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Grimm312
03-20-2013, 05:25 AM
Pleas tell me mead is nicer than this ...

I bought a drinking horn, which came in today. I figured I had better christen it, but none of my batches are ready. So off I went to my local Dan Murphy's to pick some up.

It smells like a white wine, and tastes like ... well, nothing in particular. Can't taste any honey at all, and it kinda burns like a white wine does.

I had to add some honey just to make it drinkable.

fatbloke
03-20-2013, 06:24 AM
Well..... do a bit of testing/checking....

4 or 5 years ago I bought 4 different half bottles of UK produced meads, yes they differed in flavour but all had the over riding characteristic of seeming like slightly watered down honey. Cloyingly sweet.

When I checked the gravity, they were all in the 1.035 to 1.040 area so would be considered as "dessert" meads.

Now also having tried a few of my own efforts, at that stage mine were all too dry.

Some experiments later and I find my preference is for medium level in the 1.010 to 1.015 area.

Too sweet can be balanced some, using acid and tannin, too dry and you can back sweeten.

Hence I experimented a bit as well as reading reams of stuff, concluding that I'd probably be better placed with FG of about the 1.010 to 1.01

Grimm312
03-20-2013, 06:36 AM
Thanks fatbloke. I was hoping for some insight from someone who's actually tasted this mead though.

Still good points you've made, though. The lack of any honey taste at all would make me think that this particular mead is rather dry? I haven't got a hydrometer yet, so I can't do any testing.

Soyala_Amaya
03-20-2013, 09:22 AM
You didn't say what brand of mead you got. I tend to despise Chaucer's unless it's mulled, there's one called Fat Friar that turns my stomach, Pyrtle is alright but stay away from the blackberry, there's a wildflower traditional that sources the same honey I do that just got started up called Wildflower (I think, or something similar) that's the best trad I've had in a commercial mead but it's still flabby...

And yes, since mead is not technically recognized as a real drink all by it's lonesome yet you could have gotten a white wine with honey added. (I forget which brand it was that did that to me, it wasn't bad once I figured out what it was, but that first taste made my eyeballs jump out of my head) There's no standard's for it yet in the commercial market.

SO! All of that out of the way, mead is not like that. Or, more likely, unless you find a meadery, someone who loves mead, makes mead, knows what they're doing instead of just popping one out of their winery because it seems to be popular right, mead doesn't HAVE to be like that. Make it better, find better, and don't worry. Mead is delicious!;D

Grimm312
03-20-2013, 08:50 PM
Soyala_Amaya the brand of mead is in the title, ya boofhead.

Soyala_Amaya
03-21-2013, 09:31 AM
Ah well hell I don't READ titles. :p I just go through every morning clicking and reading threads till I'm out of unread posts from the night. Anyway, I haven't had that one, but the rest of the comments still stand.

Kansas Mead
03-21-2013, 12:36 PM
Do you know was type of honey was used in the mead?

Grimm312
03-21-2013, 07:57 PM
No, it just says "Pure Australian Honey".

I've been doing some reading and it seems that with commercial meads you're just as likely to get honeyed white wine. Even though the label would have you believe it's "proper" mead, I reckon it could just as easily be honeyed white wine.

WVMJack
03-22-2013, 03:55 AM
I like your enthusiasm, drinking horn before hydrometer! Send us a pick of your horn. WVMJ

Soyala_Amaya
03-22-2013, 08:48 AM
This is also just me asking questions now, is your horn sealed or unsealed? I know a lot of people who say that sealing is better because it keeps the flavour of the drink cleaner...but if I wanted that I'd just use a gorram cup. I love a well seasoned, unsealed horn that has been carried on a hip for a few years, washed with a few hundred meads and liquors. There's a depth and roundness to a well loved, well used horn that just isn't there in a glass. It's like horn keeps a memory record of all those good days and lets you relive them again later.

However, if you're trying to get a bead on the actual flavour of a mead, use a wine a glass. ;D I can wax poetic about my favorite drinking horns all I want, and I actually look forward to ritual with different friends because I know their horns so well by know, but horn isn't the greatest medium for 'tasting'.

fatbloke
03-22-2013, 09:15 AM
The only issue with blended Aussie honey is that sometimes they use eucalyptus honey which is fine as honey but can leave a bit of a weird flavour when fermented.

Drinking horns ? Sounds like some of you daft buggers have been watching too many films/movies........

You'll be dressing as Robin Hood with the authentic fibre glass compound bows and wearing genuine mediaeval nylon tights/pantihose next........:rolleyes:;):D

Grimm312
03-22-2013, 08:18 PM
The horn is a bit of a novelty, to take with to to parties and stuff. But just because you asked, it's sealed.

fatbloke, the issue isn't a "weird" flavor, it's more like a lack of flavor altogether. Even my old man said "It's not un-nice, it just doesn't taste like anything", and I tend to agree with him.

