For those new to this blog (welcome! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂 ) we have made a couple of attempts at making mead. If you want to read more about how that went, you can visit here for the first attempt, and here for the second. Both links are for bottling day, but have links to the entire process as well.
Today, I decided to open a bottle of each batch to compare them. Both of these bottles were kept in the fridge, so no additional fermentation would happen.
Both meads are very clear (any cloudiness in the photo is of condensation on the outside of the bottles), but the one on the left, bottled 6 months ago, has sediment – lees – on the bottom. All the bottles from this batch do. This means that it, potentially, could continue to ferment. Given that these are corked bottles, we don’t want that. There is a potential for bottles to explode, which is why they are being kept cold.
Mead Baby 2.0, bottled almost 2 months ago, is clear on the bottom.
The older mead is lighter in colour, too. This is likely because the honey to water ratio was lower in this batch, which was made in a 5 gallon carboy, while Mead Baby 2.0 was a 1 gallon batch. We had a 5 kilo bucket of honey for the first batch; about 11 pounds. We probably should have added 15 pounds of honey for the big carboy, but didn’t have that much. For the 1 gallon batch, we weighed out 3 pounds of honey for it.
I decided to take a hydrometer reading of both. I still don’t quite understand what it’s telling me, though the fact that these were both refrigerator cold would likely have affected the reading, too.
In pouring the mead into the test cylinder to get a reading, both meads were effervescent, bubbling up as though lightly carbonated. By the time I poured the tested mead into glasses, though, there was no carbonation left.
My hydrometer has 3 readings on it, and part of my confusion is that the scales on the hydrometer don’t match what’s on the printout it came with.
When we bottled the first batch, the Potential Alcohol by Volume reading was at only 1%. Today, it’s at 4%, which put the specific gravity reading was 1.032, and the Balling/Brix reading at 8. (My hydrometer says Balling, the printout says Brix)
Mead Baby 2.0 had an AVB reading of 8% on bottling day, and today it’s at…
Specific gravity is at 1.062 and Balling at 15.
I should probably test them again after they reach room temperature, but… I just don’t feel like it. LOL Still, the fact that the reading changed for one, but not the other… it might mean fermentation is still happening, albeit very slowly.
So how do they taste?
The first batch has a light, almost crisp flavour and an aftertaste that I would definitely attribute to our using bread yeast. Also, it doesn’t taste like something with 4% AVB. I would think it’s closer to that 1% when we bottled it.
I don’t really like it.
Mead Baby 2.0 is REALLY sweet, almost syrupy, and much smoother. It tastes a lot like Port.
I like it better than the first batch, but… not by much.
Keep in mind, though, I don’t really like alcohol in the first place. I’m far more interested in the making of it, than the drinking of it. 😀
The flavours should continue to change with time, however. There are 2 bottles of Mead Baby 2.0 in the root cellar. One will be opened at 6 months, the other at 12 months, so I will likely do another comparison, then.
The next time we get a bucket of honey, we plan to make a batch using fruit. Hopefully, that will help resolve some of the fermentation problems we’ve had.