Shop Bee Folks for your Honey!Shop Bee Folks for your Honey!
Results 1 to 13 of 13
  1. Default Mead with minimum water content possible

    Hi, i’ve been researching this for a while but haven’t been able to find anything at all.
    I know that mead begins fermenting at 17%+ water content but i was wondering what the lowest feasible amount of water you could add to make a mead- syrup sort of deal and whether people have tried this as well as their experiences?

  2. #2


    I'm not sure where you're coming from. None of this makes sense. Unless you might be talking about the % of water in honey and where it might start to ferment. I have made meads at 1170 gravity if that helps. You need to do things differently if you want to start with a gravity that high compared to standard practices.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  3. #3


    As most know, honey can store for years. They've even found honey in archaeological digs in Egypt that was not fermented. The more water content honey has, the greater risk of wild yeast(s) getting a foothold and fermenting. I'm guessing what you meant is that honey can start fermenting around 18% H2O content, but that doesn't make it mead (yet). Is it possible to 'make mead' with say an 18-20% H2O content? I'm not sure you'd call it 'mead', but your success will vary greatly on a lot of fronts.
    1 - Your ABV will likely be very low
    2 - You'll have to depend on wild yeast(s) as the yeasts used in modern mead making cannot handle the gravity of just honey
    3 - The wild yeasts in your area may not even be able to get fermentation started
    4 - What any 'mead' from this tastes like will be unknown (more than likely not very good)

    Folks on this forum add water to the honey to make their must. Some here may have tried to get honey to ferment on it's own. I haven't as it seems like a high chance of being a waste of good honey.

    I hope that helps answer your question. If not, maybe word it differently or let us know what you're thinking of trying, etc.

  4. Default

    Thanks heaps this was really helpful, the intention here was to find out whether making a ‘mead’ with such a low water content is possible. I’ve made wild fermented T’ej before and was wondering if i could flip the 1:3 honey to water ratio into a 1:3 water to honey ratio and still make something from it. I might still make a very small test batch of a litre or less and come back here to report what happens.
    If you have any resources on the productivity of yeasts in higher gravity solutions that would be great.
    Thanks again

  5. #5


    So in that thread a honey farmer (I know there's a proper term that I'm too lazy to look up) had his honey start fermenting
    spontaneously. Its been a while since I read the thread but there is info in there for you and you might be able to get a sample from him. The sample should contain the microorganism that was able to work in the high osmotic stress environment. It may not be a yeast, and it may not ferment to an alcohol end product (might ferment to acetic acid instead as an example). Regardless the microorganism is clearly a tank when it comes to high osmotic environments and could help you with your experimentation.
    Remember that knowledge has value even when its free! Consider becoming a GotMead patron member to help Vicky host this awesome site.

  6. #6


    These aren't so hard. Especially if you understand the method and some adjustments one would make to adjust for the higher gravity. Look this up and search as much as you can. Make a plan and post it up so we can look over your plan to help you be on the right track before you start.

    Jadwiga is a Poltorak mead (pow-TOO-rhak), meaning it is three parts, honey, to one part water.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Burlingame, California


    As it happens, the ratio by volume method of preparing must for mead making is very close to my heart and I use it all the time. This method of describing mead sweetness is still used in Poland and it goes to the old days of mead making in that part of the world. I think it is more reliable and accurate than so called egg method used in other parts of Europe and allowed to rough estimate of sugar content in the must preparation. Back then hydrometers where none existent or unknown to mead makers and they had to rely on some reliable and repeatable method of calculating how much honey and how much water to use in mead making. To this day in Poland mentioning the ratio of honey to water in any mead related conversation is immediately understood without ever mentioning Specific Gravity. Also, mead is officially (legally) named and divided according to the honey to water ratio and the names like Czwórniak, Trójniak, Dwójniak or Półtorak describe the level of sweetness. So, instead of saying dry mead, semi sweet mead, sweet mead or desert mead - we would use the name of the ratio - czwórniak, trójniak, dwójniak and półtorak accordingly. There are other ratios on the dry side of the spectrum but in Poland these types of mead are almost never made. I should also mention, that while you count the "parts" in the ratio, you count the honey part and the water part and it is the total count of the parts which creates the name.

