Published on September 13, 2007
BASICMEAD MAKINGforWINE MAKERS: BASIC MEAD MAKING for WINE MAKERS Presented by Peter Bennell – AWO Festival 2002 – Hamilton, Ontario. Overview: Overview What’s in the Glass Mead What is it ? Honey Production Varieties What’s in it ? Mead Honey Dilution Acid/pH Nutrition Yeast Clarification Sweet Mead Dry Mead What’s in the Glass ?: What’s in the Glass ? * This sample was taken from a fermenting must. Mead - What is it ?: Mead - What is it ? 'Nectar of the Gods' Any beverage made from FERMENTED Honey. Styles range from Ale (Alu) through Table to Liqueur. May be flavoured (i.e. Cyser, Pyment, Metheglin). Should always display taste andamp; aroma characteristics of the source Honey. It is NOT an alcoholic beverage SWEETENED with Honey. To purists it is NOT Honey Wine (Is Cider Apple Ale ?) Honey - Production: Honey - Production Bees feed on plant Nectar (carbohydrate) and pollen (protein). Each plant Nectar has unique Aroma andamp; Flavour characteristics. In its life (2-3 weeks) a Bee tends to visit a single Plant species. Bees 1) Collect Nectar andamp; pollen for future use. 2) Reduce Nectar moisture to 17 andgt; 18%. 3) Invert Nectar Sucrose into Fructose andamp; Glucose. 4) Convert some Glucose to Gluconic acid andamp; Hydrogen Peroxide. Bee Keepers 1) Collect Honey. 2) Strain most solids out of Honey. Honey Packers 1) Filter Honey (removes pollen andamp; some nutrients). 2) Pasteurize Honey to Stabilize (modifies flavour/aroma). Honey – Varieties: Honey – Varieties 'WILDFLOWER' - Most common – Non specific multiple plant sources. Variable colour/aroma/taste. Dependant on geography/season/weather. Bee keepers/packers may blend for consistency. PLANT SPECIFIC - Aroma/flavour/colour primarily that of named plant. Majority (51%) of Nectar from named plant. May only be available at certain times of year. Often not available in quantity (at a reasonable price). LOCAL – Clover, Alfalfa, Buckwheat, Goldenrod. IMPORTED – Orange Blossom, Blueberry, Eucalyptus, Sage. CLASSIFICATION – Canadian Honey is graded by Colour only. No consideration is given to Aroma or Flavour. Honey – What’s in it?: Honey – What’s in it? U.S.D.A. Typical Averages for Clover Honey (% by weight) MOISTURE - 17.7% SUGARS - Fructose 37.9% Glucose 31.0% Sucrose 1.4% Others 9.1% TOTAL ACID 2.79% ASH 0.071% NITROGEN 0.039% Ph 3.77 Some Measured Values Honey Type Sugars(%) TA(g/L) pH Colour Wildflower 80.9 3.2 3.50 Light Gold Wildflower 81.8 1.9 3.85 Light Gold Buckwheat 82.8 3.0 3.29 Dark Amber Buckwheat 82.0 2.4 3.45 Dark Amber Goldenrod 81.3 2.0 3.18 Pale Gold Goldenrod 81.1 2.2 3.46 Pale Gold Mead – Honey Dilution: Mead – Honey Dilution WATER - Honey Sugar content is about 80 Brix. - A 3:1 Dilution will produce a Must of 20 Brix. - This will produce a Dry Mead of about 11.5% Alc/vol. ACID - In Honey typically 2 andgt;3 g/L by titration (TA). - When Diluted (3:1) this becomes andlt;1 g/L. pH - If Diluted with Neutral (pH 7.00) Water this will be unchanged. - Toronto tap water is pH 6.99 ± 0.01. NUTRITION – Nitrogen and Ash (mineral) content become low with Dilution. Mead – Acid/pH: Mead – Acid/pH THE PROBLEM The Must is Low in Acid with an acceptable pH. A Honey Must is a poorly Buffered solution. A Small addition of Acid will cause a Large drop in pH. A PRACTICAL SOLUTION Add a Maximum of 2 g/L of Acid before fermentation. A 50:50 blend of Tartaric andamp; Citric works well. Balance Acid by taste after fermentation. Don’t exceed 20 Brix at start of fermentation. Add Honey after fermentation 50% complete to increase desired alcohol. Use adequate Nutrients (also increases pH temporarily). Sweet Mead needs less Acid addition than Dry Mead. Mead - Nutrition: Mead - Nutrition A Honey Must is Very Low in Nutrients. Adequate Balanced Nutrition is Important for a Quick, Clean Aerobic Fermentation. Further Nitrogen supplement may be needed to Complete Fermentation. Recommendations Use 'Go-Ferm' during rehydration of dry Yeast. Add adequate Balanced Nutrient (i.e. Fermaid) to must before yeast (1 g/L). When active ferment (24hrs) add Diammonium Phosphate (0.5 g/L). If adding further Honey to raise alcohol add further Nutrient (0.1 g/L per 10 SG). Note: If Honey added to sweeten Mead don’t add DAP. Mead - Yeast: Mead - Yeast Any Wine Yeast Should Work What Attributes are Required ? Good Starter under Stressful Conditions. Work Steadily to Dryness in a Reasonable Time. Minimize Proteins. Will reach the desired level of Alcohol. Finish with good (relatively high) pH and Acid. Retain desirable Aroma andamp; Taste Characteristics. Mead - Yeast: Mead - Yeast 'Wildflower' Must 0.5 g/L Citric 0.5 g/L Tartaric 1.0 g/L DAP SG 1.080 Split into 4 L