Mead Lover's Digest #0409 Wed 24 May 1995


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



Re: Dried Fruit for Musts? (Joel Stave)
yeast flavour & mead ("Warren A. Ransom III")
Mead and hangovers… This *seems* relevant ("Steven W. Smith")
Re: Dried Fruit In Musts (Sylverre Polhemus)
Trying something new (
Mead Hangovers in Literature (Dave Cushman)
re: Sweet Sparkling Mead (Dick Dunn)
re: Dried Fruit for Musts? (and apricots) (Dick Dunn)
Cyser (
Wintergreen Mead (Robert L. Lamothe)
Re: Sweet Sparkling Mead (Greg Woods)
youth/fermaid ("Daniel S McConnell")
hard honey/apricots ("Daniel S McConnell")
Re: Bee-head (John Gorman)


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Subject: Re: Dried Fruit for Musts?
From: Joel Stave <>
Date: Mon, 22 May 1995 14:28:15 -0400 (MR GEOFFREY J SCHALLER) writes:
>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

If you do, don't use those yummy, pretty, bright orange apricots that are
usually sold – they look and taste the way they do because they are sulphited.
They use enough sulphite to make fermentation *quite* difficult – if not

Use the nasty, ugly, brown things that look like severed ears – those are the
ones without sulphite. Unfortunately, they only seem to be available in health
food stores for exhorbitant prices.

Joel Stave

Subject: yeast flavour & mead
From: "Warren A. Ransom III" <>
Date: Mon, 22 May 1995 14:47:00 -0400 (EDT)

i bottled my first mead which had been sitting in the carboy for about
3.5 months and, while it was clear it had a slight residual yeasty
flavour. i primed, looking for a sparkling mead, and wondered if this is
the kind of thing that will go away or if my mead (pretty much just a
barkshack gingermead w/ some lemon) is allowed to age long enough. it's
not a really bad flavour (no near lambic mead 🙂 but i expected there to
be none, really. i've been brewing beer for about 4 years and want to
start churning out the meads, so, heck, do all meads have a residual
yeasty flavour to them? any comments? thanks ahead! | There should be a science of discontent.

  • -an amazing feat| People need hard times and oppression to develop psychic

of creation. | muscles. -from "Collected Sayings Of Muad'Dib" by the
The Palace of Insanity- Princess Irulan


From: Russell Mast <>
Date: Mon, 22 May 1995 14:03:14 -0500

> Subject: Sweet Sparkling Mead
> From: (Daric Morris)

> Does this sound reasonable? Or will the yeast slowly ferment without
> nutrient?

It will. You might have a mead that sparkles more than you want it to…

> Keep in mind I am using an ale yeast which will not normally
> ferment to that high alcohol level without alot of nutrients.

Someone with more knowledge might be able to correct me, but I'm pretty
sure that nutrients aren't going to change the alcohol tolerance of a
given yeast, just the amount of time it will take to reach that tolerance.

> … 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.

I've made sweet sparkling meads without freezing the neck, etc. I ended up
with quite a lot of yeast slurry in the bottom of each bottle, but if that
doesn't bother you, it's easy.

> Subject: Dried Fruit for Musts?

Never done it, should work. Will probably taste a bit different, but maybe

  • -R

Subject: Mead and hangovers... This *seems* relevant
From: "Steven W. Smith" <>
Date: Mon, 22 May 1995 12:13:08 -0700 (MST)

Please Note: *** Pure Speculation and some heresy contained herein ***


Having been a mead-lover's/HBD reader for some years now I've accumulated a

large volume of hearsay information :-). On the HBD, one of the claimed side
effects of too-high fermentation temperature is the formation of
"higher alcohols" or "fusel alcohols" which are purported to give one a nasty
hangover and add off-flavors.


ANYWAY – I can't help but wonder if the high ferment temps used with mead

aren't just a historical artifact (aka "Bad Idea") whose sole benefit is
speeding up the primary fermentation a bit.


I suggest that fermentation at lower temps, although v e r y s l o w, would

tremendously reduce mead's hangover potential. A lower ferment temp might also
reduce or eliminate the hotness/harshness that has to be aged away (maybe
even recovering the time lost by fermenting cool???)


Of course it's possible, even likely, that those temp-dependant byproducts

are an important part of the flavor profile… Only one way to find out.


