View Full Version : Looking to make a Danish Mead

03-31-2009, 04:44 PM
I apologize in forefront, as this is probably posted in the wrong area.
I have been drinking a lot of Dansk Mjod lately and have fallen in love with it's taste. I'm looking to replicate this mead, though not exactly, just in general. Does anyone know a good recipe similar to Dansk Mead? All I know right now is it's going to take a very special type of yeast (to get up to 19%-22% alcohol), a strong honey, some hops, and some obscure spices. I'm curious as to how they get the alcohol that high, especially since they don't use any unnatural ingredients, including Nutrients or Energizer.
Anybody have any guesses or suggestions?
By the way, I'm quickly finding that I'm a fan of the simpler meads and not the complex dry meads. I may have an underdeveloped palate, but I know what I like. Sweet, strong, and heady is nice.
Thanks in Advance,

03-31-2009, 05:03 PM
There are two likely ways to get the ABV up that high in a sweet mead. The first is to use a strain of yeast specially selected for ethanol production, and the second is to slowly step-feed the must, which can prompt some strains of yeast to go well beyond their normal ethanol tolerance. Actually there is another way -- those meads may be fortified with other sources of alcohol.

I don't personally know much about Dansk Mjod, so I'll invite anyone with more detailed knowledge to comment here! ;D

Medsen Fey
03-31-2009, 05:18 PM
Is THIS (http://www.bunitedint.com/portfolios/producers/dansk/gi_dansk/overview.php) what it looks like?

03-31-2009, 06:26 PM
Yes, that's one of the different varieties of Dansk Mjod. That specific bottle is GI Dansk Mjod "Nordic Honeywine with Ginger and Hops". It's funny that you picked that specific link as I'm enjoying a glass of THAT mead right now. Dansk Mjod has a very thick feeling on the tongue, I need to find a hydrometer to test it's gravity honestly. It's usually about 20% alcohol. Dansk Mjod doesn't have a strong alcohol taste, nor a strong hops flavour, but has a spicey honey taste with a spicey aroma. Honestly, out of the hundreds of types of Meads of tried, Dansk is my favourite.
Anyway, which yeast strain would you recommend for taking the alcohol that high? I have some Pastuer Champagne, but I'm not sure if that can go close to that high. I was thinking maybe some 1118, but even then, it's gonna be a difficult journey. Finally, with step feeding honey, I've heard this causes some yeast strain and can produce some serious fusel oils, which no one really wants. Any big tips? I'm thinking I should do the nutrients and energizer anyway, a lot of aerating, no boiling or heating, and of course following sugar breaks.
For some reason I keep feeling a colder fermentation would be good, albeit slow, maybe 60F? I know that higher temperatures can push up alcohol production, but I don't feel like making a great mead that I have to wait for 5 years to enjoy. How does Dansk do it? Lol. Hell, from ingredients to bottling there is only 6 months.

03-31-2009, 06:31 PM
The higher final-gravity Polish meads are step-fed, and although that undoubtedly produces some fusel content, the fact that the finished mead has so much residual sugar and these higher grade meads are all aged in oak barrels for extended periods of time, help to mitigate that harsh fusel characteristic.

I'm thinking that if you were to build a mead based on the Dansk Mjod style descriptions that I've been reading over the past couple of hours, that you'd likely end up with something similar to the Polish meads, and based on my experience with those "high powered" formulas, if you're willing to wait a bit for them to age and mellow you'd end up with something that you'd enjoy.

03-31-2009, 06:38 PM
Alright, thanks very much. I guess the next question would be, how do I go about step-feeding such a big mead? I'm probably going to make a 5 gallon batch, so I'm figuring quite a bit of honey. I'm probably going to try to kill of the rest of this "Hunters Honey" which is a dark Wildflower variety, most distinguishable by it's manure smell, lol. What yeast would you recommend for such a huge mead? How much honey? What kind of nutrients and how much? And of course, should I fire up some clay to make some real bottles, I'm tired of all this glass crap anyway, lol.

