hist-brewing: aging meads

BrewInfo brewinfo at xnet.com
Sun Jan 21 09:52:17 PST 2001


Steven writes:
>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 had read in the Homebrew Digest and have verified with my own
meads, that fermentation temperature has a lot to do with how long
a mead needs to age to become drinkable.  If you allow the temperature
to get high (like over 75F) it will take forever for the yeast (if
they are able) to turn the higher alcohols into esters (esterification:
the creation of esters from alcohols and acids), thus smoothing the
harshness of the higher (larger, like propanol and butanol) alcohols.

If you keep the fermentation temperature in the range of 65F, you can
have mead that is ready to drink (and win ribbons) in just a few months.
These can be very big (2# per gallon or even 2.5# per gallon) meads.

I've been told by Dick Dunn (a very wise meadmaker and, I believe,
the owner of the Meadmakers Digest) that mead is not beer and you don't
want a ton of yeast in there.  Maybe it has to do with the fact that
fermentation is exothermic and thus a volcanic ferment will raise the
temperature too much?  I don't know, but I've just been pitching one
package of rehydrated wine yeast (Premier Cuvee is my favourite) and
although it takes a long time to settle (I'm about to start using finings
on meads and see how that helps), I love the flavour profile and it
doesn't take two years to become mellow and drinkable (even at 11% ABV).




=====
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Mock my theories now!

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------------------------------

From: Dan McFeeley <mcfeeley at keynet.net>
Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2001 09:37:50 -0600
Subject: Re: hist-brewing: spontaneous ferment mead

Spencer Thomas sent me a private e-note kindly pointing out an error I'd
made in my last post.  I'd used the phrase "show mead" much too loosely
for all meads made prior to the use of chemical assistance.  This was
incorrect, something I'm sure many others noticed.  Show meads are honey,
yeast, water alone -- what I should have said was that all meads were
natural meads.

<><><><><><><><><><>
<><><><><><><><>
Dan McFeeley
mcfeeley at keynet.net


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------------------------------

From: "Spencer W. Thomas" <spencer at umich.edu>
Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2001 09:56:59 -0500
Subject: Re: hist-brewing: spontaneous ferment mead

Dan McFeeley wrote:

> Chuck's statements on show meads might make some people cautious, but it
> shouldn't be overlooked that prior to our modern era, *all* meads were
> show meads.

I can't agree here.  Most of Digbie's recipes for mead include spices and other
ingredients.  These are not appropriate in a show mead, which should contain
nothing but honey and water (and yeast).

=Spencer


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------------------------------

From: Kirsty Pollock <kirsty.pollock at mpuk.com>
Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2001 15:56:44 -0000
Subject: RE: hist-brewing: Re: hist-brewing-digest V1 #759

I could get some from just about any supermarket. Certainly a delicatessen.
But I'd probably ask Ian (the guy who works in the winery) to get me some if
I needed a larger quantity.

It's not just a cliche - there really is a lot of heather in Scotland (and
the rest of the upland UK and probably Europe tho' I haven't checked there
personally.)

KP

> -----Original Message-----
> From: John Purdy [mailto:John_Purdy at Jabil.com]
> 
> 
> Unfortunately we have no heather around here.  Heather-honey 
> is as legendary
> as it's mead!  Are you lucky enough to have access to some?
> 
> JP
> 
> 
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Kirsty Pollock [mailto:kirsty.pollock at mpuk.com]
> 
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: owner-hist-brewing at rt.com [mailto:owner-hist-brewing at rt.com]On
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > Chuck averts : 
> > <<<I have found, and verified with several other mead 
> > makers... that tupelo
> > honey (a medium-dark honey) naturally ferments slow.>>>
> > I can second that as well.  I've done three with tupelo and 
> > they've each
> > been nail-bitingly slow.
> 
> 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.
> 
> KP
> 

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------------------------------

From: Kirsty Pollock <kirsty.pollock at mpuk.com>
Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2001 16:24:08 -0000
Subject: RE: hist-brewing: spontaneous ferment mead

> Behalf Of Spencer W. Thomas

> I can't agree here.  Most of Digbie's recipes for mead 
> include spices and other
> ingredients.  These are not appropriate in a show mead, which 
> should contain
> nothing but honey and water (and yeast).

What is the origin of the term 'show mead'?? What kind of show? Surely there
are many shows one could enter meads into with each their own rules?

Or is it, as I suspect, and often is, an assumption that we are all in the
SCA? (not particularly griping at the SCA bods, but at assumptions of any
sort).

