Mead Lover's Digest #0382 Thu 26 January 1995


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



RO (Jay Weissler)
Medieval mead update (Ted Major)
Corks and bottle neck-rings (brewing chemist Mitch)
mineral question ("Steven Johnson")
Fifth Annual March Mashfest Homebrew & MEAD Competition (Brian J Walter (Brewi

ng Chemist)

Makin' Pyment ("Daniel F McConnell")
Is Hippocras really a mead?/Braggot recipes?/Rumblin' Rasberry! (Gregory Owen)


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Subject: RO
From: (Jay Weissler)
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 95 08:02:57 -0600

Ron Raike has done a great job in describing his most recent mead and
procedures. I'm curious about the choice of RO water. Is the Central
Florida water so bad that you need to strip out so many components or
was your goal to start from scratch and construct your own water
profile? Depending on the quality of the unit, RO filters out
practically everything, including minerals considered helpful to
yeast nutrition. It will be interesting to hear the results of your
fermentation. If it goes well, no harm done. If it sticks, the
mineral content may be the reason.

Thanks again for the great write-up!

Subject: Medieval mead update
From: (Ted Major)
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 95 09:29:44 EST

Greetings Mead Mentors:
As you may recall, back in November I posted a recipe I translated from an
unpublished 14th C English MS. I brewed from the recipe using 4 gallons
of water, 1 gallon of honey, and the yeast sediment from the primary
fermentation of a batch of ale (Wyeast European Ale yeast). I left it in
the primary for 1 week and in a secondary carboy for aboout 6 weeks.
The gravity dropped from 1.088 to1.034. A week ago I bottled with 1 cup
honey for a sparkling mead. How long should I age this? It's still pretty
cloudy, but I tasted it at bottling and it was ddelicious: sweet and honey
flavored (of course), kind of like a cloudy Chaucer's mead from Bargetto
Thanks again for the helpful advice.


Subject: Corks and bottle neck-rings
From: (brewing chemist Mitch)
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 1995 09:02:24 -0600 (CST)


In the last digest I asked if anyone had ever seen bottle neck rings as a
result of corking their meads. Well, I found the problem.

My usual bottling run consists of about 25% splits and other wine bottles,
25% brown longnecks crown-capped for competitions, and 50% clear longnecks.
The wine bottles and clear bottles get corked. The clear glass with cork and
just being able to see the color of the mead makes for a nice presentation.

Anyhow. The clear bottles from my last couple of meads came from a couple of
cases of Miller that was left at a friends company picnic. I have been emptying
them out and soaking the labels off as needed. These were first run bottles.
So last night I'm looking at my latest batch (a cyser) to see if this
"infection" has gotten any worse. It still looked the same, so I took a strong
magnifying glass to get a better look. Guess what ? The ring is on the
*outside* of the bottle ! The fill line exactly coincides with the bottom edge
of the neck label I soaked off.

Had I capped any of the clear bottles I may have figured it out sooner, but
all of the new frehly de-labeled bottles had corks, so I blamed them.

Oh well. Corking still rules ! Still curious about when to lay down corked
bottles though.



| – Mitch Gelly – | Beavis and |
|software QA specialist, unix systems administrator, zymurgist,| Butthead |
| AHA/HWBTA beer judge, & president of the Madison Homebrewers | are not |
| – – | role models |

Subject: mineral question
From: "Steven Johnson" <>
Date: 24 Jan 1995 09:36:51 -0600

 Subject:   mineral question                                1/24/95   9:26 AM

I've made a few batches of mead by now, mostly derived from the recipes in
the appendix to Papazian's book "New Complete Joy of Homebrewing". They've
all turned out dandy so far, fermenting to completion in about 3 weeks and
very drinkable just a few weeks after that (OK, so I'm impatient…).

I'm wondering about his recipes, though… they call for adding a tablespoon
of gypsum for a 5-gallon recipe. I understand (I think) the purpose of
calcium sulfate in brewing, but this seems like an awful lot — I checked
with the local water board and they said the calcium content of the water
around these parts is usually in the 30 ppm range, so I can see adding some
to raise it, but a tablespoon seems like an awful lot.

On the other hand, as I said above, my results have been really satisfying
(using an entire damn tablespoon) so far, so, as the saying goes, "If it
ain't broke…" I guess I'm just really wondering if anyone can explain why
he recommends so much, without even any explanation or recommendation that
you adjust it based on the water you use. Maybe a misprint? Comments, anyone?

Steven Johnson

Subject: Fifth Annual March Mashfest Homebrew & MEAD Competition
From: walter@lamar.ColoState.EDU (Brian J Walter (Brewing Chemist))
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 1995 18:59:10 -0700 (MST)

The Mash Tongues of Fort Collins Colorado Would like to announce the

Fifth Annual March Mashfest
A Homebrewed Beer & Mead Competion


While many entries in this competition will be beer, we are trying to
increase the number of mead entries. Last year we had ~15 out of ~135
total entries. I would like to see that number increase. It would be
great if we actually had to split the Meads into _two_ categories! So,
this is a plea for your meads! And of course qualified mead judges are a
necessity as well. If you live near the Front Range, and would like to
judge some mead, please let me know

Entries will be due by March 10th, with a reduced entry fee if received
by March 3rd 1995. Judging will take place Friday evening and all day
Saturday, March 17-18 1995. The judging will again take place at the
Anheuser-Busch facilities. An awards ceremony/party will be held
Saturday evening following the judging at a location to be determined.
We are soliciting entries and judges at this time.

