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The basic theme: If it's good for ancient Druids, runnin' nekkid through the wuids, Drinkin' strange fermented fluids, it's good enough for me! - Pete Seeger
A real multimeadia experience -JC
Mead making, it's a must! -ZS
Honey is to mead as malt is to beer and grapes are to wine. -FC
|Mead Types and Ingredients|
|mead||honey, optional flavoring ingredients|
|sack mead||strong mead made with extra honey|
|show mead||mead made only with honey|
|great mead||mead aged for several years|
|short mead||mead aged quickly|
|acerglyn||honey and maple syrup|
|bochet||carmelized honey and water|
|braggot||honey and malt|
|capsicumel||honey with chile pepper ....try it, it's not very hot ;-)|
|cyser||honey and apples|
|frankenmel||honey and experimental flavors|
|hippocras||honey, grapes and spices|
|hydromel||a less common name for mead, also the French name|
|melomel, mulsum||honey and fruit|
|metheglin||honey and spices|
|miodomel||honey and hops|
|morat||honey and mulberries|
|omphacomel||honey and verjuice, the juice of unripe grapes|
|oxymel||mead mixed with wine vinegar|
|pyment, pyment-claree||honey and grapes|
|rhodomel||honey and attar, a rose petal distillate|
|thalassiomel||honey and sea water|
|weirdomel||honey and unusual flavorings [RCD]|
|white mead||honey and herbs or fruit that produce a milky color|
|Mead Names from Around the World|
|ayahuasca||Amazonian mind-liberating fermented honey drink|
|balche, pitarilla||Mayan state altering mead made with balche bark|
|chouchen||Breton (France) mead|
|iqhilika||South African mead|
|madhu||Indian Sanskrit word for mead|
|mézbor||Hungarian honey wine|
|meddeglyn or myddyglyn||Welsh spiced mead|
|medovina||Bulgarian, Czech and Slovak mead|
|medu||German mead (historical name)|
|meodu||Olde English mead|
|mjød||Danish and Norwegian mead|
|mõdu||Estonian honey beer|
|sima||Finnish short mead with lemon|
|yeyin dvash||Hebrew mead|
|med||Bulgarian and Slovenian|
|medus||Lithuanian and/or Latvian honey|
|mel||Welsh, Brazilian, (and others)|
|ngarlu||Australian Aboriginal honey|
|tapli||Georgian (in the Caucasus)|
Much of the above information has been sent to me by readers of this page, your input is greatly appreciated.
All recipes are copyright by the recipe authors
An Analysis of Mead, Mead Making and the Role of its Primary Constituents, by Daniel S. McConnell and Kenneth D. Schramm
Brew Mead Like a Viking and Of Hony - A collection of Mediaeval brewing recipes by Susan Verberg
The Mead Lover's Digest mailing list (was) a good place to discuss mead brewing issues with others. The mailing list is no longer active, but the archives are available here.
Here's some info on a group called the American Mead Association , not to be confused with the other AMA. Also, see the American Homebrewers Association for info on making beer and mead.
A point of interest: the word MEDicine is derived from the word MEAD. In other words, it'll cure what ales you. Never mind what ales will do. Apparently, the word metheglin is similar to the Welsh form of the word medicine.
My brewing partner and I boiled the must (unfermented honey and water) for our first 20 or so batches of mead with no serious problems. Conventional wisdom in the mead making circles suggests that boiling honey may cause some of the volatile organic compounds to escape, removing some of the interesting honey aromas. We have changed our practices so that we raise the must to a temperature just below boiling and keep it there for 30 minutes to an hour, this pasteurizes the mixture and gives the brewing yeast a head start over any airborn wild yeast.
On a similar note, mead folklore suggests that you skim the scum that riseth to the top of the must during the pasteurization stage. We have also adopted that traditional technique.
Once a mead has been cooked and fermented, the aging process begins. The flavor goes through fairly significant changes over the course of the first two years, then typically stabilizes for a number of years and eventually starts to lose character. Generally, mead tends to taste a bit like cough syrup until it is about a year old, blueberry melomel can be an exception. It is normal practice to start sampling small bottles of a mead batch after six months of aging, then consume the bulk of the batch between the first and second year.
Around one year old, the mead will lose some of the bitter flavors and start to smooth out. The mead continues to improve for the next several years and eventually starts to go downhill. If you have the patience, meads that are 2 to 5 years old are optimal. Your author has managed to save a number of meads for up to 15 years in a dark and cool basement, they were still quite drinkable but had lost some of their flavor.
As an old friend said: "There's no accounting for personal taste". Many of the commercially available meads are of the sweet style, a few of them are cloyingly sweet. Commercial meads such as Chaucer's and Bunratty fall into the latter category. Dry, or lightly-sweet meads are very different animals, indeed. Dry meads tend to take more time to age but are usually worth the wait. Fortunately, some of the newer commercial brands have caught on to the dry mead styles. Brew what tastes good to you.
Over the years, your author has served what he considers to be quality mead to many first-time mead drinkers. There seem to be two types of people: those who love mead instantly, and those who sample it, say "interesting", then put the glass down and walk away. My advice is to pour small samples for guests and not worry about people's varying preferences. Along those lines, if one drinks mead after consuming other strong-flavored beverages such as red wine, it may take a few sips to clear the palette before the true flavor of the mead comes through.
See "Sweet or Dry" above. This section is for those who really like the taste of mead. Anyone who has ever attended a Meading, a mead brewer's tasting party, knows how wicked a mead hangover can be. One friend reported a two-day hangover as a result of drinking a fair amount of the tasty liquid. There is some speculation that the natural preservative ingredients in honey may have something to do with this effect. The susceptibility to mead hangovers varies considerably from person to person. Consumption of water between glasses of mead is recommended.
Some form of moderation is generally a good policy when drinking mead, as with any alcoholic beverage, your mileage may vary. You control the vertical, you control the horizontal, don't drink and drive, tie your shoes, tuck your shirt in, etc...
Strawberry mead goes well with a mountain sunset.
That's a cloud image in the glass, not a "floatie".
I highly recommend the book "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing" by Charlie Papazian. The book provides a great introduction to the process of making homebrew beer, it also has a chapter devoted to making mead. Charlie's book is available at numerous homebrew supply stores.
Be sure to look at the Mead-Lover's FAQ (above), it refers to a number of books about mead.
If you are interested in freedom of speech, you should read: A Cyberspace Independence Declaration
This page has been brought to you by Forrest Cook, If you have interesting mead trivia or new links, please send me email.