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Mead Lover's Digest #0408 Mon 22 May 1995


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



lbs/gallon (Scott Bukofsky)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #407, 19 May 1995 (Space Cowboy)
aging and shelf life (Gordon L. Olson)
Aging, hangovers and other stuff. (Russell Mast)
nutrients (Sam Shank)
Sweet Sparkling Mead (Daric Morris)
Dried Fruit for Musts? (MR GEOFFREY J SCHALLER)
Advice for big batches ("Richard B. Webb")
Summer brewing without a cellar — possible? (Gregory Owen)
Honey FAQ? (


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Subject: lbs/gallon
From: Scott Bukofsky <>
Date: Fri, 19 May 1995 08:30:03 -0400 (EDT)

I know it depends on the yeast used, but are there any guidelines as to
what makes a sweet or dry mead based on lbs honey/gallon of water? My
previous attempts at sweet meads have all come out quite dry (though
excellent) due to adding too much water.

My next batch is going to be a sparkling ginger mead which I would like to

come out on the sweet side. I am going to use Epernay yeast, but I am unsure
of the honey/water ratio. Any suggestions/recipes on ginger meads??



Scott Bukofsky

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #407, 19 May 1995
From: Space Cowboy <>
Date: Fri, 19 May 1995 09:10:20 -0400 (EDT)

>Subject: Is it too late to dilute the mead?
>From: Michael A Abraham <>
>Date: Thu, 18 May 1995 13:38:57 -0400 (EDT)

>primary to my secondary (1 gal glass jug) last night, I found that I had
>seriously underestimated the total volume, only having about 3/4 gal total.
>My OG was 1.2, my gravity after 6 days is 1.09. My question is, do I top off
>now with water? Will that ruin it? If I top off, do I stir it? Add more yeast

I had a problem similar to this (short volume) but not by underestimation.
I had a slight accident. Anyway, I had some of the Buckwheat honey left
so I took and made a top off with this. I did not add any yeast, I just
slowly added the new stuff to the old and it is going great. I didn't
want to dilute it, my OG was 1.100. When I added (5th day) the SG was 1.040.
I imagine it took the SG back up a few notches, but I only had to add about
a pint. Good luck with your's…

It's great to see all the activity lately in MLD.

Jason Hicks ece cs cit-oss | To know recursion, | you must first know recursion. |

Subject: aging and shelf life
From: (Gordon L. Olson)
Date: Fri, 19 May 1995 08:37:59 -0600

Charles Wettergreen writes:

>I haven't drunk enough meads to know what what constitutes the flavor
>profile of a "too young" vs. a "properly aged" mead. Is it simply a
>matter of harshness mellowing out to produce one that is properly aged?
>Could someone please comment on what flavor changes occur with aging?

It depends upon what yeast and other ingredients you use, but one
of the most common disciptions of a young mead is that it as a
"Listerine" or mouth-wash taste. Some mouth washes are fairly
high in alcohol and have other additives to scrub your mouth clean,
just what you do not want in a mead.

Keep a good set of records. When you rack a mead, measure its specific
gravity, pH, and acidity. Then instead of dumping the sample back into
the mead, smell and taste it. Record your impressions along with the
numbers. Good records shorten the time it takes from when you feel like
a beginning mead maker to when you feel competent.


Patrick Lehnherr asks:

>Can anyone tell me what the self life of honey is?

Usually, it is best to use honey as fresh as possible, but I have
heard of some people deliberately using old honey because they were
looking for a specific mead characteristic. Two years old is no
problem. More than 4 or 5 years old, then I would start to worry.

If people tell you not to use crystalized honey, ignore them.
The local raw honey I get here has so much pollen in it that
it crystalizes very quickly. To me it is a sign of quality.
Heavily filtered/pasteurized honeys do not readily crystalize,
but they have had some of their desireable qualities removed.


Subject: Aging, hangovers and other stuff.
From: Russell Mast <>
Date: Fri, 19 May 1995 09:55:29 -0500

> Subject: aging mead               
> From: (Charles Wettergreen)

> I haven't drunk enough meads to know what what constitutes the flavor
> profile of a "too young" vs. a "properly aged" mead. Is it simply a
> matter of harshness mellowing out to produce one that is properly aged?
> Could someone please comment on what flavor changes occur with aging?

Shoot. I wrote a long e-mail to someone about the different ages most meads
I've had experience with go through. In short, these are the ages as I see

it :

1) Kerosene. (First several months.) Almost undrinkable. Hot. This age

is shortened or less harsh based on acid content and other stuff.

2) Immature. (Next several months.) Drinkable, yummy, but something

"imbalanced" about it.

3) Mature. (Next year to several years.) Delicious. Well-balanced.

