Mead Lover’s Digest #171 Sat 10 July 1993

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


Best Of (No) Show Recipe ("Daniel F McConnell")
Re: some basic questions (wegeng.henr801c)
some basic questions (Spencer.W.Thomas)
re: Strawberry Mead Recipe? (Dick Dunn)

SUMMARY: Info request on grape mead (pyment) (Ron Schieffer)
Pie Cherry Melomel (Mark Taratoot)
What is Braggot??? ("Patrick S. Paul")

Send articles for submission to the digest to
Send digest subscribe, unsubscribe, or any other administrative requests to

NOTE: There is now an MLD FTP archive on in pub/mead

Date: 9 Jul 1993 09:19:06 -0500
From: "Daniel F McConnell" <>
Subject: Best Of (No) Show Recipe

                       Subject:                               Time:8:41 AM 

OFFICE MEMO Best Of (No) Show Recipe Date:7/9/93

Larry Lynch-Freshner <> writes:

>Could you post the best of show recipe? That choco-mint mead sounds >very


I would LOVE to post the recipe for the chocolate mint and plan to do so as
soon as I get it from Phil. We plan to print a winners circle booklet for all
those that entered. Undoubtly I will post it to this forum as well. His
extremely vague recipe that was included in the entry read something along the
lines of:

Chocolate mint

>(by the way Dan – are you using QuickMail?)

Yes, this is Quick Mail and yes, I hate that OFFICE MEMO stuff. Being only
semi computer literate I can’t eliminate it.

While I’m at it…. I recently came across a LARGE quantity of lavender (in
bloom), lemon balm, sevaral mint varieties as well as many other aromatic herbs
and plan to do some mead experiments.

Fresh or dried? How much lavender? How much lemon balm? I may make an
infusion of each and add it to a finished mead to get a rough idea, but I would
prefer to ferment ON the lavender blossoms. Any help would be appreciated.


Date:   Fri, 9 Jul 1993 07:00:24 PDT
Subject: Re: some basic questions

Bill Nixon asks:

>1. What’s the best type of honey to use?

I usually suggest that novice mead makers start with a mild flavored honey,
such as clover (it`s also readily available). Your first few batches of mead
are, in a sense, experiments, and mild honey won`t overwhelm any other
ingredients that you are using. Once you`re comfortable with the process, then
you can start experimenting with other types of honey.

>2. I’d to make a 1 gal batch and am think of using a 3 gal carboy as
>the fermenter. Would 2 gals of headspace affect the mead or should I
>go looking for a good 1 gal container?

Head space is a concern, in general, because you don`t want the mead to come in
contact with oxygen (except when you first add the yeast, where you need oxygen
to fuel the aerobic phase of fermentation). However, for primary fermentation
head space isn`t a concern because the carbon dioxide given off by the
fermentation process is more dense than oxygen, which will push most (all?) of
the oxygen out of the fermenter. For secondary fermentation and beyond,
however, I suggest that you use a smaller container. One gallon glass jugs
work well.

>Do you need to leave blowoff
>space for the mead like you do for homebrew?

No. The proteins are other nasties that some people worry about with beer
aren`t present in the mead making process (or with wine, for that matter).

Hope that this helps.


Date: Fri, 9 Jul 93 11:04:59 EDT
Subject: some basic questions

William P. Nixon writes:
> 1. What’s the best type of honey to use?

Whatever you can find 🙂 Seriously, the less processed, the better
(because more flavor). I buy my honey from a beekeeper who sells it
at the local farmer’s market.

The honey variety will make a difference, clearly, but it’s not
obvious to me that a more flavorful honey is necessarily better. The
winning "show mead" in this year’s Mazer Cup competition was made with
orange blossom honey. I had the privilege of tasting it, and the
assortment of flavors and aromas that exploded into my mouth and nose
was amazing! (For the record, a "show mead" is made with honey,
water, and yeast (and maybe nutrients). There is NOTHING else in it,
so the flavor had to come from the honey, and maybe the yeast.)