    Lets take a look at the ratios, their names and relative Specific Gravity:

    Czwórniak - means four parts - 1 part of honey and three parts of water - SG range 1.1057 - 1.1244
    Trójniak - means three parts - 1 part of honey and two parts of water - SG range 1.1340 - 1.1637
    Dwójniak - means two parts - 1 Part of honey and one part of water - SG range 1.2055 - 1.2500
    Półtorak - means one and a half parts - 1 part of honey and half part of water - SG range 1.2734 - 1.3291

    As you can see, there is no SG lower than 1.1057 mentioned above. There is no mistake, now days there is no company that I know of which wold produce mead commercially at this level of sweetness. Historically, such a mead would be named Piątak.

    Piątak - means five parts - 1 part of honey and four parts of water - SG range 1.0654 - 1.1011

  8. #8


    Thanks Crispy! I have a neighbor that I'm helping get started with mead who has some heritage in Poland. I'm going to send him this post as he's asked a lot about Polish meads.

  9. #9


    Crispy Hi

    Thanks for jumping in. I think it would be great to start a new thread and maybe invite people to jump in a Mead makealong. Where you could walk us all through your way of making this. I would jump in for sure. Even if not everyone got physically involved it would be a great piece of reference material for the archives. I have my own way and like it but I would love to have your experience
    Last edited by Squatchy; 02-17-2020 at 03:14 PM.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Burlingame, California


    There is really nothing that much different in making Polish Mead. It just takes a slightly different approach and adhering to ratios I mentioned in the earlier post. One also has to embrace sweetness and fairly large amount of oxidation in any mead of this style. How much you adhere to historical methods is of less importance in my opinion. As an example - I tend to use modern ways of adding nutrients instead of not using them at all or putting them all up front. The other important factor is aging, the sweeter the mead the longer period of aging is required. In the old days for example, the sweetest mead, Półtorak was supposed to be aged for 25 years before it was consumed. Modern technics and methods allow for that time to be cut dramatically. Right now - officially (legally), I think that time is reduced to five years. As far as I know, there is only one manufacturer left in Poland who still ages this type of mead for fifteen years.
    There is also the "mystery" of the Półtorak. What I mean is the fact that there is no yeast capable of braking down such big amount of sugar required by this style if conventional processes of fermentation were used. The osmotic shock would not allow any yeast to finish the fermentation successfully. It is still a mystery how that was achieved, some say that this style of mead had to be fortified by distilled alcohol, the others suggests that this was achieved by staggered honey additions. Yet another theory suggest that the alcohol content was very low (maybe 5% or so) and it was produced sort of like Tokay Essencia. Will we ever find the answer?

  11. Default

    I'd love to get a sample but unfortunately I live in Western Australia where honey import laws are really strict (for good reason) to prevent the spread of disease thanks for the link though!

  12. Default

    thanks for the insight crispy,
    I'd love to hear the techniques used to speed up the ageing process if you have any resources available. I'd also love to see any recipes you have if you'd be willing to share?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Burlingame, California


    There are no specific techniques or methods to speed up mead aging like you would have with tricks to make a piece of furniture look old
    What I meant was rather referring to a mead made in a such a way that you would not need a long time for any faults to mellow out with time. If your mead is good to begin with, then it will require less time for aging process. Modern mead making methods allow for less stressed yeast environments during fermentation, less phenols, unwanted enzymes, etc.
    I do not follow any specific recipes, I use whatever I have at hand at any given moment. I only adhere to "Polish" guidelines regarding honey to water ratios and starting gravity. The rest of the process is quite modern.
    I can recommend good recipe book written by Robert Ratliff which contains quite a few polish style recipes from my friend Marek Łęczycki.

Similar Threads

  1. Calculating how fruit water content affects gravity
    By Czar in forum Mead NewBees - Post your Questions Here
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 01-30-2017, 05:13 PM
  2. Minimum batch size
    By keepitlow in forum Mead NewBees - Post your Questions Here
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 12-11-2009, 12:16 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts