Mead Lover's Digest #0343 Sun 28 August 1994


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



Re: Mead Lover's Digest #342, 24 August 1994 (Jacob Galley)
Excellent White Meathe (Joyce Miller)
Pyment & Hippocras (Joyce Miller)
braggot recipes (Gordon L. Olson)
Rasberry Mead, Plunderous Plums (COYOTE)
distillation of mead (Ralph Snel)
Problem with my mead (Joseph Schluttenhofer +1 614 860 5020)


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Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #342, 24 August 1994
From: Jacob Galley <>
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 94 9:42:29 CDT

In the recipes from Digby that Joyce is typing in for us, there are
some odd-sounding procedures requiring eggs. There was a discussion
of this a long time ago on the Homebrew Digest, but perhaps we can
learn more from this group.

Okay, so floating a hard-boiled egg in the boiling must functions as a
hydrometer—right? Does anyone have a guess at the specific gravity
indicated by "the breadth of a groat"? (A groat is apparently some
kind of coin.) And how much does it matter that the egg is "freshly

The second technique is more intriguing. Digby seems to be mixing a
raw egg into the boiling must, as some sort of fining process.
Exactly what results are achieved by doing this? Does this do
anything special to our modern, refined honey musts? I've never had a
cloudy mead, anyway, and I always pasteurize or boil briefly.


Stand up and use your ears like a man! <– Charles Ives

From: Richard B. Webb <>
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 1994 07:42:51 -0700

Subject: Bragot/Braggot/Bracket

Brian Smithey asks about something that nobody can agree on what it's called.
B/B/B is one of those things that doesn't seem to be terribly well
standardized. Therefore, I struck out on my own. One of my Braggot
recipes has already been published in this forum. It won the
Dukes of Ale Spring Thing best mead in show this year, but it got
completely ignored at the Mazer Cup competition later. It was a dark
malt (18L) with Saaz hops boiled for an hour, then honey, acid, and
ginger added towards the end. I followed the philosophy of making a
5 gallon batch of beer, and adding enough honey and water to make another
5 gallon batch of mead. The dark malt made the stuff really dark (duh!),
but my later experience with braggot was also dark. I had used Fuggle
hops to dry hop an ESB (that got a 41 in the first round in the
nationals, but wasn't good enough for second round!) When I had bottled
the beer, I had a bunch of hops with plenty of bittering potential
left. I took 6 lbs of bulk light malt extract syrup and boiled the hops
in maybe 3 gallons of water for an hour. At the end of the hour, I
added 6 lbs of honey, cooled, added to carboy, and topped off with
previously boiled water. My friend Jeff, who helped me make the first
braggot, likes this Leftover Braggot even better, but it too was
ignored at the Mazer Cup. Go figure.

So having clearly demonstrated that a) it can be done, and b) when I
do it, some people like it and some don't, here's how I would answer
Brian's questions:

OG questions: HBB came in at an OG of 112, and Montrachet yeast quit
at a FG of 52. Therefore, it finished where a lot of beers want to
start. LB had an estimated gravity of 97, but finished at 40 using
Prise de Mousse yeast. Just because my braggots finished at high
gravities doesn't mean that that's the correct way, just the way
things happened.

Malt questions: The LB was just malt syrup, while the HBB used a
dark, sweet malt called Honey malt (hence the name, Honey Bucket
Braggot). I don't know about specialty malts. Which ones might I
have used? Dark malts? I don't think so. HBB had a 60L guess.
Both of them are dark as sin. Dextrin malt? Like I wanted this
stuff thicker? Nah… I would think that for the honey taste and
presence to come through, there should be a minimum of other
stuff going on…

Well, I'm jumping off of my soapbox now. Like I said, both of
these braggots were ignored at the Mazer cup. Maybe they wanted
something just a little different than what I made. In that case,
my opinions are crap!

Good luck!
Rich Webb

Subject: Excellent White Meathe
From: (Joyce Miller)
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 1994 11:07:32 -0400

A recipe from Kenelme Digbie 1669:

An Excellent white Meathe.

Take one Gallon of Honey, and four of water; Boil and scum them

till there rise no more scum; then put in your Spice a little bruised,
which is most of Cinnamon, a little Ginger, a little Mace, and a very
little Cloves. Boil it with the Spice in it, till it bear an Egge. Then
take it from the fire, and let it Cool in a Woodden vessel, till it be but
lukewarm; which this quantity will be in four or five or six hours. Then
put into it a hot tost of Whitebread, spread over on both sides, pretty
thick with fresh barm; that will make it presently work. Let it work
twelve hours, close covered with Cloves. Then Tun it into a Runlet wherein
Sack hath been, that is somewhat too big for that quantity of Liquor; for
example, that it fill it not by a Gallon; You may then put a little
Limon-pill in with it. After it hath remained in the vessel a week or ten
days, draw it into Bottles. You may begin to drink it after two or three
Months: But it will be better after a year. It will be very spritely and
quick and pleasant and pure white.



