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Mead Lover's Digest #0426 Wed 23 August 1995

 

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

 

Contents:

Re: Mead Lover's Digest #425, 20 August 1995 ("Allen Dick")
re: Wine wine/mead… (Dick Dunn)
Nutrient Treatment/Color/Other NewbieQs (Kirk R Fleming)
newbie and terms (Jill or Daniel Goldstein)
Any subject. (Russell Mast)
Better Bee/Meadery (lprescot@sover.net)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #425, 20 August 1995 (GeepMaley@aol.com)
finings for bottling (MicahM1269@aol.com)
Sparkaloid (Matt Maples)

 

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Subject:       Re: Mead Lover's Digest #425, 20 August 1995
From: "Allen Dick" <dicka@cuug.ab.ca>
Date: Sun, 20 Aug 1995 09:13:32 +0000

> I'm ready to bottle my first batch of traditional mead
> after 4 months in the carboy.It looks a lot clearer now after
> repeated racking.I've made several bear recipes and have added
> gelatin a day before bottling to help drop the yeast. Should this be
> done with my mead. What are the pros
> and cons of this. Also if anyone has any other good tips for
> bottling and/or aging in the bottle i'd greatly appreciate

Young meads can be clarified for earlier sampling by placing a jug in the
fridge. After a week or so and racking.

Although not recommended by many, we use two litre or gallon milk
jugs for our mead. We let the mead sit on the lees until it clears and
then rack into the poly jugs and screw the cap on semi-tight and set
in a cool place until needed then rack again into a glass container
(for effect) and refrigerate.

We make the simple dry mead: honey, water, nutrient, and acid plus
(sometimes) tea.

> I botched an old recipe but the mead came out a very powerful 20.3%.
> The resulting beverage tasted very much like a flat dry champage.

I wonder how you are measuring this? Vinometers are notoriously
inaccurate. I have never heard of yeasts tolerating 20% alcohols
solutions, however I'd love to be proven wrong 😉

> The "Color Solution" is an acid-base indicator, probably
> phenolphthalein. It's what makes the solution turn pink. The
> strength of the NaOH solution is very important to know also. Look
> for a number that says something like .1 N or .1 M. I think that
> both of these can be bought separately from the kit at homebrew
> supply stores.

Or your local drug counter, perhaps.

> >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.

> It is always a good idea to filter your honey as it comes out of the
> extractor.

<more good advice deleted>

It's a little late now, but next time. . .

For honey on hand now, if it is not clean (has some bees parts and
wax), but otherwise good, the answer is to clarify it by settling.

Since it is too thick at room temperature, you must warm it. perhaps
it has even set up. In that case you must liquify it.

Here is some general info we circulate to our mail order honey customers,
(we're commercial beekeepers with a large mail order honey business)
followed by info on how to settle and skim the honey in question here:


Making Soft or Liquid Honey

Honey is liquid when we extract it from the hive, but it usually quickly
becomes solid. Because it comes from many different flowers, it
varies in composition and texture. Therefore, it can set very firm – or
quite soft. Natural honey (meaning not pasteurised, filtered or
blended) has enzymes that continue to change the honey for a year or
more after it is made by the bees. The hardness of a pail of natural
honey will naturally change over time – usually after a year or so it
becomes softer. Creamed honey has been heated, filtered and
blended to make a soft honey and will not change much..

 

If you want to soften your honey for easier spreading, temperatures of
about 80 to 90 degrees F. (27 to 30 degrees C.) will soften it over a
few days. Warning: above 90 degrees F. the honey may start to melt.

If liquid honey is what you'd like, don't exceed 115 degrees and be
sure to stir the honey from time to time until it is quite clear. For liquid
honey, we recommend melting only a little at a time – perhaps in a
microwave oven. It will just set up again in a short while anyhow –
unless you use a lot of heat. Heat can darken honey and change its
flavour. However – once liquefied – liquid honey beyond immediate
needs may be stored in a freezer to prevent re-hardening. Glass jars
will not break, because the honey doesn't freeze – it just gets really stiff.

Instructions for softening or melting an entire pail (a gallon or more)

A warming oven, or a cupboard with a light bulb (in a suitable lamp)
works well. Be very careful not to overheat the honey – or start a fire
by having the bulb close to anything flammable. An ordinary room
thermometer placed in the cupboard will tell you if you have chosen
the right size of bulb or not. You can try 40, 60 or 100 watts
depending on the cupboard. Standing the pail in tub of hot water
works too, but if you use heat under the tub, you could melt the
bottom of the plastic pail – or if you are not careful – water can get into
the honey. Honey with water makes great pancake syrup, but it will
not keep very long.

FOR LONGER TERM STORAGE
A COOL, DRY PLACE IS PREFERABLE.

