Pontische rododendron struik (Rhododendron ponticum)“. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons. I never knew this was a thing – deli bal aka Mad Honey. Apparently, a special variety of honey produced from very specific varieties of rhododendron in Turkey. It has psychotropic properties from a neurotoxin (grayanotoxin) produced by the particular blooms. It is only recommended in very tiny doses. (e.g. a teaspoon swirled in tea).
Apparently, it also costs ~$166 / lb on the interwebz which means that my standard sweet mead recipe, which calls for 18 pounds per 5 gallons would cost… 8 carry the 4 add that into…: $2,988 So monthly house payment or a batch of mead likely to kill me dead like a Roman soldier or Greek Soldier (read the linked articles)?
Hmm… But thinking a little further… if a teaspoon is generally considered safe, how much would that be in a glass of mead? Consider the standard 6 oz glass of wine/mead. In our lovely English measurements, 1 oz is 6 teaspoons in volume, so 1 oz (volume) in 36 oz would be the equivalent dose. Doing some more math.. 1 gallon equals 128 ounce (768 teaspoons) or a little over 21 glasses of wine per gallon. So, 21 teaspoons of honey per gallon or 105 teaspoons for a 5 gallon batch (aka 17.5 oz by volume).
Given that honey weighs about 1.5 ozs per 1.0 oz volume, you’re talking 5.25 oz (weight) per gallon or 26.25 oz (weight) per 5 gallons (aka 1.64 lbs of honey). (fyi.. someone check my math.. I hate our screw ball system of volume/weight) Our theoretically safe batch of “Mad Honey Melomel” then would costs us… $166 * 1.64 = $272.44 for the “Mad Honey” portion plus whatever price you can get for 16.36 lbs of “Sane Honey”.
I don’t know about you, but holy poop – that’s a lot more money than I’d ever want to spend on a mead that could cause some serious issues. We here at ExperimentalBrew.com encourage the safe experimentation of new ingredients, but can’t fathom using this stuff without better, more reliable, more standarized understanding of the impact. (In other words… don’t do it!)