Mead Lover's Digest #0431 Tue 19 September 1995


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



Edit those submissions carefully, please! (Mead Lover's Digest)
final gravity/history (
Commercial mead (Spencer W Thomas)
Re: Mead in literature (Joyce Miller)
Huckleberry honey (
Measuring alcohol (Ralph Snel)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #430, 13 September 1995 (
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #430, 13 September 1995 (Robert Wenzlaff)


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Subject: Edit those submissions carefully, please!
From: (Mead Lover's Digest)
Date: 19 Sep 95 22:09:35 MDT (Tue)

One of those annoying off-topic pleas from the janitor: Please edit your
submissions to the digest so they fit nicely within 80-character lines and
don't have extra junk (like trailing carriage-returns). This makes it
easier for everyone to read, and it may keep your submission from being
caught by one of the filter programs and returned to you for editing.
(The objection that windows can be wider than 80 characters will earn you
a private rant on typographic practice and tracking ability of the eye;-)

There are two common problems. First, some few systems will allow incredibly lo
ng lines (like this) which usually get broken at an awkward point in most window

The second problem, which is much more common (and which I can't catch
with a
filter, so I only see it if I'm hand-editing an issue of the digest) is
that the
lines start out being too long, or are initially formatted in a
font, but then get re-broken to shorter margins, so you get the long/short
I'm showing here, which is utterly maddening to read!

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

Subject:        final gravity/history
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 95 7:25 EDT

HI to all ,

I made a traditional sweet mead using sweet yeast with
12 lbs. of honey. The honey bees were from a farm that
had a large apple orchard as well as veggies,fruit and
flowers.The honey was very dark compared to clover honey.
So I made my first batch with a starting gravity of 1.140
and after 4 months the gravity is at 1.030(11.5%). Does this
sound normal??
Also, someone posted asking for history info on mead.
As i sat drinking the mead from my test tube i was wondering
what the earliest mention of mead has been.

Subject: Commercial mead
From: Spencer W Thomas <>
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 09:51:08 -0400

I picked up a bottle of "Camelot" mead, produced somewhere in Indiana
(can't remember the name of the producer, sorry). It's a relatively
light-flavored traditional mead, a touch heavy on the acid (for my
taste), and, unfortunately, still smelling of sulfites. Still, it's
nice to see a semi-dry, clean interpretation of the style (as opposed
to, say, Chaucer's, or that Bunratty Meade(tm) product).

=Spencer Thomas in Ann Arbor, MI (

Subject: Re: Mead in literature
From: (Joyce Miller)
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 10:24:59 -0400

Gregg asks about sources of info on mead past to present:

Well, probably the best book of this sort is:

_Brewing Mead (Wassail! in Mazers of Mead)_, 1986, Brewers

Publications. This is a facsimile reprint of Gayre's 1948 book on the
history of mead in literary sources, with a final chapter on brewing mead
written by Charlie Papazian added on at the end. 198 pages, 11 black and
white illustrations, references & notes, no index.

I think it's in the $10-15 range or so.

You might also find a lot of useful leads in the Oxford English Dictionary,
which some libraries have on CD-ROM. The OED is a dictionary, and gives
definitions of words, but it also lists occurrences of those words
throughout the history of English literature (which probably explains why
its founder, after working on it for several decades, only got as far as
"ant" when he died).

Useful words to look up would be:

bragget, ciser, claree, claret, hippocras, hydromel, malmsey, mead,
metheglin (various spellings), morat, omphacomel, piment. ["Melomel" is
*not* in there (!!!)]

What you get is something like this:


om'phacomel. rare-1. L., ad. Gr. omfakomeli (Dioscorides), f. omfac (see
above) + meli honey. A drink made of the juice of unripe grapes mixed with

* 1873 in Pallad. on Husb. ix. 197 (E.E.T.S.) 178 Editor's marg. note, To
make omphacomel [text honyonfake].

If you can't get your hands on an OED, let me know. It's on a web site
here at MIT ( If it turns out that this is a
private site, let me know and I can look up words for you and e-mail you
the results (as long as it's not too many).