> 2. I’d to make a 1 gal batch and am think of using a 3 gal carboy as
> the fermenter. Would 2 gals of headspace affect the mead or should I
> go looking for a good 1 gal container? Do you need to leave blowoff
> space for the mead like you do for homebrew?

Meads generally run slower than beers. I would think it wouldn’t be a
problem in the primary, but you might want to find a (glass) gallon
jug for secondary fermentation.


Date: 9 Jul 93 09:11:14 MDT (Fri)
From: (Dick Dunn)
Subject: re: Strawberry Mead Recipe? (David Hinz) asks:

> I’ve got 33 pounds of strawberries ordered, and want to make some wine,
> mead, beer, or other with them. Any recipes that work well would be
> appreciated, if you could submit them or e-mail them to me!

We made a strawberry melomel not long ago that we’re very happy with.
We used 12 lb strawberries in a 5-gallon batch. That seemed like a lot at
first, but I think if I were going to do it again, I’d use 15 lb–i.e., 3
lb/gal. The strawberries were approximately quartered. (Don’t crush pulpy
fruits like this unless you like major messes at racking time–experience
speaking there.)

We used 10 lb honey 6 lb clover and 4 lb alfalfa. I think this was about
right; I might shift the balance more toward the alfalfa. Originally I’d
wanted to be careful not to overpower the strawberries; that turned out not
to be a problem. The honey character could be stronger.

Keep in mind that strawberries don’t have a lot of sugar in them. They
contribute flavor but not much fermentable.

Other than that…hmmm…yeast was Red Star "Prise de Mousse"; the mead
fermented out in about 8 weeks and was bottled with 4 oz dextrose for
carbonation. I have no real idea what the true starting gravity was; it’s
just not possible to get a useful number with chunks of fruit. It finished
at 0.991.

Current age is 16 weeks from start of fermentation and everyone seems to
like it…the main problem will be keeping enough of it around to find out
how it ages over a year or two. (It doesn’t have any of that "young mead"
character even now, but it’s fruity and I don’t know how much that aspect
will fade.)

Dick Dunn -or- raven!rcd Boulder, Colorado USA

…Simpler is better.

Date: Fri, 9 Jul 93 12:35:20
From: (Ron Schieffer)
Subject: SUMMARY: Info request on grape mead (pyment)

These are the results of my grape mead request. Any more comments?

>From Bill Holman

This is my first attempt at a pyment (grape based mead) and my 12th

batch of mead. Hope this helps!

Chablis Pyment

  • 10 lbs. clover honey
  • 4 lbs. Alexanders premium chablis grape juice concentrate
  • 2 tsp. yeast nutrient, DIFCO
  • 0.25 tsp. Irish Moss
  • 10 gms. Lallemand Lalvin EC-1118, Saccharomyces bayanus wine yeast, dry
  • Boil 4 gallons, cut heat to simmer, add honey, grape juice, & Irish Moss.
  • Simmer 30 minutes skimming foam off top, add yeast nutrient last 5
  • With wort chiller cool ~5 gallons for 20 minutes.
  • Pitch at 80F, O.G. 1.095 @ 60F for 5 gallons.
  • Ferment at 72F.
  • Rack to glass secondary within 10 days.

Notes since the grape juice is concentrated, I would up the weight for
grapes a couple of pounds. Any yeast nutrient will work, but the DIFCO
ferments faster with less taste. This batch is still fermenting, but at the
second racking it had a nice balance of honey/grape flavor.

>From Mark A Fryling

I havn’t made any grape meads yet but I have made several fruit meads using
strawberries, black rasberries, peaches and kiwi. I dont imagine the procedure
should be all that different. There are lots of published melomel recipes out
there but this one is a generic version of what I use.