Subject: Pyment & Hippocras
From: (Joyce Miller)
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 1994 11:08:14 -0400


1 gallon + 1 cup clover honey (~13.5 lbs)
12 lbs wild grapes ("fox" grapes?)
2 tsp yeast nutrient
Vierka Mead Yeast (already started)

Dissolve the honey in 2-3 gallons of water, heat to just boiling, skimming
the whole time. Remove stems from grapes, wash (watch for little worm
holes!), and crush them with a potato masher. When the honey-water mixture
is hot, add yeast nutrient and grapes, and stir well. Check to be sure
that the temperature is 160+F, and hold to pasteurize for about 30 minutes.
Force cool, put into fermenter, and top up to 5.5 – 6 gallons with
pre-boiled & cooled water. Aerate by shaking vigorously, pitch yeast.

09-13-93: O.G. = 1.085 @ 82F = 1.087-8.
10-07-93: S.G. = 1.021 @ 74F = 1.023. Very heady wild grape aroma, high
tannin, fairly astringent. Tart. Still somewhat sweet, but it's not very
10-11-93: S.G. = 1.020 @ 68F = 1.021. Racked off into secondary. Red wine
color, still cloudy, *strong* grape nose. Tannins smoothing out, still
astringent but not so
harsh anymore.
11-06-93: Smooth, like honey wine.
11-10-93: Bottled. Added 2/3- cup corn sugar (for 4.5 gallons). S.G.
(w/corn sugar) = 1.018 @ 72F = 1.019. Bottled 3 gallons as pyment, bottled
remaining 1.5 gallons as
Spices added to 1.5 gallons:
1 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
3/8 tsp ground cloves
3/4 tsp of each: ground nutmeg, marjoram, cracked cardamom, black pepper.

*Note* It is necessary to stir up the spices frequently while bottling the

The Pyment and the Hippocras each one first place in their categories in
the 1994 Mazer Cup Mead Competition.


  • – Joyce


Subject: braggot recipes
From: (Gordon L. Olson)
Date: Fri, 26 Aug 94 08:22:22 -0600

In MLD#342 Brian Smithey asks for information about braggot recipies.

I did some research on braggot recipes before I made one earlier this
year and was disappointed by the information the I found. There is very
little hard info, probly because there is no commercial example to set
a _standard_ for braggots. It is not a well defined style of mead, most
references tell you to try almost anything.

Remember a basic definition: if over half of the fermentables come from
honey, it is a braggot, if less than half, it is a honey ale or lager.

In MLD#332 I gave my recipe that turned out fairly well and made some
comments on variations that I plan to consider.

To answer your questions: original gravity – for a braggot, I recommend
an OG much higher than a ale, but less than the extremely alcoholic
meads, say 1.090 to 1.110.

Grains – I used mostly pale malt, but others have sucessfully used dark
munich as a dominate grain. This question has no real answer. Any style
of beer could be turned into a braggot. I am intrigued by the possiblity
of a Russian Imperial Stout Braggot.

Style – This is entirely up to the preferences of the brewer and is one
one of the advantages of home brewing. You can make what ever you are
in the mood for! Choose different yeasts, OG's, etc. to emphasize the
characteristics you want, either beer or mead.

Whatever you end up making, please let us know how it turns out.

Subject: Rasberry Mead, Plunderous Plums
From: COYOTE <>
Date: Fri, 26 Aug 1994 23:59:15 -0600 (MDT)

Just a quickie to let ya'll know about my latest efforts.

I had aquired a flat of fresh rasberries, tossed them into the freezer
in a ziplock baggie with the intent of adding them to a beer's secondary.

Upon defrosting the bag had managed to leak a bit from below, good thing it
was in a bowl! Well- it continued to ooze a clear, red, thick sweet fluid.
So I encouraged the process by dumping the contents into a colander and let
it flow!

I ended up with a half gallon of clear fresh rasberry juice. I didn't measure
the gravity (duh-) but figured it was worthy of meading- rather than beering.
So I added some pasteurized honey/water- w/nutrient and tossed it onto the
sediment of my Woodruff-mead's primary. Off it went. It's chugging away now.
Looking to be a fine and simple effort. In a few months to a year I'll be
able to report on the effort. I have a good feeling about it. I do hope that
the wonderful fruity aroma in the basement won't mean all the rasberry
bouquet will be scrubbed clean from the concoct!

I was impressed at how much, and what quality of juice I obtained in this way.
I tried squishing the remaining pomace, but ended up with a goopy mess. Oh
well, it got used anyway. See below:

In other news: Our potawaname (sp!!!?) plum bushes are ripened.
I gather a couple gallons worth of fruit and pressed them in a hand juicer.
THe collected pulpy juice was tossed onto the same yeast cake as above
(champagne) with a touch of the pulpy juiced rasberry pomace. I came out
with about a gallon of juice, and topped up two gallon jugs with honey/water.

