Mead Lover's Digest #6 Fri 02 October 1992


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


boiling vs. steeping (KENYON)
Submission (mlhb)
Re: What yeast do you use? (wegeng.henr801c)
cyser/pyment/etc. acidity (Brian Smithey)
Re: professional mead ski (Roy Rudebusch)
Greetings, and weird OG (Mike Tanksley)
Flavour enhancers (87749194)

Send articles for submission to the digest to
Send digest addition or removal requests to

Date: Thu, 1 Oct 1992 08:41 EDT
From: KENYON%LARRY%erevax.BITNET@pucc.Princeton.EDU
Subject: boiling vs. steeping

Happy Birthday!

As a beginning but interested Meadster (1 batch made, 6 carboys that don't
always need to hold beer) I've a pretty basic question.

I've a book (can't recall the name right now, MAKING MEAD, perhaps) that
recommends not boiling the honey, merely steeping it in luke-hot water so as
not to dissipate the delicate aroma. Most of the other references I've seen
(Papazian, HBD recipies) call for boiling the honey. So here's my question
(uh, oh a colon):

  1. Is there really a noticable honey aroma that will be lost by boiling?

  2. How long does one boil the must for (and is it called must?)?

  3. Does the boil affect any other flavor profile components?

  4. Do the above answers vary based upon the type of honey used?

  5. Do the above answers vary based upon the type of mead being concocted
    (i.e., metheglin, cyser, pyment, tecetera)?

  6. Did this question really need six parts?

Thanks for any and all responses … Long live the MLD!


Date: Thu, 1 Oct 92 08:30 MDT
From: drski!
Subject: Submission

Years ago, I requested a mead-recipe off the Net. This proved to be such a
good recipe, I'd like to share it with you.

For 1 gallon metheglyn:

1 quart premium light honey (I used a mixed version of clover and alfalfa honey — I got this directly from an apiary)
3 quarts water
2 whole nutmeg (sliced)
2 cinnamon sticks
1 sliced ginger root (small)
10 + cloves
1 lemon sliced (peel and all)

Mix all ingredients together in an enamel pot and boil for 10 minutes,
stirring constantly with a non-metal spool. Let cool to about 104F and add
one package of champagne yeast (this should do up to five gallons)

Stir well and put into sterilized secondary fermentation jugs and fit with
air lock.

At first racking, I added a campden tablet. You can fill with leftover mead
or cold boiled water (I used the latter, but it made for a table wine strength
mead). I also chose to use sparkaloid. I racked this mead about two or three
times during the year before bottling it. Yes, I waited a year. Each time
I would sample the mead and it truly got better with age. Increase the above
ingredients by five (with the exception of the yeast) for five gallons. The
person who gave me the recipe recommended that I try different combinations
of spices. She drank this mead within a month or two after making it (first
racking), but I really think waiting a whole year is worth it. I lost the
person's name who gave me this recipe, otherwise I would credit them.

Happy Mead-Making!

Sky Warrior

Date:   Thu, 1 Oct 1992 08:06:06 PDT
Subject: Re: What yeast do you use?

I`ve tried both Champagne and Montrechet yeast (both from Red Star), and have a
definite preference for Montrechet when it comes to mead. As Thomas Manteufel
pointed out, this yeast is less attenuative than Champagne, with a resulting
mead that reminds me more of the meads that I`ve had in Britian. My one
exception is when I`m making cyser, where I use Champagne yeast.

MeV used to offer a liquid mead yeast, and I tried it once but the mead has not
been in the bottle long enough to fully assess the result (and since MeV is no
longer available it`s a moot point). I would be curious to learn what yeast is
used by the commercial mead producers in Britian.


Date: Thu, 1 Oct 92 10:03:11 MDT
From: Brian.Smithey@Central.Sun.COM (Brian Smithey)
Subject: cyser/pyment/etc. acidity

In digest #5, Chuck Cox posted what looks like a great Cyser recipe
(thanks, Chuck!). I've been considering doing a cyser or pyment soon,
but Charlie P.'s recipes in the Gayre/Papazian "Brewing Mead" book
all recommend measuring acidity for fruit/honey blends with a wine
acid kit. As a beer brewer, this is one piece of equipment that I
don't have. I noticed that in Chuck's recipe that he doesn't
mention acidity, and in fact doesn't add any citric or "wine blend"
acid at all. I would guess that the fruit provides some acidity
(malic in the case of apples), but that it's quite variable and
thus Charlie's suggestion that the acidity be measured and adjusted
with citric or blend acids.

Anybody want to share experiences of cysers or pyments made with
and without acid additions? Measuring acidity with a test kit
vs. just adding some measured amount (i.e., 2 tsp per gallon) of
wine acid blend?


Brian Smithey / Sun Microsystems / Colorado Springs, CO

Date: Thu, 1 Oct 92 11:00:00 -0500
From: (Roy Rudebusch)
Subject: Re: professional mead ski

From: (Roy Rudebusch)

Subject: Re: professional mead skills

JD:>Would you be willing to repost your article to the mead forum?

