hist-brewing: Heather Honey Mead

Chuck meadmakr at enteract.com
Fri Jan 19 05:32:36 PST 2001

In Hist-brewing # 761 somebody wrote:

> From: Steven Sanders <geigertube at yahoo.com>
> Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2001 06:44:23 -0800 (PST)
> Subject: Re: FW: hist-brewing: Re: hist-brewing-digest V1 #759
> - --- Kirsty Pollock <kirsty.pollock at mpuk.com> wrote:
> > 
> > Heather honey is apparently (according to my friend
> > who works in a small
> > winery which makes a lot of mead and are always
> > doing research for new
> > products) another one that takes a very long time to
> > finish - but a very
> > good mead when it is!
> > 
> > I must try it sometime.
> I read in (this is from distant memory, so
> author/title info may be off/misspelled) Acton/Duncans
> "Making Mead" that heather mead takes upwards of 20
> years to age properly. Has anyone else heard this?
> Twenty years seems like an inordinate amount of time
> to me. 

I've used heather honey in meads. It is a strange and 
unusual honey. First off, it's (big word that means that 
it is solid, but stirring liquifys it, something that no 
other honey does)(can't get to the Nat. Honey Board site 
to look the word up.) There is no US heather honey because 
that plant doesn't grow here. It does grow in the British 
Isles and France, maybe other places. Here in the US it is 
Gawdawful expensive, last time I checked Castlemark it was 
$16/pound. There are actually two kinds of heather honey, the
differences are related to when the particular species of 
plant blooms. One is very much more expensive than the other. 
It is aromatic in the extreme, but some find that honey aroma
objectionable. Heather honey is one of the prime ingredients 
of mead made in Brittany by every commercial meadmaker I 
talked to when Wout Klingens and I went there the summer 
before last on a mead hunting trip.

I have seen the comment about heather honey meads taking 
20 years to age out. I thought it came from Brother Adam, 
but I wouldn't swear to it. I would never make a 100% heather 
honey mead. Not only from the cost standpoint, but also 
because that honey is so strong in flavor and aroma that I 
believe it *would* take a long long time for the flavor 
intensity to die down. It's like buckwheat honey, a 100% 
buckwheat mead would also be undrinkable for years, but 
then that's another story... :?>) 



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