Mead Lover's Digest #0369 Mon 5 December 1994


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



Re: Mead Lover's Digest #368, 4 December 1994 (Gregory Owen)
re: Most Important Advice? (Dick Dunn)
Commercial & Medieval Mead (Joyce Miller)
re: most important advice (Sean Rooney)
Sweet Raspberry Mead (Steve E. Mercer)
Re: Most Important Advice? (


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Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #368, 4 December 1994
From: (Gregory Owen)
Date: Sun, 4 Dec 1994 16:48:43 +0500 asks:
> Why is mead not manufactured commercialy on as wide a scale as beer? It
> keeps longer and I would think has appeal to many types of people.

The Gayre/Papazian book "Mazers: In Search Of Mead" (or something

similar — its in the FAQ) follows the decline of mead in fairly good
detail. My summary (from memory) would be that the economics had something
to do with it; that honey was more expensive than beer or ale (ale in the
old sense, basically unhopped beer.)


I would wonder more why mead isn't on the same manufacturing

scale as wine rather than beer, however — on a hot summer day, the
difference between quaffing a pint of beer and a pint of mead is
significant ;>.


Just my thoughts — take 'em for what they're worth.


Greg Owen {, }
1.01 GCS/GO d++ p+ c++ l++ u++ e+ -m+ s++/- n- h !(f)? g+ -w+ t+ r– y?
"I want to permeate the air you breathe/slide my way under your skin/place
myself behind your eyes/and watch you, watch me, looking in." Katell Keineg

Subject: re: Most Important Advice?
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 5 Dec 94 01:09:45 MST (Mon) (Steve E. Mercer) asks, after talking with
various friends…
> In YOUR opinion, what is the single most important
> piece of advice that someone should remember when
> making mead?…

and offers advice given from one meadmaker-friend:
> "Don't make the mistake of thinking that you can get
> away with not boiling the honey for a long time."


> (translation: you need to boil the honey for at least 30 minutes)

I think this would be very BAD advice to give for a new meadmaker…for the
simple reason that it's "wrong"! (That should be reason enough, shouldn't
it?;-) If there's advice we would give to everyone, it should be advice
that most of us agree upon; it's in that sense I mean it's wrong.

There are folks who boil like mad. There are folks who sulfite like mad.
There are folks who do both, and folks who do neither. Among all these
groups are people who produce good mead. So, even if some folks swear that
a long boil is necessary (for their procedures), it's demonstrably not
necessary in general.

If I were to give one piece of advice to a meadmaker, it would be



It is possible to make good meads very quickly, and all that…but the
reason I offer my advice is based on two points: (1) I have never had a
(properly handled) mead that was too old, and (2) I have had various meads
that needed more time for one reason or another. Moreover, I have seen
various faults cured by a bit more time. If a mead seems a bit off, it is
unusual that "give it more time" would be bad advice.

[I'm reminded of a comedy sequence, reproduced on a Dr Demento tape, that
has the line "Yeah, yeah, patience…how long will THAT take?!?]

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

…Simpler is better.


Subject: Commercial & Medieval Mead
From: (Joyce Miller)
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 1994 10:50:34 -0500

There's a meadery in Greenwich, New York, which makes excellent meads.
Talk to them.

Why are there so few commercial meaderies? After talking to a very nice
woman at the BATF here in Boston, I'd have to conclude that it's due to 2

1: Alcoholic beverages are classified as to their traditional ingredients,
i.e., everybody knows that you use malt to make beer. That's why Zima is
classified as a beer. Mead, however, gets classified as a wine, and (in
Mass., at least), falls into a much higher tax bracket. In Mass., the
total taxes (state & federal) are about $6 on a barrel (31 gallons) of
beer, and about $2.50 per gallon of wine. Since I was mildly curious about
making table (low alcohol) meads, my enquiries stopped there. This very
nice BATF lady expressed the opinion that this was why commercial wineries
couldn't "make it in Massachusetts" (in-state political joke there, sorry).
She said they kept starting up, would run a few years, then fold.
2: It keeps getting pushed as a wine variant, at which it will never
succeed, since it doesn't taste _quite_ like wine. This is the same reason
that most non-grape fruit wines don't do well either. It's simple
snobbery. Until it's sold at a tap with an alcohol level similar to beer,
I don't think mead will ever succeed (IMHO).

