PDA

View Full Version : Dry or Sweet Mead



chode720
02-17-2010, 07:41 PM
As a fairly new meadmaker, I was curious as to what other people preferences are on mead. Personally, I much prefer dry wines and have been making my meads accordingly.

Also, I was wondering if anyone could provide some info on the different qualities that come out in the mead, whether or not its dry or sweet.

I haven't been able to find much info, but based on my research, it seems that with a drier mead, more the the honey aromatics come through and with sweeter meads, they tend to taste more like the honey used in its unfermented state....

AToE
02-17-2010, 07:53 PM
I can't offer much info to add to what you're looking for as I've only been making mead for 7 or 8 months, and have only done a few sweet meads, but I will say that I prefer dry. I'm looking at beefing up the tannin (and possibly the acidity?) in my traditionals because even at 1.000 or lower they still taste sweet to me, though not in a bad way, I'd just like them to be "crisper".

wildoates
02-17-2010, 09:09 PM
At our mead tasting on Saturday, sweet meads scored better than the dry ones, even by people who profess to prefer dry wine. Intrusting.

Oskaar
02-17-2010, 09:42 PM
....snip....

I haven't been able to find much info, but based on my research, it seems that with a drier mead, more the the honey aromatics come through and with sweeter meads, they tend to taste more like the honey used in its unfermented state....

Gotta disagree here.

It's been my experience that sweet mead with low aromatics and high residual sugar results from a mead that has had a protracted, stalled or under-managed fermentation. Well crafted sweet meads with strong aromatics are in my experience a result of top quality honey, a good strong ferment and a well matched yeast strain based on the type of honey, ambient temperature, nutrient needs and response to aeration in the early fermentation.

Likewise dry meads that are out of balance have been, again in my opinion, mismanaged during the fermentation. Many times I see meads that have a great aroma, but are thin and lifeless on the palate. One of the tricks to making a good dry mead is finding a honey, or blend of different honeys that have full body, deep color and strong aromatics. Once that great honey is in hand good recipe formulation is necessary so that you find the right balance of starting brix, the alcohol tolerance of the yeast, and again the proper matching of yeast to honey, nutrient dosing and aeration. Great dry meads can be made any number of ways, I prefer the aeration and nutrient dosing because of my winemaking background, but, I've made (and still do) make some great old country-style meads where the recipe calls for heat and the "pitch and pray" style of meadmaking.

Bottom line is that attentive recipe formulation, must preparation, fermentation management, stabilization, elevage and aging will all go to bring you the best of body, flavor, character, aroma and finish.

A good mead, dry, semi-dry or sweet is balanced and not overly high or low in any one factor. If it is, it's due to some mismanagement in the meadmaking process in my opinion.

Flame away,

Oskaar

wildoates
02-17-2010, 10:51 PM
Now I'm really nervous about the five gallons of dry trad I've got bulk aging in the cupboard under the stairs, Pete! I hope beginner's luck graces me with its presence at least.

So much that can go wrong, and I stress over all of it. :eek:

chode720
02-18-2010, 08:38 AM
Gotta disagree here.


Flame away,

Oskaar

I was posting that as a clarification on the little bit of information that I have found. I was looking for more info on the differences in flavors, aromas, etc (if any) between a dry and sweet mead. Sounds like dry or sweet doesnt affect it much, more like ingredients, process, fermentation, etc.....


Thanks for the info!