Mead Lover's Digest #0374 Sat 17 December 1994


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



Re: Ultrafiltration (
UF systems (
Re: Ultrafiltration (
Re: Digby on the Beer Page (
Not Boil Not Acidify (John Gorman)
do we care about lovers? (Mead Lover's Digest Janitor)
Yule Braggot (Steven Rezsutek)
yeast and carbonation data points (Mark Taratoot)


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Subject: Re: Ultrafiltration
Date: Thu, 15 Dec 1994 08:49:55 -0500 (EST) (Louis K. Bonham) writes:

> …

> According to the latest issue, there are 14 commercial meaderies
> operating in the U.S.:

> …

> Lakewood Mead (upstate NY)

And then in the same posting, asked if anyone had experience with the
ultrafiltration technique. Lakewood is actually a winery, but they
have a few meads produced using the ultrafiltration technique. The
only commercial meads I've been able to compare them to are those from
the Greenwich Meadery, and the Lakewood meads do seem to be a little
smoother with a fresher honey character. Hmm, maybe I should organize
a tasting so that we can taste them side by side.


Scott Bickham

Subject: UF systems
Date: Thu, 15 Dec 1994 09:50:02 -0500

>>From: (Louis K. Bonham)
>>Date: Mon, 12 Dec 1994 22:09:06

>>This technique (involving a polysulfone hollow fiber ultra-filtration
>>membrane with a molecular cutoff at 50K and about 20 psi >>pressure) was
done in lieu of heating or boiling.

>>Anybody had any experence with this technique?

I have been using a 20KMW and a 50KMW UF system for the past 14 years,

depending upon the type of honey I am using. When using my *standard* virgin
clover, I don't use the UF system at all. Its good for darker honeys, where
some of the flavoring proteins take a long time to age into something that
tastes great.

However, they are a pain in the ass the use. You need to backwash it

frequently ( at high pressure, sometime this gets real messy ), additionally
they are quite expensive for the home brewer. A typically membrane cartridge
is about $235 for a small one, if you want any kind of volumetric flow, they
are about $500. This doesn't include the clamps and a Positive pressure pump.
Centrifugal pumps won't work ( UF systems require a differential pressure
across the membrane… ), this adds about 300-$400 to the cost, not including
tubing. Also, after using the UF, and backwashing, you need to sterilize the

They are usefull, and produce good mead.


Mjodalfr aka


Subject: Re: Ultrafiltration
Date: Thu, 15 Dec 94 11:04:55 EST

I've tasted a couple of (Robert Kime's) meads made with
ultrafiltration. They're definitely clean. Very clean. Maybe too
clean. As a friend and fellow mead judge said of one of them: "Needs
some dirt and twigs."

Depends what you're looking for, I guess.

I was on the judge panel that gave him the 1st place in melomel this
year. It was a very nice (cherry, as I recall) mead. But we did have
some discussion about whether it was just a bit too "cherry pop"-ish.
He also took Best of Show in the 1992 Mazer Cup with a pyment made the
same way.

=Spencer in Ann Arbor, MI

Subject: Re: Digby on the Beer Page
Date: Thu, 15 Dec 94 11:20:59 EST

Spencer W. Thomas wrote about Re: Mead Lover's Digest #371, 12 December 1994:
> I've got some stacked up that I haven't had time to convert to
> HTML. Work intervenes.

Well I found some time. I think I'm up to date. Maybe Joyce & Steve
can verify this assertion. I did all the ones I had saved, anyway.


Subject: Not Boil Not Acidify
From: (John Gorman)
Date: Thu, 15 Dec 1994 15:37:38 AST

> Complete information can be found in *Inside Mead*, a nice little

> BTW, the latest issue also had a thought-provoking article
> writing up the results of a test on an alternative method of mead
> production; namely, ultrafiltration of the mead must. This

> clear faster than the other two. When tasted after one year, in
> blind comparisons, the ultrafiltered mead was given a "good" rating
> by 90% of the judges, as opposed to 10% for the boiled mead and
> 50% for the flash-heated mead. More interestingly, the
> ultrafiltered mead retained more of the honey volatiles and
> matured in a matter of months. (One author of the article, Robert

Amazing! They didn't try the obvious control, no honey abuse at all!
It gives me the creeps to think of all that good honey being treated
like beer. Just ask a winemaker if he would boil his grape must:
"What, you want to make grape jelly??"

Of course, we have inherited that other honey abuse from the
winemakers, which is the completely unnecessary addition of acid.
I once did a side-by-side comparison with two identical 5 gallon
clover honey batches, one with Papazian's acid blend recommendation
and one plain. The plain mead tasted like ambrosia and was drinkable
immediately while the acidified mead tasted tart and unpleasant.

