthfeel and flavor impression. Latey I have been ading lots of fruit in the primary. The last cherry mead I di had 26 lbs of fruit in 5 gallons. The other advantage to frsh fruit for me is knowing the
Ken_Schramm: exact qualities of the fruit before you add it. Tht can make a big difference in finished product.
Ken_Schramm: end.
Ted: ?
ale: Go Catscan...
Jimvy: Thanks Ken
ineedacatscan: I?ve read that it?s possible to do a ?no-boil? mead. What kind of results can I expect or would you even recommend it?
Ken_Schramm: I do it all the time.
ineedacatscan: good to know
Ken_Schramm: Expect lots of accuarate honey aroma, and a good lingering honey aftertaste and a clinging aroma in the glass after the mead is finished.
ineedacatscan: that's what i'm looking for i'll keep that in mind
ineedacatscan: thanks
Ken_Schramm: And also exect that your meadmaking times will go WAY down. end
TexanBrewer: ?
ale: Go D_M...
Drunken_Master: When in comes to a traditional mead ie honey, water and yeast what yeast do you prefer for a sweet mead, My last batch I had to sweeten after the fact because it finished to dry.
Ken_Schramm: I love Lalemand/Lalvin 71B-1122. I lo like D-47 for traditionals that I am willing to wait on for a while - 18 mos at least. end
ale: Go Spectre
Spectre: Is there a definate need for tannic acid in mead? If so, does tea work best? If so, what kind of tea do you use?
Ken_Schramm: There is no "need" but tannins can help meads that have a flabby character. I like earl grey and some relaly nice blends from Rafal spice co.
Spectre: Thanks
HighTest: You'd have to be from Detroit to know about Rafal... =)
Ken_Schramm: They have one with some nice cherry and another with some rose hips...
ale: (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/wink.gif)
Zed: ?
Ken_Schramm: Yeah I am a detroiter. My daugher is loking for the tea right now....
Drunken_Master: ?
ale: end?
Ken_Schramm: sorry end
ale: Go Ted
Ted: If adding fruit to primary, do you increase the amount of fruit? or same as adding to secondary?
Ken_Schramm: No, I stoke it up as much as i can. I have been ging about 40% higher that I would in secondary.
Ken_Schramm: going. end
Ted: wow, that much!! Do you lose aroma in primary?
ale: Go TexanBrewer
jocosa: ?
TexanBrewer: When adding sulfites to fruit, I now use RO water. It seems my hard water effects how long the sulfites stick around; it sometimes causes the fermentation to noticeably slow. Am I on drugs, crazy or should I step away from the bottle?
Ken_Schramm: Some, but not that much, and when you crank up the volume that much, it sticks arounf pretty well. Think of t this way, wine is 100% fruit in the primary.... end
Ted: thanks Ken
ale: Go Zed...
Zed: question not awnsered yet..
Ted: Texans isn't answered
ale: Question?
Zed: TExans
TexanBrewer: yeah, he neds to tell me if I'm on drugs or not.
Spectre: ?
Ken_Schramm: No, I understand that RO water can slow down thigs a lot, since some of the critical micronutrents are absent. I have taken to using the local bottled spring H2O
TexanBrewer: ok...I don't use it for the mead, just to disolve the Potassium Metabisulfite and fruit. I typically let that sit for 24 hours. With hard water, I have to let it sit longer. Why?
Ken_Schramm: and I would recommend against using any RO or distilled water. Try a few local bulk sping waters, and find one you like. and don' wory about the drugs either way. ends
Ken_Schramm: you could be close to the solubility limits on some of the compounds. You might ant to warm the water up a bit. end
TexanBrewer: ok..Thanks
Zed: What do you use in your airlocks, water/vodka/etc..?
