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Sima (Traditional Finnish Lemon Mead)

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 11 December 2008 at 08:57

Sima (Traditional Lemon-Flavored Mead from Finland)

2 large lemons
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
5 quarts boiling water
1/8 tsp. yeast
5 tsp. sugar
15 raisins

With a small, sharp knife or rotary peeler, carefully peel off the yellow skins (zest) and set them aside; then cut away the white membranes of the lemons and discard them. Slice the lemons very thinly.

In a 6- to 8-quart enameled or stainless steel bowl, combine the lemon slices, lemon zest and the two sugars. pour the boiling water over the fruit and sugar, stir and let the mixture cool to tepid; then stir in the yeast. Allow the sima to ferment, uncovered, at room temperature for about 12 hours.

To bottle, use five 1-quart bottles with very tight covers or corks. Place one teaspoon of sugar and three raisins in the bottom of each bottle. Strain the sima through a sieve and, using a funnel, pour the liquid into the bottles. Close the bottles tightly and let them stand at room temperature one to two days, until the raisins have risen to the surface. Chill the sealed bottles until ready to serve.

TasunkaWitko - Chinook, Montana

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 December 2008 at 06:30

i'm in the middle of trying this recipe out this weekend.

the initial stages seem to have gone well, except that it might have been a little cooler than "normal" room temperatures.

the sima is bottled as of this morning, will check it in a few days (christmas eve) and report on how it tastes!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 December 2008 at 07:51

sima is looking good so far. all raisins are floating and the stuff looks a lot like a bottle of mike's hard lemonade, except a bit more yellow and darker.

i have them in quart-sized canning jars, but might try to find something else next time as fermentation has puffed out lids and, in one case where a bottle was jostled around a bit, actually bulged it out quite a bit. no fear, though, i have a feeling that the final product will not suffer!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 December 2008 at 07:29
just an update on this - tried one jar on christmas eve and it was GOOD! very good lemon flavor, good, carbonation with a popping/sparkling effect. as i guessed, it reminded me of mike's hard lemonade. but it tasted REAL, not fake like mike's does.

i'll let the other jars age a bit and see if time improves the quality, but i can bear witness to the fact that it is very good when prepared as per the recipe!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ARPF Refugee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 January 2009 at 10:32
Without honey, I'm not sure it can be called Mead, but hey, maybe it's a Finn thing.

Anyhoo- I'll give it a try.

Right now, I have 3 batches of Mead going in my kitchen. The first is "Bochet". I believe that means "burned" in French. I got the recipe from Zymurgy magazine; the official publication of the American Homebrewers Association. I'm trying a 1-gallon batch, mainly because money is tight and good honey is not cheap. I darkened 3.5 pounds of honey on the stovetop and added some dry Red Star Pasteur Champagne yeast. It's in secondary right now and it's  really clearing up.  I tried it when I racked to secondary and of course it has that "rocket fuel" bite, but I did notice a little carmel taste.

 I read the article again and the text, along with the photo of a glass of the stuff lead me to believe I should really burn it, rather than just make it a little darker. I'll try that soon.

The second one gallon batch is "Joe's Orange Ancient Mead", or simply "JOAM" on the brewing forums. This one is supposed to be "down and dirty", ready to drink in 2 months or so. One gallon recipe:

    3.5lbs of honey
    2 whole oranges, cut into eighths
    1 clove
    1 stick of cinnamon
    1/2 handful of raisins
    1 packet of bread yeast
 The bread yeast usually takes it to around 13% alcohol.

 I didn't like the idea of the white part of the orange peel going in, so juiced 4 tangerines and threw in the juice, pulp, and zest. I may have overdone it using 4. I used Red Star Pasteur Champagne yeast on this one as well. I probably shouldn't have, because this will likely end up going to 18% ABV or higher. That sounds like a bad-ass drink, but higher ABV means longer aging.

 The third is really weird; Atomic Fireball Mead. This one is from Randy Mosher's book "Radical Brewing". It's a 5-gallon batch made with 50 of the fiery hot Atomic Fireball jawbreakers. It also has 1 1/2 boxes of Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger tea. I started this one on Saturday night. I'm really worried because there's no sign of fermentation yet. I asked online and I was told that the yeast I used; Wyeast 4184 Sweet Mead could take 4-5 days to get started. I'm still worried though.

Your Lemon Mead sounds cool. I was actually thinking about trying one myself. I have some lemons here and I was wondering about a 1 gallon trial with juice and zest from about 4 lemons in secondary. I was thinking secondary because I've read that lemons are so acidic they can stop fermentation.

