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  #1  
Old 07-20-2011, 06:42 PM
Weaver Weaver is offline
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Can you ferment mushrooms?

Okay, I have to admit that this is one of those questions that's the result of one of those strange lines of thought that occur at stupid o'clock in the morning. I think it started with the theory that you can ferment pretty much anything and that humans have done so but that probably doesn't really matter. Daft though it is, it's now stuck in my head for some bizarre reason and Google has failed me in my efforts to settle the matter since all the hits I get are dubious stuff involving 'special' mushrooms.
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  #2  
Old 07-20-2011, 06:50 PM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is offline
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I think that you need some sort of carbohydrate to perform fermentation. What sort of carb content do mushrooms have?
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  #3  
Old 07-20-2011, 07:01 PM
Klostertal Klostertal is offline
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I would say no, not to any significant degree. There seems to be only a very very small amount of sugar in most mushrooms.
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Old 07-20-2011, 07:02 PM
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@ kenobi 65: According to online nutritional data it's pretty low, about 3g per 100g of mushrooms.

Last edited by Weaver; 07-20-2011 at 07:03 PM..
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Old 07-21-2011, 11:36 AM
Disenchantment Disenchantment is offline
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Originally Posted by Weaver View Post
Okay, I have to admit that this is one of those questions that's the result of one of those strange lines of thought that occur at stupid o'clock in the morning. I think it started with the theory that you can ferment pretty much anything and that humans have done so but that probably doesn't really matter. Daft though it is, it's now stuck in my head for some bizarre reason and Google has failed me in my efforts to settle the matter since all the hits I get are dubious stuff involving 'special' mushrooms.
Fermenting mushrooms would be really ineffective due to the low carb content, and even if it were effective it would honestly taste like shit. Keep in mind that fermentation is a process of spoiling in hopes that enough good flavors are retained to compliment the alcohol made to produce a good drink. Sometimes, even if you choose delicious things to ferment (fruits, etc.), the end result could taste like crap based on a number of factors. I've had quite a few fermentation disasters that looked very promising at the start. I could not even imagine how bad fermented mushrooms would taste...

As for the strange Google hits, that sounds interesting and I'm sure you wouldn't want to try this like most people, but [I just felt like putting out a theory for shroom drinks lol]...

To incorporate "special" mushrooms into an alcoholic beverage it is more effective to soak the psilocybe mushrooms in a jar of the alcoholic drink of your preference to extract the psychoactive chemicals in the mushroom. This should work as Psilocybin and Psilocin, the psychoactive chemicals, are soluble in water (both are alkaloids) and moderately soluble in ethanol. But this will still, almost guaranteed, taste like ass and no doubt it will go crazy. I am not liable for these ideas haha

I'm sure you know now, but you should revise your theory by adding "...that you can ferment pretty much anything that contains carbs"
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  #6  
Old 08-16-2012, 03:51 PM
Copper Copper is offline
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You can ferment mushrooms. I'm writing a book about it. All the chemicals in mushrooms need is sugar. Put the mushrooms in sugar water. Don't listen to people who tell you tell you it will taste like crap. There is good in everything that lives. The only mushroom that tastes like butt fermented is Shiitake, and it wears off after a few months fermenting. Not much glory in that mushroom, after all though. French horn and morel give off negative chemicals too. Ciao
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  #7  
Old 08-16-2012, 04:00 PM
Great Antibob Great Antibob is offline
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Originally Posted by Copper View Post
All the chemicals in mushrooms need is sugar.
Um...not a chemist, but if you're adding sugar and if fermentation is the process of turning carbohydrates (sugars, in this case) to alcohol, how are the mushrooms themselves being fermented?

Seems like you're fermenting the sugar water and the mushrooms are simply being pickled (well, not pickled if there's no brine but the equivalent process with sugar/alcohol water) and adding their flavors and chemicals to the resulting fermented mix. Kind of like the choice of wood affects how whiskeys mature.

Also, this thread is over a year old. There's no need to revive it to answer a question that isn't open anymore.

