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Author Topic: Possible Side Business Idea; Meadery?  (Read 418 times)

JoeKitchen

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Possible Side Business Idea; Meadery?
« on: February 26, 2021, 03:14:04 pm »

So, I have noticed that in the world of alcoholic beverages, the only beverage that has not reached market saturation, or anything close yet, but appears to be growing in popularity, is mead.  Sure, mead is an acquired taste, but so is wine and beer, and I feel there could be a decent opportunity here in the right area, especially if one could refine mead to be more like wine.  I dont mean taste like wine, but have a similar mouthfeel as wine with concentrated flavors. 

You see, if you have ever tasted commercial mead, you will notice that most (12%+ ABV) meads have a somewhat weaker flavor with little mouthfeel and a bit too much ethanol flavor coming through.  You could write this off as it being part of the drink, but red wine has these same characteristics after pressing.  It is the aging in wooden barrels that adds oak tannins, polymerizes the tannins and acids through gradual oxidations through the staves (rounding out), and concentrates the flavor through evaporation of liquids out of the barrel helping to mask the ethanal flavor. 

So, for the last few months, I have been working on a few different recipes and I am approaching the point of upping the ante to experimenting with 10 gallon barreled recipes.  I am just wondering what people think? 

I am preparing an order to a local cooperage for four new 10 gallon barrels.  New barrels are quite the investment, even smaller 10 gallons ones, so I have a bit of hesitancy on this. 

(If you are wondering why not wine?  Wine is over saturated in the market, making it impossible to stand out.  Wine also take longer to mature, up to 3 years.  Last, my palette for wine is more European, focusing more the terroir and minerality.  The overall American palette though is more about fruit forward and (over) ripe wines.)
« Last Edit: February 26, 2021, 03:31:18 pm by JoeKitchen »
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LesPalenik

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Re: Possible Side Business Idea; Meadery?
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2021, 05:15:12 am »

The good thing about red wine is the resveratrol. Will you use red grapes in your mead or some other fruit, Joe?
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JoeKitchen

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Re: Possible Side Business Idea; Meadery?
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2021, 02:30:33 pm »

The good thing about red wine is the resveratrol. Will you use red grapes in your mead or some other fruit, Joe?

Potentially, but I am not sure if I would want to waste the grapes.  I might experiment with the left over pomace, although I kind of feel that would make a bitter tannin bomb.

I currently am working on a Sour Cherry Mead that I would age in a Bourbon barrel.  It seems like regardless of size, all used bourbon barrels are only $130, which helps offset the cost of the cherries.  I also have a few tests on a mead made with pure maple syrup and a bochet, which is a mead made from cooking the honey to caramelize it.   

I am finding mead is better when it is semi-dry to semi-sweet, with a FG ranging from 1.000 to 1.025. 

But anyway, barrel order is in.  I am having two Romanian Oak barrels, an Acacia barrel and a Frankenstein barrel with an Acacia shell and Romanian oak heads being made.  Lead time is longer then I thought it would be ordering direct from a cooperage, but I have full control over wood species and toast levels, which is nice. 
« Last Edit: February 27, 2021, 02:37:22 pm by JoeKitchen »
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TechTalk

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Re: Possible Side Business Idea; Meadery?
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2021, 03:07:27 pm »

The only time that I've tasted mead was at a Viking themed event in Sweden. There was enough consumed that my memory of it is a little hazy.

On a completely unrelated note, I thought of you and your culinary adventures yesterday. I was reminiscing with a French friend about the merguez (a Mediterranean lamb sausage) sandwiches the we have enjoyed together. I was wondering if you had ever tried grilling merguez. Not easy to find everywhere in the U.S., but it is available in some places.
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JoeKitchen

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Re: Possible Side Business Idea; Meadery?
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2021, 03:53:55 pm »

The only time that I've tasted mead was at a Viking themed event in Sweden. There was enough consumed that my memory of it is a little hazy.

On a completely unrelated note, I thought of you and your culinary adventures yesterday. I was reminiscing with a French friend about the merguez (a Mediterranean lamb sausage) sandwiches the we have enjoyed together. I was wondering if you had ever tried grilling merguez. Not easy to find everywhere in the U.S., but it is available in some places.

It's funny you should mention this because ...

Actually I've never heard of this, but I sure it is good.  Right now I am making my own bacon though, traditional American hickory smoked and Maple Honey wet cured and apple smoked. 

Mead can be interesting.  I am still waiting on the barrels, another three weeks before the cooper is finished with them. 
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TechTalk

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Re: Possible Side Business Idea; Meadery?
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2021, 04:03:58 pm »

The flavor of merguez is phenomenal and unique. If you ever get a chance to try some, let me know what you think. Like I said, not common in the U.S. but available in some larger cities. Man... don't be making me salivate over homemade bacon! I had a relative that used to smoke and cure his own hog jowl bacon.

How is the wine making coming along? I'll be interested in hearing about the mead project as well.
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JoeKitchen

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Re: Possible Side Business Idea; Meadery?
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2021, 05:16:01 pm »

The flavor of merguez is phenomenal and unique. If you ever get a chance to try some, let me know what you think. Like I said, not common in the U.S. but available in some larger cities. Man... don't be making me salivate over homemade bacon! I had a relative that used to smoke and cure his own hog jowl bacon.

How is the wine making coming along? I'll be interested in hearing about the mead project as well.

The wine is coming along well.  I have a nice crisp, albeit slightly tart, Pinot Grigio, a pretty good medium bodied Left Bank blend, a phenomenal barrel aged (still aging) right bank blend made from grapes from Paso Robles, and a very nice fuller boded Chard from WA state with a good, but not too strong, buttery undertone. 

The mead is getting underway.  Three of the meads will be barrel fermented and Sur Lee aged; so the fact that the barrels are not here yet is holding me up.  With that said, 4 10 gallons barrels is a nothing order for this cooperage compared to what a winery would order, so I understand the longer wait time.  I do have one of the five fermented and settling, but it taste like rocket fuel right now being so young. 

The question really is, if this works out, how to gauge how they would taste if done in scale in full sized barrels.  Barrel size is very important when it comes to how much flavor from the wood ends up in the wine.  The larger the barrel the lighter the flavor, but the longer you can barrel age it, maximizing the other effects of barrel aging, without over doing the wood flavor. 

For instance, the mead that is ready to barrel is a light crisp mead that I would plan on aging in 500L Acacia puncheon barrel for 18 months if done in scale.  There are steps I can take to deplete the flavor from the 10 gallon firkin I will be getting before barreling the mead, but it will never be exactly the same.  A 500L barrel is so big, you age something in it for 30 years without the wood becoming overpowering. 
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