I think I'll try all of them around Christmas time. Let me know if you want to try them.
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>>>Without honey, I'm not sure it can be called Mead, but hey, maybe it's a Finn thing.<<<

i hear ya there, refugee ~ my research kept coming up with a combination of sugar and brown sugar, rather than honey, but one source did say that making it with honey was listed as a variation. it is possible that way back in the day it was made with honey and somewhere along the line it was replaced with sugar/brown sugar.

i agree with your comments about the "white part" of any citrus fruit. from what i can tell, it only adds bitterness, so i use a zester and then also get every scrap off of the fruit.

as far as i can tell, the lemon juice did not halt fermentation at all. i tried a sip a couple of days ago to see how it tasted as it aged, and the drink was very good and seemed to be much "warmer" than before, for lack of a better word.

the recipe above uses two lemons and makes 5 quarts,and as you can see is pretty cheap and easy where the ingredients and method are concerned. i should make a second batch and leave it alone for a year in order to see how it tastes after that much aging.

and yes, i would be interested in sampling any or all of the above!



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Just keep a close watch on those mason jars. I don't know if they can hold much pressure. (maybe the can. I honestly have no idea.) My first batch of beer resulted in bottle bombs. While cleaning up the mess, one exploded in my buddy's hand. It send glass into his hand and his forehead. While he was in the ER, I put on a heavy jacket, leather gloves, and a full-face motorcycle helmet to put them all in a giant 96 quart cooler and let them explode in the yard. One exploded in the cooler while still indoors and it blew the lid off its hinges. The lid actually hit the ceiling.

I'll send a bottle of each Mead at the end of the year. I'm going to start one soon with Cherry, Chocolate, and Cinnamon.

Brewing at home is awesome. If you can dream it, you can drink it. Other weird ideas:

Peach/Pecan braggot (Mead with malted barley). Inspired by a local beer with hints of peach and pecan, I want to make a brew with loads of those two flavors and 15% alcohol.

Pineapple Melomel (fruit mead) Just imagine- a pineapple drink with 15% ABV. Awesome.

Raspberry Melomel. My favorite fruit. I'll do this as soon as the farmer's market has some fresh raspberries.

Aging Meads and Beers in oak Bourbon and Dark Rum barrels.  A guy I talk to online is sending me a sample of his Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout. He says it has won 4 blue ribbons at homebrew competitions. An Imperial Stout with a taste of bourbon and 14% ABV. I can't wait to try it.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 January 2009 at 11:02

all sounds like good stuff - i take it there is a gauge to test ABV?

if i remember correctly, you were toying with the idea of a pumpkin beer, too?

my experience in this is limited to this mead and also to making potato wine (very good) and then simply adding sugar and yeast to apple juice and grape juice. all turned out pretty good, but nothing of professional quality.



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There are two ways to test ABV. The first is with a Hydrometer. It looks like a floating thermometer for frying pans. It gives a gravity reading (a measurement of how much sugar is in the wort/must/etc). Take an Original Gravity reading before fermentation and a Final Gravity reading after it's done. It will be figures like 1.070 OG and 1.006 FG. Subtract OG from FG and multiply by 131 for ABV. 1.070 is a pretty strong OG for a beer. The Atomic Fireball Mead's OG was 1.189. That's just outrageous. It will have a ton of sugar to ferment once it gets started.

Another method is with a refractometer. I don't have one of these but I believe it works by measuring the amount of light that goes through a sample. I could be wrong on that.

I have not opened a Pumpkin Ale yet. It was still fermenting at Thanksgiving and I just haven't felt like having "pumpkin pie in a glass" yet.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 January 2009 at 11:17

>>>"pumpkin pie in a glass"<<<

sounds crazy, but also sounds good. damn good.

my dad bought a home brewing kit last year (he made a very good wheat beer with his first attempt), and it almost certainly had a hydrometer. i may have to borrow it and see what this sima comes out to.

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Originally posted by TasunkaWitko TasunkaWitko wrote:

>>>"pumpkin pie in a glass"<<<

sounds crazy, but also sounds good. damn good.

my dad bought a home brewing kit last year (he made a very good wheat beer with his first attempt), and it almost certainly had a hydrometer. i may have to borrow it and see what this sima comes out to.



I'll send a bottle of the beer if it turns out good.

You'll need to make more Sima so you can get an Original Gravity reading.

Hey are your ancestors Finns or did that just sound like a cool recipe? I also have a recipe for Sahti; a Finnish beverage made with juniper branches and berries. I have no idea what the heck Juniper berries taste like, but I saw a jar of them in a store recently and it got me thinking about that. I may try it.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 January 2009 at 11:34

i've got swedish ancestors, but to my knowledge no finns -

just germans, with a good strain of swede and a dollop of english, as far as i know.

i have been slowly collecting books from an old (late 60s vintage) series from time-life called "foods of the world." they've pretty well got the globe covered, including germany, scandinavia, russia, the british aisles, india, italy, spain/portugal, the middle east, africa, latin america, china, japan, and quite a few others. the only one i have seen missing is GREECE. anyway, this recipe looked really good in the picture, plus it sounded pretty danged easy, so i gave it a try.

i've heard of the juniper branches being used in finnihs brewing - if i remember correctly, and i might not, they help to disinfect the brew. if i can find juniper berries up here, i plan to grab them as i hear they make a great compliment for most venison. also, as i recall, gin is brewed from them, for better or worse - i am not much of a fan of gin, but the fermented and distilled product doesn't always taste like it's progenitor, or so i am told.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hivolt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 January 2009 at 13:11

My so is into making Mead, he sent me instructions on how to make it, I never have, my mom used to make so bad ass home brew and wines, I never saw anyone walk away after three bottles of her beer. If I run across the recipes I will post them.