Before brewing, pick, wash and freeze the fruit you are going to use.
The freezing makes sugars more accesible. I think 10-15 lbs is a good
amount for 5 gal of mead. Take the fruit out of the freezer the morning
before you brew to thaw. I find it particularly convenient to put he
fruit into large ziploc freezer bags about 1/3 to 1/2 full. That way you
can crush the fruit in the bags after its thawed and avoid mess.

Make a light mead using:

8-10 lbs of light honey
2 gal good brewing water

-> boil 20 min or so

-> add fruit to boiling honey wort and immediately cover and turn off the heat. Steep (pasteurize) for 20 min.

-> Cool to appx. 70 F and pour into primary fermenter fruit and all with 1.25 tsp yeast energizer, 2 tsp pectic enzyme, and 1-2 tsp acid blend.

-> Pitch a good wine yeast. I have had very good luck withLalvin s. cerevisiae. Its an eppernay type yeast that ferments quickly and flocculates well.

-> Rack when CO2 production has fallen off to less that 1 bubble every 10 s. Bottle when the melomel is completely clear in the secondary (or tertiary if you rack more that once). If the alcohol content is not too high, you can carbonate with 3/4c honey.


I recently saw a few copies of a book on mead making at my local
homebrew supply shop (actually, it’s a supermarket, but they’ve
a great homebrew section). I know I saw a grape recipe.

If you want the entire book, I could check the publisher and you
could probably order it through a local book store. If you just
want the recipe, let me know.


>From Daniel F McConnell

Here is my recipe for pyment. I make this every year, usually with chambourcin
or chancellor grapes. I’m sure it would work well
with white grapes as well.


100 lbs Red Wine grapes crushed

Add Honey to 21#161#bx

Yeast Lab dry mead yeast
ferment then discard wine 😎

To the pomace add:

5 gal distilled water
12.5 lbs Honey
acid adjusted to 0.60
ferment and press to
rack at 1 week and 6 months
bottle the following fall

>From Conn Copas


My advice is start by determining the gravity of your grape juice. In a good
year, that will be around 80, but could be down to 50 otherwise. Next, decide
whether you want a dry or sweet mead. For a dry mead, use honey to raise the
gravity to no more than 110, figuring that honey adds around 40 per lb per
gall. This will make a honey flavoured wine, rather than a grape flavoured
mead. For the latter, use 1.5 lbs honey per gall (giving a gravity of 60), plus
a combination of grape juice and water to achieve a gravity of 110.

A sweet mead will result from using 2 lbs honey per gall grape juice.

I personally don’t use heat sterilisation, and do use a nutrient/energiser


I just read the HBD that you asked about grape meads in. I have an answer for
you, but first, sorry I didn’t respond earlier (as in, when you send the request
to MLD). I’ve been on vacation, and am behind in several things…

Earl Gray Mead/Wine I ‘liberated’ this recipe from a friend…

4 gal. grape juice
8-10 lbs. honey
4 largish oranges, sliced into eigths or sixteenths
8-12 packets of Earl Gray tea

simmer juice and honey together as if the juice was water (skimming dross, etc.)
If you normally boil, then, by all means, boil. When you turn the heat down,
add the oranges and tea in a clean hop bag or something similar (I used a clean
cotton sock). Transfer into carboy, let cool to a comfortably warm temp, add
yeast, and lock the carboy. From here on out, it’s like any other mead… Oh,
BTW, I’ve only used Montrachet (speelling?) yeast on this recipe, so I can’t
really suggest a particular yeast… Go with your favorite.

Also, some advice. You can ‘change’ any mead recipe into a grape mead recipe by
simply replacing some or all of the water with an equal portion of grape juice,
but be forwarned! Using juice adds sugars, tannin, and citric acid that
wouldn’t normally be there, so in most case you will want to decrease the
amounts on these substances getting into your must. Also, the grape juice adds
flavors that may or may not go well with other flavorings. Choose your
additional flavors well, using those that you would only use in both wines and
meads… Also, instead of using grape juice, you could use crushed grapes, but
this will give you more wild yeasts and beasties, and also more tannin. This
may be easier of you if you have lots of grapes around, depending on what you
have to make juices with. If you decide to go this route, please E-mail me with
the results, since I personally haven’t tried it, but I have spoken to people
that have.

