Hello! And some critique needed

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Paddyirishman

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Good morning/afternoon/evening to all!

I'm Patrick, from Ireland. I'm hoping to be a winemaker someday and I've worked in the wine industry in New Zealand and south of England but based in Belfast. I caught the mead bug when I tried mead in New Zealand and couldn't believe the complexity in the glass! Aroma, acidity, body, complexity that I never thought possible. Of course wine making not really possible in my home country I thought I'd give mead making a go, we've got some great honey here and I happen to know an awesome apiarist.

I got a mead making kit for Christmas, basic enough. 5L bucket, mead making yeast, sterilising solution, racking tube and a few bits and pieces.

I made my first batch using some decent supermarket honey to start with (didn't want to waste any good stuff if it went pear shaped) and used the 'Joe's ancient mead recipe' I'm sure you're all familiar with.

I kind of went my own way based off what I know from winemaking but I could really do with some pointers with the collective expertise of this forum.
My method (if I remember correctly) was such:
-sterilisation of everything (wine industry taught me that much)
-mixed my 3.5lbs/1.58kgs clover honey to 5L/1.1gal of warm water
-quartered 2 mandarins and threw them in
-small handful of raisins
-1 clove and 1 cinnamon stick
-strong tea brew for tannin structure
-mixed my yeast in a smaller and cooler dose of my mixture and added it into the bucket

Over the course of about 5 weeks the fermentation took its course, I left it under the stairs (about 18-20 degrees C) and when the fermentation started to plateau and it was starting to taste dry I took it outside and left it in an ice bath for a couple of cold nights to stop the fermentation. I also taped up the hole on top.

After this time the mead had absorbed some carbon dioxide and had a small bit of spritz on the palate although this didn't really last to bottling unfortunately although I was wondering how to maintain this (or just a sugar dose in the bottling before sealing might be okay?)

The mead had some turbidity in the glass which doesn't bother me at all and I racked directly from the bucket to the bottles. The result was lovely, dry, medium bodied, pronounced aroma but balanced across all the elements, between honey, clove, cinnamon and mandarin.

Going forward, I'd love to add some oak influence, maybe through chips or cubes and maintain some more carbonation and would love some help on the best way to do this and any feedback on my method would be great.

Love the forum and the community, looks awesome!

Cheers,
Pat
 

CKuhns

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Hello Pat

Oak chips, rods etc work fine. In secondary I just drop about 2 oz of Medium Toast French chips in a sanitized mesh bag with a few marbles to sink it. Then after a week to 10 days start checking it and pull them when it hits the flavor profile I like.

Have also had great success with wine Tannen again to taste in secondary.

Finally have played with various teas but never really happy with how they turned out. Hibiscus was about the best I came up with. Steeped some dried flowers prior to primary for those.

As far as carbonation. .005 residual sugar will give you about 2.5 to 3 volumes of CO2. I have bottled (beer bottles) at 1.005 SG and been happy with the results. Also have killed the yeast through pasteurzing but that gets a little tricky. Look up the "sticky" by Pappers at the top of the Cider forum.

Good luck let us know how it goes.

You might want to move this to the Mead forum for a better response.
 
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