Written by Ken Schramm, the Compleat Meadmaker is an exhaustive guide for the home brewer that enjoys making mead. The book contains one of the most impressive collections of data and information on honey and mead making. Some home brewing books only give a passing mention to mead making, The Compleat Meadmaker is a rare book written exclusively for mead making by the home brewer.
The beginning section is an overview of the mead making process. How it started with ancient civilization. Also located here is a description of the different types of mead.
The second part of Ken Schramm's book discusses the procedure for making mead. A few starting recipes are given in addition to a review of the equipment that will be needed to make a starting batch. Explanations in the usage of yeast follows with a list of yeast and their characteristics that they pass on to mead. Honey is missing several key minerals and nutrients needed for yeast to thrive in. The author gives proper attention to this concern with correct nutrients and their amounts. Ken also talks about each of the different phases that yeast goes through in the fermentation process. The Process chapter is important for those who have had a batch of mead stuck before it was finished. The chapter finishes with a discussion on oak and aging your mead with its effects on flavor.
The ingredients section of the Compleat Meadmaker begins with the most important of ingredients, honey. Ken Schramm covers multiple aspects of honey and it characteristics. The list of 40 varieties of honey is quite extensive, measured across 17 different characteristics and compositions. This truly gives the home brewer to fine tune a batch of mead to an exact flavor trying to be reached.
Following this is a section discussing in great length various fruits to be added to meads to make a melomel. The handling and quantities are listed for different fruits and a very handy quick information guide is included to cover light through heavy fruit flavors. This will save the hobbyist much time desiring to create new tastes.Chapter 4: Recipes
The book ends with covering recipes for various types of meads ranging between dry and sugary flavors. A sample recipe for each varying type of mead was given. Most other books only have sweet and not-so-sweet examples. Ken Schramm's book ends with online honey ordering resources that can help with a hobbyist wanting to acquire hard to find honey.