Already Make Wine? Why Not Try Meads Too

In some folklore, it is said that when a couple were married, they were sent away together for a month along with copious amounts of mead – a fermented beverage made with honey. From that, we have the word "honeymoon" today. Although honeymoons are very popular with newlyweds, today mead is not drunk as often as it used to be.

Meads can be a delicious alcoholic beverage to be enjoyed on any occasion. Making it is not any different than making wine at home. It requires the same equipment as winemaking. The same fermentation process that is used to make grape and fruit wines is used in meadmaking. It can be fermented dry or sweet depending on your preference. When sweet, a mead is referred to as a "sack mead." A basic recipe only requires honey, water, yeast and time. Grape tannin may be added for additional "mouth feel" when drinking.

When making mead, one thing to keep in mind is that it the flavors definitely improve with aging. I like to bulk age my meads in the carboy for two years before bottling them. Six weeks after bottling, it can then be consumed and enjoyed.

For dry meads, I have had success with Lalvin EC-1118 yeast. For sweeter ones, I’ve had good experiences with a liquid yeast made by White Labs (Sweet Mead Yeast # WLP720).

As well as making basic mead, other ingredients can be added for additional flavors. Technically speaking, these types of drinks have different names. If you add herbs and/or spices to the honey and water you are going to ferment, you are making a "Methoglin." Spices that you might want to consider include rosemary, clove, vanilla, ginger and thyme. Of course, any herb or spice might be worthwhile experimenting with.

When you add the juices of fruit, you are making a "Melomel." Some of my favorites include those made with kiwi, strawberry and blueberry. Like methoglins, you can try any type of fruit that you might enjoy. Other suggestions to think about include apple, peach, cranberry and cherry.

When making melomels, you will need to think about the amount of pectin in the fruit and like making fruit wines, need to consider the addition of pectic enzyme to prevent a haze occurring.

Making meads gives you an opportunity to offer your guests something delicious that they probably have never had before. If you already make wine, you won’t need any extra equipment to try making delicious fermented beverages with honey as the base.

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