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Mead making


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For a while now, our local grocery store has been selling wild flower honey for $6.99 a kilo. There are about 5 different varieties from sourced locally from around S E Queensland and N NSW. Which gave me a idea...


Has anyone got any experience making mead?? I've done a quick google search on this site but not come up with anything. Whilst I recognize that is prob not too unusual, as this is a beer brewing site, I'd like to take advantage of PB's invitation to talk about all things brewing (even if it doesn't involve hops or malt). I've read a few recipes on the net. Some seem pretty complicated and most come out with an ABV closer to wine than beer.


My idea is to simply make it like a kit & kilo recipe. 3 kilos of honey mixed to 18l and an ale yeast pitched in, probably made up as a starter.


Does anyone have any thoughts, tips, caveats or warnings?

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hi robbo,


i just so happens that i made a batch of mead this past fall. it's been ageing for a month and half now. i haven't tried a bottle yet. i had a glass while bottling. it was quite nice, like a white wine but with a hint of honey.


this is my recipe:


10+L water

3 Kg local honey

250 ml orange spiced black tea

1 1/4 tps. yeast nutrient

14 g lavlin ec-1118 vintner's yeast

the juice of one lemon


the method i used was very similar to making beer:

dissolve honey in a few litres of boiling water. toss in the other stuff and boiled it for a while. add the hot wort and enough water to 10L. pitched the yeast dry @ 24C. O.G 1.080. it fermented two weeks. i racked it to a carboy and let it clarify for another two weeks. i bottled 12 bottles.


way to go medieval. if you make it now it might be ready for the spring equinox.


good luck

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Nice one, I have a toucan on the go at the moment but I'll give this a go next I think.


One question... Do you think there is merit in boiling the honey first. Mine is unpasteurized and so I am concious there could be some fungus or wild yeast spores in the honey?


When you do open a bottle let's know how it turns out.



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i am under the impression that honey is sterile. i'm not sure why anyone pasturizes it. i've heard that burning bee's wax candles purifies the air. having said that, it is common to use campden tablets in wine to prevent infections. i don't use them. i think that sort of thing leeds to hangovers.


oh, by the way the F.G. for the mead was 1.000 with a ABV 10.72%. when i make it again i think i might add another 500g or more of honey or maybe some dex.



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I don't imagine that botulism would enhance the flavour of the mead. May be best to boil. I can't see how boiling honey would detract from flavour, and my palate isn't sophisticated enough to pick up any flavour loss anyway.


An ancient recipe from the 17thC (found on this site) says to boil the honey in water and skim off anything that rises to the surface. I am guessing that is any pollen, honeycomb, dead bees etc that may be in the raw honey.


Also encouragingly this recipe also says that that mead "is singularly good for a Consumption, Stone, Gravel, Weak-sight, and many more things."

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Many years ago (before my time at Coopers), we carried the Leabrook Farms brand, packaging the honey on site. We heated it enough for ease of handling but there is no need to pasteurise. Honey has antibacterial properties.


Having said that, with all things to do with making your own, pasteurise the ingredient if you have some doubt about it.


Also, it is commonly held that honey should not be given to children under 12mths old.

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I have seen a recipe for braggot which is a mead with honey and malt, that would give some 'beery' characteristics I would assume. I would agree with Matty that an ale yeast would probably not cope with the higher alcohol levels of a traditional mead. However that doesn't preclude putting down a mead with a lower OG and using some malt as a fermentable. I may try creating a braggot recipe next in the hope of creating more of a 'session mead'.


Last night I put down the following recipe:

- 4 kilos of blue gum honey

- Juice of one lemon

- Juice of one orange

- 2 tea bags steeped for 4 minutes in boiling water

- 15 sultanas

- 4 gms yeast nutrient

- 8 gms of Vintners Harvest SN9 yeast (the guy at the LHBS said that this yeast is a nice easy one to get going, is pretty hardy and can withstand a bit of abuse. It also can tolerate higher ethanol levels.)


First thing I did was pour myself a schooner of my Canadian blonde. I boiled the honey in about a litre of water for about 15mins or so and skimmed some of the foam that was rising to the surface. (it tasted a bit like bees wax so I am assuming that is what it was). During the skimming I managed to scold my hand with the boiling honey. So I stopped and poured another beer.


When I had sufficiently calmed down, I added the tea, juice, sultanas and the honey syrup to the fermenter and topped up to 18 litres. I added the yeast and yeast nutrient. The instructions on the yeast packet said to stir the yeast into the must well. Usually I just sprinkle the yeast on to of the wort when making beer.


The temp was about 30 deg, but I dropped it quickly overnight to 18 degC this morning at 6am. Fermentation activity had definitely kicked off. The OG was 1064 which I thought was a bit low considering the amout of honey I added compared to Chad's mead. Perhaps my honey had a higher water content in it? (or less dead bees??) It is all guess work but assuming a final gravity the same as Chad, of around 1000, I should get an ABV of 8.8%.


Anyway, that\u2019s where we are at the moment. I'll keep you posted on the results.


(Postscript: my hand is fine, no medical or hospital treatment was required!)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Happy St. David day everyone!


i'm not welsh but i though it was a good day to try my mead (2 months in the bottle).


very nice![biggrin] light, smooth and clear with a golden colour. very distinct honey taste and aroma.


i'm pleased with the result!



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i would say, dry. to my taste it is like a mellow white wine with that nice hint of honey. there in not much bite to it. the 2 months in the bottle has improved the result a fair bit. when i bottled it the finish was quite flat or "missing". but now it is developing a more complex taste. i'm not great at describing it. my wife says it tastes like the woods.


you should come on by and we'll pop the cork on anonther.[devil]




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