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McJeff
10-31-2013, 08:10 PM
Ive yet to make a dry mead that ive found drinkable, i end up backsweetening them too 1.010 and like them.

So my question, how do you guys make a dry mead and keep it drinkable. I have a acid blend ive yet to use due to being scared of ruining a batch.

PitBull
10-31-2013, 09:14 PM
Don't make rocket fuel, i.e., stay away from the fusels.

My starting gravity is ~1.090 which will yield 12 to 12.5% ABV. More alcohol is not necessarily better, and is usually worse. Wine should not taste like whiskey.

Ferment at a low temperature, below 70 degrees F. Closer to 60 degrees is even better.

Use light to medium honey. Darker honeys such as buckwheat and tulip-poplar can be a bit harsh when dry.

Add patience. A year and a half is good, two years of aging is better. Perceived sweetness increases with age.

Make lots! It gives you a nice variety and allows some of it to age, rather than drinking it as you make it.

Make and drink what you like. If you like them sweeter, its all good.

bernardsmith
10-31-2013, 10:00 PM
I agree with Pitbull, McJeff. Make the meads that you like to drink. There is no law or rule that demands that you drink dry wines. In fact many people quote the saw that Americans SAY they prefer dry wines but BUY sweet wines. Wine buffs might look down on sweet wines as being a sign of an uneducated palette but opera buffs might look down on The Grateful Dead or Eric Clapton. Some wines are poor and some music is garbage but good wine is good wine and good music is good music. Whether you prefer Django Reinhardt or Itzhak Perlman is about preference not about quality.

That being said, IMO, a level of sweetness (or dryness) is really about balance between the amount of alcohol in the wine and its acidity. A high ABV and a low pH needs to be offset by some sweetness. A dry mead or wine needs to have a lower alcohol level and perhaps a higher pH. Them is my thoughts. You may take 'em for what they are worth... because balance is also fairly personal - at least to some extent.What I think of as "balance" you might think of as stodge. I balance OK on my bicycle but I would not want to try balancing on a uni-cycle. On the other hand you might be very comfortable walking a tight rope over the Niagara Falls.

kudapucat
10-31-2013, 10:03 PM
Whilst I agree with 'make what you like'
Make yourself a few dry batches and hang on as suggested for 18 months.
Then try them on a 6 monthly basis. If you like dry wines, you'll like dry meads - you just need patience. An inordinate amount of patience...

My nicest dry yet was I drinkable at 2 years, but quite good at 2.5.

loveofrose
10-31-2013, 10:55 PM
I like dry mead in preference to sweet. Semi sweet is ok, but I cannot drink much of it. To make good dry mead requires three things:
1. You like dry mead, ie there is no accounting for personal taste.
2. Clean ferments - This is why I developed the BOMM protocol.
3. Appropriate amount of age.

Without all 3, it's never going to work for you.

Chevette Girl
11-01-2013, 12:21 AM
I keep trying and trying, and I'll do it again, but I just don't seem to like dry wines or meads...

kuri
11-01-2013, 01:09 AM
I cut my teeth (lips? tongue? throat?) on dry bordeaux red wine. After that, wine has been defined for me as a dry drink, and I've only come to appreciate mildly sweet wines recently. I finally learned from making mead that dry doesn't mean without sweetness. What I considered dry in a red wine is more likely having a sweetness masked by tannins. That's the next thing I'm going to try for with my mead.

kudapucat
11-01-2013, 04:12 AM
Ahh yes... Balance.

McJeff
11-01-2013, 05:25 AM
Need to research this balance a bit more.

Chevette Girl
11-01-2013, 01:02 PM
McJeff, do you like dry wines? That's a good place to start...

McJeff
11-01-2013, 01:45 PM
McJeff, do you like dry wines? That's a good place to start...

hah yes i do actually, would also like to make some for some friends and family to enjoy.

do you doctor up your meads that you know you want dry before aging or do you age first and see how it comes out?

McJeff
11-01-2013, 04:15 PM
hmmm finding anything online on how to balance a dry wine isnt as easy as one would think.

kudapucat
11-01-2013, 05:01 PM
So far, I've achieved it with dumb luck.
Some acid, plenty of tannin (try a pyment)
If it's too mucho, age it out.

mgvsquared
11-01-2013, 05:03 PM
Do you chill your mead?

I find dry mead tastes better chilled. The one I just bottled in only 9 months old, but its a medium sweet orange blossom mead and it was supposed to be dry and dry it is. Much like a chardonnay at this point. I drank half a bottle at room temp, and refridgerated the rest. It definitely was more palatable cold. I like dry whites, so that does help I think.

joemirando
11-01-2013, 05:58 PM
While I prefer dry wines to sweet, I find that my dry meads aren't enjoyable to me. I've got one (had half a bottle with a friend this afternoon) that I adjusted to about 1.005, and aged about six months. Its very nice chilled. YMMV

Joe

TheAlchemist
11-02-2013, 12:21 PM
I like dry meads, but my family, not so much. So I try to make some sweeter for them to enjoy.

Some meads I like better at room temperature and some I like chilled, but I don't know what characteristics make a mead I like better chilled or room temp.

Anybody have clues about that?

loveofrose
11-02-2013, 03:29 PM
I tend to let dry meads age for year in the carboy. After that, I taste and determine what it needs for balance.
Here is my checklist:
1. Lacks crispness - Acid blend. Still working on optimal mix of citric, malic, and tartaric.
2. Too thin, needs body - oak or FT tannin SP. The former if it needs more astringency, the latter if it needs a perceived sweetness.

I find some honey type are good dry and others are not. Orange blossom is good dry. Tupelo needs to at least be semisweet to bring out the nose (for me at least).

Cold versus room temp I judge on a mead by mead basis. I do see a pattern with room temp being better for meads with a big aroma (Blackcurrant melomels for example). Hope that helps.

McJeff
11-02-2013, 04:20 PM
I tend to let dry meads age for year in the carboy. After that, I taste and determine what it needs for balance.
Here is my checklist:
1. Lacks crispness - Acid blend. Still working on optimal mix of citric, malic, and tartaric.
2. Too thin, needs body - oak or FT tannin SP. The former if it needs more astringency, the latter if it needs a perceived sweetness.

I find some honey type are good dry and others are not. Orange blossom is good dry. Tupelo needs to at least be semisweet to bring out the nose (for me at least).

Cold versus room temp I judge on a mead by mead basis. I do see a pattern with room temp being better for meads with a big aroma (Blackcurrant melomels for example). Hope that helps.

Awesome answer ty!

do you buy each acid and blend yourself? what do you lean towards for a decent blend?

loveofrose
11-04-2013, 09:22 PM
I do blend the acids myself. Start with 50/40/10% Tartaric/Malic/Citrus by weight.