How We Brew Everything We Brew

Ricky the Meadmaker making mead - Groennfell Meadery

Starting next week, all of our recipes are going to be available in one place on our site so you can try your hand at making all of our meads at home.

No more bugging Ricky the Meadmaker to e-mail you his formulae!

That said, rather than having all of the steps for each batch of mead, we’re going to focus on making sure you know the ingredients, the ratios, and a few specific pointers for each brew.

Generally speaking, all of our meads are brewed in a very similar fashion. So, we thought we’d give you our techniques all in one place before inundating you with recipes.

Big Disclaimer: These are our practices, we are not claiming that they are necessarily the best practices.

With that out of the way, here are all of our general principles in one place:

  • Our honey is never heated above 105 degrees Fahrenheit, and usually only to 94F. This prevents the volatilization of complex flavor and aroma compounds.
  • Our brewing water, for similar reasons, is never heated above 98F.
  • We filter our water with a carbon filter to remove off-flavors and to give ourselves a stable starting point throughout the year. This prevents our having to worry about changing aquifers, treatments, and other issues.
  • With the exception of our darker meads, all of our honey is raw (or strained) wildflower honey from Canada.
  • With the exception of a few wild-fermented meads, we sulfite the must (the honey water combination) to kill or suppress wild yeast and bacteria. For more on that discussion, please check out Them’s Fightin’ Words
  • We never filter our products because we believe subtle flavor and aroma is much more important than clarity.
  • Fruit juices are almost always added in primary fermentation with the exception of citrus juices which are added in secondary.
  • All spices and herbs are added in secondary.
  • We only sulfite and sorbate post fermentation if a sugar-bearing ingredient is added such as orange juice, maple syrup, or raisins. This prevents refermentation and exploding cans.
  • We are careful to brew our meads with an original gravity such that we can add ingredients in the secondary and still hit our intended ABV. (Specifics for each recipe will be included.)
  • We force carbonate all of our products because many of our yeast strains produce hydrogen sulfide in a quantity that would render the packaged product… a little eggy.
  • We oxygenate the ever-loving heck out of all of our products pre-fermentation, then we are very careful not to introduce oxygen at any later stage.

We know that’s an awful lot, but we’ll have reminders in each recipe. We hope this is helpful!

Head over here for our recipes!


10 thoughts on “How We Brew Everything We Brew

  1. Hello Ricky!
    I’ve just started getting into the dangerously delicious world of mead-making. I have a beekeeper friend that has provided me with a large batch of gorgeous heather honey that had started to ferment in the jars (so she gave them to me for free). Yay!
    You mention above that you sulphite the must before adding the yeast to kill the naturally occurring yeast. My question is that what stops the sulphites in the must from killing the yeast that you then add? I thought about adding some to my already-fermenting honey to ensure that my added yeast was the dominant one. In the end I didn’t and it seems to be fermenting just fine. I shall taste when I rack and see how it goes.

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  2. Hey there.
    I’m currently trying my hands at home-mead-making. The one thing i don’t understand (and i guess it’s simply experience), why do you add citrus fruit(juice) only during second fermantation?

    Greeting from Germany,
    Benne.

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  3. It’s fantastic that you share not only your knowledge on your YouTube channel, but also your brewing method and detailed recipes!

    I’ve heard you call Groennfell an “open source meadery”, presumably this is regarding home brewers only and not other commercial meaderies?

    I’m looking forward to attempting my first craft mead soon following one of your recipes. Decisions decisions. Any recommendations?
    Keep up the great work!

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    1. We’re open source for everyone: commercial, homebrewer, and anything in between!

      And as far as recommendations go, I always suggest starting out with a straight mead (like Valkyrie’s Choice) and then playing around with recipes after you get the hang of it!

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    1. We often don’t transfer at all and simply keg and can right out of the primary fermenter.

      If we’re going to transfer, we do it after fermentation has completed and right before we clarify.

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  4. Regarding carbonation, how many volumes of CO2 do you recommend when getting started with your recipes? (From this I can refer to a carbonation priming chart for either bottle carbonation or forced carbonation.)

    -Noel

    p.s. Thanks for the podcast interviews and posting your recipes. You have taken away the fear of mead making from this beer home brewer — I’m ready try my first batch of mead!

    Like

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