I'm (sadly) on the last of the homebrew Pete B sent me. This one is a mead labeled Maple "Tej". I've never had tej before, but from what I understand it is an Eritrean/Ethiopian mead brewed with a bittering hop-like herb.
The Tej is a clear, pale-gold color with light carbonation and sticky legs. The aroma is initially herbal and woody, with soft honey sweetness in the background. When I go back in for a second whiff, the maple note shines through brightly.
At first taste the Maple Tej is off-dry with some herbal bitterness, balanced by a bit of acidity. I also get perfumy/floral honey character, and a faint carbonic/seltzery flavor. I don't get as much maple flavor as I do aroma, just a faint woody/maple character. The finish is great, lingering as a balance of herbal character, honey notes and juicy acidity all coming in and out.
I can't see myself drinking several glasses of this in one sitting, but it makes one heck of an interesting aperitif. This is the kind of drink that stimulates good conversation. Another great one, Pete. I remember you mentioning this one in some posts a while back, but I can't remember - what did you use for bittering herbs in this, was it hops or something else? Also, what was your ratio of maple to honey on this? It definitely comes across as a mead rather than a maple wine, but the maple is still quite prominent in the aroma.
Pete, thanks for sharing your beer and mead. They were all really enjoyable. I'm looking forward to the commercial brews next.