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Mead Lover's Digest #22 Tue 20 October 1992

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


more measurement, Chaucer's Mead (Dick Dunn)
Error in measurement (Mark Schuldenfrei)
Maple Sap vs. Maple Syrup (wegeng.henr801c)
Re: Suggestions on good brewing books, root beer? (Steve Lamont)
Weight/S.G. of honey (mpl)
Honey S.G. (CPU-SPP generic account)
straining melomels (CPU-SPP generic account)
Nutrients, etc. (Brewing Chemist Mitch)
Mead Lover's Digest #20 (October 18, 1992) ("Spencer W. Thomas")
are there more distribution lists??? (Victor Reijs)
pyment recipe request (CPU-SPP generic account)

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Date: 19 Oct 92 02:43:08 MDT (Mon)
From: (Dick Dunn)
Subject: more measurement, Chaucer's Mead

Dan Hall ( writes

> Good discussion re: the volume to mass of honey. Now I have another question
> about honey. Anyone know approximately how much gravity a pound of honey
> adds to a gallon of water?

We can get to that; I'll be roundabout. Use the figure of 12 lb/gal
mentioned earlier, which is (close enough to) a specific gravity of 1.5.
Fortunately, it turns out to mix almost perfectly linearly–so, for
example, if you mix one volume of honey with one volume of water, you'll
be very close to 1.25 SG.

You can use a mixed volume/weight calculation, but that makes it harder
than it needs to be. For example, a gallon of water plus a pound of honey,
well, a pound of honey is about 11 fl oz, and you end up with about 1.040,
but you end up with 139 fl oz at that SG. It's really easier to use volume
measurements of honey. (Yeah, I know–we pay for it by weight, but we buy
it in containers marked in volume, don't we?) If you mix x gallons of
water and y gallons of honey, you'll get x+y gallons of must at a SG of
(x + 1.5*y)/(x+y). Thus, for example, a gallon of honey plus four gallons
of water will get you very close to five gallons at 1.100, which is a nice
starting point. (If you know both weight and volume of your honey, you can
tweak the 1.5 in the formula above: water is about 8.3 lb/gallon, so
replace the 1.5 by the weight of a gallon of your honey divided by 8.3.)

The calculation may be more useful if turned around: If you know what
starting gravity you want, how much honey do you need? Let's call

Gs = starting gravity you want
V = total volume you want
Gh = SG of honey (nominally 1.5)
h = volume of honey needed


h = V*(Gs – 1) / (Gh – 1)

(and, of course, you use V-h volume of water.)
_ _ _ _ _

> There's a commercial mead available at the New Hampshire state liquor stores
> called Chaucer's Mead, made by a winery in California…

This would be Bargetto, no doubt. Soquel.

The "Chaucer's Mead" is OK, but I think they have more interesting stuff in
their fruit wines. These are fairly sweet, best as dessert wines. I don't
know what the current list looks like, but over the years my favorites have
been apricot, raspberry, and pomegranate. I might be tempted to toss some
of their fruit wine into a mead and see what happens.

Dick Dunn -or- raven!rcd Boulder, Colorado

Mr Natural says, "Get the right tool for the job!"

Date: Mon, 19 Oct 92 8:39:54 EDT
From: (Mark Schuldenfrei)
Subject: Error in measurement

Anthony Rossini caught me in a silly mistake. I wrote:

Regular honeys of decent thickness, color, and sweetness,
seem to be running at about 2.95 pounds per gallon.

Of course, that was 2.95 per quart, for roughly 12 pounds
per gallon. Sorry for any confusion, and, thanks Anthony!


Date:   Mon, 19 Oct 1992 05:55:59 PDT
Subject: Maple Sap vs. Maple Syrup

There was an article in Zymurgy a couple years ago about using maple sap to
brew a maple flavored beer. Unfortunately my copy is at home, but as I recall
the recipe required the addition of some amount of malt extract. Among other
things this would seem to imply that the S.G. of maple sap is not very high.

Making maple wine from sap sounds reasonable, but you`ll probably have to add
some maple syrup (or honey) to raise the S.G.


Date: Mon, 19 Oct 92 05:57:35 PDT
From: spl@alex.UCSD.EDU (Steve Lamont)
Subject: Re: Suggestions on good brewing books, root beer?

