This mead is great for tart, white wine lovers. For this one, I pull out a lot of tricks from my mazer's bag for this one. Here are the tricks I use for this wonderful mead:
Honey Blending: I start by blending honey for characteristics that I desire. Half OB for velvet and body and half tupelo for aroma and perceived sweetness.
Step Feeding/Backsweeting: Post fermentation treatments will include a small addition of tupelo honey to make this off dry. Multiple additions are often needed until the mead stabilizes at the desired FG.
Tannins: I'm adding Tannin FT Soft Blanc for body and to help avoid oxidation. In addition, I'm using my favorite oak mixture of American and French for an extra layer of complexity.
Acid Blend: My preferred acid blend of 50%Tartaric:40%Malic:10%Citric acid are added to taste. This could be zero to 0.5 g/L depending on your taste. I like a very lite touch on acid. One warning on acid blend addition: Dose in a glass of mead. When you think it is good, add half that amount to your entire mead batch. It is easy to get palette fatigue while dosing. Also, you can think something is good when sipping small amounts, but a whole glass just becomes too much.
I follow the standard BOMM protocol to ensure a drinkable product on a short time scale; however, I've found a few months in the bottle does provide a noticeable increase in quality. Preferred aging is 3 months or more. This is mostly to let the acid blend integrate into the mead. By standard mead aging, that is still very quick.
Recipe as follows:
The Perfect BOMM - 2.5 gallons
1. Start with 2.5 gallons spring water jug (Ozarka).
2. Remove 250 ml for Wyeast 1388 starter.
3. Draw a line here and after removing 4 cups.
4. Remove 8 cups of water (0.5 gallons).
5. Add 4 cups OB & 4 cups Tupelo. SG 1.1. (Half OB & half Tupelo or 3 lbs of each.)
6. Add 0.4 tsp Fermaid O upfront, 1.076, and 1.043.
7. Add 0.25 tsp K2CO3 and 0.4 tsp Fermaid K.
8. Add 5 g tannin FT Soft Blanc.
9. Stir to fully dissolve honey and add a 250 ml starter of Wyeast 1388.
10. Add additional water to SG 1.1.
No water in airlock for 1 week.
1. Add 1/2 cup tupelo honey to backsweeten to off dry. Repeat if necessary until stable at ~1.005 or to your taste.
2. Add 1 vanilla bean, 8 American medium toast oak cubes, and 5 French medium toast oak cubes for one month (Sanitize oak cubes in vodka for one hour; strain cubes out and toss in).
3. Optional: Add SuperKleer after gravity is stable if you want fast clearing. Cold crash after adding SuperKleer if you want it even faster!
4. Add 50%Tartaric:40%Malic:10%Citric Acid blend (by weight) to taste.
Example acid blend dose testing:
Mixed 50%Tartaric:40%Malic:10%Citric acid by making a stock solution of 12.5:10:2.5 grams of each plus water to a final volume of 50 ml. Added 100 ul of acid blend at a time to 100 ml of mead. Optimal dosage (by taste) was 0.45 grams of acid blend per liter of mead. Repeated with a fresh batch of mead to insure reproducibility.
Add 9 ml of acid blend stock to 2.4 gallons mead for a final concentration of 0.45 g/L. Adds a hint of brightness without going overboard on acid blend.