Mead Lover's Digest #0389 Sun 5 March 1995


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



Mead slants and starters (Robert L. Lamothe)
Kiwi Mead: A very Good Thing ("JOHN A. JR. CARLSON ")
Lavender update/clearing mead/kiwi meads (Kevin Schutz)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #388, 2 March 1995 ("Mike Faul")
Mead Finings (Rob Reed)
Entomological flame wars Swish! I swipe my butterfly net at you! (
re: Kiwi fruit? (Dick Dunn)
Clearing and kiwi ("v.f. daveikis")
Maple Sap (Joyce Miller)
Kiwi mead & Wyeast mead yeast (Kevin Beyer)
clearing mead & mango processing (Jim Fownes)


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Subject: Mead slants and starters
From: (Robert L. Lamothe)
Date: Thu, 2 Mar 95 13:51:58 EST


I've just started on the road of culturing yeast. Is there anything

in particular I might need to know about storing mead yeast on slants and
starting them? I have a good amount of wort starters prepared for my beer.
Will yeast started with these give good results? Or do I need to make up
some special starter for mead?



  • Bob


* Robert L. Lamothe University of New Hampshire *
* Interoperablity lab room 337 *
* (603)862-4349 Morse Hall *
* *
* "All I ask of life is a constant and exaggerated sense of my own *
* importance." *

Subject: Kiwi Mead: A very Good Thing
From: "JOHN A. JR. CARLSON " <>
Date: Thu, 2 Mar 1995 12:43:09 -0700 (MST)

I saw a note regarding Kiwi and mead. I have used the fruit several
times and have been very pleased with the results. I have found Kiwi to
be very fermentable, so watch out because it can get very dry very fast.

Subject: Lavender update/clearing mead/kiwi meads
From: (Kevin Schutz)
Date: Thu, 2 Mar 95 13:07:17 MST

Some various responses to recent digests.

********************* *********************

RE: Lavender mead

Leigh Ann writes in MLD#386 about her Lavender mead and that got me to thinking
that I should let everyone know how my Lavender mead is progressing. Basically,
it's not.

Based on the limited response that I recieved when I first requested info,
I decided to make a basic mead and then "dry flower" it after fermentation.
This differs from Leigh Ann's recipe, but oh well… I started the mead
going last November (? Going from memory, my notes are at home) and it's
still fermenting. I've got my lavender flowers and they seem to still be
fairly fragrant, but I am getting worried about overall freshness. Time
will tell. I'll try to remember to post another update once I add the

********************* *********************

RE: Clearing mead

Charles asks about clearing meads in MLD#388. I've recently been playing
around with using sparkoloid as a final fining agent. My terminology (fining)
is probably off here, but the end results have been good so far. I usually
have resorted to racking and allowing for time to pass as the only means to
help clear my meads. Specifically for some melomels (sp?), this hasn't
worked very well, so I started looking around. A friend in our local homebrew
club is also into wines and he swears by sparkoloid, so I thought I'd give
it a try. The first batches cleared up nicely 24 hours after the addition
of the sparkoloid. There have been no noticeable affects in the final
taste of the product. I don't have any data points regarding long-term
effects to taste since I've just started using this product.

My guess is that sparkoloid would work well on a straight mead as well. After
all, mead was the first wine, and sparkoloid is used frequently in wine making.

********************* *********************

RE: Kiwi meads

Dale asks about kiwi meads in MLD#388.

A guy in our club recently made a quick kiwi mead. The basic recipe was
something like 2 lbs honey (unknown variety – probably clover) per gallon
and 25-30 kiwis (probably about 6 lbs, but he didn't keep records). He
put half the fruit in the primary and half in after he racked. Tastes
pretty good. He's just now deciding wether to bottle or keg. I suggested
both. He didn't say what fermentation temps or yeast he used.

Other guys in our club frequently make quick kiwi meads in the summers.
They tend to use about 1 to 1.5 lbs honey per gallon and ale yeasts.
I'm not sure how much fruit they use. They always kegs and force carbonate.
They turn these meads in about 3 weeks. It's really popular and
it goes quick. Sort of like a light wine cooler.

I recently found a good buy on kiwis and have started a base mead with the
intent of making a kiwi mead. My base is 2 lbs clover honey per gal, using
a lavlin yeast (I don't recall the specific number – again, something about
not bringing my notes to work). That was started this last weekend. In
the meantime, I have processed the fruit (peel and squashed/mashed) and it's
currently in the deep freeze waiting for the first racking of base mead.
As with any fruit addition, I typically won't use any acid blend, instead
relying on the fruit itself to provide the acidity to the must.

I should have some additional datapoints on this particular batch in a
couple of months, after I've added the fruit and racked (and sampled!).
Patience, patience, patience. That's the worst part of this hobby, but then
I've never really been disappointed with the final product.

If you need faster feedback, possibly due to fruit availability, I'd
recommend processing and freezing the fruit like I did until you're set
with a recipe. The freezing should help break down the cell walls to
give you more fruit flavor. Other contributors to this digest probably
have alot of suggestions as well.

