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Thread: Moonlight Meadery Releases Rare Mead Barrel Aged for 5 Years

  1. #1
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    Moonlight Meadery Releases Rare Mead Barrel Aged for 5 Years

    IT SURE IS UTOPIAN
    Moonlight Meadery ® Releases Rare Mead Barrel Aged for 5 Years
    www.moonlightmeadery.com
    LONDONDERRY, NH, February 18th, 2016 – Moonlight Meadery ® has set a date for the release
    of Utopian (batch #9 ) for February 18th, 2016. This traditional mead has been fermented and
    aged for the past 5 years in American oak barrels that Boston Beer Company ® so generously
    provided to Moonlight Meadery ® , a fledgling meadery back in January 2011.
    Mead is a fermented beverage made from honey. Like a fine cognac, mead tends to mature at
    a slower pace. The natural preservative qualities of honey extend the benefits of aging and
    allow for intricate and complicated nuances from the barrel. As the seasons change the mead
    expands into the oak picking up flavors of what was previously stored in these barrels. It's
    going to be a while for the next release, as Moonlight is planning a release of batch #10 in 2021.
    “It takes a lot of patience to let a mead that you made 5 years ago sit and mature to
    perfection.” Says Michael Fairbrother, founder and head mead maker at Moonlight Meadery ®
    and President of the American Mead Makers Association .
    Fairbrother is internationally known as one of the world’s best mead makers. He has presented
    twice over the past two years at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science at
    UC Davis, and has been a featured guest speaker for the past five years.
    Earlier batches of Utopian have earned medals two years in a row at the Mazer Cup
    International , the largest mead competition in the world, often considered the GABF (Great
    American Beer Festival) equivalent for mead held annually in Colorado.

    Utopian #9 is a limited release with as little as three cases being allocated per state.
    Moonlight Meadery ® award winning meads and ciders are crafted in Londonderry, New
    Hampshire, USA. Open for tours and tastings Monday to Saturday. Distribution is to 34 states
    across America; internationally to Australia with Japan, China, and Hong Kong in the works.
    # # #
    For more information about this topic or photos, please call Berniece Van Der Berg at
    603.216.2162 X 403 or email vanderberg@moonlightmeadery.com. For more info on the
    Mazercup: www.mazercup.com . For more info on the Honey Pollination Center at UC Davis
    http://honey.ucdavis.edu/ .

