Episode-2191- Another Look at Small Batch Mead — 21 Comments

  1. I have been experimenting with this off and on since you introduce this in 2015. Nice to have a more detailed show about this

  2. So, I’ve actually made a few batches with what we can call a 2/3 flower blend, only chamomile (whole flower tspaz) and elder flower (brewer’s best?) and they still cleared up quite a bit faster than with no flowers added. Perhaps I’ll experiment with separate batches of each flower this year.

    Also, adding the flower blend to a rhubarb mead created absolutely insane initial fermentation compared to other fruit adjuncts I’ve used. Definitely learned to give future batches of it more headspace.

  3. So… I actually use a piece of plastic wrap held on with a double wrap of garden twine instead of balloon or air lock. I’ve never lost one due to contamination after the yeast goes in, regardless if it was beer/mead/wine.

    The only time they ever screw up is if I get something nasty on a wild ferment.

  4. I think it’s the chamomile in your three flowers blend that makes it clear so quickly. I say this because I’ve made the three flowers, and I’ve made my own separate chamomile batch. The chamomile batch clears just as quickly as the three flowers.

    My (current) technique for small batches is to make a 7 gallon must first. I just blend my honey, water, yeast and nutrient/energizer in the bucket.


    For methelglins that I want to be involved in the primary ferment, I put the herbs in the one gallon carboys and pour the must into there and let them go.


    For melomel’s, I ferment about 6-7 gallons in my big bucket carboy and rack off into 1 gallon secondaries of my various flavors. In a few weeks I will be doing

    Vanilla Beans
    coco nibs
    lemon Ginger
    Pumpkin spice
    odins tears

    I find this is A LOT less work and less messy than doing them in the one gallon primary (which I have also done.) Honey is a pain to manage and it’s much easier to get into a bucket than a spout. You also save on yeast this way.


  5. Jack, your math on the cost of batches got a bit off at the end of the episode.

    at 1:07:50

    For some reason, when you talked about making a 5 gallon batch of mead you said it would cost about $102 and use 30 lbs. You should only be using about 12lbs (about 1 gallon) of honey in a 5 gallon batch not 30 lbs (2.5 gallons).

    5 gallon batches should cost about $50 (when you factor the cost of shipping and tax theft.) I don’t know how you are getting down to $10 on honey in a gallon unless you are buying a 5 gallon bucket, and I know you aren’t. If your getting the 5lb things thats at least $12 without shipping costs.


    • Actually your math error and my math error justify sort of. Running off the cuff there I screwed up, you got it right and that comes to 10 bucks like I said on the gallon.

      I think my actual number I ran with per gallon was 20 bucks, the honey itself would be about 12. 4 bucks a pound by 3 gallons. It may also be I started factoring in the Monarch’s some where, again there were no notes and running off the cuff I even sometimes make a simple cost error.

      In the end I figure 18-20 bucks all in per gallon so per standard wine bottle (5 to the gallon, using my methods where you actually get a gallon) you are at 3.60 – 4.00 a bottle. And again the most sickenly sweet ass tasting commercial meads are 16-24 dollars a bottle, often for 16 oz. vs a full 750ml which is a bit over 25 ounces.

      As I said I usually have a few ounces (bottlers reward) because you get a full gallon this way, even though the bottles hold 25 ounces you leave about an ounce of head space. So 24x5b = 120 oz into the bottles. Technically that should leave about 8 oz to the fridge jar, but it is normally more like 4, because my way you do still loose a tiny bit to slurry in the secondary.

      If that monarch’s choice makes good mead, it really would be a major economic win. Honey wise you at 2.50 to the pound, so than you are at only 7.50 in honey to the gallon.

      Also it may be that I didn’t do the math but tried to operate from memory. That cheap ass honey is new, and websturant is pushing it hard, like when you click on Dutch Gold they try to DOWN SELL you. They must have a screaming markup on it. I am pretty sure they raised the price on Dutch Gold when they brought in the other stuff and I have not ordered from them in about a year. So it may be that my old price per gallon was 10 bucks, which seems about right.