Christina Callihan <> says:

> Hello, all! I have my very first batch of mead in primary right now (my
> very first batch of of brewing
anything , in fact :), and I would like
> to learn a bit more about the equipment, procedures, terminology, etc. Can
> anyone out there recommend some top-notch homebrewing books, especially
> those focusing on mead? Author and title would probably do, but if you
> can include publisher and ISBN number as well, that would be great!

Probably the best book (or at least the most fun to read book) is
Charlie "Relax, Don't Worry, Have a Homebrew" Papazian's The Complete
Joy of Homebrewing
. Sorry, I don't have the ISBN or publisher but
you should be able to find it at your local homebrewing supply store
(look in the Yellow Pages under "Beer Homebrewing Equipment and
Supplies") or your favorite mail order house should have it. I
believe there's a second edition out now, which I think is called
something like The NEW Complete Joy of Homebrewing or something
approximating that very closely.

While some may quibble with some of Papazian's methods, they do indeed
work and will, as a reward for your efforts, produce decent to good
homebrew. Anyhow, he's fun to read.

There's also a book by Dave (I think it's Dave) Miller with the title
of something like The Complete Guide to Homebrewing (that's only an
approximation — boy, am I helpful or what? What do you mean "what?" 🙂 )
that is a bit more straightlaced in its approach but a good guide for
the more advanced brewer (that is, one with more that a couple of
batches under their belt). Miller tends to be a bit paranoid about
sanitation (not a bad thing, necessarily, but I think if I read Miller
first, I would have been frightened off by the prospect of maintaining
a "clean room" kitchen) and is a trifle more technical than Papazian.

There's also a short little pamphlet length book by Byron Burch that
is a nice introduction — I forget the title.

Any of the three are good introductory books. I'd suggest for the
first couple of batches that you just read and refer to one source.
There are small differences in technique between the three and they're
likely to be a trifle confusing.

I recommend Papazian, but that's mostly because it was the first book
I read.


Date: Mon, 19 Oct 92 10:10 EDT
Subject: Weight/S.G. of honey

With all the brew-ha-ha (sic) about the weight and/or specific gravity
of honey, I thought I'd add my $0.02. An earlier article mentioned that
the S.G. of honey was 1.44, which means that honey weighs 1.44 times as
much as an equal amount of water.

As for weight, a pint of water weighs a pound ("a pint's a pound the world
around"), so specific gravity can be measured in pounds per pint (with water
having an S.G. of 1 pound per pint). Therefore, a pint of honey should weigh

1.44 pounds
———– X 1 pint = 1.44 pounds

As for specific gravity, Zymurgy had a good article on "total" gravity.
The one thing missing from the article was a discussion of units of
measurement, as I've shown above, but basically, total gravity is the
weight of the liquid more than the weight of the same volume of water
(or volume X (S.G. – 1)). So, if we work in pints, and assume a specific
gravity of 1.44 for honey, then 1 gallon of honey adds

(1.44 – 1) pounds
8 pints X —————– = 3.52 pounds total gravity

If we dilute it with water to make 5 gallons, the total gravity doesn't
change (since the water adds v * (1.000 – 1) = 0 pounds total gravity),
but the specific gravity does, since the number of pints has changed. We
now have

(S.G. – 1) pounds
40 pints X —————– = 3.52 pounds total gravity

Solving for S.G., we have

(S.G – 1) pounds 3.52 pounds
—————- = ———— = 0.088 pounds/pint
pint 40 pints

So I would expect a solution of 1 gallon honey with water added to make
5 gallons to have an S.G. of 1.088 or so. Hope the ASCII graphic fractions
didn't confuse things too much.

Mike Lindner

P.S. still waiting for an answer on my question about using dried sulphered
apricots in mead.

Date: Mon, 19 Oct 92 09:24:32 CDT
From: (CPU-SPP generic account)
Subject: Honey S.G.

The specific gravity of honey is as close to 1.5 as makes no difference.
Honey weighs one and a half times as much as water. One gallon (US) of water
is eight pounds (US), so one gallon of honey is 12 pounds. This is not exact,
because our honey is never exact in age or water content, but you have more
error in recipe formulation due to how well you scrape the bowl you are
measuring honey from.