Gee, we *might* eventually look forward to holy wars of

"boilers vs. non-boilers" proportions:
"warm-fermenters vs. beer-temp-fermenters"! Sorry in advance 😉



\o.O; Steven W. Smith – Systems Programmer, but not a Licensed Therapist

=(___)= Glendale Community College, Glendale Az. USA

U or


Subject: Re: Dried Fruit In Musts
From: Sylverre Polhemus <>
Date: Mon, 22 May 1995 14:40:02 -0500 (CDT)

In # 408, Mr. Geoffrey Schaffer asks about using dried apricots in melomels.

It should be possible to do so; I have used dried cherries with some
success. Be sure that the fruit you buy was not treated with sulfites
(or you could try altering your recipe, but the levels would be difficult
to determine). In case you decide to go through with it, the process I

Place the fruit in water and bring to a (non-rolling) boil.

Reduce heat slightly (to about 175-185 degrees) and cook 30 minutes.
Place in food processor (or blender, I suppose) with three tablespoons
water per cup cooked fruit. Blend.

When I tried this, I added the fruit to the must before cooling.

I racked the mead off the fruit after three weeks. It took eight months
to age properly, and tasted better after 12.

Let me know what other folks have to say.
And, happy Honey!


Subject: Trying something new
Date: Mon, 22 May 1995 16:47:10 -0400

Wassail everyone!!

Has any one tried adding tea to thier mead either at bottling or during the
second fermantation. I love earl gray tea and I'm toying with the idea of
mixing it with mead. Has it been tried before and if so with what results???

Bob Davis

Subject: Mead Hangovers in Literature
From: Dave Cushman <>
Date: 22 May 95 18:59:12 EDT

Thomas Hardy wrote in "The Return of the Native" about mead
hangovers: "All that can be said against mead is that 'tis
rather heady, and apt to lie about a man a good while.
But tomorrow's Sunday, thank God."

Hardy's writings are laced with colorful descriptions of
"bottling off old mead" and that "there isn't a prettier drink
under the sun". His books make for interesting reading for the
mead enthusiast.

As far as moderation goes, in one instance in "…the Native",
when the guests are asked whether they want their mead in
cups or glasses, one guest replies "just pass around the
beaker (bottle)." They didn't want to fool around with a "trickle"
at a time.

My sentiments as well…

Dave Cushman

Subject: re: Sweet Sparkling Mead
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 22 May 95 22:13:15 MDT (Mon) (Daric Morris) wrote:
> While making a batch of Rose-Petal mead, I thought of a theoretical way to
> make a sweet, sparkling mead…
[experience with nutrient re-starting a fermentation]
>…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.

> Does this sound reasonable? Or will the yeast slowly ferment without
> nutrient?…

No, it's not reasonable–yes, the yeast will slowly ferment without
nutrient. I've had a couple of unintended annoying experiences with this;
I've talked to folks who've had BAD experiences. "Annoying" == I ended up
with a sparkling mead when I wanted it to be a still mead. "BAD" == they
had exploding bottles.

Don't do it this way.

You really cannot predict the stopping point for the yeast reliably enough
to get the result you want. The idea of basing it on nutrient is a new one
to me, but my experience is that lack of nutrient slows the fermentation–
perhaps dramatically, but it only slows it; it won't stop it. Other folks
have tried for sweet/sparkling mead based on trying to figure out when the
yeast die out due to alcohol intolerance–the idea being to ferment until
the yeast were within epsilon of giving up, then add a bit more honey and
bottle, on the assumption they'd ferment just enough to carbonate the mead
and then quit. Doesn't work. For one, they don't die all at once; some of
them survive to keep fermenting slowly for a long time. For another, you
can't predict it closely enough. Whatever the factors are–temperatures
over the early fermentation, how the yeast was handled in the brewshop,
bits of nutrient in the honey, etc.–you can't hit it close enough to be
dependable. You'll end up with flat mead or bottle bombs.

On one of my "annoying" experiences, I had a melomel that fermented out in
about six weeks. I added more honey and gave it a while (both my memory
and my notes are faulty); I only remember that the SG had been stable for
at least a month when I bottled it. I had meant to add sorbate but forgot.
At 6+ months from start of fermentation, I noticed a slightly bulging
bottlecap…it had gone from flat, clear, and apparently stable at bottling
to *very* carbonated over a period of several months. [I ended up opening
everything, dumping it back into a carboy, shaking off the carbonation,
stabilizing, and re-bottling. This is only fun if you like washing bottles
and bottling!]