      In any event the economics here are damn solid.

      • I made a math error? I couldn’t find it. Sorry if it came across as nit-picking, my OCD alarm when it comes to math started making to much noise in my brain that I had to let it out. Plus, I don’t want to scare away people from doing 5 gallon batches.

        But yeah, economics wise it is still amazing per bottle.

        I had the same experience at the webstauraunt store and their monarch push.  I have an irrational mistrust of it. Its just too cheap, I cant find a website for them, or much information at all for that matter.  At least Dutch Gold has a 3rd party certifier. I cant even find “Regal Foods” who are the distributer.  (Ironically, the label on Monarch says Regal Foods, Lancaster PA, which is where Dutch Gold is.)

  6. how small would you guys go if you were trialing a blend?

    Cause I found an airlock for mason jars

    • I would not make less than a gallon of mead at a go if that is what you are asking. Just not enough to make it worth doing nor remain consistent. Now to me a blend is say, I make a pure mead and a raspberry wine and think hey these two would do well together, I would do a one to two ounce blend, may be several doing different ratios to dial in the right blend.

      While I would not do less than a gallon mead, I do think you’d be alright at about a half gallon, that would be my bottom end.

  7. I’ve tried store-bought mead and found it overly cloying…Is this just the way it is, or can control of the process give me a better result?

  8. Jesse,

    Most commercial meads that I’ve had are much too sweet as well, probably to appeal to the masses.  They may use yeasts with lower alcohol tolerance and typically stop fermentation early. (Been on a few meadery tours.) With homebrewing, you are in control and can choose to ferment it all the way out for a dryer mead. Using the yeast combination Jack recommends, it’ll have no problem doing that with 3lbs of honey per gallon. It’ll have all the body of honey without all the extra sweetness. Give a shot, and see if it fits your tastes.

  9. If it turns out Monarch’s Choice is garbage, looks like getting Dutch Gold Honey directly from the Dutch Gold Honey’s website is less expensive then from webstaurant if you think you’d be able to use up the 60 lb pail.  More honey varieties too.

    Webstaurant’s 60lb Dutch Gold Clover Honey $207.99 + s/h.

    Same thing from Dutch Gold Honey’s site $148.80 + s/h.

    Not counting s/h that’s about $3.47/lb vs $2.48/lb.  Plus you get a bucket you can probably find something to do with!

    I did order directly from Dutch Gold Honey’s site a few years ago, had no issues.

    • I really don’t like dealing with honey by the bucket but I do feel that Websturant has jacked up the price and reduced options to push Monarchs. But why do you say it is garbage, based on what? Did you use it, try it, etc?

      What facts are behind this claim, it may very well be garbage but if you are judging it based on label and price or something like that or one twatwaddle in a forum, sorry that don’t cut it for me. Did you actually taste this stuff and make mead with it, or is this just an off the cuff opinion? Or did you research their practices, etc?

      • DOH! Sorry man missed that important two letter word there, IF, got ya now. Figured it was better to admit my error than take down the comment.

    • I drove through lancaster this past January and picked up a 5 gallon bucket from Dutch Gold. Saved over $60 in shipping and tax theft, they even threw in a discount for not having to tape up the bucket. it was awesome. I used almost all of it in one day but I made over 22 Gallons of mead and used some in a cyzer. 6 Gallons of that is going to a very high gravity


    • When I was making beer, I would only use brown but it was all about the hops. Hop acids quickly go rancid in UV light, brown is the only color that really stops that, with meads, wine, cider, etc, unless you hop them, there is no concern. So go nuts with what ever works.

  10. Howdy, has anyone started a batch with the Monarch’s Choice yet?  I’d like to know how it turned out before I buy some and pay that extraordinary shipping cost…