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Reviews of Everything Nice

Four Not So Ordinary Meads From JYFoxMazer: Banana Chocolate vs Peach vs Rambutan vs Musk Melon

 

Mead - that is fermented honey, whilst laying claim to being the oldest alcohol made in human history, is today unfortunately a rather niche category, being neither beer (strictly defined as fermented malted grain) nor wine (fermented fruit). This puts in its very own category, which while niche, don't let it fool you think ever thinking it's boring. Many a brewer have devised ingenious ways of imbuing the honey-based brew with a myriad of flavours you could not imagine possible.

How about a Banana Chocolate mead? What about some Peach Melba ones, or maybe a mead made with Rambutan honey? Flavours abound and while the process is long (taking months instead of days as compared to beers) and its base material - that is, honey - can be comparatively costly, meads can still find its ways to surprise you in the best way possible.

 

(Image Source: BoozyChewy)

 

Being based in a rather small island-country, Singapore, it's not a large populace to work with and so when I got wind of a very interesting Fried Chicken mead that was being brewed here - yep, you heard that right! - I was intrigued and had to meet the enigmatic person / persons behind such a crazy creation. 

JYFoxMazer as he is known, operates as a one-man show, devising recipes, procuring exotic ingredients from far flung places, and then getting to work brewing these very intriguingly flavoured meads, primary fermentation, secondary fermentation, ageing, bottling - all on his own. And with no desire to go commercial, he tells me that trying his meads are a matter of fate - if you come across him, he'll more than happily share his meads with you. He shoulda called it "meading your fate", geddit?

It's hard to believe that with close to 10 years of experience brewing his own meads and possessing such levels of sophistication, this is but a hobby for him. When asked about how he comes up with these recipes, he casually tells me it's completely random and up to his own fancies - fair enough. He delves into his brewing genesis and shares that this all started when he was in university and was intrigued himself, and went from being an avid home cook to testing out his early iterations of mead. He's got a busy schedule and thus meads work best for him as he's able to leave them to ferment for weeks on end, and only necessitating his monitoring at the bare minimum.

 

Some behind the scenes. (Image Source: JYFoxMazer)

 

Yet, one can only marvel at the level of intricacy he possesses. Surely the choice to use red bananas over the common yellow variants for a mead that's aged on cacao nibs, vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks and rum-soaked toasted cherry wood, does not come on a whim. 

So with a couple of DMs, I got to meet JYFoxMazer at a local craft beer taproom where he so kindly shared four of his meads (I asked for the fruitier stuff) which I'll get to reviewing shortly.

But just to give you a sense of his range, we're talking Watermelon Strawberry to Cempedak Melomels (closely related to Jackfruit), with honey sourced everywhere from the forests of Indonesia (that Rambutan honey, which is supposed to give a stronger Rambutan note) to Egypt, Nepal and Bulgaria.

 

Meading my fate. (Image Source: JYFoxMazer)

 

Ultimately he's got no plans to have them sold, but will hand them to you if you ask nicely enough or as he (should) says, mead them by fate at a local taproom - most of them simply go to friends and family. He says he's going to start getting into kegs real soon ~

With that, we're going to give the following meads a go: the Boinana Bussy Banana Chocolate Mead, the Big Red Hairy Balls Rambutan Melomel, the Peach Melbamel, and the Blood of the Crown Musk Melon Melomel. 

Boinana Bussy Banana Chocolate Mead, 15% ABV - Review

This one's a Banana Chocolate Mead - it's made with wildflower honey fermented with local bananas (pisang rajah bananas), and then aged on pisang merah bananas, cacao nibs, vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks and rum-soaked toasted cherry wood staves.

 

Tasting Notes

Color: Deep Gold

Aroma: Deep aromatic scents of cacao nibs, chocolate sauce and cinnamon. It’s backed up by a funkiness of overripe bananas. It’s reminiscent of banana bread and chocolate dipped churros.

Taste: The lush and dense sweetness of the honey comes through topped with a good hit of cinnamon and cacao nibs. It’s got all these confectionary tones nailed. There’s just the slightest bit of banana puree into the finish. Also a note of whipped cream.

Finish: The banana turns up into a higher tone here and becomes more apparent but still well-integrated and backed up by the richer honey notes. It finishes off with a lighter hit of cinnamon and cacao nib.

