What to look for in a Melomel?
Hey guys, I recently started my first mead, (strawberry/peach) and was wondering what I should be looking for in my final product. I can imagine there is a lot of depth here, but I'm clueless as what I should be expecting.
Obviously it's a matter of preference, but there's gotta be a Mead tasting sheet out there right? I'd love to get into the depth of the subject (I imagine it's fascinating). :mug:
What there isn't ? Any kind of real standards to judge meads by. The problem is, that as mead making in it's current form, uses a lot of winemaking techniques that have been bastardised by us, who are just trying to make stuff that would seem to approximate mead as it might have been made. While at the same time, the interest is such that there's a lot of people who want to include ingredients that might not, strictly speaking, have ever been used in earlier recipes etc.
You only have to look to the sub-divisions of nonclamenture to see that.
Of course, there's a number of things that seem to have been "discovered" or worked out i.e. straight ingredients (honey, water, yeast) don't make for easy making, or that honey is deficient in nutrients normally associated with wine making, so for ease of fermentation management, various nutrients need to be used/added - but they can come in various forms i.e. powder, crystals or even fruit. Boiling musts is unnecessary, as the heat can drive of a lot of the aromatics and some of the more subtle flavours.
The only place I've read about actually having any standards for meads is Poland, but that's only for the "Polish style" products (some of those aren't easily made either).
So basically, it's up to you how it turns out. Stuff like whether you've used enough fruit so that you can taste both of them, or whether one is over-ridden by the other, or whether there was enough fermentable sugars in the batch to give the % ABV that you're aiming for.
Also, there's the ageing "issue". Not really an issue per se, but it does seem that most young/newly made meads are not very nice, so if you manage to achieve something that's nice to drink straight out of the making then that's brilliant (document/record all the ingredients and methods that you use etc, then it would be repeatable).
Ageing ? Well there seems no way of speading it up at all, so it's probably gonna be 6 months plus, after you've got it made before it's drinkable.
I've been looking around Got Mead for about a month now and have found a lot of info. Ya, I know I have to bottle and age, patients is a virtue I guess. I figure this batch will be ready by Christmas time.
The fermentation is almost done, so I'm going to taste it at the end of the week then transfer to secondary.
How strong of fruit flavors should I be expecting?
And out of complete curiosity, what's the best mead you've ever made lol?
Edit: I actually found an essay called "A treatise of mead judging", hbd.org/atommash/hall/mead_judging.pdf , which is fascinating.
fruit flavor depends on how much fruit used and what quality (i.e. tree ripened peaches are superior to grocery store or frozen peaches...but you can still make good mead with them)
Your best bet is avoiding off flavors or harshness in the finished product by keeping the yeast happy/healthy, optimal pitching, optimal temps for fermentation, etc...etc.
Then you will at least know that your recipe is being perceived in taste/aroma without any outside imperfections...and then you can tweak the recipe if necessary.
That kind of where I personally draw my line in the sand. When it comes to 'needing balance with acidity, tannins, etc'...I just silently nod in agreement, and tell myself "people like my mead so I ain't changing it" :)
One of the great benefits of home brewing is the creativity you can have. I tasted it this weekend and it's coming along great, I used peach syrup that I had canned last year, and it's blended really nicely with the honey. Not very much strawberry taste, I think I might rack on top of another lb of fresh strawberries.
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