Mead Lover's Digest #0232 Thu 11 November 1993


Forum for Discussion of Mead Making and Consuming
Dick Dunn, Digest Coordinator



digest catching up (Dick Dunn)
re: 9:1 meads ("Dennis R. Sherman")
re: Comments on Digest relocation (Jon Pixley)
Vierka Mead Yeast – help! (Joyce Miller)
Gatewaying the list (Jonathan Corbet)
Re: sterilisation (-s90064445-d.martin-ele-60-)
1600's Mead book w/Viking ingred (
mead recipe from the early White House (CPU-SPP generic account)


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Subject: digest catching up
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 9 Nov 93 21:48:26 MST (Tue)

This issue of mead-lovers should catch up on all submissions covering the
mail meltdown described in the previous issue of the digest (231A). If
you have submitted something, up through Nov 9, and it doesn't appear in
this issue, please re-submit AND contact me– or via Thanks, and sorry for the problems over
the last couple weeks.


  • Dick


Subject: re: 9:1 meads
From: "Dennis R. Sherman" <>
Date: Mon, 01 Nov 1993 08:22:01 EST

In Digest #231, Joyce Miller says:

>This sounds exactly like one of the Kenelm Digby recipes. I tried one of
>his 9 parts water to 1 part honey recipes, and it was terrible. It took
>months to mellow, and when it did, there was no flavor left at all. I
>found that I had 6 gallons of Coors-light-style mead. Blech!

I agree — if you let it age for months, it's pretty awful. But I
don't think that's what Digby had in mind. I'm of the opinion that
all his low-gravity recipes were intended to be drunk very young —
with the yeast still active. He uses a phrase something like "This
will be very quick and pleasant to drink" to describe at least one of
the light meads. I think "very quick" means still bubbling with
active yeast.

When I make a 9:1 mead, the yeast gets pitched, and as soon as the
first burst of activity dies down (2-3 days, no more than a week) it
gets bottled. After no more than a week in the bottle, it goes in the
fridge and gets drunk as the occasion arises. I've done it without
bottling into a tight bottle (gallon milk jug with loos cap) and it
tasted fine, as long as you don't let it go on for too long. The
alcohol content is low enough even my tee-totaling wife will drink it.

Dennis R. Sherman Triangle Research Libraries Network Univ. of North Carolina – Chapel Hill


Subject: re: Comments on Digest relocation
Date: Mon, 01 Nov 1993 23:47:41 -0400 (EDT)

As long as r.c.winemaking and r.c.brewing mention the mead-lover's digest in
their FAQs, and as long as the mailing list is manageable, I see no reason to
relocate the digest. I found the digest through the r.c.brewing FAQ after only
reading USENET for a week or two. Anyway, that's my $.02 worth.


Subject: Vierka Mead Yeast - help!
From: (Joyce Miller)
Date: Mon, 1 Nov 93 10:28:19 -0500

My local brewing supply shop has told me that my favorite yeast, Vierka
Mead yeast, is not longer made! Does anyone know if this is true? If so,
has any other company picked it up, and what are they calling it?


  • — Joyce


Joyce Miller
Whitehead Institute / M.I.T. Canter for Genome Research
1 Kendall Square, Bldg. 300 617-252-1914 (phone)
Cambridge, MA 02142 617-252-1902 (FAX)

Subject: Gatewaying the list
From: Jonathan Corbet <corbet@stout.atd.ucar.EDU>
Date: Mon, 01 Nov 1993 09:05:33 -0700

I must admit the idea makes me nervous. I used to really like the homebrew
list, but the volume has reached the point where I almost never actually
read it any more. There is far too much stuff there, and too little of it
is worth my while. I'm for anything that can bring more quality discussion
to the mead list, but I would hate to see it suffer the same fate which
befell the homebrew digest.


Subject: Re: sterilisation
From: (-s90064445-d.martin-ele-60-)
Date: Mon, 8 Nov 93 13:07:58 EST

Greetings all

Many thanks to all who replied to my question on sterliisation. My
girlfriend will breathe much easier.


You were so helpful in fact that I have another question to ask (i

hear you shudder.. oh no.. we've created a monster 🙂


As a complete novice, not just at mead but with any kind of

brewing, I have absolutly no idea what I am doing at all. My only source
of information is a book called "making mead" by acton and duncan, which
was the only book my local brewshop had with anything about mead in it. Is
this a goiod book? It seems to have been written quite a while ago, si
ytechniques may have improvedin the years since it was published. Are
there any other books you could recommend?


Also. my forst ever batch of mead (one gallon) has been bubbling

away merrily for about a month now (bubbles thru the airlock between three
and ten times per minute depending on temprature). How much longer can I
expect it tio keep fermenting, and when should it start to clear (\i
assume it doesn't stay cloudy for ever). Also when should I rack it? The
book says to rack it after fermentation is complete (i am aiming for a dry
mead), but several recipes i have seen in the digest seem to say that it
should be racked several times during the fermentation. Any ideas??