Once again I have been impressed at the explosive force a ferment is capable
of! The darned airlock clogged from a quick start of the ferment and sent
some of the contents a-flyin'! Amazing how far the spewage can travel!
But now they have settled, and are comfortable chugging away.

Just picked a 5 gallon bucket's worth of more ripe plums today.
Gee- what will I do with them. Pies, jelly???? Yeah- right!

Also picked some fresh- hops. Still waiting for the pears to ripen.
Have need of an apple juicing session. My – so much to ferment!


Tasted an applecider/brown sugar ferment from last fall. First time with
brown sugar. It really does add a more wine-like character than honey does.
Gives a deeper tone also. I'm quite pleased with it. I think it leaves
more residual sweetness than honey does. Just may have to try that again!
(4 gal cider-fresh, 2# brown sugar. Champagne yeast. Aerate, off it goes!)

Happy Meading to you all.


John (The Coyote) Wyllie


Subject: distillation of mead
From: Ralph Snel <>
Date: Sat, 27 Aug 94 9:01:14 METDST

I know of no countries where you can legally distill, but I'm sure that
there are some places around. At least in Holland people don't bother
you about it as long as you don't try to sell anything, and keep the
amount to a decent level.
One of my batches of mead turned out bad. Maybe I used the wrong honey,
or maybe I caught an infection. Whatever the cause, the mead was wasted.
No use in flushing the stuff down the toilet right away, so after a year
of "aging" it tasted about as bad. By then I had aquired a still and
decided to distill the mead and see what I got out of it.
After distilling it twice I had gotten rid of the disgusting taste, and
had some 90% alcohol left. Not much taste. Just very alcoholic. I mixed
the alcohol with an equal volume of honey and let it age… And age some
more. And another year extra. I recently tasted the mixture again and the
harsh taste is finally starting to mellow out, after 3 years. I think
I'll keep the stuff around for a few years extra. It might even turn
out good. The plain alcohol that I got after the distillation was not
worth drinking. If you like everclear, go ahead and distill your mead,
but you lose almost all of the taste. I have gotten much better effects
with distillation of plum/apricot/raisin/much_more wine. At least you
still have some of the taste left after distillation.

About the history of distillation: it is a rather "new" technique if
you compare it with mead, beer and wine making. But compared to more
modern things like light beer and non-alcoholic vodka 🙂 it's ancient.
Distilling became popular in the time of alchemy, basically the middle
ages. By the 16th century the skill had been develloped to high level,
with added herbs and spices for taste, saffran or other herbs or woods
for coloring, sugar for sweetness and gold leaf flakes for the extremely
luxurious effects. All medical uses were known, and depending on which
herbs you used you could even revive the dead (that is people who had
suffered a stroke). Or just get rid of your pimples by rubbing the
stuff in.
So distillation is a quite old technique, and evolved from "water of
life" to liqueurs in a few centuries between the 11th and 16th century.
After that no essentially new discoveries have been made in the field,
except for the addition of more fruits for all kind of new liqueurs.
Most conventional distilled drinks date from the 17th or 18th century.



Subject: Problem with my mead
From: (Joseph Schluttenhofer +1 614 860 5020)
Date: 28 Aug 94 01:03:00 GMT

I had something odd happen with my first batch of mead. I started it on
Jan 30,1994 with 18 lbs of honey, 2 oz of acid blend, yeast nutrients, 1 1/4 tsp
grape tanin and 5 campden tablets. I boiled about 4 1/2 gallons of water for
about 20 minutes, removed it from the heat and mixed the honey in what remained
of the water and added the rest of the above ingredients. When it cooled
I pitched 1 packed of Red Star Champagne yeast. After 4 days nothing happened
so I pitched another packet of Red Star and it was very active the next day.

Once it started everything went fine. It started with a specific gravity of
1.126. I racked it on Mar 13 and May 23 where it had a specific gravity of
1.176 which seemed a little heave to me but it seemed to be finished. There was
no activity at all. I left it alone until July 23 when I racked it again and
added bentonite as directed because it was still cloudy.

The problem is that on July 30 I noticed that it was active again. It is
producing a light but steady supply of bubbles and is still going today. The
carboy is in my basement where the temperature has been around 70 -75 deg F.

The question is did the yeast come back to life or did I somehow introduce a
wild yeast that is steadily destroying my batch?

Any help will be welcome.


| Joseph A. Schluttenhofer | AT&T OH0012 0G-210 |
| | 6200 E. Broad ST. |
| | Columbus, OH 43213-1569 |

End of Mead Lover's Digest #343