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Mead Lover's Digest #84 Sat 06 February 1993

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


Spices for metheglin (Mark Schuldenfrei)
Re: metheglin spices (Tom Brady)
Re: apple juice (wegeng.henr801c)
More Metheglin spice questions (Ted Manahan)

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Date: Fri, 5 Feb 93 8:33:32 EST 
From: (Mark Schuldenfrei)
Subject: Spices for metheglin

Christina Callihan asked about non-standard spices for metheglin.

Frankly, I avoid cinnamon. I've found that in order to get a decent
cinnamon flavor, I end up getting a concomitant bitterness as well.
(Tricks to avoid this would be much appreciated).

Many people use nutmeg as a source of tannin. I have found that
White Oak bark (from my local health food store, which has tons
of spices in bulk) adds a nice tannin flavor. My excuse in using
it was that I have no oak casks.

Allspice is a big favorite, cardamom with orange peel (no zest!) is
good too. Cloves, ginger nutmeg are all nice. Mint is tricky: I've
yet to get a satisfactory result, but the near misses I've had make
me want to keep trying. A good friend got great results with a
mint tea bag. I've also used rosemary, oregano (yech) and other herbs.

I was teaching a friend to brew a few months ago, and we made two
batches. One was a standard lemon, nutmeg and ginger mead, which I
can recommend. The other was a sweet mead with "lovage". This is
a tan colored bark-like spice, with an unusual flavor I find hard
to describe. The sweetness of the honey, and the fruity sharpness
of the lovage were a real mouth pleaser.

I'd recommend making two batches at a time (I brew in one gallon
batches). One a tried and true, and one experiment. Keep notes
on your progress, and after a while your experiments get better
and better.

schuldy (Tibor when he's brewing for the SCA)

Mark Schuldenfrei (
[I'm just showin' you my opinions: this ain't a gift]

Date:         Fri, 05 Feb 93 08:37:17 EST 
From: Tom Brady <BRADY@VTVM1.CC.VT.EDU>
Subject: Re: metheglin spices

I've tried several variations on spices for metheglins, with varying
success. The one thing I've learned is that it is very easy to over-spice.
Be very conservative in your estimates (unfortunately, I can't really
quantify the statement, since I usuallly work in terms of "handfuls" and
"this looks about right"). I've tried rosehips (dried & seeded), marjoram
leaves, cloves, rosemary, and nutmeg. Go VERY easy with the cloves – one
or two per gallon is quite sufficient, really!
If you're looking for some unusual spices to try, Kenelm Digby mentions
the following: bay, caraway, cardamom, dock (wild carrot), elderflower,
fennel, hysslop, juniper berries, mace, marigold flowers, marjoram, mint,
mustard seeds, oregano, parsley, pennyroyal, red nettles, sage, savory,
sorrell, strawberry leaves, and thyme, among others. I've tasted a bay
mead before, and it was delicious. Also, my last beer contained fennel, and
it added a wonderfully tangy aftertaste.

Good luck, and keep us updated on your results!

Tom Tom Brady, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

…lost in the wilds of southwest Virginia…

Date:   Fri, 5 Feb 1993 05:58:50 PST 
Subject: Re: apple juice

The reason that most brands of commercial apple juice and cider don`t list the
varieties of apples used is that it varies from batch to batch, and it would be
too expensive to individually label the containers. All is not lost, however.
If you are fortunate enough to live near an establishment that produces their
own cider, then you can call them and ask what varieties are in their current
batch. Many apple cider junkies are very picky about what varieties of apples
are used for the cider that they drink, so the small producers are happy to
supply this information.

Two weeks ago I wanted to start a batch of hard cider, so I called the cider
mills that are still open (most local establishments are closed during the
winter) to find out what varieties of apples were in their current batches. I
ended up using a mix of cider from two different mills.


Date: Fri, 5 Feb 93 08:02:15 pst 
From: Ted Manahan <>
Subject: More Metheglin spice questions

Full-Name: Ted Manahan

– ——- Start of forwarded message ——-
Yesterday's question from Christina Callihan prompted me to ask my own
question along the same lines.

I have a gallon of Snowberry Honey that I bought at a farmers' market
last fall. The stuff seems to have a pretty strong flavor, and I was
concerned it would be a bit much in a traditional mead. Then I started
thinking I could really take advantage of it by enhancing the flavors
with some esters and spices… Here's my plan:

I have a package of Wyeast Belgian yeast, which is known to impart high
levels of fruity esters to beer. I could use that yeast, the strong
flavored honey, and a medium spice level to produce a complex,
semi-sweet mead. Sounds good?

So, getting back to Cristina's question, what spices have people had
good experiences with? I was thinking of a few cloves and a cinnamon
stick, but any other ideas would certainly be welcome!

Thanks for your help,

Ted Manahan

End of Mead Lover's Digest

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