Slow Mead

In May of 2012 we started trying to make our own mead. We made three separate batches, all done around the same time, but done differently — different types of honey, different additives, slightly different overall process.

Letting it sit for a while and tasting it at various stages, we FINALLY bottled it today. Talk about taking our time! Mead takes a long time, so maybe this is somewhat appropriate.

The clarity of the mead has been quite good for a while, and we’ve been meaning to bottle it. I think I purchased the bottles over a year ago. I may have left some of the mead on some of the lees (yeast carcasses at the bottom) too long, but we’ll see. I wouldn’t say that any of the batches are fantastic yet, but they say some stronger meads can take 2-3 years and up before they’re really good …

At an earlier taste test one of the batches had a distinct sort of rubber aroma which was quite yucky. I’m pleased to say that wackiness has aged out completely. Whew! Just goes to show how important it is to age mead.

One of the batches, batch #1 as it would happen, was pretty good at the six month mark, but we decided to let it go longer as mead is supposed to take a while to age properly. At that time I made some cyser because I wanted to try something that was quicker. The cyser was not bad. I still have one bottle of it. I kind of wish I saved two. Oh well.

Mead batch #1, the one that was a fairly nice at six months, has lost nearly all of its sweetness now. In fact, I’d have to say the same for all three batches — all dry and not really sweet at all. I guess that’s somewhat to be expected. Maybe.

Two of the batches taste fairly strong now. As I didn’t own a hydrometer when I started the mead (kicking myself), I don’t know the actual alcohol content. I can guess, however, and if I compare to other known beverages, I’d guess these are the high end of what the yeast tolerated, maybe 14%? Maybe 16%? 18%? Ack.

I REALLY wish I could find my notes. I HAVE them. Somewhere. That would tell my the exact type of yeast I used and the recipe for each of these batches.

I don’t mind the dryer mead. It’s has a beautiful aroma. One of the batches tastes close to a dry white wine. Not bad, but it’s not really the traditional mead that I was going for either. Two of the batches seem a little strong, a bit like firewater. So maybe this stuff is good for dry mead that just needs to age a bit more. Um, don’t know.

I think I’ll leave all to age longer except for the two bottles that didn’t get filled all the way. Those are free game for experimentation! I’ll get out my mad scientist/mixologist hat. I may try back sweetening a bit to get more of the sweeter honey-mead flavor that I’m used to. Maybe I’ll add a bit of acid to one of the batches as it seems a little flat. And I need to find those notes.


Upturned Noses and Glasses and Buns

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt is Upturned Noses which asks:

Even the most laid back and egalitarian among us can be insufferable snobs when it comes to coffee, music, cars, beer, or any other pet obsession where things have to be just so. What are you snobbish about?

I like to try a lot of different foods, so maybe I’m snobbish about that. I don’t quite understand people who refuse to try something new. “What do you mean you won’t try the eel scaloppine with fried mealworms in peanut butter sauce?”

I can probably be snobbish about tea and maybe mead and some kinds of food. Except that, really, I’ll still drink or enjoy just about any kind.

I adore good tea — perfect jasmine green infused with the scent of actual blossoms, not just added flavoring. That’s snobbery talk right there. A Greener oolong that has matured into a delicate floral or a darker robust oolong from Taiwan. Yum! New Darjeeling you think is great? I’ll try that too.

I like a good basic mead — Chaucer’s the kind we can get at our local Renaissance Festival and elsewhere is certainly enjoyable. Fox Hill Special Reserve which is made with a darker honey has a bit of bitterness and a lot of depth. Some Redstone Mountain Mead can be impressive too. It’s real mead made in small batches — some can be bitter and some wonderful. They even date the batches, so you’ll want to get more of the same date if you like a batch. That’s mead for a mead snob for sure.

Unless I’m allergic, it could poison me, or it’s a dish that exhibits unusual cruelty, I’ll usually try any kind of food. I read about a Japanese dish called Ikizukuri where live fish is sliced and served still moving. I think I’ll avoid that, thanks.

But I do love to taste a variety of new things! I love gourmet dishes that have the perfect balance of flavors, colors, and textures, but I also love hot dogs from gas stations that have been roasting on those metal rollers for hours thus reducing water content and enhancing flavors. You do not know a good hot dog if you turn your nose up at those things. So maybe that’s makes me a hot dog snob. Is it wrong to have a hot dog with my beautiful jasmine tea? Maybe. The darker oolong would probably be better with hot dogs.