Mead Lover's Digest #0410 Mon 29 May 1995


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



Champagne Method ("Fisette Richard")
apricot use/racking Hell (Charles Wettergreen)
Re: Sweet Sparkling Mead (Dieter Dworkin Muller)
Re: Sweet Sparkling Mead (
Sparkle-plenty ("Julie Cody")
Re: Mazer Cup (
Hanging out… (Russell Mast)
Filteration (The Coolest)
fit to a tea (
Tea Mead (Richard Walker)
Using dried fruit? Using fruit spreads? (Kevin Schutz)
Sweet Sparkling Meads…Low Fermentation Temps….. (
Racking (Michael Schaffer)
Sweet Mead/Melomel (
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #409, 24 May 1995 (Maggie Burns)


NOTE: Digest only appears when there is enough material to send one.
Send ONLY articles for the digest to
Use for [un]subscribe/admin requests. When

subscribing, please include name and email address in body of message.

Digest archives and FAQ are available for anonymous ftp at

in pub/clubs/homebrew/mead.


Subject: Champagne Method 
From: "Fisette Richard" <>
Date: 24 May 1995 13:26:07 U

I was strictly a lurker in my former life as a digest subscriber but I have

re-subscribed to ask some advice. My fiancee and I (both homebrewers) brewed
our first batch of mead in August of last year for our wedding celebration
this October. It is basically Papazian's Barkshack Ginger Mead with
raspberries. We used Yeast Lab M61 "Dry Mead" yeast which went like
gangbusters. The OG was about 1.072 and when last I sampled the secondary 2
months ago it was around 0.998 (the fumes made me a little light-headed). It
has cleared up nicely and everything seems to be going well so far.

Our question concerns the bottling. We want a sparkling mead which Papazian

says is just like priming beer with 3/4 cup of corn sugar. Our local brew
shop suggested we go all out and try the champagne method and disgorge the
yeast plug and add a "dosage" to control how dry or sweet the end product is.
They gave us instructions for making a champagne yeast starter, re-pitching
the yeast along with the corn sugar for priming (we're using 16 oz beer
bottles), riddling the bottles, etc, etc. We like the idea but are a little

Has anyone else out there used the champagne method and can share his/her

experience? I couldn't find any specific mention of this in the archives and
would like to get a sanity check on our procedure before we commit our 10
gallons of wedding mead. Private e-mail responses would be great and if there
is enough interest I'll post our results (after the honeymoon ;-)). Sorry for
the lengthy message and TIA.


Rick Fisette
GTE Government Systems
Needham, MA

Subject: apricot use/racking Hell 
From: (Charles Wettergreen)
Date: Thu, 25 May 95 08:32 CDT


In MLD #409 Dick Dunn ( wrote about using dried apricots:

MM> Second: Leave the apricots in large pieces. It's better to use a little
MM> extra fruit than to try to extract the last bit of flavor. Apricots in
MM> particular tend to disintegrate during fermentation. The moment of truth
MM> is when you try to get the mead off the fruit, and that first racking turns
MM> into The Racking From Hell. Everything you try immediately clogs with

I've found that the easiest way to use dried apricots is to freeze them, and
while they're still hard, chop them in a food processor with the steel blade
to about pencil eraser-sized pieces.

Racking off of any fruit or hops is easy using this method (thanks to Pierre
Jelenec for this one). Assuming everything is sanitized, insert a standard
racking cane into a fine mesh nylon grain bag and secure loosely at the top
with a rubber band. The grain bag I use is rectangular, about 8 inches wide
and 1 1/2 feet long, with a sewn bottom and edge. Insert the bag-enclosed
racking cane into the carboy/fermenter to the bottom and start the siphon.
The mesh bag filters out the pulp, and because of the foot on the cane, the
bag is held away from the mouth of the tube. If the siphon starts to slow
because the bag is packed with fruit pulp, move the cane tip to another
point in the bottom of the bag. The siphon will continue.



Chuck Wettergreen One beer at a sitting is OK. Two beers, maybe. But anything beyond that number goes over the
Geneva, Illinois line of recreational drinking. Ann Landers



* RM 1.3 00946 *


Subject: Re: Sweet Sparkling Mead
From: Dieter Dworkin Muller <>
Date: Thu, 25 May 1995 07:55:49 -0600

Greg Woods wrote:


: 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.

FWIW, I've had exactly the same phenomenon. Last year, I had two
carboys of the same recipe stop after about three months. They were
still very sweet (no SG readings, sorry). Transferred to secondary,
no change in apparent sweetness, no apparent fermentation after five
months. Bottled. Three-four weeks later, I had flying corks (an
advantage over bottlecaps — no broken glass). Pulled all the corks,
put on new ones with wire cages. Three weeks later, flying corks and
a bruised jaw (yes, the cages were put on right).

