Wake this Giant: B. Nektar’s Sleeping Giant Mead

Since it’s not a Sunday, I have a non-beer review with which to enlighten you.  At the urging of various individuals, I finally decided to try beer’s buzzing cousin, mead.  I’m not familiar on how to evaluate it, so I looked up some guidelines.  While I didn’t do a very scientific review, I did try to detect any glaring flaws, in addition to elaborating on the experience to give others a sense of what all the buzz is about.

On the docket:  375 mL bottle of B. Nektar’s Sleeping Giant (Limited Release)

Poured into:  Odd Otter stemmed tasting glass

S:  This giant pours a pale gold, with crystal clarity.  Reminiscent of a mature chardonnay.  No bubbles are present.  During the course of drinking this, legs appeared on my glass, providing evidence of the alcohol and sugar content.

A:  A light floral note cedes to a spicy, woody aroma.  The rye whiskey barrel finish is quite evident.  A honey sweetness emerges as the mead warms up, too.  Higher alcohols present themselves, but in a pleasant way.  This mead clocks in at 15.1, also known as sack-strength.

T:  Sweet honey, a mingling of peaches and apples, maybe even pears.  When warmer, herbal, medicinal flavors show up.  Though I’ve not had many, the impression suggests a sweet Riesling- as odd as the comparison might be.  The combined elements of the abv and the barrel aging create a piquant, drying, woody quality.  I’ll be so bold as to say the end has “Manhattan” qualities to it, a favorite rye-based drink of mine.  Crazier- it seems like this guy has the vermouth and the bitters in it, too!  Or, that could be the power of suggestion.

F:  Full-bodied, sweet, rich.  It dries out on the finish, a small tannin-like sharpness from the barrel aging.  As they say in the whiskey world, this one has a medium finish.

O:  Though not experienced with mead, I truly enjoyed this offering, and feel fortunate enough to get my hands on a bottle.  I’m not usually a fan of barrel-aged beer, but enjoy rye whiskey.  One sip allayed my fear.

S:  4  A:  3.75  T:  4.5  F:  4  O:  4

Suggested food pairing:  I’ve heard it’s hard to wrong with food pairing regarding mead.  My picks?  Earthy or nutty English cheese, fruit with a caramel dipping sauce, spiced nuts