03-31-2009, 06:55 PM
I've had best luck with big meads such as these using Uvaferm 43 yeast. It is a beast -- like EC-1118, and can start successfully in an even higher initial gravity than 1118 can tolerate. I've had success with it in IGs as high as 1.155, but again based on my experience (if you don't want to step-feed), I'd probably start lower (say around 1.140), and carefully aerate and nourish that batch to its completion. That'll put you in the vicinity of 19% ABV when fully dry, and then you can backsweeten to taste.

If you'd like to try step-feeding, I'd start at an initial gravity of around 1.130 and add micro-amounts of honey every day or so beginning at the 1/3 sugar break until you end up with the equivalent of a starting gravity of 1.150 to 1.155, never letting the actual SG vary by more than about 15 gravity points at each addition. If you add too much honey in any single step, you run the risk of a stuck fermentation as a result of the yeast going into osmotic shock.

Either way, you'll be using in total about 25 lbs of honey for a 5 US gallon batch.

04-01-2009, 05:43 PM
I think I might try the step-feeding approach as well as mixing some honeys. I'm thinking I want to use the rest of the Hunters Honey (probably 15lbs), 12oz of Buckwheat that I have laying around, and the rest a wonderful processed Clover honey, lol. I know from experience that processed Honey doesn't have the greatest taste in the world as it's so refined, but also know that it clears well. Hopefully a mixture of the Hunters and the Clover will let it clear just a bit better. (Hunter's honey doesn't clear I tell you, it just doesn't). Now, the biggest thing I need to decide is on yeast. There isn't a way to get Uvaferm around here, and I'm not a fan of online buying. I have what seems like a troth full of Pasteur Champagne around here, but no one seems to know how far the yeast will actually go. I've had it go around 12-14% on wines, but some people claim up to 20% alcohol. Other than well calculated nutrient additions, perfect climate, and following your rules on sugar additions, is there anything else I need to know? Is there anyway to minimize yeast strain to avoid unwanted fusel alcohols? Also, how long will a mead this big take to be drinkable do you think? I've studied up a lot on it lately and have read that big meads can take up to five years, yet Dansk seems to naturally have it done in six months. This is going to be a big mead for me to take on with such little experience in mead, lol.
By the way, once again probably in the wrong post, but from family experience I've learned something about the no-heat method vs the boiling method. My family has always done the boiling method and the mead seems to clear, age, and ferment much faster, though the final product isn't as great as it could be. The no-heat method takes much longer in every process, especially clearing naturally, but seems to have a slightly better end-product.
Lastly (sorry for much a huge post), any recommendations on spices and things to add? I know I'm going to use a bit of hops, probably some ginger, a touch of cinnamon, and tea, but I want to give this mead a taste like no other.
Thanks guys, you've been a lot of help,

Medsen Fey
04-01-2009, 06:11 PM
I don't think Pasteur Champagne will get you there. The alcohol tolerance is only about 15% if I recall properly. Red Star's Premier Cuvee has a tolerance of about 18% - it is essentially the same as EC-1118. Other yeast that may get you there include DV10, K1V, and L2226 in addition to UvaFerm 43. Ordering these yeast online is as easy as falling off a log - Morewine.com (http://morewinemaking.com/)and The Beverage people (http://www.thebeveragepeople.com/) have them. Since these are active dry yeast, they can tolerate being shipped without problem. Liquid strain Eau-de-vie claims a higher alcohol tolerance (20%+), but I have been disappointed with it in the past.

To keep the fusels down, you need to keep the fermentation temperature low. As paradoxical as it may seem, lower temperatures actually promote more complete fermentation with higher alcohol levels. You'll also need to keep them well nourished as you step feed, and will need higher than normal nutrient amounts. It will also help to use a starter - the bigger the better to maximize the number of yeast cells.

