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manwithbeers
10-08-2010, 01:48 PM
Todays episode (21) of Brewing TV has an interview with mead maker Curt Stock. A nice discussion about how home brewing beer and mead seem more compatible than home wine making and mead. Use the coupon code for you next honey purchase at their sponsors shop?

http://www.brewingtv.com/

Curt likes Cassis mead which was odd because I have one fermenting away right now!

Enjoy.

AToE
10-08-2010, 03:35 PM
Curious, what made them say that mead making is more like beer making? I would have said the opposite, it's usually the beer makers who have a hard time with all the fermentation management (not necessarily a hard time doing it, just accepting that it should be done at all) whereas wine makers use essentially the same process as mead makers from start to finish.

Not very much in common with beer at all, unless they're still using the outdated boil your must method.

Wolfie
10-08-2010, 05:33 PM
actually they say it's very much like wine making. The guy goes into most of the basics of current methods, staggered nutrients and so on. Looks like he might warm his honey a little to facilitate pouring but he certainly didn't boil a thing.

Also, Oosik is a term used in Native Alaska cultures to describe the baculum of walruses, seals, sea lions, and polar bears...

fatbloke
10-09-2010, 05:31 AM
I wasn't entirely convinced with the time frames he suggested i.e. made in the april/may and ready in the june/july.

He seemed to have a good grasp of current method (as already mentioned above) but his conclusions weren't correct i.e. various fruit based meads might be ready quicker, which is something to do with how the fruit juices mix/sweeten finished meads/melomels, but I've certainly never found that any traditional is ready in less than 6 months.

I'm presuming that he uses chemical finings etc to clear the mels etc all the quicker though.

Plus, it did seem that some of his other conclusions were a little out i.e. that historically meads were a PITA to make because of poor fermentations etc..... More to do with historically, meads being made with any available materials and there not being any real way of controlling the ferments and manufacturing management.

Besides, it was basically an advertisement for Northern Brewer, so I'd have expected any person taking part, telling the viewer what they wanted to hear......

Irrespective of that, the chap, Curt Stock, certainly does have a wonderful set up for making his brews, whether they're beer, mead or whatever......

It was quite interesting viewing.....

regards

fatbloke

DaleP
10-09-2010, 09:41 AM
I see nothing wrong with his time tables. A good melomel in those time frames is very possible. I watched it with great interest, as I have lost in cometitions many times to him. While my method is different, I have placed meads (melomels) in competitions that were lass than 6 months old. As far as an advertisement for Northern Brewer, I did not see that at all. I did like the use of cornies to hold the mead, but wonder how he de-carbonizes them?

manwithbeers
10-09-2010, 12:49 PM
I see nothing wrong with his time tables. A good melomel in those time frames is very possible. I watched it with great interest, as I have lost in cometitions many times to him. While my method is different, I have placed meads (melomels) in competitions that were lass than 6 months old. As far as an advertisement for Northern Brewer, I did not see that at all. I did like the use of cornies to hold the mead, but wonder how he de-carbonizes them?

I suspect that he is dispensing his mead with straight nitrogen. I can buy a regulator for under $75 and rent a tank of nitrogen for less than $75/year. I've considered it myself for my own kegerator. I believe this is how wines are served on tap in bars.

DaleP
10-10-2010, 07:41 AM
Makes sense. Never thought of that myself.

Tannin Boy
10-10-2010, 09:10 AM
I see nothing wrong with his time tables. A good melomel in those time frames is very possible. I watched it with great interest, as I have lost in cometitions many times to him. While my method is different, I have placed meads (melomels) in competitions that were lass than 6 months old. As far as an advertisement for Northern Brewer, I did not see that at all. I did like the use of cornies to hold the mead, but wonder how he de-carbonizes them?

