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View Full Version : Replicating Carroll's Mead



BlackFriarsMonastery
07-31-2016, 07:32 PM
I was first introduced to mead at the NY Renaissance Faire and immediately fell in love with it, more so than wine, more so than beer (and I love beer!). It was a few years later that I learned that making mead could be a simple process (or a complicated one, if you so chose) and I decided to try my hand at it.

It was around this time that I learned that the mead I drank (and enjoyed) at the Ren Faire was made by Carroll's mead. Mead was hard to find at local package good stores and it just so happened that the one I did find it at only carried Carroll's. I'm sure it's heresy to some, but I really like the taste of Carroll's and would like to replicate it. If you've never tried it, it's a sweet mead that has a slightly thick (slick?) mouthfeel, but has an ABV of 8.9%.

I live in New Jersey and also just recently discovered there's a meadery close by, Melovino Meadery. I've tried a few of their meads and liked several of them a lot, but like a duckling that imprints the first duck/human it sees as its parent, I'm drawn to Carroll's because it was what got me into mead. So would anyone know how I might go about copying this mead? It's not flavored or anything like that and is probably pretty basic. Would it's low ABV mean it's diluted (does that even work?).

I'm still new to this process. I've only made 8 one gallon batches so far (almost all within the past two months...I'm making one a week), trying a variety of different things with them, and will continue to experiment. But since my standard is Carroll's -- I could easily drink several bottles of this at a sitting (and I have!) -- I'd like to try to make my own version. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

Rich

bernardsmith
08-01-2016, 11:08 AM
Hi Rich, I am unfamiliar with Carroll's mead. Have you measured the finished gravity***? You say that the mead is sweet, so there must be some unfermented sugar in the mead. Measuring the FG will tell you how much honey there needs to be in the bottle when you open it.
An ABV of 8.9 % suggests to me that their starting gravity must be about 1.068 or thereabouts which is about 1.75 lbs of honey in each gallon. (but the images of their bottles suggest that the ABV is 8% and so closer to an SG of about .060 or 1.5 lbs of honey per gallon). Neither quantity is a lot of honey and so the quality of the honey must be pretty superlative to produce a flavor rich mead (if we assume that the more honey per gallon = a more intense flavor, but a more intense flavor then implies a higher ABV, a rich flavor with lower ABV presupposes a very flavor rich honey but see the *** below for a thought about how they might be adding more flavor while not in fact increasing the ABV).
Adding more of that honey after stabilization - or somehow stopping the fermentation before all the honey has been converted to alcohol, will provide for additional flavor and the sweetness you taste AND , I think, the "thick" mouthfeel you describe. *** I found a site that suggests that the mead has 14% residual sugar (that IS sweet, IMO). A residual sweetness of 14% means that for every gallon of wine there is almost 1 lb of unfermented (or residual) sugar or more likely, honey (1 gallon of water weighs about 8 lbs and so about 112 oz (and 14% of 112 oz = 15.68 oz). The same site referred to the mead being filled with wild flower flavors, so unless they are mistaken you might want to look for wildflower honey...

Wild flower honey - about 1.5 lbs per gallon of water- ferment at cool temperatures (from their own website) until absolutely dry. Stabilize and add about 1 lb of the same honey to back sweeten. You might try with 71B or D47 yeast

Not, perhaps a great deal of help but a place to start... Good luck!

Stasis
08-01-2016, 02:15 PM
Not exactly related but I've recently compared the sugar in a pop drink with apple juice and realized apple juice was actually slightly sweeter. I've also been seeing posts about the sugar content of some meads and they are twice as sweet as a pop drink. Wow, and when I was young they said I shouldn't drink soda pop..
It's really difficult to put that thought across without seeming to trash a meadery or your favorite mead. I'm not. In fact this is not even the sweetest mead I've read about.
I'm also not being snobbish when I say that I hope you distinguish a well made mead that tastes good VS a good tasting mead because it's sugar sweet. Anyway, if you really like it go for it. Even dessert wines (meads) have their place in the cellar

BlackFriarsMonastery
08-01-2016, 05:36 PM
bernardsmith,

Thanks for the information. Sounds like some data to consider. I'll have to read it a few times to make sure I understand it all :)

BlackFriarsMonastery
08-01-2016, 05:40 PM
Stasis,

Thanks for the input. I'm enough of a newb to admit that no, I'm not sophisticated enough to tell the difference btw the two yet. lol! But then again, at one time, my entire world of craft beer consisted of nothing more than Samuel Adams. I'm hoping with time that I'll be able to be discerning (though I still like Sam Adams!) but you can't deny what your last buds find pleasing. Thanks again!