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Mead Lover's Digest #0527 Mon 13 January 1997


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



Re: cloudy mead/mead to drink (Dave Polaschek)
re: Mead Lover's Digest #524 (Jensen)
cherry melomel (DuG)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #526, 12 January 1997 (Susan Ruud)
Leaky Corks (K.E. Nyquist)
Re: Melomel Recipe Help (Jack Stafford)
Re: Melomel recipe help (Marc Shapiro)
Re: Mead Nomenclature (Marc Shapiro)
How much fruit? (Dick Dunn)


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Subject: Re: cloudy mead/mead to drink
From: Dave Polaschek <>
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 97 17:03:30 -0600

>Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #525, 10 January 1997
>From: Diana&Kirby <>
>Date: Thu, 09 Jan 1997 12:05:04 -0800
>> Subject: cloudy mead/mead to drink
>> From: Chuck Wettergreen <chuckmw@Mcs.Net>
>> Date: Thu, 9 Jan 1997 12:40:57 -0600 (CST)
>> 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'm looking for suggestions (other than wait) for this mead. Is it only
>> to drink?
>Well, people cook with wine and cider; I don't see any reason not to
>with mead also, especially a very basil-y one. You know, I'll bet this
>would be good in spaghetti sauce, or a rich stew, or chicken soup. I've
>also heard of people adding beer to bread, biscuits and dumplings…a
>good basil flavor would be good in those recipes, too.
> Maybe if you watered it down enough to taste something besides

Another suggestion (sorry I didn't catch this the first time around) is
to turn some of your mead into vinegar. There are two ways to do this,
one is to aerate your finished mead, and add some acetobacter (vinegar)
bacteria. Once it's hit the "right" acidity level, you'll need to kill
the bacteria by pasteurizing it. Holding it at 170F for 30 minutes will
do the trick, according to Charlie Papazian (The Home Brewer's Companion
talks about doing this to a stout to get the spoiled stout to add to a
fresh batch in order to achieve "that Guinness taste").

The other method is mentioned in the Joy of Cooking, and basically is to
dilute a "sharp" vinegar with your mead, and then let the mixture sit
and age for a while.

Either way, sounds like you've got some fun microbiological experiments
in front of you. Report back to the list with the results?

  • -DaveP

Dave Polaschek – or

Subject: re: Mead Lover's Digest #524
From: Jensen <>
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 1997 15:09:08 -0800

> From:
> Date: Sat, 11 Jan 97 18:44:00 GMT
> Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #524

> And finally soneone (Jen maybe??) talked about making a mead with 5# of
> honey in a 1 gallon batch.

That was indeed me. I had done some research, both on the Internet and by
calling my sister (who does make mead), and had thought this would be a
reasonable amount — given the type of yeast used and the type of mead desired.

The Internet source I had used was "Barat's Mead Page"(or some such). It
contained the following table:

Amount of Honey in lbs./gallon
1-2 lbs. 3-4 lbs. 5-6 lbs. 7+ lbs.

Sweet Mead Dry Mead Med. Sweet Very Sweet Syrup

Dry Mead Very Dry Dry Mead Med. Sweet Sweet –
Yeast (paint thinner) Med. Sweet

The yeast I used (a Champagne yeast) will go up to 18-20%.

The other thing I just thought of … I'm in Canada. We grow our gallons a bit
bigger here. πŸ™‚

> Did you get an OG reading? I estimate that the
> OG of your must is 1.175. To get the FG down to something reasonable, even
> for a sweet mead, would require the yeast to take the alcohol content well
> over 20% before they quit, and that's not likely.

I didn't take an OG reading. But, I probably could still calculate it …

If I calculate using 1 Imp. gall. = 1.2 US gallons, then the OG is approximately
1.15. Does this really make any difference to what you've said?

Can you (or anybody else) recommend a good article or reference on specific

Just for my own curiosity, I just tested a cranberry wine I've got going right
now which contains the same strain of yeast as the mead. It started out with a
high specific gravity, is now testing on the vinometer at 10% and is still
actively fermenting (I can watch the wee bubbles gather along the surface of the

liquid and the bubble lock goes regularly).

