I looked in on five meads yesterday to see if they were ready to bottle. I was looking for clarity, I tasted them to see if they were pleasant to drink, and I measured the specific gravity (SG), pH, and titratable acidity (TA).
|2004 Plain Mead||1.001||3.05||5|
|2005 Apple Mead||0.995||3.39||5.2|
|2006 Experiment (boiled)||1.000||3.27||6|
|2006 Experiment (no heat)||1.000||3.29||5.3|
|2006 Grape Mead||1.000||3.51||5+|
Ready or not, this four year old mead is going in a bottle
I tasted sweetness on the 2004 plain mead, despite the low SG. It had that distinctive, pleasant aroma that I’ve come to associate with mead, and the lady of the house thought it was, “a little young, but it’s going to be good.” I’m not sure I’m as patient as she is, so I’m going to bottle it.
This apple mead is the only one not ready to bottle
The 2005 apple mead tasted and smelled of apple, but only a hint. I thought it was a little tart. It was the only one of the lot that I thought wasn’t clear enough to bottle.
Trying to settle a long running debate
The 2006 experiment is a test of the idea that boiling a mead’s honey-water mixture before pitching the yeast impairs the aroma by driving off volatile compounds. I split a batch, boiled one and made the other without heating. That was two years ago, and I think these meads are ready to bottle. I normally age mead for three years though, so I may let them age in the bottle then have a tasting party next February.
Update 10/28/2008 – The results are in!
It was a long running experiment with a little surprise at the end. Follow this link to see the results of my mead boiling test.
The trouble with titration
The 2006 grape mead is made from the pomace of my smallest batch of wine ever. I added honey, water, nutrient, and cream of tartar. I had some trouble checking the TA on this one because I ran short of sodium hydroxide, the base I use to titrate acid in a wine sample. I added 5 ml to the sample, and that brought the pH to 7.4. That’s very close to the end point. If I really had reached the end point, it would have indicated a TA of 5 g/L. It’s a bit more, maybe 5.25 g/L, but since I can’t be sure I just noted “5+”
Hmm, that acid measuring contraption I wrote about the other day just looks better and better.
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