The only thing I can think of is that there's some residue from bottle
washing that wakes the yeast up, that is not present in sufficient
quantities in a feshly-washed carboy. Since I'm usually much more
excessive about rinsing containers I want to have fermentation occur
in, this is believable (four-five rinses vs two-three). When washing,
I usually just use b-brite, follwed by a chlorine rinse. The rinse
count is the number of tap water rinses after the chlorine.

This year, I've got three carboys going, all with different recipes.
They've all stopped, and all are still not finished, based on
sweetness. I'm pretty sure that I've got the first stage of the above
scenario repeated.

I base the not finished interpretation on last year's experience, and
on the fact that I have had some instances of the same basic recipe go
to completion (i.e., SG lower than the tap water I started with).
So I'm pretty sure it's not an alcohol tolerance thing.



Subject: Re: Sweet Sparkling Mead
Date: Thu, 25 May 95 10:35:50 EDT

Caveat: I haven't done this.

If I were to try to make a sweet sparkling mead (but why make soda
pop?), I would do it this way:

1. Make a dry mead (fermented "all the way").

2. Prime with a bit more honey and bottle in champagne (or other VERY
heavy bottles, such as those that Lambics come in) bottles with crown
caps. Let it ferment out.

3. Invert the bottles and "riddle" the yeast down into the necks.

4. Chill the bottles to freezing.

5. Make up a honey-water solution that is sufficient to sweeten each
bottle to the desired level by adding about 1 ounce (the volume of the
yeast plug that is to be removed) of it to each bottle. In "methode
champenoise" terminology, this is called a "dosage". This may have to
be determined by experimentation. Dissolve an appropriate amount of
potassium sorbate in this.

6. Freeze the yeast plugs in the bottle necks in a salt-water-ice slurry.

7. Working quickly, for each bottle: hold it at about a 45 degree
angle, *pointing away from you* (best, perhaps, to do this outside),
remove the cap, add the dosage, and recap or cork.

You get the carbonation from bottle refermentation in step 2. You get
the sweetness from the dosage. You prevent further fermentation by
removing most of the yeast, and by stabilizing the remaining yeast
with sorbate.

=Spencer W. Thomas | Cntr for Info Tech Integ, 2570 MSRBII, 0674

BioInformatics | Univ of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 | 313-764-8065, FAX 313-764-4133


Subject: Sparkle-plenty
From: "Julie Cody" <>
Date: 25 May 1995 10:13:58 U


All this talk of bottle bombs and sparkling mead when still was intended got
the grey matter a-churnin'…


What is the collective wisdom of the digest as to priming (just a tidge!) a
still blackberry mead that was bottled four months ago? Is it the anarchist in
me looking for trouble or can this be done? I could just shoot myself for not
priming at least a six-pack of this batch.

Now, we're off to the Texas Hill Country in search of exotic, unprocessed,
nearly solid honey. Nothing like a three day weekend, homebrew and mead,
redheads, fresh water, beautiful scenery, and 2 Texas teams in the NBA western
division playoffs. Life is good. 😉

TIA everyone!
Julie Cody
Houston, TX

"I can't say I was ever lost, but I was bewildered once for three days."

  • – Daniel Boone


Subject: Re: Mazer Cup
Date: Thu, 25 May 95 10:49:24 EDT

Daniel S. McConnell wrote about youth/fermaid:
: 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. … 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.

I was on one of the melomel panels last year, and did the "mini-BOS"
round to pick the overall top 3. It was *tough*. There were so many
good ones (a terrible situation for a judge to be in, admittedly :-).
I remember one (probably not Joyce's, as it was not sweet) that tasted
very much like a red Burgundy wine. I think it was a blackberry
melomel, but I'm not sure at this point.

And they were good in so many different dimensions. There was a
perfectly clean cherry melomel (I think it turned out to be
"ultra-filtered" — Ken's comment was "needs some dirt & twigs
<growl>"), there was the aforementioned "burgundy", that was complex
and head-filling, and so on.

Do I hope to do melomels again this year? (I was going to say
"tomorrow", but it will be "today" or "yesterday", by the time the
digest comes out) Or do I want to broaden my horizons and do
traditionals or maybe metheglins? I guess I'll let the judge director
decide. 🙂

=Spencer Thomas in Ann Arbor, MI (

Subject: Hanging out...
From: Russell Mast <>
Date: Thu, 25 May 1995 11:33:55 -0500

> Subject: Mead and hangovers... This *seems* relevant
> From: "Steven W. Smith" <>

> I suggest that fermentation at lower temps, although v e r y s l o w, would
> tremendously reduce mead's hangover potential.