Last edited by Great Antibob; 08-16-2012 at 04:04 PM..
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  #8  
Old 08-16-2012, 04:19 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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I think there might be a limited definition of the word 'ferment' abroad in this thread. Worcestershire Sauce (and other fish sauces), Soy sauce, Kimchi and even some types of Salami are all fermented products. In this broader sense, mushrooms can be (and are) fermented.

So maybe this thread is in fact still open...

Last edited by Mangetout; 08-16-2012 at 04:20 PM..
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  #9  
Old 08-16-2012, 05:02 PM
Great Antibob Great Antibob is offline
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Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
Worcestershire Sauce (and other fish sauces), Soy sauce, Kimchi and even some types of Salami are all fermented products. In this broader sense, mushrooms can be (and are) fermented.

So maybe this thread is in fact still open...
I'd still disagree.

For soy sauce and kimchi, there's still a fermentation process going on, though it's not alcohol being produced. For those, sugars are still converted but into lactic acid, rather than alcohol.

Likewise, Worcestershire sauce starts with some sugars, which are necessary for a fermentation process.

Not sure about salami fermentation, but there's almost certainly some sugars in there to play with.

For all those examples, there are at least carbohydrates involved in the chemical process.

By contrast, mushrooms don't have much in the way of carbohydrates to ferment. If the sugar is a key ingredient, it's not the mushrooms themselves being fermented. So, I'm still reasonably sure it's the sugar water being fermented.
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  #10  
Old 08-16-2012, 05:57 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Originally Posted by Disenchantment View Post
Fermenting mushrooms would be really ineffective due to the low carb content, and even if it were effective it would honestly taste like shit. Keep in mind that fermentation is a process of spoiling in hopes that enough good flavors are retained to compliment the alcohol made to produce a good drink.
Well, no. As mentioned above, fermentation is not just for making alcoholic drinks. It's also for preservation, as in the case of pickles, sauerkraut, kim chi, beans, hot peppers (see: Tabasco sauce), fish, sourdough, yogurt, etc. I imagine if mushrooms were fermentable, they'd be pretty awesome.

I'm not sure how mushrooms would ferment, given their low carb content, but there are a couple of lacto-fermented mushroom recipes if you google. Here's one. I assume it's mostly the other ingredients that are fermenting here.

Last edited by pulykamell; 08-16-2012 at 05:57 PM..
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  #11  
Old 08-16-2012, 06:00 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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It's possible to ferment mushrooms without adding any sugars, but even in cases where sugars are added, if the mushrooms are also transformed by metabolic processes (say, into a liquid ketchup), then it's true to say they've been fermented. Fermentation means more than just metabolism of sugars by yeast.
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  #12  
Old 08-16-2012, 06:08 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
Fermentation means more than just metabolism of sugars by yeast.
I can't think of any food or beverage where fermentation does not involve the conversion of sugar/starch. Can you give an example?
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Old 08-16-2012, 06:11 PM
Bozuit Bozuit is offline
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Then I suppose it depends on your exact definition. We say grapes ferment to make wine, but it's still only the sugars that are being used by the yeast. What difference does it makes whether the sugars were originally in the grapes or not? Of course since the sugar comes from the grapes it's technically more true that grapes can ferment than that mushrooms can, but it's still the same effect: the sugars become alcohol and carbon dioxide and the rest just hangs about in the mixture to give flavour, whether it be sugar-free grape mush or soggy mushrooms. I should point out that making wine involves adding sugar anyway, although of course the original fruit has a lot of sugar in it too.

It does sound like a bad idea though. Unless you use it to make something for cooking, maybe.
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Old 08-16-2012, 06:16 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
I can't think of any food or beverage where fermentation does not involve the conversion of sugar/starch. Can you give an example?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surstr%C3%B6mming
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  #15  
Old 08-16-2012, 06:20 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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I've had that stuff. Ugh. That's perhaps the only food I've ever eaten that I couldn't get down more than two bites.

