Mead Lover's Digest #0424 Thu 17 August 1995


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



yes, digest still alive; sorry for delay (Mead Lover's Digest)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #423, 6 August 1995 (Doug Henry)
recipe request (Sylverre Polhemus)
Chocolate Mint/PH & Acid Levels/Cranberry ("JOHN A. JR. CARLSON ")
Bunratty Mead/Meade (Daniel R. Burke)
re: old honey ("West, Dale")
Cloudy Mead ("Craig Jones. 5099")
Re: New Brew Site (Joyce Miller)
Acid Test kit question (Thomas Manteufel)
Watermellon mead/Acid levels (
sulphites (Matt Maples)
Reusing yeast. (Matt Maples)
oxygen (Matt Maples)


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Subject: yes, digest still alive; sorry for delay
From: (Mead Lover's Digest)
Date: 16 Aug 95 23:58:05 MDT (Wed)

Yes, the digest is still alive. This issue should have gone out a week
ago, but the bus took a wrong turn and I'm just now getting caught up.
Sorry for the delay. I should have put it on auto-pilot, but if I'd had
the sense to do that when things went wrong, I'd have had the sense to
send it out.

Dick Dunn, Digest Janitor Boulder, Colorado USA
Mead-Lover's Digest

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #423, 6 August 1995
From: Doug Henry <>
Date: Sun, 6 Aug 1995 21:55:50 -0500 (CDT)

I'm new to beekeeping as a hobby. I've just started extracting and want
to use less attractive honey to make mead. I may have several gallons
with wax, dead bees and other debris included. I have never made mead but
have done wine and beer kits. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks, Doug Henry.

Subject: recipe request
From: Sylverre Polhemus <>
Date: Sun, 6 Aug 1995 20:39:20 -0500 (CDT)

Thanks to those who responded to my last request for recipes. (Will
Ted Majors please e-mail a current address? I keep getting demons.)
This week's project: melomels and metheglins. Specifically:


  • – does anyone have any recipes using currants (dried or fresh)?

  • – juniper berries?

  • – marsh mallow? Turk's cap fruits?

  • – scented geraniums?

  • – ju-ju-be fruits (yes, fruits! They grow here in Texas)


I would love to try a lemon/rose scented geranium metheglin, but I can't
figure out just how to do it. Tisanes (teas) have a light scent, where I
would prefer to keep more of the essence. Traditionally, one buries the
leaves in sugar for a week or more, allowing the oils from the leaves to be
adsorbed into the sugar, and then discards the leaves. But with honey?
Any suggestions would be appreciated. (A strong tea will have a bitter
flavor, which _might_ age out, but I am hoping for a better solution.)

Appropriate honey suggestions for the other flavorings listed would also
be helpful. Is there a honey that is somewhat spicy/lemony?



  • —–sig line was stung to death: I was desperate for honey ———–


Subject: Chocolate Mint/PH & Acid Levels/Cranberry
From: "JOHN A. JR. CARLSON " <>
Date: Mon, 7 Aug 1995 10:32:07 -0600 (MDT)

Shirley Thompson writes:


> My daughter want me to make a Chocolate Mint mead. Has anyone got a recipe fo


> this? Needs to make as soon as possible.


You might contact Phil Fleming, as he made a really good chocolate mint
mead a few years ago that was very good. Look for his email address in
the Who's Who issue of a judgenet. Good luck.

Gordon writes:


> An acid testing kit from your local supplier for $6 is recommended.
> After a couple years you may need to buy a new bottle of sodium
> hydroxide for $2. I did buy a pH meter, but I found it to be more
> useful for beers than meads.

Thanks for the good information. I think I'll get a test kit ASAP.


> For those of you out there that use the Beverage People's yeast
> nutrient for meads, note that it is based on recipes from Roger Morse
> and includes citric acid. Taste the nutrient, the citric acid is
> quite noticeable. Therefore, when using this nutrient, do not use
> any acid blend, or your meads may be too acidic.


I really like this nutrient and have good result with it. The only
problem I have with it is that they don't sell it in more than a 2 oz.
package. 🙂

Dale writes:


> I just bought a pound of sweetened, dried, unsulfered cranberries pretty
> cheaply at Price Club/Costco. I have never seen them before, but they are
> really good to nibble on. Has anyone tried them in a batch of melomel?

