hist-brewing: Melomel with Leatherwood honey

Dan McFeeley mcfeeley at keynet.net
Tue Feb 6 09:38:55 PST 2001

On Tue, 06 Feb 2001, Tom Smit wrote, in part:

>Just pitched my Leatherwood & canteloupe melomel . . . . I pitched it
>into 14l of honey-water-canteloupe mix of SG 1094. I don't think that
>is really high for a mead. Should I add more honey to the fermenter? 
>. . .   I used Acton & Duncan "Making Mead" so added acid & tannin
>which, of course, I read immediately afterwards is all bad advise
>like much of the rest of that book! Anything I could do to avoid too
>acid/astringent a melomel?

Hi Tom, just a couple of thoughts here --

Although there are specific things you can do to adjust the honey must
such as adding more honey or using calcium carbonate to adjust acidity,
it might be better and less risky (measures like using calcium carbonate
can add a bitter taste to the finished mead/melomel) to make up another
Leatherwood/melon must without the tannin and acid additives, maybe a
higher gravity, and later blend the two together.  Safe, simple, and you
end up with even more good melomel at the end!

It's hard to say whether or not the added tannin and acid was detrimental
to the melomel.  Best thing to do is taste the honey must and see what
you think, imagining what it might taste like with the sugars fermented
out of it.  It might be ok just as it is, but you've got to taste it
first to be able to tell.  

I think you have to take a wary approach to the idea of "rules" in 
ventures like meadmaking.  There are ideas, some good, some bad, or
principles and guidelines but sometimes you have to weigh the pros
and cons and make your own best decision.  On the surface it might
seem that a strong tasting honey like Leatherwood is a poor match
with melon, but the results might be just fine.  You've got to taste
it first to be able to make a guess as to how it's going to turn out.  

Dan McFeeley
mcfeeley at keynet.net

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