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Drinks Made With Heather Honey

For those who have heather honey

Although a long-time mead maker I don't live in a heather district, so I know very little about making mead and other honey drinks with heather honey. On several occasions I have asked beekeepers from heather districts if they make mead with heather honey and as with other regions the answer often shows that few beekeepers make mead. I have had answers that vary including one beekeeper who has won prizes at honey shows with heather honey mead, another uses half heather and half flower honey.

I'm told that as heather honey has a strong flavour it is more suitable for sweet mead, with a high alcohol content, so a high alcohol tolerant yeast is preferred. For these reasons some recipes advocate holding back around 25% of the honey and adding it in stages. This needs a little care as mead is notorious for secondary fermentation without warning. Some sources suggest a long maturation time of perhaps 5-8 years. This may be for show purposes, where anything short of excellence won't win the top awards.

I have acquired several recipes from a variety of beekeepers that are all similar. To simplify them I have modified the wordings, removing the methods, so either Brian Dennis's or my basic recipes and methods can be used. As with any honey drinks the result will vary depending on the honey. Recipes are often taken from other beekeepers and modified a little, so for that reason I won't credit the source.

Heather Mead Recipe.

The sender suggests starting with all the heather honey and half of the medium honey. When the SG drops to 1.005 or fermentation stops, then add the remaining medium honey in stages.

There are variations that include 3lb and 3-3½lb honey, but all heather. As I have said I have no experience of heather honey, but I guess there are times when there is a "heather blend" which I guess would be suitable.

Roger Patterson.

Page created 23/09/2018