What's your favorite mead style?

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Maylar

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I've only made one mead so far, a JAOM. It was awesome, and I'm making more.

The only other mead I've tasted is a commercial traditional made with wildflower honey. I thought it was "meh". Not anywhere as interesting as my JAOM. I'd rather drink a good Merlot.

So, what should my next one be? Do you guys have a favorite style that everyone really likes?
 

Frognostic

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I have only limited experience.

Most of my meads are honey and water, with raisins added for nutrient rather than flavour.

I did add lemon juice and zest to a couple and one was a cyser made during September's cider-making season but other than that it's all traditional-style mead.

I have, however, used a range of honey varieties.

Probably the best one I tried was the Buckwheat one from Feb 2014 but it contends with the Wildflower and Honeydew I made around the same time.

Sunflower has a more delicate flavour and if buckwheat is aftershave the sunflower is perfume.

Buckwheat is the first I made, using D-47 yeast, and possesses the strongest characteristics which it gets from the honey itself.
 

SerifSansSerif

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It took me a while to get into mead... It really never had much appeal to me a few years ago, as I hated the taste of clover honey, and most of the meads I tried had been made of clover honey, or, have had an unbearably sweet taste or simply tasted over-honeyed.

My first attempts were on the behest of a friend, and was before much was figured out about adding nutrition to your musts. Needless to say, it sucked.. Hard.

Today... I'm still very limited in my range of honeys, but definitely have a better grasp of what to look for and what to use with what. (there is still a LOT of varieties that I have to experience and understand still).

Personally, I really have a love and affinity for blackberry and raspberry honeys which have a bit of acidity to them and a lot of rocking flavor.

I don't always use them though.

My favorite mead is berry melomels, however, recently started doing a braggot, and am also considering things more along the lines of metheglyns.

I find that I just like to experiment and try unusual things.

Braggots may be a pathway into beers for me (and I hate beer, but the braggot that I did was actually pretty damned good, and made me believe it's a "compromise" I can make with the dreaded beer...).

Metheglyns may be my way of applying what I know of general food preparation, herbs, and spices and apply it to unique drinks. It might even take me down the herbalist's path... (which is something I hadn't considered until now as I read Schramm's Compleat, and am gaining inspiration.... which tangentially, as I just finished the metheglyn section, he mentioned borage as a crazy herb that he was perplexed by... Imagining a metheglyn with fresh borage, and a fair amount of lemon peel, and using a more acidic honey? Something along the lines of a cucumber infused limoncello?)

And the braggots and metheglyns may in fact cross betwixt themselves and cause further inspiration as I am awaiting a honey order to arrive, and have taken it upon myself to try and do a sweet potato gruit but this time use sweet orange peel, rosemary, and dried juniper berries for my bittering agents. This was inspired by the braggot that was finished and the one that shall be improved upon soon, and oddly enough, was also in more of a gruit style. New herb combinations are being experimented with, which will be banked for knowledge when considering metheglyns in the future.

Thus far I have a bank of various future brews which I should start logging. In addition to those, I'm thinking of also fusing two ideas on the board here to create a new brew. (the coconut bochet and the sea salt mead might be a BEAUTIFUL meld to be honest...). I also am considering a request to make my ginger beer which I played around with this year into an alcoholic version... (As my eyes roll you can hear me mumbling "of course people request an alcoholic version...") I'm probably going to go to that clover honey I hate, and probably brew a show mead that I just said I dislike, and in the secondary, toss in MASSIVE amounts of ginger and lime peel and MOAR HONEY to bottle carb it.

So I don't know what kind of answer you were looking for, but I hope that has kind of given you an answer.

Oh yeah. I've never done JAOM or BOMM, and don't really intend to. I don't really do show meads either. The honey alone just doesn't bring forth the intense flavors that I enjoy in my brews. Granted, I don't want to just produce something that is another beast entirely and just uses honey as a sugar source. Otherwise, why bother with mead?

But I do like when the honey is a equal partner to other flavors.
 

Vex3521

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My favorite mead style is whichever one is ready and in my cup. :mug:
Lol beat me to it!

I've been lucky to sample through friends before getting into brewing so whatever mead is in the cup is my favorite at that moment too!

I needed to cross off braggot and bochet from my "to brew" list and have that handled with an experimental one. Could be crap or could be what I wanted so we'll see.

Have a few requests lined up for melomels so that should keep me busy. I think an empty carboy is a bad thing though so hopefully I can keep winning that argument! Hubby isn't a clove fan so likely will have to start running larger batch if my orange melomel for him turns out like I'm expecting. JAOM goes quickly either way so that'll always be a keeper. He hates my hopped metheglin (yay more for me) so that works! My first brewed was a traditional so I know that recipe will be a go to as well.
 