I'd suggest adding water
> to bring it to two gallons. This will bring the OG down to about 1.087 — a
> much more hospitable environment for yeast. When fermentation slows, check
> the gravity; if it's too low, add honey a little at a time to control the FG.

I'm more inclined to start a second batch using the ratio you've suggested. Tha
way, if they both turn out, I've got more mead!

I mentioned my sister's mead experience; she makes it using 6.5# honey (similar
type — fireweed honey) to one Imp. gallon using a wine yeast (less alcohol
tolerant strain than the champagne yeast I used) with no problems.

Thank you so much for the advice! I'll be starting another batch using it (and
I'll take the time to drag out the hydrometer this time!)



Subject: cherry melomel
From: DuG <>
Date: Tue, 14 Jan 1997 12:33:43 +1000

I was wondering if anyone had a recipe for a cherry melomel. Ihave

loads of semi sour cherrries growing at my house, and well they need to be
used up some how. And this seems to be the best way to get rid of them.

As for my "interesting" recipe. i was very bored one day, i only had

a little honey, a few oranges, lemons, and apples.

300ml of orange and lemon juice
300ml of apple juice
300g of honey

Its still brewing in its little container, i'll let you know what it turns
out like.

Vegemite (concentrated yeast extract)
Ingredients: Yeast Extract, Salt, Mineral
Salt (508, 509), Malt Extract, Natural C-
olour (150), Vegetable Extract, Ribofla-
vin, Niacin.

I love my Vegemite

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #526, 12 January 1997
From: Susan Ruud <>
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 1997 13:19:05 -0600

>Subject: Huckleberry Mead
>From: (Micheal and Linda Fox)
>Date: Fri, 10 Jan 97 21:08:52 -0800 (PST)
>We are very new to mead-making, so please pardon any idiocy you may find
>here! We started our first batch a week ago. We bought our honey from a
>local apiary, who sells it by the gallon, so we have too much honey for just
>one batch. Living in the pacific northwest, we have access to loads of
>huckleberries in late summer. After our jelly-making festivities a few
>weeks ago, we are left with about a pint of straight huckleberry juice (from
>approximately 1 gallon of berries). We're guessing the recipes for
>blueberries might work, but we haven't seen one that calls for juice instead
>of berries, so we're not sure if this is enough for a small batch of mead.
>Also, does anyone have any experience with using huckleberries in mead?
Huckleberry Mead sounds wonderful. I am from North Dakota where there are
no Huckleberries and first had them a few years ago and thought they were
heaven. I would definitely try the juice. It would be well worth your time.

>Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #524
> A few thoughts on articles in #524:

> A vigorous fermentation will blow off much of the fruit aroma, so save
>about half of the fruit for the secondary. By the time you add the fruit to
>the secondary there should be enough alcohol to sanitize it.
I would think that you would still want to pasteurize your friut before
putting it in the secondary just in case of wild yeasts. Why put all of
that time into making your mead and skip on a few minutes near the end and
have it ruined?

> And finally soneone (Jen maybe??) talked about making a mead with 5# of
>honey in a 1 gallon batch. Did you get an OG reading? I estimate that the
>OG of your must is 1.175. To get the FG down to something reasonable, even
>for a sweet mead, would require the yeast to take the alcohol content well
>over 20% before they quit, and that's not likely. I'd suggest adding water
>to bring it to two gallons. This will bring the OG down to about 1.087 — a
>much more hospitable environment for yeast. When fermentation slows, check
>the gravity; if it's too low, add honey a little at a time to control the FG.
I have to disagree here. The best mead that I have ever had (made by a
close friend) had an original gravity of 1.145 which was then let ferment
for several months and then had chokecherry added to the secondary and let
ferment for several more months. He started with Flor Sherry yeast. It
tasted like a fine wine when done. Using the right yeasts with higher
gravity meads does make very nice mead. I am coming to the conclusion that
there are many, many ways to make mead.

Never Thirst

Subject: Leaky Corks
From: (K.E. Nyquist)
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 1997 16:17:34 -0700

Here's a little reading for the collective. I have a few questions built
into this narrative from my honey fermentation experience so any one
interested in answering them , thanks in advanced.