Dale,

Agreed...The times are possible as I do them with mine. A bit edgy at 3 months yet drinkable if your primary ferment goes well. I find that 4-5 months have done wonders to smoothing these out. I have no experience with over a year of aging as they don't last? ;D

I to am looking at Korney's and have not convinced my self yet to venture in this direction until the beer making kicks in! I do find 1/2 gallon bottles work well from a handling standpoint in the frig....They ( Korney Kegs ) do make the carbonating process a walk in the park...

Regards,

TB

fatbloke
10-10-2010, 01:53 PM
I see nothing wrong with his time tables. A good melomel in those time frames is very possible. I watched it with great interest, as I have lost in cometitions many times to him. While my method is different, I have placed meads (melomels) in competitions that were lass than 6 months old.-----%<-----


Dale,

Agreed...The times are possible as I do them with mine. A bit edgy at 3 months yet drinkable if your primary ferment goes well. I find that 4-5 months have done wonders to smoothing these out. I have no experience with over a year of aging as they don't last? ;D

-----%<-----
Well I definitely bow to those with greater knowledge of fruit meads 8)

I've gotta be doing something wrong then, because thus far, my attempts at using fruit mead recipes (apart from a "benchmark" JAO) seem to have needed ageing for 6 months to a year plus (tasting rubbish when young). It's a bit annoying that there's no-one locally who makes meads as well, because the 4 or 5 commercially made ones I've tasted have all been sickly sweet desert/sack type meads. There's pretty much nothing I can find that has been made with fruit - so I've no yard stick to judge by.

Maybe it's because my own taste in "grape" wines is toward heavier reds (St Emillion, Chateau Neuf du Pape, Margaux, etc etc with a small number of more "meaty" Australian ones as well).

Plus the 3k miles of water mean that a "tasting road trip" is out of the question as well......

Ah well, maybe I should try and find a commercial source of bulk blackcurrants next year then....... Because those I do like:p.......

regards

fatbloke

mmclean
10-10-2010, 02:15 PM
I have been looking into growing some black currants. It looks like I might try a black, white, and red.

AToE
10-11-2010, 12:44 AM
Well, I can't say about Dale's meads placing at that age, obviously they're good, but he's likely an exception (probably due to some serious skills!).

I'd say most meads at 4-6 months are drinkable, maybe even good, but always, in my experience so far, pale imitations of what they'll be at 10-12 months. I haven't been making mead for very long (probably 15 or 16 months), but I have done about 40 batches and this has been true for all that have survived long enough to see the changes take place.

Tannin Boy
10-11-2010, 06:14 AM
Well I definitely bow to those with greater knowledge of fruit meads 8)

I've gotta be doing something wrong then, because thus far, my attempts at using fruit mead recipes (apart from a "benchmark" JAO) seem to have needed ageing for 6 months to a year plus (tasting rubbish when young). It's a bit annoying that there's no-one locally who makes meads as well, because the 4 or 5 commercially made ones I've tasted have all been sickly sweet desert/sack type meads. There's pretty much nothing I can find that has been made with fruit - so I've no yard stick to judge by.

Maybe it's because my own taste in "grape" wines is toward heavier reds (St Emillion, Chateau Neuf du Pape, Margaux, etc etc with a small number of more "meaty" Australian ones as well).

Plus the 3k miles of water mean that a "tasting road trip" is out of the question as well......

Ah well, maybe I should try and find a commercial source of bulk blackcurrants next year then....... Because those I do like:p.......

regards

fatbloke

FB,

Well Old boy...I may need to apologize to you ?
I had not viewed the clip before posting...
Mine has been organic fruit juice mixtures, not fresh / frozen fruit.
Alas, stuck my foot in me mouth :mad:

I did enjoy the wine selections you mentioned and if I may be so bold.
I have a benchmark for what I like in wine and should you have the opportunity to try, this IMHO is the pinnacle of wine making ( Chateau Mouton Rothschild ) a Pauillac. Mine was a 1987 vintage...