I'm not a particular fan of white wine, but to me it had the same "feel" as a white wine, as in the kind of ... I dunno, it's to put into words. Burn or sting in the throat perhaps, but not nearly as horrible as the words burn and sting make it sound. It just had no real flavor before it.

celticgladiator
03-23-2013, 04:52 AM
I love my horn, novelty or not. I'd rather drink mead from a horn any day! :)

fatbloke
03-23-2013, 06:05 AM
-----snip-----

fatbloke, the issue isn't a "weird" flavor, it's more like a lack of flavor altogether. Even my old man said "It's not un-nice, it just doesn't taste like anything", and I tend to agree with him.

I'm not a particular fan of white wine, but to me it had the same "feel" as a white wine, as in the kind of ... I dunno, it's to put into words. Burn or sting in the throat perhaps, but not nearly as horrible as the words burn and sting make it sound. It just had no real flavor before it.
Yes, I think that makes sense/sounds familiar......

Problem is that I cant recall what I did last time I made one that was quite like a blandish white wine or what the recipe was.

I'd suspect that the makers have had a similar result and just bottled it "as is".

There's plenty of finishing processes to give it what you may be looking for, so it's less of a worry......

Grimm312
03-23-2013, 08:52 AM
I love my horn, novelty or not. I'd rather drink mead from a horn any day! :)

If that's your horn in your avatar, mines a shot-glass by comparison.

And fatbloke, like I said, I added some honey to it and it's quite drinkable now. I was just disappointed by it, and wanted to know if that's as good as it gets.

Luckily my JOAM is starting to really clear up, so it won't be too long til I have my own to drink.

Soyala_Amaya
03-23-2013, 09:04 AM
If that's your horn in your avatar, mines a shot-glass by comparison.


Mine can hold a full wine bottle, but I have friends with ritual horns that can hold 5-6. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151345967201325&set=a.10151345850331325.1073741825.790176324&type=3&src=https%3A%2F%2Fsphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net%2Fhphotos-ash3%2F577898_10151345967201325_2113207793_n.jpg&size=960%2C720 https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150311928971325&set=a.10150311928861325.348783.790176324&type=3&src=https%3A%2F%2Fsphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net%2Fhphotos-ash4%2F308412_10150311928971325_211797943_n.jpg&size=640%2C480

fatbloke
03-23-2013, 09:27 AM
-----snip-----

And fatbloke, like I said, I added some honey to it and it's quite drinkable now. I was just disappointed by it, and wanted to know if that's as good as it gets.

Luckily my JOAM is starting to really clear up, so it won't be too long til I have my own to drink.
Sorry I probably missed that bit......

What I tend to do is to buy enough of the honey I'm using, so that it doesn't matter if the actual ferment comes out disappointing I can back sweeten with the original honey (I aim at a max of a half pound per gallon).

One of the problems with commercial meads is that often there's no way of knowing what it's actually going to be like once it's opened. The 4 I tried a couple of years back where all slightly different tasting but they were all cloyingly sweet dessert meads. A little disappointing.

Hence its hard to judge a bottle and im glad I make my own :cool:

Grimm312
03-23-2013, 09:37 AM
So far all of mine smell pretty similar, but I'd guess it's the alcohol, so they would. But they taste miles better.

Montead
03-23-2013, 11:26 AM
http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/03/23/re4uhebu.jpg
To actually answer the question at hand. I have had it. I actually have a bottle in my fridge right now. I find a lot of these types of conversations funny. Personal preference varies so much.
My wife loves a sweeter mead. I am not a fan of a spiced mead. I can appreciate a sweet. Maxwells is definitely a sweet mead. I find that it is also a fairly mello mead. They make a couple different types as well. Maxwell had a spiced and a sweet ( now that I think about it they may have another one...)
I will try to test with a hydrometer next time I have a glass.

Montead
03-23-2013, 04:13 PM
http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/03/24/ytutequ2.jpg
Wow. I did not expect a reading of 1.034 no wonder my wife likes it so much. I wonder what reading their spiced mead would be???
Anyways. Hope this was interesting to someone.

fatbloke
03-23-2013, 07:12 PM
http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/03/24/ytutequ2.jpg
Wow. I did not expect a reading of 1.034 no wonder my wife likes it so much. I wonder what reading their spiced mead would be???
Anyways. Hope this was interesting to someone.
No but at 1.034 its right in amongst the commercial dessert meads I tasted/tried/tested a few years back....

Grimm312
03-24-2013, 05:25 AM
http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/03/24/ytutequ2.jpg
Wow. I did not expect a reading of 1.034 no wonder my wife likes it so much. I wonder what reading their spiced mead would be???
Anyways. Hope this was interesting to someone.

