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Mead Lover's Digest #0525 Fri 10 January 1997


Forum for Discussion of Mead Making and Consuming
Dick Dunn, Digest Janitor



Re: Melomel Recipe Help (Jack Stafford)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #524, 9 January 1997 (John R. Murray)
cloudy mead/mead to drink (Chuck Wettergreen)
re: mead recipe idea ("Curt Speaker")
Fermentation temps (Cam Lay)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #524, 9 January 1997 ("Suzanne Berry")
Blackberries and Patience (Rod McDonald)
Re: Getting the Juice (Peter Miller)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #523, 8 January 1997 (Peter Miller)
Yeast "Whack Packs" (Mark Abbott)
Hi there! (Diana&Kirby)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #524, 9 January 1997 (Belinda Messenger Routh)
cider into cyser ("Brander Roullett (Volt Computer)")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #524, 9 January 1997 ("Donald E. Vick")
How to use Blackberries (
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #524, 9 January 1997 (Jim Laukes)


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Subject: Re: Melomel Recipe Help
From: (Jack Stafford)
Date: Thu, 9 Jan 97 10:28:16 PST

On Wed, 8 Jan 1997, "Patrick Lehnherr" <> wrote:
> > For 5 gallons…
> >
> > 10 lbs of honey (type unknown, local honey, unproscessed)
> > 3 Lbs of frozen strawberries
> > 1 package (not sure how much it is) of dried cranberries.
> > 1 Pack Wyeast Sweet Mead Yeast
> > 1 oz Hops (variety not decided yet)
> >
> That doesn't look like much fruit for five gallons. I have never
> used strawberries but I would think that with such a mellow flavor,
> you would need more. I'll be interested in hearing other people
> comments.

I made 5 gallons of Barkshack Ginger Mead (Papazian) last year
using 11lb. of frozen strawberries. They were only $1/lb so I went
bonkers on the fruit. *I recommend > 8lb. for 5 gallons.* The first
Barkshack I made had only 4lb of raspberries and their flavor was thin.
I've used strawberries before in a wheat beer and found that they
make a real mess. Lots of fruit particles in the primary fermenter
and a heavy amount of kraeusen. Bust up the frozen berries or whole
berries may ride the foam up and clog your airlock.
There's little bits that made it into the bottles even after racking
twice. They are fibers that attach from the center of the berry to
the seed on the skin of the fruit. I think they look like pink
mosquito larvae in my sparkling mead. MMMmmmmm. ๐Ÿ™‚

Don't be shy with the fruit in your melomels.

Costa Mesa, CA

Subject: Re:  Mead Lover's Digest #524, 9 January 1997
From: (John R. Murray)
Date: Thu, 9 Jan 1997 13:35:50 -0500

A comment and a question, from different threads:

1) cider: I've made cider from 1 gal bottles of all-natural apple juice.

It's not at all traditional, but it makes a decent beverage. However,
I've found that it's best if you don't allow it to ferment all the way.
If you do, IMO the resulting very dry beverage is absolutely awful. The
ciders from Across the Pond (and I've had the pleasure of tasting a few
really delightful very dry ones from the UK) are generally made from
different apples than the typical US eating and drinking apples.

For a quick and dirty mead from juice: (emphasis on "quick" and "dirty")

Take 1 gal all-natural no-preservatives unfiltered apple juice. Pour off
a pint or so of liquid. Drink. Add 1/2 or 1 packet dry yeast (only recon-
stitute the yeast if you like working harder than you have to). Leave in
fairly warm corner. Wait 2-3 days. It's probably still fermenting. So what.
Agitate (to get that yummy apple pulp in suspension again) by swirling,
or by merely staggering around the party with gallon in hand. Drink.

In self-defense, foist samples off on other party-goers (otherwise you
might end up drinking the gallon yourself! %-)

It's better than it probably sounds. Really.