BJCP judges in the area will be contacted around February 1st or so.
Other interested judges feel free to request information also. Please
specify you want judging info, rather than entry info if this is the case.

For more information contact Brian Walter –
And for those w/o email Brian Walter

618 Tyler Street
Fort Collins, CO 80521


Brian J Walter Chemistry Graduate Student
RUSH Rocks Best Homebrewer & AHA/HWBTA Beer Judge Go Pack!

Subject:  Makin'  Pyment
From: "Daniel F McConnell" <>
Date: 26 Jan 1995 08:30:13 -0500

Subject:   Makin'  Pyment

I thought that I would post on my latest batch of pyment (my favorite
type of mead).

It all starts with the wine……..

My friend, Randy (Mr. GWKent) and I purchased 425 lbs Cabernet Sauvignon
(Sonoma Mt.), 300 lbs Cabernet Sauvignon (Rutherford Bench) and 300 lbs
Merlot (Caneros) grapes. From each barrel was taken about 50 lbs to
ferment a blended wine, the remainder was fermented and held apart. All
musts were pitched with a Bordeaux yeast and a Malo-lactic culture. Notice
that NO must treatment was used. No SO2. Nada. I wanted to insure M/L
fermentation, therefore we used no SO2. (Was I nervous about risking lots of
$? You bet!) The wine is just fine and I'm learning to relax again. From the

blended batch we collected only the first 10 gal of the free run, leaving the
remaining wine and skins for meadmaking.

Now for the pyment…………..

To the leftover wine and grapes (about 5-6 gal) I added 10 gal of water, 30
lbs of honey and 50 grams of yeast energizer. Re-Fermentation was
complete (TG=0.995) in 8 days and yielded 14 gal of pyment. Barrel
treatment will follow. One glass was sacrificed to the presser while he
was pressing. 😉 I'm very happy with the result. Of course I was happier
during the pressing. Nice color, firm tannins, very vinous, but lots of
honey flavor and aroma. Some of this may be blended into the AHA 1996
Commemorative Mead.

To be continued….


Subject: Is Hippocras really a mead?/Braggot recipes?/Rumblin' Rasberry!
From: (Gregory Owen)
Date: Thu, 26 Jan 1995 22:34:55 +0500

In response to a thread on recently, I started

looking for a definition of Hippocras. I've found some references that
refer to it as a mead, another as a sugared wine sans honey. I'd like
to list who said what and open the question to the digest: What _is_


The case against it being mead is made by Gayre in "Wassail!

In Mazers of Mead." On pages 114-116, he repeatedly refers to it as
being pyment with sugar instead of honey:

p. 114 "As sugar began to come into Europe [pyment] came to be

compounded more and more of sugar, and this variant (esp. when spiced)
is what is known as _hippocras_."

p. 115 quotes a recipe by Rabelais which lists no honey.
p. 116 "For [pyment or claree], unlike hippocras, was made from

honey, and not sugar, as we find in Chaucer…"

In the same volume is Papazian's "Brewing Mead", a short guide

to brewing mead. Here Papazian does not mention Hippocras when he lists
types of mead.


In TNCJOHB by Papazian, on the other hand, he says "A spiced

pyment [melomel] is called hippocras" and nothing more on the subject.


Finally, the mead.faq by Dick Dunn says "HIPPOCRAS is a spiced



So what do other mead-lovers think? I'm tempted to trust Gayre

because his book is well documented to the point of scholastic agony.
Gayre leads me to believe that pyment or clarre could also spiced or
unspiced, and that hippocras uses sugar to the exclusion of honey. Can
anyone name other references to call hippocras a mead? If not, maybe we
should ask Dick to change the faq?

Maybe I'm just being pedantic, too 8P. Feel free to tell me so.


  • ———- Braggot —————————–

On another subject, I'm thinking of making a small batch of

braggot. Braggot isn't something well discussed in Papazian, Gayre,
Bees Lees or Cats Meow — one recipe in each of the latter, I believe.
Does anyone know of a good reference, other recipes? I'm willing to just
experiment but wouldn't mind a little more of a target to aim for.


  • ———- Rasberry —————————–

In progress: I racked my 1-gallon batch of Rasberry Mead for the

second time tonight to get it off those annoying rasberry corpses. S.G.
is down from 1.120 to 1.004 and it tastes good — sweet but not too sweet,
a little rough from the alcohol but nothing that shouldn't age out. I'll
probably bottle in a month or two — it still needs to clear a bit.


Greg Owen {, }
1.01 GCS/GO d++ p+ c++ l++ u++ e+ -m+ s++/- n- h !(f)? g+ -w+ t+ r– y?
"Site nu' to' symle / and onsoel meodo / sige hre'ther secgum (_Beowulf_)
Sit now to banquet / and unseal with mead / brave breast with warriors."

End of Mead Lover's Digest #382