Mead Lover's Digest #0433 Fri 29 September 1995


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



Barat's Concord Pyment (Stephen Pursley)
My First Mead (Dave Matthews)
Virtual Great American Beer Festival (Shawn Steele)
Re: Buckwheat Honey Mead (
Hop Flavored Metheglin (Fred Hardy)
Cooking with Mead (Steven Rezsutek)
Having Safe Gruit (Fred Hardy)


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Subject: Barat's Concord Pyment
From: (Stephen Pursley)
Date: Fri, 22 Sep 1995 21:52:28 -0600

Try this one, it has been winning award and has put smiles on many faces:

Barat's Concord Pyment.

Honey (clover, orange blossom or any other light flavored honey) – 15 lbs.
(12 lbs. to start, feed with 3 more)

Concord Grape Concentrate – 120 oz.
Yeast Nutrient – 5 tsp.
Yeast Energizer – 1 1/4 tsp.

Yyeast Sweet Mead Yeast.

Bring 2.5 gal. water to boil. Remove from heat. Stir in 12 lbs. honey.
Return to heat. Bring to a boil then immediately reduce heat to a light
simmer. Scum will form (white to light tan). Skim it off till it stops
showing up (10 min. to and hour and a half. Depends on the honey). If the
scum forming is dark tan or brown, turn the heat down fast. Remove from
heat and immediately add the concord grape concentrate. Cover and let sit
for 15 min. This pasteurizes the juice, but is not hot enough to set the
pectin (not much pectin in the grape juice, it's mostly in the skins). Fill
your carboy with a little less than 1 gal. of cold water. Add the must to
the carboy. Add yeast nutrient and energizer. Put an airlock on the carboy.
Do not agitate it at this stage. When the temperature is down to 70-80 deg.
F pitch the yeast. Let it sit for a day. Then use the shaker method to up
the yeast count (more on this in a moment)

When fermentation tapers off, feed it. Treat the extra 3 lbs. the same way
you do the first 12 lbs. You will need about 1/2-2/3 gal. of water. Add
this to the fermenter (did I mention that I use 7.5 gal. carboys for 5 gal.
batches?) If you have to, remove some of the pyment from the fermenter and
store it in a 1 gal. bottle (with an airlock). You can then add this 1 gal.
back into the main batch at bottling time.

Starting specific gravity: 60
Ending specific gravity: 37

The color is a deep, dark bluish purple. It tends to be crystal clear
(without adding any clarifying agents, use them if you like). Wonderful
flavor. Be warned, I prefer sweet meads (dry meads are mostly modern in
design), and this is a sweet mead.

Where to get concord grape concentrate? The highest quality source I have
been able to find is Welches Concord Grape Juice Concentrate (really). This
stuff is made with the best concord grapes around, has no preservatives
(except for a small quantity of added vitamin C). Sometimes you can find
wine grade concord concentrate, but both brands I have found are produced
from the same vineyards as Welches grape juice, and taste just the same.

This stuff is good straight out of the fermenter, no aging required.
Sometimes you will get a little acid tang. If this happens, just let it sit
about two months in the bottles before drinking. I have just finished a
batch of this mead sparkling. Oh My!

The Shaker Method:

When making mead, pitch a large quantity of yeast (liquid cultures are
preferred, they tend to be a lot healthier than powdered yeasts). Use yeast
energizer and yeast nutrient in the amounts listed on the packages. The
next day, shake the carboy hard for one or two minutes. Repeat this shaking
every day till you start to get out-gassing from the mead. At this point
STOP. If you don't, you will end up with mead flavored ceiling. This
shaking method is used in mycology labs to grow production quantities of
many yeasts. It tends to accelerate growth by a factor of ten or more
(depending on the yeast strain and growth media in use).

If you don't use yeast nutrient and energizer, expect initial fermentation
to take several months (assuming 65-75 deg. F ambient temperature). With
this method, you can cut initial fermentation (primary fermentation if you
like) down to a few weeks to a month. This method does not affect the
flavor of the mead at all. I have done several side by side comparisons.
Some boiled, some not boiled. Some with energizer and/or nutrient, some
without. Some with shaking, some without. And combinations of all of these.
No change in flavor or aroma was found.

