View Full Version : Teas in Meads

03-27-2008, 11:49 PM
I have used a couple of herbal teas as the basis for meads, I really like Blue Eyes Tisane. Anyway I was wondering if anyone had done just a plain honey flavored with black or green teas? If so how much? I usually steep about 1/2 cup of dry tea per gallon mead, if I am putting it into the primary.

03-28-2008, 12:06 AM
I steeped 1 cup of a loose leaf Austrian vanilla flavored black tea for 5 minutes when making my 1 gallon vanilla tea meth. I also added a couple of vanilla beans in the secondary and it was nice with quite a somewhat strong tea flavor, but I like that sort of thing.

Lately I've been experimenting with just brewing one or two teabags in a cup of hot water to add to my mead in primary. The flavor will dissipate out during fermentation, especially if using a neutral flavored white tea, but the added tannins will clear your mead very quickly!

03-29-2008, 03:55 AM
My "traditional" mead which is based on reading about 4k texts while attending uni included some murky rememberance of using tea in the mix.

I pitch about .75Oz of loose leaf directly into the must and just let it set and draw through racking, no additional heat etc.

I have also played a bit with pitching in tea to a 1g batch when backsweetend to see if I could top load the mouth on it. It tasted like complete arse for the first month, but now the flavor is richening very nicely.


03-29-2008, 11:12 AM
Hmmm....I guess I'll have to get ahold of some white tea and experiment with that.

Launcelot : What type of tea did you use in your 1 gallon batch, and was it a plain show
mead until you added it?

03-30-2008, 12:31 PM
Let's all us Patrons and long time board denizens try to get on the same page with the Taxonomy of "Traditional" mead.

Traditional mead should be used in reference to a mead that is made from water, honey, yeast and nutrient. Yes there are such things as dried fruits (raisins, etc.) that people use as nutrients, but, depending on the amount they may alter the flavor of the mead. What we're looking for is a mead that is made without addtions of other ingredients that will enhance/alter the flavor.

A show mead is a strict, water, honey and yeast mead. No other ingredients.

Adding tea leaves, orange rhinds, spices, brewed tea, etc. is not a traditional mead by definition. Although, it may be traditional for you to make it that way ;D



Medsen Fey
03-30-2008, 04:08 PM
Thanks for helping to clarify the terminology. So does this mean no nutrients allowed in a show mead?

Is it still a show mead if it had been oaked?

03-30-2008, 04:31 PM
Storage and aging in oak, ss, glass, or whatever you want to try is fine since this is storage rather than ingredient. That's my understanding of it at least.

Hope that helps,


Medsen Fey
03-30-2008, 04:39 PM
Where does that leave oak cubes?

03-30-2008, 04:58 PM
In the carboy and still fine. The oak is to approximate the effect of aging in a barrel, it is not an ingredient. There would be a specific name/category for oak aged mead if this weren't the case.



03-31-2008, 01:07 AM
Hmmm. I don't mean to hijack this thread, but I just quite understand. Feel free to move me to a different thread if you want, but could you clarify (no pun intended) a few things for me?

Is there a difference between a "show mead" and a "traditional mead"? If so, that may clear up some of the other questions. It seems like Oskaar said that people may add additional ingredients to traditional meads as long as it isn't detectable in the final product (I've also read that in the BJCP guidelines as well).

But a show mead is just water, yeast and honey? So no nutrients, ph buffers or clarifying agents?

Just want to make sure I am on the same page....

03-31-2008, 01:13 PM
Oskaar, I also want to point out that the current BJCP style guidelines still discuss oak as an ingredient, in the sense that if a mead is oaked enough that "oak constituents" can be detected in the flavor profile it is expected to be classified in the "open" category instead of as a traditional.

Oskaar, you know that I have some serious complaints with the current BJCP definitions, and this one happens to be my pet peeve! But this might also be the source of the confusion that many people have about how to regard the oak they add in secondary for aging purposes.

IMHO, whether or not a mead has been oaked should never be a determinant of the classification (trad., meth., mel., or other) that the mead should be under. This oak confusion is a vestige of the original BJCP handling of mead -- i.e. beer brewers trying to come up with acceptable classifications for meads -- and in this particular case I believe they missed the mark.

03-31-2008, 02:36 PM
Hey Wayne,

The part you're reading is in the description of the mead category under ingredients and indicates that you can make minor adjustments with flavor compounds but if they're detectable they are to be entered into open category. This is part of the problem.

The specific open category description goes on to state ...alternative processes (e.g., icing, oak-aging) or other unusual ingredient, process, or technique would also be appropriate in this category. No mead can be “out of style” for this category unless it fits into another existing mead category.

So there are obviously issues with this and other classifications/categories/styles and such where there are either incorrect categories based on mis-understanding of meadmaking and terminology, or contradictory information.

Bottom line is that BJCP Guidelines are just that, guidelines and at the HMMC we are sure to captain each of the mead tables with mead-savvy judges who aren't going to penalize an excellent traditional mead due to oaking. I'm fairly certain that there isn't a lot of this going on anyhow since an oaked traditional entered in category as an oaked traditional won the CA State Fair BoS a couple years ago.

This is something that I'm sure will be addressed down the road, but for right now the Mead Judge Certification Program within the BJCP is the main focus on the BJCP radar and the guidlines will get their scrutiny down the road. Crawl before walk, walk before run, yadda yadda yadda.



03-31-2008, 02:55 PM
So a show mead is sans nutrient...

I have a couple of those... they tend to be slow and murky....

In any case... back to the question posed to me.

The mead I had was a light dry "traditional" Made with meade, water, yeast and apropriate nutrients.

After it was pumped to long-term storage I got to playing with flavor mixes, added some loose leaf black pekoe (sp) Irish Breakfast loose leafe tea, left it on for about a week, then pulled it (it tasted fairly rank) and back sweetened to about 1.01 (from the .97 it was resting at).

So far I have had good luck, the rank over-heavy flavour has mostly faded and it is developing well, and has dropped clear again.


03-31-2008, 03:44 PM
It is highly likely that any "show" mead made with absolutely nothing but honey, water and yeast, is the result of a stuck fermentation! :P

I have had some fantastic sweet show meads, some very good semi-sweet show meads, but none that I can think of as anything more than mediocre or "weak" show meads that are dry. Since we know that complete fermentation of all but the weakest strength honey musts depends on providing the yeast with nutrients not normally found in honey, and even the addition of bee pollen, dead yeast, or other "natural" nutrients is enough to disqualify a mead for "show" categorization, the degree of attenuation of sugars in a show mead must is almost a totally random outcome.

I think it would be a good idea to eliminate this category. There is far too much left to chance when creating a show mead, and it really reflects the meadmaker's luck more than it does the meadmaker's skill.

That's just my opinion, although I am expressing it rather emphatically! ;D

Oh, and Launce back to your question -- ;) -- the tannins sourced by the tea will in time mellow out, so even your rank tasting result pre-backsweetening, might have smoothed out to something interesting, had you waited long enough.

03-31-2008, 05:13 PM
I did it in the order that I did for a reason.

Infusion into a lower SG will happen more readily and faster, the higher Abv level involved will also express out more of the tannic acid and less of the coloration than it would have in with a higher concentration of water in the mixture. (which is why you can colour alcohol with tea faster than you can water at the same temperature)


It's a lot less messy to dump teabags into a nice clean must than it is into one that has loose free honey sugars in it.


I knew a bit about it, I also knew it would involve some time to age off, but the ultimate goal is to have a richer full bodied substance at the 6 month mark.

Here's to trying.