I have used frozen cranberries in a melomel and have had good luck. I
had to use more than I thought I would to get a nice cranberry character.
I currently have five gallons ready to bottle and am considering adding
another 10-12oz of cranberry mush. The dried product might be a really
nice way to go. Next time I am in Price Club I'll keep my eyes open for

One more point re Strawberries. I made a Strawberry-Mango Melomel a year
or so ago and it was very good. Both fruits were recognizable in the
taste until about 8 months in the bottle. Now the Strawberry has really
faded and is very hard if not impossible to taste. This might have
something to do with Mango, but the same thing happened in a
Strawberry-Kiwi mead I made last year. The Strawberry started strong and
faded fast. I plan to use much more fruit in the future 12-15lbs for
five gallons. The source of the Strawberries is also very important, as
I found the ones from a friends garden were much more flavorful than the
super-market variety. I have been happy with some that I bought frozen
at the PriceClub (5lb. bag), while not the best they were OK and fairly
cheap in price.


Subject: Bunratty Mead/Meade
From: (Daniel R. Burke)
Date: Mon, 7 Aug 1995 13:02:03 -0500

When my wife and I were in Ireland last summer, we were exposed to our first
mead – a product of the historic Bunratty meadery at Bunratty castle. It
was love at first sip, and we bought some some bring home with us. We've
been nursing it carefully, until we could find someone going back that could
bring us some more.

Imagine our surprise then, when selecting a port in our favorite liquor
store here in Texas, when we saw "Bunratty Meade!" Elated, we grabbed a
bottle amazed at our good fortune, and scurried home with it. Only to
discover later that this is Meade, with an "e", not Mead. The label states
"A white wine flavored with honey and herbs."

So obviously, this is not mead. The question is though, why? Why would
someone go to the trouble of producing an imitation of mead? Is there
something in the export laws that make it necessary? Or do they assume that
the American palette wouldn't appreciate a true mead? Anyone have any
insight into this curiosity? All things considered, tho, it ain't bad!



Daniel R. Burke

Subject: re: old honey
From: "West, Dale" <>
Date: Mon, 07 Aug 95 15:20:00 PDT

>Subject: Old Honey
>Date: Tue, 1 Aug 1995 23:16:14 -0400

>I have about 7 gallons of 10 mo. old honey. Is it useable? Are there any
>bacteria/other nasties that I should be concerned about?


That isn't very old honey! I have often used five to fifteen year old
honey. Honey keeps extremely well. Just treat it like all honey. Smell
it and taste it first and see if it is ok.
If it was separated slowly from the comb under damp circumstances it may get
a little musty smelling over time. In that case you shouldn't use it. On
the other hand, I have made mead from slightly musty honey and it came out
fine. Use and enjoy.

Subject: Cloudy Mead
From: "Craig Jones. 5099" <>
Date: Tue, 08 Aug 1995 11:56:00 +1000

Help!!! I've put on a 5 liter batch of mead lightly flavoured with Saaz hops.
Although it is fermenting away like crazy, it's so cloudy as to be opaque. I
suspect that I have overpitched the yeast. Have I spoit the mead? Can the yeast

be removed or should I wait for it to settle to the bottom? How can I
facilitate the settling process. Help!!!

Craig Jones,

Subject: Re: New Brew Site
From: (Joyce Miller)
Date: Tue, 8 Aug 1995 14:23:29 -0400

>I would also like to announce a new Brewing Web site. I have become
>involved with a group called the Toronto Regional Association of
>Specialty Homebrewers (TRASH for short).

Allen —

TRASH also stands for the Three Rivers Alliance of Serious Homebrewers,
which is a big Pittsburgh-area brewing club. You might want to alter your
name just ever so slightly, to avoid confusion. I think they've been
around for a while.


  • — Joyce


Subject: Acid Test kit question
From: Thomas Manteufel <>
Date: Wed, 9 Aug 95 10:12:02 CDT

What are the chemicals in the GW Kent acid test kit? It contains two vials,
labeled "Color Solution" and "Sodium Hydroxide". Sodium Hydroxide I
think I can figure out (although knowing the strength would be nice.)
My bottle of color solution is empty, thanks to my 4 year old who
squirted it into the sink. I would like to replace it without having to buy
a new test kit.
Thanks for any information,
Thomas Manteufel

Subject: Watermellon mead/Acid levels
Date: Mon, 14 Aug 1995 02:08:06 -0400

Q: Has anyone tried watermelon mead?
A: I made a Watermelon/guava mead years ago and its still bad. I mean
reaaally bad. I'm about ready to pour it out.(ouch) I think its repugancy is
due to the guava more than any thing else. I might consider doing a straight
watermellon sometime. A few thoughts; I used only juice, no pulp. The juice
was rather watery you might consider freezing the water out of the juice to
make it stronger. Good luck

On the subject of acid I spoke to Nancy Vineyard at the beverage people

about the acid in their mead nutrient and she said the amount they recomend
for 5 gal. raises the acid level by about 0.03% . Not much to worry about if
you ask me.

