Cold Brewed Coffee Mead

On the left is a caramelized honey mead with agreeable flavor profile. Lighter in body with some residual sweetness. The flavor needed some excitement and so I added freshly ground coffee. The coffee was exceptional Maui Moka coffee from an estate in Hawaii. Roasted less than ten days prior it was sure to add flavor to an otherwise average bochet mead. The coffee mead on the right was the resulted of two days of cold steeping. Brewed cold the coffee flavor and aroma would be extracted without its harsh bitterness. I added one cup to the fermentor and sampled daily.

The coffee mead was exceptional at day two. It smelled like coffee with hints of fruits and honey. The flavor was wonderful. Reminiscent of a Pharisäer — coffee flavored with rum. The creation could be served with brunch. Unlike the coffee varieties of brewed beer I could taste the coffee bean with an added toffee component. I racked and bottled to preserve the profile. Then tucked the bottles away for special occasions.

Two weeks later I could resist no longer. JF had arrived expecting a brew beyond normal. The coffee mead opened with a hiss. The pour was petillant some fizz escaped creating a bubble collar. The color was reddish brown with a bouquet of rich coffee aroma. I smiled remembering bottling day. On first sip the coffee mead was telling a new story. I had remembered flavors pleasant enough for competition. What I was drinking was not  competition worthy. I was drinking coffee-ash a sweet and stale palette destroying elixir. I had tasted this in small portion from commercial beers with coffee. In beer the staling was aftertaste aforementioned and disappearing.

"How could this be?" I though having postmarked and entered the creation into competition the week prior. I noted bottle fermentation while searching for answers. JF and I moved on to better homebrew that night. Today I am reviewing mead scoresheets.

bjcp judge

Aroma: 5/10
roasted/coffee grounds/spent coffee. some moderately caramelly honey comes out later low esters & alcohol

Appearance: 4/6
bright brown with tan small head, sparkling not petillant, mod legs, mod lace

Flavor: 16/24
quick hit of honey before a spent-coffee ground hit, cleansing spritzy CO2 is moderate (but >> petill.), slight oily/fresh ground aftertaste is spicy and sharp vs roasty ahd has a bit of cooked honey flavor, acid is mod-hi & sl. acetic, alcohol smooth & moderate, building tannins of coffee balance to over-bal. honey

Overall: 5/10
Good drinking beverage, nicely moderate coffee without overwhelming but feels a bit spent/over extracted, maybe honey a bit caramelized/heated consider no/less honey heating & cold-extr coffee, perhaps a smoother coffee variety

*Acetic - Vinegary, acetic acid, sharp

mead scoresheet
bjcp judge

Aroma: 5/10
Light roast coffee aroma, hint of honey sweetness. Low/no alcohol aroma. Straight coffee -very little honey.

Appearance: 5/6
Medium reddish brown, good clarity. Moderate carbonation.

Flavor: 13/24
Light honey sweetness. Strong, bitter coffee flavor with moderate-high astringency. High acidity. Low-moderate alcohol. Light body Lingering harsh aftertaste.

Overall: 5/10
Honey is too light to balance coffee/coffee is too bitter for honey. Try using a more flavorful honey and a higher quality coffee with lower acidity

*Bottle Inspectoin - very slight sediment

mead score

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