Re: Tidmarsh's medieval mead:

I think you're supposed to drink it while it's still yeasty and fermenting.
I don't know of anything that ferments out in 24 hours. This also agres
with my observation that a lot of meads fermented with beer yeasts taste
great while fermenting, and awful when they're done, and then need to age.
(Also IMHO).


  • – Joyce


P.S. Digbie and I are taking a little time off, since my fall has been very
busy. Sorry, but I should be done moving into my new apartment soon. 🙂

Subject: re:  most important advice
From: (Sean Rooney)
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 1994 12:09:31 -0600

The most important advice I wish I had received is to be patient. Mead can
take a long time to mature, and young mead can look, smell, and taste
awful, especially if it's a complex recipe. I threw away most of my first
batch, a rose petal mead. It was cloudy gray, and smelled and tasted like
insecticide, 2 months after pitching. I reconsidered and caught myself at
the last moment, saving enough for one 12 ounce beer bottle. A year later
that mead was ambrosia.

Sean Rooney
Department of Genetics
University of Illinois at Chicago

Subject: Sweet Raspberry Mead
From: (Steve E. Mercer)
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 94 12:26:03 CST

In the last digest I wrote:
>I recently entered my latest sweet raspberry mead in
>a regional brewing and vinting competition and won
>"Best of Show".

A number of people have contacted me and requested that I
submit the recipe to the digest. Here it is.

Sweet Raspberry Mead
This is a sweet, still melomel intended for use as a dessert wine.

Ingredients for each US Gallon:
4.5 pounds filtered, unprocessed wildflower honey
1.5 pounds red raspberries
Juice of one lemon
Juice of one orange
3 tablespoons of strong-brewed black English tea
1 teaspoon yeast nutrient (generic, white crystals)
Water to make one US Gallon (boiled and then cooled)

Ferment with Yeastlab Sweet Mead yeast M62 (Steinberg Riesling)

The honey was purchased in bulk at a nearby grocery co-op store.
The raspberries were frozen to help break down the cell walls,
and they were crushed by hand (in plastic bags) while thawing.
The lemon and orange juice were to provide acids.
The tea was to provide tannins.
I do not know what the nutrient is, but I suspect that it
supplied nitrogen.

Boil the honey in some water for 30 minutes, skimming off any
scum, wax, bee parts, etc. that rise to the surface.
Remove from heat and add berries, tea, juice, and nutrient.
Let sit, covered, for a few minutes to let the heat sanitize
the fruit.
Chill to room temperature in an icewater bath.
Put into primary fermenter and add water to bring the volume
of the must up to the appropriate level.
Pitch yeast into must. ( I just pour the liquid yeast into the
must without making a starter.)
It was fermented at about 70 degrees F. (room temperature in my

A word of advice learned from previous experiences:
If you use a carboy as your primary frementer, use one with
a LOT of extra headspace, or use a wide blow-off tube. If you
do not, the raspberry pulp will foam up and will plug the airlock.
This will cause a pressure buildup which can pop the stopper off of
the carboy and spray your walls with sticky raspberry stuff. I hear
that it can also cause your carboy to explode, leaving an even
bigger mess.

Rack after about three weeks, when the fruit pulp has settled.
Rack again at month 2, 4, and 6. Bottle at month 8.
The mead had cleared and was finished fermenting by the racking
at month six. During the last two months in the fermenter there
was no airlock activity at all, and nothing more settled out.
I waited the extra two months to be certain that the fermentation
was complete. There is still some residual sugar, and I did not
want the mead to continue fermenting in the bottles.

The mead was entered into competition at age nine months (one month
after bottling. The competition included beers, wines, meads, and
flavoured liqueurs. This mead won "Best of Show". Judges comments
included things like "Excellent blend, couldn't improve upon it. A

My biggest problem with this batch is that there is only one bottle left.

Steve Mercer

Subject: Re: Most Important Advice?
Date: Mon, 05 Dec 94 18:14:50 PST (Steve Mercer) writes:
> So all of you experienced meadmakers out there, what is
> YOUR most important piece of advice for new meadmakers?

Well, I think the most important thing I've told people who are
starting out is Charlie's quote: "Don't Worry. Relax & Have a
Homebrew." The other is "Be patient." I've had some meads that
initially tasted pretty off. Every one of them that I've waited on
turned into something pretty good eventually. It all comes down
to relaxing, though. If it doesn't taste ready, just relax and wait a
while. It'll get there, but yeast are critters that work at their own
pace. When they're done, they're done.

Oh, and you could buy my book. It's really swell, and written for


  • DaveP


End of Mead Lover's Digest #369