Regards,

TB

Medsen Fey
10-11-2010, 10:14 AM
I wasn't entirely convinced with the time frames he suggested i.e. made in the april/may and ready in the june/july.



I see nothing wrong with his time tables. A good melomel in those time frames is very possible.

While I'm sure some folks can make a great melomel that is ready in 2-3 months, the earliest I have ever had one that I made really taste great was 6 months, and most of the ones I've felt were really good enough (ones that I would choose to drink over a good commercial wine) have taken 15-18 months.

In the video, he points at that the mels that he has served at 2 months of age tasted good, but that they could very well taste even better after aging for 12-18 months, but that they never got to find.

In the video he shows a batch with 8 pounds of fruit, 12 pounds of cherries with a gravity of 1.045. Heavy fruit with plenty of acidity and sugar probably will be drinkable early, but from my experience something like won't show all its glory in 2 months - not even close. I definitely think dry batches need more time. Drinking meads that early is infanticide, and I want no part of it. ;D

However, I do like the way Mr. Stock thinks


I like the fruit bombs. I often get dinged because people say "That's a fruit wine. That's not a mead. Where's the honey?"

If you're going to use a fruit, use a fruit.

Braxton
10-11-2010, 01:17 PM
Haven't watched this video yet, but I've tried Curt's meads before, and they are quite good, even at that young. He only uses 71-b, which helps. They would undoubtabley improve with age. But he is a past AHA meadmaker of the year, after all, and has won top honors at the AHA nationals a few times, if memory serves. From what I've tried his meads tend to be BIG, like really alcoholic, young, and very full bodied. That's not really my thing, when it comes to mead, but I think a lot of people enjoy it. I tried a flight of his meads at the AHA rally this past summer, and there was a chipotle mead in there that rocked.

And to AToE, that amount of mead brewing is impressive! I aspire to such heights.

AToE
10-11-2010, 02:12 PM
And to AToE, that amount of mead brewing is impressive! I aspire to such heights.

I've slowed down now, I did a lot of that to accelerate my learning, and sometimes multiple batches were part of a single experiment. For example I have 10 one gallon batches aging, each with the same must but different yeasts.

Medsen Fey
10-11-2010, 02:24 PM
In the video he shows a batch with 8 pounds of fruit, 12 pounds of cherries with a gravity of 1.045.

Actually that was 8 pounds of currants and 12 pounds of cherries - small typo but that's a huge difference in acidity. :)

wayneb
10-11-2010, 05:15 PM
I concur with Curt's opinion on the subject of fruit mels, too. Some folks' "fruit bombs" are my mainstream melomels. ;D

However I do like mine to be dry as well as fairly alcoholic. That combination almost always means they will take the better part of a year's aging to come into balance. Generally, the sweeter the result, the less aging is required to round off the sharp edges, because a little bit of sweetness can hide all but the sharpest of them. ;)

Fisher kel Tath
10-11-2010, 05:39 PM
Yea all the mels i did before my Pineapple Orange, had been minimal fruit and taken forever and a day to come mature enough to drink (except my Cysers, cysers are usually good enough to drink at 3-4 months, but amazing after a year)

DaleP
10-11-2010, 06:26 PM
While I'm sure some folks can make a great melomel that is ready in 2-3 months, the earliest I have ever had one that I made really taste great was 6 months, and most of the ones I've felt were really good enough (ones that I would choose to drink over a good commercial wine) have taken 15-18 months.

In the video, he points at that the mels that he has served at 2 months of age tasted good, but that they could very well taste even better after aging for 12-18 months, but that they never got to find.

