Mead Lover's Digest #0428 Sun 3 September 1995


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



Re: Fining Agents ("Lee C. Bussy")
Way Cloudy Mead (Scott Bukofsky)
re: melomel/mead clearing and light raisins (Joel Stave)
Re: Alchohol % in Mead (Steven Rezsutek)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #427, 29 August 1995 (
Hippy-Crass. (Russell Mast)
instant mead clarity data point (Richard Webb)
Re: New Subscribers (Kelly E Jones)
Re: Bunratty Mead(e) (Jane Beckman)
Re: Alchohol % in Mead (Steve E. Mercer)
sparkaloid (
Adding honey to mead (Ray Gaffield)
acid test components (Lenny Garfinkel)
high alcohol readings (Dick Dunn)


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Subject:       Re: Fining Agents
From: "Lee C. Bussy" <>
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 1995 07:00:59 +0000

*Lurker Mode Off*

I read Dick Dunn's comments about sparkaloid and it's general
aversion to staying on the bottom. I agree and my own experiences
have held this out. I have found a way around it however.

On my beers I sometimes give them the 'ol one-two. Two differend
fining agants if I'm trying to rush a beer into consumption. Not a
good practice but it works. I have found that Polyclar will after a
few days settle to a fairly dense mass, compacting the yeast and
itself to a fairly stable cake. Perhaps this is the answer to the
sparkaloid thing? Give the mead the 'ol one two. Use a fining for
your fining.

Might work.


  • -Lee Bussy | When guns are outlawed, how are | | we going to shoot the liberals? |


Subject: Way Cloudy Mead
From: Scott Bukofsky <>
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 1995 08:06:48 -0400 (EDT)

I made a traditional dry mead (15 lbs Clover honey, Champagne yeast, 5
gal water) over a year ago. At the time I bottled it, it was still a
little cloudy, but I figured what the hell. A year later, it is still
quite cloudy. I am convinced that the haze is not yeast, and the mead
tastes good, but the haze bothers me. I am determined to empty some
bottles back into a carboy and fine. The question is, what fining agent
should I use?? What would be appropriate for non-yeast haze?



Subject: re: melomel/mead clearing and light raisins
From: Joel Stave <>
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 1995 08:24:28 -0400

Our beloved janitor (Dick Dunn) writes:
>For me, melomels seem to clear spontaneously: They ferment like crazy; the
>fermentation dies down; the mead starts to fall clear. Rack once, let the
>rest of it settle; rack again at bottling time. Serve nice clear melomel.
>I've had nowhere near such good luck with traditional meads, though.

I've noticed the same thing with my melomels- the basil metheglin I made also
cleared very quickly, but my straight meads *always* seem to take forever to
settle. I have a mead that I started 10 months ago which is every bit as
opaque as the mead I started 1 month ago. Does anyone have a clue as to why
the addition of fruit or herbs would make a difference? Could the tannin in
the fruit skins (does basil have tannin in it?) somehow have something to do
with it? writes:
>2 lb. dark raisins (haven't tried white ones yet)

Light raisins are sulfphited. Getting a ferment started with these things in
the must is a bitch. The one time I used them (dandelion wine) it took a week
and 3 pitchings before there was any activity.

That said, there are some recipes (like the dandelion wine) which specifically
call for light raisins. Is there some techinique that I don't know about for
getting rid of the suphite without changing the taste of the raisins? Or is it
just OK to let the must sit for a week before the ferment kicks in?

Joel Stave

Subject: Re: Alchohol % in Mead
From: Steven Rezsutek <>
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 1995 09:25:08 -0400

sam bennett writes:
> … I calibrated my vinometer with water (zero) and to several
> commercial wines (known % of alcohol). The results remained the same
> as before. My meads are a medium sweet variety…

Were the commercial wines dry? The reason I ask it that I'd be
suspicious of the sugar throwing off the reading. I recall from
somewhere that vinometers are accurate (as much as they can be) only
for dry wines. [Disclaimer: I don't own one myself].


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #427, 29 August 1995
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 1995 09:36:18 -0400


This is my first post in a while, and I would like to know if anyone has an

address for a supplier of yeast hulls (for nutrient). I am unable to locate
any localy, and have been using the chemical nutrient available for
winemaking. This seems to work well, because I wait at least 6 months before
botteling, but would like to try the other nutrient.

Private E-mail would be fine.



