From: (Mead Digest) 

Mead Lover's Digest #11 Thu 08 October 1992

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


mead-lover's conference (Roy Rudebusch)
A couple of answers for Lewis Jansen (CPU-SPP generic account)
Yeast Selection for Mead (Russ Lown)
peach melomel (Mike_Kellstrand)
Book Recommendations (Alan Edwards)
plum melomel recipe (long) (loc)
Kiwis and honey …. (Tom Haley)
Apricots and Sparkles (mpl)
ideas for first mead (Mike Tanksley)
another use Wyeast belgian… mead (eurquhar)

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Date: Wed, 7 Oct 92 08:19:00 -0500
From: (Roy Rudebusch)
Subject: mead-lover's conference


MND:>I am hoping a veteran corker out ther could share his/her method with me,
MND:>including sanitation and any special treatment of the cork, and special
MND:>treatment of the bottles after corking.

Yeah, I learned the hard way too. My tragedy was different. No one told
me too keep the bottles up for a month. It seems mead usually has a
dissolved CO2. After corking I laid them on their side. Well……

Buy the longest corks you can afford and of the best quality. Soak them
in a strong solution of SO2, (.25 tsp/ 1 gal water), overnight. Sink
them well into the bottle – about .25 inch into the mouth of the bottle.

MND:>I am also curious about what happens when the mead finally clears and is
MND:>of mead prematurely after it had been sitting quietly for about
MND:>5 months. Roughly half of the bottles blew. Does clearing indicate
MND:>an end to fermentation and therefore a safe time to bottle?

Yes, generally. What was the terminal gravity?
I like to keep my "big meads", (OG > 1.100), in the carboy for a minimum
for two years. Also most winemakers add about .25 tsp sulfite to their 5
gal of wine at bottling to help stabilize it.

Did the temperature of your bottled mead raise after corking? I lost two
carboys because I stoppered them, and the temp. arose, kablooey! All
over my basement floor, (tears, tears).

MND:>Where are good places to look for reasonable prices on bulk honey?

Look in the Yellow Pages under "bee-keepers". Tell them you want to buy
honey in bulk, you should be able to buy it for at the wholesale price
which is about $.70/#.

MND:>To (Mitch Gelly) who asks if aged honey
MND:>makes any difference –

I go by nose, just like examining malt extract or grape concentrate, it
shouldn't smell oxidized.

Honey does get old if it has been subjected to heat and air.

MND:>A co-worker who enjoyed my raspberry melomel has approached me with a
MND:>proposition (no, not that kind). He has tons of plums and wanted to
MND:>'commission' a batch of plum melomel from me.

Fruit wine is most difficult to make properly, and plum wine is the most
difficult fruit wine to make! Because you add honey it won't make
it any easier!

MND:>I will probably use about 15 lbs of light clover honey as the base,
MND:>and it will be a 5 gallon batch.

Sounds good. Start with about 30# of plums, sprinkle with a mild
SO2 solution, (1/8 SO2 / 1 gallon water), freeze. Thaw, de-pit, crush,
no need to peel. Cover with water. In a pitcherwith 1 cup water
.5 tsp SO2
5 tsp pectic enzyme

Add to plums stir well. Keep at 60 – 70F for 2 – 4 days.

Stir every day, after the third day try to take a gravity reading.

Now add the honey.
Try to adjust the gravity to 1090 – 1.100.
Adjust the acid to .65%.
Be sure to pitch with a __BIG YEAST STATER__!
Do not use Champaigne yeast.

I heartily recommend seeking the neccesary equipment and supplies and
service for accomplishing the above task, It will be worth it!

MND:>In reading through my first two issues of the MLD I noticed the mention
MND:>of acid blend. Being only a beer brewer (and the occassional mead of cours
MND:>and never attempting wine making, I'm not sure what the purpose of this
MND:>stuff is. In addition, in a recipe that I saw in issue #7, it called for
MND:>acid blend to taste. So what does this stuff affect the taste anyway?

Having the proper acidity is important in beverages, even soda pop!

If the beverage is at the proper PH it will thwart off infection
easier, (a simple answer for a complicated question).

It is __very important__ to have the proper acidity in mead.
Grapes are a natural for wine, because of the naturally balanced
sugar/acid content.

