Mead Lover's Digest #0265 Wed 9 February 1994


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



urrr, sweet mead? ("Steven W. Smith")
Welcome (
Re: mead holding carbonation? (David H Klatte)
Carbonated Meads (John Gorman)
re- mead holding carbonatio ("John Crosby")
Another review of "The Meadery" ("John R. Calen – Contacting Systems – E.F., N.Y")
re: mead holding carbonation? ("Dave Polaschek")
more on lingering carbonation (Dick Dunn)


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Subject: urrr, sweet mead?
From: "Steven W. Smith" <>
Date: 07 Feb 1994 07:58:19 -0700 (MST)

Just to throw in my $.02 on how much honey to add for a sweet mead, I did a

one gallon test batch with the following ingredients:

3 pounds filtered clover honey
1 can Oregon sour pie cherries in water, chopped (added water from can too)
enough water to make 1 gallon
yeast slurry from previous mead, composed of Vierka Mead yeast and
Montrachet (sp?) wine yeast.

I didn't boil it 😉 (but it's 'kinda' clear), just a hint of sweetness. I'd
compare it to a blush/pink wine with mysterious spices added. Very tasty and
fragrant at this point, but I'm still letting it age in the secondary. FWIW,
I consider it my best mead so far; _very_ drinkable (just had to "test" it for
this review).

I'll try it again with 4 pounds of honey and raising it to around 170F.



\o.O; Steven W. Smith, Programmer/Analyst

=(___)= Glendale Community College, Glendale Az. USA

Mah'-ee huv'-erk-raft iz fuhl ov ee'-ulz


Subject: Welcome
Date: Mon, 07 Feb 94 13:51:03 EST

Welcome from a lurker amongst you… I'm currently on my third batch and
have a goof I would like to tell, and of course, ask a question about…

I decided to try using Campden tablets and not boil my honey this time. I
put in one tablet for each gal., and added the yeast 24 hours later. Well,
it didn't start. I tried again about 2 days later, and again nothing.

Well, reading a little further, I found out that my tablets are metabisulfate,
which yields about 150 ppm, instead of the 50 I wanted… my question is
this: can I boil the stuff and remove the sulfur?(Doubt), or should I just
toss the stuff(I don't really want to tie up a fermenter for the months
for the sulfer to go away…)

Thats my tale…


  • Giles Candy is dandy, but liquer is quicker


Subject: Re: mead holding carbonation?
From: David H Klatte <>
Date: Mon, 7 Feb 94 12:50:43 CST

Dick Dunn ( asks about residual carbonation

in a still mead that has fermented out.


Just to be complete (and I am sure you have already thought this
through) how sure are you that it is done?

With the obligatory anti-glass-grenade question out of the way,
though, I can say that this is reasonably normal for me for
sweet still meads. I have never seen violent expulsion of gas
like you did, but then I never vigorously squirted any mead
out of a turkey baster, either. I have almost always noticed
a slight carbonation in the bottle in young meads – enough to
just feel on the tongue, but not enough to get any hiss when
the bottle is opened. My advice for reducing it further before
bottling would be to rack it to another carboy – this should
help expell excess CO2.

As for why it happens, I don't know. Maybe the bubbles have
trouble getting out of the viscous solution. But ponder this:
the carbonation that I have observed in young meads tends to
go away as the mead ages. This makes no sense to me.

David Klatte (

Subject: Carbonated Meads
From: (John Gorman)
Date: Mon, 7 Feb 1994 14:28:42 EST

> I have tried the method before, it's a lot of work, but it actually
> works pretty well. Chill the bottles to near freezing, make an ice
> bath of crushed (!) ice, a bit of water and a lot of salt, and put
> the bottles in the ice bath, about half an inch more than the yeast
> in the neck of the bottle. Wait a few minutes (about 10-30, depending
> on the thickness of the glass and quality of you ice bath) and pop
> the cork or capsule, holding the bottle upright this time. Depending
> on the carbonation you have you'll lose a part of the contents of
> the bottle, but it shouldn't be too much. I've tried recorking after
> this, but I noticed that a lot of the carbonation was gone when I
> drunk the wine. I suggest drinking it immediately, but it does pose
> some problems….

It's worth mentioning that a lot of home brewers use 5 gallon soda
syrup cans with a CO2 pressure rig to brew, rack, carbonate and
serve beer. My brother Bob uses them exclusively. (Imagine a
nightmarish incident involving a naked homebrewer, a wet bathroom
floor, a 5 gallon glass carboy, lots of glass, an sea of sticky
wort and blood, cut tendons and nerves. Could have been worse.)

