Mead Lover's Digest #0347 Sat 10 September 1994


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



Mr. Webbe's Mead, Pt 2 (Joyce Miller)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #346,… (


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Subject: Mr. Webbe's Mead, Pt 2
From: (Joyce Miller)
Date: Tue, 6 Sep 1994 15:17:54 -0400

Sorry about the length of this one. The next one will also be long. After
that, they get short again for a while.

The first of Septemb. 1663. Mr. Webbe came to my House to make

some for Me. He took fourty three Gallons of water, and fourty two pounds
of Norfolk honey. As soon as the water boiled, He put into it a slight
handful of Hops; which after it had boiled a little above a quarter of an
hour; he skimed off; then put in the honey to the boyling water, and
presently a white scum rose, which he skimed off still as it rose; which
skiming was ended in little above a quarter of an hour more. Then He put
in his herbs and spices; which were these: Rose-mary, Thyme, Winter-savory;
Sweet-marjoram, Sweet-bryar-leaves, seven or eight little Parsley-roots:
There was most of the Savoury, and least of the Eglantine, three Ounces of
Ginger, one Ounce and a half of Cinnamon, five Nutmegs (half an Ounce of
Cloves he would have added, but did not,) And these boiled an hour and a
quarter longer; in all from the first beginning to boil, somewhat less than
two hours: Then he presently laded it out of the Copper into Coolers,
letting it run throught a Hair-sieve: And set the Coolers shelving (tilted
up) that the Liquor might afterwards run the more quietly out of them.
After the Liquor had stood so about two hours, he poured or laded out of
some of the Coolers very gently, that the dregs might not rise, into other
Coolers. And about a pint of very thick dregs remained last in the bottom
of every Cooler. That which ran out, was very clear: After two hours more
settling, (in a shelving situation,) He poured it out again into other
Coolers; and then very little dregs (or scarce any in some of the Coolers)
did remain. When the Liquor was even almost cold, He took the yolks of
three New-laid-eggs, a spoonful of fine white flower, and about half a pint
of new fresh barm of good strong Beer (you must have care that your barm be
very white and clean, not sullied and foul, as is usual among slovenly
Brewers in London) Beat this very well together with a little of the
Liquor in a skiming dish, till you see it well incorporated, and that it
beginneth to work. Then put it to a pailful (of about two Gallons and a
half) of the Liquor, and mingle it well therewith. Then leave the skiming
dish reversed floating in the middle of the Liquor, and so the yeast will
work up into and under the hollow of the dish, and grow out round about the
sides without. He left this well and thick covered all night, from about
eleven a clock at night; And the next morning, finding it had wrought very
well, He mingled what was in the Pail with the whole proportion of the
Liquor, and so Tunned it up into a Sack-cask. I am not satisfied, whether
he did not put a spoonful of fine white good Mustard into his Barm, before
be brought it hither, (for he took a pretext to look out some pure clean
white barm) but he protested, there was nothing mingled with the barm, yet
I am in doubt. He confessed to me that in the making of Sider, He put's in
half as much Mustard as Barm; but never in Meathe. The fourth of September
in the morning, he Bottled up into Quart-bottles the two lesser Rundlets of
this Meathe (for he did Tun the whole quantity into one large Rundlet, and
two little ones) whereof the one contained thirty Bottles; and the other,
twenty two. There remained but little settling or dregs in the Bottom's of
the Barrels, but some there was. The Bottles were set into a cool Cellar,
and He said they would be ready to drink in three weeks. The Proportion of
Herbs and Spices is this; That there be so much as to drown the luscious
sweetness of the Honey; but not so much as to taste of herbs or spice, when
you drink the Meathe. But that the sweetness of the honey may kill their
taste: And so the Meathe have a pleasant taste, but not of herbs, nor
spice, nor honey. And therefore you put more or less according to the time
you will drink it in. For a great deal will be mellowed away in a year,
that would be ungratefully strong in three months. And the honey that will
make it keep a year or two, will require a triple proportion of spice and
herbs. He commends Parsley roots to be in greatest quantity, boiled whole,
if young; but quartred and pithed, if great and old.



Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #346,...
Date: Wed, 07 Sep 94 02:06:41 EDT

>>Subject: first batch questions
>>From: John Harres <>
>>Date: Thu, 01 Sep 1994 09:07:02 -0600

>>….. I'm a little unclear of how much/many campden
>>tablets to add….. How much should I use?

Actually, I wouldn't recommend sulfites in the must at all ( see previous

threads on sulfite use… ).

Sulfite/SO2 effectiveness is pH dependant. formula for addition by

determination of increase of SO2 ( active form ) is referred as SO2 mg/L.

( desired increase of SO2 in mg/L ) * 3.8L/gal * ( qty of wine )
= ___________________________________________________


From: Richard B. Webb <>
Date: Thu, 8 Sep 1994 15:06:12 -0700

Subject: Mead techniques

Being a black hole for information, I asked for the catalog from
'The Beverage People', from Santa Rosa, California. It has the
advantage of being supervised (and mostly written) by Byron Burch,
Meadmaker of the year for most of this century. However, what he
has written concerning his mead making techniques has me scratching
my head. A lot of what I've read is contrary to my experience (but
that's no big deal, as I'm more enthusiastic than knowledgeable).
Examples follow.

>From page 7:
… with an ideal pH of around 3.75, and ideal temperature conditions
of 75-80 degrees F., mead fermentations should take about three weeks.

Yowsa! The main purpose of the article is to note that it is
beer makers, and not wine makers, which have made mead making
popular in fermentation circles. As a beer maker (beer, mead, wine &
sake), I've never had any high gravity ferments finish in anything
approaching that amount of time. A typical recipe in the recipe pages
may document why…

>From page 29, a section on wine making techniques:
"St. Elizabeth's Day Mead" (5 gallons)
18 lbs (Propiritary) Canadian Clover Honey
5 gallons water
2 oz (Propiritary) yeast nutrient
5 tsp stock Sodium Bisulfite solution (added after fermentation)
4 TBL Tartaric acid
1 TBL Malic acid
1/4 tsp Irish Moss
10 grams Prisse de Mousse Wine yeast

This 5 tablespoons of acid is more than I've ever added to a mead. The
2 oz of yeast nutrient is too. I was working under the theory that
one reason that mead had to age so long is so that the taste imparted
by the yeast nutrient would have time to fade away. As far as the
amount of acid added, I have no excuse. I figured that the acid
served to balance the residual sweetness of the remaining sugar in
solution, but I never expected to add this much.

One thought is that the yeast nutrient is a different kind than I'm
used to, less 'potent' and therefore more is needed. The amount of
initial honey is also more than I've used, although I have bumped up
against some high gravities when adding fruit or juice.

Obviously this guy knows from whence he speaks, but is his advice so
far from the norm, or is this just my imagination?

Rich's idea for discussion #423.

Rich Webb

End of Mead Lover's Digest #347