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Tried my first mead

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dbsmith

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I'm looking for some advice. I know that many beer brewers here also make mead. I tried mead for the first time, and I wasn't all that impressed. I drink beer, wine(red and white), and some liquor too, and appreciate them all...but the mead just seemed a bit..bland. The mead I tried was "Hidden Legend Pure Honey Mead" (12.5% abv) for around $14 a bottle. Is this a good mead? I'm interested in trying some decent, inexpensive mead to give it another try. Any suggestions?
 

45_70sharps

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I've never had commercial mead but I can tell you there's a lot of styles of mead.

How dry it is is a key in the sweetness obviously. The honey used can make a big difference also and just like beer the yeast can make a huge difference.
I haven't made any yet, but in my reading the fermentation temperatures can make a bigger difference than a lot of guys give credit for.
The commercial meet you had could be something that would have benefited from a little more aging then they were willing to invest in.

Now that I think about it I have had one commercial mead.
I had some at a rogue brew pub and it tasted like apple cider.
My theory was that what the cost of honey they cut it with cider to produce a cheaper mead.

I want to make some but I think the first batch I make at least will be a commercial kit and it would be a sweet mead.

My very favorite mead is a sweet mead that somebody else made.
Did I mention it's expensive to make?
 
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dbsmith

dbsmith

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I've never had commercial mead but I can tell you there's a lot of styles of mead.

How dry it is is a key in the sweetness obviously. The honey used can make a big difference also and just like beer the yeast can make a huge difference.
I haven't made any yet, but in my reading the fermentation temperatures can make a bigger difference than a lot of guys give credit for.
The commercial meet you had could be something that would have benefited from a little more aging then they were willing to invest in.

Now that I think about it I have had one commercial mead.
I had some at a rogue brew pub and it tasted like apple cider.
My theory was that what the cost of honey they cut it with cider to produce a cheaper mead.

I want to make some but I think the first batch I make at least will be a commercial kit and it would be a sweet mead.

My very favorite mead is a sweet mead that somebody else made.
Did I mention it's expensive to make?
I've considered trying to make it but I haven't mainly because:
a) I don't know what good mead is supposed to taste like.
and b) The yeast situation (lack of nutrients) and aging seems a bit intimidating..not to mention good honey isn't the cheapest ingredient out there.
 

45_70sharps

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I know my brother gets kits cheaper than he can buy that much quality honey.

I think he just got another kit from northern brewer.

They give pretty good descriptions of the mead.
It sounds to me like you would want a sweet mead with good honey flavor still detectable.
That's what I want to make.
 

rowsdower44

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I've considered trying to make it but I haven't mainly because:
a) I don't know what good mead is supposed to taste like.
and b) The yeast situation (lack of nutrients) and aging seems a bit intimidating..not to mention good honey isn't the cheapest ingredient out there.
If you want to know what good mead tastes like, the best way to do it is make it yourself! :D I'm not saying you're an expert mazer or a prodigy with hidden talent, but if you follow the instructions to a simple recipe, I would hope it will answer your questions on the taste of mead.

Since you already brew beer (which I'm guessing you do after looking at your profile), then you should have most of the equipment to make a mead (carboy, airlock, siphoning/bottling). I'd suggest making Joe's Ancient Orange Mead. It should only set you back around $20-$30 for ingredients. I wouldn't worry about getting 'good' honey. Grocery store or Sam's Club honey will do. The yeast is easy to manage and it's 2 months aging is not much compared to higher-end meads.
 

Bluespark

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I've had some good meads and some aweful ones. That's why I decided to make it my self. The last mead I bought tasted like a watered down white wine, and that was at $24 a bottle.
 
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dbsmith

dbsmith

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Thanks for the replies, guys. I think I'm going to try that mead recipe. Coincidentally, I have some Lalvin k1-v116 yeast laying around with nothing to use it for anyway.
 

rowsdower44

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Thanks for the replies, guys. I think I'm going to try that mead recipe. Coincidentally, I have some Lalvin k1-v116 yeast laying around with nothing to use it for anyway.
Good luck and let us know how it goes. :mug:
 

EndlessPurple

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Good luck with your first batch. I find I don't like most commercial meads. I wonder if some of them do more harm than good for the mead industry with the poor product they put out. When I do find a good one, it is really good stuff. A meadery in Colorado has some that I really liked but hard to get in Texas.

My very first batch turned out better than many of the commercial ones at least for my taste (and the friend who helped me polish off the first bottle).
 

WVMJ

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YOu could also try adding just a little pinch of acid blend to see if the lack of acidity is making it bland. Most commercial meads we tasted are bland and light in honey, you can make very good stuff on your own, what is hard about aging - you dont have to do anything but wait? WVMJ
 

JezzaUK

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First things first, I would suggest starting off with a relatively small batch - as a tester.

