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Earthcubed
Peregrinus sine aetate

Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 3:44 am
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Location: Orocarni
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:04 pm 
 

Okay, so I'm pretty big on beer. Fresh-hop beer, sweet beer, strong beer, weaker beer, aged/cellared beer (I do a bit of this myself), etc. But something I've been really curious about for a while is mead. I've never had it, nor have I had anything close to it (that I can think of anyway).


Is there anyone here who knows a lot about mead? Perhaps can direct novices like me to a good introductory example?
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elf48687789
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Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:03 pm
Posts: 1632
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:44 pm 
 

It's closer to rum, and can be had warm as well. It's not beer. I don't know of any brands, I've only bought and drank it on the street (in small cups) or bars. I don't drink anymore though.

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garthmargengi
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Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2011 7:16 am
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Location: Argentina
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:07 pm 
 

It's pretty nice, quite thick, sweet, and well spiced can be a great drink; this coming from someone who rarely drinks anything besides water, so as you can guess it's pretty accessible.
It's ain't expensive, and most bottles come in 750cc measures, you could do a quick google/ebay from brands near your place and try to fetch some to try for yourself.
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swayze
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2008 7:10 pm
Posts: 306
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:52 pm 
 

Here's a good primer: http://innatthecrossroads.com/2011/04/17/mead/

I've been trying to find some Dansk Viking Blod, but can't find it or any other mead anywhere. I have a list of all meaderies in my area, but I haven't pursued that really. I'd love to try some mead; better yet, brew my own.

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VRR
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Oct 14, 2006 7:57 am
Posts: 752
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 6:54 pm 
 

I brew and bottle my own mead. There is no specific style that "is" mead. It is as varied as wine. So you can have the highly-honeyed, syrupy stuff that is like sherry, through to crisp dry mead that is like a wine. The strength is usually between 8%-16% so not really like rum at all.

I am not keen on sweet alcoholic drinks so usually end up making drier varieties, or ones flavoured with fruit (known as Melomel). I have only bought mead twice - once at a beer fest and once in a bottle from a museum gift shop. The one at the beer festival was like a barley wine or a trappist ale. You could drink it easily and it tasted nice, but it would give you a cruel hangover if you weren't careful, because it was deceptively potent. The bottle from the giftshop was sweet, thick and sticky. It was (for me) quite unpleasant to drink. But that is what many people think of when they are told it is wine brewed from honey, so I guess that is why it is made like that.


Last edited by VRR on Tue Nov 22, 2011 7:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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VRR
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 6:59 pm 
 

here's a photo of a recent batch that I brewed ready for this christmas.

Sorry, YULE.

Image

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The_Apex_of_Collapse
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Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2009 11:29 pm
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Location: Canada
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 7:46 pm 
 

Did you make that design yourself, VRR?

I have not yet tried mead myself. being inspired I just placed an order from a meadery close by. I bought a dry, a traditional sweet, and a Blueberry one. Looking forward to trying this drink when it arrives.
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VRR
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Oct 14, 2006 7:57 am
Posts: 752
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 7:52 pm 
 

Only the layout. The devil and the beer stein is a medieval wood-cut. I wish I had the artistic chops to do it myself.

Do you like drinks such as sherry? If not you might struggle with the sweet mead too. Other than that, I would say try it at just a fraction below room temperature. Don't chill it like white wine or lager, because the flavour of honey is much subtler and you will lose a lot if it is too cold. I've never tried blueberry melomel. I take it this one will be dark or purplish in colour?

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UmbraNihil
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat May 20, 2006 7:31 pm
Posts: 73
Location: United States
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 8:19 pm 
 

I've made it a couple of times. It's a great and easy way to get into brewing stuff, as it's probably the easiest and cheapest drink to brew.

