Mead Lover's Digest #5 Thu 01 October 1992
Forum for Discussion of Mead Brewing and Consuming
John Dilley, Digest Coordinator
Digest Coordinator Special Message:
Welcome to the mead-lovers digest! The response has been fantastic.
After advertising in the HBD I got another 50 subscription requests
today! The list is now up to 114 and still growing. There are some
really good posts in this issue of the digest, which I'm happy to see.
Keep up the good quality posts and enjoy making (and drinking) your mead!
Lavender Mead (Leigh Ann Hussey)
What yeast do you use? (CPU-SPP generic account)
Familiar with Tej? (Stig Hammond)
Use of Sparkolloid, Potassium Sorbate (Gary Partain)
Barbera Pyment (loc)
Meads & mead-making from Cher Feinstein (with a recipe) (CPU-SPP generic account)
Simple Cyser (Chuck Cox)
Hi there, glad to see this forum exists! I posted the following recipe
a while back to rec.crafts.homebrew, in response to a request for mead
recipes, but some folks may not have seen it (flaky newsreader here at
Sybase). I should mention that I composed the recipe to enter it in a
competition — I started at the beginning of the year, and the
competition is finally rolling around, this coming weekend. Wish me
luck! It's crystal clear, with a really interesting combination of
sweetness, very slight astringency and bitterness, with the most
marvelous aroma of lavender, entirely unusual and pleasant, so I think I
stand a good chance.
(Based on H.E. Bravery's Rose Mead, from HOME BREWING WITHOUT FAILURES.)
Lavender Mead, January 1992
4lb honey 1/4t citric acid
1 pint lavender flowers 1/2t tannin powder
1/2t champagne yeast 1t yeast nutrient
Boil together honey and 1/2gal water for 5 min. Put flowers with citric
acid and tannin in a gallon jug and pour the hot liquid over. Let cool
in a sink of cold water to room temperature, then add yeast and
nutrient and further water to make a gallon plus a pint. Add the
airlock. Let ferment 1 week, then strain out flowers. Set the lock on
again and ferment until all quiet. Bottle and age.
Second Ferment: 112 days
- Leigh Ann
Leigh Ann Hussey firstname.lastname@example.org
"Turkeys, heresy, hops and beer / All came to England in the one year."
What year was it?
Date: Wed, 30 Sep 92 13:38:33 CDT
From: email@example.com (CPU-SPP generic account)
Subject: What yeast do you use?
Let's get things started.
Who has had experience with different yeasts and how they affect the flavor
of mead? Different brands? Mail order sources?
I use Montrechet from (gasp) Red Star. Granted, I've only made six batches
so far, but if there is an infection problem, the heavy meads (3# honey/
gallon and lots of fruit) I make mask the problem. Everyone likes them
(which is my final measure of success). Montrechet is more attenuative
than ale yeast, but not as much as Champagne. This leaves the mead
sweet, without being cloying. Fermentation times depends on the size of
the batch, but I can usually do a gallon in 6 weeks, 5 gallons in 8-10.
(ask for a new carboy for Christmas, you'll need another one.) The meads are
ready to drink about 2 months after bottling, but do improve with age.
Thomas Manteufel firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: 30 Sep 92 00:55:30 EDT
From: Stig Hammond <70642.2037@CompuServe.COM>
Subject: Familiar with Tej?
Are any mead lovers familiar with Tej?
Tej is served in nearly all of the dozen or so Ethiopian restaurants here
in D.C… they call it a "honey wine," and I'm wondering if anybody knows
how it's made. Is it a straight mead, or does it have other fruit juices?
Anybody know what initial gravity you'd need to start with to make it? What
kind of yeast to use? (It's pretty sweet, as I remember.)
Thanks in advance for any hints, –Stig Hammond
Date: Wed, 30 Sep 92 17:22:33 CDT
From: email@example.com (Gary Partain)
Subject: Use of Sparkolloid, Potassium Sorbate
I have a couple of questions that I hope some of you may be able to help me
- When do you add the potassium sorbate to stabalize the mead (if you do)?