I made a batch of Trad. style still mead using clover honey that took 14-16
months to ferment. I was never happy with the FG as it was too high (1030)
but the ETOH was 12% which is enough. I was too tired of waiting any
longer, I wanted the carboys to make more mead (besides I wanted to try a
few tricks I have learnt from this forum). So I bottled. I put in both
neg./pos. type finings, waited a few weeks before filtering with the finest
filters possible. The goal was to remove as many yeast cells as possible.
The finish product was as clear as water. I do not like using sorbates so
I figured this process would work. It did, I think!!!

I have the bottles corked and lying down in my cellar. (Temp. controlled)
There are shrink tops on the bottles which helps me identify them from
other product. This morning I noticed a sticky honey smelling brown ooze on
the floor below the bottles. On investigating further I discovered that
MOST of the corks are leaking though the corks and shrink tops. I carefully
opened one bottle. I nice little pop with the appropriate amount of CO2
release occurred and no foaming (bonus). I now have a nice sparkling sweet
aperitif (no problem). This is a good thing. I do understand the science
behind all this and I will not worry about it. I am simply curious about
the corks leaking. This has never happened before and I guess it is because
of the pressure inside the bottles.

To follow the thread on melomels, here's what I do. I first follow the
method of adding energizers to the meads to quicken the primary
fermentation. I have had great luck with this. In a 72 day primary (using
a carboy) I was able to bring a SG 1080 down to FG 0996. I split this
batch, adding fresh raspberry juice (1.5 gal) to one and blueberry (0.75
gal)to the other. I had to wait two weeks before the white foaming signs
of fermentation re-occurred (and I never lost the air lock). Would anyone
know if this is the FRUCTOSE fermenting? I was wondering how much more
gravity I added with the juice? (I picked, froze, thawed and crushed the
fruit myself). With a FG of .0996 how much new fermentation should I
expect? I did add more energizer with the fruit. I am going to leave in
the secondary for 60 days, rack, fine and age for another 60 days. (No I
will not filter this one) Bottling in May 97 I think! I usually sparkle my

Now that I am finally out of the closest, there is other honey/mead
experience I would like to share with you. When my wife and I travel, I
look through the yellow pages for bee keepers. I call them, make an
appointment, then go out and visit the bee keeper at their homes. I have
brought back honey from Maui (which became Maui Wowwee Mead) and I brought
back honey from Arizona (which will be Dark Desert delight when I add the
water and yeast). This is a way for me to bring back a little bit of the
holiday not to mention a method of meeting the locals. (no pun intended)
when on the road. Yes, I have actually sent them a bottle of the finished
product. Anyway, hope you enjoyed my mead experiences. Any answers to my
questions would be great!

(aka) The Bushed Brewer

Subject: Re: Melomel Recipe Help
From: (Jack Stafford)
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 97 18:43:21 PST

On Fri, 10 Jan 1997, "Brander Roullett (Volt Computer)" <>
> From: (Jack Stafford)
> 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.*
> so if cut back the recipe to say, 3 gallons, do you think it would work
> better?
> let say for 3 gallons (with everyones suggestions, and help…)
> 9 lbs honey
> 4 lbs strawberries
> 1 pack Cranberries, dried.
> 1 pack Sweet mead yeast, made into a starter

Either way it's going to work just fine. Don't worry. πŸ™‚
Papazian's Barkshack Ginger Mead recipe calls for 4lb.
fruit (optional), if memory serves me.

My personal preference in melomels is a BIG fruity taste
that whacks you over the head. I guess you could say I
like a fruit wine with some honey added. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚


Costa Mesa, CA

Subject: Re: Melomel recipe help
From: Marc Shapiro <>
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 1997 22:26:56 -0500

"Brander Roullett (Volt Computer)"wrote:

> I am looking to my first 5 gallon batch soon. i am looking at making a
> Melomel so i can avoid the yeast nutrient problem. Here is my proposed
> recipe, can people comment on it for me? help me define it a little
> better.

