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Influence of Pollen Addition to Mead

One of the benefits of still being enrolled at University is ongoing free access to their academic journal subscriptions. The following paper is interesting: Roldán, A., van Muiswinkel, G.C.J., Lasanta, C., Palacios, V. and Caro, I. 2011. Influence of pollen addition on mead elaboration: Physiochemical and sensory characteristics, Food Chemistry, 126, pp. 574-582.

However, if you want an academic run-through of this paper, Becca Yeaman’s blog post Enhancing the sweet nectar: The effect of pollen addition on fermentation and sensory characteristics of mead walks through the paper in understandable language.

Becca Yeaman has a Bachelors degree in Biology from Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont and a Masters degree in Environmental Science from the University of Virginia. Her masters thesis was titled “Ecological and Evolutionary Shifts in Pollen Chemistry and Their Implications for Pollinators”. Certainly an authority worth consulting on pollen.

If you can, by chance, read the full paper by Roldán, A. et al. you’ll find a depth of information. But I guess academic papers are now about access vs cost. Let’s not get started about free access to science versus paid subscription.

Basically, the researchers wanted to find out whether pollen addition to the must affected the yeast fermentation, look, mouth feel, taste, and aroma. Whether pollen addition would make for a better mead.

My only real question mark about their methodology is my understanding that mead fermentation above 20-21 Celcius results in fusel alcohol taste. The experimenters fermented at 25 Celcius.

That being said, they found that pollen addition improved the characteristics of mead, it’s rate of fermentation, taste and aroma, mouth feel, alcohol content and colour. They suggest, from this study, a dose of 30 g/hl of pollen at an industrial level.

Which leaves me with a couple of (possibly naive) questions:

  1. Is it possible that pollen reduced the fusel alcohol taste? I’d like to see the experiment repeated at, say, 18 Celcius as a completely cold process.
  2. Has any further academic research into pollen use in mead production been undertaken since 2011?
  3. Have any of you mead makers experimented in your professional practice with pollen addition to commercial mead?

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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