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View Full Version : How did you get interested in drinking / making mead?



keepitlow
11-30-2009, 01:05 PM
For me, it happened while traveling in Europe in the '90's. I didn't make mead, just drank it.

wayneb
11-30-2009, 04:39 PM
Back in 1977 a college buddy of mine let me taste some "mead" that he and some other SCA'ers had made a couple of months before. Sweet spiced swill, but enough different from what everyone else was drinking at the time that it piqued my curiosity. There was absolutely nothing like it available commercially in the US at that time (with the exception of some "ethnic" meads that were not widely distributed), and I figured here is something that I could do, and probably do better than my half-crocked colleague! ;) So about a year and a half later I started my own first batch - and started at that time working on the recipe which eventually evolved into my Christmas Spice. Many years (and many meads) have been made (and drunk) by me since.

One thing led to another, and after all these years, now I find myself here! ;D

wildoates
11-30-2009, 05:31 PM
I've long been interested in both the scientific and artistic aspects of brewing, but I don't like wine and don't like beer, so...

I could never have afforded it until recent years, anyway.

fatbloke
11-30-2009, 06:07 PM
My dad used to keep bee's and kept on about having a go.

One day I happened to find that there is a local home brew shop so I went and got a "starter kit" for home wine making and a book. Read up the recipe, bought some cheapo supermarket honey and bingo........

I've managed to make a few good meads, but also a lot of drain cleaner.....

regards


fatbloke

p.s. and yes, I'm constantly frustrated by the lack of reasonably priced, decent quality honey here in the UK, as well as the relative paucity of appropriate yeasts and adjuncts.......

keepitlow
11-30-2009, 06:31 PM
I've long been interested in both the scientific and artistic aspects of brewing, but I don't like wine and don't like beer, so...

I could never have afforded it until recent years, anyway.

Why is that? Members have replied it is just a few $$ per bottle to make?

OK, the good mead is high priced, if your talking buying it.

AToE
11-30-2009, 06:34 PM
Why is that? Members have replied it is just a few $$ per bottle to make?

OK, the good mead is high priced, if your talking buying it.

Yes, but making batches of 5-6 gallons (the normal batch size) require a large investment, especially if you're experimenting. Even doing mainlly 1 gallon batches, I've easily sunk somewhere between 4-6 hundred dollars in just my first 6 months of mead making.

keepitlow
11-30-2009, 06:53 PM
Yes, but making batches of 5-6 gallons (the normal batch size) require a large investment, especially if you're experimenting. Even doing mainlly 1 gallon batches, I've easily sunk somewhere between 4-6 hundred dollars in just my first 6 months of mead making.

Ahh, I see. Thanks.

capoeirista13
11-30-2009, 07:10 PM
I read about it in a book. Then I looked for it around me but I couldn't find any in stores, so I decided to make my own. Now I've mostly moved onto cider and melomels though.

skunkboy
11-30-2009, 08:47 PM
Read about it in a lot of books, and had talked about it for years before one of my friends sat me down and forced me to watch him make it. Only then did I realize how "easy" it was and started filling my basement with carboys... ;-)

wildoates
11-30-2009, 08:51 PM
Why is that? Members have replied it is just a few $$ per bottle to make?

OK, the good mead is high priced, if your talking buying it.Not just the ingredients, but the equipment. I've spent more so far on toys than I have on the ingredients, although that is changing.

Well, maybe not. There are still a lot of things that I want to buy for myself. :rolleyes:

AToE
11-30-2009, 10:44 PM
I first had some at an outdoor wine festival on Vancouver Island, it was a light coloured spiced mead, and it was pretty terrible - way too much ginger. But, I'd heard of mead (vikings), and was able to taste something interesting behind the spices. I then had a glass of black mead (black currant melomel), and while it was too sweet for me, again I could taste that same something interesting behind the berries.

After searching endlessly to find some mead at liqour stores (and not finding any) I decided to make some, and did some research.

I originally had planned to make only 1 or 2 gallons, but once I stumbled upon this website and saw the possibilities...

Now I'm definitely hooked, and will probably never stop fermenting things.:)

Fishbone
11-30-2009, 11:10 PM
Barkshack Ginger Mead recipe from Charlie Papazian's "Joy of Homebrewing" is all I gotta say...

fatbloke
12-01-2009, 05:24 AM
Barkshack Ginger Mead recipe from Charlie Papazian's "Joy of Homebrewing" is all I gotta say...
which, to me, would be a little confusing........

because I've tried to make this a couple of times and it's always turned out "thin" or lacking in body, and not tasting very good at all, even after 12 to 18 months ageing.....

I've yet to work out what it is that he does, that I'm missing.......