 

Rick

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 January 2009 at 04:48
rick - please do! sounds like some good stuff!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ARPF Refugee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 January 2009 at 22:21
I'm starting a more burned version of Bochet. I put close to 4 lbs of honey on the stovetop and damn near burned it. It took FOREVER because the pan was not that big and it kept foaming up. I'd remove it from the heat and dunk the pan in a sink full of icewater, then right back onto the heat. Even added to around 3/4 gallon of water, it looks like a jug of Coca-Cola. I didn't take an OG reading yet. I'll do that tomorrow (well, later today). Should be interesting. 
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keep us posted on this ~ might make for an interesting tutorial on mead.
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I bottled some Mead tonight. Now I have a 1gal jug available so I read your OP again. I gotta say, 12 hours is not much time for fermenting. My Ancient Orange Mead is still bubbling after 15 days.

I'm going to modify the procedure slightly and see how it works out.

Ingredients will remain the same.

Everything goes in the fermenter at once. Seal fermenter with an air lock (wild yeast can get in and the results will be unpredictable. You can count on that. In fact, that's how everything was brewed hundreds of years ago, before anyone even knew what yeast was. It's still how Belgian Lambic beer is brewed).

If you don't have an air lock, you can get some food grade tubing that's a tight fit in or around the neck of the jug you're using as a fermenter. Put the other end in a jar of water so CO2 bubbles out into the water. You can even put a balloon with a pinhole in it over the neck of the jug you're using as a fermenter. The tiny hole will allow it to maintain positive pressure and keep contaminants out. That's what I used in Afghanistan when making hooch for my buddies. Ferment until all signs of fermentation have stopped AND the fruit/raisins/zest has sunk to the bottom. I think that will leave it with a cleaner taste. If you want it carbonated, you can add sugar before bottling.

I'm going to make 2 batches; one with bread yeast and one with Red Star Montrachet wine yeast (just because that's what I opened tonight for use in making a gallon of Apfelwein and I have some left)

I've never had Apfelwein before but I hear great things. It's nothing but a gallon of apple juice plus an ounce of corn sugar and the Montrachet yeast. I bought the local H.E.B.-brand organic cider in a glass jug. It's $7.19 a gallon. My local Homebrew supply shop sells the same gallon jug empty for $5.49, so I can look at it as a 1gal fermenter for $5.49 and a gallon of high-quality cider for $1.70. Not a bad deal, IMHO.

Buy a few of them them you can do really cool stuff like make several batches, each with slight variations and see which one you like best.

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sounds like some good ideas there - let me know how it turns out.

next time we're in great falls or billings, i'll ahve to see about geting some better equipment. these mason jars seem t be doing the trick, but i'd hate to find out i was wrong while holding one!

took a sip of the stuff i made before christmas today, after "aging" for three weeks or so instead of a coupe of days. flavor was good - definitely seemed more "finished" than the earlier stuff; also, not nearly as bitter. slightly fizzy, just enough to tickle the palate. as far as i can tell, it's doing what it's supposed to be doing.

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Oh I thought you were drinking within a couple of days of starting it.

Something that I think would be really handy is an "Auto Siphon". It will let you drain the fermenter without disturbing the sediment or putting your mouth on the hose. http://northernbrewer.com/siphon.html

Put a Bottle Filler on the end and you are good to go. http://northernbrewer.com/bottling.html

I used that combo last night for putting a gallon of Mead into four 750ml Champagne bottles and one 12oz beer bottle. It was a breeze compared to my first efforts so long ago, using nothing but a hose and starting the siphon with my mouth. I'll send you a bottle at the end of the year. This is my first Mead, though, and I suspect it will be better if you wait until the end of 2010. Mead takes patience.

BTW try the dog treat I posted. It's cheap, easy, and they love it.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 January 2009 at 15:39

i tried the sima first in christmas eve, when it was about 4 days old. the second time was about a week ago and the third time today. each time it tends to have a more warm and "mature flavor;" pretty good stuff!

that auto siphon sounds like the ticket - each of these jars of mead has a small layer of sediment on the bottom; no big deal but it would be nice to do something like you suggest for a "cleaner" end product.

i'll give the dog treat a try - i've got two medium sized dogs and after reading it, i am sure they would love it!

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