I do persist in the belief that there must be a good way to create a sweet
sparkling mead with home techniques, but I'm convinced that playing edge
games with the end of fermentation isn't it.

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

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


Subject: re: Dried Fruit for Musts? (and apricots)
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 22 May 95 22:26:41 MDT (Mon) (MR GEOFFREY J SCHALLER) wrote:

> 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…

I've tried exactly this.

First caution: get UNsulphured apricots. If you have sulphured apricots,
it won't kill the yeast if you do it right (same ritual and reasoning as
for Campden tablets, apparently), but there will be a taste that will take
forever to age out.

Second: Leave the apricots in large pieces. It's better to use a little
extra fruit than to try to extract the last bit of flavor. Apricots in
particular tend to disintegrate during fermentation. The moment of truth
is when you try to get the mead off the fruit, and that first racking turns
into The Racking From Hell. Everything you try immediately clogs with
fruit pulp. Keeping the pieces large will not entirely eliminate the
problem, but will drastically reduce it.

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

…Simpler is better.


Subject: Cyser
Date: Tue, 23 May 1995 02:27:16 -0400

Does anyone have a good recipe for a sparkling cyser using frozen
concentrate? Real (fresh) juice is simply too expensive to learn on!

Subject: Wintergreen Mead
From: (Robert L. Lamothe)
Date: Tue, 23 May 95 8:31:34 EDT

Greetings All,

It appears I am about to embark on an adventure. Some time ago, when

I tasted my first mead, I noticed a slight wintergreen flavor to it which
I thought was enjoyable. As the mead aged the wintergreen flavor went away.

Growing up in New Hampshire, Wintergreen, AKA Gaultheria Procumbens

AKA Wild Checkerberry, was a plant that I saw growing very commonly in
every stretch of woods I had ever entered. I have decided to harvest some
leaves and use them in the brewing of a Wintergreen Mead. So far I've
managed to collect 4 oz of leaves.

Since I began the search for good patches of Wintergreen I've done

a good deal of research. I've searched the internet, looked at books and
even phoned a Professor of Botony to find out as much about this plant and
it's uses that I can. The entire internet only has one entry about
Wintergreen, it's poisoness to cats.

So here I go, pioneering into a new area of mead making. My recipe

is simple, I plan on using 15 lbs of honey to 5 gallons, 4 to 8 oz of
Wintergreen leaves and Yeast Labs sweet mead yeast. I plan on making this
a sparkling Metheglyn. Joyce Miller has suggested that I steep/dunk the
leaves to insure that I don't wind up with an overwhelming amount of flavor.
I think this is sound advice.

So wish me luck folks. If it turns out that I am not a pioneer and

someone else has attempted this, please let me know of the results.



  • 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: Re: Sweet Sparkling Mead
From: woods@ncar.UCAR.EDU (Greg Woods)
Date: Tue, 23 May 1995 11:11:43 -0600

> Subject: Sweet Sparkling Mead
> From: (Daric Morris)

> 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 is not long enough. I had a vanilla mead that had apparently
stopped fermenting at an SG of 1.011. It stayed that way for THREE
WEEKS. So I went ahead and bottled it. Six weeks later, one of the
bottles exploded. Fermentation had somehow restarted, and although it
is a wonderful sweet sparkling mead, it's also very dangerous. Unless I
do something like pour it all back into a carboy and let the
fermentation finish (in which case it won't be sweet and sparkling any
more and I'll have to repeat the bottling hassle), I'll never be able
to take this stuff anywhere and will have to treat it with extreme
care. (What I ended up doing was removing all the caps, letting them
fizz for an hour or so, and then recapped).

Sweet sparking mead in bottles is dangerous! Even if fermentation
appears to have stopped.

Which brings up the question of why the fermentation could be stuck for
so long. In every batch of mead I've gotten as far as bottles, I've
always used the same amount of honey (12#/5 gal. batch), two teaspoons
of yeast hulls, and one teaspoon acid blend (except for the melomels
where I leave out the acid blend). All these meads ferment in a small
closet off the laundry room, where the temperature stays nearly
constant all the time (perhaps 63 degrees F when it's really cold at
night in the winter, and maybe 69 degrees when it's really hot outside
in the summer). I have another metheglin (with cinammon and nutmeg, if
it matters) where the same thing happened; it stuck for weeks at 1.016.
So I bottled that one, and it too is starting to develop a
sparkle after a month in the bottles, and so I fear I am in danger of
glass grenades again. What can cause fermentation to stick in the
carboy like this, and then restart after bottling? (I've had two
gingers and a strawberry ferment down below 1.0 easily) On advice of
our friendly digest janitor, I also tried reracking to another carboy
after fermentation got stuck, but that did not result in activity restarting.


