Short Methleglin (Quick Drinking Hydromel)
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  1. #1
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    Default Short Methleglin (Quick Drinking Hydromel)

    I've been wanting to make a low alcohol, easy drinking, beer replacment mead. Some call a low alcohol mead a "hydromel" or "short mead". After a bunch of reading online, I found a gentlemen who is a college professor that enjoys making meads and he has spent a lot of time/research finding yeast that produce quick drinking meads. His name is Bray Denard and he has found particular strains of beer yeast (which have been selected for generations for clean, quick fermentation) that can be used to create a drinkable mead in one month (nicknamed the BOMM - Bray's One Month Mead). They improve further after that month and a 3 month old mead is roughly equivalent to a 1 year old mead made with traditional wine yeasts. If you want to learn more, visit his site here:

    https://www.denardbrewing.com/

    To make a low alcohol mead, you just add less honey so there is less sugar to ferment. That's easy; however, this type drink is typically "thin" lacking body. The way Mr. Denard addressed this issue is to make a tea from fresh, dried ingredients and add the honey to this base for fermenting. This sounds like a neat idea with almost limitless possibilities using various teas and varietal honeys so I thought I would give it a try. Mr. Denard started with a tea from Mountain Rose Herbs named "Fidnemed Nightime Tea" which is made from Lemon Balm, Hibiscus flowers, Skullcap, Passionflower, Hops flowers, Valerian root, and Lavender flowers (all organic). Hops seem to dominate this tea and it seems an ideal candidate for a beer replacement so I decided to try it and ordered this exact tea. For Bray, this short mead was ready to bottle in 1 week and ready to drink in 2 weeks!.......exactly what I wanted, ready before Christmas.

    Link to the tea:
    https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/pr...me-tea/profile

    Link to Bray Denard's Short Mead Recipe:
    https://www.denardbrewing.com/blog/post/Fidnemed/


    I made a few changes to Bray's recipe to utilize what I have on-hand. Instead of Weast 1388, I'll use the Lallemand Abbaye dry yeast (Bray tested this dry yeast and found it works very similarly to Weast 1388). I will re-hydrate this yeast using Go-Ferm so it is ready for a quick start. Warning: you don't want to use any yeast other than one of these two options (Wyeast 1388 or Lallemand Abbaye) if you want it ready to drink in 2 weeks. Also, I plan to use honey from my beehives instead of Orange Blossom used in the original recipe. I have some dark honey from 1 hive that has a bit of molasses taste on the back end that I'll use in one gallon and use a lighter, wildflower honey (which is most of what I harvested) in the other gallon.

    So here is the recipe I used for 1 gallon:

    Tea Recipe
    - 1/2 cup Fidnemed Nighttime Tea in container
    - Added boiling water to container to 1 quart level
    - Cover and let steep for 10 mins occasionally swirling tea inside container

    Fidnemed Short Mead Recipe
    - Strain quart of Fidnemed Nighttime Tea into sanitized carboy and add water (leave room for honey/yeast)
    - Add 1.5 lbs of honey to tea in carboy and stir/swirl to dissolve honey (target OG=1.060)
    - Add 1 TBSP (~10 grams) of Fermaid-O to carboy
    - Add 1/8 tsp KHCO3 (potassium carbonate) to carboy
    - Mix/swirl thoroughly

    In a seperate bowl:
    - Mix 1/2 cup of 115F water with 8g (or a bit more) of Go-Ferm and mix thoroughly
    - Add pack of Lallemand Abbaye dry yeast (8g) to Go-Ferm solution when temp is 104F to re-hydrate yeast
    - After 15 min: add a small amount of honey/tea must to lower temp near temp of the must (5 min between additions)
    Note: temp of re-hydration solution should be within 10F - 15F of must before pitching

    Back to Carboy:
    - Oxygenate must with pure oxygen for roughly 60 seconds
    *** Alternatively, shake the carboy vigorously to aerate liquid as much as possible
    - Pitch yeast and if needed, add water to fill carboy

    My measured OG was 1.055.

    Fermentation Schedule
    - Ferment until 1.000 (5-7 days or so) swirling to degass daily
    - Cold crash in the fridge to clear
    - After clearing, bottle (may or may not add carbonation tabs)

    Hopefully ready to drink 2 weeks after pitch. Made 2 gallons last night (1 gal with the darker honey that has the molasses taste on the back end and 1 gal with the lighter honey that has a little buttery taste on the front end).