That's fermented through the breakdown of glycogen, though. Isn't that a polysaccharide/carb?
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Old 08-16-2012, 06:28 PM
Ruken Ruken is offline
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I just poked around for fermentation of N-Acetylglucosamine (the monomer of chitin, which is the structural carbohydrate in fungi IIRC) into something tasty, but didn't come up with anything.
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  #17  
Old 08-16-2012, 06:30 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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My mistake - I thought it was a bacterial fermentation of proteins and other components, which is at best a secondary process for this product.
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  #18  
Old 08-16-2012, 06:32 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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In any case, the definition of fermentation, although it focuses on carbohydrates, is broader, and if you transform mushrooms by some sort of metabolic process into a different product, there's really no sense in calling that anything but fermentation.
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  #19  
Old 08-16-2012, 07:18 PM
Vlad/Igor Vlad/Igor is offline
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Insufferable biochemistry boffin here: fermentation of alcohol is an oxidative process that leads to ethanol. Other chemicals or proteins can be oxidized to create other products that add flavors to alcoholic beverages. Mushrooms seem to me to be pretty high on the oxidative scale and pretty low on the complexity scale. They are found on plants and on the ground, breaking them down into less complex, oxidized substances. Think about it: have you ever seen mold growing on mushrooms that you forgot about in the refrigerator? Me neither. They just dry up, at which point they become something exotic to add to Japanese/Chinese food you might be cooking.
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Old 08-16-2012, 08:19 PM
beowulff beowulff is offline
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Man, that stuff makes Casu marzu sound appetizing!
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  #21  
Old 08-17-2012, 02:09 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Insufferable biochemistry boffin here: fermentation of alcohol is an oxidative process that leads to ethanol. Other chemicals or proteins can be oxidized to create other products that add flavors to alcoholic beverages. Mushrooms seem to me to be pretty high on the oxidative scale and pretty low on the complexity scale. They are found on plants and on the ground, breaking them down into less complex, oxidized substances.
Moulds will grow on mushrooms - there are even species of fungi, mould and bacteria that specialise on the fruiting bodies of other fungi.


Quote:
Think about it: have you ever seen mold growing on mushrooms that you forgot about in the refrigerator? Me neither.
Yes, as a matter of fact, I have.
Mushrooms left in an open container in the fridge (especially a cardboard carton) tend to shrivel and dry, but try leaving them in a plastic bag or other container closed to prevent moisture loss and they will decompose, under the action of moulds, yeasts, bacteria and possibly their own enzymes, into something decidedly UN-mushroomy. Sometimes that end result is horrible, but the process (like any other fermentation) can be controlled so as to make sauces and other products.

Quote:
They just dry up, at which point they become something exotic to add to Japanese/Chinese food you might be cooking.
That's a bit like saying grapes can't be fermented because they just dry up into those little shrivelled brown things that are used in fruit cakes.

Last edited by Mangetout; 08-17-2012 at 02:11 AM..
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  #22  
Old 08-17-2012, 03:42 AM
Floater Floater is offline
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Funny you should bring that up right now as yesterday was the start of the surströmming season. It's a quite popular game in Sweden to serve it to unsuspecting foreigners, but apparently Japanese can handle it quite well as there is a similar dish in Japan made from beans.
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  #23  
Old 08-17-2012, 03:50 AM
Blake Blake is offline
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I don't know where these figures of low carbohydrate content are coming from. Looking at the scientific literature the carbohydrate content is 50 to 65% of dry weight. Chitin alone accounts for 7% of the dry weight, non-structural polysaccharide make up a further 10% and free sugars a further 11% with the remainder being mostly starch.


Just to give some perspective, that carbohydrate content is comparable to that of soybeans, higher than many varieties. And nobody in their right mind suggest you can't ferment soybeans because there isn't enough carbohydrate.
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Old 08-17-2012, 03:51 AM
Olentzero Olentzero is offline
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Surströmming season already? Hot diggity!
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Old 08-17-2012, 03:58 AM
Gagundathar Gagundathar is offline
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I love the description where it said that the aroma was so overwhelming that it was usually eaten outdoors.
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Old 08-17-2012, 04:36 AM
Floater Floater is offline
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Only it isn't true. If it's eaten outdoors it's because it's still summer and warm enough to sit there.