It just so happens that I have a batch fermenting at "cellar" temps right now.
It's been going since, um, November or so. (I'll have to check the records.
Maybe Jake remembers.) And it seems to be fermenting great gonzo to this day.
(I last checked about a week ago, and there's plenty of bubbles rising.)

So, I'll definately post comparative hangover results in about a year or so.
(Either that or Jake and I will share the Nobel for cold-fusion, but I'm
hoping it stops some day.)

  • -R

Subject: Filteration
Date: Thu, 25 May 1995 09:34:59 -0700 (MST)

Hello all! I'm one of those off-in-the-corner-just-watching people, but I
finally have a question that needs an answer. Has anyone heard of a
filter that I can use to filter with?

I know about using Sparkloid, Gelatin, eggwhites, etc., but I really don't
want to add anything more to my mead (probably my genetics kicking in, see
my name). Let me know as soon as possible, since I can't wait two years
to enjoy my mead.

Christopher W. Meador
University of Arizona
Extended University

Subject: fit to a tea
Date: Thu, 25 May 95 11:29:59 TZ

Bob Davis ( asks:
> 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???

Yes, my current mead was made with blackberry honey (14lbs in
4 gallons) with 6-8 bags of Celestial Seasonings (I think) blackberry tea.

I added the tea bags to 3 gallons of hot water and let the tea bags
steep for about 20 minutes. I was aiming for lots of color, berry flavor
and tannin in the tea. After removing the bags with a final squeeze
to press out any remaining flavors, I added the honey for a
pasteurization step. No acid was added, though I might change
this for the next version – I'll know in a year or so.

Now at about 7 months later, the mead has a pale purple color and
a fruity aroma and taste. It still tastes quite young, the tannins are
low and a bit rough but it is shaping up nicely.

In conclusion: Tea works fine. Play around with the levels. Other
dried botanicals might work great too.

Bob Devine

Subject: Tea Mead
From: (Richard Walker)
Date: Fri, 26 May 1995 06:33:08 +0900

Bob Davis writes:

>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???

In a British book called "A Step by Step Guide to Making Homemade Wine" by
Judith Irwin there is a recipe for Tea Wine that could be modified for
mead. Her proportions for a gallon batch are:

4tbsps loose tea leaves or 8-12 teabags
1 lb chopped raisins
1 medium orange
1 medium lemon
1tsp yeast nutrient
Sherry yeast
2.5lb sugar
Pectic enzyme


While she does say this wine can be enjoyed as is, she suggests it might
also be used to blend in with other wines that "seem a little flat or dull
due to a low tannin content." It's an idea that has intrigued me, to have a
few bottles of Earl Gray Methyglin around for topping. Another on my
"Things to Brew" list.

Richard Walker
Yokohama, Japan

Of course my opinions reflect those of the company.
I AM the company.

Subject: Using dried fruit?  Using fruit spreads?
From: (Kevin Schutz)
Date: Thu, 25 May 95 10:56:10 MDT

Okay, let me get this straight. The concensus seems to be that unsulfurized
fruit is the best. One post from Sylverre Polhemus stated to rehydrate the
fruit in boiling, then warm water. What about setting the pectins in this

On another closely related topic, has anyone ever tried to use these newer
fruit spreads as a source for fruit in meads? I'm not sure what you call
them since they are not really a jelly or a jam or a preserve. Some jars
I've seen state that there are no preservatives at all. The spreads have to
have been reduced somehow, but I'm not sure if they've been boiled. I've
wondered about how one would prepare the spreads without having excessive
pectin problems. Any clues?


Kevin Schutz


  • —– Begin Included Message —–


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!



  • —– End Included Message —–


Subject: Sweet Sparkling Meads...Low Fermentation Temps.....
Date: Thu, 25 May 1995 22:22:52 -0400

Following the thread on sweet sparkling meads. Why not try Lactose. Beer
brewers use it to make sweet stouts. The Lactose adds sweetness, but will
not ferment.
Regarding Low Fermentation Tempa. I have always fermented at cellar
temperatures- 60-66 degrees F. and have never noticed at any age the hot
alchol characteristic that others mention. I don't know if they are related.

Subject: Racking
From: Michael Schaffer <>
Date: Fri, 26 May 95 6:39:26 UTC


I have taken the first very tenative step into the

world of brewing…I began yesterday and things are bubbling
nicely. I started with a vannila methyglyn. Now it becomes
a test of patience.


