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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > How long do you age your mead?
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Old 08-31-2010, 10:33 PM   #1
Qeelin
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Default How long do you age your mead?

I want to make my first batch of mead and I'm curious how long it will take to age completely. According to "The Complete Joy of Home Brewing", Papazian says to ferment to completion in the primary, move to a secondary to clear and then you can bottle/drink the mead. Is this how y'all do it? Most people say to age 6 months to a year, do you? How young have you drank your mead? I don't want to rush things but I'm curious if mine will be ready to drink in time for an event next year. Also has anyone ever used oak chips in mead? I just love the sound of "Oak Matured Mead" but I don't want to waist the time and money for it to turn out terrible.

Ronnie


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Old 08-31-2010, 11:39 PM   #2
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Oak can completment meads nicely, but it is very easy to over do it.

Some meads are drinkable at 6 months or even earlier, but I haven't had one yet that I really loved that wasn't at least 18 months


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Old 09-01-2010, 12:20 AM   #3
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some sweeter meads are fine early, however generally speaking six months to a year is perfect.

Oak is another matter all together. I made a chai mead recipe that I aged in oak and the oak really made the mead wonderful. It was quite popular and I ended up winning an award for it at an SCA event that had a mead tasting competition. I wrote an article on oak aging here.
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Old 09-01-2010, 01:04 AM   #4
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How long do I age? As long as I can!

Seriously, though, some mead is good quickly, and I agree w/ CuAllaidh that sweeter ones seem to be more enjoyable earlier. But no matter what, you'll never go wrong with aging longer -- put a few bottles from each batch away and forget them for 5 or even 10 years or longer!

In his book "Homebrewed Adventures," Papazian talks about drinking 50 year old mead in Scotland, and he seemed to think it was absolutely fantastic...

Reason: spelling!
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Old 09-01-2010, 01:07 AM   #5
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My first mead is still in secondary, coming along nice now, a year after brewing. May bottle soon.
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Old 09-01-2010, 01:16 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biochemedic View Post
How long do I age? As long as I can!

Seriously, though, some mead is good quickly, and I agree w/ CuAllaidh that sweeter ones seem to be more enjoyable earlier. But no matter what, you'll never go wrong with aging longer -- put a few bottles from each batch away and forget them for 5 or even 10 years or longer!

In his book "Homebrewed Adventures," Papazian talks about drinking 50 year old mead in Scotland, and he seemed to think it was absolutely fantastic...
Well if you do age a mead that long would it be advisable to use a corked bottle instead of a flip top "EZ-Cap" style or ordinary beer bottle? I can't imagine those bottles would last too many years like a cork would.
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Old 09-01-2010, 12:01 PM   #7
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I age mead/melomel for as long as it takes. I've had melomels that were great at 1.5 years, but I have a cyser that wasn't even palatable till 4 years. Usually melomels will be ready before meads & the higher the ABV, the more aging it takes. I always bottle part of a batch in 12 oz beer bottles as samples, that way I can try one at various stages of aging to see how things are progressing. Regards, GF.
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Old 09-01-2010, 12:28 PM   #8
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I just made a mead that was steeped in dried oak bark and rose hips. I hope it comes out as tasty as the must.
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Old 09-01-2010, 12:31 PM   #9
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It is possible to over age meads, especially melomels and such. While mead tends to mellow and interesting notes come through over time, it is possible for off flavours to come through and intensify over time as well. The best way to determine how long to age is put away a number of bottles and after six month take a bottle out and taste, then after a year take a bottle out and taste, then again at two three four and five years taste. That way you'll know the best length of time to age that recipe for future batches.
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Old 09-01-2010, 04:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CuAllaidh View Post
It is possible to over age meads, especially melomels and such. While mead tends to mellow and interesting notes come through over time, it is possible for off flavours to come through and intensify over time as well. The best way to determine how long to age is put away a number of bottles and after six month take a bottle out and taste, then after a year take a bottle out and taste, then again at two three four and five years taste. That way you'll know the best length of time to age that recipe for future batches.
That's a good idea. What do you use for bottles? Wine or beer? Will a beer bottle or swing top bottle keep it's seal for years and years?


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