In the video he shows a batch with 8 pounds of fruit, 12 pounds of cherries with a gravity of 1.045. Heavy fruit with plenty of acidity and sugar probably will be drinkable early, but from my experience something like won't show all its glory in 2 months - not even close. I definitely think dry batches need more time. Drinking meads that early is infanticide, and I want no part of it. ;D

However, I do like the way Mr. Stock thinks

I'm wondering if I should be in jail for infanticide. It has only been the last year that I've had meads sit around long enough to age even one year let alone 18 months. I too, like fruit bombs and have been dinged many times in comps (the Mazer Cup was one) for not having enough honey prescence to show over the fruit!

wayneb
10-11-2010, 06:41 PM
I too, like fruit bombs and have been dinged many times in comps (the Mazer Cup was one) for not having enough honey prescence to show over the fruit!

Yeah, the "traditionalists" in the mead community have until recently been hard pressed to accept the concept of "big fruit" melomels where the honey character is one nuance in the overall flavor profile. However, don't give up trying. Some of the judges at the Mazer Cup are sympathetic to the newer concepts, as is evidenced by the award that my Filleule de la Nuit took last year. I believe that the more those of us who like these fruit dominant recipes make and enter them, the sooner they will receive wider acceptance in the larger meadmaking community.

ken_schramm
10-11-2010, 09:59 PM
Hmm. Putting massive quantities of fruit in a mead. Now there's a novel idea. I think I'll give it a whirl.

Chevette Girl
10-12-2010, 01:17 AM
I always strive for balance in my mels, if I can't taste the fruit, why did I bother, and if I can't taste the honey, I should have just used sugar and made fruit wine, I've wasted the honey. Only once have I experienced too much fruit in a wine, from a winery who uses pure fruit juice, no water, and I only found one fruit (blueberries, odd because I LOVE blueberries) where this was too much...

Tannin Boy
10-12-2010, 06:09 AM
I'm wondering if I should be in jail for infanticide. It has only been the last year that I've had meads sit around long enough to age even one year let alone 18 months. I too, like fruit bombs and have been dinged many times in comps (the Mazer Cup was one) for not having enough honey prescence to show over the fruit!

Dale,

I am even a newer newbie than you....>:(

Sometimes being new isn't so bad as the view from outside looking in is interesting.
I do not wish to trash the mazer cup or any judge for it. Yet
the bigger issue to all this is the health benefits that honey brings to the
table. Now, lets throw in some of those super fruits and holy cow we have
us a health drink..

http://www.superfruits.org/components/

Cheers,

TB

DaleP
10-12-2010, 09:36 AM
Dale,

I am even a newer newbie than you....>:(

Sometimes being new isn't so bad as the view from outside looking in is interesting.
I do not wish to trash the mazer cup or any judge for it. Yet
the bigger issue to all this is the health benefits that honey brings to the
table. Now, lets throw in some of those super fruits and holy cow we have
us a health drink..

http://www.superfruits.org/components/

Cheers,

TB


I hope no one thought I was trashing the Mazer Cup. The guidelines call for the honey in the aroma and flavor, and I like the fruit bombs, with the honey in the background, barely noticable, but if it wasn't there, you would miss it. Hence, I take my lumps at competitions, and my very favorite melomels do not place.
By the way, I have been making meads since 1978, I'm far too tarnished to be a newbie anymore.

AToE
10-12-2010, 11:49 AM
By the way, I have been making meads since 1978, I'm far too tarnished to be a newbie anymore.

Wow, I haven't even been breathing that long! I definitely still consider myself a novice. One day I'll change my profile to say that I'm intermediate or some such...

DaleP
10-12-2010, 12:09 PM
Now I feel like a very old larva......what the heck does that refer too?

AToE
10-12-2010, 12:14 PM
Now I feel like a very old larva......what the heck does that refer too?

I think the forum automatically generates titles based on post count, people start as eggs then go from there. You can change it in your profile somewhere.

I read somewhere once that they'd like everyone to write in that spot how long they've been making mead, so that newbies have an idea of how experienced the people responding to their posts are. I haven't even been making it for long enough to do that, so I just put "novice".

wayneb
10-12-2010, 12:30 PM
Hmm. Putting massive quantities of fruit in a mead. Now there's a novel idea. I think I'll give it a whirl.