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The_Apex_of_Collapse
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2009 11:29 pm
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Location: Canada
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:10 pm 
 

VRR wrote:
Do you like drinks such as sherry? If not you might struggle with the sweet mead too. Other than that, I would say try it at just a fraction below room temperature. Don't chill it like white wine or lager, because the flavour of honey is much subtler and you will lose a lot if it is too cold. I've never tried blueberry melomel. I take it this one will be dark or purplish in colour?


Well, I have never had a problem drinking sweet drinks, it is a welcome break from the heavier drinks I prefer. I probably will enjoy mead from all I have read about them though. As for the Blue berry melomel, the one I ordered has a strong amber coloring judging by the pictures, kind of an odd thing if you think about it.
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failsafeman
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Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 8:45 am
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Location: United States
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:30 pm 
 

Coincidentally enough I am currently brewing my first batch of mead ever. Found a noob recipe on the web (second one):
http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option ... &Itemid=14

I guess it's a kind of melomel because it's got oranges and raisins in there too. I had a bit of trouble with the water airlock partway through so for all I know it could end up tasting like shit, but I'll let you know in another three weeks when it's done. I wish I had the time/equipment/knowhow that VRR does, I like mead but it seems like all you can get around here is the syrupy sweet stuff, I guess because that's what taste tourists imagine when they think of mead and want when they try it out.

Thar she blows:

http://a5.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos- ... 4792_n.jpg
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VRR
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 10:32 am 
 

The_Apex_of_Collapse wrote:
As for the Blue berry melomel, the one I ordered has a strong amber coloring judging by the pictures, kind of an odd thing if you think about it.

Sounds nice, and like it could be quite sweet as well if it has a strong colour. I think that the amber colour is more traditional and accurate than the purplish fruit meads you see people make in youtube videos. Difference is, they pulp their fruit to squeeze more flavour into the drink, whereas your one the berries will have been added whole and strained out before bottling. Like I say, I think this second way is more traditional, because this was a method for preserving fruits over the winter - by submerging them in alcohol. So melomel was a way of storing fresh fruit, and flavouring the mead was just a by-product, I think.


failsafeman wrote:
Coincidentally enough I am currently brewing my first batch of mead ever. Found a noob recipe on the web (second one):
http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option ... &Itemid=14

I guess it's a kind of melomel because it's got oranges and raisins in there too. I had a bit of trouble with the water airlock partway through so for all I know it could end up tasting like shit, but I'll let you know in another three weeks when it's done. I wish I had the time/equipment/knowhow that VRR does, I like mead but it seems like all you can get around here is the syrupy sweet stuff, I guess because that's what taste tourists imagine when they think of mead and want when they try it out.

Thar she blows:

http://a5.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos- ... 4792_n.jpg

Looks nice. I always wondered how easy it is to retrieve the orange peel from out of the demijohn once you have finished fermentation, so let me know if you have to go in there with extra-long chopsticks to fish it out!

The recipe looks pretty similar to one I have tried too. Mead does seem really stable and as long as you clean all your equipment thoroughly, you shouldn't have any issues with it going bad. Only thing I've noticed is that most brewer's yeast seems to chomp through the sugar in the honey effortlessly, and you may have to re-sweeten it. If you re-sweeten before you stop the fermentation, then the new honey will re-start the fermentation process, making the mead even more alcoholic!

Here are some of my newest batch:
http://oi44.tinypic.com/2a5ki1.jpg
They won't be ready until March-May next year. It's my first go at an experimental melomel: a very clean and dry mead flavoured with peach and watermelon. :D

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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:07 pm 
 

VRR wrote:
Looks nice. I always wondered how easy it is to retrieve the orange peel from out of the demijohn once you have finished fermentation, so let me know if you have to go in there with extra-long chopsticks to fish it out!

Haha I used a cork rescuer actually (wire with a hook on the end meant for pulling broken corks out of wine bottles) and as the orange pieces were quite soft after the fermentation they actually came out more easily than they had gone in.