  • –Greg


Subject: youth/fermaid
From: "Daniel S McConnell" <


Date: 23 May 1995 19:42:15 -0400

Subject:  youth/fermaid

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

Chuck, come on up and help judge the Mazer Cup this Friday and you will
get a very good idea of the infant-mead taste (is this infantocide?) as
well as a sample of well aged examples. Speaking of the MC, we will be
using some of the leftover meads from last years competition as
calibrators for the competition this year. Calibration will be done to
style. I was impressed by the way this was done in Chicago for the
National HC and we will do likewise.

I was rummaging through my basement looking for likely examples of
mead to be used as our calibrators and came across a blackcurrent
melomel made by Joyce Miller. Well, I usually have better self control,
but ………Having been reading Joyces comments over the last week or
so…….I couldnt help myself, the bottle cap accidently fell off…..well, I

needed to pry it just a *little* bit. What a delightful, complex mead it
was! It is astonishing to me even given the number of excellent meads
submitted to this competition, Joyce's melomel was not a first place.
Thank you for that sample, I loved and savored it. The remaining glass
will be gone by the time you read this.

Joyce, could you PLEASE post the recipe. I still don't understand the
secret of sweet AND carbonated.

We will be returning the scores on the calibrators to the meadmakers
which should provide some interesting feedback after an additional year
of bottle age. We are planning to make a copy of the score sheets and
return them to the judges as well, along with the recipe to help improve
the judging. Finally this years MC will be judged entirely in glass.



Yeast nutrient stuff.
>Excerpted from the McConnell & Schramm presentation at last year's NHC:

[Table snipped]

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

Spencer, your excerpt is about a paragraph too short…..
The ingredients in FermAid read almost the same as the Morse list. This
is commercially available from Lalenmond or repackaged as Yeast
Energizer. It's the dry tan powder that smells like vitamins.


Subject: hard honey/apricots
From: "Daniel S McConnell" <


Date: 24 May 1995 08:47:01 -0400

Subject:  hard honey/apricots

From: (Gordon L. Olson)
Date: Fri, 19 May 1995 08:37:59 -0600

Gordon writes:
>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.

All of the honey that I use has seems to come in solid (crystal)
form these days, and I too, consider that to be a sign of quality
(or minimal processing). For long term storage one should freeze
honey. I have read (but have no first hand experience) that as honey
crystallizes, water is squeezed out from between the crystal
lattice, reducing the 82% sugar concentration of honey to a point
that fermentation may start in small, isolated pockets. There are
species of yeast that can tolerate these high osmotic pressures.
Over long periods of time and at warm temperatures this can reduce
the honey quality. Honey contains enzymes which can alter the sugar
ratios if stored at warm (or room) temperature that freezing will
also drastically reduce.

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.

Be careful, in that some of the dried fruits are heavily treated with
sulfur dioxide, which in addition to preserving freshness and shelf-life
of the dried fruit, in high concentration may be detrimental to yeast. For
example, SO2 treated raisins don't seem to ferment well. By all means
give it a try in a small batch. They might work well as a post-fermentation


Subject: Re: Bee-head
From: John Gorman <>
Date: Wed, 24 May 1995 12:13:10 ADT


> > is about 1 in 3 with a double lever capper. I wa wondering if any of the
> > other styles have better luck, or if I need different caps.

You need another capper. I have capped hundreds without a single
problem. They do sell caps for twist-off bottles. They are thinner,
so they are easy to twist off. However, I have capped cases and
cases of screw-offs with normal crown caps without difficulty.

Also, they hold pressure rather well. I had a necterine do a secondary
ferment on me, and the caps bulged, but did not leak. By unscrewing
the cap in stages, one can let off the pressure with no mead loss,
and unexpected advantage!

Here in Nova Scotia, bottling in screw tops is an economic necessity.
Local brewed beer enjoys a substantial tax advantage, and they all use
the same exact screw-top bottles with different brand labels. So,
95% of all leftover bottles here are screw-tops.

I have a pretty standard double lever capper. It is metal with
red plastic handles and red plastic jaws. The metal has "Brev. Italy"
stamped on it with two reindeer prancing above, facing each other.

John Gorman


End of Mead Lover's Digest #409