In which Ricky the Meadmaker answers questions about what kind of mead to brew for your first batch, what to do if your mead doesn't taste very good, when to add yeast nutrient (and what exactly is it?), and more!
Basics Part 1
Basics Part 2
Your First Batch of Mead
Meadmaking Essential Equipment
Making Mead at Home in Three Short Weeks
Hi everyone, I'm finally answering questions at work again! And... guess what! It looks the same!
Welcome to Ask the Meadmkaker, where I, Ricky the Meadmaker, answer your questions about mead making, mead drinking, mead brewing, and, really, any question you're willing to send to me! And this is part three of probably four, maybe five, where I just answer basic questions!
And one that I get all the time is, "My mead isn't very good. What should I do?" And the answer is easy: wait. While this won't always solve your problem, but hopefully you'll be brewing in the meanwhile, learning from any mistakes you made. And by the time you go back and taste it, and you're like, "Uhhh this really wasn't that good," you'll have plenty of other good stuff to enjoy.
Next question, "My mead is sour. What do I do?" Whoowooohoo... that's not one you want to wait on. Uh... it won't hurt ya'. Uhhhh, mead vinegar could be really cool in some Italian dishes. Also, a side note, wild fermented and sour meads are super popular these days, and we make a whole bunch of them, so you could just pretend that that's what you were going for!
After a previous "basics," people have been asking, what exactly is yeast nutrient? And the answer is, it's a blend of minerals and amino acids, some salts, and for the most part, it's proprietary if you get one of the fancy blends, so beyond that, I don't know. However, certain nutrients like DAP, diammonium phosphate, tell you exactly what they are.
On the subject of nutrient. One of my favorite things to talk about at dinner parties (when I want people to go home) is, "When do I add the nutrient?" And the answer is, this is a shockingly contentious subject. We do it all at the beginning. And I had someone stand up and walk out of a lecture when I said that we did that so, you know... A lot of people will do staggered nutrient additions to try to maintain the health of their yeast throughout the fermentation process. This to me implies that your fermentation - active fermentation - might be going longer than ours here at the meadery but, um, yeah, just take that as another one of them that I almost answered but didn't quite because I don't want to get in any fights.
Our last question this week is one that I can't answer for you, even though I get it all the time: "Should I start with a plain mead with only honey in it? Should I do something fancier to start?" The answer is: Alright, what, what do you want when you're done brewing? That doesn't seem like a very hard question. Do you want a plain mead when you're done brewing it? Or do you want something different? Because if you want something different, brew that! It's not going to change halfway through the process. That said, if you start with plain mead, you can always add stuff to it afterwards. But that would also be a decision that you have to make for yourself! I cannot answer for you!
So that was our last question this week. Come back in two weeks for what is probably part four of maybe part four of maybe four parts or maybe eight parts... we'll see. Keep sending your questions in the meanwhile, and I'll get to them as soon as possible. Cheers!
Today is both Midsummer and Father’s Day; holidays that focus on community, relationships, and being together.
In the world of Coronavirus, voluntary quarantine, and social distancing, it can be hard to celebrate; it might even be impossible to be together, but humans still need community.
Today is about honoring families, celebrating growing things, and observing the brightness of the world while acknowledging the slow, steady, turning of the year back to cold and dark.
While most people can buy our mead online, that’s not what we’re going to recommend today.
We’re an open source company and have been since the day of our founding. All of our recipes are available for free online, as well as all of our brewing techniques.
Many years ago, Robert Putnam wrote a book called Bowling Alone which tracked the collapse of the American community. Since he first published his work two decades ago, the trend has only accelerated.
With homebrew clubs relegated to Zoom Meetings, it’s harder than ever to feel connected. So today we urge you to reach out to the people in your close community, and if you can manage it, get together with your kith and kin, safely distanced if necessary, and brew together.
It may seem strange that we’d recommend brewing mead yourself over buying our stuff online. Actually, it is strange.
The thing is, through all of this, we’ve been separated from our work family and birth families, and we’ve developed a deeper understanding of how important it is to make something real, physical, tangible, and meaningful with people you love.
Making mead is so incredibly simple - all it takes is a bucket, yeast, water, and honey - and the mead you make is something that you can enjoy with your community for years to come.
We absolutely understand that many of you may be unable to be in the same physical location as the people you love. If that’s the case, pull up Google Hangouts, hop on a Zoom call, FaceTime, or just stick a phone under your ear, and stir up some honey and water while talking to your family.
Obviously you don’t need to brew mead to stay connected to your friends and family, but making something tangible together, even if you’re apart, is as powerful now as it has been for the history of our species.
Why mead? Because you can get the ingredients at the grocery store, and it will still be good whenever you’re able to gather together again. Also, it happens to be the thing we're experts on.
And, to be completely honest, it seems like we all need easy wins right now. Watching those bubbles come through the airlock and imagining drinking a pint with your friends and family is better than constantly refreshing Facebook, binge watching anime, or trying to learn what a TikTok is.
So, dear Meadiacs, stay safe, stay healthy, and brew together whenever you can. It means more than you can possibly imagine.
 It’s also Chris Pratt’s birthday and World Giraffe Day, but those are less germane to the subject of this article.
 We’re a small business and, of course, it would be a great Father’s Day gift to Ricky, but not the point of this article.
 And book clubs, Girl Scouts, Dungeons and Dragons campaigns, Catholic Mass, local gourmet clubs, Doubles Tiddlywinks, beaches, philately organizations, and... pretty much everything else.
Or, alternatively, you can make him a card that says, "I was thinking about buying you mead, but then I didn't. I still think you're a good dad, though."