You bet! I wanted to, but didn't want to re-write it, it is fortunate
you sent it back to me!

Dear Fellow Mead Fans;

I've brewed about 30 5 gal batches of mead over the past three years
and this is my next project:

Tradtional Mead 5 gal OG 1140

7# Mesquite honey dissolved up to 2.5 gal water. Add:
.5 tsp Sodium Bisulfite
1 tsp regular strength pectic enzyme
2 tsp yeast nutrient
1 tsp acid blend

Stir well. Let sit in warm place, (60-75F) for 2-5 days. On the 2nd day
start building the yeast starter, boil 1 cup of dry malt extract in 1
pint water. Re-hydrate a pack of wine yeast, (rec. Prise De Mouse), by
adding it to 1 cup of 100F water, stir for 15 minutes. Add to cooled
extract water. Shake well __for 1 hour__.

When yeast starter begins to give off CO2 add 2 more cups of DME,
(preboiled in 1 qt water), aerate again.

When yeast starter looks active, add to must. Aerate by pouring the
pitched must back and forth between two pails about 20 times. Do not
remove sediment as it is necessary for fermentation.

When the mead has fermented below 1.010 prepare the second addtion of

13# Mesquite honey dissolved up to 2.5 gal water. Add:
.125 tsp Sodium Bisulfite
2 tsp pectic enzyme
2.5 tsp yeast nutrient
2 tsp acid blend
stir well, rest as before.

After 2-5 days, add to fermenter along with the presently fermenting
mead. Mix well.

The Real OG of the wort = 1140. Shoot for a FG of 1.020 – 1.030.

If it takes a long time for the original ferment to drop to 1.010 you
may not want to add the second honey addition.

Vinters produce strong wines by starting a regular-strength wine with a
gravity no greater than 1.100. This is to ensure the yeast can ferment
it. Undiluted honey does not ferment because the osmolarity of the
solution is too high, If diluted to 1140 it will eventually stop around
1050, (trust me, I know this from experience).

Most wine yeast has a tendency to floculate prematurely, to avoid
racking off of the yeast, stir the mead and rack 6-18 hours later, as
the trub will settle first.

If the mead should ferment too dry, dilute .5# honey with an equal part
of water and treat with SO2 and pectic enzyme and add to mead, for a
honey addition.

If you do everything as described this mead should ferment out in less
than a month. Bottle when the mead does not throw any sediment for a
three month period.

Try to avoid fusel alcohols by fermenting below 60F.


OLX 2.2 A Family that Brews MEAD Together Stays Together

Date: Thu, 1 Oct 92 16:28:21 -0400
From: Mike Tanksley <>
Subject: Greetings, and weird OG

Hello, everybody! It sure is a pleasure to have a mead digest up and running.
For his work in this, John Dilley deserves sainthood, at minimum. I first got
into homebrewing to make mead. Don't get me wrong, beer makers are lovely
people and all, but I always felt just a little left out of those arguments
from Homebrew Digest that carried on for several hundred lines about proper
sparge times or decoction mashing. I should also mention that it was only
after reading HBD for six months that my mead stopped tasting like dishwater.

But, on to business: in Digest#5, Gary Partain mentions something unusual:

>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.")

As far as I know, most honey has a specific gravity in the immediate vicinity
of 1.44, which means that the 13-pound batch was right on the money. Perhaps
the second batch was made with honey extract? Seriously, I've never seen honey
vary by more than a few points from 1.44, and I'm the peculiar sort that
measures specific gravity as much for pleasure as for information.

Mike Tanksley

Date: Thu, 1 Oct 92 19:26 CST
Subject: Flavour enhancers


I have been looking for some items to enhance the flavour of
my meads. Let's start with my basic constituents:

15 # Honey ( whatever it is I get at the local grocery in bulk )
1 Tbl. yeast nutrient
1 Tbl. ascorbic acid
2 gal. water

Boil 10 to 15 minutes, skimming the scum. Pour into 5 gal. carboy
that has 2 gal cold water, splashing to aerate. Top off to 4" below top.
Pitch Pasteur when cool.

Primary fermentation ~ 1 month. Rack to secondary, second
fermentation is 3 to 4 months. I like it sparkling, so I add
3/4 C corn sugar at bottling (beer bottles usually). Age ~ 8 mo.

I tell people that it is Champaigne (sp?) and 80 % give favourable
reactions saying that it has more flavour than others champaignes.
They still think it's good when I tell what it really is.

I'll cut down on the honey to lower the flavour next time.

What I want to know is what YOU have added to enhance YOUR
mead. Anything that REALLY WORKED. I tried fresh ginger once,
about 4 oz grated, but all this did was make the mead sort
of sour. (No, it wasn't infected, I KNOW that flavour!
So hurry! Post some hints! I need to get to work for December '93!

I'm just a mead drink'n fool.

Thomas Vodacek

– or –

End of Mead Lover's Digest