From the HBD Archive
From: Dave Sheehy <dbs@hprnd>
Subject: Mead et al.
Date: 1989-06-13 17:35:44 GMT

More Fuel for the Fire
======================

Erik Henchal writes:

> Excuss me a minute, while I flame. 1) Hops and that other herb
> to which you are referring, besides being plants, are not
> related. 2) Why would you put anything in beer or encourage
> others to use ingredients which contribute negatively to the
> flavor and natural aroma of beer? 3)If you want to use drugs, go
> ahead. But if you want to brew REAL beer, use only hops, malt,
> water and yeast.

Following is an entry from one of my gardening catalogs (quoted without
permission):

"_Humulus_Lupulus_ 'Hops'
Cannabaceae. Hardy perennial vine grown for the bitter, sedative
resinous flowers. Flavouring herb in beer, yet few realize that
the mellow effect of beer is not merely from alcohol but is an
herbal property of the hop resins. Aggressive climber. pkt $2.50"

------------------------------

Getting Started
===============

Paul A. Ebersman writes:

> >I am just getting into the idea of brewing my own beer, and would
> >appreciate
> >pointers as to:
> >
> >1) Instruction/Recipe books worth having
> >
> >Thanks in advance.

I really think Papazian is hard to beat. It's not too hard to interpolate
everything you need to do (hell, I did it!). Even better, once you've
gotten that first batch under your belt, his recipes are a great place to
start exploring the different types of beer. The sheer entertainment value
of his writing style (while still getting the information across) makes it
worth having.

------------------------------

Mead
====

Florian Bell writes:

> >I'm preparing to make my first batch of mead. Some of the recipes I've
> >read call for hops. Others call for various herbs. Using hops in a
> >wine-like drink doesn't sound appealing to me. Has anyone experimented
> >with hops in mead? Would you do it again? What kind did you use?
> >Thanks.

I've made one batch of mead according to Papazian's recipe for Barckshack
Gingermead. I used Cascade hops as listed in the recipe. The only additional
ingredient I added was some cinnamon which was added at bottling time after
half of the mead had already been bottled. As of this writing the mead is
6 months old. Although it says to wait 12 months before sampling it also
says you can cheat and taste it after 6 months in order to get an idea what
you've gotten yourself into. And taste it I did (along with several
other homebrewing companions of course!). Although still tannic we agreed
that it held promise. It does come out a bit dry, I think on purpose. I
suspect that Papazian may have adjusted the published recipe on the dry side
so that if you want it sweeter you just add more honey next time. I get that
feeling from the way it turned out and from the text preceding the recipe.
I'm definitely going to make the next batch a little sweeter.

Also someone (who's name I can't deciper) writes:

> >which were boiled for an hour. I used champagne yeast and
> >clover/wildflower
> >honey from a friend's bees.

I bought my honey at the local farmers' market from a beekeeper. Once I
told him what I wanted 7 lbs of honey for he launched into story about
how he used to live in Canada and all the locals (Canuks?) used to make
mead all the time and how a pleasant time was had by all. He set me up
with some light honey (I can't remember what type or if I even wrote it
down).

> >This mead was virtually undrinkable up to 1 year
> >in the bottle. It's now two and 1/2 years old and much better -- very
> >dry, a
> >beautiful color and quite intoxicating in small amounts. It's not bad
> >for a
> >first try. But I wish now that I had started with the basics, so I know
> >what
> >the contributions of various ingredients are. Looking back, I threw in
> >just
> >about everything.

As I said before, half of my batch is basic and the other half has some
cinnamon in it. Although it's only 6 months old I wouldn't describe it as
undrinkable. It will be interesting to see what another 6 months aging does
for the flavor. I sampled a bottle of each and must say that I probably
didn't
put enough cinnamon into the second half of the batch.

> >
> >My second batch was patterned after a recipe I took out of the contest
> >recipes in Zymurgy. It was a grape/honey mixture (a Riesling pyment) and
> >I
> >think of it more as a wine than a mead. It seemed to mature more quickly
> >and
> >is very pleasing. No hops this time -- whether that is responsible for
> >the early maturation, I don't know.

Please publish your recipes. I only have the one from Papazian's book.

> >
> >MEAD, and not a wine. My biggest problem is not knowing anyone nearby
> >who
> >makes meads, so I can do the necessary research in less than 5 years. I
> >hope
> >that changes when I move in the fall.

We may not be close, but if there are enough people interested perhaps we
can collaborate (is it legal to ship homebrew across state lines? :-). A
year
is a long time to see if you're latest experiment turned out. I sampled mine
at 6 months so I could start another batch and have something to go on other
than enthusiasum and anticipation.

Dave Sheehy
-----------

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