Most people Ive talked to recommend a acid level from 6% to 7% for a

stable fermentation. I prefer the taste of low acid meads so i've been
adjusting to 6. I had my share of strange meads before I started adjusting.
The last mead I made was at 2.25% before adjustment, so you can see the
importance of measuring and adjusting acid levels.

If you do want to lower the acidity with calcium carbonate you must use

it before the mead is "finished". Otherwise, you must use "acidex" to bring a
calulated part of the batch to ph nutrallity and add that back to the
original to lower the acid. (Big Headache!) At least thats my take on it.

In regards to 10 month "old" honey , Ive heard that honey is naturally

perserved and lasts a long time. I often use honey which is more than a year



By the way, if any one needs a honey source in the N. San Fran. bay

area/Santa Rosa drop me a line. Its starthisle, its $46 a 5 gal bucket, and
it makes GREAT mead. Unfortunetly, it must be bought in person at the farm .
(No mail orders)

Wassail, Don Dickinson


Subject: sulphites
From: (Matt Maples)
Date: Mon, 14 Aug 1995 20:10:54 -0700

>On the negative side, you have to worry about anyone with an allergy to
>sulphites drinking your mead.


>On the positive side, sulphites do what? Slow down yeast?


>Whether you boil or not, heat to pasteurize or not, is there *any* good reason
>to use sulphites?

Well I don't know about any one else but I use sulphites. The two reasons I
don't pasturize my must is one, it will change the flavor of any fruit you
use (no matter what people will tell you, you can't raise organic matter to
170 Deg. and not exdpect it to break down.), and two it can set the pectins in
fruit causing haze. If you are talking about plain mead there is some
debate about weather pasturizing will drive off aroma or not (personnally I
don't want to take the chance).

In my experiance if you have a good yest
culture and give the sulphites 24hr to drive off, it will have no effect on
the start of fermentation (with the yest strians I use). The purpose of
sulfites is to stun (it does not kill) any living organisium long enough for
your yeast colony to take hold.

As far as allergies, I have been sharing my home
brew for many years and have run across two people who were allergic to the
high yeast concentrations, one person who was allergic to tannins, one
person who was accually allergic to honey but not one person who was
allergic to sulphites. All of the wine and mead books I have read say to use
them. If you need a more technical explination just ask any wine maker or
professional mead maker, they all use it.

Just voicing one opinion.
matt maples
Matt Maples


Subject: Reusing yeast.
From: (Matt Maples)
Date: Mon, 14 Aug 1995 20:23:14 -0700

>1) Will it take longer for this starter's activity to kick up than it
>did for the original?
> 2) Has anyone else tried this method? If so, what were the results?


>( Okay, so its threefold…)

I have doen it with great success! I was using cote de blanch ( pardon my
French) and as soon as I the firsh racking of the first batch ( wich was
plain mead no fruit or spice) I added the dregs at the bottom to my next
batch. It started just fine and the fermentation went well. I've talked to a
friend of mine who is kind of a yeast nut and he said he only does this at
the most three times before he will culture a new starter (yes the man has a
bank for yeast slants). He said you can do it more times but you run the
rick of mutation. I have also taken the dregs and made a new starter with it
so I could keep it alive for several days (mainly due to bad timing on part)
untill my meadd was ready to pitch.

Matt Maples


Subject: oxygen
From: (Matt Maples)
Date: Mon, 14 Aug 1995 20:47:51 -0700

There has been some talk about O2 and stuck ferments so I thought I would
pass this little info along. I belong to "The Oregon Brew Crew" and we have
both home brewers and many pros that come to the meetings (if you live in
the Portland OR area gives us a call I promise you'll have fun 503-288-2739
(recording)). anyway one of the mebers who owns a brewery here in town is
well known for making the highest gravity beers aground. After talking with
a few people they told me that he uses a lot of O2. Big deal I said a lot of
people do. He said that they bubble O2 in the beer even after it's been
fermenting. I asked doesn't that oxydize it and make it taste stale?? No he
said that as long as there is another 15 dergees to ferment the yeast will
scrub all of the O2 back out. He went on to talk about how as the O2 level
drops the yeast start feeding on each other to get what they need to
survive, and this will bring fermentation to a grinding halt. I'm sure the
same thing can go double for mead because of the much higher gravity.
Although I have never tried it (only because I don't usually go over 1.094
and don't need to) the info came from a very good source so I thought I
would pass it on.

Matt Maples


End of Mead Lover's Digest #424