    Last edited by BeeAttitudes; 11-24-2015 at 01:16 PM.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
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    4,646

    Default Re: Short Methleglin (Quick Drinking Hydromel)

    WOW sounds good, I will give it a try?

    I just posted not too long ago, looking for a low ABV mead.

    Cold crash it to get the ABV you want? Do you need to sulfide to keep it from re-fermenting or does the cold do the trick?
    Last edited by FlowerPlanter; 11-24-2015 at 12:19 PM. Reason: typo

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    Default Re: Short Methleglin (Quick Drinking Hydromel)

    Keep in mind I'm not an expert with a lot of experience (maybe those guys will chime in). My thought is the amount of honey added controls the amount of alcohol. The yeast will take it bone dry......so if you want to stop the fermentation before all sugars are fermented to add some sweetness, you would have to use cold or chemicals or both to kill the yeast.

    In my case, the other ingredients in the tea should add implied sweetness so I'm hoping it will be nice even with all sugars fermented away. If I think it needs sweetness, then I may add a Stevia leaf to the next batch.
    Last edited by BeeAttitudes; 11-24-2015 at 01:20 PM.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Short Methleglin (Quick Drinking Hydromel)

    In case you are curious, here are a few of Bray's tasting notes:

    Day 5
    Gravity 1.000. Began cold crashing, although it was beginning to clear on its own. I want it bottled by Day 7, so a few days of crashing won't hurt my time table. It is already quite drinkable. No off flavors and tastes similar to an extremely flowery Pilsner.

    Day 6
    Mostly clear and surprisingly very delicious! The aroma is very strong of hop and summer flowers. It tastes very much like beer, but has an extra orange blossom kick to it that lets you know it's mead. No fusels or off flavors at all. As to be expected for a hydromel, it has a light body. This mead is too good for me to care about the body. This is not just drinkable, it is extremely tasty! Six day mead. That's a new record for me! This is on the scale up list!

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
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    West Stockbridge, MA, USA
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    Default Re: Short Methleglin (Quick Drinking Hydromel)

    I have not tried to make a low alcohol or hopped mead, but I have made plenty of beers, wines, ciders, and regular meads. I have come to believe that one should never cut fermentation short. When the yeast is through consuming sugars, it starts cleaning up other undesirable compounds - diacetyl (buttery flavors) being the most obvious, but others as well. If I need body or sweetness, I will either add more unfermentable sugars to the base recipe (i.e. maltodextrin) or will stabilize with sulfites, then back-sweeten with more sugars. I am also equipped to force-carbonate, so those looking to naturally carbonate will not have the same options.

    In terms of avoiding fusel and other off-flavors, I find a good pre-pitch oxygenation, a lower temperature ferment, and a step-wise nutrient addition (especially to supply nitrogen) will do the trick.

  7. #6
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    Knox, Pa. USA
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    Default Re: Short Methleglin (Quick Drinking Hydromel)

    I have never found a mead that was rushed in any way shape or form to be of any real quality. I consider mead to be the nectar of the gods, and believe proper fermentation and aging to be the only route to quality. If one is in need of a quick drinker whip up a batch of dragon blood and guzzle away while the mead becomes a delight.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Short Methleglin (Quick Drinking Hydromel)

    Day 2
    De-gassed morning and evening

    Day 3
    De-gassed morning and evening. Swirled a lot extra this evening since I was heading out of town for Thanksgiving. Left both jugs sitting on kitchen counter.

    Day 5
    Returned home after being out of town to find both jugs were finished fermenting and had mostly cleared. I tried to take a gravity reading but my hydrometer sits on bottom of the gallon jug so can't get an accurate reading without pulling a sample (which I am resisting). So the Abbaye yeast made for a quick and clean ferment.

    Just placed both jugs in the fridge to hopefully clear a bit more. Here is a pic of what I found when I returned home on Day 5 (jug with the darker honey is on the right):

    Last edited by BeeAttitudes; 11-28-2015 at 05:00 PM.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Short Methleglin (Quick Drinking Hydromel)

    You have to keep us (or me) updated on this. I might be trying this recipe over the Christmas holidays.
    Started 9/13, building slowly, not trying the no treatment anymore

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Short Methleglin (Quick Drinking Hydromel)

    Day 8

    Bottled! First time I've bottled so had to figure out a few things. Ended up using 375ml bottles and pounded on Zork closures. Was able to bottle 8 of these per gallon but I picked up a bit of yeast in the last bottle each time. That's ok, I'll drink these myself when I taste it for the first time next week.

