WHAT IS A MEADERY UK?
A meadery is a place where mead is produced, an apiary is a bee farm and is the important other half to mead manufacturing.
WHAT IS MEAD?
Mead is an alcoholic drink resulting from the fermentation of honey, the fermentation of honey is usually essential to be classed as a mead however Hippocras is known as a style of mead with just added honey. Mead can then be further flavoured and diversified by pretty much using anything.
WHAT THE HELL IS CRAFT MEAD?
We are proud to be the UK’s first ever craft meadery! A craft meadery is where only super awesome meads are produced using different honeys like you would do hops and malts in craft beer! Craft Mead started out in the USA same as beer and is seeing a strong rise in the UK mead scene now and is rescuing YOU the consumer from dull over sweetened, fast fermented, pasteurised and truly flavourless meads which have given true quality meads a bad reputation! So don’t settle for “meadiocre” we stock the the UK’s widest mead selection and will surely have something for your taste buds!
ANOTHER WORLD FIRST: WE ARE THE ONLY CRAFT MEADERY IN THE WORLD TO USE GRADED CARAMELISED HONEY!
Caramelised honey is to die for! We use it as Craft beers do with different grades of kilned hops. By caramelising we end up getting getting flavours that honey just would not normally have such as; Nutty, Biscuity, Chocolate, Char, Walnut, Marshmallow etc etc. But as you can imagine it is a pretty specialist ingredient and no one supplies it, so yes we have to make it ourselves! Through sheer determination and a lot of burnt fingertips we finally came up with a range of what we call ”graded Carahoneys” And we found about 5 distinct types work well going from low caramelised to almost burnt (Used in things like Bochet Mead UK). Another reason why this is so important to us is that it allows residual sugars to remain meaning that our craft meads although have a lower ABV they can keep mouthfeel. So this is just another reason why we aren’t just the first UK Craft Meadery we’re also the best!
THE BREWING PROCESS OF MEAD…
Mead is a drink all of its own some people try to class mead as a wine to which it is has the most likeness but then you’d also call a ‘’Braggot’’ a mead when it is also classed as a beer and originally Cyser was classed as a Cider therefore the word mead is more of an idea of making a beverage from honey rather than an one actual defined product. There are a staggering amount of meads out there (list below) all with their own unique qualities; you can even mix styles to make hybrids. Due to this mead has the most variety out of all the drink types yet it fell out of favour in the 18th century when sugar imports meant that making beers and cheaper wines were easier than the hard process of extracting honey. However this view is changing and people are enjoying and revelling in mead once more simply due to the variety, novelty, antiquity and also individuals who suffer gluten intolerance can have something beer like without the gluten, so why not become part of the trend!
Every mead process is different so it is difficult to put a definite process together but this is a general process of what the Zymurgorium does. (see diagram above)
Honey is produced by bees; all bees make honey but only certain species make honey, bumble bees do not produce large enough hives or enough honey to be commercially viable, there are stingless bees as well as the ones with stings the white Mexican honey used in Ah Mucen Cab is honey from stingless bees.
Honey is produced from the nectar found in the female part of flowers not the pollen you evidently see. Pollen however is also used to feed the grubs as well as the honey and make the hive matrix. Truly bees are amazing to make one pound (454g) of honey it takes 10000 bees and an equivalent of 55,000 miles, one working bee lives only 6 weeks (unless hibernating) and will only produce 1 tsp in her life time.
Bee keeping is a skill that has been developed for over 10000 years from the earliest wild honey harvesters to modern efficient constructed hives and because of mono-culture farming it is possible to have single varietal forms lending different flavours. These honey farms are called apiaries.
Originally collecting honey meant that an entire hive had to be destroyed as skeps didn’t have the ability to separate farmed honey from the queen, this meant the queen had free roam and placed her eggs in every cell, not only was this inefficient in commercial terms it was just a waste of life. This honey was then put on a press rather like a cider press. Some varietals that are very thick still have to be pressed from the wax such as heather honey, less viscous honey types can be extracted using centrifugal force by spinning the wax it forces the honey out.