Hey ho!

crowquill
12-01-2009, 07:41 AM
A friend made mead and was generous about sharing it. He kept telling me how easy it was to get started and I finally caved in and tried it. Now I'm obsessed....

Dan McFeeley
12-01-2009, 09:52 AM
I was working my way through college as a campus security guard, doing rounds in an abandoned building and came across a copy of an 1880's book, The Whitehouse Cookbook, a collection of recipes used in the Whitehouse at that time. Included were recipes for alcoholic beverages, including mead. I tried it, was intriqued, researched the 'net and came across the Mead Lovers Digest, have been involved ever since.

DaleP
12-01-2009, 01:18 PM
Twas the story Beowolf (sp?) and a copy of Mother Earth News back in the late 70's that sparked my interest. That with my family logging in the midwest and cutting down a few bee trees every year which gave me plenty of raw material, it was only natural to make it.

STLBrewer
12-01-2009, 02:56 PM
Mine was from trying some of DaleP's more recent (read that the past two years) batches. Once he told me how easy it was and what his process was, I too, was hooked!

Sasper
12-04-2009, 01:03 PM
Interest in my Norwegian ancestry. I found an easy recipe that wasn't very scientific and brewed it with bread yeast, and hid it in a closet. That was my senior year of High school haha.

CBiebel
12-04-2009, 02:48 PM
My brother had been homebrewing for a few years and his son, who was 19 at the time, was reading Beowulf and wondered what mead was, since it was mentioned quite a bit. He read up on it and most of the stuff he read said that you had to age mead for 2 years. Doing the math rather easily, he figured he'd make a batch and it would be ready for when he turned 21.

We all tried it and liked it.

akueck
12-04-2009, 04:50 PM
One of the very first things that happened when I moved to Berkeley was being invited to the quasi-annual "Materials Science Homebrew Party". At the time, a large chunk of the grad students in the department brewed. Many still do now, though I'm not sure if the ratio has changed (I did my part by indoctrinating the class below me). At the time I wasn't all that keen on beer, but one person had made some mead which was quite good. Oddly enough, I started brewing beer a few months later and didn't get around to mead for another 18 months.

After trying my first batch (which barely got to the 6 month mark), I recalled trying some mead in NY, I think it might have been from this place (http://www.meadery.com/earlwinelist.html), at the awesome local wine shop (http://www.northsidewine.com/)'s Friday tasting (along with cider (http://www.cidery.com/) which was pretty good). Their fruit meads struck us as sweetened fruit wine more than anything else, so I hadn't thought of it again until after making some of my own. Unfortunately (sort of) I've been slowing down lately in anticipation of being out of the country for several months starting next fall and moving to another state when we get back. Big plans for then though!

Smarrikåka
12-04-2009, 11:06 PM
In 2001 or 2002, I was going to take part in a LARP over the summer, and asked the event arranger what roles needed to be filled. He told me that they needed some mead brewers, and I thought it sounded pretty cool, though at the time I had very little idea what it was. Researching mead a little, I got some clue, as well as got worried that I wouldn't be able to produce any decent mead in time for the event (I think I had about a month). Another worry was that it had to be below 2,8 ABV, in order for me to be able to serve it legally.
At the time there was a 'faux mead' being sold in Sweden, which was essentially a beer with added honey aroma (so not even any actual honey), and this was at 5, something ABV. So I figured the easiest solution would be buy that and see how it tasted if diluted with 50% water. Needless to say, it wasn't very good, but I didn't have high ambitions, so decided to settle for it.
The "mead" was kind of popular during the event, even though it was pretty much water with some beer flavour. But the name "mead" kind of sold itself. We had brought light beer, cider and something called "weak-drink" (a sweet and dark malt beverage with low ABV), as well, but the mead sold much better despite tasting much worse, and people kept coming back for it. I laso found a way to develop the product dureing the actual event. By mixing the weak-drink with the diluted honey aroma beer I got something that tasted a lot better than both did originally.

Anyway, during the event, I was also introduced to "real mead" that some people had brought with them that they had made themselves. So that is how I got introduced to it.

Over the next year I introduced my grandfather to mead, who was both a beekeeper and some experience as a homebrewer (but had never tried making mead). But he tried it out with some of his own honey, and made it quite good in my opinion, and he let me have a few bottles. I also tried out making some with cheap honey from the supermarket, but his outdid mine by far.

The following summer I decided to go back to the LARP event because it had been so much fun (actually for about the following 3 years or so). But I still couldn't serve real mead there due to ABV. However, I evolved my original concept into a mix between 1/3 sloppily fermented mead, 1/3 unfermented honeywater and 1/3 weak-drink, which actually tasted superb, and everyone loved it. Even songs were written about it!

