December 21, 2011

Homemade candy syrup mead

So a while back I attempted to make Belgian dark candy syrup from table sugar but it ended up with a caramel taste rather than the raisin/toffee flavors of dark syrups. Rather than make another caramel-flavored dubbel, I decided to try using it in a mead. I used one pound of the caramel syrup with 2.25 lbs of honey and a teabag of black tea (and enough water to get to one gallon) to make a mead. I fermented it with bread yeast, which was able to handle the 12% ABV.This was my first time using black tea to provide tannins which actually worked out very well to add body and flavor depth.

There's nothing really special about the process involved but I thought the caramel syrup warranted some discussion. The mead is still very young so it has that harsh alcohol bite. It's somewhat drinkable though so I have had some tastes. At cold temperatures it is more alcohol-y and the caramel comes through in an nondescript sweetness. At room temperature, especially with some swirling to better expose to oxygen, the sweetness mellows as the caramel flavor comes out in some complexity along with the honey flavors.

It's definitely a sweet mead, even though it's not backsweetened, thanks to the unfermentable caramelized/meloidanized sugars. I'm not really a fan of sweet meads but I do actually enjoy this mead in small quantities. It would also be good in desserts, over ice cream, in place of brandy in recipes, etc.

I'd certainly make it again, it's worth tasting. It's a good way to use up a homemade D2 that didn't get the flavor depth you were hoping for.

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