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Old 12-27-2010, 01:56 PM   #1
RedGuitar
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Default Wedding Mead

Sometime in January (hopefully soon) I'll be brewing my first mead (going to use a kit from Northern Brewer). I'm getting married in August, and hope to open my first bottle then. A friend of mine told me he and his wife brewed some mead 5 years ago, and they drink a bottle a year every year because it keeps getting better. My idea was to have my first bottle of mead for our wedding, then save the rest of my bottles and open up a bottle at each anniversary afterward. My question is, how long does mead keep improving? I know that wine is supposed to peak at some point; does mead do the same? (Not that my palate is smart enough to really tell when it's peaked...)

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Old 12-27-2010, 02:05 PM   #2
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I seem to recall reading somewhere, that the max improvement is 7 to 8 years (it's in one of the books I've got - can't remember which one......).

I'd suggest that if you're gonna make some for a wedding, then a good sized batch (or batches) of JAO should be ready in time for that, whereas, there's a likelihood that a traditional wouldn't be. So make a batch of both, then you've got yer ass covered.......

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Old 12-27-2010, 02:40 PM   #3
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Agreed.

I took a class last month, and the teacher talked about swingtops really only working for short term storage, like 2 or 3 years (what you bottle is what you get because, at best, you're just blending the flavors and hotness).

Beyond that, he talked about mead needing the micro-oxygenation from the specialized corks available so it can truly age like wine for a few more years. If or when there is a significant peak, or a significant decline after that, I don't know.

I can say that in 2004, with my unsophisticated palate, my then-9-year-old wedding mead in swingtops was friggin' awesome as a divorce celebration, and I didn't notice any off-flavors or decline, and it was very drinkable for all involved.

That said, I plan to save annual "vintages" for 1,3,5,10 and 20 years. With my focus on high-gravity, high-ETOH, still metheglins, I don't expect a worst case scenario of opening up a bottle of vinegar or liquid cardboard with my kids for their 21st birthdays, or with my girlfriend on our 20th anniversary.

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Old 12-27-2010, 06:57 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by jasonsargo View Post
-----%<-----

I can say that in 2004, with my unsophisticated palate, my then-9-year-old wedding mead in swingtops was friggin' awesome as a divorce celebration, and I didn't notice any off-flavors or decline, and it was very drinkable for all involved.

That said, I plan to save annual "vintages" for 1,3,5,10 and 20 years. With my focus on high-gravity, high-ETOH, still metheglins, I don't expect a worst case scenario of opening up a bottle of vinegar or liquid cardboard with my kids for their 21st birthdays, or with my girlfriend on our 20th anniversary.
Well there's the "school of thought" with brews that are being made for the long term i.e. high alcohol, higher than normal tannin, etc etc so as to sort of mimic a red wine that's made for ageing/storage/collectors etc.

Especially if it's something you make when the kids are born and so on (ha! depends on where you are as to how long you need to keep it, the US has one of the longer waiting periods because of the historical hostility to booze - I seem to recall some of the EU has drinking age of 16, and here it's 18).

I haven't heard of any point where it starts to degrade though, just a limited period whereby it improves to a certain point but then stops and doesn't get any further........

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Old 12-27-2010, 07:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedGuitar View Post
I'm getting married in August, and hope to open my first bottle then. A friend of mine told me he and his wife brewed some mead 5 years ago, and they drink a bottle a year every year because it keeps getting better. My idea was to have my first bottle of mead for our wedding, then save the rest of my bottles and open up a bottle at each anniversary afterward.
I did what your friend did and what you plan to do. This doesn't answer your question, but brewing in January for a wedding in August might be ambitious time-wise. My mead was much better at 1 year than it was at 8 months.

The seasoned mead brewers here could give you some tips on managing the fermentation to avoid off flavors. You'll need to do that to make up for lack of aging time.
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Old 12-28-2010, 01:20 PM   #6
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Yeah, I know I'm behind. This will be my first mead, and the idea didn't occur to me until a couple weeks ago. I guess we'll see how it goes.

I'm making a dry mead, as SWMBO prefers dry wines to sweet wines. Will that make a difference on being ready by August?

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Old 12-28-2010, 02:44 PM   #7
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Default Silver Anniversary Mead

Open one on your wedding. Keep 25 bottles and open one bottle each year on your anniversary date till you reach your silver anniversary. If you are really ambitious make a double batch and do a Golden Anniversary Mead

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Old 12-28-2010, 02:47 PM   #8
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Make sure to use Fermaid K and DAP. I also use GoFerm to rehydrate my yeast (check the sticky above). Also make sure your ph is above 3.5. I started my first mead this past April and it is still fermenting because my ph was too low and I didn't use Ferm K & DAP (added acid blend/Papazian's approach DONT DO THAT). I have since made 4 other meads which are still aging but totally done fermenting. My orange blossom has been bottled and was only a 3 gal. batch. It is delicious and will get better with time. Smaller batches take less time to finish, but there may be some hotness if it hasn't aged for a long period. I would use a lighter honey like the Orange Blossom NB sells and not get too crazy on the ABV if you want something decent by August.

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Old 12-28-2010, 11:39 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by RedGuitar View Post
Yeah, I know I'm behind. This will be my first mead, and the idea didn't occur to me until a couple weeks ago. I guess we'll see how it goes.

I'm making a dry mead, as SWMBO prefers dry wines to sweet wines. Will that make a difference on being ready by August?
Yes, because it's easy to go over the top with a dry mead and make something that is "alcohol hot" - and would normally take some ageing to get the alcohol hot taste to mellow out of it.

Otherwise the only real way to cure that quickly is to back sweeten - then you still might need a little acid to balance the sweetness.....
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Old 12-29-2010, 12:29 PM   #10
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Fermaid K and DAP are yeast nutrients? Sorry, I'm not familiar. Haven't had to use any of these in my beer brewing.

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