2) Strawberry mead: I was under the impression that melomel recipes generally

added fruit at the rate of 1 or 2 pounds per gallon. However, even the
revised figure of 6 pounds/5 gals that is being bandied about only comes
out to 1.2 lb/gal, despite comments that strawbs tend to be "mellow".
Should this be even higher, or am I off-base here? I'd like to know,
because I just bought a little over 2 lbs of strawberries (they were cheap)
in hopes of finding time to try my first 1-gal melomel, prior to springing
$$ for the fruit for a 5-gal batch. After 7 batches of shows, traditionals
and metheglins, I figure it's about time…

Also, I plan to clean, freeze, then maybe figure out a way to lightly
crush (no fruit press) the strawbs, then heat-pasteurize and add them to a
1 gal batch a couple weeks after fermentation starts, racking off the fruit
a couple weeks later. Any comments on this plan?

John R. Murray
FSU Aikido Club/North Florida Aikikai home of Miko's Aikido MPEGs and the
Tallahassee, FL WWW Aikido online calendar of events

  • Reality is the murder of a beautiful theory by a gang of ugly facts –

Subject: cloudy mead/mead to drink
From: Chuck Wettergreen <chuckmw@Mcs.Net>
Date: Thu, 9 Jan 1997 12:40:57 -0600 (CST)


In MLD #523 Carl L. Saxer ( said:

MM> sparkloid and it has become brilliant in clarity. I noticed today that the
MM> top 1/3 of the mead has gotten a couple shades darker in color than the
MM> bottom 2/3. The line between the two colors is very distinct, as if it were
MM> drawn with a straight edge. There is no blending of the colors. I have use

This past year I've made three separate 5-gallon batches of show mead, two
from wildflower honey (pretty dark to start) and one from Texas mixed bush
honey. I've used part of those meads to blend to make other meads and like
Carl, I also have wound up with less than full carboys. Additionally, I
have noted the same darkening that carl has noticed.

I first noticed it when, almost overnight, a four-liter jug of crystal
clear show mead became cloudy and dark. All the others that darkened were
also cyystal clear and just waiting to be blended or bottled.

After reading Carl's note, I decided to take another look at them. One of
them has again fallen clear, but there is a large amount of dark brown
sediment on the bottom of the jug. I haven't gotten around to tasting
it yet.

I don't believe that these meads are oxidized. The only thing that I can
think of is that they underwent a malo-lactic fermentation, whatever the
hell *that* is.

So with Carl's question answered with another question/data point (but no
answer), I have another question.

Is mead only to drink?
All Summer long I picked and froze cinnamon basil flowers. I previously have
made basil flower vinegars by infusing the flowers in vinegar, and the aroma
and flavor added are astounding.

I dry-spiced a show mead (one of the ones mentioned above that turned cloudy)
with the flowers and within days the mead took on the beautiful purple-pink
color of the flowers. after racking and settling, the mead quickly cleared.
The flowers added no residual sugar and there was no additional fermentation.

The aroma from this mead is pure basil, almost no honey. The flavor of this
mead (metheglin, I guess) shouts, no SCREAMS — BASIL!!! BASIL HERE!!!!

Alas, It's so strong it's undrinkable. It's great to marinade chicken
breasts in, but not really very good in salad because it doesn't have the
acidity of a vinegar.

So I have this problem. If I enter it in a contest as a metheglin, I'll get
19's after the judge's gag reflex dies down. I suppose I could blend a little
with a pyment to come up with a (I forget the name – hippocras?).

So, I'm looking for suggestions (other than wait) for this mead. Is it only
to drink?

