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

Collectively Unconscious swarm at
Wed Feb 9 07:34:57 PST 2000

On Tue, 8 Feb 2000, Mills, Scott wrote:

> 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.

Depends on the store and brand. I've had store honey from runny light
blond to already crystalizing very dark amber. I've yet to have store
bought vs beekeeper bought be an issue, except in terms of availability.
Winter is not the time to find local 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've heard this before, tried it both ways. Some comments:

The scum removed certainly could influence taste. Particularly in less
clean raw honey.

Raw honey can hold nasties. You are not pasturizing as described above.

> 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'm not sure what has been debunked, but reducing the honey's acid content
buy stripping a layer of aluminum off isn't a good idea. Not to mention
effecting flavor, yeast activity and just not being the kind of thing any
one need extra of in their diet.

> 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. 

I did mention that my recipe produced a strong mead.

> 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.  

Here you are in error. My recipe will produce a sweet but not syrupy mead.
Around the leibfraumilch to Mogen-david area of sweetness. The taste of
alcohol is quite disceptibly absent. A heady aroma with a flavor that
explodes with honeyness in the mouth.

It is not a dry, acidic, delicate, "you need an educated palet" french
wine, to be sure. But if you are looking for a big flavor to warm
your spirits in the dead of a norse winter, this is it. The secret is
plenty of honey because there must be enough honey for both the
fermentation and the honey taste at the end. 

> With ale and white wine
> yeast it is easier to target for those sweet and medium meads.  I suggest

It is also easier to end up cloying. 

> 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.   

At least a year. Metheglyns really need more like 3.


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