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Maylar

Maylar

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I was hoping to hear something like, "My raspberry melomel is the one I keep coming back to".

The problem that I have experimenting with mead is that it takes so long to age them. I won't know if i did something good or bad for months. The local liquor store has a small selection though - maybe I'll just keep trying the commercial meads until I find something that I'd like to duplicate.
 

SerifSansSerif

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I was hoping to hear something like, "My raspberry melomel is the one I keep coming back to".

The problem that I have experimenting with mead is that it takes so long to age them. I won't know if i did something good or bad for months. The local liquor store has a small selection though - maybe I'll just keep trying the commercial meads until I find something that I'd like to duplicate.
You only need age as long as you want to. Some are quite drinkable after a short time.

Right now, I'm facing some issues with the latest melomel. The flavor dropped out completely after a week, and I think I'm dealing with a persistent infection, (my own fault really: too much air space because I haven't had a 4 or a 4.5 gallon carboy, only a 3 and a 5, and I figured I could get away with it rather than digging around for some 1 gallon bottles). Trying to concentrate some of the existent flavors via freeze distilling a portion, and then will pasteurize in bottle to kill it. Hopefully will only take 24 hours worth of work. C'est la vie.
 
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Maylar

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Bummer. I hope it works out for you.

One thing that got me into mead is that I'm a cider guy and cider is a fall-winter sport. Slow ferments at cool temps is a key element in that craft. Consequently, I don't do cider in the summer (well... I drink them lol).

Mead is perfectly content with summer temperatures, so it makes sense to make summer mead to be consumed a few months later. I think it's gonna work for me to do that. I just have to decide which varieties to tackle next.
 

Hoppy2bmerry

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Funny, I had never tasted a mead, until I made my own. I like the result I've gotten doing a traditional mead with mesquite honey and champagne yeast. Tastes like dry white wine with an unusual yet pleasant flavor I cannot describe on the finish.

The very first one a methyglin, (pictured) is the one most friends have liked best when tasting the mere 3 I have produced so far. It is lightly sweet lightly spiced with clove, cinnamon and ginger, a hint of vanilla and orange and a mystery ABV, That feels like a winter warmer upper, when drank. :p

image.jpg
 

eogaard

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My favorite I've made was triple berry (blueberry, BlackBerry, raspberry). Final gravity of about 1.005 after adding just the berries in secondary, so fairly dry which is usually how I prefer it. Otherwise my spiced cyser is a close second (unfiltered apple cider, cinnamon, brown sugar and vanilla). Definitely found a few that were not to my liking... My buckwheat pyment experiment is for sure not my cup of tea, and even though I love pears, pear mead on its own seems to lack something to offset the missing acidity, and I even added acid blend to try liven it up (ended up tasting really unnatural). Those are just my experiences though, hope that helps.
 

fuelish

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Favorite style??? Melomel/hydromel ....hydro-melomel? Lightly sparkling, nicely fruity (blackberry, cherry, and peach have all gotten SWMBO's stamp of approval ...these are relatively quick to be ready (relatively), and I save the heavier and/ore more experimental (oaked habanero ginger, for example....a shot glass is enough for most...LOL) just for me!!! The hydro-melomels make for nice sippin' on a summer afternoon/night
 

MarkKF

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So what is it??? I just started a brew with honey and apple juice and fruit. Without the fruit it would be a cyzer. Without the juice it would be a melomel. So what is it? Fruit wine I guess.
 
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So what is it??? I just started a brew with honey and apple juice and fruit. Without the fruit it would be a cyzer. Without the juice it would be a melomel. So what is it? Fruit wine I guess.
If you follow the BJCP 2015 guidelines, it's a melomel...
 

bernardsmith

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In my opinion I think what you try to do is master a basic traditional mead - honey, water , yeast (and nutrients)... and what you do is experiment with the same honey but different yeasts, different dilutions, different temperatures and and different levels of residual sweetness. When you know what happens when you control your process THEN you can add fruit, flowers, spices and the like... but if when you make a mead you have no idea what you are in fact aiming for or whether your target can be hit with what you have done then you are not making mead, you are tossing dice... That of course is your business... but honey ain't inexpensive... and if you treat mead making like a crap shoot then after 10 years of making meads you will not be any better at making a good mead than you would be after making one mead.
 
