The original resource on authentic Honey Wine - THE Reinheitsgebot of MEAD!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Water and Mead - H2O, CaSo4, NaCl, MsS04, CaCl, NaHC03, CaCo3

 © 2010 Douglas Remington

Hard water should generally be avoided to make Mead with, especially water with high sulphate content. Many people boil their municipal water to remove chlorine compounds, however a boil will create an endothermic reaction to mineral ions in water and precipitate out some of the minerals. This may be good or bad, depending on the structure of your starting water. If using municipal water, the lab analysis are provided to you free through your water department. Some municipalities use well water in certain times of the year and non-well water for the rest of the year. Water content will vary throughout the seasons so it's best to check the content quarterly.

Calcium and Magnesium are the principle ions in consideration of TH. We are addressing calcium here.

You need a minimum of 50ppm of calcium for yeast health. 50ppm of calcium or higher also aids in natural yeast flocculation, clarification, and stability of ph buffering value during fermentation.

Water below 100ppm could be considered soft, with 150pp of total hardness is considered semi soft. For Mead making we want to avoid water above 150ppm TH to prevent a permanent to semi-permanent harshness to the finished product. I prefer my Mead water to be between 50 - 100ppm TH.

Also to be considered (and perhaps beyond the interest and capabilities of the home Mead maker) is the mineral content of the honey type itself, which can have a wide degree of variance.

Here in the Portland Oregon area we have the softest water in the world. Our water is softer than famous brewing cities in Czechoslovakia and Poland. Portland water is as close as it gets to distilled as provided by nature. This is ideal. It is very easy to add desired mineral value, but very expensive to take it out. This is just one of the reasons why Portland Oregon is the brewing capital of the world today.

To add calcium to your Mead, I recommend via calcium chloride. In small amounts it helps create a round and perceived sweet mouth feel to your Mead. Gypsum (calcium sulphate) can add a harshness because of the sulphates. So we should avoid this type of calcium addition. Calcium carbonate (chalk) is helpful in managing temporary ph drift in fermentation, however it is largely a temporary hardness and much of it precipitates out in a short amount of time.

If you are starting out with distilled or Portland water, .75 grams per gallon of calcium chloride is a good start for great Mead making (I would avoid exceeding 1 gram per gallon).

I will address other minerals for Mead in a future blog, however calcium is of the imediate interest here.

Na zdraví!