"Rounded" is a word that comes to mind. Usually very smooth.

4) Ambrosia. (Next year or more, sometimes never happens.) Beyond reproach.

Unbelievably good.

5) Over the hill. (Sometimes never happens, but never goes away.) Stale,

Oxidized, rancid, butterscotchy. Most meads rarely last this long
before being consumed, and I've never personally had one this old, but
I've read stories abuot it.


Anyway, these are overlapping and rather slapdash, but it's my basic impression
of the progression of meads. SOme age much faster and slower than others,
YMMV, etc etc.

> Subject: Sparkolloid / Spices
> From: Kevin Erickson <>

> Does Sparkolloid "suck" the yeast out to the point that I won't be able to
> carbonate the stuff?

No, but it might reduce the cell count a bit.

> If so, can I add a few grains of yeast, along
> with the priming sugar, at bottling time to prime it?

Probably wouldn't hurt, but if you're patient, there should be enough yeast
in there to carbonate. It might take longer.

> Also, I had thought to add some spices to half of the batch at
> bottling time… Any opinions as to the best method, or how
> to carry on with my spice "tea" plans?

I "dry-spiced" a batch at bottling time once. Took over a year for most of
them to get full-flavored, but they were good. I microwaved for sanitation,
which the HBD has declared a Bad Idea ™. Sounds like you're on the
right track already.

> Subject: heating/sulfiting vs. nothing
> From: (Gordon L. Olson)

> As a believer in moderation…


> Mead may give you a worse hangover
> because it has less water for the same amount of alcohol.

Let me rest any doubts about this matter firmly. Every mead that I have had
in sufficient quantities has given me a MUCH worse hangover than an equal
amount of beer, wine, or hard liquor (except for scotch). This is using
the same amount of water intake (as much as I can) and the same amount of
vitamins (one tablet plus homebrew dregs) plus eating a light snack, having
a good breakfast, and showering first thing in the morning.

Your Meadage May Vary. However, if you're only drinking mead, and you drink
a lot, resign yourself to be hung over the next day. DO drink plenty of
water, and DO have some B-vitamins, and DO take care of your body, and DO
get a good night's sleep. DON'T plan an important business meeting the next


> From:

> 2) Hangovers are caused by metabolism of complex, higher-molecular-weight
> alcohols and other stuff. Most of these are fermentation products of
> complex high-molecular-weight sugars. Honey is chock-full of complex,
> hmw sugars. Try drinking some water before you go to bed – much of the
> "hungover" feeling is simple dehydration.

Dehydration, and B vitamin deficiency. Of course, there's something else
there. Must be those hmw sugars. I didn't think honey had much of those.

> Subject: Honey Shelf Life
> From: Patrick Lehnherr <>

> Can anyone tell me what the self life of honey is?

Longer than yours. Use it. It's fine.`

  • -R

Subject: nutrients
From: shank@biocserver.BIOC.CWRU.Edu (Sam Shank)
Date: Fri, 19 May 1995 11:38:01 -0400

Spencer writes:

>Excerpted from the McConnell & Schramm presentation at last year's NHC:


>Morse found that the most rapid fermentations were achieved when a
>balanced salt, buffer and nutrient additive was used. They report
>fermentations to 12% alcohol in less then 2 weeks by using 6.75 g/L of
>formula 1 and 0.25 g/L of formula 2 as shown below on Table 3.

> >

>Table 3. Nutrient Mixtures for Mead Fermentations.


>Formula 1 Formula 2
>Component Weight/gr. Component Weight/mg
>ammonium sulfate 1.0 biotin 0.05
>K3PO4 0.5 pyridoxine 1.0
>MgCl2 0.2 mesoinositol 7.5
>NaHSO4 0.05 Calcium pantothenate 10.0
>citric acid 2.53 thiamin 20.00
>sodium citrate 2.47 peptone 100.0
> ammonium sulfate 861.45


>Note that the units for Formula 1 are grams, while the units for
>Formula 2 are *milli*grams. These make 6.75g of Formula 1 (enough for
>1 liter) and 1g of Formula 2 (enough for 4 liters).


>No, I don't have a supply for the chemicals. An enterprising "netter"
>could make up batches of these and sell them, eh?

Well, most of these are pretty cheap. On the left side (formula 1) you have
all of your salts. These can be obtained from many places. Sigma chemical
or Fisher would be good. I think Fisher is a little cheaper.

On the other side, you have the nutrients. Biotin is Vitamin H. Pyridoxine
is Vitamin B6. Mesoinositol is more commonly referred to myoinositol (or
i-Inositol). Thiamin is also known as good old Vitamin B1. I'm not really
sure what calcium pantothenate is or does. Also, I can only speculate as to
what the peptone does. My guess is that it chews up any proteins floating
around so that the yeasties can metabloize 'em and use them to grow.

