My traditional mead, the one that took years to make took the gold in the 24B (Traditional, semi-sweet) category at the mead-only Arizona Mead Cup. (results) This one goes back before the Great Hard Drive Crash, where (combined with a freak that-directory-didn’t-get-backed-up-bug) my early meadmaking records were lost. But there are a few hints left online.
Here it is, in Jan 2006, almost through fermentation. How nice and clear it looks. It was started in November of 2005 with some of the clearest orange blossom honey I’ve ever seen, from Pam the honey lady at the Mountain View Farmer’s Market. I literally lost an entire night of sleep over this batch, when I incorrectly added some runoff from oak chips.
Seriously, this was about my 4th batch of mead ever. I also bottled it way too soon. It carbonated up in the bottles, and had an unbalanced sweetness to it (called “insipid” in the tasting lingo). I had to un-bottle it, put it back in a fermenter, and add a carefully-measured dose of wine tannin, giving it just that bit of bite that balances the sweetness. It also darkened the color noticeably, which I wasn’t too happy about. Can’t argue with results, though.
The only other problem: There are only 6 bottles of this left in the world. -m