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Messages - kenschramm

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Other Fermentables / Re: 16% Sweet Mead?
« on: September 15, 2012, 01:51:53 AM »
The lone bit of advice I would add to this thread is that it is a good idea to rack any mead that you will be backsweetening off of any yeast cake that has built up before you hit it w/chemicals. You'll also get a handle on whether the mead is of a mind to try and ferment a few more points. Wait to sorbate until you no longer see any signs of fermentation.  If you get the mead away from its main yeast population, you'll minimize the number of active cells that need to be knocked out.

Other Fermentables / Re: Mead shelf life
« on: September 15, 2012, 01:40:30 AM »
If you intend to age a mead for 10-15 years, I strongly recommend a high quality cork - 1 1/2" or 1 3/4" and grade 2 or better.  The cap and agglomerated corks are intended for wines destined for a shelf/cellar life of 5 years or less.   


Other Fermentables / Re: Medicinal mead - d'oh!
« on: September 15, 2012, 01:31:48 AM »
That pH on August 27 is pretty low at 3.0. That's into the range where yeasts start to throw some off character.  It may soften with age, but it may not go away altogether.  I don't know of a retroactive fix.  Sorry.


Other Fermentables / Re: Sulfur smell in a pear cider
« on: October 27, 2011, 12:39:39 AM »
D-47 regularly throws big sulfur odor early in its fermentation.

Other Fermentables / Re: Wine advice
« on: October 27, 2011, 12:32:25 AM »
BTW, these guys are not big on the wine critics and point scales, so don't be shocked if they aren't supportive of the concept of "90 pointers." They know their wine very well, in many cases better than the critics.

Other Fermentables / Re: Wine advice
« on: October 27, 2011, 12:26:46 AM »
Well, if you really want to push your learning quickly, here's what I'd recommend: find a very good wine shop, and spend the ~$20 a bottle it will take to get yourself into some really impressive examples.  Find a shop that has a good selection - ask if they have a decent selection of bottles from Kermit Lynch, Louis Dressner or Terry Theisse - if they don't, they are the equivalent of Bud/Miller/Coors pushers. Might not be easy in South Central Texas, but take a shot.  I think Texas allows direct shipping, and if you want a great shop to get started, go to Chambers St Wines in NYC. You can make your own choices, but if you call them at 212.227.1434 and ask them to put you a case together, you may get some of the greatest wines available at that price point. My recommendations for styles (and there a few whites in here):

Bordeaux Red or Loire Cab Franc
Burgundy Red and White
Cotes du Rhone or other Southern French
Alsace white
Sauternes or Quarts de Chaume
Italian Bonarda
Loire White
German Riesling
Cru Beaulolais
Grower Champagne

Some bottles may be less and some more, or they may make other recommendations on styles, but trust them - if you order from Chambers St, you may have the best store in the country. That's six reds and six whites, but they'll pick you out winners if you want to lean more toward the reds - just let them know. Maybe you could lose the Champagne and try something else red from California or Italy.  It's a perfect time to ship right now, too.

It's a great journey, and the variety of styles and the depth of the subject is both a challenge and a pure joy. 

Other Fermentables / Re: How long should spice be in a cyser?
« on: September 27, 2011, 02:02:46 AM »
How long should spice be in a cyser? Long enough to reach the ground.

Seriously, I leave the spice bag in and taste an ounce or so every day until the mead is where I want it, then remove the spice bag and keg or bottle.

Other Fermentables / Re: Fresh or frozen peaches in a Ken Schramm recipe
« on: September 27, 2011, 01:58:53 AM »
I wouldn't be surprised either.  I'll bet he does freeze them. ;)

Other Fermentables / Re: Mead question on acid addition...
« on: June 28, 2011, 06:28:30 PM »
The acid blend is intended to imitate a generic blend of fruit-based acids. Citric is obviously citrus fruit, malic is the primary acid in apples, and tartaric is grapes. In isolation, they do each have a unique taste and impression of tartness. You can use the citric, but the taste profile will be discernably different than the blend.


Other Fermentables / Re: Thinking of making mead for the first time
« on: March 31, 2011, 05:16:46 PM »
Cut it out,man, you're making me self conscious.  I am glad the book and the articles helped.

Of all the sessions I have ever done at the Conference, that is the best by far in my opinion.  Charlie, Spencer Thomas, Bill Pfeiffer and Byron Burch were pouring for us.  I felt like Dan and I were batting lead off with Yaz, Kaline, Jim Rice and Willie Stargell cheering us on from the dugout. 

Other Fermentables / Re: Thinking of making mead for the first time
« on: March 27, 2011, 12:40:25 PM »
Wow.  I haven't seen that article in a long time.  Thanks for setting the wayback machine to 1995, Sherman.  There's actually a tidbit in there that I was hunting for. That was cool.

Other Fermentables / Re: Looking for a hand...
« on: March 14, 2011, 02:00:05 AM »
So, from the PM responses I got, Jeff Rothrock from Gotmead and Mike Tripka will be joining in, and I will also have assistance from Curt Stock, Brad Dahlhofer, and Michael Fairbrother. There could be additional slots, buy we do have to keep the thing manageable.

Thanks, everyone. I am hoping we will have a blast, and that everyone will learn something, presenters included.


Other Fermentables / Looking for a hand...
« on: March 11, 2011, 02:41:00 AM »
Hey Folks;

In June, I am presenting on mead making at the upcoming AHA Conference in San Diego, and I’m looking for a meadmaker or two who is planning on attending who would like to help out. I’ll be doing two sessions.

For the first half hour or so, I'll talk about meadmaking technique. Then we’d like to discuss a couple of meads and examine how the recipes and production techniques combined to create the finished products. The session could be big – 300 people or more - and I’m looking for partners with a case of one mead they’d be willing to contribute, taste and explain to one of the sessions. If you’want to be one of those people, please PM me and we can work things out.

It's not much, but I can see to it that there is a bottle or two of Schrammead in it for you, and we’d certainly have to have dinner to talk through what we are going to do and say. Please drop a note if you are interested.

Other Fermentables / Re: Water Profile for Mead
« on: March 11, 2011, 02:39:35 AM »
I've heard this question frequently, and I have to say that I find it built on a beer-based compulsion that doesn't necessarily fit.

Most of the water chemistry study in brewing is intended to match the water source of a particular beer style, so that the brewer can tweak their water to match that style. There really aren't many parallels in mead making, and the meads being commercially made in the US aren't being crafted to imitate a particular ideal commercial example. Unlike brewing, there is no element of mash efficiency or husk tannin extraction in meadmaking that can be affected by water chemistry.  Even if one were trying to clone, say dwójniak, the greater challenge would be in trying to match the honey and other ingredients.  That stuff is just not easy to come by.

That said, I can readily say that yes, micro nutrients are a great thing, and that a fantastic tasting water can never be a negative in your mead.   As far as finding the best tasting water, there is a great deal of subjectivity there.  For a more detailed look at yeast micro nutrient needs, see the three blog pots that start here.

If you find the question really compelling, you could add to the knowledge base by finding several examples of water that have published chemical assays and brew identical batches with them.  Then you could take them all to the AHA conference and serve them to a room full of willing palates and see what they think.  That's always fun.

From my experience, the biggest impact seems to come from the combination of honeys of given floral varieties and different yeasts. I think that is where the mother lode of quality mead making knowledge is to be found.  

Other Fermentables / Re: Making first Mead Batch in 15 years
« on: February 16, 2011, 12:35:27 AM »
Keep us posted on how things go.  I'm curious to know how the batch come out.


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