Aging Mead, questions

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Sasquatch

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I've been making Mead for a few years but I've never given much thought to aging it. Do you feel it improves the flavor of the Mead? And if you do which wood do you think would be best for a fruit Mead
As to improving the flavor of the mead, aging definitely does help. However the type of yeast you use and the particular fruit you use will make a difference, and things like fermentation temperature and nutrients will also play a big part in the end result. There's so many variables and peoples' tastes vary so widely that really the best way to answer that question is to try a few batches over a few years, take good notes, and see what you like best. I've only been doing this for a few years as well, and in that short time I've learned that with experience you will figure out what you like.

Here's an example. I'm a huge fan of Montmorency cherries. I love the things and I can't get enough of them, especially when I brew them into mead, and fortunately I live close enough to a farm that sells tubs of them frozen, pitted, and with no sugar at a local stand. I've tried several different Lalvin yeasts--D47, KV1116, EC1118, RC212, 71B, and BM4x4. My personal favorite is by far 71B, after a year it is "fantastic" with an outstanding "juicy" flavor, and after 1 1/2 years it is "mind-blowing." My runner up is BM4x4, it has a kind of "deep" and slightly "spicy" flavor and tastes slightly more like a red grape wine and at about a year it is starting to taste good, and my guess is after 2 years it will also be "fantastic."

As for wood, personally I'm not a fan. I've got a batch of Montmorency cherry mead fermented with RC 212 that was flavored with a quarter of a spiral of light toast French oak for a week, and 2 gallons of the same that was fermented with 71B and with a quarter spiral of the same oak for 2 days, and I'm not a fan of either. I think the oak is just too overpowering. It's personal preference, and my preference is for the fruit to shine instead of other flavorings. It's entirely up to your opinion since you're the one who will be the ultimate judge of quality.
 

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