Author Topic: How to add balance to a sweet pyment  (Read 677 times)

Offline beerrat

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How to add balance to a sweet pyment
« on: June 25, 2014, 06:45:01 PM »
Greetings,

At club night I served a merlot pyment.  As well received it was by the crowd, a comment from a pretty high ranking BJCP judge was that it needed some tannins or something to balance out the sweetness.  Not that it was too sweet, but needed more (tannins? complexity? balance?) I believe (hey, it was club nite, I'm lucky I remember anything ;-).   I did not have opportunity to drill down into the comments or potential resolution, but do recall him asking about if I used crushed grapes.  I used juice from a winery.

Any thoughts on either post fermentation or recipe options to correct?

Offline dkfick

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Re: How to add balance to a sweet pyment
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2014, 07:38:47 PM »
You can balance sweetness with acid or tannin.  A merlot is typically pretty tannic as well. Some of the tannin in a merlot come from the grape skins and done comes from the oak.
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Online Jimmy K

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Re: How to add balance to a sweet pyment
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2014, 05:32:15 AM »
The easiest post ferment adjustment would be adding acid (probably the wine blend which is malic, citric, and tartaric). You can add it to taste to small portions of mead and then scale up to blend with the whole batch.
 
If you want to experiment a little, there was a cider post ferment adjustment seminar at NHC where they gave us a vial of tannin 'extract'. It was made by putting apple brandy in a jar with as many oak chips as it would fit. Let that sit for a week to extract oak tannins.  Strain and use that to dose your mead. Again, add to taste on small portions and scale up.
 
Most meads I have go for rely more on acid for balance rather than tannin.
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Offline dkfick

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Re: How to add balance to a sweet pyment
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2014, 11:03:08 AM »
The easiest post ferment adjustment would be adding acid (probably the wine blend which is malic, citric, and tartaric). You can add it to taste to small portions of mead and then scale up to blend with the whole batch.
 
If you want to experiment a little, there was a cider post ferment adjustment seminar at NHC where they gave us a vial of tannin 'extract'. It was made by putting apple brandy in a jar with as many oak chips as it would fit. Let that sit for a week to extract oak tannins.  Strain and use that to dose your mead. Again, add to taste on small portions and scale up.
 
Most meads I have go for rely more on acid for balance rather than tannin.
I agree most mead use an acid/sweet balance.  Mostly because unlike wine grape skins there isn't much tannin in honey.  So to add tannin to a mead it has to come from fruit, oak, or some other outside source typically.  I would expect tannins in a merlot pyment personally but you could certainly balance it without tannins.
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Offline beerrat

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Re: How to add balance to a sweet pyment
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2014, 07:50:52 PM »
You can balance sweetness with acid or tannin.  A merlot is typically pretty tannic as well. Some of the tannin in a merlot come from the grape skins and done comes from the oak.

Hmm - so if I added some oak chips and let age, I wonder if that would help?
I'll have to redo and split 3 ways - same recipe, on oak, and with tannin add to experiment with.

Thanks all!

Online dmtaylor

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Re: How to add balance to a sweet pyment
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2014, 08:42:12 PM »
The easiest post ferment adjustment would be adding acid (probably the wine blend which is malic, citric, and tartaric).

^^ This.
Dave

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Offline dkfick

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Re: How to add balance to a sweet pyment
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2014, 06:30:39 AM »
You can balance sweetness with acid or tannin.  A merlot is typically pretty tannic as well. Some of the tannin in a merlot come from the grape skins and done comes from the oak.

Hmm - so if I added some oak chips and let age, I wonder if that would help?
I'll have to redo and split 3 ways - same recipe, on oak, and with tannin add to experiment with.

Thanks all!
The tannin would def help balance the sweetness.  Just be sure not to overdo it... Once you get too much in there you're stuck ;-)
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Online Jimmy K

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Re: How to add balance to a sweet pyment
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2014, 06:37:38 AM »
You could experiment with oak by taking a gallon and over-oaking it. Then blend with unoaked mead to see what level you like. If you do this with a neutral mead (just honey, no fruit or spices) you can save the rest for blending with future batches.
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Offline Stoneclone

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Re: How to add balance to a sweet pyment
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2014, 07:13:00 AM »
I just oaked a backsweetened  pyment and it complemented very well. Purposely soaked a little heavy, will let mellow for a year.

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Offline pete b

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Re: How to add balance to a sweet pyment
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2014, 06:12:00 PM »
The easiest post ferment adjustment would be adding acid (probably the wine blend which is malic, citric, and tartaric).

^^ This.
Adding acid blend in this situation is pretty standard and very easy. Another thing we do with our not so perfect meads is use them in sangria during the summer. You can add the appropriate amount of sweet ( oranges etc., and acid (lemons, limes, etc.)
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Offline smoutela

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Re: How to add balance to a sweet pyment
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2014, 10:41:07 PM »
I would recommend oaking as well as a slight acid addition.

Do yourself a favor and stray away from acid BLEND. I am amazed at how many people use and repeatedly advise others to use it.

The citric acid found in all blends tends to impart a very artificial taste.

Buy some tartaric and malic acid separately and play with those. Try an acid blend as well if you wish and do a side by side so you can taste for yourself.

For acid addition to a pyment, I would go with a 2-1 blend of tartaric to malic.