After some summers of this stuff, I decided to make a real attempt at making a 30 liter batch of truly good mead, and the result was pretty remarkable (This was in early 2006). I had some lemon andn raisins in it (but not overly much), so I guess you could say it was a "hard Sima". It seemed to stop fermenting at about a SG of 15, which was about what I wanted, so I racked it and added sulfites/sorbates. One person who tasted this stuff the next summer went absolutely insane, because they thought it was so good. And since this was around the time I had just finished my studies at University, and was looking what to do with my life, I thought, heck someone really ought to start selling mead in this country, and so after that my fate was kind of sealed. The next year I founded a company that currently imports mead from Poland and USA.

keepitlow
12-08-2009, 09:53 AM
and something called "weak-drink" (a sweet and dark malt beverage with low ABV),

Interesting background on what got you into the mead biz.

Your post mentioned a brew that sounds like malta? These are 2 of the best malta's made, out of the dozen+ varieties I've had.

http://www.powermalt.com/

http://www.vitamalt.com/

BTW, if you never get a sample of the Moniack mead, I've got ONE bottle left for next year. If you ever find yourself in Ohio or PA, let me know and we can crack it open.

Moniack has gone from bad to worse with their distribution. Seems hard to get even in Canada. Was planning on driving to Canada to buy 4 or 5 cases, but can't find a source.

wayneb
12-08-2009, 01:10 PM
BTW, if you never get a sample of the Moniack mead, I've got ONE bottle left for next year. If you ever find yourself in Ohio or PA, let me know and we can crack it open.


Man, you've definitely piqued my curiosity now! I'm originally from NE Ohio (Youngstown) and I get back there occasionally (next planned trip is around next July 4th). If you'd be willing to pop the cork on that bottle, I'll bring out some other meads that I think you may like, that are more readily available stateside. I'll even bring one of my own batches that you might find that you like well enough to warrant making some for yourself! ;)

If you wouldn't mind, send me a PM and let me know exactly where you are.

Smarrikåka
12-08-2009, 01:59 PM
That Malta stuff looks like it could be similar to "weak.drink", though the branding image is vastly different from how it's portayed here.

Would be fun to come see you in Ohio, but the chances of me getting to Scotland is much greater than the chances of me getting to Ohio, so if wayneb comes knocking on your door, crack it open and don't wait around for me. :)

Fortuna_Wolf
12-08-2009, 02:01 PM
I don't like beer (hate hops and hate drinking wheaties or worse, water) and I don't like wine (childhood grape trauma). I found some caucher's in a store and aside from being sickly sweet I really liked it. Found a few other brands (redstone was excellent. ragnarok - I'd rather drink caucher's). Decided at the price point of $20/bottle that I could just make my own.

Tried JAO's and went from there.

Had some smash hits. Everyone loved the Rhodomel once it aged 2 years (no nutrient additions, finished semisweet naturally. was a bit rough at first).

trennels
12-08-2009, 03:00 PM
When I was in High School I had a friend whose Dad made wine and mead. We used to raid their basement on a regular basis :-P

Not too long ago I tried some of Shady Grove's mead here in Tennessee. I really liked it, but at $17.00/bottle it was a bit more than I usually spend on wine, so I started searching the internet for how to make it.

Sasper
12-08-2009, 03:22 PM
Man, you've definitely piqued my curiosity now! I'm originally from NE Ohio (Youngstown)

Hey small world! I live about an hour away from Youngstown!

wayneb
12-08-2009, 03:29 PM
Hey small world! I live about an hour away from Youngstown!
Which way? PM me and let me know. Maybe we'll get a mead tasting party together next summer!!

dr9
12-13-2009, 01:20 PM
I participated in a "Sumble' where a horn of two different meads were passed around, in a backyard memorial of a recently deceased family member, where all the friends gathered and two of the guys are Wicca/Pagan/Something I'm not sure, but they set it up, and the mead was really good. I, already having some beer brewing experience, am going for some mead now. I haven't brewed any yet, but working on it. I had never had mead before, it was just something I remember being talked about in Brit Lit class in high school after reading Beowulf. But after putting that sweet nectar to my lips, in a perfect atmosphere, around a bonfire in memorium for a loved one, surrounded by good friends, I am a mead freak, and I don't think it's "just a phase".

keepitlow
12-14-2009, 09:45 PM
Man, you've definitely piqued my curiosity now! I'm originally from NE Ohio (Youngstown) and I get back there occasionally (next planned trip is around next July 4th). If you'd be willing to pop the cork on that bottle, I'll bring out some other meads that I think you may like, that are more readily available stateside. I'll even bring one of my own batches that you might find that you like well enough to warrant making some for yourself! ;)

If you wouldn't mind, send me a PM and let me know exactly where you are.


Ok, I should be around then. We can do it. I'll PM you with the info.