PDA

View Full Version : Mead Tasting



Mondor
06-04-2016, 08:16 PM
I had some friends over for lunch and a mead tasting, amazing how many people show up when you offer them free food and drink, this afternoon. It went well, I got some good feedback and introduced some folks to nice mead.

I have had a few informal mead tasting like events in the past and incorporated lessons learned into this gathering.

1. Set expectations - for folks new to mead make sure they know that they are in fact tasting mead, fermented honey plus whatever else is in the drink. Nothing confuses/disappoints folks more than expecting to taste wine when they hear "honey wine". Remember that time as a kid when you took a big spoonful of ice cream only to find out it was actually sour cream? Yeah, taste buds hate that.

2. Tell people what they are drinking - Don't make them tell you what they are tasting, unless of course you have a professional or semi-pro group of tasters. If they are going to taste a coffee infused mead, let them know it is a coffee infused mead. Make the description fun and listen to the comments and asides to gather feedback.

3. Make it pretty - A nice display with clear bottles in a pleasant environment goes a long way towards success.

4. Give them structure - Let folks know the order they should sample the drinks. Don't let them start with the hot chili pepper and end with the delicately layered cyser or traditional.

5. No secrets - If something is experimental or still needs work, let 'em know. Don't let them walk away thinking that your work in progress is how a finished mead is supposed to taste.

6. Keep it informal - The idea is to have fun, not make 'em earn the lunch and mead. This mead tasting was only one part of an afternoon with friends. Remember, these are friends, not a focus group.

Here are some photos from today's set up. Or not.... having an issue uploading images. But, they are nice images, you will just have to take my word for it.

fatbloke
06-05-2016, 05:16 AM
Looking forward to seeing pics if you can get them uploaded.......

Mondor
06-05-2016, 12:18 PM
I created a Instagram account and posted some of the photos there. https://www.instagram.com/mazer_fun/

Or just head on over to Instagram and look for mazer_fun

Paladin906
06-08-2016, 03:29 AM
Thanks for sharing. Where are you in Virginia? I'm near Fredericksburg.

Mondor
06-20-2016, 10:19 PM
Not far from you at all. Either 30 mins or 2 hrs, depending on 95. ;)

PitBull
06-21-2016, 09:02 AM
Mondor. Typical fragment from a conversation:

Me: "I make mead."
Response: "I guess it must be really sweet then".
Me: "Is grape wine sweet"?
Response: "It can be."
Me: "Bingo! Like grape wine, mead can range from dry to sweet, depending on how much unfermented honey is left in the final product."
Response: Hmmmmm. (Light bulb comes on!)

zpeckler
06-21-2016, 09:51 AM
Mondor. Typical fragment from a conversation:

Me: "I make mead."
Response: "I guess it must be really sweet then".
Me: "Is grape wine sweet"?
Response: "It can be."
Me: "Bingo! Like grape wine, mead can range from dry to sweet, depending on how much unfermented honey is left in the final product."
Response: Hmmmmm. (Light bulb comes on!)
I'm getting flashbacks to every single conversation I've ever had with a mead-virgin.

Stasis
06-21-2016, 06:15 PM
But many times that light bulb doesn't go on. Many people think that the final wine is sweet depending on how sweet the must was. This is true because wine makers in malta would add great amounts of sugar to their grape must... this ensures there's unfermented sugars in the end, however very few wine makers know that this is the reason the end product is sweet. Very few wine makers know that it's possible to make a sweet low abv wine.

I swear, good, dry home made wine is such a huge effin' rarity that when I offered a dry prickly pear wine to a 5-star restaurant owner and assured him that it's dry he said it's the best wine he ever tasted, gave some to his wife, took some home, gave some to his cousin who is also a restaurant owner, and concluded I am a wine making genius. Hilarious, but to be fair I think that was one of my best ever prickly pear wines.

Other times, when I offer a dry mead many people think something is wrong with it because:
- They think that adding so much sweetness should ensure a sweet final product. If it's not sweet I did something wrong or it proves honey is not good for making wine
- They think my mead is EXTRA effing strong because if you add a LOT of sugar to a wine must and it still turns out dry, chances are you made some extremely high abv wine
- Many people have never really analyzed the taste of home made wine. Many times I would drink sickly sweet vinegar and the wine maker would swear it's the best thing ever. Their taste buds taste sweetness and call it a day. When I offer dry mead they don't taste sweetness and immediately say they don't like it.

- (unrelated) Sometimes they ask even before tasting the mead that they only drink red or white wine (something common with the ladies somehow). I would reply that this mead is not red and explain why (no grape skins..). Their mind would only register that it is not red or white and and often say "no thanks then". They might take a sip out of courtesy but you can see their mind is already made up.

Anyway, I'll be adding sweetness to small batches of my meads just to see the difference in people's reactions

Mondor
06-21-2016, 09:16 PM
The "honey must (no pun intended) make the wine sweet" conversation didn't happen this time. I set out up front that these meads are dry, 10% and 13% abv drinks. I think it helped that most of the folks had a military background and I structured the intro group talk like a military brief. The fact that they were able to read a description with each bottle helped a lot as well.

Having said that, the first time I had folks over for mead I actually got "meat tasting?" and "I thought honey would make it sweet". Honestly, I thought you guys were pulling the newbies' legs the first time I read those stories. That's why I structured it a bit more formally, had learning aids out, and talked them through each drink, but let them sample at their own speed.

EbonHawk
06-27-2016, 07:56 AM
Yes, these are fun. I recently did one a few months back and my friends are still talking about it. Had 2 of them over, the 2 that have helped the most with the actual mead-making process, and they both agreed that the final products were exceptional. Can't wait to have a full-on mead party once everyone's schedules can coincide.. 2 are about to get married soon, while another and his wife are trying to get a new business started, so things have been kinda chaotic lately. We only made it through 4 of the flavors before everyone was grabbing bottles of their favorites and saying things like "Let's just make mead, no more beer!" :-)

Yesterday was also the inaugural launch of the latest batch, Yo's Strawberry Pizzazz.. Those that could still see straight anyway. :-P It was a smashing success.

Mazer828
06-27-2016, 01:35 PM
I found the most helpful thing I did at a recent mead tasting was to have a small honey tasting first. Before any mead was sampled. This did a couple of things.

1. It opened up people's minds and palates to the fact that all honey is not created equal.

2. It started them off with the sweet thing they were already subconsciously anticipating, so the mead was much more appreciable.

Yes, there was a little mental judo going on here, but all with the best intentions. The tasting went exceptionally well, by the way.

Cheers.

EbonHawk
06-27-2016, 02:47 PM
I found the most helpful thing I did at a recent mead tasting was to have a small honey tasting first. Before any mead was sampled. This did a couple of things.

1. It opened up people's minds and palates to the fact that all honey is not created equal.

2. It started them off with the sweet thing they were already subconsciously anticipating, so the mead was much more appreciable.

Yes, there was a little mental judo going on here, but all with the best intentions. The tasting went exceptionally well, by the way.

Cheers.

That's a great idea!