For barley and hops see beer.
Now that the farming is over we’ll discuss the mead making process…
- Water and other ingredients are boiled in the mash tun, the lautering filters out some of these ingredients. Honey is added after boiling as not to destroy its natural goodness and to destroy the subtle flavours, because honey is similar to hops in that it has essential oils that become volatised; when making flower, herb and spiced meads this is very important as the flavours sought can be lost if this part is not carried out properly. Not all the honey is added here just some to start fermentation.
- For those hops and other ingredients with extremely sensitive essential oils the hopback is used as in the beer process.
- In the fermentation vessel yeast is added pitched at different levels dependent on flavours and ABV% desired. At different points; honey, hops and other ingredients such as wood may be added to give more fermentable sugars or flavours that would be metabolised by the yeast.
- Some meads may go through a racking/lagering process similar to beer, this in the mead can increase the alcoholic volume just a bit further and/or to clear the turbid yeast as sediment at the bottom. Our mead is unfiltered and unpasteurised as a lot of the flavourings/textures made can be lost especially in the melomels and meddyglyn where particulate matter is a contributor to the overall experience.
- The mead is then bottled and kegged as the beer. Some meads are left still such as the table top meads (apart from the barley mead) some meads are carbonated however extra yeast is not added just a honey & water mixture is enough to produce a light carbonation.
This mead is then left to age, mead is the longest to reach full maturity, and some reports say that some mead with strong flavours and high alcohol levels may still be improving after 50 years! However most of the development is done within the 3 month mark. Our mead is aged anything from 4 weeks to 3 months and some vintages are being kept back to be released at even later dates.
The sediment from the fermentation and racking vessels is either harvested for future fermentations or used in the garden for compost.
Mead: Any beverage made from the fermentation of honey and water.
Hydromel : Mead made with just honey, water and yeast.
Sack Mead : a sweeter Mead made with more honey than usual.
Melomel : a mead fermented with fruit or fruit juice.
Metheglin/Meddyglyn : mead made with spices and extracts of herbs.
Acerglyn : a mead made with maple syrup.
Morat : a mead made with mulberries (still a melomel mead but is specific to mulberries)
Pyment : mead made with both honey and grapes (still a melomel mead but is specific to mulberries)
Hippocras : mead made with honey, grapes, and spices (still a melomel and meddyglyn/metheglin mead but is specific)
Cyser : mead made with honey and apples or apple juice (apple cyder in Europe) Can also be made with peach, cherry or pear cider*
*Pyser : specifically honey and pear juice mead.
Braggot : A sort of Mead-beer/ale made from honey and malt/grain.
Oxymel : Mead (or just honey) mixed with wine vinegar.
Rhodomel : Mead made with honey with rose Attar, rose petals and/or rosehips.
Capsicumel : Mead made honey with Chile peppers
Omphacomel : Mead mixed with Verjuice,which is the juice of unripe grapes.
T’ej :with honey, water and hops. It is the national drink of Ethiopia, and has a unique taste.
Great Mead : A mead that has been aged.
Black mead: A mead with the blend of honey and black currants.
Bochet: A mead where some or all honey is caramelised or burnt separately before adding water. Gives toffee, caramel, chocolate and even toasted marshmallow notes, dependent on the level/proportion of burnt honey it can be comparable to a stout ale.
Bochetomel: A Bochet mead made with fruit as well.
Craft Mead: a mead that has been designed and brewed in an artisanal fashion with choice varietal honey, ingredients and finish.
Midus: Often a gin like mead infused with various ingredients such as juniper berries, carnation, acorns, poplar buds, and other herbs.
Mulsum: Mulsum Meads aren’t true meads as it is unfermented honey mixed with a high-alcohol wine so essentially fortified (many supposed famous meads are made this way today).
Aged mead: Any type of previously mentioned mead style, subject to a very slow (sometimes 12–50 years old!) creating a rich complex mead.
Short mead: Meads made in a faster style due to lower strength yeasts producing a cider, champagne or even like light beer.
Sima: A Short Finnish mead, made with lemon and for the festival of Vappu.