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Has anyone tried Mead


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#1 Bio_DUD

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Posted 25 January 2007 - 06:30 PM

I keep bees as one of my projects and was wondering if anyone had ever tried mead, a wine made of honey. It's said to be one of the first alcohols.
I just want to know if it is a quality beverage as I don't want to waste honey.
Thanks

#2 Hippie3

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Posted 25 January 2007 - 06:32 PM

i have tried it a few [3-4] times but can't say that i much cared for it.
i'm sure many would disagree.

#3 visualosophy

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Posted 25 January 2007 - 07:23 PM

The earliest recorded alcoholic beverage was made during the Shang dynasty in China. Dogfish Head brewery somewhat duplicated the drink. It's called Chateau Jiahu.
http://www.discover....ge-beer/?page=2
have not had it yet but I want to try it

#4 akoutdoors

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Posted 25 January 2007 - 07:34 PM

mead is great its pretty sweet but it is possible to make it "dry".
Just google mead making and you will see all that you need.
Its just honey and yeast and some h2o.
Boil it add the yeast when cool put it in a container to let it "gas off" and in time you have mead.

#5 Kernow

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 02:55 AM

Over here in my part of the UK we have local eatery's called 'Meaderies'. It's all quite medieval, you eat chicken off the bone with your fingers on wooden plates and they have loads of locally produced mead. All sorts of flavours (I quite like the strawberry). It's great stuff, it gets you drunk from the feet up!

http://www.cornishmead.co.uk/

Check it out for some inspiration!

Go for it mate.

#6 malefacter

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 06:45 AM

iv made mead a few times and i like it a lot so do some of my friends but some don't care for it it just something you will have to try to find if you like it

FYI. if you put something other than honey water and yeast its not truly a mead

if you double ferment it and add some yeast extract it helps make it dry use a champagne yeast also

#7 BuckarooBanzai

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 08:55 AM

I dig mead, but it is pretty sweet. Too sweet to get drunk on, but just right to enjoy one or two.

If you don't enjoy "chick drinks" (i.e. sweet/fruity) you probably won't care for mead.

#8 strangegem23

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 10:58 AM

I occasionally make the odd batch of mead.

I recommend using a quality wine yeast (I prefer Lalvin 71b-1122 dry yeast). Make a starter first (google this) a few days ahead of time.

Use only unpasturized organic honey, about 10 lbs for a 5 gallon batch (this produces a semi sweet mead, use less for a drier mead). I like to add fruit too (making it a melomel). Raspberries are really good in there.

Bring your honey and some water (make sure your h20 is dechlorinated) to just below boiling (boiling will kill off delicate honey aromas) and skim the white scum as it rises to the surface (the scum is composed of wax, pollen and sometimes bee parts). After fifteen or twenty minutes or so, kill the heat. Transfer your must to your primary vessel. Add fruit in a mesh bag if you are using it. Top with cold h20 to make a little over 5 gallons. Afix a lid with an airlock or blowoff tube.

After about a week, you'll need to rack the mead off the lees (sediment) that has accumulated. With a siphon, carefully transfer the mead to a sanitized glass carboy, leaving the lees and fruit pulp behind. Attach an airlock and let the mead do its thing. In about three months (ymmv) the mead should begin to clear on its own. If not, you can add what are called finings to clarify it. Then take a handfull of toasted oak chips and add them to your carboy. This will simulate barrel aging and give your mead some complexity. Let it age in the carboy for an additional 3 months.

At this point you can bottle your mead. I like to use champaign bottles and plastic stoppers with wires. This will ensure that if your mead is still fermenting that you don't end up with "bottle bombs".

After its in the bottle, try to wait an additional six months before drinking. The longer you wait the better it gets :amazed:.

One batch should make about 22 750ml bottles worth.

Waiting is the hardest part!

#9 Guest_greysRDbest_*

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 11:41 AM

i dont really care for it. if alot of ppl did , you would find it on the shelf at the liquor store. id use the extra honey to make an assload of baklava---i could eat a whole sheet tray of that.

#10 Bobcat

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 12:03 PM

Never tried it, but Ive been to some local wine makers supply stores and they carry a lot of honey- so it must be at least somewhat popular.
If you don't like your mead, you could consider selling the untreated honey. Natural and organic stores buy it up- as well as people off the street. A lot of people around my parts sell honey.

#11 strangegem23

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 12:16 PM

Most commercial mead is crap imho. Poland makes some decent mead, though if you can find Polish mead.