Geneva, IL

* RM 1.3 00946 *

Subject: re: mead recipe idea
From: "Curt Speaker" <>
Date: Thu, 9 Jan 1997 13:53:19 EST

Someone recently posted a request for a good recipe…this is one of
mine that came out so well I'm planning on doing it again as soon as
I can get kiwis cheap…

Kiwi Mead (3 gallon recipe)
7 pounds honey (I used Sams club)
1 fl oz. fresh lemon juice
pulp from 24 kiwis
water to make 3 gallons
Windsor Ale Yeast (rehydrated)

Place 1.5 gallons water in pot, add honey. Slowly bring to boil and
boil 10 minutes.Skim the scum that forms during boiling.
Turn off heat and add lemon juice and kiwi pulp
(I found the easiest way to do this is to cut the kiwis in half and then
simply squeeze each half until the green pulp falls into the pot).
Cover and steep for 30 minutes. Add remaining water and transfer to
primary fermenter (including pulp). Pitch rehydrated yeast when cool
enough. Ferment for 10 days, then rack off of pulp to carboy.
Ferment to completion (1-1.5 months).
I bottled it as a still mead (in chimay bottles with corks).
It was a little bitey when young, but at about 10 months in the
bottle it turned into ambrosia. Nice honey flavor, lots of kiwi in
the aroma and taste. Definitely my best yet! Enjoy
I don't have my brewing notes here at work so I can't tell you more
details about S.G. and other stats. I believe it started at about
1.085 and finished in the teens (there is some residual sweetness).

Have fun with this one…

Subject: Fermentation temps
From: Cam Lay <clay@CLEMSON.EDU>
Date: Thu, 9 Jan 1997 14:42:06 -0500 (EST)

David McDonald asks about fermentation temps:

I've fermented my last several batches of mead and hard cider
in the beer 'fridge at 55-60F. I'm convinced that it yields
a better product, less harsh, less time to age to a drinkable
product. I'm going to try an ale yeast for the next couple of
batches, to see if that helps.

This is an anecdote. The plural of "anecdote" is not "data."
This anecdote is based on comparing a few old bottles of
high-temp mead to a few bottles of younger lower-temp mead.
Obviously there are a lot of other things that could have an

Finally, patience is indeed a virtue. I have several bottles
approaching 2 years old that are marvelous…


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #524, 9 January 1997
From: "Suzanne Berry" <>
Date: Thu, 09 Jan 97 16:20:00 EST

Peter wrote:

I think you
may need some pectin destroying enzyme if you add strawberries
comment on that?), otherwise the mel may be cloudy.

Well, I'm a relatively new brewer, but last April I made a Strawberry
variant of Papazian's Barkshack Gingermead. It turned out well, and I
started a second batch in August. For a two-gallon batch, I used 1 1/2
pounds of frozen strawberries. The first batch is crystal-clear, now,
but not very strawberry-ish. So… I guess I'd say use more fruit if
you want a strawberry character.

(aka Aislinn)

Subject: Blackberries and Patience
From: (Rod McDonald)
Date: Fri, 10 Jan 1997 09:20:01 +1000


Two notes from a new subscriber

1. Patrick Lehnherr asked about blackberries:

I just bought 10 pounds of frozen blackberrys for a blackberry
mead I
want to make. My question is, what's the best way to use

1. Do I dump them in the pot with the honey at about 180F for
2. Do I squeeze the juice out first (and how do I do that?)
3. Do I do a primary fermentation, then add the berries
(juice or

I have recently commenced a Raspberry Melomel. I found that, over the
space of a week or so, after freezing, thawing, pasteurizing (heating
but not boiling for maybe 5 minutes), mashing (squishing them with a
tool for mashing potatoes, fermenting the pulp (no honey added at
first) then straining and squeezing the fruit in a muslin bag the
resulting liquid was substantial in both quantity and colour and the
remaining fruit pulp was dry and almost colourless. I then added
honey, and fermentation was under way with a vengeance.

2. There has been some discussion recently about maturation times. I
have been doing it (meads and wines) off and on for about 15 years
now, and i must confess I am surprised at the unwillingness of some to
wait for a better quality product. Personally, I would be hesitant to
open a bottle that was anything younger than 3 or 4 years old. Last
night I uncovered a Fig mead from 1983 and 2 plum meands from 1985.
These are, I admit, a slight aberration, and it is unlikely that I'd
normally keep anything for that long.

