When I partake in Mead, I tend to think about life. Goals, family, work, friends of the past and friends I see everyday. This always gets me emotional. Sometimes sad, sometimes happy, however the end result is the same. I tend to daydream. Something about the mythical part of mead, I'm sure. Having nothing to do with the warming, almost liquorish concoction headed into my stomach, I'm sure its the history of mead, not the other delicious reason ;) ...But the result is always the same. Finding a spot between the grinds of daily life and the depths of substance abuse. And I'm ok with that. That is my happy place. A place to Daydream. Typically during a tasting session (Using the label "Tasting Session" trying to make it sound as official as I can for my 2015 v2 "Hold my Hand into the Sunset" series) I started to think about another mead. The goal was a Honey Whiskey.
Now normally I brew very dry meads, helped along by a Brett of some sort. But not this time, I wanted a drinkable sweet mead, but still dry and clean. Now the word "Sweet Mead" could mean anything, so I'll break it down into my thinking. Dry in the sub 1.002 range, but with enough body so that it tricks you into thinking its sweet. Without grains, a mash or even boiling. This is a hard thing to control. So I started thinking about Honeycombs. Which I've used a lot while brewing with all sorts of success. (I'd link them but I'm lazy, search man) Red Oak Honeycombs. which can specifically contribute Red berries, toasted marshmallow, light grass, baking bread and butterscotch. Ummm in a sweet honey oaked mead, these all sound great. Butterscotch, vanilla and marshmallow were the main things I was looking for. Think of the sweetness this could add to a mead. Think of the perceived body, the smoothness. Basically the awesomeness.
Creating the recipe was next. Water, honey, Red Oak and yeast. Ok that was difficult. As I kind of make fun of the recipe process, remember Mead's are created during and after fermentation. The recipes are basically the same. (I know fruits...but come on) The cold side creates the Mead's, the romanticism between the must, the yeast, the temperature and the process is what makes mead's special. Simple as that.
Wanting to focus on 3 main points. I wanted to add flaked oats into a hot water bath for body, adding Red Oak into the main fermentation timeframe and then the aging on Medium Toasted American cubes. So there you have it. Double Oaked Mead goodness.
So Daydream with me about this. A sweet, yet drinkable mead. With added unfermentable oats for body. Paired with Red Oak in the ferment for added mouthfeel, sweetness and texture. Aged cold on Toasted Medium American cubes for a faux barrel flavor.
Bouquet/Aroma: Butterscotch blending into a sweet aged vanilla. Hints of whiskey, like placing your nose into a freshly emptied barrel.
Appearance: Crystal clear....still mead. Even with a year in the bottle it stayed still, which I'm really stoked about) Golden sunshine in color.
Flavor: Smooth yet pronounced flavors of aged vanilla. Butterscotch comes in next..which adds a smoothness to it followed by marshmallows which gives it a sugar feeling. I get some whiskeyness over all which adds to the "honey whiskey" experience.
Overall Impression: Very viscous, it gives a perceived body even though it finished at 1.000 even. This is fantastic...hands down fantastic. Plus its pushing about 11% ABV, so you know its there. I could have 2 or 3 finger pours each and every day and die a happy man.
Brewing Timeline/Notes: This took a long time to mature. About a year before I could drink it. Then it melded quickly into this fantastically drinkable Mead. I crashed, held and held some more at 36° for a couple of months. Plus the high 17%, this is very stable. I bottled with no carbonation using the Blichmann Beer Gun in Jan 2015. The Mead hasn't changed at all. Super drinkable, bomb Mead.
|Daydream with Me|
|Type: All Grain||Date: 26 Jul 2014|
|Batch Size (fermenter): 2.75 gal||Brewer: Chris Lewis|
|Boil Size: 2.86 gal||Asst Brewer:|
|Boil Time: 0 min||Equipment: Lewys Tower|
|End of Boil Volume 2.86 gal||Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %|
|Final Bottling Volume: 2.75 gal||Est Mash Efficiency 0.0 %|
|Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage||Taste Rating(out of 50): 30.0|
|Est Original Gravity: 1.087 SG||Measured Original Gravity: 1.080 SG|
|Est Final Gravity: 0.980 SG||Measured Final Gravity: 0.996 SG|
|Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 14.1 %||Actual Alcohol by Vol: 11.1 %|
|Bitterness: 0.0 IBUs||Calories: 264.6 kcal/12oz|
|Est Color: 2.8 SRM|
|Mash Name: Mead Mash||Total Grain Weight: 6 lbs 14.4 oz|
|Sparge Water: 4.06 gal||Grain Temperature: 72.0 F|
|Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F||Tun Temperature: 72.0 F|
|Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUE||Mash PH: 5.20|
|Sparge Step: Fly sparge with 4.06 gal water at 168.0 F|
Carbonation and Storage
|Carbonation Type: Keg||Volumes of CO2: 2.3|
|Pressure/Weight: 10.59 PSI||Carbonation Used: Keg with 10.59 PSI|
|Keg/Bottling Temperature: 41.0 F||Age for: 45.00 days|
|Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage||Storage Temperature: 39.0 F|