Many Thanks


The Hippy
Alias dave B Martin


P.S excuse the apalling formatting of this.. i'm in at uni and the

keyboards don't work so good (all the unimportant keys like <enter> ceased
to function many years ago)


Subject: 1600's Mead book w/Viking ingred
Date: Sun, 07 Nov 93 22:47:52 EST

Hej, Fellow brewers:

I've been enjoying your discussions for the past few months and have been

waiting for the right time to jump in and let you in on a secret ingredient I
discovered. Unlike most of you who came from the ranks of beer brewers, I
discovered Mead in my trips to Scandinavia over the past 7 years doing
research on the Vikings for a film I'm writing. After stumbling across Mead
in the history books on Vikings, I learned to brew Mead from Bob Lasseter who
brewed his St. Bartholomew's Mead at his Black Fox Meadery at 3645 Sanford
Drive, Murfreesboro, TN 37130. (add to your list of US Meaderies)

Three years ago in Stockholm's Royal Library, I ran across a book from the

1600's which contained a 57 page chapter on brewing Mjo"d (Mead), which I am
currently translating from Old Swedish into English. Most of the ingredients
seem to be the same as many of our modern ingredients, with the addition of
"humla" (hops). However, I was startled to find an ingredient which was
supposed to be the key ingredient in making the Vikings' Mead so potent and
for causing them to go "berserk"… According to the book, they used an herb
called "Pors" (pronounced like "Porsch"), which I can only translate as "bog
myrtle" or "sweet gale". The scientific name is "Myrtus Branbantica", and it
grows in Scandinavia commonly near bogs and marshes. It looks like a scruffy
bush with about 10-20 long thin waxy leaves on its twigs, and smells a little
like pine or gin. From the experimental meads my friends and I have brewed
in Sweden over the past few years, it adds a certain gin-like flavor, and it
DOES add a certain "kick"! However, even just a few leaves or a sprig added
to the initial brewing can impart quite a bit of its own flavor, and from my
research, it appears that like juniper, too much pors can supposedly be
dangerous, causing the drinker to go berserk or crazy, and supposedly even
death. From my own experience, I can say that it does give a bit of a
"buzz", and it has given me the urge to rape, pillage and plunder!! (A local
friend into "herbs" is going to try to brew his own mead and add his own
modern home-grown "herbs" to some mead – Anyone ever tried it?)

Today I brewed up 5 gallons of "Pors Mjod" using some pors sprigs I

brought back from Sweden. I'll keep you posted on the results. If anyone is
interested, my basic recipe is a combination of several, including the ones
in this old book:


1 gallon dark clover honey
4 gallons spring water
2 sprigs Pors and about a 3" handful of loose leaves
4 tsp acid blend
5 tsp yeast nutrient
1/2 tsp Irish moss


My questions: Is anyone familiar with Pors ("Myrtus Brabantica") and what is
it called in English? Does it grow in North America?
Would anyone be interested in getting a copy of the book(let) after I finish
translating it? (Who knows when… The book may take as long to "ferment" as
the mead itself!) I will have the original Old Swedish in the original print
on the left page, and a nearly literal word-for-word translation in English
on the righthand page. My friends and I are also considering hand-crafting
Mead horns after authentic Viking ones (on a very limited basis), and would
be interested in your comments. For personal comments, please e-mail me
directly. Skal!
Dan Meyer
Nashville, TN
America Online: Halfdan
CompuServe: 72064,2142

Date: Sun, 07 Nov 93 22:22:10

Does anyone know of any good DOS or Windows based programs for keeping track of
your mead, ingredients, fermentations, rackings, etc? Or ANY mead or wine
brewing programs for IBM compatibles? (other than Wine Trakker or other wine
inventory trackers)… Thanks,
Dan Meyer
AOL: Halfdan
CompuServe: 72064,2142

Subject: mead recipe from the early White House
From: (CPU-SPP generic account)
Date: Tue, 9 Nov 93 21:54:59 CST

The book "A Treasury of White House Cooking" by Francois Rysavy (the head cook
from Eisenhower to Nixon) contains this mead recipe.

"[the] Early presidents also had their servants make Mead or Honey Wine:

1 cup honey 1 teaspoon yeast
2 quarts water 1/2 cup brandy (optional)
A handful of whole spices made

up of 3 or 4 buds each of:
cloves, mace, ginger and
cinnamon sticks


Boil honey and water together for 30 minutes. Flavor with spices tied in a
little bag and boiled with it. The brew is then fermented with the bag of
spices still in it for at least 6 weeks, using yeast to speed the action.
Brndy may be added to strengthen the flavor before serving. Makes about
2 quarts."

This sounds like a quick mead, not even meant to be bottled. I've not tried
this (yet), so I don't know how much of the spice flavor and aroma survives
the boil and 6 weeks in the fermenter.

End of Mead Lover's Digest #232