View Full Version : Show Mead Questions?

Medsen Fey
09-19-2008, 12:18 PM
I've been contemplating starting a show mead. I understand that "show mead" mean only yeast, honey and water added, but in thinking about it, I have a few questions about what is and is not a show mead. Is there a written guideline someplace that explains it well?

My questions include:

1. Are water treatments allowed prior to mixing the must? What if you have a water softener in your house?

2. Can you use yeast extract or yeast hulls? They are yeast after all (or parts of them at least).

3. Can you use oak chips/cubes? Adding oak with a barrel is okay.

4. Can you use a Oxygen tank for aeration/oxygenating the must? Aeration is okay, right?

5. The yeast added doesn't all have to be from the same strain does it? Can a product like Servomyces be used (it is acceptable under the Rienheitsgebot)?

6. Can pollen be added? If you can get fresh honey with pollen in it, that is okay to use, isn't it? Pollen is part of honey.

7. Can sulfites be used as a preservative? It doesn't contribute flavor elements.

I'm sure there are other such questions out there, and it would be good to have a clear, easily-accessible set of rules. Are the rules consistent from competition to competition with regard to the show mead class?


09-19-2008, 12:47 PM

The short answer to your overall question is that there are no clearly defined standards for "show meads," although there is general agreement that it be no more than yeast, honey and water. The questions you are asking seem to get slightly different answers at every competition that has a show mead category.

I think it would be good for the general meadmaking community to come to consensus on your specific questions, and perhaps this is the best place to discuss them, and to document the conclusions.

Oskaar, care to chime in?? :-\

09-19-2008, 12:59 PM
Good question. According to the BJCP guidelines:

Ingredients: Standard description applies. Traditional Meads feature the character of a blended honey or a blend of honeys. Varietal meads feature the distinctive character of certain honeys. “Show meads” feature no additives, but this distinction is usually not obvious to judges.

Therefore, from my take on this, the answer to your questions are:

1. Sure, since water is not tied down to a particular region (e.g. Burton)
2. Bending the rules a little, although not breaking them since they are still parts of yeast. A counter argument could be that honey comes from flowers, therefore using Hibiscus in the Mead is still an extract of flowers. Valid, or weak?
3. No, since this is a flavoring agent.
4. Yes, as this is part of the brewing process and by not doing aeration, the risk of stalling or changing the flavor is high.
5. Different yeast strains are fine as they are yeast.
6. See 2.
7. No, although this could fall under the same argument as 4 (i.e. part of the brewing process, not a flavor agent).

This is a great question Medsen. Eager to read what Oskaar, Vicky and Ken have to say.


09-20-2008, 09:00 PM
To me a show mead is yeast, water and honey.

Yeast hulls are dead yeast and I don't see a problem with using them.

Pollen, sulfites, other nutrients (DAP, Fermaid, Fermax, Superfood, etc.) to me are outside the confines of a show mead.

To me, water treatments are an additive that contribute to flavor and character along with fermentation kinetics and wouldn't be within the confines of a show mead because bottled water is available that does not have these additives. Filtered water from your tap is fine in my opinion if you have bad tasting water that you wouldn't use in regular mead or beer making.

Wooden cooperage influences the flavor of the mead so I say no to chips, cubes, staves, dominos and barrels or any oak influence. Oaked meads can be in the traditional or "other Mead" category.

Aeration is part of the regimen of fermentation management so I don't see a problem there.

For patrons take a look here (http://www.gotmead.com/smf/index.php?topic=6833.msg56877#msg56877) on a semi-recent thread on show meads.

Hope that helps,


Medsen Fey
09-20-2008, 10:26 PM
Thanks, Oskaar.

Where do you stand on the Servomyces? it is a nutrient, but it is a yeast.

09-20-2008, 11:00 PM
My personal bent on Servo is no.

It is indeed yeast, but it is enriched and enhanced to hold more zinc along with un-named micronutrients, which to me makes it a nutrient rather than just plain ole' kilt off yeast. I know it's splitting hairs, but boiled yeast is just yeast. I suppose it too is modified so an argument could be made either way.