View Full Version : Sweet and Dry ????? nutty

05-11-2009, 12:59 AM
Hello out there in Mead Land

Kinda new here been reading along time joined after i went and bought my stuff. I started one mead last week but am still have some truble with this dry vs sweet and the kinda sweet. Started a strawberry mead I posted under recipe help.

First I am looking for a Sweet cherry mead recipe if you happen to know where I could find one.

Now you notice I put sweet up there, I have seen mead describe as sweet or dry. Now I was thinking that sweet was sweet and dry was dry like a normal wine ie: Chaucer's Mead , but I see that is considered a sweet mead. This is not what I want to brew, I am looking more for a sweet juice type mead that I have found at ren fests around that people make. Chaucer's Mead is much to much like wine for my taste. I have read didffrent things about Things like Tannin. One thing says its for helping clear that wine the other says it for acid. Acid blend is another one thing says its for taste another says it to help the yeast. I read this from one web site : "There are 2 camps of mead makers out there : those who think Mead should taste like wine, and those who don't. The folks who do think so, add things like tannin (or brewed tea, which contains tannins) and acid blend to their mead. The other folks don't add this stuff at all. We've tried it both ways, and have decided that we prefer our meads "au naturel", without added tannins or acids. You can choose whichever method you like - afterall it is a matter of personal preference."

Like I said I am looking for sweet (Not Chaucer's sweet...... Sweet Honey or juice Sweet) Mead. Maybe you can clear that up for me alittle bit. I dont care about clear mead I care about taste. Thanks for any help advice you have for me and sorry again hehe I'll get it soon.

Thank for your Time,


Medsen Fey
05-11-2009, 11:11 AM
Tokie, I'm not quite sure I understand. Chaucer's is considered a sweet mead (quite sweet). A dry mead has little or no sugar and does not taste sweet at all. The challenge with really sweet meads is to not make them so syrupy that they aren't good to drink.

You don't like Chaucer's. Is that because it is not sweet enough, or because it is not fruit flavored?

Do you have a brand of mead that you know you do like?
Also, do you like wines that are sweet?

Help us to understand your taste preference a bit better and we may be able to point you in the right direction.

Ultimately, you can make each batch as sweet as you want. When the fermentation is done, you can stabilize the mead so that it won't ferment any more sugar that is added. At that point you can add more honey, fruit juice, or other sugars to get it as sweet as you want it to suit your taste.

One of the great things about this hobby as that you can tailor it to suit your own taste buds.


05-11-2009, 01:14 PM
One additional point regarding your quote from another site: mead doesn't taste like wine. Mead tastes like Mead. The addition of tannin, acid, whatever to meads should not be driven by a desire to make the mead taste more like a grape wine per se, but can be used to make the mead taste like whatever you want it to be.

Also to add to Medsen's comments: do you want a mead that is sweet (contains a lot of sugar) or tastes sweet (has sweet flavors, which may or may not mean that it contains a lot of sugar). Do you want the mead to evaporate on your lips and leave a sticky syrup? (this can actually be quite a pleasant experience ;) )

I believe that dry mead can taste sweet, even without residual sugar.

Do you like ice wine (eiswein)?

05-11-2009, 02:58 PM
Ok let me see if I can clear this up some. First I have never found a mead retail mead I like, Chaucer's is the only one I have ever found and to me it taste to much like a grape wine to me. It is a sweet wine but not really what Im looking for. There is a guy at the Texas renaissance festival that makes meads and they are what I am looking for, they dont taste much like wine but not much more like a wine cooler then a wine I whould say. This is what I am trying to get to. Its kinda hard for me to explan, I whould just ask the guy at the Ren fest but that not till Oct. and I hope to have a few to take with me this year hehe.

I dont know if that helps or not I am working on a way to explan it better for you guys. I dont like normal wine much at all altho I have found a few white wines I like but they are few and far between. The mead I get at the ren fest are by far the best drink I have ever tasted.

Medsen Fey
05-11-2009, 03:12 PM
Okay, I think we're getting a little more insight here. There is a mead that is more akin to a wine cooler than a wine. I take it that you find wine coolers to be alright?

Now this mead you get, does it have a flavor of any sort? Also is it still (flat) or sparkling (carbonated)? What color is it?

While you're at it, I'm curious what you score on this Taste Bud-ometer (http://s.wsj.net/public/resources/documents/info-flash08.html?project=WINETASTE_0801).

