Soliloquy of Nectar: Old Florida Tupelo
A blend, by the bees, of Tupelo Honey, Black Gum Tupelo Honey, Maple Blossom Honey, and Holly Blossom Honey from the Florida Georgia border.
The only Florida honey more famous than Orange Blossom, is Tupelo!
Due to its unique sugar composition it's the sweetest honey out there. Unfortunately it's also one of the rarest and most expensive honeys there is
The trees only grow on the river banks and every year this honey gets harder to source as the river gets built up and the hurricanes get worse.
While driving around the state meeting with apiaries, we met Jerry. He has been beekeeping for nearly 70 years, and he knows more about honey and bees than anyone we’ve ever met. Our timing could not have been better, while sampling his honeys we asked about Tupelo, and it just so happened that he was getting ready to bottle something even better.
One of Jerry’s lifelong goals was to produce a completely unique honey by placing his hives in strategic locations and moving them around the area with impeccable timing, allowing the bees to make his blend. This medley of nectars was produced in the Okefenokee swamp region and culminated along the banks of the St Mary’s River which separates Florida and Georgia This method of bee blending is an art form at its best and allowed Jerry to achieve his goal!
Regular Tupelo honey has a distinct flavor but it's simple, with no real complexity or depth. Jerry’s Tupelo blend is a masterpiece, it’s all the classic Tupelo up front, but has a long caramel finish that gives it a whole extra dimension of flavor. We practically begged him for as much as he could spare (and as much as we could afford). We split the honey we got into 3 different cold and slow fermentation with 3 different yeast strains, then blended the meads back together in order to make this Soliloquy
- 90 Points - Mead Institute US Open
- Gold - National Honey Board
Endless Raspberry: (Old Florida) Tupelo Reserve
Years ago, we first made Endless Raspberry to see if it was even possible. We never expected the looks on people's faces, or the feedback that we received, when they drank it. It inspired us to make the Endless one of the main series that we would focus on at the Zymarium Meadery.
In order to make a mead, you need to dilute the honey with at least an equal amount of water, in order to make it fermentable into alcohol. For the Endless Series, we pushed this concept as far as physically possible by only using fruit and honey, there is no added water, and this requires an incredible amount of fruit. Endless meads are a labor of love in pursuit of making something unforgettable.
As raspberries are extra tart compared to most berries, we wanted a honey that was extra sweet compared to most honeys, and it just so happens that Florida has the sweetest honey there is - Tupelo! While being the perfect fit for this mead, Tupelo is also one of the rarest and most expensive honeys on the planet. We wanted the best for this first official release of Endless Raspberry, so while future releases will use other honey varieties, this batch used the same masterpiece Tupelo featured in “Soliloquy of Nectar: Old Florida Tupelo”.
We used over 1800 pounds of raspberries for this mead, and due to the number of raspberry seeds, we spent weeks sifting them out during fermentation only to get a fraction of the yield we had originally hoped for. We then aged the mead on more fresh raspberries and Tupelo honey to achieve the perfect balance of tart and sweet with an amazing aroma. It's big and jammy with just the right amount of oak to make the fruit pop, increase the body, and extend the finish. The result is even better than the original, it truly captures everything delicious about raspberries.
This extra special mead is now extremely special, and limited, as we ended up with half as much as we expected.
In order to make a mead, you need to dilute the honey with at least an equal amount of water, in order to make it fermentable into alcohol. For our Endless series, we pushed this concept as far as physically possible by only using fruit and honey, there is no added water! This takes an incredible amount of fruit in order to even give the yeast a chance at this herculean task.
For our first Endless mead we made at the Meadery, we sourced 1800 pounds of amazing Southern Highbush Blueberries, huge, full of juice and perfectly ripe. We combined them with drums of very rare local holly blossom honey, a perfect pairing that we will never be able to repeat. This honey was collected in early spring, before gallberry blossomed, and the beekeeper who has been doing this for over 25 years said he’s only seen a bloom like this once, over a decade ago. The honey was extra rich, with notes of caramel and an almost buttery aftertaste.
It took the two of us a few very long days, and nearly sleepless nights to process the fruit and combine it with the honey. This was made the same way a winery would make a red wine, and without any temperature control. With so much on the line we stayed all night next to the fermenter to keep an eye on it the first few nights after fermentation started, anxious the fruit would overflow, or the temperature under the fruit cap would get too hot and kill the yeast, losing everything. We spent days pumping the mead from the bottom back on top of the fruit in order to cool it off and extract the skins. Post fermentation, it took us over 18 hours to press all the fruit, separating each pressing based on the pressure applied, the harder pressed gave the most flavor but also the most tannins. We then took our time selectively blending the pressings back into the main mead. Finally we aged it on a little more blueberries and some more honey to balance it all out.
