Friday, November 26, 2010

Quick Mead Update

Just a quick note on how the quick mead turned out:  the pyment finished, cleared, and was bottled; the "traditional" mead was still cloudy as of Monday.  I'm visiting with family (I hope everyone's Thanksgiving is/was well); we've cracked one bottle of the pyment.

Overall, I'd call it a mixed success.  It came across as an off-dry red table wine.  Its concord grape character was still quite evident; the honey was very subdued.  I will absolutely have to do this again with "good" wine grapes--perhaps Riesling for a white; maybe a nice Cab-Sauv for a red.  It will, I'm sure, end up even more wine-like.  I'll probably sweeten it a bit further on the back end, as well: make it semi-sweet, and it will probably bear a strong resemblance to the Georgian wines I'm so fond of.  If I did a bit less back-sweetening, I think it would have more of a wine character, despite the concord grapes.

One area that I'm simply amazed: it dropped absolutely crystal clear, "read a newspaper through it" clear, and all that in under a month.  It's the most beautiful ruby red...  Photos will be forthcoming after I get home, next week.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Experimentation Update

Well, we're a little over a week into the experiment with quick meads, and I have a moment or two to spare, so I thought I'd give an update on where things are.

I had done two supposed "quick meads;" one a pyment, the other a traditional.  The pyment (done from this recipe) started at a gravity reading of 1.109; as of about 6pm today, it was at 0.999 (!).  It's not cleared at all, but fermentation does appear to be nearly over.  Flavor-wise, it tastes like your typical concord grape juice; granted, at a calculated 14-1/2% ABV, it'll be quite sneaky...  I'm probably going to rack it onto stabilizers and a little more juice & honey in an hour or so, but I may wait until tomorrow.

The traditional, done from another similar recipe, started at about 1.101, and has made it down to 1.038 today.  The two are sitting side-by-side, and are the same temperature; I've even given the traditional a little more nutrient, yet it's still going much more slowly.  Just goes to show how much wine yeasts like grape juice, I suppose...  This one is a little more "typical" tasting--nice honey notes; the buckwheat used (I'll track down the recipe and link to it next time) gives it a lovely depth--and will be quite nice, once it ferments its way down to where it should be--I'd like about 1.010 or so, but even a little lower would be nice.  I can always back-sweeten, after all.  The original recipe had it go from 1.100 to 1.020 in 2 weeks; I'll let it go, and see where it is come Monday.  Should be about right, unless the yeast decides to hang up completely. 

Here is a picture of how they looked when starting; adding one of how they look now would serve no purpose, as they haven't substantively changed:

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