VRR wrote:
The recipe looks pretty similar to one I have tried too. Mead does seem really stable and as long as you clean all your equipment thoroughly, you shouldn't have any issues with it going bad. Only thing I've noticed is that most brewer's yeast seems to chomp through the sugar in the honey effortlessly, and you may have to re-sweeten it. If you re-sweeten before you stop the fermentation, then the new honey will re-start the fermentation process, making the mead even more alcoholic!

Yeah, the reaction during the first couple of days was extreme, it actually forced some of that yeast foam all the way through the water lock and made kind of a mess of the bottle. Next time I'll be more careful, and get a water lock that allows more air to pass through I think.

OK, my mead's done. Turned out quite good I think, a little sweet but not too much, with a definite touch of fruit, and pretty strong. I haven't tested it with the hydrometer yet but I'd say the alcohol content is at least around 10%+ ABV. It's slightly carbonated too. I'm going to filter it a bit just for appearance's sake as it's rather cloudy and honestly looks just like piss, haha.

Overall though it was a success, despite some equipment malfunctions along the way. I think I'll get some better gear and make it again, maybe even two gallons at once.
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iAm
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:20 pm 
 

I would be a lot warmer and a lot happier with a belly full of mead.

I've been playing waaaaayyyyy too much Skyrim lately.
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Earthcubed
Peregrinus sine aetate

Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 3:44 am
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Location: Orocarni
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:30 pm 
 

Thanks for the info/links folks. Can't say for sure when I'll go search some mead out as I'm always on the lookout for new beer, but it will happen sometime. Anyone ever had anything from that B. Nekktar meadery? The spelling might be off, it was some variant of nectar. There's a few stores here that carry a bunch of their stuff.
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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:36 pm 
 

Just FYI, the mead I've bought commercially tends to be way too sweet, since that's what people who want to try it out expect usually. Be aware that mead can be as sweet or dry as wine.
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Metantoine
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Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2008 5:00 pm
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:54 pm 
 

iAm wrote:
I would be a lot warmer and a lot happier with a belly full of mead.

I've been playing waaaaayyyyy too much Skyrim lately.


Hahahahahahaaha word!
We have one of the best meadery in North America in Québec, it's called Intermiel, really great stuff. They have a maple syrup liquor which is really great too.
I think you can export their products.
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gradymayhem
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Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 11:17 pm
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 8:45 pm 
 

My only real experience with mead (other than small samples of my dad's friend's brew) is with Bunratty Meade from Ireland, named after the Bunratty castle. It's pretty good, but quickly gets sweet. I,m more of a dry guy.
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InfektedBlut
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Oct 22, 2006 8:21 am
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Location: Belgium
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:47 am 
 

I always drink mead and Viking Blood at Wacken. Those two are ridiculously sweet, but they are good.

Image

Image

Other than that, there are a couple of shops here in Antwerp that sell mead. One shop (Triskel) imports mead from the Aachener Wald (Germany) and the other shop (Weyn's, which is a well-known Belgian honey company) brew their own mead. There are probably other shops that sell it, but those two (and especially Weyn's, because they're cheaper) are my favorites.

Either way, it's a nice alternative to beer and regular wine.

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Lukien
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:48 pm 
 

I've had two main interactions with mead:

The first was last year, when I was in my college liquor store. The owner, a large black man who wears a really nice suit who I had never talked to, walked up to me and said that he had something I may like. I guess my Bathory shirt, long hair and leather jacket tipped him off, but he brought me directly to the end of the wine aile which low and behold had a bottle of Chaucer's Mead (http://www.chaucerswine.com/mead.asp). As absurd of a brand name as that is I bought it and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have bought it on maybe four or five occasions since and it's always a big hit with friends and at parties. It is, however, very, very sweet. I'd like to get a subtler batch, but I like supporting my local liquor store, especially when they go out on a limb like this and buy something that doesn't appeal to a huge demographic.

The second was a friend who brewed his own. After my purchase of the mead a friend decided to brew two gallons of his own in his closet. This was a little more bitter but was still enjoyable. I think that it probably could have used a little more time to ferment though.