The result of this, nearly hubris, gamble paid off more than we could have ever hoped for. The mead is an unbelievable vibrant purple and quite possibly the best fruited mead we’ve ever created. For all this effort of working with whole fruit, it was worth it, the true magic of blueberries is in the skins!
- 92 Points - Mead Institute US Open - Awarded by Master Sommelier Madeline Triffon
Heart of the Tempest
A Meadowfoam Blossom Mead with Cranberries, Madagascar Vanilla Beans, Korintje Cinnamon, and aged on French Oak!
Early last summer we started contacting apiaries in Oregon that pollinate meadowfoam blossom fields in order to secure this rare honey. This is one of our absolute favorite honeys, it's naturally bursting with aromas and flavors of vanilla and marshmallow. It’s our go to honey to share with people that think all honey tastes the same, it never fails to wow people. After a few months and a train ride across the country, the pallet of honey arrived!
This is an Endless mead in spirit, but cranberries are impossible to fully ferment since they naturally contain an acid which inhibits yeast from multiplying. So instead of gambling one of the most expensive and cherished honeys by fermenting the cranberries, we instead made an imperial mead with just the honey, fermenting it cold and slowly over a month to preserve all the aromatics, then once it was finished we blended it with the juice of nearly a thousand pounds of cranberries! The incredible tartness of the cranberries allowed us to work in as much honey as possible in order to attempt to tame them!
The mead then spent a few months maturing in a neutral barrel with French Oak staves which imparted soft spices, body, and tannins that helped dry out and extend the finish. To add an extra dimension of flavor to the oak's spices, we recirculated for a few days through our favorite Korintje dessert cinnamon!
The cranberries’ wild tempest of tartness was still not tamed though, so we gave it the same vanilla treatment as Endless Cherry Pie, letting it spend a few weeks on multiple pounds of huge grade A Madagascar vanilla beans. Their heavenly rich vanilla aroma with creamy, buttery undertones was the perfect addition to round everything out and amplify the honey’s natural flavors.
Barrel- Aged Heart of the Tempest
The original mead has been described as Thanksgiving in a glass, and this barrel-aged version is even better! Tart cranberries balanced by Meadowfoam honey, which has big notes of marshmallow and vanilla, with a little bit of clove. The final addition of cinnamon and French oak brings everything into balance.
Heart of the Tempest aged for 8+ months in new French Oak barrels, then we replaced the volume lost (15%) to the barrel with Soliloquy of Nectar: Meadowfoam, this blend brings this mead into it’s final form, finally taming the tempest!
Barrel-Aged French Toast Mead & Barrel-Aged Banana French Toast
Black Mangrove Blossom Mead with Vermont Dark Maple Syrup, Vanilla, and Cinnamon. Aged in a New American Oak barrel toasted for a warm spice and vanilla profile for 4.5 months.
The elements of some of our favorite flavors harmonize perfectly to create this french toast in a bottle!
When searching for the perfect maple syrup for a dream mead, we sourced a bunch of samples from all the Great Lakes states and all the way up to Vermont. A lot like honey, every syrup had different flavors, aromas, and colors. We tried close to a dozen to find the perfect one — and most were forgettable and average — but a dark amber one from Vermont was by far the best we had ever tasted! Not only did it have those ideal maple notes, but it was buttery!!
Since falling in love with that syrup, I’ve wanted to showcase it in a mead, and the perfect honey to pair with it was Florida Black Mangrove with it’s dark caramel and butterscotch notes. We aged the very high abv mead in a New American Oak barrel with a custom toast for months to layer in more flavors and body, but most importantly the tannins that would help prevent the mead from being cloying and provide it with a clean finish. After the barrel we blended it with the heavenly syrup, providing nearly all the sweetness, let it rest on vanilla beans, and then finally finished it off with the perfect amount of our favorite Korintje cinnamon to bring everything into balance. As always, our cinnamon profile is that of cinnamon buns and baked goods, never spicy red hot fireballs.
The result jumps out of the glass with aromas of buttery, vanilla, cinnamon pastries and french toast, then the flavors deliver on all those aromas. Perfect for a share, a cold night by a fire, or poured over actual french toast, waffles, or pancakes.
For the very limited variant, we finally played around with the dried “Wild Thai Bananas” that have become famous in the stout world. We recirculated a portion of the mead through these banana nibs for nearly a week, extracting all their banana goodness.