Get an acid test kit. Do not pay more than $6.00 for it!

MND:>And finally, what makes Mead Yeast nutrient any different than
MND:>generic nutrient (besides the price I imagine)?

You got it!

Roy Rudebusch w/
IMO Homebrew Supply
(314) 487-2130

OLX 2.2 A Family that Brews MEAD Together Stays Together

Date: Wed, 7 Oct 92 09:01:56 CDT
From: (CPU-SPP generic account)
Subject: A couple of answers for Lewis Jansen

The honey you use is the most important contribution to the taste of your
mead. Commercial honey has been heated both for pasturization and to make
it easier to squirt it through tubes into bottles. This heating is not done
carefully to preserve some of the delicate smells, but to move the "product"
out as quickly as possible. Very few consumers care to smell wildflowers as
they spoon honey onto a slice of bread that already has peanut butter on it.

Commercial honey is also usually a blend of several honeys (ie. clover and
alfalfa) made more for a consistent sweetness than for interesting tastes.

Natural, or unfiltered, or road-side-stand honey is usually unblended and
unheated. You have more control over it, but it will impart more flavor to
your mead, so be sure you like it.

Commercial honey is not evil or bad, and does have it's place. I make melomels
where I want to emphasize the fruit, and only want the subtle taste of the
complex sugars in the background. I use processed honey precisely because of
its blandness. I would never use processed in a traditional, where all of
the flavor comes from the honey. It would taste only of sugared alcohol.

Enough preaching. Depending on fermentation temperature, yeast nutriment,
amount of acid and the phase of the moon, there will be some head on your
mead. It can be any thickness from a quarter inch to several inches (a
centimeter to 5 cenimters?). Use your 5 gallon carboys, with a blow off tube
for the first week or two. You'll sleep better.

Thomas MAnteufel IOFM

Date: Wed, 7 Oct 92 9:16:16 PDT
From: Russ Lown <>
Subject: Yeast Selection for Mead

Hi all,

I've still in the beginning stages of mead making (4 batches
fermenting quietly) and i'm still experimenting. I made two one
gallon test batches, 1 with campden tablets, and 1 without. In two
more one gallon test batches, i'm testing different yeasts (Vierka
Mead yeast vs. Lavlin K1).

I was very unimpressed with the Vierka Mead Yeast. The activity was
very very slow, almost to the point where i thought no fermentation
was occurring. On the other hand, the K1 batch was much more
"impressive". It fermented vigorously for 2 days then settled down
with a little yeast on the top, but lots o'little bubbles in

So my question. What types of yeast are you'all using for your mead?
I've heard everything from ale, white wine, and champagne yeasts being


~ Russ Lown, Response Center Lab | ~
~ Hewlett-Packard MS 37MA /__ ___ | "Between two evils, ~
~ 100 Mayfield Ave. / / /__/ | I always choose the one ~
~ Mt. View, CA 94043 USA / | I've never tried before." ~
~ E-mail: | ~
~ Phone : (415) 691-3421 | ~

Date:           Wed, 7 Oct 92 13:02 EDT
Subject: peach melomel

This weekend I plan start several batches of mead/melomel.

I thought peach might be a nice flavor so I set out to the store in search
of peaches. No peaches in sight so I searched the store for canned/bottled
peach substances. No giggling please but the closest thing I found to real
peaches was peach baby food.

The ingredients read: peaches, sugar, vitamin C. Perfect!


Any experience/comments on 1) using peaches and 2) this source ?
What would be a good weight/gallon to add?
When would you add them? At the end of simmering the honey?

Thanks, Mike

Date: Wed, 7 Oct 92 10:15:49 PDT
From: (Alan Edwards)
Subject: Book Recommendations

I'm a beer brewer who would love to get my hands sticky and try mead-making.
There are several books to choose from at my local homebrew shop; and
not wanting to buy all three, I thought I'd ask you people what books
you recommend.

I've also been wondering: How do you make a sparkling sweet mead without
a kegging setup? It seems to me that if you stopped fermentation with
some kind of preservative, then you couldn't bottle condition by priming.
If you used a less attenuative yeast and waited for it to clear, would
priming with glucose work, or would it be risky?