Thomas Manteufel IOFM

Date: Mon, 19 Oct 92 09:35:43 CDT
From: (CPU-SPP generic account)
Subject: straining melomels

I use Kinny B.'s oft-posted trick of a copper Chore-Boy scrubber and hop bag
on the end of my raking tube when I rake to the secondary. It does strain out
pretty much everything, but does create a problem of its own. It creates so
much turbulence that I get even more CO2 bubbles in the siphon hose. Instead of
losing the siphon once during a 5 gallon batch (due to the build up of bubbles
that I can't force out), I lose it two or three times. Does anyone have any
tricks they would care to share? I know about pinching the tubing right where
it joins the J tube, but that what else can I do? Shorter tubing? Raise the
secondary? Lower it? Something I haven't thought of?
Thomas Manteufel IOFM

Date: Mon, 19 Oct 92 10:19:13 CDT
From: (Brewing Chemist Mitch)
Subject: Nutrients, etc.


With respect to the aggravation of fruit pulp in the primary/secondary,
here is my 3 cents worth: I have only made one melomel (raspberry), and
a few fruit beers (raspberry again, and peach). Do not make the mistake
of pureeing the fruit, particularly if it is a fibrous fruit like peach.
Chop them up finely (or just crush, if it's a berry), and when it is
done fermenting, the fruit will have settled at the bottom.

At bottling time I always rack into a fresh carboy. That's with or
without priming sugar, beer or mead, fruit or not. That way when I'm
bottling, I can suck the last bit out without getting excess trub or
fruit in the bottles. Now I know most of you do this anyway, but I have an
extra step when fruit (or hops) is in the carboy. Take cheesecloth, about
an 18" piece, and fold into thirds. You should have about a six inch
square. Put it over the end of your racking hose that will go into the
fresh carboy, and rubberband it tightly. Of course the rubberband and
cheesecloth should be sanitized. Now slide it down on the hose until the
rubberbanded part is almost to the end of the hose. What you will have
now is sort of a "balloon" of chesecloth at the end of your racking

To start the siphon, fill hose with water, put open end in full carboy,
and siphon into a bucket until beer/mead comes thru. Pinch or fold hose to
stop flow, and insert cheesecloth end into fresh carboy. Siphon as normal,
keeping the end of the hose out of the sediment lest you overtax your
"filter". This setup is meant to catch suspended sediment, not filter
the sludge on the bottom. When you are done, carefully remove the hose.
When the cheesecloth starts to come up through the neck, grab onto it and
use it to pull it up through. Now the "balloon" will be bigger than the
neck, but if you pull up on the cloth, it will fit through, squeezing
extra juice out as it comes. Open that up now, and see the gunk that you
would have bottled.

Remember to not puree fibrous fruits. They will clog this filter system
immediately. I learned that, the hard way.

Okay, now my turn for a question: There has been some talk of nutrients
here. How essential are they, if your ferment gets going? I have a ginger
metheglin going right now, ~18 lbs honey, 4 oz grated ginger root, 2 oz.
acid blent, and a wine yeast. It got going the next day, bubbling nicely.
Do you see any problems arising from lack of added nutrient? It's been
fermenting two weeks. Can I add any now? Should I?



  • Mitch Gelly – | We tend to scoff at the beliefs of the ancients.

software QA specialist | But we can't scoff at them personally, to their

and zymurgist | faces, and this is what annoys me.

Date: Mon, 19 Oct 92 11:52:11 EDT 
From: "Spencer W. Thomas" <>
Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #20 (October 18, 1992)

Given that the normal concentration factor for maple syrup is 40:1,
I'm not sure you'd get much flavor from undiluted sap.


Date: Mon, 19 Oct 92 17:03:52 +0100
From: Victor Reijs <>
Subject: are there more distribution lists???

Hello all of you,

I have been searching for distributionlists within Europe about winemaking, but
until now I did not found anything. I now have some lists in US, mead-lovers,
home-brew, brew and cider. My question to you is:

Is there some overview of distributionlists which handle: wine, liqueor, beer,
etc. topics. If there are also lists about tabaco (sigars/pipes) please let me
know. The summary of all the results I will send over this list.

Thanks in advance your help.

All the best,


Date: Mon, 19 Oct 92 09:40:38 CDT
From: (CPU-SPP generic account)
Subject: pyment recipe request

Does anyone have a pyment recipe they would like to post? I have 2 gallons of
concord grape in my fridge I need to use. Thank You
Thomas Manteufel IOFM

End of Mead Lover's Digest

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