6. Making Mead (Honey Wine) – Roger A. Morse
5. Making Wild Wines & Meads – Pattie Vargas & Rich Gulling
4. The Honey Connoisseur – Kim Flottum & C. Marina Marchese
3. The Complete Joy of Homebrewing – Charlie Papazian
2. Radical Brewing – Randy Mosher
Radical Brewing: Recipes, Tales and World-Altering Meditations in a Glass is a great resource for brewers of any libation. This book is a perfect balance of recipes, history, theory, technique, wit and humor. Mosher delves into all types of brews and ingredients. Though it has a minor chapter on mead, mead makers can take cues from the recipes, ingredients, and information throughout.
1. The Compleat Meadmaker – Ken Schramm
This is the meadmaker’s bible. Schramm’s well researched, well written book has something for everyone. It has all you need to start your meadmaking adventures and continues to be relevant for even the most advanced meadmakers. Schramm’s book has the power to transform beginners into award winning meadery professionals. Just ask Brad from B. Nektar!
6 books every mead maker should read
24 June 2013 by meadist in Mead News - 19 Comments
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Mead Movement: Moonlight Meadery
Beginners Introduction To Mead Making: A UC Davis Course
Submit Your Mead for the Mazer Cup Home Competition
The Celebrated Story of Honey Wine by The Honey Wine Company
An Innovative New Solution for Urban Beekeeping: B-Box
Interview with Jordan Childs – Creator of Shine Craft Vessels
Using Mead For Your Wedding Toast
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I’m looking to getting into home brewing mead and am interested in finding literature in helping me get a good start. I will definitely have a look at these titles, but I found a more recently published book I was hoping you could review and give your thoughts on. It is called “The Complete Guide to Making Mead: The Ingredients, Equipment, Processes, and Recipes for Crafting Honey Wine” by Steve Piatz. It was published in 2014. If you have heard good things of this book from experienced friends or have encountered it yourself, could you provide your thoughts?
I haven’t read that one yet Sean, but i’ll make sure to pick it up and have a look!
I have Piatz’ book and it very readable and useful. His approach is a little more “current” I think than Papazian’s (you don’t boil or heat the honey!) and is a good complement to Schramm’s classic title. If you have never made mead before Piatz will remove any (most? all?) anxiety…
I am currently reading The Complete Meadmaker by Ken Schramm. I love it. It has been recommended to me several times. I got it by chance from my sister for Christmas. It was fate. Easy read, and enjoyable. I probably laughed out loud a few times because it’s not too heavy like a textbook. And even life advice is woven inbetween learning about mead. Can’t wait to finish it and start my next batch with full confidence and better understanding about tweaking this hobby.
Sean, I am reading both books mentioned above. I like them both. They provide so much information, and as Catherine mentioned, Ken Schramm’s book is a true pleasure to read. They both follow me around the house, as I like to keep the information nearby so I can find what I am looking for quickly! Just finished two batches! Starting another ‘experimental’ this weekend. 🙂
I use The Complete Guide to Making Mead by Paitz, and enjoy how simply it describes the process. But the book which really got me interested in making Mead, was one I bought because of starting to brew beer: “Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers; The Secrets of Ancient Fermentation” by Stephen Harrod Buhner. It is a truly beautiful and inspiring book about ancient fermented drinks from all over the world, including a beautiful chapter on Mead in general, and honey in particular. If you’re interested in some history and our planet, its ancient peoples and herbs and their medicinal properties, this is a great book! The mead recipe does, however, tell you to boil the honey.. I also have Papazian, but don’t really use it anymore; outdated.
Oh and I LOVE “Radical Brewing” Keep going back to read a chapter here or there, depending on what I’m brewing, or planning to brew. Wonderful info on additions of all sorts.
After getting into beer brewing and making it thru 25-30 beer recipes, I decided to try cider, wine and mead. I already had all the equipment! I had started reading How to Brew by John Palmer. He has some great info to get a firm grounding in the chemistry of brewing. Then when I got The Complete Meadmaker by Ken Schramm and The Complete Guide to Making Mead by Steve Piatz, I made my first cider and mead. I’ve only tasted it when racking and bottling and it is now almost a year old.
What ever you do, do four things: join the Mead Facebook group or the forum on gotmead.com, start mead batches in a bucket with lots of headspace for first 3-4 weeks, buy a degasser that you can attach to your drill and learn about SNA (staggered nutrient addition).
Last thought. I got a book called Brew or Die by Clinton A. Love from Amazon. A mead maker, a metal head, a regular guy, with some funny stories and some simple recipes. I’ve made two of his recipes (sweet mead and braggot) and can’t wait to taste them.
Somewhere between the simple and the complex, you will find a place where you are comfortable and can make tasty mead.
Thanks for the great insight Brian!
Hi, I have the Ken Schramm book and found it very intimidating for my newbie self. It seemed to be full of process, science and technical language, seemingly exotic ingredients that I felt it would be too hard to deal with out significant help, special tools and or more specific knowledge. I even took it to a Wine making shop to buy what I needed and came home without anything as the owner did not know what to sell me. I gave up the idea of making mead and I the book got misplaced in the house.