> From: (Sam Shank)

> There has been a boil/no boil thread going on for a while…


> My question is how do you people that don't boil your honey dissolve it in
> the water? I can't imagine dissolving 18lbs of honey in a few gallons of
> water without taking hours…

I just whip it up in a bucket with a gallon of hot tap water.
Takes two minutes. Much faster and easier then boiling it.
I hydrate the yeast, dissolve the nutrient, mix the honey,
fill the carboy, attach the airlock. Zero to mead in 15 minutes.
A month later, rack and bentonite for clarity. A week later,
rack and bottle. If you haven't added acid, start drinking it
and brew another on the spot!

Another speedup for those who purchase honey in bulk: Rather than
measuring out your honey each time (flashback to age 3), measure
water into your mixing bucket, and then draw lines in the bucket
for 1 quart (3 pounds), 2 quarts (6 pounds) and so forth. Then just
pour your honey directly from the container into the mixing bucket,
being careful to stop at the correct line!

Yours, John


( )


John Gorman /|\ | | Relational Semantics, Inc. | |___| 1684 Barrington Street, 5th Floor
902 422 4108 | | | Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 2A2
fax 422 4108 \|/ |_ _| Canada


( )


Subject: do we care about lovers?
From: (Mead Lover's Digest Janitor)
Date: 15 Dec 94 23:00:08 MST (Thu)

[I have to choose catchy subject lines, or nobody reads the admin stuff!]

Over the next month or so, the Digest will make a gradual virtual move:
I'll still be running it, but the address will change from to Any of you who have ever fumbled the spelling of eklektix–
and I doubt the number is small–will probably appreciate this change! The
change is tied to a domain and business-name change here at raven where the
digest lives (and part of the change IS to shed the hard-to-spell name).

Anyway, as I was setting this up, I started wondering about shortening the
email addresses themselves–"mead-lovers" and "mead-lovers-request" are
kind of long. Do we really care about the "lovers" part of the address;
for that matter do we care about it in the digest name itself? My inclina-
tion is to shorten the addresses but leave the name of the digest as-is.
If you care about this (including if you think it doesn't matter), please
let me know at the -request address. Pick one of the following:

1 Leave everything the same: email addresses "mead-lovers" and
"mead-lovers-request"; digest title at the top "Mead Lover's Digest"
2 Leave the digest title the same but change the addresses to "mead" and
3 Change addresses to "mead" and "mead-request" AND rename the Digest to
just "Mead Digest".


Mead-Lover's Digest
Dick Dunn, Digest Janitor Boulder, Colorado USA

Subject: Yule Braggot
From: Steven Rezsutek <>
Date: Fri, 16 Dec 1994 15:55:35 -0500

I've recently had a couple of test samples of a Yule Braggot that I
made back in September, and the results are encouraging enough that
I though I'd share it with you all. Granted, it's a bit late for this
year, but I wanted to taste it before I unleashed it on the world.
The recipe is contained in the second part of this message.

I'd like to say that I had a goal in mind with this experiment, but
I'd be lying through my teeth if I said it was anything other than to
be different. I got sooooo tired of everyone, even people I didn't know,
responding to mention of a high octane Christmas Beer [which has become
something of a tradition with me] with "Oh, with oranges and ginger?", that
something _had_ to be done. I'm not sure where the cherry and vanilla idea
came from, but as it was early September in DC, I may have been thinking
of ice cream at the time… 😉

All that aside, I did have a couple of guiding principles during the project.
I wanted to keep the flavors "in the background" so as not to overwhelm
the malt and honey, and I wanted to experiment with alternative bittering

For the most part, I think I was successful. The cherry flavor is just
noticable, making it something of a tease. 😉 I don't really taste vanilla
at all, but it seems to have given the beverage something of a "lubricatave"
mouth feel, and a certain "je ne sais quois". There is enough body that the
alcohol provides a "warming" sensation without being overbearing. The flavors
seem to shift in balance depending on temperature, so I'll have to run some
tests to determine the optimal serving temp. (it's a tough job, but somebody's
gotta do it 🙂

On the other hand, I think it fell short in a couple of places. I had a
fermentation "accident" (ambient temp shot up to high 70s on day 2), which
I believe resulted in some phenols. Also, this stuff was an absolute ambrosia
going into the fermenter, and I can't help but be a bit let down by not
capturing that flavor and aroma. The raspberry leaves made such an impression
in the wort, but I can't really taste them now. I'm thinking of making a much
stronger batch, hoping to get 5%-10% residual sugar, and perhaps a bit

[To that end, I have a yeast experiment going with the yeast I used in
a 1.133 honey wort in an attempt to calibrate its alc tolerance. So
far it has been keeping up with Prisse de Mousse. I'll report on the
results when I have them]

Anyhow, that's enough for now. Sorry for being so long winded.
Comments and suggestions for improvement will be entertained… 😉

Cheers, and Happy Holidays (holidaze? ;^) to all.


