04. 04. 2016
We have gotten used to prepare bread, ham or yoghurt at home – it is fun and we know exactly what we find in our products. But to produce homemade mead is a tough nut to crack!
It is possible to make many delicacies at home, from cheese to beer. It costs only a lot of sweat and a lot of patience – but you have to wait a few years for your homemade mead!
To select the yeast, find suitable water and constantly check the temperature during fermentation is the smallest problem. But you also have to pay attention to the quality of the honey, to correctly assess the fermentation time and to determine the date of maturity. It is pretty sure that it takes a long time to find the best method. We have been learning it since 1990.
How to select the right ingredients
At first glance, it simply looks like we only need honey, water, yeast and nutrient salt to produce mead. The resulting taste is provided not only through the honey itself but also through other ingredients, to find the right ones requires a lot of work.
It is best to use water of highest quality. We use a very clean drinking water, suitable also for babies, und therefore our honey wine is very fine.
Yeast is a special topic, it is used specifically for the production of mead. You can buy it for about 4 euros, from a bag (20 grams) you can make 100 liters of drink. We tried different types, temperatures and fermentation lengths before we found the right combination.
Once you have found the most suitable yeast, your only concern is the quality of the honey, year after year. The type of honey affects the taste of the mead the most. As the quality of the honey changes every season depending on the weather, you have to think carefully every year what kind honey you use in the production.
The experienced taste buds of the tasters and the experience of recent years can help you with this. If the first attempts are not successful, do not worry – mistakes will occur and you have to try again.
Use only good quality honey, not fermented (it is common in the production of fruit liqueurs). This is very important! Specific (interesting) results are achieved with so-called one-flower honey, i.e. with honey from a single kind of plants. Acacia, sunflower or lindentree honey is common, or forest honey.
SMixed honey is easier to get and cheaper, so you can save money on producing mead from blossom honey. Our mead of blossom honey is about 20 % cheaper, compared to our mead of one-flower honey.
The fermentation process begins
The theoretical part is behind us and we can start to „cook“! The quotes are correct because we ferment at a low temperature, only 9 ° C. Although it is a longer process, the resulting mead contains more aromatic substances and tastes better. So we do it this way.
In general, the yeast is activated at a higher temperature, about 25 °C. The process takes 4–5 weeks, which is quite a long time.
Thanks to fermentation, the mead contains more than 10 % alcohol. After that, the hardest phase is behind us. Now we have to clear the drink to remove the sludge and then pour it into clean containers to ripen.
How it all began
My wife has been convincing me to start mead production for a long time. The final push came from the customers, who told us that we have excellent products, but they miss mead in our product line. At first I tried to make mead in 10 l demijohns, later in 50 l vessels and in the end the volume was almost 300 liters. Now our mead matures in huge tanks. The production in 10 l and 50 l demijohns was easier than in large quantities, but not all attempts were successful. Although I have read a lot on the topic honey processing and the production of mead, the process itself was very different. Therefore, I had to re-evaluate some of my knowledge. As a result, my mead production was a process of trial and error.
For example, I’ve found that during the production of mead one should not rely 100% on the advice of wine growers. I am glad that this phase is already behind me and that I can enjoy our unique mead today.
Milan Pleva, founder of the family company
Are we done already?
The ripening process takes place at 10 °C for several years, so this is certainly not something for people with little patience. During this time, the strong taste of the mead develops, so you can not rush it.
When the ripening process is over, the taste buds of the tasters will decide again. Nothing is added to our mead – no sugar, no alcohol, no preservatives. It is not our way.
Despite the settling process, it is normal for the sediment to be seen in the bottle, as in must. It is nothing bad, but it does not belong in a glass. So pour the mead carefully! ;-)
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