Brew day: Heather Agave Mead

The yeast has been pitched and equipment is cleaned and drying.  I dare say that this brew day has come to a close.  The Heather Agave Mead is now out of my hands and subject to the whims of the yeast. 

Initial tasting is strong with honey notes (but from what I have seen agave and honey do share a good number of flavor notes pre-fermentation).  The heather tips and myrica gale (bog myrtle, sweet gale) add in an herbal perfume note.  Of course none of these flavor and aroma notes will really stand out until the mead is finished with its fermentation cycle. 

Recipe:

10 lbs Honey
1.5 lbs Agave Nectar
.75 lbs Amber Agave Nectar

2 oz Heather tips
1 gram bog myrtle

1.5 tablespoon yeast nutrient
1 tablespoon yeast energizer

WLP 715 Champagne yeast. 

Method:

Add the honey and agave to about 4 gallons of water.  Bring to a boil and then add the rest of the ingredients.  This requires a quick boil to avoid losing too much flavor and aroma (15 minutes). 

O.G. 1.096 (5 gallons, top-off water was added to bring the must up to a full 5 gallons)

I actually rarely boil honey must.  Boiling tends to burn off too much flavor and aroma from the honey.  With this particular mead I am aiming to gain more flavor and aroma from the spices and the agave.  To that end, I not only boiled it for 15 minutes but I also used a more neutral honey (clover).  I also chose champagne yeast over mead yeast.  The champagne yeast tends to have a more neutral character and I am assured of a dry finish. 

Although I will most likely transfer this mead to secondary in a few weeks to a month, I will not be ready to bottle until roughly a year from now.  On that note something else to consider when fermenting a mead.  The honey can really excite the yeast for a super quick fermentation.  If you ferment too hot you will tend to get a rocket fuel character from a build up of fusel alcohols.  They will fade over time but it is possible to lessen the affect.  If you do your primary fermentation at lower ale temperatures it can help keep the yeast a little bit under control. 

And so now, I think it is time for a pint…

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