 

HONEY WILL DARKEN IF STORED ABOVE ROOM
TEMPERATURE FOR LONG.

 

DON'T KEEP HONEY IN THE FRIDGE
(IT'S NOT NECESSARY – HONEY SELDOM SPOILS).

 


After you get the honey to the liquid state, the debris will either
be on top – or on the bottom. Hopefully everything should be on top,
because the only thing that sinks in honey is dirt (and nails). This will
tell you something about how clean or dirty it really is.

After liquifying, let the honey cool to 95 degrees F. which is beehive
broodnest temperature and should not damage the honey, let it
sit a few hours and then skim the surface. What comes to the top
usually will not have had much effect on the quality. If there is a lot on
the bottom, the cleanliness is questionable.

After skimming, if it is nice and clear and tastes really good (hot honey is har
d to
judge so cool your little taste sample), use it for mead.

Hope this helps.

Regards

Allen

W. Allen Dick, Beekeeper VE6CFK
Rural Route One, Swalwell, Alberta Canada T0M 1Y0
Honey. Bees, Art, & Futures <http://www.cuug.ab.ca:8001/~dicka>


Subject: re: Wine wine/mead...
From: rcd@raven.eklektix.com (Dick Dunn)
Date: 20 Aug 95 22:30:20 MDT (Sun)

hall@galt.c3.lanl.gov (Michael L. Hall) wrote:
[Daniel Burke had written about Bunratty "Meade" in the US]
> > discover later that this is Meade, with an "e", not Mead. The label states
> > "A white wine flavored with honey and herbs."

>

> I imagine that it is actually mead, but that licensing restrictions
> (from your friends at the BATF) have made them label it strangely.
> I seem to remember similar labels on US-produced meads.

No, this is not a BATF or US labeling issue. You can use "mead" on the
label of a mead in the US; you just need the phrase "honey wine" as well,
because that's the legal term for it. Note that the Bunratty label
indicates (by the way it's phrased) that it is a wine (thus fermented
grapes) to which honey has been added…but the honey isn't fermented, so
it is not a "honey wine" (mead).

I have a hard time saying anything polite, let alone kind, about this
product. Now, what they're doing _is_ a time-honored practice: Take a
mediocre wine and sweeten it to cover the faults of the wine. But that's
hardly something deserving praise! ("Buy this wine…we've fixed it up so
it's not as bad as it started out."?!?) Worse, the hang-tag makes all
manner of connection to the history and significance of mead–without
actually being a mead at all! The label is a real sham: the word MEADE is
in dark green letters nearly an inch high, and the real explanation "BRAND /
White Wine With Honey And Herbs Added" is ten times smaller in light tan
letters against a pale yellow background. You won't even see them if you
don't study the label. It is clearly intended to make you believe you are
buying mead and prevent you (as much as labelling laws will allow) from
finding out what's really in it.

OK, there are enough mediocre alcoholic beverages on the US market, but
this one hits too close to home–I'd like people to know about mead, and
this is going to turn them away from it. Moreover, it's deceptive. I
wouldn't like it any better if I saw "Beere" and in the fine print "brand
white wine with malt syrup and hops added".

> For instance, I know that many brewpubs want to produce meads but
> legally can't. They can produce braggots, since there is some malt
> involved…

This is a different issue–the goofy problem is that beer is beer, but mead
[with no added malt] is a wine…so in order for a brewery to make a true
mead, they'd also have to be a winery. At the least, this would require a
separate winery license and all that goes along with it. (The record-keep-
ing alone would be a nightmare.) I'm not even sure that it's allowable to
have a brewery and winery on the same site…I haven't been able to dig
that deeply into the laws. Note that most of the meaderies in the US also
produce wines…because legally they are wineries.

The way out of the problem for breweries lies in how the law decides
whether some oddball beverage is a beer or a wine. (For example, pose the
question of whether a blackberry ale is a blackberry wine with malt added
_vs_ an ale with blackberries added.) The rule is essentially that if it's
got malt in it, it's classified as a beer, and a brewery can make it.
There is some minimum amount of malt required, to prevent the obvious
games, but as Michael notes, this is how they make mead "legally".

Dick Dunn rcd@talisman.com -or- raven!rcd Boulder, Colorado USA

…Simpler is better.

 


Subject: Nutrient Treatment/Color/Other NewbieQs
From: flemingk@usa.net (Kirk R Fleming)
Date: Sun, 20 Aug 1995 23:28:16 -0600

Well, I'm heading down to the farmer's market on Tuesday to pick up some
as-yet unspecified honey for my first mead. I've looked at several recipes
and read the Spring 95 Zymurgy article, and see that some folks put the
yeast nutrient and energizer (if applicable) in the boil, and others
don't. I guess this means boiling doesn't harm either one–opinions?