A CO2 pressure setup can carbonate any fluid, including a sweet or
dry still mead. Its fast and safe and leaves no sediment. You can
serve sparkling mead right from the 5 gallon soda can or bottle for


  • john


John Gorman
Relational Semantics, Inc. 617-926-0979
17 Mount Auburn Street Watertown MA 02172 USA

Subject: re- mead holding carbonatio
From: "John Crosby" <>
Date: 8 Feb 1994 07:23:16 -0700

Subject: Time: 9:10 AM
OFFICE MEMO re: mead holding carbonation Date: 2/7/94
Subject: re> mead holding carbonation
Date: 2/7/94

Some wines, especially those with residual sugar, exhibit this characteristic.
If the fermenation has not been stopped chemically (sulfite or polysorbate 80)
and the yeast is nearing it's alcohol tolerance threshold some very minor
secondary fermentation can contiune. The evidence of which is the disolved


The French term for this is "petillant" (pronounced pe-ti-yo'). It means
sparkling, but not like Champagne. I have noticed it particularly in dessert
wines which haven't been treated. Several batches of high alcohol beer which I
made exhibited this trait as well.


Subject: Another review of "The Meadery"
From: "John R. Calen - Contacting Systems - E.F., N.Y" <calen@vnet.IBM.COM>
Date: Tue, 8 Feb 94 15:21:29 EST

Not to step on any toes, but I'm dusting off this article I wrote for the
Hudson Valley HomeBrewers' News. It appeared in March of '93, documenting
the visit I made in late January, '93. Hope the bandwidth isn't too much!


My Trip to the Meadery at Betterbee
by John R. Calen

A few Saturdays ago I got a hankering to visit this place I'd heard about ages
ago. It's located in Greenwich, (say Green-which, not gren-itch) NY, about 15
minutes east of Saratoga Springs.

My quest was simple. I wanted to see the most local commercial meadery that I
know of. And I wanted to try their product.

Snow was on the ground when I got north of Albany. The roads were clear, so the
trip only took two and a half hours from Poughkeepsie. I never bothered to get
directions from them, figuring it would be easily found when I got close to
town. I was proven right.

The main highway into Greenwich is Rt. 29. The Meadery is on the west side of
town, so in fact I never made it into town at all!

The parking lot was full of ice and snow, but it wasn't hard to get the car
parked. I managed to miss the tour buses and I had the shop literally to myself
when I got there.

Betterbee itself is a supplier to Northeastern beekeepers. The gift shop was
oriented to people like me, who don't keep bees, but like to get honey and
other stuff of the sort.

For sale were; beeswax candles and kits, honey (mostly clover and wildflower),
t-shirts and sweatshirts, bumper stickers, granulated bee pollen, honey candy,
creamed honey, books on beekeeping, cookbooks, and a cute game, sort of super
tic-tac-toe. There was also a wall full of mead. (Yessss!!)

I didn't get to meet the meadmaker, Wayne Thygesen, but there are many
newspaper articles on him and The Meadery on the wall. I also didn't get to
tour the meadery itself. I never thought to ask what kind of yeast they use or
if I could buy some from them. In fact, aside from some chit-chat about
homebrewing, I didn't get very technical with the lady who was there. She did
tell me that they don't release the mead for at least six months from the day
it's made.

The woman was very friendly and helpful. She got the meads, which had been
put away, out of the refrigerator for me. The cyser (a mix of apple cider and
plain mead) she had to open for me. It wasn't chilled and she apologized for
that. No problem here.

She also said that most of what I was drinking had been
open for a while, a few days anyway, and that they'd picked up a harsh flavor
from oxidation. I didn't really taste it in what I was sampling.

They had five flavors of mead. Traditional, Dry, Spiced, Cyser, and Raspberry.
They were all very good, with the raspberry being my favorite.

The Traditional may be the most accessible for someone who hasn't tried a mead
before. It's a full-bodied, light gold colored product that is just full of
honey in the nose and on the tongue. It's also very sweet. It makes for a great

The Dry is just as full of honey, but it's lighter bodied and not as sweet.
It's a very good mead that could go very well with dinner.

The Spiced mead is really complex. It's full of the spices that might go into a
mulled cider, or a spiced rum. I had it cold, but it's suggested that it can be
served warm. I'd serve it with dessert.(Maybe ON dessert!)

