Better brewing through science.
Birth of the BOMM
So how did Bray's One Month Mead come about? I've been on a quest for delicious mead fast. Not "drinkable". I mean "damn this is good". My reasoning was that wine yeast have never had a selective process to be fusel free fast because most wines age for years. My logic was that beer yeast have been put through a fast product selection as I can produce high gravity beers very fast. Being the scientist I am, I applied the scientific method for finding what I wanted through screening yeast. I tested all yeast at high temperatures (70-80 F) and fermented honey only mead to dryness so that off flavors would be very apparent. I followed a strict SNA schedule and buffered all yeast with K2CO3. Basically, I tried to make ideal conditions for the yeast, then select the most "well behaved" yeast of the bunch. So far, I've done the following experiments: I've tested the following yeast in side by side identical Orange Blosson musts.
ALL TASTINGS DONE AT ONE MONTH AFTER PITCHING
Experiment 1 - Documented as "Ale Yeast Experiment" at gotmead.com:
Wyeast Dry Mead - Control wine yeast. Clean and pretty tart. Not bad, but needs 1-2 years age.
US-05, or Chico Strain - Very beer like but clean. Extremely tart with the characteristic ale flavor. No off flavors.
Safbrew S-33 - Extremely beer like and very tart. No off flavors.
Wyeast 1272 - Stuck at 1.05. Deemed unacceptable for mead.
Wyeast 3787 - Extremely tasty and soft with peach notes at one month. No off flavors. Never clears even after extensive aging. This success led me to the Belgian Ale Experiment due to this being the only Belgian ale.
Experiment 2 - Belgian Ale Experiment documented at gotmead.com:
Wyeast 3787 - Control, same as above.
Wyeast 3724 Belgian Saison - pretty sulfury and funky. After 2 months it was better and still better than wine yeast.
Wyeast 3463 Forbidden Fruit - Crapped out at 1.02, but was a very good sweet mead. No off flavors. Highly suggested for sweet mead.
Wyeast 3522 Ardennes - Nearly the same as 3463, but not quite as good.
Wyeast 1388 Belgian Strong Ale - Very soft, clean flavor. Velvety with some peach notes. Very good as soon as the ferment is done. Crystal clear before the month is out. At three months, it is some of the best dry mead I've had. Does not taste like beer! Tastes like mead!
Experiment 3 - Varietal Honey Test
All Wyeast 1388 but the following honey were used to ensure that the success was not orange blossom honey specific.
Orange Blossom - Still very good dry. Repeatable results.
Palmetto - Very complex and tasty. I like this one backsweetened to 1.005.
Tupelo - Completely in love with this one. Backsweetened to 1.01.
So that is the birth of Bray's One Month Mead (BOMM). Since these experiments, I've adapted this to metheglins, cysers, braggots, melomels, and weirdomels with success. This technique is really great for experiments because you don't have to wait years for results!