Small batch home-produced mead can be fantastic if you are carefull to prevent oxidation and let it age properly. I think everybody should try a small batch.

BTW- some tidbits- mead was the drink of choice in ancient times, before agriculture reduced forest size and thus honey production. Honey couldn't compete price wise with the grape and grains, so wine and beer became the popular beverages. Ethiopia still has a tradition of home mead making. They flavor their mead with hops- its called 'Tej' there. The word 'Honeymoon' comes from the ancient custom of the newly married couple drinking mead every night for a month (a moon) to ensure fertility.

#12 I_am_me

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 01:21 PM

I tried some mead which I believe was polish. I'm sure it was good for what mead is supposed to be but it tasted like whiskey mixed with wine and about the consistency of cough syrup. Needless to say I didn't care for it enough to drink much but I'm not a drinker in the first place. I could see someone who really enjoys whiskey or wine enjoying it.

#13 Guest_DaGoon_*

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 04:14 PM

oh man
Whiskey and wine~!!
*drool*
those are my two favorite things..
..hmm chick drinks??..
well.. maybe not together

#14 strangegem23

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 04:27 PM

I think mead has a manly connotation, with viking connection and whatnot....

More mead wench!

Another tidbit: "Brewing was originally in the domain of the woman of the house--as was bread-making, which utilized the same ingredients. A good ale wife was held in high esteem. Men often married, not based on a woman's good looks or dowry, but on her ability to brew good ale. Over time, the best ale wives became so celebrated amongst their community that people would go to their houses to drink, and then to buy, their good ale."
(from http://www.bitterroo...er_history.html)

#15 Guest_DaGoon_*

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 04:33 PM

I think mead has a manly connotation, with viking connection and whatnot....

More mead wench!

Another tidbit: "Brewing was originally in the domain of the woman of the house--as was bread-making, which utilized the same ingredients. A good ale wife was held in high esteem. Men often married, not based on a woman's good looks or dowry, but on her ability to brew good ale. Over time, the best ale wives became so celebrated amongst their community that people would go to their houses to drink, and then to buy, their good ale."
(from http://www.bitterroo...r_history.html)


isnt that the way its still done?

#16 Beast

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 09:07 PM

I enjoy making mead, I tend to produce about 10-15 gallons per year so far. I've generally made melomels with fruit, I've used blackberries, blueberries, oranges, strawberries, and ginger. my mead is generally around 15%, I like em dry and carbonated. My most recent batch is only about 10% I think, and is not going to carbonate.

The mead I make, following the guidelines set out in The Compleat Meadmaker by Ken Schramm, is nothing like what is available at any store around here. That syrupy stuff is not even close, and is probably more of a vodka honey combo than an actual fermented beverage.

I'd love to have my own honey bees, honey is expensive!

brewing mead is much easier than beer or wine, btw

#17 Jack Jones

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 11:53 PM

I have had all sorts of true fermented meads. Everything from a sugary, sweet, syrup after dinner mead, much like a liquor or cordial(too much of that stuff gave me "sugar lips") to a very dry wine like beverage with a hint of honey. I have had it quite flat(brewed traditionally with a cork) and I have had it extremely effervescent(brewed with a rubber stopper). The fizzy stuff went down dangerously like soda. All sorts of spices and herbs can be added for depth of flavor. All Im saying is that you can brew a delicious mead whatever your tasts are. Its good stuff.

Boi DUD - How much effort does keeping bees as a project take?

#18 Bio_DUD

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 06:59 PM

Depending on your region's local climate the workload can vary.

Amazingly the time spent working on the hives is pretty minimal. The bees do most of the work. (it's a good excuse to have salvia around because it's a good nectar plant...) The first year I had bees I checked about once a week on weekends just to get a feel for the beeish lifestyle. Harvest and getting them ready for winter is the real time consuming part. I suggest this hobby to a lot of people. It is very rewarding and can even turn a profit after the years.
(the only real problem I had with expenses is the fact that I needed a fence around my hives due to heavy bear populations and quite a few repairs.... damn bears)

Good luck and if you have any more questions feel free to ask.
FYI for future reading I suggest: Beekeeping For Dummies and other such beginner books availible online.

#19 DocOc

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 11:07 PM

A friend brews some rather dry bubbly mead from mesquite pollen fed bees where I live. It's really really good.

#20 nepenthes_ak

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 05:22 PM

oh man Im getting 2 bee hives this spring!!!!

Nice to see another beek on here. Any ways, I love mead, You know you can buy books that give you information on how they are made?

IT was acutaly my first alcohol i had, i still love it to this day!




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