Ken_Schramm: Vodka in primary, dislilled water after that. I like tha safelty of vodka while the stuf is at its greates risk, but it evaporates too fast to use during secondary. end
twocents: good night all... interesting, but I'm relly worn out
twocents: take care all
twocents: byeeeeeeee
Zed: Good point. Thank you.
ale: Go D_M
Drunken_Master: I just bottled a Green tea Braggot about 2 weeks ago. Historicaly were braggots treated as malt beverages and bottled as such or like wines. And with or without carbonation.
Ken_Schramm: I think most braggots were made as ways of extending out a mash. They were often served off keg like beers, so they probably had a carbonation similar to cak conditioned ales or really big old ales or barley wines. does that answer your question?
Drunken_Master: Yes it does thanks
Ken_Schramm: end'
ale: Go Jacosa
jocosa: What are some of your preferred sources for historical mead recipes/documentation? That is, beyond Renfrow...
HighTest: While Ken is typing, I thought I'd mention that I see several new names here in this chat that I've not seen in the WM&C forum. Hopefully, they will visit the forum and also read the FAQs [which have answers to some of the questions being asked here...=)]
Moke: ?
Ken_Schramm: I have Acton and Dunca's old books, and I have read a lot of stuff from Eva Crane, who is the Grand Dame of beekeeping and honey in Britain. end
jocosa: thanks
ale: Thanks HighTest! (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/biggrin.gif)
ale: Go Spectre
Spectre: What are a couple of your favorite yeasts you prefer for mead?
Ken_Schramm: I am very partial to 71B-1122, but I have just started in on a new Sauternes yeat called VL3 from france. It is a very aromatic bast, but I had to buy 1 500 gm block from Scott Labs. If you have a few friends to spit upa block, I think it shows tremendous
Ken_Schramm: promise for sweet meads with highly accurate honey representation. end
Ken_Schramm: beast
Spectre: Wow, can we even get that here?
ale: Go Moke
Ken_Schramm: Scott Lab has it, and they are on the web. Google them up. end
Moke: Hi Ken, have you seen much difference using different kinds of honey or does it all kind of get kinda lost in the finished product?
ale: ?
Ken_Schramm: No, it is critically important. Imagine if winelakers just used any old grapes. Quality in, quality out. One cool mead I had was the Macadamia nut honey mead that Joe Formanek from Chicago did, Outstanding. end.
Moke: sound yummy htanks
ale: Do you see any real advantages in using liquid yeasts over dry yeast in Mead production?
Ken_Schramm: To be brutally honest, No. end.
Ken_Schramm: Wait - other than strain availability, no. end
jocosa: ?
ale: Go Jacosa...
jocosa: Speaking of honey types, have you run across any honeys that do not make a good mead?
jocosa: I had one a few days ago that was half wildflower half chinese pistachio that was a great combination.
Ken_Schramm: I am not so fond of clover, and some buckwheat can be overwhelming. I have also felt that basswood (linden) can be a bit off putting, and surprsingly, I did a sourwood that had just too much diacetyl for my tastes. end
jocosa: thanks
ale: ?
Ken_Schramm: Damn Chinese pistachio sounds very cool. end.
ale: Sourwood?
ale: Please give us your true opinion of Sourwood. Is it overrated?
Ken_Schramm: It is a very highly respected tree honey from the southeast. It tasyes great on a bagel, but it was just too much like butterscotch in a mead - it almost lacked a floral character at all. end
ale: I know that it's rare.
Moke: ever try agave?
Ken_Schramm: Not yet. Agave honey, or agave?
Moke: like blue agave like tequilla
ale: ?
Ken_Schramm: No. Ale- it was the most I've ever spent on honey for a batch.