KP

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------------------------------

From: "Crystal A. Isaac" <xtal at sigenetics.com>
Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2001 08:56:33 -0800
Subject: hist-brewing: Re: hist-brewing-digest V1 #759

Yes, this book claims a shockingly long aging time for Heather Meads. Has
any body done a Heather Mead who can verify this?

Acton, B. and Duncan, P.  _Making Mead - a complete guide to the making o=
f
sweet and dry Mead, Melomel_. Metheglin, Hippicras, Pyment and Cyser.
Published by G.W. Kent Inc., Ann Arbor, MI. =A91984 by Argus Books Ltd. 1=
984.
ISBN 0-900841-07-9

Crystal

- --------
Crystal A. Isaac
"Oh god, my life is just Stereotype after Stereotype!" -- Totoro's friend
Sean


- -----Original Message-----
From: owner-hist-brewing at rt.com [mailto:owner-hist-brewing at rt.com]On
Behalf Of Steven Sanders
Sent: Thursday, January 18, 2001 6:44 AM
To: hist-brewing at pbm.com
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.

=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D
My moon based death ray
panics the people of earth.
Mock my theories now!

http://www.studiosputnik.com


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------------------------------

From: PBLoomis at aol.com
Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2001 12:28:15 EST
Subject: Re: hist-brewing: spontaneous ferment mead

In a message dated 1/17/01 10:01:36 AM Central Standard Time, 
spencer at umich.edu writes:

> Mead is like wine.  Some wines *require* aging. Some wines improve with some
>  aging, but are also good "now." And some wines are only drinkable when 
they're
>  young, and just go downhill as they age.
>  
    My experience is that quickmeads (1#/gal) should be drunk young,
while "great" meads (2+/gal) require aging for a year.
    Of course, I could be wrong.
    Scotti

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------------------------------

From: PBLoomis at aol.com
Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2001 12:28:17 EST
Subject: Re: hist-brewing: spontaneous ferment mead

In a message dated 1/17/01 10:30:35 AM Central Standard Time, 
WyteRayven at aol.com writes:

> Also, since honey has been used as a remedy against infections (and there 
are 
> studies that have proved that it is effective) Im not sure that there 
> actually is much yeast that could survive in it. I think that the must is 
> watered down enough that the yeast is able to survive in it, but might not 
be 
> able to survive in honey itself. 
>  
    You are correct.  Honey is ~81% sugar.  Yeasts or bacteria 
which fall into honey die of osmosis.  The water in their little cellular 
bodies osnoses out through the semi-permeable integument in a 
vain attempt to bring the local outside environment into "balance",
and they just shrivel up.  Too much sugar isn't good for you.
    To make mead, we dilute the honey sugar down to the point 
where the yeasts can work on it without gagging.
    Scotti


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------------------------------

From: Dan McFeeley <mcfeeley at keynet.net>
Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2001 13:29:14 -0600
Subject: RE: hist-brewing: Re: hist-brewing-digest V1 #759

>Chuck averts : 
>
>>I have found, and verified with several other mead makers... that
>>tupelo honey (a medium-dark honey) naturally ferments slow.

And John Purdy seconds: 

>I can second that as well.  I've done three with tupelo and they've
>each been nail-bitingly slow.

High levels of fructose are known to slow wine fermentation, and
this is probably what is happening when Tupelo honey is used in
meadmaking.  Tupelo honey is one of the sweetest of honeys due
to large amounts of fructose as compared with other honeys.


<><><><><><><><><><>
<><><><><><><><>
Dan McFeeley
mcfeeley at keynet.net



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------------------------------

From: "Spencer W. Thomas" <spencer at umich.edu>
Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2001 16:21:14 -0500
Subject: Re: hist-brewing: spontaneous ferment mead

I'm not sure of the origin of the term "show" mead.  It is one that has been
used by the Mazer Cup Mead Competition and some others to designate a mead made
with nothing more than honey, water, and yeast.  This lets out meads that have a
small amount of tea, lemon, etc. added as flavor enhancers.  It's for the
"purist." I think that the MCMC organizers got it from a British reference, but
I can't cite it.

=Spencer

Kirsty Pollock wrote:

> What is the origin of the term 'show mead'?? What kind of show? Surely there
> are many shows one could enter meads into with each their own rules?
>
> Or is it, as I suspect, and often is, an assumption that we are all in the
> SCA? (not particularly griping at the SCA bods, but at assumptions of any
> sort).


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------------------------------

End of hist-brewing-digest V1 #761
**********************************


Al.

Al Korzonas, Lockport, Illinois, USA
korz at brewinfo.org
http://www.brewinfo.org/brewinfo/

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