Last edited by Floater; 08-17-2012 at 04:36 AM..
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  #27  
Old 08-17-2012, 05:13 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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I don't know where these figures of low carbohydrate content are coming from. Looking at the scientific literature the carbohydrate content is 50 to 65% of dry weight. Chitin alone accounts for 7% of the dry weight, non-structural polysaccharide make up a further 10% and free sugars a further 11% with the remainder being mostly starch.


Just to give some perspective, that carbohydrate content is comparable to that of soybeans, higher than many varieties. And nobody in their right mind suggest you can't ferment soybeans because there isn't enough carbohydrate.
I think it's just that people are looking at the percentages expressed against fresh product, which is mostly water (not that this matters much to fermentation processes, which generally like things to be wet)
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Old 08-17-2012, 05:19 AM
Blake Blake is offline
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Ahh, that would make sense. But as you note, the reasoning is wrong. There's more than enough carbohydrate in mushrooms for them to ferment. You just don't want to add much additional water.
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  #29  
Old 08-17-2012, 08:23 AM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Ahh, that would make sense. But as you note, the reasoning is wrong. There's more than enough carbohydrate in mushrooms for them to ferment. You just don't want to add much additional water.
Yeah, I'm wondering about that now I've thought about it more. According to online sources, cucumbers have about 3.6 g of carbs per 100 g. White mushrooms have 3.3 per 100 g. (I'm using this official USDA source).

Cucumbers ferment fine. Just cover them in a brine, and let them go. You don't even have to add any sugar. I mean, you'll have some garlic and dill in there, so I guess there's more fermentables, but they're still classified as lacto-fermented cucumbers, aka a kosher pickle. I don't see why mushrooms wouldn't work the same way.
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Old 08-17-2012, 09:26 AM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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For what it's worth, when I go to the pickle booths at the farmers markets and asked for "pickled mushrooms," they say they don't have pickled mushrooms but they do have "marinated mushrooms."
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  #31  
Old 08-17-2012, 09:37 AM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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For what it's worth, when I go to the pickle booths at the farmers markets and asked for "pickled mushrooms," they say they don't have pickled mushrooms but they do have "marinated mushrooms."
Those are (in my experience) an oil-and-vinegar type of concoction. Pickled mushrooms don't have oil in them and taste much more sour.
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  #32  
Old 08-22-2012, 06:31 PM
flano1 flano1 is offline
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well, when they add mushrooms to soy sauce to make ( ahem ) mushroom soy sauce are the mushies fermented with the soy or just flavor inducers?
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  #33  
Old 08-28-2012, 10:36 PM
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When you add mushrooms to sugar water, the sugar grows the mycelium, and it starts to taste like mushrooms, or whatever mushroom you put in, and the strength of the mushroom really comes out. I'll tell you about a few of them. Lion's Mane, put in a clamp jar, become a great ferment which fumes, and whose fumes build up and escape outside the jar to crystallize outside the seal. The substance should be called Smart Sugar. Ignored it for many months, but I tasted it and it made me feel like I was getting smarter. Chaga, is Lion's Mane's cousin. Fermented, it pshysiologically put a word on my tongue, 'Siberia', and more.. 'lost' and 'self-hateful'. In the end it went to my head and said, and made me feel, 'Ingenious'. Woodear, left to ferment for three months, tasted like an ear, physiologically said, 'Mulrooney'(my last name), and connected my ear to my throat, making me operatic for a few minutes. Blue foot chanterelle fermented starts out tasting like a foot, and a bit lonely, and a month of it makes you immune to loneliness; very abstractly and mental. Cordyeceps, the parasite mushroom, starts tasting like skin, hands and feet. Fully fermented(it carbonates a lot), it tastes like politics, and just like politics, i have no use for it. Maitake is the mushroom of love, I gave a ferment to my neighbors(don't know if they drank it); doesn't make you fall in love, just makes you feel it, like something in your chest. Reishi is the shroom of hate. it's a very hard mushroom, and you must become very hard to become hate. I guess Reishi mixed with Cordyceps woulld make you turn into a bad-ass.
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Old 08-29-2012, 09:56 AM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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Originally Posted by Copper View Post
When you add mushrooms to sugar water, the sugar grows the mycelium, and it starts to taste like mushrooms, or whatever mushroom you put in, and the strength of the mushroom really comes out. I'll tell you about a few of them. Lion's Mane, put in a clamp jar, become a great ferment which fumes, and whose fumes build up and escape outside the jar to crystallize outside the seal. The substance should be called Smart Sugar. Ignored it for many months, but I tasted it and it made me feel like I was getting smarter. Chaga, is Lion's Mane's cousin. Fermented, it pshysiologically put a word on my tongue, 'Siberia', and more.. 'lost' and 'self-hateful'. In the end it went to my head and said, and made me feel, 'Ingenious'. Woodear, left to ferment for three months, tasted like an ear, physiologically said, 'Mulrooney'(my last name), and connected my ear to my throat, making me operatic for a few minutes. Blue foot chanterelle fermented starts out tasting like a foot, and a bit lonely, and a month of it makes you immune to loneliness; very abstractly and mental. Cordyeceps, the parasite mushroom, starts tasting like skin, hands and feet. Fully fermented(it carbonates a lot), it tastes like politics, and just like politics, i have no use for it. Maitake is the mushroom of love, I gave a ferment to my neighbors(don't know if they drank it); doesn't make you fall in love, just makes you feel it, like something in your chest. Reishi is the shroom of hate. it's a very hard mushroom, and you must become very hard to become hate. I guess Reishi mixed with Cordyceps woulld make you turn into a bad-ass.
Dude. Step away from the fungus.
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  #35  
Old 08-29-2012, 10:12 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Shoehorn ButterHorse man.
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  #36  
Old 08-29-2012, 04:26 PM
Kolak of Twilo Kolak of Twilo is offline
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I should point out that making wine involves adding sugar anyway, although of course the original fruit has a lot of sugar in it too.
I am assuming you are referring to the process of chaptalization. While it is true this is allowed in some wine producing areas it is specifically prohibited in others. California and Italy are two that come to mind where this is not allowed. Also, German wines with the Prädikatswein designation aren't allowed to add sugar either.

