Mead fermentation

Recently a new brewer talked to me about fermentation time.  He thought his mead should be finished much more quickly than it was.  When competition judges tasted his mead, the universal feedback was to wait another six months to a year, and boy would we like to taste it then.  Honey is a slow fermenter; mead will take much longer to ferment than beer.   Fermentations can be hastened with careful and proper nutrition.  However, slow fermentations can bring out more flavor and aroma as long as the yeast is healthy.  White wines are often fermented at cool temperatures to keep the yeast moving a little slowly.  The trick is to balance slow or stuck fermentation from poor nutrition, yielding off-flavors from the struggling yeasties, with a healthy, well-nourished but inhibited yeast metabolism.  Fermenting at about 68-70 degrees F, at moderate levels but well nourished enough to take only two to three weeks, has its purposes.

 

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