Wednesday, September 25, 2013

3 gallons of maple mead - what's a twentysomething to do?

This past weekend, I finally broke the big Memorial Day Maple Mead batch out of the primary fermenter (where it was still sitting on the lees after 3-4 months). Oops! Why did I wait so long? First, I'm a neglectful mead maker who's better at starting things than finishing them. It came out dry, as I should have expected. This is what happens when your must is light on sugar. The yeast eats through everything and brings out a dry white wine flavored beverage. On the whole, though, not bad at all.

It initially tastes like white wine, almost on the sour side. The flavor carries on, though, and has a complexity that is very welcome. Add a little extra maple in the bottling process, and you have yourself a tasty homemade wine. I have to admit that the first public tasting of it was as part of a blend. I mixed some of the big batch with maple syrup and the tasty dregs of a separate wild yeast maple mead in a half-gallon jug. Mixed it up and served it at a game-night/party. The verdict was good. My only tasting note was to tell everyone that it was approximately like white wine mixed with maple syrup (which in essence it was!). Reception was good overall, including the reception that I gave it. I may have had half the jug, but it was only to gin up support for the product of my labor. It was a little sweet, with the complex white wine flavor, and it went down easy. It was at least a competitor with beer for the attentions of party-goers.

I siphoned out two additional half-gallon jugs from the primary fermenter and added maple. They're topped off with airlocks and aging up a little bit before Thanksgiving, when I will serve them to my unsuspecting family. Let the adventures begin! The only problem I have: There's still at least a good 1.5 gallons left to deal with. This may turn me into a small-batch winemaker for a while. Get in touch if you want some.

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