Even if you do everything right, it can be difficult to get yeast to go beyond about 18% ABV - but that will put you in the right ballpark.

Keeping it sweet helps mask the burn from fusel alcohols and may help the Dansk people have it ready in 6 months. The spices and herbs also help by providing extra flavor. This approach may allow you to have a drinkable mead in relatively short order, though there is no doubt a mead of this stature can improve with aging over years.

I'm very partial to DV10 as I find it give me some very smooth and drinkable results coming right out of the primary fermenter in most cases, and for a project that I wanted to drink early, I'd consider it carefully.

I'm looking forward to seeing your recipe.


04-02-2009, 11:42 AM
I agree with Medsen -- you should consider online ordering if you don't have a local source of the Uvaferm, DV10, L2226, EC-1118, or the like. You absolutely need a yeast strain that can go the distance. Red Star's Pasteur Champagne isn't one of those. It was named because it was originally isolated in the Champagne region of France, but it is actually the strain that is used to do initial fermentation in the Champagne production process and as Medsen said, it is only good up to about 15% ABV. If you can get Red Star products, Premier Cuvee is their equivalent of Lalvin's EC-1118, although some folks have reported getting medicinal phenolic flavors when using the Red Star product in high ABV meads. Still, it has the ethanol tolerance (18 to 20% ABV) to get you where you want to go.

04-02-2009, 01:51 PM
Well, I'm starting to get a recipe together thanks to you guys. So far it's ending up quite spiced out, lol.
I'm looking at using four different types of honey (don't ask me why), being Wildflower, Blueberry, Buckwheat, and Clover, as I have them all readily available.
Probably EC-1118 yeast because it's readily available.
This is where it's going to get tricky...
Cloves, hibiscus, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and some Irish moss.
Yes, I know how a lot of you guys feel about Irish moss on here, but it does have it's benefits without going into the "unnatural" realm.
The final big thing in this recipe so far will be some Saaz hops, dry hopped sometime in secondary.
The plan is to go Nordic on the mead and take it up to about 19% and then maybe splash some Brandy to get it up into the 20's.
I'm going to make a bit over a 5 gallon batch and let it spend a lot of time in primary, that way I can rack it over to a secondary carboy and not have to worry about topping up.
Any recommendations on spices? I'm trying to almost make this a modern meets Viking recipe (It's in the blood), so I want to use the conveniences of modern mead-making with the honey and spices of old.

11-09-2009, 07:50 PM
mmm.. Dansk Mjød. I have a bottle of Vikingernes Mjød right now myself. I visit my relatives in Denmark quite often, and had the chance to speak with a mazer in a liquor store last time I was there. He says that all Dansk Mjød is made from Heather honey, from the little heather flower in the Scottish Highlands. It is quite expensive but I might invest in some for my next batch. He also said that they boil their must like most traditional meaderies in Europe. The stongest drink Dansk Mjød sells is Klapøjster Mjød, which is blended with Danish Akvavit (distilled drink similar to Brandy) to get it into the low 20%. I hope this helps. Skål!

11-09-2009, 08:01 PM
All the Danish meads that I have tasted are fortified, and I would think that they're fortified at quite an early stage too (= high spirit content). I'm not too fond of them personally, but if you like really strong fortified meads that really feel like they're strong, I'm sure you will.

09-14-2010, 09:41 AM
I'm also looking at making an approximation of the Dansk Mjod Viking Blod. I'd be really interested in seeing a brew log if you have one for the batch you were working on.

08-15-2016, 09:56 AM
I'm also looking at making an approximation of the Dansk Mjod Viking Blod. I'd be really interested in seeing a brew log if you have one for the batch you were working on.

Brian, did you ever get around to making the Viking Blod clone? If so, can you share your recipe?

08-15-2016, 11:05 AM
If you go to his profile you can see his last activity was 4 yrs ago. Searching the forums for a recipe might be a better idea but I'm guessing you did that already since you found this thread. Other option is starting a new thread and asking these forums for suggestions