 

My Thoughts

This was the big crowd favourite with all those warm confectionary notes being expressed so well - what particularly impressed me was the stacking or layering of these flavours that almost seem to come separately but combine to create this distinctive banana sundae image in my mind. It felt true to form - a full on banana chocolate sundae.

At times the banana notes can present itself in a rather funky way which seem slightly out of place, but otherwise this was incredible tasty and just incredible to nose.

Big Red Hairy Balls Rambutan Melomel Mead, 12.5% ABV - Review

This mead very interestingly makes use of Rambutan Blossom Honey and Rambutans. 

  

Tasting Notes

Color: Gold

Aroma: Really fresh fleshy tropical fruits - mangosteens, langsat, jackfruit - it’s lightly vegetal and rather musky with a tropical fruit nectar aroma to it as well. There’s an animalic funkiness to it.

Taste: Medium-bodied, here it’s sweeter but retains all that muskiness - mangosteens and jackfruits but in a sort of concentrate. The honey notes come through more here as well.

Finish: Light bit of tannins, with a slight drying quality, more of that musky funkiness that tends closer to jackfruits here.

 

My Thoughts

This nails the tropical vibe, although admittedly I’m not getting much in the way of rambutans, but rather adjacent tropical fruits instead. It has a really interesting muskiness to it that is alittle love-it-or-hate-it much as if it were another popular tropical fruit - the durian. 

I like how concentrated the flavours are without overpowering the body which gave it a textural brightness for some contrast to overall create a balanced profile. That said, the obvious miss here is the distinctiveness of the rambutan flavours.

Peach Melbamel Mead, 14% ABV - Review

This Peach Melbamel is made with wildflower honey, Japanese peach juice, Yamanashi peaches and morello cherries, after which it's aged on vanilla beans and French oak.

 

Tasting Notes

Colour: Light Rose Pink, Salmon

Aroma: Initially it’s giving tart red berries, but with time it deepens into a more mellow and richer peach yogurt. It’s still lightly tart, but still comes off juicy with those strawberries and just ripe peaches, with just a slight bit of lactic quality.

Taste: This one’s richer with a well-rounded and well-integrated fresh peach and apricot juice that’s completely melded with the honey into one. It’s not overtly sweet, in fact very lightly tart, but is instead estery and rich - like eating a freshly harvested peach.

Finish: It gets even richer here - peach concentrate or peach schnapps, and slightly tannic, ending off clean and aromatic, with a lovely warmth.

 

My Thoughts

This was very enjoyable - it’s incredibly well-integrated and well-rounded the peach flavours that it mirrors so well the experience of taking a bite out of a fresh peach - it’s not overly saccharine, but nails that quality of juicy esters with a slight tartness I associate with peach fuzz or skins.

Giving it some time to open up was a good idea, where it began to mellow out and deepen. I particularly enjoyed the evolving journey across the tasting experience where it started off from tart peaches to juicy peach flesh and skins and finally ending off in what felt like peach concentrate - very lovely experience!

The Blood Of The Crown ‘No-Water’ Muskmelon Melomel Mead, 15% ABV - Review

Last but not least we've got the Muskmelon Melomel that's made with Bloodwood honey, Japanese muskmelon and cold-pressed honeydew juice, and then French oaked.

  

Tasting Notes

Color: Gold

Aroma: Started off being rather high toned and musky, but with some time it mellows out to a deeper and mellower, albeit still relatively high toned, unripe musk melon note - a mix of the peels and unripened flesh.

Taste: It’s lighter bodied here but paired with a gentler albeit rich musk melon flesh. It doesn’t jump out immediately but into the finish, the musk melon juiciness comes through more, as does the higher toned muskiness.

Finish: The musk melon flavours thicken here, make it richer and denser. It finishes off with just a slight astringency.

 

My Thoughts

The musk melon notes are really distinctive here and definitely come through albeit it comes off rather high toned and with the muskiness, it’s definitely another love-it-or-hate-it flavour. 

That said, the musk melon flavours came through rather differently at various junctures, which seemed rather sporadic, with the best moment showing itself in the finish with a really rich and deep juicy melon flavour. I think the combination of melon juice and the mead is a tenuous one as the melon juice notes tend to be much higher pitched than the honey, leaving somewhat of a gap in between its flavours. 

 

Kanpai!

 

@111hotpot