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Old 08-29-2012, 06:43 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Originally Posted by Kolak of Twilo View Post
I am assuming you are referring to the process of chaptalization. While it is true this is allowed in some wine producing areas it is specifically prohibited in others. California and Italy are two that come to mind where this is not allowed. Also, German wines with the Prädikatswein designation aren't allowed to add sugar either.
I completely missed that. The winemakers I know, both large-scale and personal, do not add any sugar to the must. Sugar is often added to non-grape wines. I do not know of any respected grape wines where there is sugar added to the must. Not a single one.
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:01 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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Originally Posted by Copper View Post
When you add mushrooms to sugar water, the sugar grows the mycelium, and it starts to taste like mushrooms, or whatever mushroom you put in, and the strength of the mushroom really comes out. I'll tell you about a few of them. Lion's Mane, put in a clamp jar, become a great ferment which fumes, and whose fumes build up and escape outside the jar to crystallize outside the seal. The substance should be called Smart Sugar. Ignored it for many months, but I tasted it and it made me feel like I was getting smarter. Chaga, is Lion's Mane's cousin. Fermented, it pshysiologically put a word on my tongue, 'Siberia', and more.. 'lost' and 'self-hateful'. In the end it went to my head and said, and made me feel, 'Ingenious'. Woodear, left to ferment for three months, tasted like an ear, physiologically said, 'Mulrooney'(my last name), and connected my ear to my throat, making me operatic for a few minutes. Blue foot chanterelle fermented starts out tasting like a foot, and a bit lonely, and a month of it makes you immune to loneliness; very abstractly and mental. Cordyeceps, the parasite mushroom, starts tasting like skin, hands and feet. Fully fermented(it carbonates a lot), it tastes like politics, and just like politics, i have no use for it. Maitake is the mushroom of love, I gave a ferment to my neighbors(don't know if they drank it); doesn't make you fall in love, just makes you feel it, like something in your chest. Reishi is the shroom of hate. it's a very hard mushroom, and you must become very hard to become hate. I guess Reishi mixed with Cordyceps woulld make you turn into a bad-ass.
This may be my new favorite post ever on the SDMB. Dude.
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:53 PM
sisu sisu is offline
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Originally Posted by Copper View Post
When you add mushrooms to sugar water, the sugar grows the mycelium, and it starts to taste like mushrooms, or whatever mushroom you put in, and the strength of the mushroom really comes out. I'll tell you about a few of them. Lion's Mane, put in a clamp jar, become a great ferment which fumes, and whose fumes build up and escape outside the jar to crystallize outside the seal. The substance should be called Smart Sugar. Ignored it for many months, but I tasted it and it made me feel like I was getting smarter. Chaga, is Lion's Mane's cousin. Fermented, it pshysiologically put a word on my tongue, 'Siberia', and more.. 'lost' and 'self-hateful'. In the end it went to my head and said, and made me feel, 'Ingenious'. Woodear, left to ferment for three months, tasted like an ear, physiologically said, 'Mulrooney'(my last name), and connected my ear to my throat, making me operatic for a few minutes. Blue foot chanterelle fermented starts out tasting like a foot, and a bit lonely, and a month of it makes you immune to loneliness; very abstractly and mental. Cordyeceps, the parasite mushroom, starts tasting like skin, hands and feet. Fully fermented(it carbonates a lot), it tastes like politics, and just like politics, i have no use for it. Maitake is the mushroom of love, I gave a ferment to my neighbors(don't know if they drank it); doesn't make you fall in love, just makes you feel it, like something in your chest. Reishi is the shroom of hate. it's a very hard mushroom, and you must become very hard to become hate. I guess Reishi mixed with Cordyceps woulld make you turn into a bad-ass.
wow just wow. man I gotta try some of these mushrooms one day!
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  #40  
Old 08-31-2012, 02:00 AM
Kolak of Twilo Kolak of Twilo is offline
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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
I do not know of any respected grape wines where there is sugar added to the must. Not a single one.
Well, chaptalization is allowed in many cool climate wine areas. Both Burgundy and Bordeaux allow it. It is also allowed in Oregon. I don't know about Washington but I would think it is done there as well.

