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Mead Lover's Digest #0574 Sun 22 June 1997

 

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

 

Contents:

peppercorns, etc. (Dick Dunn)
Re: Digest #573, Vinegar question (Leslie Helms)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #573, 17 June 1997 ("Dione Wolfe, Dragonweyr, NM dkey@medusa.unm.edu")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #573, 17 June 1997 ("Mike Kidulich")
Re: second opinion requested (Peter Miller)
Re: vinegar (Joyce Miller)
Australian Honey (Peter Miller)

 

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Subject: peppercorns, etc.
From: rcd@raven.talisman.com (Dick Dunn)
Date: 17 Jun 97 23:13:45 MDT (Tue)


In response to a side comment (which I've now lost) about using peppercorns
(black pepper) in a mead, let me offer that they work very well but you
need to understand how to use them and what they contribute. You want to
use them cracked, and you want them in a spice-bag or whatever so you can
get them out before too long. They add a spicy-hot note, hard to describe
beyond that. No "yuk"; they work well.

We've got a metheglin which was intended to be a pot-pourri of spices,
that's now 4+ years old and very nice as a bed-time sip. The spices and
such in it are (cobbling from recipe file):

juice of lime
juice of small lemon
black peppercorns
star anise
whole nutmeg
cardamom seed
cinnamon sticks
vanilla bean
fennel seed
ginger
fresh orange peel

As it has aged, one and then another spice has come to the fore. For a
while, the cardamom dominated everything, but it finally decided to sit
down and be nice. The star anise had a period of its own, but brief…I
would advise you give this a try if you're doing metheglins. The ginger
and the vanilla have been fairly constant background notes, never at the
front but never absent in the taste.

Dick Dunn rcd, domain talisman.com Boulder County, Colorado USA

…Boulder was.


Subject: Re: Digest #573, Vinegar question
From: Leslie Helms <leslieh@canfield.com>
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 1997 23:44:44 -0700


>Subject: vinegar
>From: "Linda or Darin" <mtss@ptw.com>
>I have noticed that I keep
>winding up with this white, gossamer, floating stuff in the quart bottle.
>I have not noticed this in the gallon jug. I assume it something growing,
>and that if I actually clean the bottle, it will go away.

It sounds as though you have the early stages of a "vinegar mother" which
my Grandma always kept going in a vat in the basement. Hers was a
venerable creature about the size of a frisbee. If it were allowed to
develop more, you'd be able to feed the bottle with juice and generate
vinegar. Anyone know the natural history and health implications of this
crittur?
Leslie leslieh@canfield.com

Hmm, it appears you can draw out at least one lurker with vinegar that you
can't with honey…


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #573, 17 June 1997
From: "Dione Wolfe, Dragonweyr, NM dkey@medusa.unm.edu" <DKEY@MEDUSA.UNM.EDU>
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 1997 05:17:12 -0700 (MST)


Spark Loid is the brand name of a clarifier. There were a few posts about six
months ago concerning this product. Basically, put your fermenter in place
ready to rack before adding it (follow package instructions) because the
sediment that settles out is so fine that it rises off the bottom with the
least disturbance.

This is an organic product that adds no detectable taste to the final product.
I use it frequently and have clarified even the cloudiest must with no more
than three applications and rackings. Usually, it only takes one treatment.

Never Thirst,

Dione


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #573, 17 June 1997
From: "Mike Kidulich" <mjkid@ix8.ix.netcom.com>
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 1997 21:22:19 -5

>
> Hi there…I was just wondering if you folks could point out any illogic
> or screwy math in what follows. Perhaps some of you have tried this
> before. I apologize to those allergic to algebra.

Math lesson snipped

> Does this make sense? It seems like a awfully big drop, from 1090 to
> 1019 in one week. I mean, it *was* going pretty well, but this is
> amazing. Does that drop, and/or the math, look about right?
> Also, when I figure the alcohol at the end of the road, do I pretend
> that the original gravity was 1086 or so, to make up for that 4 point
> difference the water made?