I remember my first batch, it was very hot, minimal sweetness as it fermented dry, wouldn't clear properly and had a yeasty flavour to it. Friends joked and laughed and suggested that I never try it again - despite getting it for free.

Bottles put in the back of a cupboard somewhere and forgotten about... Then about 18 months later, drunken BBQ, the mead gets brought up and we decide to give it another go - as you do. What a change!

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't the finest thing I've ever made - but it was certainly more than palatable.

Moral of the story is, even if it doesn't turn out well at the start - don't give up on it. Put the bottles away and forget about it for as long as possible.

My 2nd batch of mead (actually a pear melomel) got left in the primary for far, far too long, and I really had little hope for it. Eventually bottled it - poured over 1/2 vanilla pod per litre, and about 9 months later it turned out absolutely cracking. Pear carries a good portion of unfermentable sugars - so after a bit of calculating, I used almost enough honey to ferment the yeast to it's point of no return (about 14%), so was left with a little of the natural sweetness of the pear juice.

It will take a long time to get the best out of the mead. What people say regarding the longer you leave it, the better it is really is true. No idea what the science is behind it, but would suggest knocking up a batch now - then you should have something quite pleasant to enjoy by Chrimstmas.
 

gizmodog51

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I'm looking for some advice. I know that many beer brewers here also make mead. I tried mead for the first time, and I wasn't all that impressed. I drink beer, wine(red and white), and some liquor too, and appreciate them all...but the mead just seemed a bit..bland. The mead I tried was "Hidden Legend Pure Honey Mead" (12.5% abv) for around $14 a bottle. Is this a good mead? I'm interested in trying some decent, inexpensive mead to give it another try. Any suggestions?
don't be dissuaded by commerical mead. i tasted one years ago, an $18.00 bottle and it was bland. i guess the companies ramp production up for profit and the mead is chemically matured in 90 days. also they may not use the best grade honey in order to stay price competitive.

decide what style you want to vint, and go for it...you will be amazed at the complex aromas and taste. just have patience, mead sometimes takes a while to finish.
good luck
GD:mug:
 

CreamyGoodness

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I made a pear JAOM recently... its in my top 5 favorite mels I have ever made. I disagree with a lot of the purists (though I respect the opinion) that only citrus fruits work well in JAOM. I find that all "white" fruits come out lovely!
 

On-target

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I have never liked any commercial meads much. THats why I started making my own. Mead is all about patients and a good recipe. Its not very expensive either, I just bought the ingredients to make 10 gallons of mead for about $100:tank:
 
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dbsmith

dbsmith

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I have never liked any commercial meads much. THats why I started making my own. Mead is all about patients and a good recipe. Its not very expensive either, I just bought the ingredients to make 10 gallons of mead for about $100:tank:
When I read that, at first I said "YIKES!"...but I suppose given it's strength that it is more like a sipping wine, which then isn't so bad price wise.

"what is hard about aging - you dont have to do anything but wait? WVMJ "

To quote Tom Petty, 'the waiting is the hardest part'. I've never made anything that required waiting so long (except for a weizenbock that I finished way too early IMO). I'm getting better though...have my first non-california lager lagering in the fridge, with a note saying "Don't bottle until feb. 11th!".
 
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dbsmith

dbsmith

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Also, how do you guys enjoy your mead? I've heard you can drink it chilled, slightly chilled, room temp, warm(?). Does anyone carbonate it or would that just ruin it?
 

jackfrost

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Mmmm carbed Mead...I dnt make it much and mostly call it my honey beer or ale...(tho no hops or malt..just use beer and ale yeast )done in about 6 months around 7-8 abv. Disappears to fast lol
 

fastfocus

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I have read lots on here about meads. But had never tried one. I just happened to drive by here and had to stop. I was not expecting to much after reading about commercial meads. The owner was more then happy to let me sample their product in early Dec. I brought a couple bottles home that day. Very nice flavor in the dry mead.
http://www.honeyrunwinery.com/scripts/winePg.cfm?wn=5
If home made is better. Then i need to meet some bee keepers :)
 

rowsdower44

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Also, how do you guys enjoy your mead? I've heard you can drink it chilled, slightly chilled, room temp, warm(?). Does anyone carbonate it or would that just ruin it?
I enjoy my mead chilled but it depends on the recipe.

As for carbonation, you can do this with mead. Sparkling mead is another variation; but, you must be careful. Similarly to bottling brewed beer, you can end up with bottle bombs if you do not exhibit caution. You can read up more about carbonating mead here.
 
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