Also, I'm after the color of a *very* pale White Zinfandel–but want a
dry mead as well. Something such as cranberries which I would think
would add little if any sugar might give me the color I'm looking for.
Any suggestions here?

Based on the recipes I've seen (and little else), it looks as though
I might be able to get a dry 2 gallon batch using about 5.5 to 6 lbs
of honey and Wyeast 3632. Not knowing anything about the kind of honey
I'm going to use, does this sound about right?

Your guidance greatly appreciated!

Kirk R Fleming / Colorado Springs / flemingk@usa.net
KRF Colorado Springs


Subject: newbie and terms
From: goldstein@cent.com (Jill or Daniel Goldstein)
Date: Mon, 21 Aug 1995 08:54:17 -0500

Wassail Y'all,

I am just now in the process of preparing to start to brew mead. I have a
few questions, if you all will give me a little indulgence. I've read all
kinds of web sites on mead, and no one gives some basic definitions.

What is a carboy? I assume, it is the bottle that you let the mead ferment.
Do you have to buy a carboy or will a one-gallon cider bottle due? Will the
airlock fit on it?

Can anyone provide me with a list of suppliers that do mail order? I have a
brewing supply here in town, and will visit it. However, I like to try
mailorder as it is sometimes cheaper.

Thanks for the indulgence. There will be more later.

Gerda Seaxfeldes

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

Gerda Gisela Ceorless Seaxfeldes
Daniel Thrall
US Snail: In Care of The Goldstein's

6355 Westheimer #168
Houston, Tx 77057

Internet: goldstein@cent.com

 

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


Subject: Any subject.
From: Russell Mast <rmast@fnbc.com>
Date: Mon, 21 Aug 1995 11:52:16 -0500

Gerald_Wirtz@vos.stratus.com asks, about anything :

> Should I wait longer?

Yes.

  • -R

Subject: Better Bee/Meadery
From: lprescot@sover.net
Date: Mon, 21 Aug 1995 19:37:33 -0400

I'm still new to the MLD, so I don't know if anyone knows about the Better Bee
Meadery in Greenwich, NY. This is a large farm located in a rural area of
upstate New York. They produce large quantities of honey and also have a small
mead operation

They can be reached at (518) 692-9669. They're small enough that I don't
believe they have a catalog, and their stock changes, but I recommend the
traditional, spiced, or dry, which are all about $7.00/bottle, less in
quantity. I can't recommend the cyser. They also do melomels in half-bottles;
the blueberry and raspberry are both good, but run $6.00 each. Worth a phone
call, or you can e-mail me for more information.

 

  • -David Prescott

Lprescot@sover.net

 


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #425, 20 August 1995
From: GeepMaley@aol.com
Date: Tue, 22 Aug 1995 09:20:52 -0400

In MLD 425 you kept referring to percentages (20.3%, etc.). Am I to assume
this is the level of alcohol in the batch? If not, 20.3% of what. Also,was
the tea added an instant including sugar or just tea?

Interesteing story and good advice, but I am a little coudy on the above
subject.

Geep


Subject: finings for bottling
From: MicahM1269@aol.com
Date: Wed, 23 Aug 1995 10:08:04 -0400

Whether to fine or not? I have good luck using both islinglas and bentonite
as finings. Has filtration been considered? Meads usually
filter well and can be made more bottle stable.

micah millspaw


Subject: Sparkaloid
From: mattm@teleport.com (Matt Maples)
Date: Wed, 23 Aug 1995 18:42:10 -0700


> Both meads have had no airlock activity for a few weeks now – but both
>are also still cloudy.

>

> My questions are :

>

> Should I bottle?

>

> Should I wait longer?

>

> Should I add Sparkaloid? (If so how?)

I say go for the Sparkaloid!!! I like to let things clear on there own if I
can, but some yeast strains take to darn long to fall out. 9 times out of 10
sparkaloid will do the trick (for me). Here is what you do, take 1 tsp
sparkaloid per galon of mead and boil it for 10 to 15 min in 2 cups water.
Add this hot mix to the mead. It will clear in a matter of 2 or 3 days but
you MUST wait longer. Wait 2 weeks and then rack, if you bottle at this poit
you will get a small layer on Spakaloid on the bottom of the bottle but if
you wait another 2 weeks and then bottle you will be rewarded with some of
the most crystal clear mead you have ever seen. The only problem with
sparkaloid is that is is very light and fluffy. Thats why you have to wait
so long for all of it to fall out. I would Highly suggest that everyone use
Sparkaloid at least once just to see the great results.

Matt Maples
mattm@teleport.com

 


End of Mead Lover's Digest #426


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