HA, Ha, Ha, Ha.... ROTFL!!!

BTW, Ken, I have one bottle left of my F. de la N., which was inspired by your Heart of Darkness. Since I had no access to good cherries, I used elderberries as the backbone in this one. (Funny how the good stuff seems to "evaporate" from the cellar racks.) Since you didn't get to try it at this past year's Mazer Cup, I plan on opening it at next year's. Just so ya know....


And DaleP, yes that label is something Oskaar came up with as an indicator of a member's post count, but I have no idea how the labels change, nor how many posts it takes to go from a given category to the next.

Chevette Girl
10-12-2010, 10:19 PM
And DaleP, yes that label is something Oskaar came up with as an indicator of a member's post count, but I have no idea how the labels change, nor how many posts it takes to go from a given category to the next.

wayneb, as a forum mod, you're above the law... I think you go from egg to larva at 100 or 150 and I think I became a "drone" at 500, there you go, something to aspire to! :)

Fisher kel Tath
10-12-2010, 10:26 PM
My first Mel's where I held back on the fruit, have ended up just tasting like traditionals with something maybe lurking around in the background, but not really.

So yea, I'd rather go fruit bomb than have lots of bad traditional laying around :P

*has only done 9 batches at this point

huntfishtrap
10-12-2010, 10:49 PM
I have been making meads since 1978 What was it like making mead without electricity? Just kidding, I was nine then.:D

Oskaar
10-17-2010, 05:31 PM
Sorry I didn't step in on this earlier.

Well made big fruit mels can definitely be ready in a very short time. I have a tart cherry cyser that is smooth and elegant in six weeks, along with several others.

It's about micro-management of the ferment and; I mean that in a microscopic sense. That is, focusing in on things like suspension of the yeast in the nutrient gradient, MOx, surface area, heat zones, CO2 zones, etc. Staying on top of all those things will help to ensure a very strong ferment with minimal production of any harsh/off/reductive aromas and flavors. Management to that level will also help transition more smoothly into aging and maturing.

Keeping the ferment from swinging to extremes (i.e. waiting too long with nutrient additions, over or under-dosing with O2, inconsistent temperature swings, inconsistent cap management, etc) will all add elements that need time to age out. The less of those elements that are formed the less time it takes to age, and mature. This is especially true of tannic red wine as well.

So for big fruit mels, to me, the key is being a micro-manager. I check temp in different areas of my fermenters, draw pH samples from different levels, and pay special attention to pH above and within the lees. Over the past five years I have gone from aggressive whipping of my melomels with the lees stirrer to a more gentle traditional "punch-down" method that I find helps with sugar, acid, color, aroma and flavor extraction. This is also why I have moved back to buckets, SS and larger open fermentation vessels for mels, because it is easier to manage the primary in those critical first 3-5 days.

Oskaar

manwithbeers
10-18-2010, 11:44 AM
Well last night I racked my own Cassis Melomel off the fruit. All I can say is wow, it was absolutely delicious! I don't know that it is completely done yet. It was still bubbling a few times a minute but I don't expect the 71B will get the gravity much lower.

I used 2 lbs of berries per gallon and the flavor is pretty tart but that balances the residual sweetness very well. SG 1.030. (OG estimated to be 1.130) It was 1.124 with just the honey and I estimate the fruit added 0.007 SG. I started this mead 18 days ago.

Cassis Mead will become a 5 gallon batch next season I'm sure. I have more berries available right now but they are reserved for a Cassis Lambic.

AToE
10-18-2010, 12:32 PM
Unless you squeeze the fruit first so that the juice factors into your initial volume, fruit will actually lower your SG. If you mix up some honey must to say 1.100 then add fruit, it will drop. This is because yes you're adding sugars, but you're adding even more water. Something like honey or maple syrup brings the SG up because it has so little water.