Upcoming Zymurgy Live Speaker: Susan Ruud

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Prairie Rose Meadery founder, and award-winning mead maker, Susan Ruud

The next Zymurgy Live webinar is Wednesday, August 3 at 7pm ET. Susan Ruud, owner of Prairie Rose Meadery in Fargo, ND, will present on mead making in anticipation of Mead Day this Saturday, August 6, 2016.

We asked Susan a few questions about all things mead in anticipation of her webinar, Nutrient Additions, pH Levels & YAN: A Primer On Yeast For Mead Day.

What will we be learning about in your webinar?

You will be learning how to speed up your fermentation and avoid many off flavors and higher alcohols, thus being able to avoid the long aging process typically associated with mead.  Using this information you should be able to have any mead (about 15% ABV or less)  ready to drink in 6-8 weeks or less – with fining or filtering they could be ready in 2-3 weeks.

Why are nutrient additions so important when making great mead? 

The correct nutrients used in making mead keep the yeast well fed. This produces clean ethanol, rather than higher alcohols or high amounts of esters & hydrogen sulfide; thus avoiding stuck or sluggish fermentations.

What would you suggest the first step would be for someone interested in making mead? 

If you know someone locally who makes mead pair up with them and participate in this Saturday’s Mead Day – but also do some research on how to make mead. Websites like Got Mead, Meadmakr.com and the AHA website are a few good sources. Or purchase a good book on Mead making such as Ken Schramms The Compleat Meadmaker or Steve Piatz’s The Complete Guide to Making Mead.

Tell us about Prairie Rose

My husband Bob and I opened Prairie Rose Meadery in May of 2015. We have been making mead at home for almost 20 years and have done well in competitions. We love mead and we love North Dakota, so we decided to name our meadery after the North Dakota state flower – the Prairie Rose. We started out with 3 mead varieties – a traditional mead, a blackberry mead and a ginger mead. Since then we have expanded to 16 different flavors with our latest being a Roasted Pineapple Chipotle Mead. We are still only available in North Dakota but we can ship our meads to 35 states through Vinoshipper.com.

Besides being an all-star mead maker, tell us a little bit about your work on the AHA Governing Committee.

I have been on the AHA Governing Committee since 2000, taking one year off  in 2010 due to term limits. I missed being on the committee so much I had to run again as soon as I could. This has been a very rewarding experience and it has been great to be part of such a wonderful organization. I have seen the AHA grow from about 8,000 members in 2000 to over 45,000 presently.

When I was first elected to the AHA it was the “AHA Board of Advisers” and we did make some suggestions. I believe that the AHA staff has always listened to the board but I saw big changes when the Association of Brewers and the Brewers Association of America merged, and the AHA board of Advisors changed its name to the AHA Governing Committee to more reflect the changes that occurred at that time with having two AHA Governing Committee members on the Brewers Association Board of Directors. We now are truly a Governing Committee and many of the programs and changes that have occurred at the AHA have come about due to suggestions from the Governing Committee. It has always been exciting to work on the Governing Committee.

Register now for Wednesday’s webinar with Susan; Nutrient Additions, pH Levels & YAN: A Primer On Yeast For Mead Day.