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Barat's Concord Pyment

Classification: mead, pyment, grape mead

Source: Stephen Pursley (, Mead Digest #433, September 29, 1995

Try this one, it has been winning award and has put smiles on many faces.

The color is a deep, dark bluish purple. It tends to be crystal clear (without adding any clarifying agents, use them if you like). Wonderful flavor. Be warned, I prefer sweet meads (dry meads are mostly modern in design), and this is a sweet mead.

Where to get concord grape concentrate? The highest quality source I have been able to find is Welches Concord Grape Juice Concentrate (really). This stuff is made with the best concord grapes around, has no preservatives (except for a small quantity of added vitamin C). Sometimes you can find wine grade concord concentrate, but both brands I have found are produced from the same vineyards as Welches grape juice, and taste just the same.

This stuff is good straight out of the fermenter, no aging required. Sometimes you will get a little acid tang. If this happens, just let it sit about two months in the bottles before drinking. I have just finished a batch of this mead sparkling. Oh My!

One note. This is not a true pyment. Pyment in the historical sense was wine with honey added at drinking time to increase the sweetness. If you like, call it a grape melomel.



Bring 2.5 gal. water to boil. Remove from heat. Stir in 12 lbs. honey. Return to heat. Bring to a boil then immediately reduce heat to a light simmer. Scum will form (white to light tan). Skim it off till it stops showing up (10 min. to and hour and a half. Depends on the honey). If the scum forming is dark tan or brown, turn the heat down fast. Remove from heat and immediately add the concord grape concentrate. Cover and let sit for 15 min. This pasteurizes the juice, but is not hot enough to set the pectin (not much pectin in the grape juice, it's mostly in the skins). Fill your carboy with a little less than 1 gal. of cold water. Add the must to the carboy. Add yeast nutrient and energizer. Put an airlock on the carboy. Do not agitate it at this stage. When the temperature is down to 70-80 deg. F pitch the yeast. Let it sit for a day. Then use the shaker method to up the yeast count (more on this in a moment).

When fermentation tapers off, feed it. Treat the extra 3 lbs. the same way you do the first 12 lbs. You will need about 1/2-2/3 gal. of water. Add this to the fermenter (did I mention that I use 7.5 gal. carboys for 5 gal. batches?) If you have to, remove some of the pyment from the fermenter and store it in a 1 gal. bottle (with an airlock). You can then add this 1 gal. back into the main batch at bottling time.

The Shaker Method:

When making mead, pitch a large quantity of yeast (liquid cultures are preferred, they tend to be a lot healthier than powdered yeasts). Use yeast energizer and yeast nutrient in the amounts listed on the packages. The next day, shake the carboy hard for one or two minutes. Repeat this shaking every day till you start to get out-gassing from the mead. At this point STOP. If you don't, you will end up with mead flavored ceiling. This shaking method is used in mycology labs to grow production quantities of many yeasts. It tends to accelerate growth by a factor of ten or more (depending on the yeast strain and growth media in use).

If you don't use yeast nutrient and energizer, expect initial fermentation to take several months (assuming 65-75 deg. F ambient temperature). With this method, you can cut initial fermentation (primary fermentation if you like) down to a few weeks to a month. This method does not affect the flavor of the mead at all. I have done several side by side comparisons. Some boiled, some not boiled. Some with energizer and/or nutrient, some without. Some with shaking, some without. And combinations of all of these. No change in flavor or aroma was found.