One note. This is not a true pyment. Pyment in the historicaly sense was
wine with honey added at drinking time to increase the sweetness. If you
like, call it a grape melomel.


Subject: My First Mead
From: (Dave Matthews)
Date: Sat, 23 Sep 1995 06:48:14 PDT

I have been lurking for a while and have a couple of questions
before I start my first mead. I have made a lot of beer and a
little wine so I do have ssome idea of what is going on.

It is heading into apple season in NY so I am considering
an apple/cinnamon combination by using a couple of gallons
of cider in the mead. I can get fresh clover or wildflower
honey in one gallon (12 pounds) jugs so the mead will be based
on one of these.

The proposed recipe for five gallons is:

12 lbs wildflower honey
2 gallons sweet cider
?? cinnamon sticks ground
champange yeast
1 tsp yeast nutrient
water to 5 gallons

Will I have problems with the pectin in the cider?
Should I add any acid? How much?
How much cinnamon?


Subject: Virtual Great American Beer Festival
From: Shawn Steele <>
Date: Mon, 25 Sep 1995 09:46:05 -0600

Spread the news!

Virtual Great American Beer Festival
October 5-7, 1995

There will be a virtual gathering on the World Wide Web for the 1995
Great American Beer Festival from 6:00 p.m, Thursday, Oct. 5, through
midnight, Saturday, Oct. 7, Mountain time. This virtual GABF will
coincide with the 14th annual Great American Beer Festival in Denver,
Colorado. This event promises to be the largest, most exciting,
domestic beer celebration to date, with more than 1,345 different beers
from over 335 breweries.

Visit the Virtual GABF on the World Wide Web at:

Our on-line events will include discussions with people at the Great
American Beer Festival through our beer pages, as well as other beer
enthusiasts around the world. Visit our web site to find out which
beers and breweries will be featured during the Virtual GABF. On
Saturday the 7th, the Professional Panel Blind Tasting results will be

Enjoy the Festival,


Shawn Steele
Great American Beer Festival (303) 447-0816 x 118 (voice)
736 Pearl Street (303) 447-2825 (fax)
PO Box 1679 (e-mail)
Boulder, CO 80306-1679 (aob info)
U.S.A. (web)

This information is subject to change. Great American Beer Festival is
a registered trademark and GABF is a registered service mark of Brewing

Subject: Re: Buckwheat Honey Mead
Date: Mon, 25 Sep 1995 18:53:32 -0400

I am in the process of experimenting with different types of honey in my
meads. Until recently, I had strictly been a Clover honey from Safeway kind
of Guy. I recently bottled a gallon batch of Buckwheat honey still mead
(after approx 3 months in the fermenter) and am interested to know how long
will it need to age?
I tried one bottle a week after bottling and found the honey flavor to be
very different than my clover meads. It is much more honey like, but also
more mediciny.
Since I only made 1 gallon, I only have 9 bottles left. That's why I would
like some advice on when I should try my next sample.

Subject: Hop Flavored Metheglin
From: Fred Hardy <>
Date: Tue, 26 Sep 1995 08:42:29 -0400 (EDT)

Anne Dubrofsky <> wrote:
>I'm trying a new recipe for mead, which calls for hops. I've never
>used hops. The package directions instruct you to boil the dried hops
>with the malt solution. In the case of mead making, do you just put
>the dried hops in with the must when you heat the water with the honey?

Hops may be used for 3 different effects, depending on what you want from
your metheglin. The hops can be used for bittering, flavor with minimal
bittering, mostly aroma or all three, depending on when they are added to
boiling liquid.

For ease of use I suggest you use hop pellets instead of flowers or plugs
(compressed flowers) which get awfully messy and clog things.

If you want bitterness, boil the hops in a small amount (1 qt.?) of water
for 60 minutes to extract the maximum bitterness. Strain and use the tea
as an additive to the honey/water mixture. The boil should be vigorous or
the relatively insoluble alpha acid will not be extracted.

Most hops yeild good flavor and slight aroma from a boil of 10
minutes. This extracts some bitterness (less than 1/5 of the amount you get
from a 60 minute boil) and most of the flavor (90-100%). Either boil for
10 minutes by themselves, or, if you want flavor and bitterness, add to
the 60 minutes boiul at the last 10 minutes.

