Mead Lover's Digest #0355 Mon 10 October 1994


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



Peach Mead, Groat Breadth (Bob McDonald)
That Groat 'n Egg thing (Joyce Miller)
Digby: Another Way (Steve E. Mercer)
New Mead Maker, ?'s (John Dodson)
How to spice mead (


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Subject: Peach Mead, Groat Breadth
From: Bob McDonald <>
Date: Thu, 6 Oct 94 08:23:34 EST

John Wiley writes about experiencing a storng sulfury odor from a peach

mead. I had the same thing. It does go away with time. (Mine took a year and
it is a nice mead now. Even my wife likes it and she generally stays away from
things I brew.) Also, I echo the sentiment of wiley on the breadth of a groat
thing. I enjoy reading this old stuff but I thing we've beat this horse beyond
the grave. Besides, I have chickens and if you collected the eggs in person,
you would never float one of these in anything. (whether or not you plan to
boil it! :-))




Anyone can give credit for doing a great job. It requires someone
really special to take all the credit for everyone else involved.


Robert E. McDonald, Jr. (

Sr. Telecom Programmer/Analyst Tel: (616) 376-6081
First of America Services – Technology
One First of America Parkway
Kalamazoo, MI 49009-8002


Subject: That Groat 'n Egg thing
From: (Joyce Miller)
Date: Thu, 6 Oct 1994 09:32:51 -0400

>Finally, isn't it possible to figure the SG of these recipes based on the
>ingredients and ammounts used?

No, I don't think so. Somebody (way back in Mead Lover's Digest #small
numbers) once described how honey is produced today, and I distinctly
remember them saying that it's evaporated down to a specific gravity so
that it won't ferment in the jar. This suggests that unscrupulous
merchants could stretch honey by not doing this. This would go for the
medieval merchants as well. So I suspect that the SG of honey in
pre-modern times probably varied more than the eggs and groats.


  • – Joyce


Subject: Digby: Another Way
From: (Steve E. Mercer)
Date: Thu, 6 Oct 94 09:16:25 CDT

<intended for digest 355>
Joyce Miller is probably back from vacation, but
I already have this one typed in and ready to go.

Note to Archivists:
This recipe follows "Another way of Making White Metheglin"

This recipie is from the 1910 reprint of Digbie.
I have tried to retain the book's spelling,
punctuation, and line breaks.



  • –BEGIN—

Take two Gallons of water ; one Gallon of Honey:
Parietary one handful ; Sage, Thyme, one Pugil ;
Of Hyssop half a Pugil. Six Parsley-roots ; one
Fennel-root, the pith taken out : Red-nettles one
Pugil. Six leaves of Hearts-tongue. Boil this to-
gether one hour. Then put in the Honey, and
Nutmegs, Cloves, Mace, Cinamon of each one
ounce ; of Ginger three ounces. Boil all these
together, till the scum be boiled in, not scumming
it. Then take it off, and set it to cool. When it is
cold, put in it six spoonfuls of barm, and when it
is ripe, it will hiss in the pail. You must take out
the herbs, when you put in the honey. If you put
in these herbs following, it will be far better ; Sani-
cle, Bugloss, Avens, and Ladies-mantle, of each
one handful.


  • –END—

Transcribed by Steve Mercer <>

Steve Mercer

Subject: New Mead Maker, ?'s
From: (John Dodson)
Date: Thu, 6 Oct 94 14:57:00 -0700

Hello All, I am a beginning mead maker and this is my first post to
this list. … I have a few questions of course. 😉

I am not new to brewing as I have been brewing beer for about 4 years.
In the past month I've managed to tie up most of my carboys brewing
mead! (I've done 4 – 5 gal. batches.) Our local brewclub has a few
beggining mead makers… that have only made traditional mead… which
turned out pretty good I thought. I've brewed nothing but metheglin and
melomels… so hope things turn out. At the risk of telling you more
than you want to know… <g>

My first batch was a 'Williams Mead Kit'… billed as a semi-dry,
lightly spiced sparkling mead. Has anyone ever brewed this kit? I
don't know why I bought a proprietary kit… because I hate not knowing
what is actually in the darn thing. I racked after two weeks in the
primary and tested gravity, which surprised me… as it went from 1.087
to 1.011 in two weeks. This seemed pretty quick, the mead had a bit of
a harsh taste (which I suppose is not unusual) and it is now a month old
and not very clear (no signs of further fermentation though). I used 12
lbs. of pasturized only cotton honey.

The second batch is a blackberry melomel which was based on Charlie's
'Barkshack Gingermead' recipe. 6 lbs of fresh blackberry's (not cheap
in El Paso, TX!) and 6 lbs. of mesquite honey, 1.5 lbs corn sugar. This
mead fermented 1 week in primary and cleared in about 2 weeks in the
secondary! (Can mead be this quick?) It is a beautiful, deep burgandy
color and very clear. I have not taken an FG reading… but I assume if
the FG is close to 1.000 I can bottle this, yes?