Ron Schieffer @ AG Communication Systems . ._______|_______.

If you do good every day, you will go to the spirit \(*)/
world and see other good people on the other side. o/ \o
If not, you will not see them. -Joe Flying Bye

Date: Fri, 09 Jul 1993 14:49:20 -0600 (MDT)
From: Mark Taratoot <SLNDW@CC.USU.EDU>
Subject: Pie Cherry Melomel


Recently I posted a request for what to do with five gallons

of a small mead that was lacking in flavor. It was a simple mixture
of six pounds of honey, 11 cloves, acid blend, yeast nutrient, and
Lalvin K1V-1116 yeast (OG=1.042). Thanks to Eric L. Wagoner who
suggested using fruit nectar.

I was also planning on my next mead being a cherry melomel

made from pie cherries growing in my front yard. I wanted to make at
least two gallons of cherry melomel, and the cherry trees are putting
out LOTS and LOTS of fruit. But I didn’t want to relegate another
five gallon carboy to more mead. So, I made a decision. I am going
to simmer six more pounds of honey, add many many cherries after
I remove the kettle from the heat, and transfer it to a bucket when
cool. I will then rack enough of the small mead into the bucket
to fill it to just over five gallons and adjust the acid to ~0.6%
and let fermentation finish. Whatever is left of the small mead,
I will transfer to one-gallon jugs and let it clear, then bottle
with some kind of tea/spice/whatever.

However, I have a few questions that some of you may be

able to answer:

First How many cherries should I be using for a five gallon
melomel? I am thinking 10-20 pounds. However, the pie cherries
are very tart, and I don’t want to overdo it.
Second I am harvesting the cherries as they get ripe and putting
them in the freezer. I plan on crushing them. However, I have
not decided whether to use the juice only, or the fruit and skins
as well. If I add only the juice, how many more cherries will I
need to use as compared with using the entire fruit. The juice
from the cherries is clear, so I plan on putting at least SOME
of the skins in the melomel to impart a nice, red color.
Third I have read that I should exclude the pits. Is this true
or should I just toss the pits in with the fruit (this is assuming
I add fruit, not just juice)?
Last Since I am planning on pasturizing the fruit (juice) in the
must, will it still be a good idea to sulfite the fruit/juice? As a
side note, I have lost my faith that sulfite is effective at killing
wild yeast. I had sulfited one pound of chopped rasins (to add to the
small mead) with two campdon tablets in a quart jar. I was sure this
high level of sulfite would kill the wild yeast. But, about a week
later the jar lid was bulging and fizzing. When I opened the jar, it
was quite obvious that the rasins were spontaneously fermenting.

Anyone who has made cherry melomels or wines using pie

cherries please mail me at SLNDW@CC.USU.EDU and give me some
details. I will post a summary of all the varied responsed I


Date: Fri, 9 Jul 1993 22:47:14 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Patrick S. Paul" <>
Subject: What is Braggot???

In the note for the mazer cup note a mead called Braggot was mentioned,
what is that??, I remember hearing of a mullberry mead, is that it??

I am now bottling my first batch of sparkling mead for a wedding later
this year. I am using champane bottles, if I had known how hard it was to
clean these bottles, especialy the labels, I would have had second
thoughts about doing this. The question I have is how much honey should I
add to prime the batch, a friend suggested 1/2 cup for 5 gallons. Is this
enough for champane level carbonation??

Hope to have a second opinion soon and thanks in advance. If I have a
bottle left over after the wedding I will try to enter it in the compition
next year.

– –Tully–

End of Mead Lover’s Digest