> 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)

I would use more strawberries, _at least_ 10 lbs. The amount of fruit
that you have in your recipe is unlikely to add any real noticeable
flavor, aroma, or nutrients to the must. I would also leave out the
hops. I never use hops in my meads in the first place, but I think that
the bitterness of hops would be a really odd addition to a melomel.



Marc Shapiro

THL Alexander Mareschal Canton of Kappellenberg Kingdom of

Visit 'The Meadery' at:

"If you drink melomel every day, you will live to be 150 years old,
unless your wife shoots you."

  • –Dr. Ferenc Androczi, Winemaker of the Little Hungary Winery

Subject: Re: Mead Nomenclature
From: Marc Shapiro <>
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 1997 22:48:33 -0500

Several people have posted corrections to my list of fruit specific
melomel names. I can't say where I came across _mulrath_ for
mulberries, although I do remember seeing it _somewhere_. I will agree
that _morat_, or _morath_ is a more common and better term. I stand
corrected. As for perry, for a pear melomel, I have definately seen
this term used both for the melomel, _and_ for the pear version of cider
(without any honey).


Marc Shapiro

THL Alexander Mareschal Canton of Kappellenberg Kingdom of

Visit 'The Meadery' at:

"If you drink melomel every day, you will live to be 150 years old,
unless your wife shoots you."

  • –Dr. Ferenc Androczi, Winemaker of the Little Hungary Winery

Subject: How much fruit?
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 13 Jan 97 22:21:20 MST (Mon)

Recent topic – how much fruit for a melomel? Depends on the fruit, of
course, but it also depends on where you want your mead to fall in the
range of tastes from "FRUIT! (with a touch of honey)" to "mead (with a
touch of fruit)". I think there's room all along the spectrum; they just
come out as very different animals.

So here are some notes on pushing the amount of fruit, from a few of my
own meads. It may well be that other folks have used even more fruit than
I have…OK, fine; I'm not trying to set a record here, but only to give
some encouragement to the timorous as to how far out they might explore.
I've yet to make a melomel where I've said "Whoa! Way too much fruit!"

We did a raspberry mead in memory of a couple of people from our larger
circle of friends…this had everyone involved bringing either fruit or
honey, and most brought fruit. We ended up with 15 lb of raspberries in
a 5-gallon batch, and it wasn't too much. (It *was* very strong in
raspberry character, to say the least…but it was not excessive.)

I used 14 lb of apricots in a 6-gallon batch and this came through pretty
strong, although I think you could do more *IF* you can handle the mess
at racking. (Apricots get very mushy after a bit of fermentation.)

One of my strangest "let's keep changing it" melomels was a peach that
started out as a 5-gallon batch with a mere 12 lb of peaches, but through
successive increases and additions of honey and fruit, became an 8-gallon
batch in which I'd used a total of 45 lb of peaches! Some of these were
pressed for juice beforehand; others were sliced thin, fermented, and
pressed afterward. In fairness, I didn't get very good yield out of some
of those peaches. Various messes, but a wonderful mead. I feel it would
be hard to get too much peach.

I've done several strawberry melomels at around 2.5-3 lb fruit per
gallon (one also had a few lb of rhubarb) and those suggest you're not
even *beginning* to push it until you hit 3 lb/gal. Use ripe berries!

Red currant, I've used 2 and 2.5 lb per gallon, and I prefer the higher
amount because it brings out that unusual part of the taste of a currant.
I would have gone to 3 lb/gal if I'd had enough currants.

Blueberries at 2.5 lb/gal gave a nice result, plenty of fruit but it would
not have hurt to have had more.

Mangoes, I've done 2+ lb/gal and wished I could use more, but the Colorado
mango crop has been very limited the past few decades.

Cherries (you want sour/pie cherries, like Montmorency), 1.5 lb/gal was
good, 3 lb/gal was strong (and took a bit of aging) but worked OK.

In all these cases the fruit was in the fermentation from the start. In
many cases, the fruit was frozen first to improve extraction, and in most
cases I skimmed the fruit after a few days to a week and pressed it lightly
(in a small fruit press, using a nylon press bag), returning the pressed
juice to the fermenter.

Dick Dunn Boulder County, Colorado USA

…Simpler is better.

End of Mead Lover's Digest #527

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