View Full Version : what honey for my first mead

07-17-2009, 06:26 PM
I am about to start my first mead making experience. Most hardware I already have because of my fascination for brewing beer.

Today I also bought some additional stuff like the wyeast dry mead yeast and some DAP as nutrient. Besides the DAP I also have some Wyeast yeast nutrition that I normally use for beer. I assume this can also be used for mead ??? .

My first mead should be a plain mead (13% abv; starting sg 1.098 ) without any additions such as fruit or spices. When looking for the types of honey that are available close to the village where I live (in the netherlands) I was left with one major question: what is the best honey to start with?

The honeys that are available are;
wild flower
fruit ??

Which one are recommended and which one should I avoid? The prices are ranging from €5 - €10 per kg. (2.20-4.40 USdollar per pound).

I plan to give the water - honey mixture a short pasteurisation (15 mins at 60C).

Can I aerate the mixture with a stainless steel aeration stone or will this give too much foam formation? I guess it will be limited because of the abscence of surface active materials. Or is aeration not needed when making 10 liters of mead with an sg of 1.098 when using the wyeast blend (activator).

thanks for your reactions or suggestions :)

07-20-2009, 10:39 AM
Hello, William! Welcome to the "Gotmead" community! I hope you will browse the site a bit; there is much here for people of all brewing experience. Let me especially encourage you to read the "Newbee Guide" which can be found on the main Gotmead site and can also be reached via a link on the left side of this page. It will provide you with lots of information that is specific to meadmaking. You will find that some things are different from beer brewing, although the process of fermentation is obviously similar.

As far as which honey to use for your first mead, since you want to make a traditional mead first (without spices or fruit), then your results will be very dependent on the honey that you select. This will depend to a great extent on your personal taste. Most people here in No. America start making mead with clover honey, simply because it is the most commonly available. In your case I suspect that either acacia or rapeseed would be more common. All three of those honeys are very light, and produce meads with delicate honey characteristics. If you want to be more bold, then use honeys such as buckwheat, heath or eucalyptus, which will bring interesting (strong) and different (sometimes medicinal) aromas and colors to the finished mead. And if you are a true gambling man, try the wildflower since the characteristics of wildflower honey depend on the flowers that were in bloom when the bees harvested nectar, and so can take on a variety of characteristics. In general, if the honey tastes and smells good to you, then it will make an acceptable mead.

My personal favorite honeys for traditionals are raspberry blossom (not on your list) and orange blossom (on your list). They bring wonderfully flowery scents to the finished product, and make delightful traditional meads.

07-20-2009, 01:37 PM
Thanks for the welcome and the tips for choosing the honey that fits me. The newbee guide and the various discussion have already inspired me for some recipes.

I think that I will start with heath/linden honey. According to the local farmer that is a type that is often requested by dutch mead makers although he did not have any experience himself.

I will go for a 10 liters batch size that I will split after racking to the secondary fermentor into a straight mead and a spice based mead.

For the spiced based mead I think I will add some Cascade or Fuggle hop extract ( I still am a beer brewer:p). I will prepare the extract by boiling 30 gr hops for 10 min in say 500 ml water of honey/water mixture.

07-20-2009, 02:08 PM
Are you planning for any residual sweetness, or do you plan to let these batches ferment to dryness? With the heath honey, you may want a little sweetness there to balance the flavor profile. The best way to get there is to ferment dry, then backsweeten if after tasting you decide that a little sweetness would be better.

07-20-2009, 03:35 PM
My intention was to make a dry mead but if some residual sweetness will benefit the total perception of a mead with heath honey I will certainly consider it.

The yeast that I have purchased is the wyeast dry mead which is highly alcohol tolerant and will finish at very low sg's. With an inititial sg of 1.098 this would mean that I have to stop the little beasties by adding a preservative (sorbate). Am I right? Or would it be better to use another yeast?

07-20-2009, 04:14 PM
Of the several different ways to get a semi-sweet mead, my personal preference is to allow the fermentation to go completely dry, then rack off of the lees (perhaps more than once), stabilize with the addition of BOTH potassium metabisulphite and potassium sorbate, and then backsweeten either with more honey or with a sweeter mead.