nuts in mead...?

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Ty520

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I recently learned that a certain near-by world renowned meadery uses peanuts to impart a pastry-esque flavor to their meads to get around liquor licensing laws that don't allow them to use grains.

Was wondering if anyone else has played around with using nuts in a mead and can provide some insight, advice, tips, etc?
 

Raptor99

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We have a lot of hazelnuts growing in this area. They are sometimes included in chocolate bars, so I have been wondering about adding them to some chocolate mead. Has anyone tried this?
 

Ty520

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We have a lot of hazelnuts growing in this area. They are sometimes included in chocolate bars, so I have been wondering about adding them to some chocolate mead. Has anyone tried this?
Definitely on my to do list. I recently came across an historic recipe for a hazelnut 'beer' that uses the nuts as 100% of the sugars.

My main concern/hesitation is the stability of the oils in nuts
 

Rice_Guy

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We have two issues with oil storage, 1) oxidation and 2) hydrolytic rancidity.
* Oxidation produces aromas similar to paint or varnish and is the normal defect to end shelf life in dry packaged food products (as chips). The good news about oxidation is that it is basically non existent in a water based system where a free radical produced is quickly captured by a water molecule. Oxidation is significantly reduced even by letting the food package open to allow humidity in (non-crisp cookies or cereal).
* Hydrolytic rancidity will produce bitter flavor compounds with little aroma. For my world it is mainly an enzyme catalyzed reaction as in grinding a flour from a raw grain. It will occure in a wet system but in the grocery world water brings mold/ food poisoning so we don’t let it happen.
My main concern/hesitation is the stability of the oils in nuts
My concern would be having a high percentage of oil in the system such that oil floats like cream or one of the old style two phase salad dressings. This is cosmetic. From a food perspective pH under 4.0 and reduced oxygen and alcohol are a preservative so I would not be concerned about food poisoning.

It would be an interesting experiment to run.
 
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BernardSmith

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I have made nut flavored meads a few times and in my (limited) experience the better way is to make an extract from the nuts with vodka and then add that extract to the mead. Expecting the water (primary fermentation) to extract enough of the flavors you want tends (IMO) to result in a poorly flavored mead. Adding nuts to the secondary provides only a relatively small amount of alcohol (say 12 -14%), but with a well made extract you have lots of flavor, and chestnuts, pistachios, peanuts, almonds, walnuts and pecans all work well.
 

Ty520

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To clarify, the intent is not to impart a nutty flavor, but rather a pastry flavor without sitting it on actual crust
 

Rice_Guy

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A lot of what we associate with peanuts is a roasted browning reaction. If you do not want this look at nuts which have not been roasted, as blanched almonds. There is a high fat content so nuts frequently get a heat treatment to inactivate enzymes.
To clarify, the intent is not to impart a nutty flavor, but rather a pastry flavor without sitting it on actual crust
 

Ty520

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sorry, I missed that. But nuts impart a pastry flavor? Peanuts do that?
Apparently, this is the technique used by Superstition Meadery to impart pastry flavors because liquor laws don't allow them to use grains in any form. I believe they use peanuts, specifically, but they didn't divulge anything else beyond that
 

Rice_Guy

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. I believe they use peanuts, specifically, but they didn't divulge anything else beyond that
there is a product called boiled peanut which is usually sooked with salt
defatted peanut meal would be stable, it is a byproduct from producing peanut oil and would have a bland flavor
defatted soy meal is in the same family (legumes) and should be fairly easy to get
 
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