In Champagne it is considered essential to the process of producing wine.

It is a tool used by respected and quality wine producers in each of those areas. They just control it very closely.

Producers of bulk wine from those areas are more likely to abuse it. Chile is an area that quickly comes to mind in that category.

Last edited by Kolak of Twilo; 08-31-2012 at 02:00 AM..
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  #41  
Old 08-31-2012, 07:10 AM
Horatio Hellpop Horatio Hellpop is offline
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Here in Korea, we have a mushroom wine. Very popular around the holidays.
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  #42  
Old 08-31-2012, 07:22 AM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Originally Posted by Kolak of Twilo View Post
Well, chaptalization is allowed in many cool climate wine areas. Both Burgundy and Bordeaux allow it. It is also allowed in Oregon. I don't know about Washington but I would think it is done there as well.

In Champagne it is considered essential to the process of producing wine.

It is a tool used by respected and quality wine producers in each of those areas. They just control it very closely.
This is interesting to know. The Wikipedia article on chaptalization is quite enlightening. My association with chaptalization is mostly with non-grape wines and cheap(er) table wines (For example, in Germany, you can tell which wines are definitely not chaptalized by the designation on the label.) I did know Champagne added sugar at the end of the process, but did not realize that it was used in the must, too.

Interesting.
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  #43  
Old 03-23-2013, 05:34 PM
Keeb Keeb is offline
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As a kid, the restaurant my mom worked at had mushroom based sauce similar to soy, but not soy sauce. I loved that stuff. I was told they quit making it because of contamination and that starting over was to costly.
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  #44  
Old 03-23-2013, 06:36 PM
pkbites pkbites is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Copper View Post
You can ferment mushrooms. I'm writing a book about it.
Mushroom Hooch For Dummies?
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Old 03-23-2013, 06:46 PM
Ethilrist Ethilrist is offline
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Originally Posted by pkbites View Post
Mushroom Hooch For Dummies?
By that guy's reasoning, you can also ferment granite. Or zombies.
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  #46  
Old 03-23-2013, 09:12 PM
pkbites pkbites is offline
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Originally Posted by Ethilrist View Post
By that guy's reasoning, you can also ferment granite. Or zombies.
He's half correct
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