05-11-2009, 03:39 PM
Well, that there is downright interesting. Mine said: don't let anyone sell you a dry wine!


05-11-2009, 05:13 PM
The taste meter said Hyper sensitive but I whould from rerading them lean more towards the sweet side actually leand hard towards it.

The mead I get is flavored he normally have 5 or 10 diffrent flavors. One spiced that is ver good, a kiwi something, a tropical, a cherry, servaral really. They are flat and diffrent colors depending on the falvor but none of them are really clear but all very good. like the cherry is a orangeish red.

05-11-2009, 06:09 PM
While you're at it, I'm curious what you score on this Taste Bud-ometer (http://s.wsj.net/public/resources/documents/info-flash08.html?project=WINETASTE_0801).

Your Taste Budometer has me pegged...I'm an 8 Thanks again Medsen

Medsen Fey
05-11-2009, 06:11 PM
About what level of alcohol do the meads that you like have? I'm guessing that it is on the low side?

With that, we may be able to point you to a recipe that will help you get close to what you want.

05-11-2009, 07:09 PM
That is some thing that I do not know. we do drink alot of the but there are normally 10 or so of use too hehe hard for me to say, and of course there's not a lable on it. I whould like to go as high as I could with the alcohol content that I could while keeping the taste. Of course once I get the taste I want I can fuss with the alcohol content.

I have a post under recipe help here that is a strawberry mead so it kinda my starting point but I'm thinking that its going to be off from what I am looking for.

05-11-2009, 07:18 PM
You mention you occasionally find a white wine you like--do you remember what kind of wine it was? Even a broad category would help, like table wine vs. dessert/late harvest wine.

Have you tried Viognier or Orange Muscat wine? Not entirely relevant to this discussion, but these grape varieties tend to be made into sweet wines with intense floral and fruity flavors. Also I might suggest Riesling. I've had some pretty good ones from northern CA, the ones from the Finger Lakes in NY are a little on the acidic side, and the ones from Alsace and Germany (I am usually partial to Mosel-Saar-Ruwer myself) can be absolutely divine. In Germany the sweeter ones are labeled Auslese, Beren-Auslese (BA), and Trocken-Beren-Auslese (TBA) in order of increasing sweetness--and usually price. Eiswein also comes from Germany and is sweet, but by a different process. Canada makes some good ice wine that is usually cheaper than that from Germany. Many US wineries will have late harvest wine which is often sold in half-bottles; these are sweet and rank second on my list of "best anytime wine" after sparkling.

Ok, back to the mead discussion. Sorry for interjecting with some wine talk. :p

Medsen Fey
05-11-2009, 07:39 PM
Tokie, I'm not certain it will give you what you want, as it might be a little stronger than what suits you, but you might find that Oskaarz Southwestern Sweet Cherry Cyser (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10668&highlight=cherry)(which is in the Patron's recipes) worth a try. It has a lot of apple as well as cherry, and it won't be cloyingly sweet, but you can always add a little more honey at the end if you find it is not sweet enough to suit you.

Yo momma has a Cherry mead recipe (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12883&highlight=cherry)you could use, but you might want to increase the honey to start with a gravity of 1.140 (or better), or again, you could sweeten it more at the end if needed. If you do an advanced search with Cherry in the title, there are a lot of threads you can check out, and if look at the recipes on the Main GotMead Site (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_rapidrecipe&page=viewcategory&category_id=2&Itemid=459)(not the forums) you can find cherry melomel recipes though some of these may be older.

Outside of the cherry recipes, have you ever tasted Joe's Ancient Orange (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_rapidrecipe&page=viewrecipe&recipe_id=118&Itemid=459)? It is a very good recipe for new mazers, and produces a reliable sweet mead with a nice orange/spice flavor. It might work really well for you.

Whatever you decide to try, post it up and folks here can help you with any questions on getting it done.

I hope that helps.


05-11-2009, 09:01 PM
As for the brand of white wines they where it has been so long I can't remeber really has been some years.

The cherry recipe there looks kinda hard I'm going to hang off that till I get this figured out alittle better. I think the Orange one is what I am going to try this week as I will be racking off my straberry mead, is should be in the secondary only 3 weeks so I can use my 5 gal for it and make the orange in my 1 gal charboy. It looks like it might be more like I am looking for, and seems pretty easy to boot. I will keep working a few fast meads in my 5 gal while the orange works. Once I get a few bottels laying around and ready to taste I shgould have a better idea. I think you have pointed me in the right diriction tho. I wish I could explane it a little better but unless you have tasted Throns mead it hard to say.