Subject: Hippy-Crass.
From: Russell Mast <>
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 1995 10:03:54 -0500

> I didn't know
> whether to call it a metheglin or a melomel as it has both spices and
> fruit, so I decided to give up and coin my own word "melometh".

I've read that such a beast is properly called a Hippocras, and was planning
on responding thusly until I read Fred Hardy's comments about Hippocras
not being a variety of mead. Now I'm confused. Also, someone here, and at
a homebrew meeting I went to, said that stuff labelled "white wine flavored
with …" might acutally be a real mead, just mislabelled to get around the

I'm confused.

Dick Dunn, you're the greatest. (Sorry if I'm one who sends too many
subscribes, various mailing lists have been dropping me lately, so I've
been doing funny stuff with it.)

Has anyone made a mead (or other honey beverage, or even beer) with basil?

  • -R

Subject: instant mead clarity data point
From: Richard Webb <>
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 1995 08:09:38 -0700

This last weekend, I racked a carboy of mead that had been fermenting for
almost two months, even thouth it was still rather cloudy. Just because
I find that I can't leave well enough alone, I added 1 gallon of organic
apple cider that I had bought in a health food store. It was also rather
cloudy. Imagine my surprise when after about an hour, I noticed that the
cloudiness had coagulated, and in a little while had collapsed to the bottom
of the carboy. Talk about synergy! Two cloudy liquids mixed together yeilding
a clear liquid! In any case, I'm letting the mixture sit for a couple of
weeks, hoping that the cider will initiate a new fermentation round, but I
was wondering if anyone had an explanation for this phenomina. My personal
theory is that the apple juice changed the overall acidity in the mix,
forcing the floating clouds out of solution. It could have been magic too,
after all, this is mead!

Just a data point…
Rich Webb

Subject: Re: New Subscribers
From: Kelly E Jones <>
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 95 12:49:18 PDT

Regarding the problems that our benevolent janitor has had with
multiple subscribe requests…

Part of the problem is that, in this electronic age, most people
expect some kind of acknowledgement back from their emailed subscribe
requests. Let's face it, mail sometimes does evaporate, and if you send
off a request and hear nothing back for days, you may wonder if the
message ever got through.

Now, nobody would suggest that Dick Dunn, the Janitor, doesn't already
do enough for us (and since I haven't said it in awhile: THANKS!!),
but one suggestion would be to send back a simple "subscription
request acknowledged" reply when someone sends a subscribe request.
At least then they would know their request was successful, and they
could lay off the email for awhile. It's a little more work for the
janitor, but may save some headaches and aggravation.

While its true that those of us who pass on the subscription request
to a friend should be sure and mention that it may take a few days,
remember that pointers to the MLD are scattered across the Web, at
hundreds of sites, and the MLD is also mentioned in a lot of
periodicals, etc. Not everyone who comes here is introduced by a
current MLD subscriber.

Anyway, just a suggestion.

And once again, THANKS from all of us readers. Your efforts are
greatly appreciated.


Kelly Jones Intel Portland Technology Development
Phone: (503) 642-8181 FAX: (503) 591-3597
email: MS: AL4-57


Subject: Re: Bunratty Mead(e)
From: (Jane Beckman)
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 95 15:26:03 PDT

Are you sure Bunratty Meade isn't a brand name? Bunratty (brand) Meade (a
honey-wine beverage), just the thing for that Olde Tyme beverage aura! Take
an inferior white wine, and fortify it with some honey and herbs, and it may
well be much cheaper to produce than real mead. (Hmm, I remember a 1560's
lament that the Scots adulterated their wine with honey and herbs…)

I have no idea of its origins, but I had a wonderful slightly-sparkley
mead at Durty Nellie's under the walls of Bunratty Castle in 1975. This
was quite obviously *not* honey-enriched wine, being more of the character
of, say, a mead version of Woodpecker Cider: sweet, still slightly sparkley,
but a bit drier than something like Chaucer's.

Jane/Jilara []

Subject: Re: Alchohol % in Mead
From: (Steve E. Mercer)
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 95 18:42:17 CDT

> […] Anyway, I usually get an alcohol content of between 18%
> and 20% with 23.1% being my record. This may seem high (it did to
> me), so I calibrated my vinometer with water (zero) and to several
> commercial wines (known % of alcohol). The results remained the same
> as before. My meads are a medium sweet variety […]

I see one potential source of error in your alcohol content
measurements. According to your message, you use a VINOMETER
to determine the percentage of alcohol in your mead, and your
meads are SWEET.

