Author Topic: Sugarcane  (Read 1196 times)

Offline erockrph

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Sugarcane
« on: August 17, 2014, 05:21:43 PM »
I'm trying to come up with some ideas for meads and lime-based ones keep popping into my head. I've seen Mojito mead recipes out there, but I'm not always in a mint mood. So the next logical idea is a Caipirinha mead. And that brings me down the rabbit hole of using sugarcane in the mead.

Now, I've never actually cooked with sugar cane, so I have no clue whether my romantic notion of racking my mead onto cut up bits of cane is a worthwhile endeavor. Anyone have any clue whether I will get any noticeable flavor out of this? Or am I better off using sugarcane juice (if I can find some out my way)? I was planning on doing this in secondary after sulfite/sorbate, so I'm not worried about the yeast fermenting all the sugar out.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Sugarcane
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2014, 04:07:33 PM »
I don't know anything about sugarcane but I find turbinado sugar to be a useful adjunct and that might work here. It has raw sugarcane flavor.
On the subject of lime based drinks, my girlfriend recently made homemade falernum, because we couldn't find it, so we could make corn and oils. Falernum is strongly flavored with lime and cloves. A mead with lime and just a bit of clove might be good.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Sugarcane
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2015, 05:14:34 PM »
How's this for random: I just ate at a local Peruvian/Bolivian restaurant and had a Caipirinha with lunch. Twenty minutes later and I'm googling "aging mead on sugarcane" and my post from last year is the top result. Guess that's a sign that I'll have to try this out for myself...
Eric B.

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Offline Stevie

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Re: Sugarcane
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2015, 05:50:42 PM »

How's this for random: I just ate at a local Peruvian/Bolivian restaurant and had a Caipirinha with lunch. Twenty minutes later and I'm googling "aging mead on sugarcane" and my post from last year is the top result. Guess that's a sign that I'll have to try this out for myself...
Or a sign that Google knows has its eye on you.

Offline toby

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Re: Sugarcane
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2015, 06:37:56 PM »
I would think that if you can get some (relatively) freshly harvested sugarcane, it would make a great thing to age a mead on.  The harvesting process for sugarcane involves burning the field to remove the dead leafy matter which also helps crystallize the sugar.  You'll get some lightly smoky and molasses like flavors from it hopefully.  As a matter of fact, now you've got me thinking about aging an imperial stout on some.

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Sugarcane
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2015, 03:53:09 PM »
You probably need to account for the vegetal matter and any tannins and other flavor compounds contributed beyond the sweet extract from the cane.

I'm not an expert on sugar production but I believe the sugarcane is usually pressed to extract the sugar and that would be the essence of what you want rather than the woody aspect of the cane.
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Offline toby

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Re: Sugarcane
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2015, 04:15:29 PM »
You probably need to account for the vegetal matter and any tannins and other flavor compounds contributed beyond the sweet extract from the cane.

I'm not an expert on sugar production but I believe the sugarcane is usually pressed to extract the sugar and that would be the essence of what you want rather than the woody aspect of the cane.
I think the tannins might be what he was going for, though.  That would be what I would be looking for if I was aging an imperial stout on it.  It would be more for a different barrel aged character than an additional sugar.

But yes, they press the cane to extract the raw 'sugar' and then process it and refine it to varying degrees depending on their end goal (molasses, syrup, raw sugar, refined, etc.).  The other parts of the stalk wind up being various other products (e.g. bagasse can be used as fuel or can be turned into paper).

Offline erockrph

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Re: Sugarcane
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2015, 05:32:36 PM »
You probably need to account for the vegetal matter and any tannins and other flavor compounds contributed beyond the sweet extract from the cane.

I'm not an expert on sugar production but I believe the sugarcane is usually pressed to extract the sugar and that would be the essence of what you want rather than the woody aspect of the cane.
I think the tannins might be what he was going for, though.  That would be what I would be looking for if I was aging an imperial stout on it.  It would be more for a different barrel aged character than an additional sugar.

But yes, they press the cane to extract the raw 'sugar' and then process it and refine it to varying degrees depending on their end goal (molasses, syrup, raw sugar, refined, etc.).  The other parts of the stalk wind up being various other products (e.g. bagasse can be used as fuel or can be turned into paper).
For a Cachaça- or Caipirinha-inspired mead, I think I'd sorbate/sulfite first, then rack onto sugarcane chunks for aging. This way I would get that "wood"-aged character, plus extract some sweetness. A lot of places garnish Caipirinha's with a sugarcane sliver swizzle stick, and I can't help chewing on it afterwards. That woody/grassy/tannic note would certainly have its place. I'd try to hunt down raw cane juice for further backsweeening if needed.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline thirsty

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Re: Sugarcane
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2015, 04:03:24 PM »
I had fresh sugarcane juice a few years ago in the Caribbean. There are guys on the street who take the stalks and put it into a grinder so that the juice comes out the bottom. It was good and sweet, but it didn't really have any strong distinctive flavor. It tasted only slightly different than a glass of water with table sugar added.

Offline brewinhard

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Re: Sugarcane
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2015, 07:03:48 PM »
It tasted only slightly different than a glass of water with table sugar added.

I'm gonna set up one of those stands on my street.   8)