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bassistneededlolnot
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 12:27 pm 
 

I figured I'd let everyone know that this thread inspired me to go out and get the stuff to make my own mead. I decided to go with the simplest recipe I could find and then made the concoction. I went out and bought local honey from some Amish woman and she told me it was "almost raw". I was under the impression that raw honey is ideal for meadmaking, but apparently this woman had the honey shipped over statelines and federal law requires honey to be pasteurized before going out of state. Hopefully this will work. I'll let everyone know the results in a few weeks/months.


This is the recipe I followed:
http://www.makemead.net/easy-bread-yeas ... ecipe.aspx

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RegularK
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 12:07 am 
 

I've been making mead lately.

Easiest and most general comparison is a dry white wine with little character. Almost, if not all, of the sugars in honey is fermented by yeast so it generally leaves a very dry taste.

But it is amazingly versatile and can be flavored damn near anyway you want it to be, I'm currently fermenting a juniper berry variation.

Tasty, easy as all hell to make just requires patience.
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bassistneededlolnot
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:30 pm 
 

Quick question for those of you who have made mead... how much alcohol content did it end up yielding? I was an idiot and forgot to test the initial gravity of my batch. I'm following a recipe that uses Fleishman's (or however you spell it) baking yeast so it probably won't give me a very high proof.

Even still, I would imagine a whole gallon of mead to myself will be plenty to make a night I won't remember the next morning :P

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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:53 pm 
 

I haven't measured it but going by how it tastes and how quickly I feel its effects I'd say my mead is in the 10-15% ABV range. Similar to wine, pretty much.
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Goatfangs
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:20 pm 
 

failsafeman, how did your mead turn out taste wise?

Mead is similar to wine for the most part in terms of ABV, but I've seen mead as high as 20%. Sometimes mead isn't true mead brewed from honey, but rather a white wine flavored with honey - a winery near where I live that also hosts the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire makes a mead of this variety that is quite good.


I wonder if there is a mead equivalent of brandy - a distilled spirit made from mead. Wonder how something like that might taste, either as a new make or after a few years in some oak barrels.
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Earthcubed
Peregrinus sine aetate

Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 3:44 am
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Location: Orocarni
PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:53 pm 
 

Okay, just thought I'd let you guys know I finally tried my first mead. It is Orange Blossom Mead from the B. Nektar meadery in Michigan. They make a regular and a dry variety, not knowing how sweet/dry the regular was I went with that. Interesting to say the least. It's extremely clean, almost to the point of being dull, with a white wine-esque character in the background. They say it is oak-aged, though I can't really tell. Obviously, the honey was sourced from orange blossom. Not the most exciting beverage I've had but I'm definitely sold on trying more (perhaps from the recommendations here) as a sort of third-string point guard option for booze (beer and Scotch being first and second, respectively).


I'm drinking it chilled from a wine glass, if that makes a difference. Couldn't find anything on their site for drinking instructions for the regular, the dry they recommend chilled.
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PhilosophicalFrog
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:39 pm 
 

There's a winery literally five mins from my house that serves honeywine/mead...apparently their food is awesome and they usually have good jazz bands playing...looks like I know where I'm taking mah girl this weekend.
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Julien Thomas
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Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2012 10:10 am
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Location: Louisiana
PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:19 am 
 

If you want a "harder" and easier-to-find alternative, there's a type of Bärenfang called Bärenjäger that can be found in virtually any liquor store, at least around these parts. It's a sort of honey vodka. I haven't actually had mead itself, but I'm looking for some for my next birthday.

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Earthcubed
Peregrinus sine aetate

Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 3:44 am
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Location: Orocarni
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:00 am 
 

Honey vodka? Hmm. Don't really like vodka, but I'll keep it in mind as long as I can remember the name.



Finished that bottle of Orange Blossom mead. Temperature really made a difference; after that first night I thought to try it at room temp instead of cold and it was much better. It did start to feel a little sweet by the end though; might try their dry variety next.
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