  2. #2
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    Don't just take Moonlight Meadery's word on how amazing Utopian #9 is, here's what several
    industry experts had to say:
    “ Utopian #9 is a well‐crafted mead that balances a strong floral note from honey with a toasty, slightly
    molasses‐like bourbon character. For a mead this strong, it shows surprising finesse. Many stronger
    meads are cloying and tongue‐coating; not Utopian #9. The body is medium‐full, with a silky palate
    and a warming finish. There is a slight acidity that balances the sweetness and lightens the body. I
    think the most impressive aspect of the mead is the way the various flavors are balanced. The barrel
    character complements the floral honey sweetness without dominating the palate. The alcohol is
    restrained in its expression, just taking over in the finish. There is a noticeable sweetness, but like a
    good Sauternes, the acidity cuts through it and lifts the presentation. It's so easy to drink, I had to keep
    reminding myself that this was an 18% mead. It's a sipper that you want to drink faster. But it's worth
    savoring for all the nuances that emerge as it opens up. Complex and well‐structured, this mead is
    enjoyable now but should improve over the years. ” ‐ Gordon Strong is the President and
    highest‐ranking judge in the Beer Judge Certification Program. He led the development of the mead
    certification exam, has won several medals for mead in the National Homebrew Competition, and is a
    past Mazer Cup winner. He is author of Brewing Better Beer and Modern Homebrew Recipes.
    “ Utopian #9 smells and tastes like I imagine a ten‐million‐dollar cabin in Aspen does: rich, natural, and
    beautiful. The balance of flavors here is darn near perfect, with soft caramel and honey notes
    supporting light perfume‐like alcohols and a fruity/vinous background note. There is also a wonderful
    contribution of vanilla and toast from the barrels, without the kind of hot liquor impression you might
    find in lesser barrel‐aged meads. With moderate tannins and low acidity, this is a mead that feels
    mature, and without a doubt it was worth the wait. It has real depth, and I simply can't imagine
    anyone not falling for this mead. ” ‐ Josh Weikert who has medaled in every BJCP beer style, and is a
    BJCP Grand Master Judge and Certified Cicerone.
    “ Pours a clear, honey colored gold. Aroma: Nose hits from a variety of angles. Booze is present, but
    hidden exceptionally well for 18%. Barrel character is prominent with oak, vanilla, and spirit that
    conjures images of bourbon and brandy. Fruit character as well with honey, coconut, a hint of green
    apple tartness, and definite orange citrus. Big and intense, but well‐rounded with layers of complexity.
    Flavor: Honey opens the palate with sweet but not cloying floral and orange citrus notes. Again, this is
    a sipper, but never tough to drink. A bit too easy at 18% actually. Barrel character moves in toward the
    finish with vanilla, oak, and a pronounced brandy‐like note. Lingers pleasantly with fruit and oak.
    Overall: Where this behemoth really shines is with balance. So much going on between the base mead
    and the unique character of the barrels. Avoids becoming cloyingly sweet and delivers great, rounded
    flavors. Complex and unique. A masterpiece that is well worth the price tag.” ‐ Jace Gonnerman ,
    Beverage Director at Meridian Pint, Smoke & Barrel, Brookland Pint
    This is the best f***ing mead I have ever tasted! It has been a long time since I have experienced
    anything so complex. When I first opened it, the Utopian was a little tight, but after a little time to get
    oriented, it showed beautifully. The nose was filled with the citrusy blossom we were promised and
    compliments the subtle bourbon and vanilla tones perfectly. The palate was a force to be reckoned
    with. It was spicy, almost like Szechuan peppercorn, with bright orange marmalade that coats your
    whole mouth for the entirety of the sip and long after. The caramel, vanilla, and malty tones of the
    bourbon take up the rear end of the palate as the backup dancers. Of course we can't forget the
    special blend of honey that just wraps all of the flavors together with its sexy, opulent bosom.
    Balanced acidity with just the right amount of sweetness. The Utopian provides a full sensory
    experience, and I love it. I cannot wait to see what this will be like down the road and what new
    projects Michael has in store for us.” ‐ Ryan Severy , Director of Liquid Bread Silverlake Wine / Everson
    Royce, LLC. “ Our company is focused on the small production beer, wine, and spirits. I took over the
    beer (and mead) buying program a little over a year ago. We have 3 retail shops in Los Angeles and 1
    bar in Downtown. I have carried Michael's products for a while now, and people seem to respond. I
    know they loved the "Little Apples" when I had it on tap down at our bar E.R.B. (Everson Royce Bar). I
    have been in the beverage industry for just about 6 years now. I try to keep a balanced lifestyle by
    studying each of the core groups equally. I got my start in beer, then transitioned to wine as a Certified
    Sommelier, then learned a ton about Scotch and other spirits, and eventually went back to the beer
    realm when my company needed someone to spearhead the new program. Our expansion has been
    quick and effective. We will be opening another restaurant, retail, and pizza place this year. I am still
    relatively new to the mead world, but everything I have had intrigues me so I continue to learn as
    much as possible about it . ”
    “This mead presents with a lovely golden color, and a slight amount of carbonation. When swirled it
    is heavy, and dominates the glass with authority. Sticking your nose in the glass, you’re hit with a
    smoky honey aroma that evokes warm bourbon by the fire, wrapped in a warm honey blanket. There
    are notes from the beer and bourbon both in the finish as well.
    The mouthfeel on this mead is very rich, almost creamy. The honey and bourbon and beer all come
    together to give a smoky decadent quality to this mead. The middle of the mead is swirled with
    vanilla and caramel notes that give it a weight and texture that is almost solid. The honey is
    presented firmly, but not too strongly, well in balance and supported by the smoky oak notes from
    the barrel.
    The finish on this mead goes on forever. As I write this review, it is 5 minutes after tasting, and the
    flavor of this mead lingers on, making me want to go finish the bottle. On a personal note, my
    husband tasted this mead with me. He generally will try a mead, but only rarely will he ask for
    another glass, and more often than not, will not drink mead, he’s a craft beer guy.
    His comments were: “This is quite possibly the best mead I’ve ever had, and we will be finishing that
    bottle later today. The bourbon/beer barrel really knocked this one out the park. It’ is complex, easy
    to drink, and amazing. Please make sure you get some bottles of this.” ‐ Vicky Rowe is founder and
    owner of GotMead.com, and owner of Craft Beverage Marketing. She has been working with and
    supporting the mead industry since the 1990’s and has been judging meads all during that time. Her
    husband John has been her reluctant ‘here, try this’ victim for over 20 years.
    “Utopian #9 is an amazing display ingenuity and expertise in mead making. Pale straw color and
    pronounced persistent legs represent the visual perspective. The initial aroma was floral honey with
    faint citrus notes followed by a complex blend of vanilla, toast, roasted marshmallow and tannin
    notes.
    Sweet citrus honey character combined well with the vanilla flavor which was nicely balanced by the
    tannins and slight acid component. The alcohol was perceivable but certainly not dominate. The
    complexity continued to evolve as the mead opened up. Honey favors lingered but the sweetness was
    perfectly balanced by the acid and the finish was clean leaving you needing another sip. Well done
    and a great display of the passion Michael has for the craft.”
    “ Moonlight is coloring outside the lines with this subtle and expansive mead. An earthy and floral
    honey nose combines with toffee, vanilla and oak aromatics and a spicy hint of bourbon. The rich
    toffee is echoed in the flavor, teetering on the edge of sweetness only to be enhanced and balanced by
    the tantalizing smooth undercurrent of whiskey. A complex, layered sipper that packs a punch.” ‐
    Steve Fletty is a multi‐award winning mead maker, brewer, and beer judge. His awards include AHA
    Mead Maker of Year and Midwest Homebrewer of the Year. As tempting as it is to hoard this mead for
    yourself you should share with friends so more people get a chance to enjoy the limited Utopian #9. If
    for no other reason than to protect your karmic standing in the universe!” ‐ Curt Stock is a National
    BJCP judge with the Mead certification who has been making meads since 2003 and a former AHA
    NHC Mead maker of the Year.
    Moonlight is coloring outside the lines with this subtle and expansive mead. An earthy and floral honey
    nose combines with toffee, vanilla and oak aromatics and a spicy hint of bourbon. The rich toffee is
    echoed in the flavor, teetering on the edge of sweetness only to be enhanced and balanced by the
    tantalizing smooth undercurrent of whiskey. A complex, layered sipper that packs a punch . Steve
    Fletty is a multi‐award winning mead maker, brewer, and beer judge. His awards include AHA Mead
    Maker of Year and Midwest Homebrewer of the Year .

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