Author Topic: Session Mead  (Read 982 times)

Offline Jeff M

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Session Mead
« on: June 25, 2014, 12:02:00 PM »
Looking for some advice.

My buddy did a bunch of electrical for me for free and i owe him a bunch of mead.  He enjoys going to Fairs and dressing up(like Legolas or Robin hood).  I assume that his interest in mead stems from these faires and id like to make him a mead along this vein that he would enjoy.  Im thinking 6-7%abv and probably some sort of wood aged component.  Was hoping for some input from the experienced meadmakers on the forum for nutrient additions, yeast strain etc etc.  I will probably be using Local raw wildflower honey for that if that helps at all.

Cheers,
Jeff

Edit: Id liek for it to be enjoyable fresh as well as aged if that matters.
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Online Jimmy K

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Re: Session Mead
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2014, 12:06:16 PM »
I don't have advice, but I just had a 6% abv sparkling mead from B Nektar that was great. They make three - I had Necromangacon.
 
http://www.bnektar.com/mead/draft-session.html
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Offline smoutela

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Re: Session Mead
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2014, 10:47:36 PM »
Simplest way to do it is to ferment a dry mead using enough honey to get you the ABV you're looking for.
Once fermented dry, and clarified, stabilize it with K-Meta and potassium sorbate, me backsweeten with a bit more honey.

Try splitting a 5 gallon batch and backsweetening with different juices instead of, or in addition to honey.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Session Mead
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2014, 01:06:17 PM »
I've been wanting to give this a go myself since trying some of B Nektar's session meads. I'm leaning toward following the suggestions in the "Navigating the complexities of making great hard cider at home" talk at this year's NHC. Basically you make a base cider (or mead in this case) in the 9-10 abv range and let it go fully dry, then back sweeten with juice. For a mead you could play with your starting abv and back sweeten with honey, juice, or a combination of the two depending on the gravities you're working with.

I'm thinking of starting with some cyser this fall, then seeing where it takes me.
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Offline dkfick

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Re: Session Mead
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2014, 01:39:21 PM »
Just remember to stabilize it between letting it ferment dry and back-sweetening ;-)

Most of b. nektar's carbonated hydromels/session meads are in teh 6-7% range.  As long as you balance any sweetness you add with the acidity (or add acidity) you should be good... remember the co2 will add some acidity as well though.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Session Mead
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2014, 07:42:44 AM »
I'm definitely going to try this when meadmaking season starts up soon. I am looking into alternatives to sulfites for stabalizing and also the possibility of a yeast that will finish around 2% if I start around 9%. We make a semi dry mixed berry melomel( red raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, elderberry) that I would like to do a sparkling lower abv version of.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Session Mead
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2014, 08:05:13 AM »
I'm definitely going to try this when meadmaking season starts up soon. I am looking into alternatives to sulfites for stabalizing and also the possibility of a yeast that will finish around 2% if I start around 9%. We make a semi dry mixed berry melomel( red raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, elderberry) that I would like to do a sparkling lower abv version of.
Repeated crashing/racking and cold storage will buy you some time. Pasteurization and sterile filtering are probably the only sure-fire options if you want to keep it natural, though.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Session Mead
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2014, 06:23:46 PM »
A few thoughts: why can't a low abv mead be bottle carbonated just as a beer is? I occasionally get a few fizzy bottles of mead when its so hot the cellar warms up. The worst thing that has happened is one or two bottles out of 25 blow their corks.
Also, I wonder if an ale yeast could be used for a low abv mead, with nutrients. It would probably leave residual sugars so no need for back sweetening.
How about hops in a session mead? Balance sweetness with bitterness instead of acidity. I put hops in a maple tej and I like. I've also put tea in sweet meads to add a little bit of astringency. I'd like some feedback if anyone has ideas or concerns about any of these ideas.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Session Mead
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2014, 08:19:18 PM »
A few thoughts: why can't a low abv mead be bottle carbonated just as a beer is? I occasionally get a few fizzy bottles of mead when its so hot the cellar warms up. The worst thing that has happened is one or two bottles out of 25 blow their corks.
Also, I wonder if an ale yeast could be used for a low abv mead, with nutrients. It would probably leave residual sugars so no need for back sweetening.
How about hops in a session mead? Balance sweetness with bitterness instead of acidity. I put hops in a maple tej and I like. I've also put tea in sweet meads to add a little bit of astringency. I'd like some feedback if anyone has ideas or concerns about any of these ideas.