Third batch is a Prickly Pear Fruit ('tunas') mead based on Charlie's
recipe in 'The Homebrewers Companion'. 19 lbs. of mesquite honey and
6 lbs of tunas. Looks like this one may ferment for awhile. Beautiful
color though and it smells great in fermentation.

Fourth batch is Pomegranite Mead. Anyone made any pomegranite mead? I
wonder if the work will be worth it… pomegranite is a pretty subtle
flavor and I am wondering if it will come through at all. I used 16
lbs. of pomegranites which I laboriously juiced by hand. I was afraid a
juicer would chope the seeds which are quite astringent tasting. The 16
lbs of pomegranites yielded just under a quart and a half of juice. I
used 10.5 lbs of filtered only cotton honey. Cotton honey is light
honey and this 'filtered only' is considerably better than the
pasturized I used in batch one (so I'm glad it was kit!<g>). I found a
beekeeper who does not like honey, does not like to 'sell' … but just
likes working with 'the insects'! (takes all kinds! <g>) I think I'm
fortunate to get his honey for .85 a pound.

In any case, this looks like a good list… I have more questions, but
will save for another post! :^)
___ Blue Wave/QWK v2.12

Subject: How to spice mead
Date: Thu, 06 Oct 94 22:26:40 EDT

I have several batches of mead going. Each was made with a 30 to 60 minute
boil at the outset. I suspended chipped cinammon and cloves in a tea mesh
ball in the mead during the early boil. All have fermented nicely and are
crystal clear, but none of them have anything like the spice flavor I'd hoped
for. I'm afraid I boiled away whatever flavors I tried to introduce.

What other methods have people used to spice their meads? Should I add more
spice? How Long? I prefer larger chunks I can suspend in the mead (and easily
remove) rather than finely ground forms that must be removed with settling
and racking. Is this a good idea? I'd appreciate any advice.

One other thing. Any experience out there with adding oak flavors to mead,
without aging in oak cask. My wine supple store has American white oak chips,
toasted and untoasted. It might add a nice dimension to the mead. Love to
hear thoughts or brew-stories.

Already planning the next batch…
Jim Karegeannes

Date: Fri, 07 Oct 94 11:07:36

Hello everyone,

This has taken me a while to type up but I hope that it'll still be helpful.
This is in response to the thread about unsafe herbs (I went through the last
10 issues or so and didn't find that anyone had pickup up the gauntlet, so to

This list taken from Rodale's encyclopedia of herbs which in turn credits
the FDA list of unsafe drugs, and James Duke's CRC Handbook of Medicinal
Herbs, Prevention magazine's list of dangerous herbs, and 2 herbalists who
Duke classifies as liberal (Rose) and conservative (Duke).

Feel free to drop me a note if you have any questions.

Disclaimer: I am not an herbalist and take no responsibility for your usage,
life, safety, wellbeing, or the taste of your mead.


aconite unsafe x 0 0 x
aloe unsafe GRAS 3 2 3
hellebore unsafe x 0 0 x
angelica unsafe GRAS 2 1 1
arnica unsafe unsafe 1 0 3
autumn crocus unsafe x 0 x x
bayberry unsafe x 2 3 2
bloodroot unsafe unsafe 1 x x
blue cohosh unsafe x 1 x 1
broom unsafe unsafe 1 0 1
coltsfoot unsafe undef. 2 3 1
comfrey unsafe undef. 2 3 1
deadly nightshade unsafe unsafe 0 0 x
eyebright unsafe x 2 1 0
foxglove unsafe x 0 0 1
goldenseal unsafe undef. 1 3 2
hemlock x unsafe 0 0 x
jimsonweed unsafe unsafe 0 0 x
juniper unsafe GRAS 1 3 2
licorice unsafe GRAS 1 3 2
life root unsafe x 1 x 1
lobelia unsafe unsafe 1 0 1
mayapple unsafe unsafe 1 0 x
mandrake, european unsafe unsafe 0 x x
mistletoe unsafe unsafe 1 0 1
pennyroyal unsafe GRAS 2 x 2
pokeweed unsafe undef. 0 x 0
rue unsafe GRAS 2 0 2
St. John's wort x unsafe 1 1 3
sassafras unsafe x 2 3 1
sweet flag unsafe unsafe 1 0 1
tansy unsafe x 2 2 2
wahoo x unsafe 1 x x
wormwood unsafe unsafe 1 0 1
yohimbe x unsafe 1 0 1


0 = very dangerous
1 = more dangerous than coffee
2 = as dangerous than coffee
3 = safe
x = rating not available
GRAS = generally recognized as safe
undef. = undefined safety

End of Mead Lover's Digest #355