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Mead is a fermented beverage made primarily of honey and water. Yeast converts the sugars in the honey to alcohol during fermentation. Various other ingredients may be added to the mead to create various types of mead. Mead with spices is called a methyglyn. A melomel is mead with fruit, or fruit juice. Some more common fruits make a particular type of melomel, such as cyser (apple) or perimel (pear). Here at U2M we try to make some unique meads and have had very good luck with our flower meads which we call floramels. Mead with rose petals is call a rhodomel, but I don't think there is an official name for violets, lilacs, woodruff and lavender that we have used. The contents of this web site come from the pages of our brew book. It is not intended to be a complete source of information on either mead or the brewing process. There are almost as many different methods of brewing mead as there are brewers. These pages only reflect how we brew mead at the Unicorn Unchained Meadery, otherwise known as Marcia's kitchen.
Mead making is a fairly simple process, but it takes patience. First the honey, water, and other ingredients are pasteurized (heated to 160F for 20 minutes) to form the "must". The must is then cooled. We have a "must chiller" which was made by wrapping copper pipe, first around a large jug and then around a wine bottle for a double coil, with both ends on top. Plastic tubes are attached to the ends and we have a tube adapter that can be put on the kitchen faucet to send old water through the coils. Meads are often started in a large food grade plastic bucket and later moved to a glass carboy in a process called racking. Other ingredients may be added in the bucket before adding the yeast. The mead may be racked one or more times before bottling. Good sanitation is important at all stages of mead making. U2M has soaked things in water with a bit of bleach, however at Talisman farms a product called StarSan is diluted into a spray bottle which can sprayed various types of equipment or send streams through tubing. This is quicker, easier, and less likely to ruin your clothes than soaking things in bleach. Most U2M meads have been in a carboy for 6 months to 1 year after brewing before bottling. This is bulk aging, as opposed to bottle aging. Meads may be ready to bottle in 2 or 3 months after brewing. Once the meads are bottled most will continue to improve with age, even 20+ years after the bottling date. Some meads that aren't very good at first may improve quite a bit with enough aging. However, not all meads age as well, so try a bottle every now and then to see how it's doing. My experience with our floramels is that they don't age as well and should probably be consumed within 5 years.