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Mead Lover's Digest #39 Thu 19 November 1992

Forum for Discussion of Mead Brewing and Consuming
John Dilley, Digest Coordinator


first mead correction ("Daniel F McConnell")
mead info wanted (Mark_Davis.osbu_south)
I'll try this again ! (Brewing Chemist Mitch)
more on honey (Brian Smithey)

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Date: 18 Nov 1992 09:30:11 U
From: "Daniel F McConnell" <>
Subject: first mead correction

Subject: Time:9:27 AM

OFFICE MEMO first mead correction

>therefore 10 grams in your gallon should come close.

Let me correct the above statement which appeared in the digest #38…
that should read 10 grams/liter or 38 grams/gal.

Date:   Wed, 18 Nov 1992 10:01:57 PST
Subject: mead info wanted

I tried my first mead about a week ago and instantly fell in love with it. Now
I need some good info on making mead. I would like to find a good book on the
subject, one that deals more with method and recipies then with history. I have
been brewing beer for a long time and just started making hard cider, so I
think that making mead should be rather straight forward. I have heard from
some that mead making is more akin to wine making then beer making, any
response? Any help would be much appreciated.


Date: Wed, 18 Nov 92 14:10:36 CST
From: (Brewing Chemist Mitch)
Subject: I'll try this again !

[ my mailer is being a weenie – apologies for shooting blanks ]

Greetings all, (Julie Kangas) asks:

> nutrient, and champagne yeast. Questions: what about

some sort of acid blend — should I use some? What level
of acidity am I aiming for? Is sage honey really ok? I could
go back and get orange, wildflower, buckwheat, or alfalfa (which

Acid blend (citric, malic, and tartaric) can be found at your
homebrew or winemaking shop. It's used to balance out the sweetness
of the mead, plus the yeast enjoy a more acidic environment. A
good range is anywhere from .3 to .7 percent acidic. This can be
tested easily with an acid titration kit, also found at same shop.

The honey you use is fine, as long as you like it. If you are making
something like a strawberry melomel, you might not want to use a really
dark strong honey, as the fruit flavor would get lost in there. Light
honeys for fruits, darker ones for spices seem to work well.

> Also, I've never had mead with spices. Should I try it

for my first batch or wait until next time? Will it mask

Again, only if you like the flavor.

> I'll be doing the primary fermentation in a 5 gallon plastic

jug with an airlock. Do I wait until I don't see any bubbles
before I rack to a 1 gallon jug? Should I use the 5 gallon
carboy so I can see what's going on instead?

It's nice to be able to see what's going on in there. A 5 gallon
jug to ferment a one gallon batch seems a little big. Why not make
a four gallon batch ?

> I plan on tasting the mead while it's in the one gallon jug to

see how it changes (I'm planning on several months in the jug),
but I'm concerned about loosing all my mead to tastings! Should
I add boiled then cooled water to the jug or just not worry about
it (and control my urges to taste it)?

Don't dilute your mead at all after it's in the carboy! You are asking for
trouble. And if you're concerned now with running out, make a bigger batch to
start with.

> Should I rack it every three months or so?

I would rack it after a month, then let it finish out another month or
two, it should be ready to bottle then.

> How sensitive is mead to oxygen? That is, is it ok to ferment

2 gallons in a 2 1/2 carboy?

Mead is very sensitive to oxidation during racking, so siphon quietly,
don't splash it around. Head space in the carboy should not matter much.

> Do I have to bottle it with corks? Are beer bottles and caps ok?

Use returnable beer bottles or plastic-corked champagne bottles (they'll
take a crown cap), no problem. I would like to get a corker, though.

> Am I the only one torn between doing small "test" batches of mead

and the horrid aging period (since if you really like it you'll
run out way before you get some more)?

No you are not the only one torn, and I'm finding that five gallon batches
are too small for the waiting period involved.

> Thanks,


No problem. Have fun.



| – Mitch Gelly – |
| software QA specialist | Heavy Metal can kill – if it's high speed lead
| and zymurgist |
| – – |

Date: Wed, 18 Nov 92 19:22:55 MST
From: Brian.Smithey@Central.Sun.COM (Brian Smithey)
Subject: more on honey

I thought I'd add to the honey flavor "strength" topic … I frequently
eat honey on pancakes and waffles, and have recently been buying Madhava's
"Mountain Gold" brand (produced in Colorado, I don't know the availability).
Anyway, they have three varieties that I've seen: Clover, Alfalfa, and
Wildflower. The clover and alfalfa are both light in color and flavor, the
alfalfa slightly darker. The wildflower is quite a bit darker, almost a
reddish-brown color in the jar, and noticably stronger in flavor. It's by
far my favorite of the three, great on whole-wheat pancakes!

The reason I mention this is that I was curious about the relative qualities
of different honey varieties when I first got interested in the idea of
brewing mead, and I think a lot of us can get some ideas about what we want
to use in our mead without going out and buying/tasting a lot of honey.
John D., if you're looking into adding to the README-FAQ that you posted
last week (by the way, great job, thanks!), you might want to follow this
thread and summarize it in the next version.

And since I haven't seen too many recipes posted recently, I'll toss in
my first. I used a good portion of that wildflower honey, and it really
comes through in both the aroma and flavor of this medium strong and
sweet mead.

5.5# Madhava's "Mountain Gold" Western Wildflower honey
3.5# Madhava's "Mountain Gold" Colorado Clover honey
3.5 tsp. "Yeast Food" (from Great Fermentations of Santa Rosa)
2.5 tsp. wine acid blend (citric, malic, tartaric)
0.25 tsp. grape tannin (powder)
water to 3.5 gallons
10 g. rehydrated Prise de Mousse (S. bayanus) dry yeast (from GFoSR)

Simmered all ingredients (except yeast!) at approx. 170 F. for
1 hour, skimming foam. Chilled, racked to 5 gallon carboy,
pitched yeast, and attached air-lock. Racked to 3 gallon carboy
with air-lock after 1 month. Bottled 4 months later, mead was
crystal clear and no air-lock activity for a month. This is a
still mead, no priming was added at bottling time.

OG: 1.111

FG: 1.014

This mead has a golden, almost orange color, whereas most of the
lighter, dry meads that I've consumed have been more light and
pale. There is a noticable honey aroma, distinctively wildflower.
The flavor is a bit sweet, like a dessert wine, but not heavy or
viscous like a liqueuer. I've only tasted a few bottles as this
mead was just bottled a couple of months ago, but there are no
unpleasant flavors present; I was expecting "young" flavors that
would require the legendary 1 year of aging. I'll try to go easy
on it so I can see how it develops!


Brian Smithey / Sun Microsystems / Colorado Springs, CO

End of Mead Lover's Digest

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