I was thinking of adding some at the completion of fermentation, then adding
a little more honey to sweeten the mead. Is there a lag time between the
time you add the potassium sorbate and the time you can add more
fermentables, or can I add them both at the same time?
- I used some Sparkolloid a month or so ago to clear up a small (1 gal.)
batch of mead quickly, and it did a bang-up job. I added it right before
bottling, and the mead cleared in the bottles. Can I add this to the
carboy instead, and allow the mead to clear there before bottling, or
is it best to let it clear in the bottle? (Is this a dumb question?)
- I used 13 lbs. of honey in 5 gal. water for my last batch, and came up
with an O.G. of 1.078! The batch before, at 12 lbs. / 5 gal, was 1.115.
Could this be because of differences in honey? (One of those things that
makes you go "hmmmmm.")
Thanks in advance for your help!
Gary Partain | Peter remained on friendly terms with
American Airlines, D/FW, TX | Christ notwithstanding Christ's having
texsun!wb9rxw!gary | healed his mother-in-law.
firstname.lastname@example.org | – Samuel Butler –
Date: Wed, 30 Sep 92 09:47:03 EDT
Subject: Barbera Pyment
Tonight I am starting a Barbera Pyment using the
pulp and skins from the 3 lugs of grapes I am
making this years Barbera from.
Roger Locniskar Boston Technology Inc.
<email@example.com> Wakefield, MA 01880
Date: Wed, 30 Sep 92 07:45:55 CDT
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (CPU-SPP generic account)
Subject: Meads & mead-making from Cher Feinstein (with a recipe)
In order to get things rolling, I am submitting a reprint of an article
by the late Cher Feinstein. I always found it interesting, and while I
can not say it is the best way to make mead, it certainly is a way to get
Date: 29 Sep 89 17:36:00 EDT
From: "FEINSTEIN" <email@example.com>
Subject: Meads & mead-making
I noted 's recent request for mead-making info, but haven't had time to
respond until now.
Below you will find my basic recipe for making mead. First, however, some
basic tips and information.
Meads come in several basic types: meads, metheglins (spiced meads), and
melomels (meads made with fruit and/or fruit juices added). Many of these,
especially the melomels, are "species specific" (as it were). For example, a
cyser is by definition a mead made with apples or apple juice.
Use unblended honey when making mead, and raw honey if at all possible. Thus,
unless there is someone with an apiary in your neighborhood, the best place to
get honey is at a health food store or roadside stand. If the honey has bits
of wax, or other particulate matter in it, that can be strained out before
cooking. Do NOT, under any circumstances, use "blended to death" honeys,
like "SueBee". Remember: the taste and character of the honey you use will
be the principal determinants of the taste and character of your mead.
Please note that meads don't need any malt added, for any reason. Apart
from altering the flavor and character, there are quite enough fermentables
present already, thank you! 🙂
Use a white wine yeast in brewing mead; "Montrechet" is recommended. Don't
use ale or lager yeast; the end result will most likely be exploding bottles!
Most mead recipes call for the addition of some citrus juice or tea (tannin).
This is important, as it balances the sweetness, preventing it from becoming
cloying. This is the same reason caffeine is added to many sodas.
The molecular structures of the sugars involved in meads are different from
those found in brews. Thus, meads can take anywhere from a few weeks or
months to several years to age properly. And, they won't taste very good if
one isn't patient; the time is necessary.
When adding honey to hot or boiling water, STIR CONSTANTLY!! Otherwise, the
honey will go straight to the bottom of the pot, where it will caramelize,
scorch, and otherwise ruin the whole thing. KEEP STIRRING, until the honey is
You will notice, in mead recipes, instructions to skim off any scum that forms
as the mead heats up. This is very important, as that scum is the equivalent
of the krausen in beer. Apart from the nasties in it that can contribute to
hangovers, there are nasties in the scum that can adversely affect the flavor
and appearance of the finished mead.
The length of time mead is allowed to ferment is the other principal factor in
determining not only the final alcoholic content, but how dry vs. how sweet
your mead will be. Remember: mead is not necessarily a sweet drink! Also,
meads can be sparkling, or still. It's all a matter of individual preference.
