Some people can explain at length what nutrients to use, how to use sulfites or acids. Others will tell you how to make mead using only honey, water and yeast, without adding anything else.

Who is right?

Does it really matter? Is this the important dichotomy? I would argue that however you make it, at the end of the day, what matters is how your mead turns out. It is pointless to be proud of one's organic mead if it is not good. It is also pointless to be proud of fermenting a mead in two weeks if it takes months to age. It is pointless to boast about not using sulfite if the mead is not stable during aging. What matters is how good the mead is after a given time. Which mead is best at the end of fermentation? Which one ages best?

I cannot answer this question; it is sure that both methods can lead to good meads. My point is that this may not be the right question to ask and very often it is just a dogma which has not been proven. Instead of being proud of fermenting mead in two weeks or of not using nutrients or sulfite, it may be better to actually test the effect of these points of view. Use no nutrients, some nutrients and a lot of nutrients and compare the speed of fermentation as well as the taste of mead at the end of fermentation and after some aging. Bottle mead with and without sulfite and compare the stability of the two batches. If it turns out that indeed a two week fermentation or the absence of nutrients or sulfite gives as good (or better) a result than other methods, stick with it. Otherwise, revise your religion. No religion can be as important as making a good mead.

April 16th 2003