Ricky Klein and all the staff of Vermont Craft Mead stand in solidarity with the BIPOC community. Your lives matter to us. Thank you for being you. Stay strong. Stay safe. We are here.
Here are a few resources from B Labs that we've found super helpful:
Tackling Racism As Accountable Business Leaders
4 Steps That I and Other White People Can Take to Fight Racism
A very special episode to support the work of Mystic Seaport and their amazing Viking Days Exhibit! In this episode, Ricky the Meadmaker dispels some of the common myths about Vikings and mead!
Fun Fact: Skulls of Enemies
What's So Sweet About a Honeymoon?
Fun Fact: Mead of Poetry
Lady with a Mead Cup
So usually I'd be doing this on Father's Day at beautiful Mystic Seaport but there's this pandemic going on. So we're gonna try it by video.
Welcome to Ask the Meadmaker, where I, Ricky the Meadmaker, answer your questions about mead making mead drinking, mead brewing and any question you're willing to send to me. This week we're collaborating with Mystic Seaport in Connecticut for Viking Days, which got canceled and then moved and then moved and then canceled. We're working on it, folks.
So we're going to do only Viking mead questions this week, and we're going to start off with one of the biggest myths out there. Number one: No, Vikings did not drink their mead out of the skulls of their enemies they drank out of intricately made horns, silver, and in some cases imported wine goblets made of glass.
While we're dispelling myths, honeymoon is not related to drinking mead for a month you will go on even fact based websites that claim that it's some Viking tradition of giving them Mead. We have a link in the doobly doo below dispelling the myth.
Here's an interesting one for you. Although mead is extremely popular in Viking legends, the mead of poetry (the ability to recite verse) actually comes from a mead that is stolen by Odin and put in his mouth when he's a bird and then barfed up into some buckets. But skipping that, mead was so special because honey is almost unavailable in Scandinavia directly. So where the Vikings lived, and especially in Iceland, honeybees don't flourish or even survive, so they actually had to trade for it.
Another myth to dispel: No the Vikings did not drink mead every day unless they were inordinately rich because of the thing that I just said about the access to honey.
Here's a fun fact about dying as a Viking if you were lucky enough to be selected by the Valkyries and taken to Valhalla: You get to eat pork and drink mead every night because there is a goat there named Heiðrún who gives mead instead of milk.
Here's one that we don't know the answer to: Was their mead sweet? A lot of craft meads like what we brew here at Groennfell Meadery and Havoc Mead are extremely dry. A lot of honey wines, which are also very popular, are usually very sweet. So what were the Vikings drinking? The answer is we don't know. Conjectures range, but we do know this: If the honey remains in solution, that means those sugars have not been turned into alcohol, and it's unlikely that the Vikings would have left any potential alcohol behind if they could help it.
Along those lines, what did Viking mead taste like? We know that they often used spices. Sometimes they mixed it with grain. And other than that, all guesses.
Our last fun fact is a twofer! So the central place in most Viking-era communities was called the Mead Hall - Meduseld. And this means "the place that has mead" showing how central it was to their community, but what many people don't know is it was the women in those communities who did almost all the brewing and distribution of that mead. For more on this and other interesting facts will have a link to the book Lady With the Mead Cup below. Fascinating research work. And also of course, a link to the Viking Days website.
If you have any questions, you can send them to me and I'll get to them as soon as possible. Cheers.
Groennfell Meadery and Havoc Mead are thrilled to announce the next release in our Chaos Sour Series!
Curmudgeon: A Maple Elderberry Sour made with local honey from French Hill Apiaries and Maple-Infused Elderberries from RUNAMOK Maple!
This will be our first collaboration with RUNAMOK, and we couldn't be more excited. We're able to use their maple-infused elderberries to save these precious commodities from an ignominious death in the compost!
Their logos are at the bottom of the page. Please try to work them into your design!
And, of course, we need you! Our local artists!!!
First prize is $100 and your artwork on every can of Curmudgeon.
To participate, please read the guidelines below and email a high-resolution image of your submission along with your full name, phone number, and the title of the work to Ricky@groennfell.com.
Deadline for submissions is July 7th (updated from July 1st)
About the Submissions
All submissions must be the original work of the submitter, the rights to which are also owned by the submitter.
If the status of the rights changes during the selection period, the submitter must withdraw the submission.
Submissions must scale to fit within the 5” x 8.325” label (see label templates below for more details). Submissions which do not meet the formatting requirements will be returned for correction.
Submissions which violate Federal Labeling Guidelines (such as obscenity, misrepresentation of the product, false advertising, etc.) will be disqualified. The submitter will be informed and allowed to resubmit with changes.
Submissions which violate our company standards of inclusivity will also be disqualified (e.g. racist, sexist, or homophobic images). There is no exhaustive list; use your best judgement. For more on our policies visit DrinkYourValues.groennfell.com. It remains the right of Groennfell Meadery to disqualify any submission for violation of these policies.
There is no limit on the number of submissions an individual artist may submit.
The winner will be selected by popular vote with a run-off if necessary. All submissions will be given equal publicity by Groennfell Meadery. Submitters retain the right to promote their work.
If the submission is selected, the submitter grants Groennfell Meadery LLC, DBA Havoc Mead, exclusive rights to replicate the submission for commercial purposes. Groennfell Meadery does not gain ownership or other rights to the original piece.
All other submissions remain the exclusive property of the submitters.
The winner will receive $100 and a shout-out everywhere (since we can't do a party due to Coronavirus)!
Groennfell Meadery is Vermont’s premier craft meadery. Inspired by Old Norse legends, brewed with extraordinary ingredients, Groennfell’s meads are unlike anything you’ve had before. Crisp, clean, and astoundingly drinkable, the only way to explain any one of Groennfell’s meads is to try one yourself.