Content-Description: Cheery Vanilla Yule Braggot

Ingredients for 8.0 [US] gallons:

10.0 lbs. Dewolf-Cosyns Pilsen malt
2.5 lbs. " " Biscuit maltt
10.0 lbs Clover Honey (from the Price Club)
12.0 oz. Dried Cherries
6.5 inches Vanilla bean (origin unknown)
3 inches "stick" cinnamon (i.e. bark)
2.5 oz. "aged" Hallertau hops — these were orig.
2.5% alpha acid, and lived in the fridge
for about 19 months.
2.5 oz. dried red raspberry leaves ("tea") — available
in organic food places, etc.


yeast nutrient I used 5 tsp. of "Superfood" (from The
Wine Lab) plus 1 tsp. of DAP.


yeast Wyeast #1728 (Scottish Ale)


O.G came in at 1.075. Final gravity was very nearly 1.000.
Estimated alc. content is 10 % by vol.


I did my best to keep the proportions of honey vs. malt extract
close to 1:1, based on my usually getting a mash efficiency of about
28pts/lb/gal. If you get high than this, then you may have to
alter the proprotions a bit to still be a "braggot".

Here's a description of the probably unnecessarily complicated

1) Mash in grains w/ 4.0 gal of water @ 121F, rest 10 min.

2) Raise temp of mash to 154F

After about 20 minutes, the temperature was dropping, so I:


3) Infused 3.75 gal. @ 156, and added some heat to get the

temp back to 154, at which point, the mash was allowed to


4) rest for 60 minutes.

5) mash out at 171, and sparge.

I collected about 9.5 gallons of liquid from the mash/sparge into
the brewpot, to which the honey was added, making the total
volume roughly 10 gal. The hops were added at the begining of
the boil, which was allowed to proceed for about 55 min.

The cinnamon, vanilla bean, and 1.0 oz of the raspberry leaves
were added 5 minutes before the end of the boil, with the
remainder of the raspberry leaves being added at the end. [I
don't know if this made much of a difference.]

About 8.5 gallons of liquid were collected into the fermenter,
along with a healthy portion of raspberry leaves and hops. [I got
fed up with the siphon getting clogged, so I just tipped the pot
into the open fermenter, being careful to stop before the trub
came out. :-)]

Add the cherries, which were soaked in water for a few minutes to
remove the coating of vegetable oil, to the fermenter at this
time, and pitch the yeast.

After about 3 days in the "primary", I racked into carboys, where
the fermentation was allowed to go to completion (a couple of weeks).
After things clear up (another couple of weeks), bottle.

For priming, I used a mixture of honey and malt, and hence got a
lot of sediment in the bottles :-), but the sugar content is roughly
the same as 3/4 cup corn sugar. NOTE — do not scale this for
volume! It is "3/4 cup for 8 gal.". I also used fresh yeast,
Epernay 2 in this case, which I pitched into the priming solution,
and allowed to "start" for 24 hours before I used it.

Let it age a couple of months (min), and enjoy!

Steven Rezsutek
Nyma / NASA GSFC Code 735.2 Vox: +1 301 286 0897

Subject: yeast and carbonation data points
From: Mark Taratoot <taratoot@CSOS.ORST.EDU>
Date: Fri, 16 Dec 1994 13:44:07 -0800 (PST)


At a recent solstice party put on by our local homebrew club, I
had the opportunity to taste someone else's mead and wanted to
share my thoughts, for whatever they are worth.

I had brought a bottle of my most recent pyment, made with
wine yeast. The mead is nicely balanced, kind of fruity and
has a nice honey flavor (IMO) and was well received. I have
tried to use ale yeasts in mead before and was not pleased
with the results. Our host brought out a couple bottles of
his mead which he HAD made with ale yeasts. They were really
fantastic (Really Ted, they were!) One was a ginger mead that
had a very strong ginger character, and the other was a plum
mead (melomel) that was beautiful as well as delicious. Since
these had been made with ale yeast, they had a higher residual
sweetness, but were very well balance. These two meads were also
carbonated, and here is the mehtod Ted uses:
Ferment the mead until there is no activity and rack. Wait one
month and bottle. The yeast, apparantly, are not quite dead
and continue to slowly consume sugar so in a year, the mead
is sparkling. There is some guesswork, and bottling too
early can result (and has resulted) in gushing bottles. However,
I was so impressed by the results, I intend to try my hand at his

Just a few more cents worth on the subject of what yeast to use
and possiblilites for carbonation.


  • mark


End of Mead Lover's Digest #374