Cherry Chaga Ginseng Mead

This past weekend was the Mead Workshop I hosted at my home. It went very well! However, I did do up a new batch of mead, and utterly forgot to take photographs of it until it was too late. Ah well. That said I’d like to document it here for posterity with as much info as I can provide.

I did a similar repeat to last year’s Cherry Red Ginseng Mead. I started with a chaga decoction, and added some more Red Ginseng Root (Panax ginseng) for the last hour of the decoction. I did not use any staghorn sumac this time, because I used a lot more chokecherries than I did last year, about a quart and a half. These are quite bitter so I didn’t worry about adding the tannins or the citric acid (the cherries also have some tartness to them).

With the decoction complete, I cooled the tea quickly in the sink, added enough honey to get to 18% alcohol potential, and put it up in the carboy. Let’s see how this one goes. :-)


I just racked the mead, and it is 6% residual alcohol potential. This means the mead is 12%ABV. It’s really good! Very similar to last year’s version, which I know will make some folks happy. :-)

Mead Workshop is Tomorrow!

I can’t believe the Mead Workshop is tomorrow! It is nearly full but there are still a couple of spots open, so we’d welcome any last-minute registrants, get your registration in ASAP…..

Also, one of you who registered, when I sent you details about the workshop the email bounced, apparently it is an invalid email address. So if you have registered for this workshop but have not received details about it, please contact me ASAP, brewmeister -AT- bardicbrews -DOT- net.

Still space left!

Thanks to all of you who have registered for the Beginning & Intermediate Lore And Craft Of Mead workshop coming up on July 28th. The workshop is over half-full as of now, so there are still a few spaces left! It is filling up quickly though so get your registration in as soon as possible.

The Lore And Craft Of Mead Workshop
$50 registration
[WORKSHOP IS OVER. Watch for future workshops!]

Interview at

The good folks at recently asked for an interview on the intersection between fermentation and herbalism. I was only too happy to oblige. I really enjoyed doing this interview and I think it came out well. Head on over to check it out:

In modern herbalism, making tinctures with, say, 80 proof vodka is common, but we often forget that distilled alcohol has only been widely available for 400 or 500 years. Prior to this, herbalists had to make their own alcohol. Before distillation techniques became widely available, we had a “ceiling” in terms of alcohol content of about 18 to 20%, or about 40 proof. This is the percentage of alcohol we can get before there is too much alcohol present for the yeast to survive, which brings up an interesting point/metaphor — can you think of another organism besides yeast that gradually toxifies its environment with its waste products, until it can no longer survive?

. . .

I view mead as the highest alchemical expression of a given ecosystem. Honey is nearly ubiquitous to the planet, you have to go to the extreme latitudes before you can no longer find honey. I view honey as the lifeblood of an ecosystem, and when we use this precious substance as the sugar for fermentation we are creating beverages on the highest order of what the ecosystem has to offer.

. . .

If you haven’t yet tried mead, I suggest you get some as soon as you can and share it with friends, preferably under the stars and around a fire, with a song or a poem. While there have been some very exciting developments in commercial meaderies over the past decade (meadmaking is undergoing a similar renaissance to what microbrewed beers underwent 2 decades ago), all of the best meads I’ve tried have been homebrewed, either by me or my tribe. Try to find a meadmaker near you, chances are they will be thrilled to share their mead and their enthusiasm with you.

The above are just three excerpts from the interview. I’m so excited to have been introduced to this very cool community of herbalists!

Saturday July 28: Beginning AND Intermediate Meadmaking Workshop

Big announcement! I’ll be giving my next The Lore And Craft Of Mead workshop on Saturday, July 28th from 1pm until 4pm in New Gloucester, Maine. There will be an informal mead tasting before this exclusive, private event, and then in the event itself there will be a short lecture about mead, followed by a hands-on demonstration on how to make your own mead.

In addition, for the first time ever, I will also be showing how to “rack” the mead at the end of the fermentation cycle, as well as how to bottle the mead after it has cleared. You will witness the entire process, from mixing the initial ingredients to the final bottling! I’m very excited to teach this aspect of meadmaking because I’ve never done it before.

Space is limited to 12 participants, so get your registration in as soon as possible! The $50 registration fee includes a free copy of the Lore And Craft Of Mead eBook, so you will have something to study in advance and refer to after the workshop.

Get your registration in as soon as you can, space is limited!
[WORKSHOP IS OVER. Watch for future workshops!]

Location details will be sent to you upon registration. The $50 registration is non-refundable. If extraordinary circumstances cause you to miss the event, we will hold a space for you at a future event.