While I was collecting supplies to start this batch, I

mentioned that I was doing a mead to the local 'You Brew' shop.
He stated that he had done a few meads and offered this advice:

Instead of racking the mead off the sediment, swirl the
carboy to mix the sediment back up. According to him
the living yeast that was trapped in the sediment is
released and it goes back to work. He was able to cut his
fermation time in half.


What is the opionion of this group? I have never seen anything
like this is the FAQ or posts. I am doubtful, he is in the
business of 'fast fermenting'. He also stated that his finial
product was something that you drank with a shot glass…..

Look forward to your opinion (and my first mead in ?? months)



Michael Schaffer
Yukon Weather Centre, Whitehorse, YT, Canada

Subject: Sweet Mead/Melomel
Date: Fri, 26 May 1995 23:58:52 -0400

I've been following the sweet sparkling/nutrient tread with interest. Is
there a way to make sweet sparkling mead without forced carbonation?

I've made a couple of meads now and they have ended up bone dry (.999 – 1.001
range). I'm looking to keep more of the sweetness/honey taste, and I've read
about people adding additional honey when the gravity drops way down. They
keep adding more honey the same way until the SG stops dropping insuring a
higher FG (sweeter mead).
My questions are:
1) Do you add raw honey or do you dilute it with warm water?
2) If you dilute it, what is the ratio of (lbs of honey/water)?
3) How can you tell when to made the honey additions? SG =1.020?
4) What is a good FG for a sweet mead?

I currently have a batch of mead just waiting to be bottled. Then an idea
struck me,
(actually it was inspired about a post about secondary fermentation fruit
I could split the 5 gallon batch and make 2 (or 3) different melomels. My
question on this is, did I wait too late? Fermentation has stopped, the mead
is not even sitting on the fermenting yeast. I could make a new starter to
pitch with the fruit. Has anyone had any experience with this?


Mike Clarke
Seattle, WA


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #409, 24 May 1995
From: (Maggie Burns)
Date: Sun, 28 May 1995 21:55:33 -0400

Okay, so I'm a mead maker medievalist and I study Old English, and I came
across this riddle, the answer to which (not to spoil things, but you might
guess, no?) is Mead. So I thought you all might like to have a look at it,
with convenient interlinear modern English translation. Following, please
note the cool words that they had in Old English for many mead-related
activities–back when mead was properly and widely appreciated!

Ic eom weorth werum, wide funden,

I am valuable to men, widely found,

brungen of bearwum ond of beorghleothum,

brought from groves and sides of mountains,=20

of denum ond of dunum. D=E6ges mec waegun

from valleys and from downs. By day I am carried

fethre on lifte, feredon mid liste

raised on wings, carried with the wind

under hrofes hleo. H=E6leth mec sithan

under the protection of a roof. Warriors afterwards =20

bathedan in bydene. Nu ic eom bindere

bathed me in tubs. Now I am the binder

ond swingere, sona weorpe

and the beater, soon I throw

esne to eorthan, hwilum ealdne ceorl.

men to the ground, sometimes an old man.

Sona th=E6t onfindeth, se the mec fehth ongean

Soon he finds, he who struggles against me

ond with maegenthisan minre genaesteth,

and contends with my force,

thaet he hrycge sceal hrusan secan,

that he will soon seek the earth with his back,

gif he unraedes aer ne geswiceth.

if he does not first cease his foolish practice.

Strengo bistolen, strong on spraece,

Strength stolen, strong in speech,

maegene binumen, nah his modes geweald,

might taken, I take control of his mind,

fota ne folma. Frige hwaet ic hatte,

feet nor hands. Ask what I am called,

the on eorthan swa esnas binde,

that on earth which binds men,

dole aefter dyntum be daeges leohte.

dazed as if after blows by day's light.


Some cool Old English words:
meduaern–mead-hall, banqueting house
medubenc–bench in a mead-hall
meduburg–mead-city, rejoicing city
medudream–mead-joy, jollity
medugal–mead-excited, drunk
meduraeden–strong drink? dealing out of mead?
meduscerwen–deprival of (mead-)joy, distress, mortal panic
medustig–path to the mead-hall
meduwerig–overpowered with mead, drunk
meduwong–field where the mead hall stood

Isn't that great? Long live mead! =20
Old English is dead, long live Old English!

The riddle can be found in many places–got mine from Mitchell and
Robinson's Guide to Old English. That's my own translation–errors and
all–so do with it as you wish. The words and definitions are from J.R.
Clark Hall's A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary.

Beoth ge medudreamic!

Maggie Burns

End of Mead Lover's Digest #410

%d bloggers like this: