From the HBD Archive
From: (Michael Tighe)
Subject: Adding Body to Mead
Date: 1992-07-17 15:27:17 GMT

>>> How can one add "body" to a quick mead?

>> In my experience, adding more honey ... helps make the flavor more "real".

> Adding more honey won't necessarily work. Honey is very fermentable.
> That means that you end up with very few unfermentable sugars left
> when it is done. Doubling the amount of honey used will double the
> unfermentable sugars but will that really make a difference?

I think that my answer of adding more honey was not targetted at the
actual question asked by the original poster. In my experience, adding
more honey can help make the mead "better". If one makes a quick-mead,
where one bottles before the primary fermentation finishes (my usual
practice), one gets significant unfermented sugar left, and this adds
significant flavor and "richness" to the mead. As commented above, this
does lead to glass grenades if the bottles are not refrigerated relatively
quickly. I have heard one tale (on this forum, I think) of a recipe for
mead that has you open a bottle a week until the pressure in each succeeding
bottle "scares you". Then, hold a party immediately and drink off the
entire batch.

In my experience, the choice of honey adds richness to the taste and
experience, because of the source of the sugars (nectar). Molasses
honey, buckwheat honey, orange blossom honey, "raw wildflower honey",
all add unique flavors and texture to the taste of the drink, as
does the choice of spices. One friend of mine added a pound of crushed
ginger to every gallon of his batch of "quick mead" (two pounds of
honey per gallon) and ginger lovers in our group thought it was
wonderful! They called it "death by ginger".

Now, if you mean "thickness" when you say "body" (i.e., the way that a
liqueur has a very viscous flow), then you really would have to add a
lot of honey to exceed the capabilities of the yeast to consume it and
make alcohol. I've seen mead like this only once, a long time ago, and
I thought it was wonderful! It was over two years in the making, and
the amount of it was very limitted. Someday I'll have the patience to
try that recipe!

May your bottles never burst!

Michael Tighe, Intermetrics, Inc., Cambridge, MA 02138 (USA)
email:, phone: 617-661-1840

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