From the HBD Archive
From: David Suda <suda@barley.Colorado.EDU>
Subject: Summary: mead question responses
Date: 1992-05-05 22:05:24 GMT

A couple weeks ago my friend Susanne asked me to post several mead making
questions to the HBD. Thanks to everyone who replied. Susanne's article
has been accepted by Zymurgy and is scheduled for publication in the Fall
issue. Here's a summary of the responses we received:

* What flavor/aroma/clarity trade-offs have you experienced for boiling
vs. not boiling the honey?

The consensus was that boiling results in a mead which clears rapidly
and ferments well, but at the cost of most of the honey aroma. While
unboiled meads retain more honey aromatics, they can take a very long
time to clear. Irish moss helps in the clarification of both boiled
and unboiled meads.

* What type of honey is best for making a smooth traditional mead? What
type of honey is best for making a melomel or metheglin with
"character"?

This question appears to have as many answers as there are meadmakers.
Some favor lightly flavored honeys (such as clover and alfalfa) for
tradition meads to produce a delicate bouquet and strongly flavored
honeys (such as wildflower or orange blossom) to balance the fruits
and spices in melomels and metheglins. Others like an assertive honey
flavor in traditional mead and use mild honey for flavored mead so that
the fruit and/or spices are not masked. In any case, honey should have
a flavor you like and be as fresh as possible. As honey ages, chemical
changes make is less desirable for mead making.

* What is the most attenuative yeast? How does the attenuation of
various yeasts compare?

Prisse de Mousse appears to be one of the most attenuative yeasts
available. Charts comparing the attenuation and other characteristics
of various yeasts will accompany the Zymurgy article.

* What water additives do you use and why? Why add gypsum?

Most meadmakers add yeast nutrients to speed fermentation and acidity
or tannin to balance the sweetness of the honey. The article will
present details about various nutrient blends. The amount of acid
or tannin to add is a matter of taste. Sources of acidity include acid
blend and lemon juice; tea is often used as a source of tannin.

In mead, gypsum is probably not needed. In wort, Ca++ reacts with
phosphates to lower the Ph. Since honey contains a much lower
concentration of phosphates than malted barley, this doesn't work.

* What are some good regional honey suppliers?

Several people recommended health food stores and farmer's markets as
good sources for fresh, unpasturized honey.

Once again, thanks to everyone who responded.

Dave


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