Thanks, I would like to make a sparkling sweet mead, but I'm not about
to drop >$200 for a kegging setup anytime soon.


Date: Wed, 7 Oct 92 13:53:37 EDT
Subject: plum melomel recipe (long)

I've gotten a few requests to post this recipe. I've added some of my
process also to give you an idea of my mead making. As you read this
you'll see that I make a product which is alot like wine.

Some general comments about the recipe. If you want the end product
to be sweeter you can add more honey. But do not get the original
gravity above 1.100 or you will have problems with stuck fermentation
or sluggish fermentation. You can add an much as 50lbs of plums if
you want this to be really plummy. Relative to original gravity,
the higher the gravity the longer the product will need to bottle age.
I use acid blend to balance out the end product. This is strickly a
personal preference. If you really want to get into it and check the
SO2 levels there are test kits available for that, this will ensure
that you have the right amount of sulfites for the end product you are

Having made these statements here is my recipe for Plum Melomel.

Plum Melomel
To make: 5 gallons

7.5lbs Citrus Honey (Orange Blossom is the best or whatever )

(honey you like to use )

25-30lbs Plums (halved and pitted is best, but at least halved)

(if you can freeze them for a couple of weeks )
(before you use them you'll get a better juice )
(yield because freezing breaks down the cell )
(walls )

3-4 tsp. Yeast Nutrient
1 pkg Pectic Enzyme
1 pkg Champagne Yeast

Acid Blend (you'll need an Acid Testing Kit to )
(determine how much to add. amounts )
(depend greatly on the plums )

The Day Before:

Start the yeast by boiling 1.5cup of orange juice with 1.5 cup of
water. Take it off the heat and add 1 tsp of yeast nutrient. Cool
the mixture. When cool put into a sulfited bottle add the yeast and
agitate occasionally over the next 24 hours.

The Day of:

Make sure the plums are at room temp do not heat them to do
this, just let them come up to room temp naturally. Dissolve the
honey in 2 gallons of water, do not let it boil, just get the water
hot enough to dissolve the honey. Combine the plums, honey water,
yeast nutrient, pectic enzyme and 2 more gallons of water in a large
open primary fermenter. Mix well and take a gravity reading add water
until the gravity reading is between 1.080 and 1.090.(I believe 1
pint of water will drop 1 gallon of must 0.010, I can't remember
exactly) Once the gravity is correct add the yeast stir it up cover
lightly. Stir the fruit down twice a day, once in the AM and once in
the PM.

Some Days Later:

Check the gravity after about 5 days. When the gravity reaches 1.020,
rack and press the must into a sulfited glass secondary fermenter and
add 1/2 camdon(?sp) tablet per gallon of must to prevent oxidation. If the
fermenter is not full to within 1/2" of the lip use sulfited marbles
to make up the difference. Fit a fermentation lock on the bottle and
let it rip.

When the gravity reaches 1.000 rack again into a clean sulfited carboy
again adding 1/2 camdon(?sp) tablet per gallon for the same reason. Again
if the mead does not come within 1/2" of the lip use sulfited marbles
to make up the difference. Test the acid level at this point using
your handy dandy acid testing kit and adjust the acid to a level of
.55. The kit will tell you given what your acid level is at how much
to add.

When the fermentation stops, let it sit for a few days to let the lees
settle out. Rack into a clean sulfited carboy adding 1 camdon(?sp) tablet
per gallon of product and fine with a Bentonite mixture. Let this sit
for 10 days. Rack the final product (leaving the lees behind as
usual) into a clean sulfited carboy and let bulk age for three months.
If you have a spare frig you can put the carboy in, the last month of
the bulk age put the mead in the frig to chill proof it.


If you are lucky enough to have a wine filter. Filter the mead with
fine filters and bottle. Let bottle age for at least 6 months (1 year
is better). Enjoy.

Roger Locniskar Boston Technology Inc.
<> Wakefield, MA 01880

Date: 7 Oct 92 07:23:00 PST
From: Tom Haley <tah@ccgate.SanDiegoCA.NCR.COM>
Subject: Kiwis and honey ....