********************* *********************

That's all for now.

Kevin Schutz

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #388, 2 March 1995
From: "Mike Faul" <>
Date: Thu, 02 Mar 95 13:10:17 pst

>Subject: clearing mead            
>From: (Charles Wettergreen)
>Date: Tue, 28 Feb 95 08:57 CST

>Mead lovers,
>My traditional dry mead won't clear. It's been in the carboy about six
>months and has been racked three times. I'd appreciate any suggestions
>for getting this cleared up!

I would suggest the following in this order.

1. Polyclar liquid
2. Bentonite
3. FIltration (.5u)


The Poly clar liguid can be added to the mead and it should clear in about two
weeks. If it doesn't and you really want to clear it use Bentonite. 1tsp per
gallon. This will clear just about anything. If it still needs clearing after
the bentonite then filtration with a .5 micron filter will do it. It may also
remove some of the color and aroma too.


Subject: Mead Finings
From: Rob Reed <>
Date: Thu, 02 Mar 1995 16:04:23 -0500 (EST)

Chuck writes:


> Mead lovers,
> My traditional dry mead won't clear. It's been in the carboy about six
> months and has been racked three times. I'd appreciate any suggestions
> for getting this cleared up!


I have used Sparkalloid (I'm not totally sure of the spelling) with good
results. It's a hot mix solution. I believe most wine shops carry it.
With this fining agent, my mead clears within one to two days – clear
enough that one can practically read through the carboy. The sediment is
pretty fluffy, so you will lose some mead and may need to rack several
times to remove the sediment.

I believe the reason my meads don't clear is due to steeping the must
rather than boiling for sterilization.


Rob Reed

Subject: Entomological flame wars Swish!  I swipe my butterfly net at you!
Date: Thu, 02 Mar 1995 21:34:59 -0500 (EST)

Aaron: Yeah, OK. My mildewy, warped, hurricane Hugo surviving copy of the
Hive and the Honey Bee (Dadant and Sons) says that foragers live for about
9 days in the summer and up to 304 days if they live in a cold climate and
spend most of thata time balled up for the winter. My 3-days or whatever
it was figure was from one of those new-fangled textbooks, not Dadant. Damn
revisionists! Bees are great, aren't they?

Regards to all,


Subject: re: Kiwi fruit?
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 2 Mar 95 21:37:03 MST (Thu)

Dale Swanston writes:
> Has anyone ever used Kiwi fruit in a mead (or a beer for that matter)?
> The green color might look really nice in a mead but as for flavor, I
> don't know.


> Is there something abouit the kiwi that doesn't lend itself to
> fermentation, perhaps too acidic?

I made a Kiwi fruit mead a while back. It didn't pick up as much fruit
character as I'd expected, so it's an OK melomel but not particularly
unusual. There's certainly no off tastes.

I guess I've got two pieces of advice. The first is obvious from the
preceding: use a fair bit of fruit. I used 1 lb per gallon and got a
barely-perceptible character. I would normally use more than that for,
say, strawberry, but I was trying not to overpower the mead since I didn't
know what to expect of kiwi fruit. If I were to try it again, I'd try to
hit the other end, perhaps 3 lb/gallon. But that's a lot of fruit!

The other bit of advice, which is interesting if you've encountered the
Racking From Hell phenomenon with other fruits: the kiwi fruit stayed
relatively firm; it didn't disintegrate to mush. It can be sliced thin and
still survive. I started it in the primary with my usual method: boil
water, turn off heat, add honey and mix, put fruit in plastic-pail primary,
pour hot must over fruit, cool and pitch.

Oh…color…it didn't have anything much of green to it. I suppose I can
see a tinge of green, but that may be only my imagination.

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

…When did "ergonomic" become a synonym for "right-handed"?


Subject: Clearing and kiwi
From: "v.f. daveikis" <>
Date: Fri, 3 Mar 1995 08:42:14 -0500 (EST)

Howdy folks!

I made up a batch of kiwi-cantaloupe mead in early January and it is as

clear as water, with a mild yellow colour, very similar to white wine.
However, I also started a batch of traditional in September that is still
cloudy, although it is definitely finished the fermentation. I have added
finings with no observed effect. What can I do? Chuck had the same question.

Some one asked about mango. Hard work is the only way to get the mango

off the seed.

Someone also asked about kiwi. I was expecting a green colour with 3

kg in a 19 l batch, but no such luck. The taste is kind of non-existent,
( the taste of the kiwi, that is) but it does have it's own flavour.
The only drawback with kiwi is peeling all those damned little fruits.
Can you leave the skins on for primary fermentation, ie. just crush the
whole damned thing? Does anybody know?
Thanks in advance.