A word of warning about mead hangovers: they are the stuff of legend– and
rightly so! The combination of high alcohol content (relatively speaking) and
high sugar content are perfect for the induction of the Ultimate Hangover.
One author I've read on meads, in an attempt to convey to the reader the
potential severity of a mead hangover, referred to the Biblical story of
Judith and the Holofernes. The author pointed out that Judith saw to it that
the Holofernes got thoroughly drunk on mead, waited until they had slept
awhile, and then had the Hebrew army attack– beating on their shields! As
the author put it: "What else could the Holofernes do but throw down their
arms and accept slaughter with gratitude?"
Personally, I consider this description of mead hangovers to be both apt and
Anyone with questions about mead-making can contact me at the addresses below.
The recipe for basic mead follows.
Yours in Carbonation,
Univ. of Fla.
BASIC SMALL MEAD
NOTE All equipment mentioned below is assumed to be either well-cleaned or
sterilized, as needed.
In a 1 gallon enamel pot, simmer the following until the infusion is done to
- 2-3 whole cloves, lightly cracked;
- 2 sticks of cinnamon, broken up;
- 2 thin slices peeled fresh ginger root.
- Add 2-4 tsp. orange peel (how much depends on the honey– with orange blossom honey use less, for example) and simmer a little longer.
- Add enough water to bring the volume up to 3 quarts. Bring back up to a simmer.
- Add 2 lbs honey, stirring constantly. Some of the warm water can be ladled back into the honey container to rinse it.
DO NOT BOIL! Continue to simmer at a moderate rate, skimming off any white
scum that forms on the top. If the scum is yellow, the heat is too high.
Once no more scum forms, turn off the heat, place the lid on the pot, and
The next day, strain out as many of the spice particles as practicable. Pitch
the yeast. Replace the pot lid; the condensation on it will form a seal.
Twelve hours later, rack the mead into a gallon jug, leaving the dregs of the
yeast. After racking, top off the jug if needed, filling it to the base of
the neck. Take a piece of clean paper towel, fold it into quarters, and put
it over the mouth of the jug. Secure with a rubber band. Allow to ferment 36
hours. If the paper towel becomes fouled during this period, replace it with
After 36 hours, taste the mead. If it is still too sweet for your taste,
ferment longer. Repeat this as necessary, until a desirable level of
sweetness/dryness is achieved.
Place mead in refrigerator for 8-12 hours, then rack into a fresh gallon jug.
Seal new jug tightly, and place in refrigerator to carbonate for 12 hours.
Once the mead is nicely carbonated, add 1/4 cup of vodka or grain alcohol to
the jug to kill off the yeast. Rack into a fresh jug again, seal tightly, and
place in refrigerator for 3-4 days.
The mead may then be bottled; Grolsch bottles work extremely well for this
This is a "quickie" mead, drinkable in 2 weeks. However, it does improve
considerably with age, and letting it age for at least a couple of months
before drinking is recommended. This mead is excellent chilled.
Date: Thu, 1 Oct 92 1:02:57 EDT
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Chuck Cox)
Subject: Simple Cyser
Hey, it's great to see a mead list starting up.
Just to get things started, here's a very simple recipe that produces an
excellent medium-sweet cyser. Fall is the perfect time of year to start
a cyser. If you saw a lot of senior beer/mead judges staggering around
the last national homebrew conference late at night, a keg of this was
to blame. The honey and cider were all from New England. This was
quite drinkable after 3 months, and is truly dangerous after a year. It
is just sweet enough to deceive the unwary as to its true alcoholic
strength. I just bought enough honey and cider to make a 1/2 bbl batch.
name: Dangerous Cyser
style: medium-sweet cyser
Honey 10 lb clover
10 lb wildflower
Cider: 5 gal
Misc: 6 tabs Camden/Metabisulphate
Yeast: ale yeast
My standard procedure:
Mix everything except the yeast.
Let sit in loosely covered fermenter for 24 hours.
Rack to secondary when fermentation slows.
Rack to keg when still.
Force carbonate if desired.
Condition for as long as you can stand it.
Chuck Cox <email@example.com>
In de hemel is geen mead, daarom drinken wij het hier.
End of Mead Lover's Digest