Mead people: bars and CO2

I have a friend in the beer business who sets up the beer lines in bars, sets up the cute lights and is the best schmoozer ever. He looks like a really, really tall Mark Harmon… at 7’+ he gets the ladies.

His company has been contracted by a guy setting up a bar to sell mead (among other things) and that guy is really knowledgeable about mead. But…

My friend’s question is : He’s contracted to set up five 90’ lines with CO2* to push it. He knows nothing about mead. He has no idea how often the lines will need cleaned. No idea on how cold the lines need to be nor (other from the owner) how cold the mead should be (it’s more like a pop container vs a beer one… not the bagged pop but those silver with black top pop containers— my description, not his).

Again: he knows nothing about mead. It’s not beer which he knows.

This is in the Midwest (Iowa) and I really don’t know how well a mead will go down (I think it’s sour from reading about it but are there sweet ones as well? There was mentions of hot/spicy ones) but improperly served ones won’t sell, I would guess. Well… after the first or second nasty surprise, anyway.

Can anyone here give a few tips I can relay to my husband’s BFF? Temps, how much CO2 per foot (I guess… I only know what I know via 30+ years of listening to war stories) or how often the lines need cleaned.

*I shivered at the thought of the drink of the gods being bubbly… but I am weird that way.

IMHO, mead should be served still. That is, no bubbles. That means push it with nitrogen, not CO2. Slightly chilled for a US palate, but it it’s good, room temperature is best. While there may be some people of Norse descent in Iowa, I suspect most of the potential customers will be unfamiliar with mead, so a fizzy, cold drink is probably more what the owner wants. Your friend needs to find out what the owner wants.

By pop container, I suspect you mean a corny keg. They use different disconnects than beer kegs, but other than that, they are the same. To figure out what to push it with and length of the lines, your friend needs to find out if the mead is carbonated. If it is still (non-carbonated), then the meadist does not intend the mead to be carbonated and it should be pushed with nitrogen. If it is carbonated, he needs to fine out at what level (how many “volumes” of CO2). This will tell him what pressure the CO2 needs to be and the size of tubing he needs. The size of the tubing and the pressure of CO2 will dictate what pressure he needs.

The lines that carry CO2 don’t need cleaning. The lines that carry the mead should probably be rinsed with a cleaner, just like beer lines, every month or so.

Thank you so much, excavating (for a mind) , especially the bit about the CO2 and Nitrogen (he mentioned Nitrogen but… I forgot, hubby knows too so said “Cool!”). And, yep, a corny keg.

I will send him (with a bold-ing space about the “what the meadist wants” so my beer guy can get it clarified). I believe he said both CO2 and Nitrogen… so, uh?

Mead is not beer! It’s only ingredients are honey and water. It’s actually almost a wine. So serve it like you would wine.

Mead is a bit like beer in that it is a fermented drink made from grains or (other things) and honey. But some beer is drank warm, some ice cold. Never heard of it being just honey and water.

Nowadays commercial beer is made with CO2 for the bubbles, I guess (I prefer booze with a splash of pop… uh, I guess I should not admit my tolerance that puts Arctic Drillers to shame some week-ends so skipping pop). Not sure what Nitrogen has to do with it(me, Hubby knew and Beer Guy will know) but am glad to pass on the info so a good product gets passed on to the best of our buddy’s ability (if the product is crap bubbles won’t help).

** (starting the Long Week-end way early… yay :smiley: )


Grains in Mead are a sometimes thing, and IME much rarer than fruit. Mead is “honey wine”, not “honey beer”.

Most of the breweries around here carry a mead along with the beers they brew. Meaderies can be very particular about how their product is served. I’m surprised the meadery owners aren’t advising on the project.

I’ve never *made *a mead I’d characterize as “still”. It always has some carbonation already, I don’t see the point of adding any more. Otherwise treat it like you would ale- cellar-cool, not fridge-cold, basically.

Sweet meads are a thing (and my preference) and even the commercial meads I’ve had vary widely - quite a few are dry, but the Danish blod mjod I’ve had was quite sweet, like a dessert wine. So it totally depends on what this guy is selling.


To echo excavating and others, there’s a lot of variation in mead styles. Some is best room temperature, some cellar temp, and some cold. Some is carbonated, some not. Some is sweet, some very dry. I haven’t seen sour mead, but I know some places make that too.

If this is a permanent bar focused on mead appreciation, I’d guess they will want to serve different kinds of mead in the way appropriate for that style. So they very well might want a few lines running CO2 for the carbonated meads and a few running Nitrogen for the stills. And potentially some chilled lines, and some cellar or room temp.

If the owner doesn’t really know mead and is just looking for general appeal, the safest bet is probably like beer - chilled and CO2. The spritzer-like mead is easiest to appreciate for non-mead drinkers.

Last comment - I think monthly cleaning is too infrequent, especially for sweet meads that have more potential to get gunked up. I think weekly is better.

Most of the mead I’ve had is just honey and water (and yeast) or that with some fruit added. The style with malted grains in it is called braggot. The kinds I’ve had have all been still, or with very mild effervescence.

Thank you all for the education: not only do I obviously not drink mead but I’m not much of a beer drinker either. I’ll pass this thread on to my friend so he can do his job and Be Best :wink: He is working with the mead person but since this is new to my friend he really wanted some outside clarification. So I thank you all again!

Well, I hope his lack of expertise in mead doesn’t get in the way of his having sex with lots of women! :rolleyes:
Here’s a blog post that talks a little about CO2 and mead.

Basically, it depends on the mead.

Your friend should get in touch with the distributors and find out what they recommend for their meads. Otherwise, he’s just guessing.

…need to be cleaned.

You’ll thank me someday.

Jackmannii, Chairman of the Committee To Stamp Out Horrifying Ohio Valleyisms.

Don’t you mean “need to bee cleaned”?


I don’t mean to derail this thread. But am I the only one who’s a bit peeved a this comment? If I were to say, “She has large breasts, and thus gets the guys,” I would be pitted.

(pssst . . . three posts up :slight_smile: ). But yes, unnecessary and inappropriate.

Certainly not necessary for the OP to mention it, but no harm in doing so either. Guess I don’t understand why this is a fair equivalency, since the OP wasn’t even talking about genitalia. OP simply said “best schmoozer ever. He looks like a really, really tall Mark Harmon… at 7’+ he gets the ladies.”

I’m in the US, but I’ve been brewing and drinking mead for a long while. My preference is for a sweet, (mostly) still, cellar temp mead. I’ve found that most meads suffer when served very cold; it limits their bouquet.

I agree about the nitrogen, if it’s an option.

I have never once used grain in making my mead. Sometimes fruit or spices, and in my most recent batch orange blossom water, but never grain.

I have no practical advice on cleaning the hoses, as I’ve never put mead on tap. I will speculate that the percentage of alcohol may be a factor, though.

This is the only type of mead that I’ve had, too. The one’s I’ve had have all been quite sweet, and served like wine, poured from a bottle. They’ve also been served at room temp.