Wow, that's a bit of a surprise. Like I said, I thought it was dry.

Just out of curiosity, Montead, how do you like it, and how does it compare to what you make yourself?

Chevette Girl
03-24-2013, 05:02 PM
Wow, that's a bit of a surprise. Like I said, I thought it was dry.

Did you correct for temperature or let the refrigerated stuff you checked SG on come to room temp? If not, it could still be fairly dry and you're getting an artificially high reading from the cold (more dense) sample.

Grimm312
03-24-2013, 09:26 PM
That's Montead's reading, not mine.

Kansas Mead
03-25-2013, 10:58 AM
I did a some research and found a pdf on maxwell meads. (See link) http://www.maxwellwines.com.au/media/docs/new_tasting_notes/Maxwell_Meads_2010.pdf

Information about the mead from the pdf:

The original mead. Maxwell Honey Mead has a delicate bouquet of floral
beeswax and nutty marmalade-like aromas. Refreshingly light on the palate,
subtle apricot and honey characters fill the mouth. Ideally consumed chilled
(over ice), it can also be mixed with soda water, lemonade or dry ginger ale. It
has been awarded ‘best pure varietal mead’ at the International Mead Festival
Competition in the USA.

Grimm312 did the description match the mead at all?

Grimm312
03-25-2013, 09:38 PM
That's the "blurb" n the bottle, Kansas Mead. And no, it doesn't. Well, not to me. I'm sure there are people with better palates than mine. Like I said, it didn't really taste of anything at all, it just had the after-taste of a white wine.

I'm not so concerned now, I had a proper taste of my JOAM (I couldn't help myself, I've got 16L of mead fermenting away, I would have been devastated if it turned out I didn't like it ...) and it's much better. I'll have to wait for my Show mead to finish to see what a "plain" mead is like (Or I might do a trad if it'll finish quicker ...) for a "proper" comparison, but the JOAM was nice. There's a definite orange flavour, which is more than I can say for the Maxwell's stuff.

Montead
03-29-2013, 12:49 AM
Sorry I have been away for a while. You are correct. I failed to take the temperature before. Even though it had been out if the fridge for a bit I am sure that is a false reading (great catch). I should have caught it and I probably wouldn't have been as shocked. Thanks for pointing that out. I am going to retry next time before I put it in the fridge.

Montead
03-29-2013, 12:56 AM
Grimm.
I am just getting into the mead making myself (probably partially why I messed up with my hydrometer reading). I am very tolerant of the maxwell. I can not compare to any I have made as of yet.
I am about 45 days into my JOAM and realize I really don't like what seems to be a "hot" flavour. I have only tried 5 different types of mead. I don't like Oaked mead. Or spiced mead. I lean towards the traditional meads I have tasted. I am super curious how mine will turn out. Sorry for any confusion I may have caused with not catching the temperature.

Grimm312
03-29-2013, 02:47 AM
It's all good, mate.

I've been drinking some more of the Maxwell's, and it's growing on me.

The "hot" flavour is caused by something called fusels, which break down over time, mellowing the flavour.

JAOM's are meant to mask them pretty well with the orange and spices, though. If you don't like it straight away, I'm led to believe 6 months aging can make a world of difference.

fatbloke
03-30-2013, 06:53 AM
It's all good, mate.

I've been drinking some more of the Maxwell's, and it's growing on me.

The "hot" flavour is caused by something called fusels, which break down over time, mellowing the flavour.

JAOM's are meant to mask them pretty well with the orange and spices, though. If you don't like it straight away, I'm led to believe 6 months aging can make a world of difference.
Fusels don't always mellow with time. The rather forward "alcohol hot" sort of taste is usually just young mead that needs aging, and yes it really does seem the higher the strength the longer mellowing can take.

Its part of the reason why its recommended that their production should be avoided, with stuff like D47 yeast being fermented with honey musts at over 70F/21C. The "highe alcohols" take a long time, if ever to mellow. Despite the numbers that Lallemand quote for D47 it may just be a mead/honey must thing.

Plus you being in Aus, I suspect you do have to take more care/effort with your ferm temps. Hell I know you can find skiing, but generally it seems you guys often get some damned hot weather.

I'd guess that the commercial wine people have to use temp control kit for some of those marvellous brews they make ? and hence id guess it wouldn't be much different for meads ?

I wonder if that affects the types of meads that're made commercially in Aus ?

Grimm312
03-30-2013, 11:37 PM
Depends where you are. We have some pretty big wine regions here in Aus. The Hunter Valley, the Yarra Valley, the Barossa Valley, etc. So I suppose if the area is suitable for wine it'l be suitable for mead.

And not everywhere is stereotypically hot. Most of the population lives on the east-coast, where the temperatures are much more ... "normal".