I’ve had mixed success with making my own mead. One batch I made was OK and a few others tasted, as Mrs. Root Simple put it, “like a desperate white wine substitute for a zombie apocalypse.” Last year I attended a mead tasting put on by America’s first homebrew club the Maltose Falcons. Somehow I neglected to blog about it, so better late than never, here’s what I learned:
- If you want decent mead you have to brew it yourself. We tasted a lot of homebrew meads along with commercial meads. Many of the homebrew meads were excellent. All of the commercial meads tasted like camping fuel. I was, frankly, surprised that anyone would go to the trouble of labeling, distributing and selling some of the awful store bought meads we tasted. I tried yet another horrible commercial mead at the natural foods convention I blogged about on Monday.
- In my opinion, the best homebrew meads at the tasting were carbonated. The carbonation helps accent the aroma of the honey that can sometime get lost in a flat mead.
- The best meads split the difference between dry and sweet. Too dry and you get that boring white wine taste. Too sweet and you’ve got cough syrup. Choosing the right yeast can strike that balance.
- I really enjoyed the orange blossom honey based mead my friend Steve Linsley made. Perhaps I’ll prod him for the recipe and post it here one of these days.
I’ve had good luck with a Narbonne Wine Yeast called Lalvin 71B-1122 Yeast.
Have you made mead? If so, how did it go? What kind of honey did you use? Have you tried the recipe in our book Making It?