I have been working on Rosehip meads and wines, and I have found that
these seem to require a longer period of maybe 4 to 6 years in the
bottle. I am just about to open a 1 (imperial) gallon batch (Rosehip
and Juniper Wine) from 1989 – a batch that has been a little
overlooked in recent years, but which was never intended to be drunk
while still a baby.

From experience there are a lot of subtle flavours in fruit wines and
meads, and these often don't really come through until it matures – it
is often

Rod McDonald,

Subject: Re: Getting the Juice
From: Peter Miller <>
Date: Fri, 10 Jan 97 09:14:02 -0000

>From: "Patrick Lehnherr" <>
>Date: Wed, 8 Jan 1997 15:48:28 -0600
>I just bought 10 pounds of frozen blackberrys for a blackberry mead I
>want to make. My question is, what's the best way to use them?
>1. Do I dump them in the pot with the honey at about 180F for

Would work… don't boil too much or you'll lose flavour.

>2. Do I squeeze the juice out first (and how do I do that?)

Not necessary…

>3. Do I do a primary fermentation, then add the berries (juice or

My preferred method is to ferment the whole lot in a big mashing bin for
a week or so, keep covered to keep out the bugs and stir every day,
pushing all the fruit under the liquid. Then strain off all the fruit
pulp and ferment as usual – you'll almost certainly have to rack again
after about a month or so, since a lot of sediment will get thrown. And
with blackberries I'd highly recommend some pectin destroying enzyme.
Fermenting on the pulp has the very desirable effect of giving you
extremely rich colours (and also helps draw out the maximum fruit sugars
and flavours since there's a lot in the skin. Skin also has most of the
tannin). You get the added side effect of a lovely blackberry/brewing
smell for a week ๐Ÿ™‚


Perpetual Ocean Music & Sound Design

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #523, 8 January 1997
From: Peter Miller <>
Date: Fri, 10 Jan 97 09:24:41 -0000

Just in case any of you have not been there, have a look at the Unicorn
Unchained Meadery site at:

Rebecca Sobol et al have made their brew records available for all &
sundry, including recipes and some great ideas for experimentation (try
Prickly Pear & Mace, Violet Mead and Pumpkin for starters….)


Perpetual Ocean Music & Sound Design

Subject: Yeast "Whack Packs"
From: Mark Abbott <>
Date: Thu, 9 Jan 1997 21:16:38 +0000

>Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #523, 8 January 1997
>From: "Dave Moore" <>
>Date: Wed, 8 Jan 1997 16:31:46 +0000
>I'm not a mead expert, but two things strike me about your procedure:
>#1 You should make a starter! A poor little whack-pack is too small to go
> directly into 5 gallons.
>#2 With most of your liquid boiled, the oxygen content will be extremely low.
> You should add an aeration step after cooling but before pitching your
> yeast.

Hmmm, I agree with your #2 tip, aeration is critical. But as for #1, I have
used a Wyeast Dry or Sweet Yeast "Whack-Pack" for every batch of mead I
have made, all being 5-gallon batches. Each time I pasturize and aerate my
must, pour it into the carboy, add spring water, and let it cool. Then,
when the Wyeast package has swelled to over an inch thick I pitch the yeast,
stir well, and stick the carboy in the closet with an overflow tube. Just
like clockwork, when I check on it the next night, the carboy is filled with
yeast, and by the next morning it is fermenting vigorously.

You need to be sure to check the date on the yeast package to make sure you
don't get an old one, and you need to wait for the package to swell
completely, but I think there are plenty of yeastie-beasties in the
"Whack-Packs" to do the job. (Plus, the package says it's meant for a
5-gallon batch.)