For aroma only, steep the hops in a cup of boiling hot water just as if
you were making tea. Strain and dump the tea into your must. For a
combination with bittering and/or flavor, add the last bit of hops when
you turn of the heat under the boiling liquid.

For even fresher hop aroma in the meth, add 1/4 to 1/2 ounce of hop
pellets to the secondary fermenter. The alcohol level of the mead at this
point is so high that you need not worry about infection from the
pellets. After about 2 weeks most of the pellet solids will have settled
out, and any still floating will be lost at the next racking.

If you boil your honey for 10-15 minutes to skim the proteins, adding the
hops for flavor and/or aroma can be done according to the schedule above
by adding the hops directly to the boiling water and honey mixture. I use
this method to 1) simplify extraction of flavor and aroma from my hops
(I'm partial to Cascade and Kent Goldings) and, 2) skimming the proteins
aids in clarifying the final metheglin.

Cheers, Fred

We must invent the future, else it will | <Fred Hardy>
happen to us and we will not like it. |
[Stafford Beer, "Platform for Change"] | email:

Subject: Cooking with Mead
From: Steven Rezsutek <>
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 1995 17:02:14 -0400

This is probably old hat to many of you, but…

Last night, I "invented" a chicken dish (recipe, such as it is,
attached below), and, in a spirit of inventiveness, used a bit
of a mead I had open where I would have orinarily used a white
wine. What suprised me was not so much the way the mead lent
itself to the overall flavor, but the way it changed the nature
of the sauce. It came out resembling a slightly sweet glaze,
and were it not for the different flavors, I might have mistaken
it for a variation on "sweet and sour" sauce.

The mead I used was a "quick" mead I made up this spring. I used
a bit of red currant (the mead itself is pale, pink rose color)
and some local Takoma Park, MD honey. The honey is light, on the
order of clover, but it has an unusual aromatic quality and taste
that I can best describe as "Teaberry gum".

I was pleased enough that I'm planning on experimenting more with
this, to see if I can come up with interesting dishes where mead
isn't just an ingredient, but a *key* ingredient. I'd be
interested in hearing what others have come up with.


Oh, the mead, slightly chilled, was a wonderful accompanyment
to the meal as well. ;^}

  • ————– Garlic chicken with Mead ——————

2 chicken breasts, bone in
5 cloves garlic
10 or so *small* leaves of fresh lemon basil
1/3 cup chopped shallots
1 large sweet bell pepper, sliced
5 generic red chiles, chopped
(they look like jalapenos, but they're not)
1 habanero, finely chopped [optional]
3 scallions, butterflied
2 Tbl. butter
2 Tbl. olive oil
1/2 cup "light" mead
pinch black pepper
1 tsp

Brown the chicken thoroughly one one side (the skin
side) in the olive oil. Turn and add garlic and
shallots. When you get a aroma of roasting garlic,
add the butter. When that has melted, add the chiles
and basil. Simmer a bit while agitating the pan.
Deglaze with the mead, and add bell pepper, scallions,
and black pepper. Reduce heat and cover.

Cook until done. Remove chicken and veggies from pan.
Raise heat and reduce liquid by 1/3. While stirring,
slowly add corn starch mixture until the liquid becomes
glaze-like. Spoon over chicken. Eat.

Subject: Having Safe Gruit
From: Fred Hardy <>
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 1995 09:57:47 -0400 (EDT)

Herbs and spices were a standard additive to English Medieval
ales and meads through the 15th century. Use your imagination if
you would like to try to reproduce some of these drinks. Try
herbs and flowers, both fresh and dried, to make your brew
interesting, different and delicious.

A word of caution. Because a flower or herb smells wonderful
doesn't mean it is harmless if ingested. If you do not know the
make and model of a plant, take it to the county agent for
identification. Like with wild mushroom, do not guess!

Once identified, check the plant for possible toxic effects. An
excellent source is The Herb Book, by John Lust. It is available
at most book stores and is $6.99 (list) in paperback. This
text tells you the history, effects, toxicity, and instructions
on amounts to use to make a tea of the herb. A good investment!

Cheers, Fred

We must invent the future, else it will | <Fred Hardy>
happen to us and we will not like it. |
[Stafford Beer, "Platform for Change"] | email:

End of Mead Lover's Digest #433