Sunday, April 28, 2013

Quick mead ?

When you read posts from new mead makers around the forums, the question that often comes up, is which is the quickest mead to make ?

Given that young meads can often taste like piss, that's not the easiest question to answer, because while a young mead can indeed taste hideous, the transformations that are wrought by ageing are amazing.

Taste a young brew, finished fermenting, cleared and then racked to bulk age and you can get just "alcohol hot" with some vague indescribable "what's left after the sugars have gone" sort of thing. Yet bulk age for 6 months or more and if you're really lucky, it might come good that quickly, it may need longer to become good, but the 6 months will demonstrate the changes that are happening in the bulk ageing stage.

Bulk ageing is actually a home brewers compromise. It allows us to produce a batch where all of the bottles produced from that batch will taste the same i.e. consistent. It prevents different characteristics developing from differences in heat, humidity, etc, which might occur if the batch was bottled prior to ageing. Of course, it would seem that commercial wine producers can indeed, "bottle age" their wines, but equally that is because they have access to temperature and humidity controlled storage for consistency, which we home brewers don't have or can't afford, generally speaking.

So here's a link to Gotmead main sites list of (apparently) "quick" meads.

Now I can't really recommend them particularly as "quick" meads, because apart from the Joes Ancient Orange recipe, I haven't tried making any of them.

The "JAO" recipe is pretty quick for a mead, it takes IRO 3 months. Joe himself, states that it's drinkable once it's clear. Indeed it is, but if you age it for 3 to 6 months as well, IMO, it improves immeasurably.....

Oh, and JAO is best made as close to the original recipe as possible. Of course, there are some issues that crop up over and over again. Like the yeast. He suggests using the Fleischmanns bread yeast, which is fine, but not a bit of good to me as Fleischmanns is a US brand. But having tried the recipe with local equivalents like Allinsons, Hovis, and even both Tesco and Co-op own brand, they all work fine. So I'm thinking that as long as you keep your batch basically the same i.e. the honey to water ratio, "normal" bread yeast, the orange, raisins and spices, then you should get a decent brew that conforms to the criteria set down by Joe.

The rest of the recipes, you'll just have to try for yourself........

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