Subject: Maple Sap
From: (Joyce Miller)
Date: Fri, 3 Mar 1995 14:01:00 -0500

Well, spring is finally advancing here in New England, and the maple sap is
starting to run. For over a year now, Jay has wanted to make a maple beer,
using maple sap instead of water. I had thought it might be a cheap way to
make a maple mead. So in preparation for driving up to New Hampshire this
weekend, I sat down to calculate how many gallons of sap I would need.
Maple sap is supposed to have a gravity of about 1.003. I wanted a wort
starting gravity of about 1.075.

Let's see… we could use our honey formula

V (Gs-1)


h = ——–



where: "Gh" is the gravity of the sweetener (usually honey for us),

"Gs" is the desired starting gravity of the wort,
"V" is the desired volume of the wort,

and "h" is the volume of sweetener required to achieve that S.G.


I thought that I could use the formula in reverse, that is, to answer the
question: "If our imaginary sweetener had a gravity of 1.075, how much of
it would we need to get 5 gallons of liquid with a gravity of 1.003?"


5 (1.003 – 1) 0.015

? = ————- = —– = 0.2 gallons!

(1.075 – 1) 0.075


Ack!! 5 gallons of 1.003 maple sap will boil down to 0.2 gallons of 1.075
wort! That means I'd need 75 gallons of sap for a 3-gallon batch! I'm
amazed maple syrup isn't more expensive than it is!


  • – Joyce


Subject: Kiwi mead & Wyeast mead yeast
From: Kevin Beyer <>
Date: Fri, 3 Mar 95 11:11:26 PST

I've tried a Kiwi wine before, but never a mead with it. I have to say that
the wine was absolutely the WORST thing I have ever tasted in my life. Both
my brother and I noticed a very odd, almost licorice-like flavor, mixed
with a lot of other undesirable tastes. Now, maybe the maker of this
particular wine was just remarkably bad(it was a store-bought wine, for what
it's worth), but I like kiwi, and I'll NEVER try it after this…

Now, about WYeast:
I use their mead yeasts almost exclusively. Not a personal choice, really, it
was just that my local homebrew store had a half dozen or so packets in the
back of their refrigerator(about 1 year old when I bought them), so I got them
for $1 each! All of them worked perfectly–in fact, as I remember, they each
took about 2 days to incubate fully(ie. the pack was virtually bursting).

The dry yeast has produced…Well, a bone-dry product most of the time. The
first one I made had an SG of 1.250–finished down to 1.080 in about 2 weeks!
I wanted to let it age for a few months, but unfortunately, it was so good that
in around a month it was gone…
In my other uses, it's produced a gravity of 1.000 in around 2 or 3 weeks (I
usually start with a gravity of around 1.150).
My real problem is that I don't really WANT to drink honey-ish vodka. But if
I water down the must, I get an unpalatable product (I tried watering one with
about 25% water, which got the final alcohol to around 10%). If I start with
more fruit juice & less honey(yes, except for my first mead, they've all been
melomels), I get something that's too dry for my tastes. I've got a really
nice blueberry mead in the bottles now, with about 18% alcohol, it's dry, but
the blueberries seem to leave some unfermentable sugar behind, so it's still
So, my experiences with WYeast have been (to sum it up):
1) lightning fast ferments (from what I've read, I should expect 3 or 4 times
the wait)
2) Drinkable very quickly–although they definitely improve with age.
3) Extremely alcohol tolerant. Dammit, I even added pure Vodka (about 1 cup
for a 750 ml bottle) once to try and kill them. I could almost hear them
4) They don't seem to mind the fact that I ferment them under my desk, in a
rather warm apartment.
5) They seem to be able to survive forever in the packets.

Subject: clearing mead & mango processing
From: Jim Fownes <T027420@UHCCMVS.UHCC.HAWAII.EDU>
Date: Fri, 03 Mar 95 11:05 HST

Hello all,

To combine two threads, I had a mango mead that wouldn't
clear until I used gelatine to fine it. Worked great.
I boiled a bit of water (1 cup?) dissolved the gelatine
in the hot water, added it, and refrigerated it. In
2 days it was crystal clear.


Maybe I'm missing something, but processing mango isn't
any harder than processing it for eating — peel it,
slice off as much as you can without getting too much
fiber, cut it up a little, and in it goes.
Yeah, messy, but how sweet it is!


The first time I made mango mead, I smashed it up a bit
with the back of a fork. As mentioned, it wouldn't clear
without fining. Also, I began the fermentation with the
fruit in the primary. The second time, I chopped it but
didn't mash it up. Cleared beautifully. It's always
hard to tell when you're comparing batches made at different
times whether what you changed really caused the difference
or not. My working hypothesis is that mashing it made
the difference, although the cloudiness was not perceivable
as discrete particles.




Subject: Looking for honey
Date: Sat, 04 Mar 1995 12:05:18 -0500 (EST)

Does anyone know of a mailorder honey outlet? I'm sure there have got
to be places to get different honeys…. There's about a million beer
supply places!

Thanks for any help.. Aaron Dionne, in Southfield, Michigan

End of Mead Lover's Digest #389