E-Ya Later,


Madness takes its toll, please have exact change…

Subject: Hi there!
From: Diana&Kirby <>
Date: Wed, 08 Jan 1997 15:53:26 -0800

Howdy! Got my first digest today, and boy am I excited! I'm sort of a
newbie (my third batch of mead, as well as 2nd cyser and 1st local grape
wine are now mostly done, just ageing) but I think I'm starting to get a
hang of things, esp. after starting on old Digests I've downloaded. I
might say more about myself later, but I want to reply real quick to a
couple of things…

Subject: Re: Mead
From: "Patrick Lehnherr" <>
Date: Wed, 8 Jan 1997 16:00:23 -0600

> I used 12
> pounds of honey and a can of Alexander's burgandy grape juice
> concentrate. I made two batches, a dry and a sweet. The dry is
> fabulous but the sweet is two sweet, almost port like. If someone
> wants the recipe let me know and I'll post it.

I'd really like to see that recipe, especially the dry version.

> > Lurkers revolt! lets hear about all those crazy recipes.
> > I know your out there somewhere.

Well, I'm not a lurker yet, ๐Ÿ™‚ but the batch of cyser I have going
(about two gallons?) is looking interesting. It was an experiment that I
sorta winged, based on the results of my first batch of cider and lots
of reading. It's local crabapple juice (edible out of hand, if you like
'em really tart and tannic), with some fresh juiced granny smiths and
Jonagolds (not quite as much as the crabs) to mostly fill my jug. Then,
I tasted it and it seemed like there wouldn't be enough tannin, so I
added some acorn extract left over from cooking them, which is plenty
tannic, and has a bit of maply pecan, yet earthy taste. (and it's
actually not quite tannic enough. This fall I might try using the actual
acorns, and cutting back on the cultivated apples.) And I didn't have
quite as much honey (unprocessed) as I wanted, so I used a bit of maple

That was in September. I'm about to rack a second time (and

properly, should already have), but I've snuck a taste. While it's a
little too tart (I used Montrachet yeast, 'cause it was what I had) I'll
be adding a bit of honey or sugar to it, and next time use a less
attenuative yeast. I like it dry, but not sour. ๐Ÿ™‚ This may be heresy,
but I mixed a bit of it with sprite, and it tasted *very* much like some
of the cider I had in England. Still pretty dry, good fresh apple taste.
So I'm not totally displeased.

The mead is standard-type stuff, with buckwheat honey, which looks

good so far. I'll be letting it age a good while, tho'.

Subject: Brander's Hard cider, and clsaxer's color change.
Date: Thu, 9 Jan 1997 00:41:02 -0500 (EST)

> my understanding is that Cider is
> any fermented apple juice, and that hard cider is fermented cider that has
> been frozen and the ice peeled off, thus the "hard" part of it.

Hmmm…it was always my understanding that "hard" cider is waht
americans call what is "cider" to the rest of teh world, i.e. hard means
alcoholic. The freezing process you describe, I thought, results in
"Applejack" a very heavy-duty (and illegal to make with no license)
apple liquor. This is different than what you'd get from standard
distilling, which only removes and concentrates the alcohol. Whereas
freezing removes only the water, leaving all sorts of non-alcoholic
compounds like formaldehydes behind in the liquor. It was pretty
dangerous stuff to drink in any quantity, was what I was told.

> currently I am brewing some persimmon wine, and wierdly,
> it is golden yellow. Not a hint of orange in it.

Cool! I *love* persimmons. Please let me know how it turns out!