  • — Joyce

Joyce Miller, Ph.D.
Whitehead Institute / M.I.T. Center for Genome Research
617-252-1914 (phone) 617-252-1902 (FAX)

Subject: Huckleberry honey
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 14:59:21 -0400

Has anyone tried huckleberry honey for mead. I saw some at a farmers

market in Arcada, Ca. . It was rather dark so it scared me off but now i'm
reconsidering it . TIA

To Patrick with the high final gravity problem: I wouldn't blame the

sulfite. Check the acid level. If its too high it could inhibit the yeast.
Also you might consider adding Koji. Koji is what sake makers use to convert
complex sugars to fermentable simple sugars. I've used it in high final
gravity beer with success. It can be found at most homebrew supply shops.
Good luck and tell us what happens.

Finally, has anyone used, or heard of anyone using, steam injection to

heat or boil mead or beer? I'm concerned about oxidation during the boil
which is said to cause the mead/beer to become stale. Thanks for any input.

Don Dickinson
Santa Rosa, Ca.
"Mead your Head"

Subject: Measuring alcohol
From: Ralph Snel <>
Date: Fri, 15 Sep 95 16:39:21 METDST

A year or so ago I posted the method of boling away the alcohol and
replacing it with water. It was quoted a little while ago. Let me
tell you: it works. I never checked it on commercial wines, but sofar
it's the best method I've tried.
One thing to remember: boil away _all_ the alcohol, or you will measure
too low a percentage. Don't bother about temperatures, it doesn't work.
The temperature will rise gradually as the alcohol content decreases.
Sniff. You'll know the difference. Besides that, you can tell by the
smell of the fuzel oils that you're getting close


Ralph Snel

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #430, 13 September 1995
Date: Sat, 16 Sep 1995 07:46:55 -0400

In MLD#430, Mike Clarke writes:

"The strawberry is very clear
and the kiwi has a slight haze to it. I'm getting ready to bottle and I've
thinking about doing something to the kiwi. I'm thinking this is a pectin
but I'm not sure. Some things I'm considering:

1) Adding pectic enzyme to kiwi.mead. I don't know if that's a good thing to

do at this point though."

Actually, I asked about Pectic Enzyme in MLD#430. It might be worth a try, but
my understanding is that it
works best at low levels of alcohol, i.e. it should be added at the beginning
of fermentation. I have used it in
my last 4 meads, and it has worked wonderfully. If there is any bad taste left
behind, I haven't found it yet.

However, another problem might be related to:

2) Try fining with polyclar.

"A side note: I didn't fine with ployclar on the traditional portion of the
and I bottled it as a still mead. Guess what, I have sparkling traditional
The mead had been stable for a couple of months before I bottled. I've seen
mentioned before on the digest, but I'm wondering if fining would help keep
from happening."

It sure didn't help on my last traditional mead. After reading all the recent
postings, I'm convinced it was a
lack of oxygen in the primary that kept it from fermenting to completion. It
was stable for about six
months. Then I bottled. Then I had to replace the floor covering in my closet
because of the resulting
"sparkling" mess.

David Prescott

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #430, 13 September 1995
From: Robert Wenzlaff <>
Date: Sat, 16 Sep 1995 09:23:24 -0400 (EDT) asks:
> I split a 5 gal batch of traditional mead into 3 parts, 1 gal Kiwi melomel, 1
> traditional . . .

> A side note: I didn't fine with ployclar on the traditional portion of
>the batch and I bottled it as a still mead. Guess what, I have sparkling
>traditional mead.
> The mead had been stable for a couple of months before I bottled.
>I've seen this mentioned before on the digest, but I'm wondering if
>fining would help keepthis from happening.

Probably not. You'll never get ALL the yeast out. You may slow the
carbonation, but you won't stop it. You need to ferment to finality
(read LONG TIME), Start with a high specific grav. so the alcohol
attenuates the yeast, or stablize chemically. (I recently stabalized a
batch with Potasium Sorbate rather than sulfites, so far the only side
effect I've seen is the mead tends to have soap-like bubbles in the necks
of the bottles and when you pour. – Any comments?)

Robert Wenzlaff
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"Well, Gene, I agree with your 'thumbs up' on the basis
of _Appolo 13_'s technical production, but I'm not sure

if the moviegoing public is ready to accept the premise behind

the movie's plot."


End of Mead Lover's Digest #431

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