Just a comment on the drop in gravity. I made a blackberry melomel
last summer that went from 1.113 to .996 in ten days, at cellar temps
(high 60's), so this does not seem out of the ordinary. Fruit
provides nutrients for the yeast that honey lacks, so fruit meads
will sometimes ferment faster than traditional meads.

> I know this was a long post. Thanks.
>
> Slainte,
> Diana
Mike Kidulich
President
Upstate New York Homebrewers Association
mjkid@ix.netcom.com


Subject: Re: second opinion requested
From: Peter Miller <ocean@mpx.com.au>
Date: Thu, 19 Jun 97 13:40:42 -0000

>From: Di and Kirby <trillium@magibox.net>
>Date: Mon, 09 Jun 1997 23:26:59 -0500

> …which would therefore be my specific gravity before adding water,
>meaning that it made about a 4 point difference.
>
>Does this make sense? It seems like a awfully big drop, from 1090 to
>1019 in one week. I mean, it *was* going pretty well, but this is
>amazing. Does that drop, and/or the math, look about right?

Well I didn't try to follow the maths but the SG drop is certainly
possible. I've had wines drop from about 1090 to less than 0 in five days
in optimum conditions (yes I had trouble believing it too, but it's
happened a few times so I am less skeptical now). I've never had a mead
move quite that rapidly, but I wouldn't be surprised by it under good
conditions.

P.

Perpetual Ocean Music & Sound Design
http://www.mpx.com.au/~ocean/


Subject: Re: vinegar
From: Joyce Miller <msmead@doctorbeer.com>
Date: Thu, 19 Jun 1997 17:22:45 -0400 (EDT)


>I have noticed that I keep
>winding up with this white, gossamer, floating stuff in the quart bottle.
>I have not noticed this in the gallon jug. I assume it something growing,
>and that if I actually clean the bottle, it will go away. I would,
>however, like to understand what is going on, and though this isn't about
>mead, I bet knowledge pertaining to this situation resides somewhere out
>there in Mead Lover Land.

Is it round and soft looking? If so, it's probably a mold such as
_Aspergillus_. If, however, it's long and thin, or particulate, then it's
probably _Acetobacter_, which is the microbe that produces vinegar. It's
also called "mother of vinegar." You could use it as a starter for making
homemade vinegar. To do so, put it into a large-mouth glass or earthenware
crock, and start adding leftover wine. Just keep it away far away from any
mead-making stuff!

  • — Joyce

msmead@doctorbeer.com


Subject: Australian Honey 
From: Peter Miller <ocean@mpx.com.au>
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 97 09:16:15 -0000


As promised, the lowdown on Australian Native Bees and their honey:

Australia has more than 1600 species of native bees. Most are solitary
insects, but the Trigonia species, a stingless bee, has a highly
organised social structure like the European honey bee.

Trigonia are small black bees about half a centimeter in size. The colony
may reach sizes of 5000 bees commonly nesting in hollow branches or dead
trees. Native trees such as bottlebrushes, cassia, eucalypts and
melaleuca provide the main source of nectar from which the bees make
their honey.

The honey itself is dark, thin and sweet. Because of the way in which
the bees store the honey it is difficult to extract without damage to the
nest, which makes commercial farming difficult (I wasn't able to find
anyone who "farms" it). The honey is supposedly of higher nutritional
value than that of honey bees, but the native bees produce relatively
small quantities of it, typically a little less than about a kilo (2.2lb)
in a good nest.

I didn't find any evidence that anyone has tried to ferment the honey to
make a dinki-di 100% Aussie mead.

You may be able to get the honey in small quantities from:

Vic Cherikoff
Bush Tucker Supply
P.O. Box B103
Boronia Park NSW
Australia
2111


Perpetual Ocean Music & Sound Design
http://www.mpx.com.au/~ocean/




End of Mead Lover's Digest #574


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