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Mead is the oldest beer drink known to man and has been around for thousands of years. The main ingredients in mead are water, honey, and yeast. Brewers will sometimes want to flavor it to get a tastier result. So, understanding how to flavor mead is important for any brewer.
How to Flavor Mead
The easiest and best way to flavor mead is by using fruit juices or purees. This can be done by adding them to the must before or during secondary fermentation. When you have your fruits ready, you simply need to sanitize them and then add them to your mead. Of course, the amount of fruit you’ll want to add will depend on how strong of a flavor you’re going for.
Another way to flavor mead is by using spices. Spices can be added to the must before fermentation or during secondary fermentation. There are different ways to add spices to your mead. You can either tie them in a muslin bag and let them steep, or you can add them directly to the must. Many brewers prefer to add spices during secondary fermentation because it allows for more control over the flavor.
You can also decide on two or more flavors. The most common way to do this is by blending different fruit juices or purees together. You can also blend different spices together to create a unique flavor. When you’re blending different flavors together, it’s important to remember that they will interact with each other, and the final flavor will be different from if you used them separately.
Other Ways to Flavor Mead
When you are a brewer, You need to be flexible and also have some creativity. Best brewers worldwide started by trying different ways to make their mead original. That is how they created amazing and tasty flavors that I know now. New trends are constantly being set, so it’s important to experiment with your mead and create new flavor combinations.
Of course, you can always buy a mead that’s already been flavored. However, it’s much more satisfying to make your own mead and flavor it exactly the way you want. The following are other ways to flavor your mead:
Melomel is a type of mead made with fruit juice or puree. The most common fruits used in melomel are berries, cherries, and apples. Melomel is a great way to add fruit flavor to your mead without worrying about the fermentation process.
To add melomel, simply add the fruit juice or puree to the must before fermentation. You can also add it during secondary fermentation. Most fruit will only need to be fermenting for few weeks before they’re ready to be bottled.
Experienced brewers often like to add a small amount of acid blend to their melomel. This helps to bring out the fruit flavors and make them more pronounced. It also adds a bit of tartness to the mead.
Pyment is a type of mead that’s made with grape juice. It’s similar to wine, except it’s made with honey instead of grape juice. Pyment is a great way to add a bit of sweetness to your mead.
Mostly, it is similar to making wine. The grape juice is added to the must before fermentation. You can also add it during secondary fermentation. The most common grapes used in pyment are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay.
Fruit and Honey Combinations
This combination is one of the most common, and it’s also one of the simplest. It involves adding fruit and honey to the must before fermentation. The most common fruits used in this type of mead are oranges, lemons, and limes.
To make this type of mead, start by combining the honey and fruit in a sanitized container. Ensure that you stir vigorously to dissolve the honey. Once the honey is dissolved, add it to the must. You can do this before or after fermentation.
After that, let the mead ferment for at least six weeks. The longer you let it ferment, the more pronounced the flavors will be. Also, be sure to taste the mead regularly to ensure that it’s not too sweet or too tart.
Metheglin is a type of mead that’s made with herbs and spices. The most common spices used in metheglin are cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Metheglin is a great way to add depth and complexity to your mead.
To make metheglin, start by boiling your spices in water. Then, add the spice-infused water to your mead must (unfermented mead) and stir well. Let the mixture ferment for 1-2 months. This will give the spices time to infuse the mead with flavor.
After the mead has fermented, taste it and decide if you want to add more spices. If you decide to add more, do so in small increments. You don’t want to overdo it and end up with a mead that’s too spicy.
Use Oak Chips or Cubes
Adding oak to your mead is a great way to impart flavor and aging characteristics. Oak cubes or chips are the easiest way to do this, as they’re readily available and easy to use. All you need to do is add them to your mead and let them steep for the desired amount of time. Of course, the longer they steep, the more flavor they’ll impart.
The advantage of using oak is that it takes a shorter time to get the desired flavor than other methods. For example, it can take as little as two weeks to get a noticeable flavor from oak, whereas it could take months to get the same result from other methods.
Oak also imparts a unique set of flavors that can’t be achieved with any other method. These flavors include a vanillin sweetness, oak tannins, and a toasty flavor. That is why most red wines are aged in oak barrels; it’s the perfect way to impart complex flavor without taking too long.
Benefits of Flavoring Mead
Flavored meads offer many benefits that make them worth the extra effort. Most mead lovers love to experiment with different flavors, and there’s no better way to do that than by making your own flavored mead. The following are some of the benefits of flavoring mead:
- Flavored meads are unique. When you make your own flavored mead, you can be sure that no one else has made the exact same mead. This is because there are endless possibilities when it comes to flavoring mead. You can use any combination of fruits, spices, herbs, and even additional alcohols.
- It lasts longer. Most flavored meads have a shelf life of 1-2 years. This is because the flavors help to preserve the mead. For instance, the spices in a metheglin will help to keep the mead from going bad.
- It’s a great way to experiment. Making a side-by-side comparison of different meads can be a great way to learn about the different flavors that each one imparts.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Make Tasty Mead?
The best way to make tasty mead is to experiment with different flavors. There are endless possibilities when it comes to flavoring mead. You can use honey and fruits, spices, herbs, and even additional alcohols.
How Long Does Mead Last?
Unopened classic mead can last for five years. However, once opened, mead should be consumed within 6-12 months. This is because the flavors will begin to degrade after that time.
How Do You Store Mead?
Mead should be stored in a cool, dark place. This will help to preserve the flavors and prevent the mead from going bad. It also helps to keep the mead from freezing, which can cause it to explode.
Flavoring mead is a great way to add depth and complexity to your mead. There are many different ways to flavor mead, and each one imparts its own unique flavors. Experiment with different fruits, spices, herbs, and even additional alcohols to find the perfect combination that tastes great.