Chateau Gates Cyser

Day 0

Mix 12.5 g GoFerm with about 250 mL of 110°F (43°C) water until it dissolves completely. When the mixture reaches 104°F (40°C), sprinkle yeast on top to rehydrate and leave for about 20 minutes. Mix cider and honey together until fully dissolved. Save 1 lb. (0.45 kg) of honey for back-sweetening later.

Add 1 Tbsp. pectic enzyme and all of the oak to the fermenter. Pitch yeast and ferment at 62°F (17°C).

Day 1

Take a few ounces of the must (possibly the same used to measure gravity), mix in 2.6 g Fermaid O, and return to primary. Add 2 tsp. bentonite by sprinkling on top (no need for the boiling water/slurry method).

Days 2 and 3

Stir enough to degas some, but not enough to aerate (avoid splashing and vortices). Mix 2.5 g. of Fermaid O with a sample of must and return to primary.

Day 4–7

Monitor gravity with daily hydrometer readings. On day 7, or when the gravity has fallen by 2/3 (whichever comes first), add the final 2.5 g Fermaid O feeding.

Day 18

Fermentation should end between days 10 and 12. Gently stir or swirl to get everything in suspension, and cold crash for 72 hours.

Day 21

Rack cyser and oak cubes from primary to secondary, and add 1/4 tsp. potassium metabisulfite and 1 Tbsp. potassium sorbate.

Day 25

Let sit for a few days, then back-sweeten with 1 lb. honey to about 1.002. A bone-dry gravity below 1.000 is generally unpleasant: here, back-sweetening is more to give a reasonable level of dryness than to actually make it sweet. Add an extra 1/4 tsp potassium metabisulfite to ensure stability.

Day 35

This depends entirely on the cider you use and the effect you are going for, but I add some acid additions of 13.7 g malic and 5.5 mL lactic to sharpen the mead. The amounts will depend on the cider, the honey, and your own personal tastes. Conduct acid trials to find the right amount for your mead.

Day 42 (Optional)

Back-sweetening will likely have made your mead cloudy again. If it doesn’t clear on its own after a few weeks, mix 1 Tbsp. Sparkolloid with 1 cup boiling water and stir while boiling for 5 minutes. Add this to the mead and gently but thoroughly mix it in. You do not have to do this step if you are happy with the clarity of your mead. Let sit for 2 weeks.

Day 56

At this point, the mead has been 8 weeks on the oak. I think this is the minimum: I get a good tannic character without it being too oaky, but if you’d like to leave it on the cubes longer it should be fine. Otherwise, keg or bottle. If kegging, store at room temp and serve at 2 to 3 psi (140–200 mbar) to make sure it doesn’t carbonate.

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