Check out our latest video recipe for canning pot roast (with mead, of course)!
In the past we’ve discussed whether or not you need to boil your mead. Then we discussed it again here. We’ve probably mentioned it a few other times, but this gives you an idea that it’s a pretty important (and contentious) subject in the world of meadmaking. Good news, today we are not going to talk about boiling (much).
When people want to make their first batch of mead they often go one of two places for their water: The Grocery Store or The Tap. Both of these are fine sources for water if you know what you’re looking for.
In case you don’t want to get into all the geekiness, there is a quick way to tell if your water is going to work for a batch of mead: If it’s good to drink, it’s good to brew. Do you filter your water at home? Then filter it for your mead. Do you drink it right out of the tap? Then go ahead and use tap water for your brew. If you do want to get your aqueous geek on, however, keep reading.
What you don’t want:
What you do want:
And, last but not least, on a completely separate note: Did you know that the “water, water everywhere” quote is one of the most misquoted lines in our language? It is not completed “but not a drop to drink.” The entire stanza reads as follows:
Water, water everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink.
Water, water everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.
Just in case you didn't know.
For all you homebrewers and mead-drinkers out there, we put together this handy poster illustrating the the most common types of mead!
If you want to print a copy of the poster, you can download the PDF here:
Back in his homebrew-shop-employee days, Meadmaker Ricky was often asked a simple question:
My husband comes here all the time. I think he buys things to make beer. I don’t drink beer and I’ve never seen if he actually makes anything. Maybe he just buys buckets from you. You probably know him, in fact, he’s 5’ 10”, brown hair, looks like he’s somewhere between 28 and 56 years old and goes either by John or Mark. But I think he buys stuff to make beer. It’s our eleventeenth wedding anniversary and I want to get him something sweet and thoughtful and personal but something functional and perfect for his hobby, (if he really does make beer). What does he want?
Ricky was told not to say: “So, you want me to pick out something intensely personal for your husband? Won’t he take that amiss?” but rather, “I bet he’d love a gift certificate.” This was usually unsatisfactory because this individual wanted something SPECIAL, not some dumb-ol’ gift card.
The next line of defense was the one we’re going to present to you here today:
The Big List of Contraptions that Make Homebrewing Easier, Faster, Geekier, or More Fun (in no particular order)!
And, at this point, the spouse would look Ricky straight in the eyes and say, “Y’know, I think I’ll get him a Gift Certificate.”
Our Meadmaker's Great Grandfather, Thaddeus Klein, used to mix mead cocktails when he worked as a bartender in the '20s.
Wait a sec . . . our fact-checker just told us we completely made that up. But we do have a good photo!
The people who come to the Groennfell Tasting Area generally fall into two categories (well, three if you count our college buddies who just like free drinks).
First, there are the people who are simply curious about what mead is. Then there are the people who are curious about every single aspect of what mead can be. It is this latter group that really challenges and excites one as a meadmaker.
As we discussed in the past, a good elevator speech is very important in this industry, but it’s never really exciting to deliver. Sure, it’s fun to be there for someone’s very first glass of mead, but what’s really interesting is when you get a home meadmaker, or someone who’s tried traditional Scandinavian Mead, or a beekeeper, or anyone with really good questions.
At this point you’re probably thinking that we’re going to get into some of these fine interrogatives from our favorite customers. Wrong. Many of the questions we receive are worth whole blog posts unto themselves. No, what we’re going to talk about is the one question that almost all of our dabblers ask: “What’s the right temperature for drinking mead?” It is, almost without a doubt, our most common question.
What follows is an archetypal conversation betwixt Meadmaker Ricky and a customer who we will call Weekend Dabbler.
Ricky: Now, what you have here is not currently available bottled by our company, it’s one of my personal-all-time-favorite-reci…
Dabbler: What’s the proper temperature for mead?
R: Well, different meads are best at different temperatures.
D: What’s a good average temperature for all of them?
R: Different people have different predilections. The owner likes her mead at…
D: No, I mean, like, what’s the traditional temperature for mead.
D: Excuse me?
R: Friend Dabbler, you seem to have some serious misconceptions about the relative ages of mead and refrigeration. It used to be that the best – and only, I should add – temperature for your mead was whatever temperature your bedroom/kitchen/parlor/hut was. It’s only in the last little while that you got to say things like “gosh, I think I’ll have my cream as the iced variety today.” Up until the turn of the last century, if you were lucky enough to have a cellar in addition to your bedroomkitchenparlorhut, then you got to choose between cellar temperature and bedroomkitchenparlorhut temperature, both of which vary regionally and seasonally. So, I’d personally check the weather in Stockholm, a traditional mead enclave, and warm or cool your mead appropriately.
(Here Kelly the Boss steps in.)
K: Fridge or cellar temperature is fine. The most important thing is what tastes good to you. Ricky, please go mop something.
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.