See you all next time!
Diana Schroeder

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #524, 9 January 1997
From: Belinda Messenger Routh <>
Date: Thu, 9 Jan 1997 16:36:00 -0800

>Subject: Mead fermentation temps and aging time, et cetera
>From: David McDonald <>
>Date: Wed, 8 Jan 1997 11:58:05 -0700 (MST)

I have also had a similar experience with fermentation temperature *vastly*
affecting the fermentation time and taste at bottling. My first mead was
fermented for two months, temp in the low to mid 60's, tasted heavenly
right out of the primary fermenter at 2 months. The second batch, same
recipe, similar (?) honey, was started in the summer (temps ranging from
mid 70s to mid 80s…ack!) fermented to completion in a month. Bottled
after 6 weeks (hadn't bubbled for 2 weeks, clear). Four months later, it
was barely drinkable. We decided to forget about it for a few months in
the hope that it will age well. My current batch has been fermenting
between 60 and 66, and I'm hoping for another tasty batch (yes, I know I'm
I don't know enough about the science of fermentation to say why this
occurs, so I hope that one of our esteemed mead experts reply.

Subject: cider into cyser
From: "Brander Roullett (Volt Computer)" <>
Date: Thu, 9 Jan 1997 16:58:10 -0800

i started a batch of cider in the one gallon jug it came in a week or so
ago, and realized that i wanted something a little different. (i'll
probably leave it and start anew, but the discussion will help me

here is what i was thinking of doing..

racking the one gallon to a carboy, and adding 3 cans of concentrate, 3
lbs of brown sugar, 6 lbs of honey, some crushed cinnmaon stick, and
some crushed cloves. repitching yeast if nescessary.

the inspiration came from the Cider Notes that Philip DiFalco sent me
(thanks Philip, they are truly a treasure trove)

does this look like it will work?

Brander Roullett

Filled with mingled cream and amber
I will drain that glass again.
Such hilarious visions clamber
Through the chambers of my brain —
Quaintest thoughts — queerest fancies
Come to life and fade away;
Who cares how time advances?
I am drinking ale today.

  • Edgar Allan Poe

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #524, 9 January 1997
From: "Donald E. Vick" <>
Date: Thu, 9 Jan 1997 23:00:30 -0800 (PST)

> Braggot (A mead made with malted barley or wheat, also spelled
> Bracket or Bragget)

I thought this was a hopped mead. Is there a name for a hopped mead?

Besides metheglin of course.

| Thaddaeus Vick, Linguist to the Masses | -or- |
| | |
| I could be wrong. After all, there's | |
| a first time for everything. | |

Subject: How to use Blackberries
Date: Fri, 10 Jan 1997 08:22:24 -0500 (EST)

>I just bought 10 pounds of frozen blackberrys for a blackberry mead I
>want to make. My question is, what's the best way to use them?
>1. Do I dump them in the pot with the honey at about 180F for
>2. Do I squeeze the juice out first (and how do I do that?)
>3. Do I do a primary fermentation, then add the berries (juice or
>Any help would be greatly appreciated.
5 Months ago I started a blackberry mead, 1gl, used 4lb clover honey 3lbs
blackberries, Frozen, I added 2 lbs to cooled must and pitched yeast (wyeast
dry mead) one week later I added the other lb of berries. One more week then
I racked off the berries into a 1gl jug, let ferment one month, racked to
another jug, let clear, bottled about 3 months later. Tasted great, very
"blackberry". My girlfriend loves it. Hope I can keep at least 2 of the 7oz
bottles around for next new years!!!

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #524, 9 January 1997
From: Jim Laukes <jlaukes@CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU>
Date: Fri, 10 Jan 1997 12:47:04 -0700 (MST)

Re: Strawberry Mead
I've made several batches over the last couple of years with a few
variations. Each time, I've started 10# honey, water and yeast for about
a week, then added the 10# thawed strawberries. The fruit staying in for
two weeks,
then after a couple of rackings, to bottle with corn sugar for

In a month, this was pleasant and very fruity. In six months, the fruit
flavors mellowed and after a 1.5 years, quite mild. Then I tried the
same recipe, but with 5 # strawberries and 5# red raspberries. This is a tad
bitter in the first months, but the two flavors carry through in the
longer term. By the end of a 18 months, still a nice full fruit effect.
Add cinammon or orange zest for something extra.

Good luck.

Jim Laukes, Tucson
semper ubi sub ubi

End of Mead Lover's Digest #525

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