Mmm, Maple!

So, mead normally takes a while to get tasty. The general rule of thumb is to age as long as you can stand even though after a year it tends to be mighty tasty. When I first visited my LHBS, Sue (a very, very knowledgeable brewer especially in the area of wine) told me that the hardest part of making mead is waiting the second year.
Having drank 1.5 of my brews prematurely at this point, I think I am inclined to agree. Still, this maple mead (Acerglyn or Acerglen) might prove the hardest brew to ignore yet. In fact, this is the first of my brews that my signifigant other (who is rather finicky, not about trying things but in what he will actually drink) has taken a shine to. "This is something I could see getting into trouble with" he said, before taking another sip of the glass I poured for testing. "I think I'd buy this from a store." he said, quaffing the rest.

Ah, but it is only...four months old. Egads! It should continue to improve, but it may be in danger of imminent consumption come Christmas, and being as I only made one gallon which through racking and such is now more like 3/4 of a gallon.. I think I need to make more. The problem? I never wrote down a recipie. So here's what I -think- I did.

Thornback Acerglyn- 1st version
2.5 oz amber maple syrup
1 tsp Watkins maple extract
3/4 cup maple sugar (mine came in the form of maple candies I had bought in Olean, NY from Sprague's)
3lbs clover honey
water to top off
Yeast nutrient
Safale s-04 ale yeast..though I might have used Cuvee, but I remember a lot of krausen and there was a thick sludge on the bottom, which was indicative of the s-04. I didnt heat anything, just shook. As a result I had a hell of a time with separation, but in the end there was only a little honey left that the yeast didnt get to. As my hydrometer was broken, I have no idea what this fermented out to but I would guess that the s-04 just worked itself out to its max of 10%.

The mead starts out with an alcohol hotness note that I dont much notice myself but have been told exists, which is nearly immediately replaced with a maple-y tang, which then evolves into a nice sweet smooth and just a little buttery maple syrup note that lingers on the tounge and breath. The mouthfeel is interesting and I think that's because of the ale yeast, it's got more body than I am used to from mead. I'm not entirely positive if I like the body it or not but Saire said he wouldent change a thing. Well, neat. As it ages I imagine the notes will harmonize more and its possible the body will as well, we shall see.

I think I want to start a new one after I bottle this mead. Here's my idea

Thornback Acerglyn v2
32 oz Clover honey, though if cost was no issue, I'd make it with Meadowfoam honey.
24 oz Maple Syrup, preferably a dark grade for better flavor transfer
1/2 cup maple sugar, possibly dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract -or- 1 madagascar vanilla bean added at secondary or in the boil
Yeast nutrient
maybe wine tannin, but only a minimal amount.
water to top off

I think I will heat the water and make simple syrup from the dry sugar and the vanilla. I'd like to heat the honey and syrup enough to get everything mixed well but I dont want to damage the honey. Gotta think on that. The wine tannin I think might be good to give it just a little something to balance out the sweet but that might defeat the purpose of the drink, I'll have to think. I've been reading a lot of recipies swearing by white wine and champagne yeasts. I can see it. It would be awesome to come by enough ingrediants to do two batches at the same time, one with s-04 and the other with champagne or white wine yeast and then compare. Mm, hey I bet this would be amazing if served sparkling...

Apparently though, maple mead is starting to have a fan following. I can see why.


Definitely make more. And then store some where it's hard to get at. :D

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