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fathand
09-22-2010, 12:22 PM
I guess I am full of questions that I think I know the answer to today, but here it goes....

When it is said that mead needs around a year to mature and really meld into its full potential is that a year from when the batch is brewed or is that a year in the bottle?

I suspect that the answer to this is that each batch of mead is different so it really depends of the individual mead, as some might not really shine until 2 years.

Nonetheless where do you consider the starting point of maturation?

AToE
09-22-2010, 01:01 PM
Yeah, you pretty much nailed it, depends on that batch. I've made meads that are pretty decent at 5-6 months, but boy did they end up far far better after a year.

Generally I count age from time of fermentation not bottling. I think wine makers do the same.

The other reason for this is because mead is fundamentally different than wine, in that wine is fermented once a year (other than made from kits/frozen must anyways), but mead can be started any time.

If you have a wine from 2009 from the north half of the world, you know how old it is. Same if it's from the south - but mead from 2009 could vary in age by an entire year, as such I always include the month.

So, to sort-of answer your question, when I started making mead I considered it bottling time after 4-6 months. Now that I know better from personal experience, I shoot for closer to a year. Recipes with a lot of tannin, alcohol or oak may need much longer to reach their potential.

Medsen Fey
09-22-2010, 01:23 PM
I record and count my aging from the pitch date. I'm always sure when that is - I'm not always sure when fermentation is finished. My fermentations usually don't take more than 1-3 weeks, so we aren't talking about a lot of time.

From the pitch date, whether in bulk or in bottle, all the time is accounted for, and yes, some meads do take longer than a year.

AToE
09-22-2010, 01:32 PM
Medsen's post made me realize I may have been unclear, I also count from pitch date.

Chevette Girl
09-22-2010, 02:39 PM
I didn't know for sure how it was "supposed to be done" when I started making wines, so I got in the habit of listing the start date and the bottled date on my labels... at least this way I don't have to go into my logs to tell you how long it was bulk-aged :)

I've not myself made a mead that was harmed with age but years ago before I started making my own, I used to trade for a bottle of a friend's homebrewed mead every year, and I found his were pretty raw until about 9 months, but I let one go for over a year and it wasn't as good as the others had been - it was a dry maple mead, now I know why :) and it probably had very little to do with its age...