the problem is that the residual sugars left by a yeast strain are either because there was so much alcohol that the yeast could not continue or because the types of sugars were not fermentable by the yeast strain in question. when you are dealing with mead it's really only one type of sugar and it's all the same fermentability so the yeast won't stop until it's gone or they are dead. hops in mead would be quite nice if handled correctly I would think.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Session Mead
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2014, 08:44:27 PM »
The sugar in honey is pretty much 100% fermentable, unlike beer. That means unless you stun, remove, or kill the yeast it will keep going until all the sugar is gone. That's why you can't bottle condition a mead or cider unless it is fully dry - the yeast won't stop as long as there's sugar to eat. Most ale yeasts will go to 12% abv or higher before they kill themselves off. And if they're dead the yeast won't be much help in bottle carbonation, anyways.

B Nektar uses hops in their Dwarven Invasion session mead. To be honest, its my least favorite of their session meads. I get a raw, herbal bitterness that I find unpleasant from dry hops in things like cider or mead, where there's dry hops without boiled hops. Sort of like sucking on a hop pellet (harsh) versus drinking an IPA (pleasant). I know others love it, so I'd say try it out in a small batch yourself and make your own decision.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Session Mead
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2014, 07:47:27 AM »
Yea, the carbonation is tricky. Might have to break down and use sulfites which is a shame in a homemade product.  I'll have lots of mead to experiment with this fall though so I think with each flavor I'll do an experimental batch. Cold crashing seems feasible.
I don't have my notes with me but I believe that for at least part of the hop additions on my maple tej I made a hop tea that I added to the must.
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Online Jimmy K

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Re: Session Mead
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2014, 07:55:50 AM »
Yea, the carbonation is tricky. Might have to break down and use sulfites which is a shame in a homemade product.  I'll have lots of mead to experiment with this fall though so I think with each flavor I'll do an experimental batch. Cold crashing seems feasible.
I don't have my notes with me but I believe that for at least part of the hop additions on my maple tej I made a hop tea that I added to the must.

Sulfites will not stop fermentation. They'll stun it if it's active, but sorbates are needed to stop it.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Session Mead
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2014, 08:19:35 AM »
Yea, the carbonation is tricky. Might have to break down and use sulfites which is a shame in a homemade product.  I'll have lots of mead to experiment with this fall though so I think with each flavor I'll do an experimental batch. Cold crashing seems feasible.
I don't have my notes with me but I believe that for at least part of the hop additions on my maple tej I made a hop tea that I added to the must.

Sulfites will not stop fermentation. They'll stun it if it's active, but sorbates are needed to stop it.
Are sorbates normally used along with Camden tablets though? I haven't used either but I thought that was the practice.
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Offline udubdawg

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Re: Session Mead
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2014, 11:46:11 AM »
I have not added bittering hops to mead but have certainly dry-hopped a few.

You'd have to boil them in the water you were going to add to the honey.  Very high utilization, no proteins to grab those hop polyphenols, and the pH of the water will likely be significantly different than the wort...not an enjoyable bittering in my (admittedly limited) experience.

anyway, you could do it with a braggot I suppose, or get away with a small amount of DME that didn't really show up in the finished product.  I'd be more inclined to use acidity, tannin, CO2, and hop flavor to balance sweetness.  Basically the same 4 things I'd do with a hopped cider. 

Online Jimmy K

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Re: Session Mead
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2014, 07:32:50 AM »

Sulfites will not stop fermentation. They'll stun it if it's active, but sorbates are needed to stop it.
Are sorbates normally used along with Camden tablets though? I haven't used either but I thought that was the practice.
Usually. Campden pauses fermentation and sorbates stop it from restarting.
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