Below is a quote from the Semplex catalog:
> A glass device for testing the percentage of alcohol in dry
> wines and brews. Will not work properly with a sweet wine.

If the catalog is accurate, then your vinometer readings might
be incorrect because the vinometer works only for DRY wines,
and you are using it with a SWEET mead.

Does anybody know an accurate method of measuring alcohol content
in sweet meads?

Steve Mercer

Subject:        sparkaloid
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 95 10:59 EDT

hi to all,

Recently i added some sparkaloid to my 4 month
old traditional mead. It has been 1 week since
i added it to my carboy and it semms to be doing
a good job.I have some floating at the top and
have to shake it every few days to get it to
sink to the bottom.My main concern is ,as discussed
in a recent digest,when bottling how do i stop
this light fluff called sparkaloid from entering
my bottles.Can i add some gelatin to help
congeal the sparkaloid so it won't enter my tube.
Will the mixture of gelatin and sparkaloid have any
detrimental effects on my life as well as my taste
buds.What is the best fining agent for mead with
concern for bottling so as not to waste some of this
precious stuff.



Subject: Adding honey to mead
From: (Ray Gaffield)
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 95 14:00:46 -0500


I was wondering if I could get some specifics on "feeding"

honey into a fermenting batch of mead. I have read that you can add
honey later to a fermenting batch because the yeast will be able to
absorb it but there hasn't been any specifics as to when it should be
done, what quantities should be added, and general technique.


I currently have 2 5-gallon batches going. One batch, made with 12.5
lbs of clover honey is currently in the secondary and is still
fermenting ,albeit slowly. Can honey be added once it's in the
secondary ? The second batch, 14.5 lbs. clover honey, was just made
last Sunday. Both were made with dry Champagne yeast and sulphites.

I'd appreciate any info about adding honey to either of these


Ray Gaffield


Subject: acid test components
From: Lenny Garfinkel <>
Date: Sun, 3 Sep 1995 02:03:21 +0300 (IDT)

I was recently in the states and almost bought an acid testing kit. Upon
opening the kit, I saw that it contained a 20 cc hypodermic syringe, a
bottle of sodium hydroxide and a phenylthelein color indicator solution.
Since I have access to all of these things in my lab, I figured there was
no point blowing $6 on this. So I bought a few more pounds of barley
malt instead. Now, can anyone tell me what concentration of NaOH to
prepare, what conc. of color indicator, and how exactly to perform the test?


Lenny Garfinkel


Dr. Leonard Garfinkel | Internet:
Bio-Technology General | Office Phone: 972-8-381256
Kiryat Weizmann | Home Phone: 972-8-451505
Rehovot, Israel | FAX: 972-8-409041

Subject: high alcohol readings
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 3 Sep 95 23:35:09 MDT (Sun)

I don't want to tromp on anyone's feelings, and I'm always open to new
results and things I've not been able to achieve in my mead-making (after
all, I'm only the janitor here…I've been making mead for a fair while,
but I'm *not* a master mead-maker).

However, the notes about high alcohol levels (20% or over) using standard
yeasts are hard to believe. I'm not saying they're impossible, mind you…
I'm saying they go against a large body of existing experience. It would
be useful to challenge (in the scientific, not emotional, sense) these
reports and see if we can find out what's going on. A lot of us who have
*not* been able to ferment up to high alcohol might like to do so. (It's
not just for the kick, of course; you can add that if you want it. But,
for example, I've got a metheglin recipe-group that I'd like to push up to
sipping strength.)

OK, we know that a vinometer won't work if there's any significant residual
sugar. (Beyond that, I have my doubts about the vinometer for mead at all,
but I don't have any hard evidence to back up my doubts.) But there was
also at least one report of 20+% alcohol based on hydrometer readings. Can
we dig out that (anyone else got similar results) and re-check them? One
reminder about hydrometers is that you need to have the must mixed up
thoroughly to get a useful reading.

As I figure it, 20% potential alcohol requires a starting gravity around
1.150. This means roughly 20 lb honey in a 5-gallon batch AND fermenting
almost all the way down (almost no residual sugar)–if you managed this,
the result would not taste sweet. I'm quite skeptical, but I'd sure like
to know how to do it! If you've managed this and checked it with a hydro-
meter, what were the starting and ending readings? How much honey did you


(Again, I emphasize I'm not trying to disprove or discredit anything. It's
just that extraordinary results require extraordinary care in checking

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

…Simpler is better.


End of Mead Lover's Digest #428

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