Then I found a Mead making group! But that too left me in the dust. They were smokers and I’m avidly not. Meeting with them, despite them being lovely kind, funny, & intelligent people, it left me missing out on the full discussions and details of making as I did not join in the smoking talks outside. 🙁 And I didn’t understand all the things they said when I was in their presence.
Then along came Youtube and I discovered a variety of videos, where many methods, approaches, tools, recipes were offered. I was now empowered to be as simple and/or creative as I wished. Recipies are but a click or two away. Help is there from a variety of teachers and no smoke! Well except for the recipe where they purposely burn the Honey in an attempt to make a very old recipe. (For the record, I would have stopped boiling it way before they did. I think the recipe was just saying to boil off all the water in the Honey to make it so, to seriously darken the Honey. . . I might even try this one day.)
My first one I had going on the Kitchen counter and I loved it’s fragrance and mere presence. Sadly I didn’t understand how to “rack” it, so it sat overlong before I could figure it out. It went mouldy and I had to toss it in the compost. Now I laugh at my ignorant intimidation. Still I enjoyed it so much, after watching many videos and gained confidence, I tried again.
I have made a few batches now and been very successful.
It can be made so simply and with basic supplies you probably already have in your house. 1) Big Jar with lid. or small enough opening for a balloon, or use a lightly weighted saucer. 2) Honey, from the grocery store, Brand-named or better yet some that is unpasteurized. 3)Water 4)Yeast, can use bread yeast or a packet from the wine shop, but it you use unpasteurized honey you may not even need it as it will have wild yeasts in. It’s worked for me well, but other people say the flavour is not always good with the wild, or bread yeast so prefer the Wine store packets. I’ve had good turnouts with them. 5) Funnel and Coffee filter. I sometimes simply pour off the mead, carefully so as to leave the sediment behind and skip the “racking”, and put it through a lined funnel. Yes it works and tastes good too, but I only do that with small, gallon or less batches.
6) Any glass container with a screw-top lid for bottling.
I have since found the missing Ken Schramm’s book and I still feel it’s overly scientific. The basic recipe he suggests starting with would definitely not be one I would send to a Newbie. The Honey itself, while sounding lovely, (Orange Blossom Honey) is not something I’ve ever found. Yeast nutrients can be simply obtained by tossing in a few raisins.
So my recommendation is Hands down Youtube and all it’s contributors who show the variety of ways to make it. I also highly recommend very slightly warming your Honey, (never boil unless it’s on purpose), to ease it’s pouring and mixing, just set the container, lid off, in a pot of water, set the stove on low and when it stirring is easy, and it runs off the spoon, (not drip or globs, it’s warm enough . Also rinse out the Honey container with water you are going to use to make it, so as not to waste any of this blessed gold. Take your time and enjoy!
Love Ken Schramms book! It’s my go to book when I have questions about anything Mead related. It was my first book, and it follows me around the house, complete with dog eared pages, and underlinings in pen. 🙂
I’m a BJCP National and Mead Judge and regarding references 6 and 5 above the BJCP Mead study guide (http://www.bjcp.org/mead/Mead_Study.doc) states:
“Avoid older mead books, such as Brewing Mead: Wassail! In Mazers of Mead by Gayre (Brewers Publications, 1986), Making Mead (Honey Wine) by Morse (Aztex Corp, 1992), Mad About Mead by Spence (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2002), and Making Wild Wine & Meads by Vargas (Storey Books, 1999). They may be interesting from a historical basis but have little practical use today. Schramm’s book is a much better reference than all of these books combined.”
Do you feel that those 2 actually do have practical value today, or are they just of historical interest?
Those books do have good historical interest and several nice recipes, but Schramm’s book is definitely the pinnacle of mead literature.
I read Sacred and herbal healing beers, and like Bjorn said, it is a truly inspiring book. It falls in perfectly with my love of brewing, nature and ancient cultures. And the chapter on mead is incredibly informing in regards to the medicinal properties of honey
I would add another one to your list in my opinion the most important book…The Bee Keeper’s Bible I find it a very informatable book. Really gave me an education about Honey.
Help me to get mead making book. I have tried to get it with no success. I am from Tanzania on East Africa
“Made Mead like a Viking: Traditional Techniques for brewing Natural, Wild-fermented, Honey based wines and beers” was a good read and helpful in making my first batch or mead. Definitely would recommend.
Thanks for the suggestion Leif!
I find it interesting you include a few beer brewing books. I’ve brewed beer in the past and I believe myself to be an advanced homebrewer although I haven’t made any recently. I want to start making mead because I enjoy it, but also because I think it takes less time than beer brewing, especially whole grain. And I can’t buy mead locally.
Since I have it, I think the Joy of Homebrewing will be a good place to start making mead.
What really pushed me over the edge was getting The Elder Scrolls official cookbook. It has a few mead recipes in it which may be interesting to try. The base recipe is lacking, though, as is the case for when a cookbook includes these type of things.
I find the boundaries interesting. I’m talking about things like honey beers when things get blurred. Like if your fermentables are honey, apples, and barley. It would be interesting what you would call that.
I look forward to learning the different honeys and the meads they produce.