I do plan on getting the Patron thing soonish hehe I like to read the recipes.

05-11-2009, 10:04 PM
Once you've gotten the hang of things, you could also try the no-age sweet mead (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_rapidrecipe&page=viewrecipe&recipe_id=119&Itemid=459) recipe. You could use it as a base for variations including cherry. Trader Joe's has lots of fun juices you can use in place of some of the water to make mead with grape, apple, cherry, blueberry, pomegranate, etc. By using juice you can avoid the complication of cap management with whole fruit. Don't forget the pectic enzymes!

05-11-2009, 10:29 PM
I'd say start with a simple JAO and see how sweet that strikes you. It's a sweeter style, it's easy to make, and it'll definitely give you a baseline for others to build on. almost everyone here started with Joe's Ancient Orange.

05-12-2009, 12:06 AM
I think The JAO is going to be my next mead I try, I was going to do that No-Age Mead but am having trouble finding Buckwheat honey, be sides I like the way The JAO looks.

I am going to spend some time looking at Joe's recipes and see whay I can find but this will tie up bothe my fermenters I think.

I have a question tho I have a strawberry mead going in my 1 gal primary now. According to the recipe I need to Rack it to a secondary. This is a Gal. batch and need to be in secondary for about 3 weeks acording to what the recipe. Whould it be OK to put this in my 5 Gal charboy, so I can use my 1 gal for the JAO? Is the extra air room going to affect the mead its self. It will prevewnt me from takeing hydro readings but that not that imporant to me right now I can wright it down right before I bottle it.

Also when I get with in aweek of botteling something what about useing my 5 gal Primary for 1 gal batches? Whould it affect it to much?

05-12-2009, 12:44 AM
If you need to use a 5 gal container for a 1 gal batch, make it the primary. The danger of using such a large container for secondary is oxidation--4 gallons is a lot of air. In the primary, this extra air is not a problem because your mead is giving off CO2 constantly.

I have made 2 gallon batches in a 5 gallon carboy and that works fine. But secondary containers should have as little extra airspace as possible. Glass wine or juice jugs work well and can come full of delicious liquids. ;D

05-12-2009, 02:02 AM
Ok so putting my strawberry mead in the big secondary. SO how about doubleing the JOA recipe to 2 Gal and making it in my 5Gal Charboy. See this kinda sticks me here because I have the 1 Gal secondary wich will have the strawberry mead and i hate to stray to far on the JOA but it looks like it is going to be better then the starwberry anyways so whouldnt mind make 2 gals of JOA to try it and have just enough honey to do it without haveing to drive the 2 and half hours to the brew store to get more honey or another 1 gal charboy. SO if not doing a 2 gal bath in a 5 gal charboy i rather drive to get another one then have a bad batch.

By the way you guys have been most helpful helping me understand and get some good ideas. Glad I decided to sign up here. Thank you.

Medsen Fey
05-12-2009, 09:27 AM
You can easily double the recipe and put it in a 5 gallon carboy. If you keep it sealed under airlock and leave it alone per Joe's instructions, the CO2 produced by fermentation will keep it protected. When it all settles clear, you can bottle it right out of the 5 gallon carboy.

I hope you enjoy it, but let us know whatever you think.


05-12-2009, 12:17 PM
Ok so heres my plan. I am going to go after work and pick up a few things I need for the JAO. Im going to rack my Strawberry to the 1 Gal glass scoandry and use my 5 Gal and do a 2 Gal batch of the JAO. This will give me the Strawberry to compare with the JAO and should give me a good idea what way I want to go from there. And will open open up my 1 gal back up in three weeks incase I want to start another 1 gal batch of something in the mean time. Sooner or later I'll put them up in the brewlog section so you guys can see what I did and offer hints. Thanks again guys lots of help here.

05-12-2009, 12:42 PM
I think The JAO is going to be my next mead I try, I was going to do that No-Age Mead but am having trouble finding Buckwheat honey, be sides I like the way The JAO looks.

Personally I don't think you need the buckwheat honey. You could use another dark honey instead, like a wildflower. But, you can save that for another time.