Monday, January 11, 2010

Hopping Mead!

If you have been following this blog from the beginning, then firstly I salute you, and secondly you will know that I have attempted to make mead, which turned out to be rank beyond description - think rough as guts it was that bad.

Since then however, I have learnt to brew reasonably well and so my thoughts at the weekend turned to trying my hand once more at mead, when of course fermentation space allows.

Being the tinkerer I am however, I don't want to make just a plain mead, purely with honey, water and yeast - I want to mess about! When thinking about other things to throw into the mead, my first thought was to use hops - especially given their purpose in beer as a bittering agent to balance out the sweetness of the malt. Using hops in mead is nothing new, having once been an ingredient in braggot, although today it is brewed with honey and malt rather than honey and hops (if I am wrong about that, forgive me - but from cursory searches on Google that seems to be the case).

The questions in my mind then lead me to thinking about boil times, would I have to do a 60 minute boil so as to utilise the various compounds in hops that do their thing at different times in the boil, not to mention the most important question of all, which hops to use?

I can imagine the American C-hops working very well in a braggot, and of as a devotee of the Fuggle hop I would be keen to try that out as well. However, I think to begin with I will use one of my favourite hops on the planet for my concoction, Amarillo! Imagine the grapefruity flavours cutting through the smoothness of the honey!

Have any other homebrewers reading this tried making a hopped mead? If so, what was good, what was bad, what hops did you use? So many questions!


  1. I don't know if it would work or not, but you might try boiling the hops separately for the 60 minutes, and dumping the boil water in with the mead when you first start to boil the mead. Though there seems to be great debate as to how long to boil mead, if at all. I reccomend pastuerizing the mead for 30 minutes or so, rather than boiling it.

    I've also heard of people using Heather as sort of a finishing hop for Mead.

    Have fun.

  2. Anyone who brews or drinks mead is, well, mad.

  3. Glad then I have never made any claims to normality!! :)

  4. Al,

    Best not to boil the honey as mentioned above. Get it to 70 for 15 minutes and you'll kill any bugs. If you are adding to wort, just do it at knock out.

    When I boiled my first meads it seemed to take them forever to become drinkable...since then I have learned a lot...if you are making straight mead (not a braggot/no malt), you really need to add nutrients, as the honey doesn't have enough goodies for the yeast. Homebrew shop should be able to help you with that.

    Braggots (malt and hops) are great and the beauty is that they really stand up to the hops, so difficult to overhop them, in fact the last one I made has a mix of Fuggles, Goldings and a lot of Amarillo...drop me an email and I'll send you my ProMash recipe for that braggot, it put a lot of smiles on peoples faces ;)

  5. Based on when these comments were made, sounds like you could be drinking some of these by now. I was wondering if anyone wanted to post back on their success? I've made tons of meads and wanted to try a braggot. I made one once before with saaz hops and it was really insipid. I have a new recipe that calls for 1 oz of nugget hops but I really don't want to under-hop it.

    Any suggestions on what to include with the nugget hop, how long to boil the hops and how much? Love to hear some ideas on this!


    p.s. To add my 2 cents to the embedded thread, I never boil my honey when I make straight up mead. I've read it boils of aromatics.


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