Thomas: I've tried an Agave mead from a local meadmaker
Thomas: (honey + agave nectar)
ale: (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/biggrin.gif)
Thomas: it was very good, but agave nectar is supposedly kinda hard to ferment
Ken_Schramm: I have had agave meads in competition. They are unique, but I'm not sure they suit my fancy. end
Ken_Schramm: So is the Listermann I see on the list THE Listermann?
ale: Ken, I've read your book, but please go over your opinion if heat pasteurizing veres sulphiting.
kernel_panic: yea that is THE listermann
Thomas: he said he had to be away from the computer when the chat began though lol
Ken_Schramm: I prefer sulfiting to heat, even though am asthmatic. I think that heat has too much hazard of blowing off or damaging the fragile floral character of the honey. Could you imagine winemakers saying they were heatingtheir must to 140-160F before beginning
Ken_Schramm: the fermentation or maceration? end
HighTest: *) (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/sad.gif)
ale: Excellant point.
Moke: i don't do either due to the antiseptic qualitys of the honey.
Ken_Schramm: anyone else?
ale: Any more questions for Mr. Schramm? It's now
ale: 9
ale: ;28 by my clock.
jocosa: ?
Ted: 8:28 here! LOL
Ken_Schramm: I was at least a half hour late, tho.
ale: Go Jacosa...
jocosa: Quick thanks.... for mentioning the SCA in your book.. it's always good to have the mundane world know what we're doing. =)
Moke: lol, nudane
Moke: mundane
Ken_Schramm: my pleasure. You guys dd a lot to keep th thing alive, and the SCA is still a huge part of the market supportng the commercials. Keep it up. end.
jocosa: =)
ale: Thank You again, Ken, for joining us tonight!!!! We all hope that we'll see you here again
Moke: Thanks Ken
Thomas: what are your favorite honeys to make mead from? (if it hasn't already been asked)
Ted: thanks Ken, another great chat!!
Drunken_Master: Thanks Ken
Ken_Schramm: Sorry about the tardinss. Thomas, I like raspberry, orange blossom, and I have a beekeeping friend who harvests honey from a meadow of anise hyssop that is jst dynamite.
Thomas: =)
Ted: ooh, that sounds good
Thomas: I've got a lot of california orange blossom honey sitting on the shelf next to me
TexanBrewer: Have you ever had a highly hopped mead?
Moke: i need some of that mac nut honey now.
TexanBrewer: IPM, as it were.
Ted: me too Moke, or the chinese pistacio
Ken_Schramm: Have at it. Orange Blossom goes great with fresh ginger. I did a braggot with 80 IBU's, and it was great. They honey masks bitterness, though, but it still took third at Nationals.
Moke: will have to talke to mu cornell connection.
Ken_Schramm: You have a Cornell connection? I'm jealous.
Ted: 80 IBU Braggot, nice!! =)
TexanBrewer: heh.
TexanBrewer: Pacific NW hops?
BobH: Ken how did you get 80 IBU without boiling the honey
TexanBrewer: make a hop tea, I supose?
Ted: braggot has malt, need to boil that
Thomas: make a beer (since it's a braggot), add honey after knockout
Ted: part
Ken_Schramm: Mostly english varieties, I was hoping for a true to style Barley wine mash second running braggot.
Ken_Schramm: Mostly in the boil. I did a tea and added it to the secondary, too. end
TexanBrewer: oh now that's an interesting idea. I've a strong dark belgian I was looking for something to do with the second runnings.
BobH: thanks ken
Moke: actualy a friend of a friend but he runs the apiary studies or at cornell.
BobH: 80 isn't easy doing it that way
Moke: or whatever they call it.
Ken_Schramm: It was terrific. It was the last batch of the year, and I cleaned out all of the hops from the freezer. The slightly longer process made for some nice treacle notes.
Ken_Schramm: Moke, I don't care what they call it, I envy anybody with an in to the beekeeping program at Cornell.
Moke: specialy when i get honey for finished mead.
Ken_Schramm: I've got to get out of here, My kids are dying for the computer. This was a gas. I look forward to ding it again.
Ken_Schramm: Ken out.
Ted: thanks Ken
TexanBrewer: bye, Ken. Thanks.
Moke: live in central ny so i get lots of benefits from cornell.
Moke: Thanks again Ken
Ken_Schramm: Lucky guy, Moke.
ale: Thanks again, Ken
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