All of the above reagents, though, are roughly in the neighborhood of $5-10
for 100-500g. Without going into a detailed cost analysis, I would guess
that just to get the stuff to do 1 5 gal batch would be a dollar or 2.
Fairly cheap.

Probably the easiest thing to do would be to go to the drug store and just
buy a vitamin pill, grind it up, dissolve it, and use that. You could
probably find most of the reagents in formula 2 at GNC or whatever. I have
never been in one of those, so I couldn't say for sure… The peptone might
be a little harder to find.

I think I have almost all of these reagents sitting around in the lab here
somewhere, so I might try them in a week or 2 when I start a 1 gallon mead.
I'll report when I'm done…


Sam Shank "The thing about Pac Man is, it's decimate or be decimated. Just like real life." –Jeff Spicoli, _Fast Times at Ridgemont High_

Subject: Sweet Sparkling Mead
From: (Daric Morris)
Date: Fri, 19 May 1995 12:59:08 -0400 (EDT)

While making a batch of Rose-Petal mead, I thought of a theoretical way to
make a sweet, sparkling mead. Following advice on how to make a quick
mead, I used 15 pounds of clover honey, an American Ale yeast, and planned
to dump lots of yeast nutrient in it. I ran out at about 3 tsp of nutrient
and 2 tsp of energizer. When I got more nutrient, the fermentation had
stopped but picked up again when I added more nutrient. I have heard this
has happened to other people as well.

So I figure that you could (theoretically) add nutrient slowly, stopping
fermentation when you think the mead was sweet enough for your tastes. Wait
several days to make sure fermentation has stopped. Add a small amount of
additional nutrient to supply enough fermentation for carbonation and no more.
Of course that amount would have to be carefully determined by trial and
error. Maybe in one bottle trial sizes. If I did try it, I would use
champagne bottles because they are stronger. Obviously you are going to
have varying amounts of carbonation before finding the perfect quantity of
nutrient to add for moderate carbonation.

Does this sound reasonable? Or will the yeast slowly ferment without
nutrient? Keep in mind I am using an ale yeast which will not normally
ferment to that high alcohol level without alot of nutrients. If it
works, it would be much easier than freezing the neck and removing the
yeast. This is the only other way of making a sweet sparking mead that I
know of but it is very labor intensive. If you are using the same brand and
type of both yeast and nutrient, I don't see why it wouldn't work. Opinions?

Daric R. Morris

Subject: Dried Fruit for Musts?
Date: Fri, 19 May 1995 15:07:47 EDT

Has anyone had any experience in working with dried fruits for making a
Melomel? I was considering an Apricot Melomel, but Apricots may not be in
season when I get the chance (all my carboys are currently filled, and I
don't want/have room for another). I regularly get dried apricots to snack
on, and they never seem to be in shortage at the store, so I thought they
might do.


  • -Geoffrey


Subject: Advice for big batches
From: "Richard B. Webb" <>
Date: Fri, 19 May 1995 10:13:15 -0700

Does anyone have any advice for the making of large batches of mead?
Commercial sizes actually. In thinking about a commercial meadery,
what quantities of honey, water, and nutrient have people had success
(and perhaps more importantly, failures) with?

Thanks for your responses,
Rich Webb

Subject: Summer brewing without a cellar -- possible?
From: (Gregory Owen)
Date: Fri, 19 May 1995 16:57:11 +0500

I've always brewed 1-gallon batches because when the weather is cool

enough to brew I use both my 5-gallon carboys for 2-stage beer fermentation.
What I'd like to do is use the period between now and next fall to brew a
larger batch for once. But I don't have a cellar, so I'm not sure if the
temperature swings will be a problem.


1) How high can the temps go and not ruin mead? It can swing up to

90ish here, which I can mitigate with a fan and a water bath.


2) Will a water bath (covering 2/3 of the carboy) provide stability

to control the temperature swings?


3) How much cooling is achieved by hanging a T-shirt over the

remaining 1/3 of a carboy, that hangs into the water? I understand the
water wicks up and cools, but I don't know how much…


What do people think? Should I try it?


gowen — Greg Owen —,


Subject: Honey FAQ?
Date: Sat, 20 May 1995 09:06:47 -0400

I have only brewed Meads from Clover and Orange Blossum Honey. I am
interested in other types of honey, but could use some guidance.
Is there a Mead oriented Honey FAQ somewhere that describes the characters of
Meads made with the different Honey's. I am thinking of something like the
Hop FAQ.



End of Mead Lover's Digest #408