    Looking back, I'm wondering if I need a whole packet of yeast (8g) for each gal. I might be able to to do 2 gal with one pack (4g per gal). If it took a day longer to ferment I doubt it would be a big deal. Thoughts?

    Here is a pic of the first bottle:
    Last edited by BeeAttitudes; 12-01-2015 at 10:00 PM.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Short Methleglin (Quick Drinking Hydromel)

    I'm excited to hear how it turns out.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Short Methleglin (Quick Drinking Hydromel)

    Me too!

    I'll probably taste it this coming Monday......2 weeks from pitching yeast.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Short Methleglin (Quick Drinking Hydromel)

    I am still excited. So how did it turn out?

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Short Methleglin (Quick Drinking Hydromel)

    My wife and I tasted this on Monday and since have drank a bottle of the batch made from the darker honey. Before I comment, keep in mind I'm not a big beer drinker; in fact, I probably haven't had a dozen bottles in my lifetime.

    This does remind me of beer (the hops I think) and it tastes good. It has a mead smell to it and has a bit of flowery taste. It still tastes a little thin and singular. What I think I am missing most is carbonation. If it was carbonated, it would be more what I'm used to. No matter, it tastes good. Last night, we added a twist of lime and it was great. I'll try a bottle of the batch made with lighter honey this weekend. I think I would shoot for the 1.060 OG (I was a bit shy of that).

    I think this has potential. Maybe I could combine a quart of this tea with a quart of black tea (or gold leaf Assam tea with a malty character) to add a bit more complexity. I'm guessing you could tweak this to get just what you want so the experimenting won't stop with one batch, ha. In fact, I bought a tea called Very Berry (made in Germany from hibiscus blossoms, elderberries, raisins, and black currants) and decided to try a batch made using this tea. I started it Monday evening and the fermentation appeared to be over yesterday and I'll probably cold crash this evening. It will be a lot different.....maybe in the wine cooler category.......but it's fun to play around and see how it turns out.
    Last edited by BeeAttitudes; 12-11-2015 at 03:46 PM.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Short Methleglin (Quick Drinking Hydromel)

    This weekend we tried a bottle made with the lighter honey. We liked it better! So either the lighter honey made a better tasting drink or else an additional week of age made it taste better, not sure. Either way, we enjoyed it. I still think I would enjoy it more if it were carbonated (of course, I haven't tried that).

    Next batch I make I think I will make it the same except after making 1 quart of concentrated tea from the Fidnemed, I'll make another quart using Golden Leaf Assam tea made by pouring boiling water over the tea and then steeped for only 3 or 4 minutes then combine them before adding honey. I'm thinking that would be pretty good. And if you could carbonate it, wow.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Short Methleglin (Quick Drinking Hydromel)

    If you want them to carbonate, just add a bit of sugar to each bottle and seal them back up. You didn't do anything to stabilize the yeast, right? As long as the yeast is still alive in there, they'll re-activate, consume the extra sugar, and pump out some CO2. Maybe I'm missing something, but it doesn't sound like it's too late for carbonation for you.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Short Methleglin (Quick Drinking Hydromel)

    I haven't done anything to stabilize them. Only issue is I'm using a zork closure and I don't think they are designed to withstand the pressure of carbonation. I have some carbonation drops I could use but I'm not sure these closures would even handle that (not tried).

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Short Methleglin (Quick Drinking Hydromel)

    Looks like Zork makes specific closures for carbonated beverages:

    http://zorkclosures.com/zork-spk

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Short Methleglin (Quick Drinking Hydromel)

    My wife and I tried a bottle made from the darker honey tonight. At 28 days this is great! So it wasn't the lighter honey version that was better.......it just needed a couple weeks to age. It has a light carbonation now which is nice. This is a really nice drink and I recommend it.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Short Methleglin (Quick Drinking Hydromel)

    Does anyone have a 5 gallon version of this 6 day mead? I have several 6 gallon carboys for beer brewing on hand. Is it as simple as multiplying everything by 5?

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Short Methleglin (Quick Drinking Hydromel)

    Just use the above link to the original recipe and adjust for a 5 gallons. That is what I would do if I were making a 5 gallon batch of this short mead. I have used a few of his one gallon recipes and adjusted for 5 with no problem and good results!

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