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whey mead

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BernardSmith

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I am posting this under "special Interest Wines" rather than meads because this mead is so.. um...peculiar that there may be few mead makers out there interested in this particular approach.

I make a batch of (hard) cheese from a gallon of fresh milk almost every week and this leaves me with about 7 pints of whey. Typically, I had been adding the whey to my compost or directly onto my vegetable beds (tomatoes love calcium) but it struck me that whey can be used as the base liquid for meads in place of water and the lactic acids formed when culturing the milk can add a hint (or more) of sourness to the mead in much the same way brewers work to sour some styles of beer (gose for example). So I am on a kick to make a number of meads in this way, the idea being that certain acidic fruits (mangoes, strawberries, berries and the like) may complement whey meads while other additions such as chocolate might be complemented in other ways.

Any other cheese makers on this forum who might be interested in making a few batches and in sharing notes? (I am a vegetarian so do not use animal rennet).

Two whey meads I have started are a mead to which I will add mangoes in the secondary, and a gruit mead (gruit refers to those herbs that brewers used to use to add to ales before hops became de rigueur in Europe) to which I am adding roasted cocoa nibs. But I certainly think that the third batch needs to be a braggot.
 
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meadmaker1

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Curious if this turned out or is turning out like you hoped

It certainty doesn't sound like it will be something I'd like but its interesting for sure
 

BernardSmith

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I think that this is turning out OK. In the end I went with papaya rather than mango for one and the cocoa -gruit seems to be doing OK too. Both of these have cleared well. Plan on tasting each tomorrow. There's also a third - a t'ej that is made with whey-diluted honey and a fourth - using a lactic source called rejuvelac - where you sprout grains (in this case wheat berries) and then use the sprouted berries to inoculate water with lactic bacteria from the grains. I simply used rejuvelac to dilute some raw honey and after about two days the must had started to actively ferment (with no added yeast or nutrients). This tastes still very sweet (have yet to measure the SG and the pH (although the pH of the rejuvelac was 3.7) . Again, the idea is to create a sour mead (soured with lactic bacteria creating lactic acid) balanced with sweetness from the residual honey. A kind of analog to Gose or sour beers.
 

BernardSmith

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I checked the gravities and tasted the four "sour" meads this morning.
The Rejuvelac is at 1.032 and tastes fresh but very sweet. The Blaand (with papaya ) is at 1.010 and is something I could happily drink but it is still very "green" and the sourness is surprisingly unique. The t'ej is also at 1.010 and this is a t'ej that at the moment is not something I would happily drink (bleh) , while the cocoa -gruit is at 1.012 and is another that I can see enjoying in a few months. None of these meads taste anything like meads made with milk (versions of kumis , which is an indigenous drink in the Urals made from mare's milk). I've made a few small batches of kumis and it takes several years for the flavors to mellow. With the meads made from (sweet) whey, that is milk cultured with bacteria in the production of hard cheese rather than milk soured with vinegar or citric acid to make soft cheeses quickly, the mead seems to be soured by lactic acid and the flavors the LAB (lactobacilli) produce can be delightful.
 

ke3ju

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My wife makes hard cheese; I have made Whey wine several times. Not Mead though, I used table sugar. It is definitely a unique flavor and mouth feel. The yeast loves the nutrients in the whey. I have no problem getting 17.5% ABV. The lactose is not fermentable, unless treated with lactase enzyme. I've never done this, so it finishes with all the lactose still in the wine. I haven't made it in while, it might be time to throw one together.

Oh, it makes great hard hot chocolate, just throw a chocolate bar in a mug of whey wine, and throw it in the nuker.
 

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