mead making

UC Davis Mead Making Courses Overview

Mead is ‘hot’ right now. Everyone is willing to try a taste of this fascinating and ancient beverage. A few of you want to know more.

The Honey and Pollination Center, working in concert with the Department of Viticulture and Enology has re-envisioned our mead course offerings.

Each of the courses offered from Boot Camp, through the short course series of 101, 201 and 301 and culminating with the Business of Mead will offer the mead maker coursework designed at skill level. In addition to specific courses, our programs offer lectures with both University faculty and staff as well as outstanding mead makers selected from across the country. Students have the opportunity to interact with these faculty and share ideas with their fellow mead lovers.

Mead Making Boot Camp and Mead Making 101 are for the novice mead maker or someone simply interested in what mead is all about. Boot Camp takes place in the University’s LEED Platinum Educational Winery. Working in small groups, students will make a batch of mead through fermentation, ending with bottling a completely fermented batch of mead. Along the way, participants will become familiar with the tools, equipment required and the various methods that might be used. 101 is a survey and introduction to mead. This course lays the groundwork with lectures on the history of mead, its various styles and includes many opportunities to taste and learn about this amazing beverage. Four strands of education concerning fermented beverages begins here. Students will learn the rudiments of yeast and microbiology, initial fermentation kinetics, a basic start to sensory science and within it all the natural flavoring at mead’s basis – honey. Sensory science is the study of how we use our five senses to understand what we eat and love – in this case mead and honey.

Mead Making 201 is designed for the mead maker who has made six or more fermentations. This mead maker will know that it isn’t always beginner’s luck and needs to do much more work to learn how to be successful each and every time. Learn how to set up a small lab at home and learn what tools you need to understand the microbiology happening in your carboy. Defects always happen – but why? A formal introduction to sensory science, led by a member of the UC Davis faculty will be put to use with a study of two styles of mead. In 2018, we will be learning about and tasting melomels and braggots. Using sensory evaluation techniques, we will begin to seriously evaluate mead.

Mead Making 301 offers a totally unique opportunity for the seasoned mead maker. Members of this course will each have a one-on-one situation with a master mead maker for a half hour session during the course. In addition, open ‘Ask the Mead Maker’ sessions will take place during lunch hour. The sensory science arm of the course will focus on methods of description for meads and strengthening the students’ skills through the use of sensory science tools. The microbiology arm will discuss how yeasts and their various alternatives work in meads while the fermentation kinetics delves deeper into yeast behavior discussing stabilization, filtration, clarification, aging and more. Detail from ongoing research will discuss how different yeasts act with different honeys and fruit recipes, changing ph, timing and completed fermentations (tasting included!) Tours of local meaderies will be set up as well as a tour of a varietal honey packer.

The Business of Mead: So you want to open a Meadery. Details coming soon.


Watch: About UC Davis Mead Making