lots Yeasts pitched Dry Temp. 23andgt;25°C All active after 24 hrs. (Stressful Conditions) Mead - Yeast: Mead - Yeast What Yeast(s) to use (Not inclusive – Experiment – Find those that suite you) Moderate Alcohol (andlt;13.0%) – D47 Higher Alcohol (13andgt;15%) – EC 1118 (These Yeasts work best at 20 andgt; 25°C in Honey Must) Use Adequate Quantity of Yeast – 0.5 g/L (Twice recommended for Grapes). Good Hydration (important) 50 mL. Warm water per 5 g. Yeast. Use 'Go-Ferm' After 15 min. add equal volume of Must (stir). Leave, covered, for 1 hr. (use adequate container – it will foam). Pitch the Yeast. Mead - Clarification: Mead - Clarification The Primary Problem is PROTEIN 1 : any of numerous naturally occurring extremely complex substances that consist of amino-acid residues joined by peptide bonds, contain the elements carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, usually sulfur, and occasionally other elements (as phosphorus or iron), and include many essential biological compounds (as enzymes, hormones, or immunoglobulins) 2 : the total nitrogenous material in plant or animal substances. (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary) Mead - Clarification: Mead - Clarification Some Options: Ultra-filtration – Before Fermentation. - Practiced by some commercial Mead Makers). - Not practical for the Amateur. Boil the Must - Before Fermentation. - Utilizes the Hot Break as in brewing. - Effective in reducing, but not eliminating, Protein. - Reduces Nitrogen (nutrient). - Once recommended to sterilize the Must (it is already sterile). - If carelessly done can add caramel flavours. - Reduces volatile aromas ( the ones we want in the Mead). Bentonite Fining – After Fermentation andamp; any sweetening. - Effective. - Does have bulky lees. - Little Flavour change. - Some Colour loss (not always a bad thing). - The most practical for the Amateur. Mead - Clarification: Mead - Clarification Bentonite Fining The quantity needed will depend very much on the Honey used. More required than grape wine (may be as much as 1.0 g/L). Do a trial Fining first if practical. If no trial start with 0.25 g/L, leave 10 days, add another 0.25 g/L. Repeat till clear. There may still be Protein present that will later form sediment in the bottle. Check Protein stability – Put a 50andgt;100mL. sample in a suitable clear container. - Boil for 15 min. - Cool sample andamp; put in fridge for 24 hrs. - Swirl the sample. - If a powdery spiral is observed there is still Protein. Repeat fining until Mead is protein stable. Insurance Sparkeloid fining (0.25 g/L) – Optional. Finishing filter 1.0 andgt; 0.45μ – Optional. Sweet Mead: Sweet Mead Most Honeys will make an acceptable Sweet Mead. Don’t start with too high Brix (SG). Build up to desired alcohol level with Honey additions once fermentation is active. (remember to record SG before andamp; after to calculate original SG) Once alcohol level is reached then sweeten andamp; balance acid. Ensure that Sweetness is in balance with acid and alcohol (taste test). Use the same SO2 regimen as for wine (remember pH can be lot lower). If a 0.45μ filter not available use yeast inhibitor (sorbate). Dry Mead: Dry Mead Not all Honeys make good dry Mead – Taste, smell, view Honey – Use instinct. A good first time Dry Mead Honey is a 'Wildflower' . Be wary of very pale Honey – there may be no colour left after dilution andamp; fining. Most Dry Meads need some residual sweetness – Taste test. Many good Dry Meads are 9 andgt; 11% alc/vol. Be cautious with acid (particularly if you can’t measure pH – Taste test). References: References Mead Making Books MAKING MEAD – Roger A Morse – Wicwas Press. (History, Recipes, Methods andamp; Equipment). MAKING MEAD – Bryan Acton andamp; Peter Duncan – Amateur Winemaker Publications (History, Recipes, Methods andamp; Equipment). BREWING MEAD – Charlie Papazian – Brewers Publications. Includes WASSAIL IN MAZERS OF MEAD – Lt. Col. Robert Gayre – Gayre andamp; Nigg. (Recipes from Mr. Papazian and an entertaining history from the Lt. Col.) THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO BEEKEEPING – Roger A. Morse – E.P. Dutton. (A small knowledgeable section on Mead Making). Mead Making Web Sites http://www.lallemand.com/danstar-lalvin/Mead_Basics.html (Clayton Cone discusses Mead Making with emphasis on Yeast and Nutrition). http://www.solorb.com/gfc/mead/danspaper.txt ('An Analysis of Mead, Mead Making and the Role of its Primary Constituents'). Honey Sources Ontario Beekeepers Association – http://www.ontariobee.com/4_resources/source_dir/htm Pat Westlake (Bus. Admin.) 519-565-2622 The web page lists most of the major Beekeepers that sell Honey in Ontario.