BVC - Re: BVC: Meade instructions for beginners (fwd)

Mills, Scott Scott.Mills at
Tue Feb 8 16:30:05 PST 2000

> Hmm, the US is a net exporter of honey. The Gov. subsadizes it by buying
> up any surplus to keep prices high. It would be strange in an ag state
> like OK to see bulk imported honey. I don't see that corn syrup would make
> a batch weird either. Its pretty straight up sugar like honey is. It would
> mainly just soften the flavor.
> Weirder things have happened though...
> Hamlin

I read the news about the diluted China honey several places and can easily
believe it.

The US imports a lot of Honey.  Quick online check of statistics from the
National Honey Boards, USDA, and US Customs shows the 5 largest importers of
Honey to the US  in 1999 are Argentina with over 86 million lbs., China with
almost 48 million lbs., Canada with over 27 million lbs., and Mexico with
almost 8 million pounds.    For w hopping total of about 170 millions pounds
imported from these 5 countries.  It is interesting that Argentina exports
the majority of their honey production to the US.

USDA records shows that domestic production was just over 220 million
pounds, of which about 4000 lbs. where exported.

Lesson, when you buy honey off the shelf or in a food product this a quite
good chance that it is imported.

On to the making of mead....

Personally, I do not like the supermarket honey.  It has been filtered,
pasteurized, and its moisture content adjusted so that it keep without
refrigeration and wont crystallize as easy.  I strongly believe that
unmolested honey retains much more of its honey aroma and flavor.  I never
buy store honey.

I am also a rabid anti-boiler when it comes to the treatment of honey in
meads.  I boil my water and then remove my pot from the heat and add my
honey.  This pasteurizes the honey but without the effect of harming the
flavor or aroma.   

I find the whole boiling and skimming routine a complete waste of time.  The
main argument for skimming seems to be to help the mead clear.  I never skim
my musts and I never have problems with the meads clearing.  However, the
boil and skim method is well documented in period English recipes.

As far as the don't use the aluminum pot thing... That has been debunked
over the last few years.  Don't worry if what you have is aluminum its OK
and works fine.

I prefer ale yeast or white wine yeast for meads rather than the champagne
yeast as they are just easier to control and predict because of their lower
alcohol tolerance.  If you are using a champagne yeast and you want a sweet
mead you will often have to add so much honey that you get cough syrup,
meaning that it is sweet but also hot from alcohol.  With ale and white wine
yeast it is easier to target for those sweet and medium meads.  I suggest
trying a "Chico" ale yeast (your choice of vendor) or Lalvin D-47 wine
yeast.  The Wyeast sweet mead yeast is also very good but VERY slow.

I completely agree with Hamlin when he says WAIT.  I think that for a
traditional mead it is important that you plan on at least a year before
consumption.  The mead will probably continue to improve for a couple of
years perhaps longer depending on storage conditions and original
considerations like alc%, pH, sugar content, honey source, etc.   

Scott Mills	 
Engineering Problem Management	 
Industry Standard Server Division	 
Scott.Mills at Compaq.Com <mailto:Scott.Mills at Compaq.Com> 	 


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