Heather Heathen by ClubGonzo, Mead, 10% ABV.
By now I’m starting to understand beer. I’ve tasted lots of beer styles, and I’ve built up my own vocabulary to describe the appearance, aroma, taste/flavour and mouthfeel, and when I drink a beer I have an instinctive feel of what grades it deserves in these categories. Rating a beer is no longer a close to impossible task. Mead, however, is very new to me, I think I’ve tasted two meads in total in my entire life. I therefore neither have the vocabulary nor a clue of where to put the grading scale. Therefore you shouldn’t take this rating too seriously, I need to taste a few meads before I understand what I’m supposed to look for in this type of brew and before my ratings get reasonably consistent.
So, with that disclaimer I open ClubGonzo’s very first mead, and pour a little sample into a… snifter? Wine glass? Sake cup? Tulip? Goblet? I think I’ll use the glass I usually serve port in. In the glass the mead looks pale yellow and cloudy, a bit like honey diluted in water. I guess it could look better, I guess it could look worse, actually I don’t know what a mead should look like. I would imagine that a crystal clear, golden body would the perfect looking mead? So a cloudy pale one should be given a… 2? Or a 3?
The aroma is strong and completely dominated by pure Norwegian heather honey. This surely brings back childhood memories, Mom I need a slice of bread with heather honey please! In addition to the honey there’s a faint whiff of alcohol. It’s not an unpleasant aroma at all, but it’s extremely one-dimensional. Again I’ll have to stress that I haven’t got the faintest idea what I’m talking about, but would love a little more complexity, if I were to define this style of beverage.
Let’s taste. Oh yes, that’s better, if not exactly complex it’s not that one-dimensional. It’s still huge amounts of heather honey, the taste is so pure heather honey that one could believe that honey has been added after the fermentation. But the overall mouthfeel is fairly complex, it’s vinous, although the alcohol is very well hidden. The taste is quite heavy sweet and the finish is long-lasting and gently warming. The body is full and the texture is like a white wine/honey solution.
Conclusion: if you like heather honey, as I do (strike that, I love heather honey), you’ll probably like this mead. It’s pretty straightforward (I guess) and simple (I assume), but it’s definitely something I could have as a sweet night cap after my regular Beer of the Evening. It’s a pleasant drink, but I have no idea if it’s a successful mead. How nice to be an absolute n00b again!
Aroma: 6/10 Appearance: 3/5 Taste: 7/10 Palate: 4/5 Overall: 13/20 Ratebeer score: 3.3/5.0