I bottled this one on Sunday. My aprentice was a no show. Arrg on that. And our dish washer is out so I had to get the bottles washed and sanitized at a neighbors house. But dispite that, I got the Tale of Three Toasts bottled and racked. Still too soon to see the difference in the meads. I sampled all three and they were sweet. The Wildflower honey and the backsweetening was successful. I think that I got it sweeter than normal. A bit of comments that I can tell:
Racked the Heavy Tasted First: This one didn't want to clear properly. It had some cloudy bits in it, I think it was due to the extra toast but I ran it through a screen with a paper towel in it to kinda filter it a bit when racking to the bottling bucket. I think that I was successful. Very sweet has more of a vanilla taste than the others and a touch of smokyness. I could be imagining it. Will find out for certian at new years party. Ended up with 2 cases exactly.
Then I racked the medium toast. This was had a satifactory clearness to it. I was not a crystal clearness but it looked nice. I could read large print (like 72 point) through it. True the print was like 1/2 inch big but it was clear on the lines and not blury. This one had a little of the carmellyness that I have come to associate with a good mead. I think that it also may be my imagination. But it smelled good. Ended up with 3 bottles beyond 2 cases.
This was the last one bottled. The color was a real pretty amber. It was clearer than the medium Toast but not by much. Taste comparison is that it was a bit lighter than the medium and had some floral notes. Again, that may be my imagination and the Wildflower flavor coming through better. This one was a touch lighter in shade than the Medium toast.
Overall: I have 3 great batches of sweet mead. I can't wait for the aging to bring it back down so that you can see about tasting the subtle differences. My prediction is that the medium toast will be the favorite, espically of beer drinkers. The Light toast will be a favorite of the sweet fruity types of drinkers and the Heavy Toast will be the favorite of the scotch drinkers. Overall I think that the Medium Toast will have the greatest apeal. And for my rockbitter formulation I may stick with the medium toast. But I think that I will get what I wanted from this test. A good idea and proof of what each toast level contribuites. Not sure how it will affect smoothness and the differences will be very subtle and not tastable to most. Simply putting the oak in should be enough to acheive the smoothness that I want. So next fall I may do another test: Step Feeding vs not. Also if I have the carboy room to do an oaked with Bamboo Leaves so that I can taste the difference between the bamboo and oak. We shall see.
Bamboo Jasmin needs to be racked off of the lees. The mead is crystal clear with a pale yellow collor, I might be able to read 36 font clearly through it, about 1/4 inch size font. It is so clear. It's crazy, This one has cleared very fast. I wonder if the Jasmin actually was the clearing agent. It was mostly clear prior to the addition of the Bamboo leaves Or it may be the high quality honey. I used Orange Blosom and Buckwheat honey. The Buckwheat is a darker honey but the OB is a very light colored honey. It may be honey or the jasmin or bamboo that contributed to the crystal clear color. I don't know.
Bluberry Vanilla is very dark and might end up a little clearer. Need to rack it too.
The others I am not sure of, Find out sunday.
In 2 sundays I hope to start some new batches, Need the honey. Hopefully I don't need to fire my apprentice.
That's all for now.