The Cyser is a delightful blend of honey and apple. Full of both, you've got to
try it to believe it. It'd go very well with poultry.

The last one I tried was the Raspberry mead. Properly called a "melomel" it was
just full of raspberries. I really liked this deep-red, medium bodied mead a
lot. It has raspberries everywhere! In the nose, the palate and the lingering
finish. This one is a real treat. Serve it by itself and to coin Bill Woodring,
(Our resident Michael Jackson clone), "Sip it gently!" This is one to savor.

All the above meads are uncarbonated. All are listed as 12% alcohol by volume.

Prices for the meads are, $6.99/ 750ml bottle of the first four described.
The Raspberry is $5.99/ 375ml bottle. They sell cases (12 bottles/case)
of the mead at a discount. The 750ml case is $70,
and the 375ml case is $60. This makes the raspberry mead pretty
expensive (375ml is just over 12 ounces).

Their hours are 9 to 5, Eastern time, Monday to Saturday, and they'll ship UPS.
They can be called at (518) 692-9669.

Unfortunately I missed the introduction of their blueberry mead by a few weeks.
Their catalog also mentions a cherry mead (and more beekeeping supplies than
you'd ever care existed). I'm definitely tempted to make another trip up!

(Apply all disclaimers, etc.)

Subject:  re: mead holding carbonation?
From: "Dave Polaschek" <>
Date: 8 Feb 1994 17:19:30 CST

[mead seems to be holding CO2]

There's a couple things that spring to mind immediately, one is that

the mead is sitting at a cool enough temperature that when it warms to
room temp, or comes in contact with a warmer surface, the carbonation
is released. If this is the case, letting it warm before bottling should
do the trick (and shouldn't be very rough on the flavor if it's gradual)
Idea two is (although I'm sure YOU would never do this, I have, so it
springs to mind) that you've got a chunk of crud from an earlier more
vigorous stage of fermentation stuck in the airlock. Forcing a bubble
or two through the lock will clear any problems.

Personally, the idea of a still mead doesn't appeal to me much, as

I like the bubbly meads I make. I also tend to keg early (tops of 3 months)
and let it age in the kegs (and whatever bottles I fill when kegging —
have to have something for archival purposes). If priming isn't
sufficient to carbonate the mead (I've used everything from corn sugar
to honey to barley malt extract to apple juice to prime), an evening in
the fridge at 20 psi and 35 degrees fahrenheit does the job pretty well.
While this may appall some purists, my outlook on mead is more toward
making pretty good meads in quantities sufficient to share with plenty
of people and tell them: "Yeah, this is okay, but it'd have been better
if I'd waited another 6 months," and then convince them to start making
mead — the more the merrier.————————Dave Polaschek, Mac software guy
AppleLink:LASERMAX————————-LaserMaster Corp.,7156 Shady Oak Rd,
ATTNet:6129439204————————————Eden Prairie, MN 55344 USA


Subject: more on lingering carbonation
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 8 Feb 94 23:18:09 MST (Tue)

Several folks have sent ideas about my mead in carboy that seems to be
holding carbonation. There was a lot of "did you check <X>? What about
<Y>?…" Clearly, I didn't give nearly enough info about the situation.

I know about cold liquids holding carbonation. I've kept the carboys [yes,
plural; see next] at around 66 F in recent months, which should be high
enough. I've thought about warming them up to 75 F or so for a while…I
don't see anything wrong with doing so; it's just a nuisance and I don't
know that it will do any good.

Yes, I've tried racking–not specifically to get rid of carbonation, but
because the way the batch went (peach melomel, multiple arrivals of
peaches), I ended up with 8 gallons (a 5 and a 3), so I've been racking to
blend them. (Transfer old 3 gal to new 5, then transfer 2 gal of old 5 to
fill new 5, transfer rest to 3.) The most recent racking didn't seem to
have much effect on carbonation, although I admit I have a constitutional
aversion to splashing things around when I rack.

Yes, I'm sure that the fermentation is essentially done, not just going
slowly. It's been holding at 0.996 for something over a month. This also
answers questions related to sweet liquids holding carbonation…because
it's not at all sweet now.

I dunno. It's an interesting puzzle.

[Oh…why do I want a still mead (melomel, actually) anyway? It's just my
judgment, based on sampling so far, that it will be best if bottled still
and sweetened ever-so-slightly…it might be OK, in a different style, if
it were really carbonated, but I'd like not to end up with some funny half-
way carbonation.]

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

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


End of Mead Lover's Digest #265