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Maylar

Maylar

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In my opinion I think what you try to do is master a basic traditional mead - honey, water , yeast (and nutrients)... and what you do is experiment with the same honey but different yeasts, different dilutions, different temperatures and and different levels of residual sweetness. When you know what happens when you control your process THEN you can add fruit, flowers, spices and the like... but if when you make a mead you have no idea what you are in fact aiming for or whether your target can be hit with what you have done then you are not making mead, you are tossing dice... That of course is your business... but honey ain't inexpensive... and if you treat mead making like a crap shoot then after 10 years of making meads you will not be any better at making a good mead than you would be after making one mead.
Which is the path I took when starting out making cider. Perfect the basic recipe and processes to the point where I got predictable, repeatable results. Different juices, yeasts, temperatures, etc. until I dialed in on what works best for me.

But, I like cider. Even plain old straight up cider. I know what I like and I have a target in mind. Yes, I've made sh1tty cider that got dumped, so I know what doesn't work too.

The problem with taking the same road with mead is that I don't really like mead. I haven't tasted a traditional mead yet that excites me to the point of wanting to make one. I don't have a target to shoot for.
 

bernardsmith

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Ah... It may be that you really don't find pleasure in wines made with honey ... or it may be that the commercial meads you have tasted are pretty crappy... What is it that you are looking for in a honey wine? Typically, most honeys do not have bold flavors.. Tupelo (in my opinion) does... Are you looking for a sweet mead, a semi sweet mead or a dry mead? Honey once fermented is not in and of itself sweet... and IMO, many commercial meads are sickeningly sweet. But I guess what I am saying is that you should still make a simple traditional mead even to know if mead is a wine that you MIGHT enjoy... Adding all kinds of other flavors (from hops to fruit to flowers to spices to sap) can produce a delightful wine but it can also disguise and mask the key ingredient and if you really dislike the key ingredient then those hops, fruit, flowers, spices and sap can all produce delightful wines without honey. Just sayin'... Just sayin'...
 

MarkKF

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Well I like fruit wines. I started making cider 5 years ago and the ones I make year after year are fruit flavored. I like them.
I'm just starting with mead. I've made a cyzer and will probably go with melomels. It's just what I like.
 
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Maylar

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Truth be told, I love honey. Best part of making mead is licking the spoon afterward. And I know that honey wine doesn't taste like honey any more than Merlot tastes like grapes.

I like semi sweet wines and that's also where my ciders end up. Really sweet stuff turns me off.

When I set out to make my first mead I inquired on the forums what commercial mead to try to decide if I'd like it. Everyone recommended not doing that, as it might taint my impression of mead and keep me from making one. They would have been right. Traditional (commercial) mead is boring and IMO tasteless. So I made a JAOM and wow, the spices and orange with wildflower honey was amazing. So I have it my head that I need to use something besides honey and water if I'm going to enjoy it.

I'm not opposed to making a gallon of traditional just as an experiment. But it's gonna be really tough to resist the temptation to toss some spices into it.
 

SerifSansSerif

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In my opinion I think what you try to do is master a basic traditional mead - honey, water , yeast (and nutrients)... and what you do is experiment with the same honey but different yeasts, different dilutions, different temperatures and and different levels of residual sweetness. When you know what happens when you control your process THEN you can add fruit, flowers, spices and the like... but if when you make a mead you have no idea what you are in fact aiming for or whether your target can be hit with what you have done then you are not making mead, you are tossing dice... That of course is your business... but honey ain't inexpensive... and if you treat mead making like a crap shoot then after 10 years of making meads you will not be any better at making a good mead than you would be after making one mead.
I got to disagree with you there. Honey is expensive, but not by much compared to fruits and even cider (if you are planning on fortifying a cider with simply apple juices, and per pound, wine grapes are PRICEY!!! I think the beer brewers are the ones making out like bandits... Grain is cheap!).

Secondly, I disagree because it's like trying to perfect cooking my perfecting how to boil an egg. You may get the boiled egg absolutely spot on, but anything beyond that you won't know. You don't learn how to hold a knife. You don't learn how to braise. You simply know how to boil an egg to perfection...

And that may be great for a few, but I crave learning with some flexibility.

Cider took me 3 maybe 4 tries to get EXACTLY what I wanted. But cider doesn't typically have a huge amount of variation. But as he said, I love my cider too. Beer, mead, even wine... doing one variety, and sticking to it, would bore me to absolute tears.

Just not gonna do it. :p
 

Frognostic

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All my meads have fermented dry or nearly dry. S-33 perished before it fermented all of the sugars but when I tasted it there was not much sweetness at all.
 
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