Mead Lover's Digest #0370 Thu 8 December 1994


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



Re: Most Important Advice? (Ralph Snel)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #369, 5 December 1994 (Gregory Owen)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #369, 5 December 1994 (Geoffrey J. Schaller)
best advice (
Temperature control in Hous ("Julie Cody")
Ramblings/sermon (


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Subject: Re: Most Important Advice?
From: Ralph Snel <>
Date: Tue, 6 Dec 94 9:46:26 MET

My advice would be:

"Let it age at least 6 months"

I normally boil, but you can get a fine mead without boiling.
Maybe the advice should be more general: "Have patience", as
fermentation may take a _long_ time if you don't boil, have a
straight mead and a friendly kind of yeast.



Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #369, 5 December 1994
From: (Gregory Owen)
Date: Tue, 6 Dec 1994 09:04:33 +0500

Steve Mercer ( writes:
> 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.

Now, this brings me to a question for all the more experienced

meadmakers. I've got batches 3 and 4 brewing right now, and my #4 is
a rasberry mead. I brew 1-gallon batches and use those 1-gallon glass
apple juice jugs for carboys. I've never had any serious blow-off, never.
#4, with a pint of crushed rasberries in it, managed to put a small —
very small! — amount of gunk in the blow-off hose, but not enough to get
any out the end. My original gravity was 1.120, and I'm using Red Star
Premier Cuvee yeast.


So what's wrong? Is this a side effect of brewing 1-gallon

batches? Mead #3 was a cyser, 1 gallon of apple cider and 4 or 5 cups of
honey, O.G. 1.120+, and I never had more than a quarter inch of head in
primary — up where the neck is narrow!


I'd assume that it _is_ the 1-gallon size, but I'm open to other

ideas. I'd also love to hear opinions on whether it affects the final
product or not.




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: Mead Lover's Digest #369, 5 December 1994
From: (Geoffrey J. Schaller)
Date: Tue, 6 Dec 1994 11:54:47 -0500

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

I believe the brand they sell is labeled as "Odin's Mead." I got a bottle
as a gift, but I haven't had a chance to look for more info (My parents got
it for me when they heard I was making my own. They wanted me to have a
standard to compare it with). It was a traditional mead, with a sticker
saying such on the bottle. Maybe they make other types? THe bottle I had
was 12% alcohol by volume, had sulfites, and was not bad (I finished it in
a night with some friends). When I can get a ride to the wine store, I'll

>Until it's sold at a tap with an alcohol level similar to beer, I don't think
>mead will
>ever succeed (IMHO).

I would agree. Recently, a brand of cider called "Woodchuck Cider"
appeared in the New England / Ney York area. It sells for about the price
of imported beer, and is about the same strength. It comes on tap, in
bottles, and in kegs, in a dark and light variety. But I'm from Philly
(I'm at school in Upstate NY), and I can't find it at home! Apparently, it
takes some time, and a certain kind of advertising, to get started.

I've had thoughts of making, and eventually selling, my own "Big Red
Cyser," made entirely from honey and apples produced at Cornell University
(We're called the "Big Red"). Maybe in a few years, once I graduate, get a
steady job for between batches, and settle down. 🙂


  • Geoffrey "Laugh and the world laughs with you,
Big Red Band Show Comittiee Weep, and you weep alone.
Phi Kappa Tau, Cornell U. For the Sad Old Earth,
106 the Knoll Must borrow its Mirth
Ithaca, NY But has troubles enough of its own."
(607) 257-2158

Subject: best advice
Date: Tue, 06 Dec 1994 13:31:12 -0500 (EST)

Best advice? Be patient, but make up some small bottles so you can see how
things change with time and ageing. More good advice? Keep notes. Memory
is imperfect and easily influenced. Still more? Use every resource you can
get your hands on, including this digest. Most folks love to respond to
dumb questions from newbies. Personal anecdote? My first mead is pushing
6 months old and is beginning to taste pretty good. Two months after bottling
is tasted like cheap Chablis with a dash of tinfoil.
Regards and good luck,
Cam Lay
James Island, SC
"…bright enough, but not likely to be a good long-term fit in the corporate
environment." –DowElanco, Inc.

Subject: Temperature control in Hous
From: "Julie Cody" <>
Date: 6 Dec 1994 13:03:36 U

Minimalist Mail Temperature control in Houston?!

I've been lurking in the shadows for some months now, learning quite a bit, I
hope ;-). Now, I have a question that I haven't seen addressed in the Digest,

Wintertime in glorious, temperate, and occasionally jungle-like Houston, Texas,
provides an amazing range of temperatures, particularly during the winter
months. Needless to say, I don't have central air/heat, and my little house is
not particularly well insulated.

So, here's the question: How important is it to avoid major (~20-30 F)
fluctuations in temperature? Do I need to seal off a room and fire up the
space heater (taking fire hazards into account, of course)?

I have 3 batches of mead in the secondary; Red Star Champagne yeast was used in
all of them.


Julie Cody

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." — Hunter S. Thompson

Subject: Ramblings/sermon
Date: Wed, 07 Dec 94 01:16:30 PST

> 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).

Mead doesn't always have to sit long to be ambrosia. Many fruited mead
are tasty while young. Also, as (Joyce Miller)
mentions, some meads are meant to be drunk while still fermenting away.

I think some of the my favorite meads have been ones that I've designed
to drink young. They age wonderfully, but are a definite pleasure while still
glurking along, as well. It's a very good feeling to taste a work in
progress, and have it be tasty. It's an even better feeling to taste the
same brew a year later and discover that you've brewed something worthy of

My point with all this rambling is that you should sample your mead early.
If it doesn't taste good, don't panic. If it tastes good, make a note of the
recipe, and attempt to save a bunch of it until it's mature. It'll be even
better if you can hold on to some of it, but if you can't save some for a
year or two, at least re-use the recipe, and hopefully a bottle or two will
get closer to maturity next time around.

This is an inexact science (nearly an art, maybe closer to a craft, IMHO)
that we're participating in. Things will go wrong, but things will also
go surprisingly right. Feel free to try something wacky every now and again,
and don't let one bad (or slow to age to good) batch discourage you. After
years of brewing, I still occasionally brew a stinker. Sometimes it's the
result of an experiment (don't ask me about the onion-beer), and sometimes
it's the result of being sloppy (happens to the best of us). In all cases,
I've tried to treat "off" brew as a learning experience, and it seems to
have served me well. Haven't brewed anything I'd consider technically bad
in years. Have brewed more than a couple things even I* wouldn't drink,
though. Live and learn.

One last note: ale yeasts and I have gotten along mightily for young meads.
If you want to try a mead, but are afraid of the long aging times many people
cite, brew one as you would an ale. Toss in some Edme yeast, and let it churn
at room temp for a few weeks and start sampling. The worst that will happen
is that you'll have something like a cheap wine. The best is that you'll
have something you'll wish you had saved more bottles of. Experimentation
is a good thing, and there's still plenty we all can learn about inter-
acting with yeast. If you come up with something outstanding, share your
knowledge so we all can grow.


  • DaveP


End of Mead Lover's Digest #370