I was getting ready to make a mead, when I came across lots of
kiwi fruit for very cheap…. So I started thinking about how I
could add some yeast to them… Now my question. Anyone ever
make a drink using honey and kiwis? Any recomendations on
porportions and yeast strains?





Date: Wed, 7 Oct 92 15:48 EDT
Subject: Apricots and Sparkles

I have a couple 'O' questions. I have never made a mead, but intend to
try fairly soon.

  1. Is it possible to make a bottle-carbonated sweet mead? How does one
    get the yeasties to stop eating so the bottles don't explode?

  2. I happen to have some really great dried apricots. I was wondering
    if I can use them in a mead. They are preserved with sulfur dioxide.
    Is that good or bad for the mead? Any suggestions on a recipe? How
    much dried fruit should I use?

Mike Lindner

Date: Wed, 7 Oct 92 17:42:24 -0400
From: Mike Tanksley <>
Subject: ideas for first mead

From: lrj@helios.TN.CORNELL.EDU (Lewis R. Jansen)
> How much of a difference does it make in the final product
>whether one chooses Processed-To-Death commercial honey vs.
>honey from a farmer's market or other "natural" source?

As far as my experience goes, the difference can best be summed up in
the differing reactions of new mead-drinkers: "Oh, so that's what
mead tastes like" vs. "Hey! this stuff is great!"

> Are chlorophenols or other chlorine products a problem?
>Specifically, do people feel they need to pre-boil the water
>used in order to remove the chlorine?

That depends on the water. New York City tap water can actually
stink of chlorine on occasion. Before boiling became a habit here
at Chateau Harlem River Embankment, overchlorinated tap water turned
two gallons of orange-blossom-honey mead into cough syrup.

> To what extent does mead foam while fermenting? I'd prefer
>not to tie up a six or seven gallon carboy for this amount of
>time; I'd rather have it sit in a five gallon. How much
>headspace would be needed?

If you don't use nutrients, the fermentation should be slow
enough that there won't be much head, like maybe one-quarter inch,
tops. My guess is that the presence of nutrients would change the
picture. If it bothers you, why not make a four-gallon batch in
a five-gallon carboy? I did this for some beer, to avoid blow-off
tubes and related gunk, and it worked just fine.

Mike Tanksley

Date: Wed, 7 Oct 1992 23:10:56 -0800
Subject: another use Wyeast belgian... mead

Well, my first batch of fruit mead (melomel?) was brewed up last

Sunday. Several contributing factors inspired me to try a mead. First,
honeybee researchers at SFU sell exceptional raw honey every year at a
reasonable price. Second, the very good bartlett pears were available at
as decent price and ginger goes very well with them. Lastly, all this talk
of the banana/fruit/caramel flavours created by Wyeast belgian and its
ability to ferment to high alcohol therefore providing aging potential.
The thought of these flavours coming together was more than I could stand.
The basic composition followed the proportions published in the excellent
article in the latest zymurgy issue.

Pear/ginger mead/melomel/metheglin (take your choice)

5 lbs pears, seeds and flower end removed and frozen so they would breakup
5 lbs raw new honey (wildflower/raspberry/blackberrry blend)
3 oz. finely ground fresh young ginger (more lemony than mature ginger)
1 primed package Wyeast belgian #1214
1/2 tsp. pure ascorbic acid (to keep the pears from going brown and because
it tastes like lemons)
1/2 tsp. Difco yeast nitrogen base (yeast nutrient)
16 cups water

Everything but the yeast nitrogen base was put into a big pot and brought
up slowly to 200 F and kept there for 20 minutes to pasteurize and extract
the ginger flavour and allowed to cool down naturally (about 2 – 3 hours).
Next time, I'll extract the ginger with boiling water a few times to get
more ginger flavour out and add as part of the water used (the ginger
flavour is only sparingly soluble in water). The final specific gravity
was 1.100. Any comments/questions/suggestions would be gratefully
YIELD: about 2 gallons in the primary

…p.s. It was bubbling like crazy 24 hours later and the banana was
evident when I opened the yeast envelope. This weekend ginger beer!
Eric Urquhart (
Centre for Pest Management, Dept. of Biological Sciences
Simon Fraser University, Burnaby , B.C. Canada

End of Mead Lover's Digest