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The Complete Guide to Making Mead: The Ingredients, Equipment, Processes, and Recipes for Crafting Honey Wine Paperback – July 30, 2014
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From the Publisher
Mead Varieties - Traditional Mead
The Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) calls a mead made with honey and water but no spices or fruit a traditional mead. All the fermentable sugars in the traditional mead come from the honey. The subtypes in the traditional mead category—dry, semisweet, and sweet—suggest that the outward difference is in the amount of residual sugar (sweetness) left in the finished mead. The sweeter versions tend to have increased body (viscosity) as a result of the residual sugars in the finished mead, but this is also influenced by the initial strength. They may also have increased alcohol, but that is not required.
Within the BJCP taxonomy, meads that include fruit are called melomels. Melomels made from some fruits are so common that subcategories exist just for those fruits. The names of some melomel subcategories follow the historic English names. The fruit and honey aspects of fruit meads can range from subtle to obvious. Both the fruit character and the honey aspect need to be evident but do not need to dominate. A large range of acceptable levels exists for both the honey and fruit aspects. The fruit character in the melomel needs to be pleasant to support the mead, to be well melded, and to be natural. The balance of the mead may be impacted by the acids and tannins the fruit contributes to the mead, and the color of the melomel may be significantly impacted by the type and quantity of fruit used.
The spice/fruit/herb/vegetable and honey aspects of these meads can range from subtle to obvious. Both the spice/fruit/herb/vegetable character and the honey aspect need to be evident but do not need to dominate. A large range of acceptable levels exists for both the honey and spice/fruit/herb/vegetable aspects. The spice/fruit/herb/vegetable character in these meads needs to be pleasant, to support the mead, to be well melded, and to be natural. The balance of the mead may be impacted by the acids and tannins the spice/fruit/herb/vegetable contributes to the mead, and the color of the mead may be significantly impacted by the type and quantity of spice/fruit/herb/vegetable used
"With the popularity of craft beer brewing, it is no surprise to see home brewers turning to mead to expand their skills and experiment with different ingredients and flavors. In his first book, 2008 American Homebrewers Association Mead Maker of the Year Piatz beautifully tackles the science and art of mead making. He begins with "A Brief History of Mead," followed by chapters on essential ingredients (honey varieties, yeast strains) and basic and advanced techniques. Special ingredients such as fruits, spices, and chocolate are also covered, and measurements are provided in metric and U.S. standard units (e.g., pounds and kilograms of honey). The exacting nature of the brewing process is complemented by encouragement to investigate flavors and customize packaging. Piatz's comprehensive treatment includes a glossary, an index, a sources page, and a "Troubleshooting" chapter.Verdict Recommended for experienced home brewers seeking a new challenge as well as novices who want to begin their brewing practice with mead. With honey as the basic component, this title may also appeal to readers interested in beekeeping."?"LJXpress
About the Author
Steve Piatz is a retired computer engineer and an award-winning beer and mead-maker. A member of the Minnesota Homebrewers Association and the Saint Paul Homebrewers Club, a Grand Master V BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) judge, and an Exam Director for the BJCP exam program, he resides in Eagan, Minnesota.
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Top customer reviews
My first meadmaking read was Ken Schramm's "The Compleat Mead Maker," but that is over 10 years old now and is now dated. So it isn't that one author knows more than the other, because both are recognized as experts in the meadmaking arena. In that respect, I rate Piatz's book as better because it is newer and covers subjects such as degassing and staggered nutrient additions that aren't covered in Schramm's older book. Yet I really wish that Piatz's book would have gone into more detail of the underlying logic of some procedures (such as these) so that I could make judgments as to whether his "typical" approach would work in all instances or in mine.
I highly recommend buying this book because it touches on just about every topic that I could imagine, although I did find it particularly lacking on the small little matter of oxygenating musts. While this might not be relevant to the first-time meadmaker that has also never made beer or wine, most experienced homebrewers will have the equipment to do this and routinely use pure oxygen on high-gravity worts.
In short, buy this book if you're interested in meadmaking, but still be prepared to surf the net and/or ask questions of homebrewing or winemaking friends that have experience making mead.
Piatz does seem to leave off equipment details, not much beyond nice photos and a little text for the various bits of equipment. He seems to think "get it at your home brew supply store" is close enough, the resource page in the back is mostly honey and yeast. I think the tools and ingredients are described well enough that you can find it here at Amazon if you can't locate a store.
I also thought he was a little vague in his use of water and fruit juice- especially the juices but could probably get the job done if I ever get around to using the book.
Good book, worth owning.