Mead Lover's Digest #0435 Wed 11 October 1995


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



1st Mead a Success (Allen Harris)
honey during pregnancy (Maggie Burns)
When to bottle? ("Andrew Harvie")
Roger Morse's Thesis? (The tip of stalagtites incising my knees)
Subtlety in Mead (Mark Albert)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #433, 29 September 1995 (Spencer W Thomas)
New Brewing Gadget (
sulphites (


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Subject: 1st Mead a Success
From: (Allen Harris)
Date: Sat, 7 Oct 1995 08:37:49 -0400

Hello Folks,

I just wanted to pass on my thanks to all the folks who gave me help and
encouragement during the making of my first mead. It is a still traditional
mead that has gotten several of my friends hooked on mead.

I have two notes of interest. The first is I learned the hard way the
fermentation is a mystical activity. The mead had been racked three times
and was quite clear with no activity in the air lock for about a month. I
bottled a small quantity of the mead in hip flask type bottles and grolsh
bottles. Labeled them up and presented them to several folk for the launch
of the new TV news show I work on. All was going well until two weekends
ago when I noticed one of the rubber o-rings had displaced on a grolsh
bottle. I vented the bottle and it gushed. On Monday I went into work and
started to send out a note to all involved to be careful. It was too late.
It seems that I had inadvertently bombed Canada's top news anchor's office
and the living room of the top news director. No one was injured. Oddly
enough, there was one flask that did not suffer the carbonation, and one
grolsh bottle that was opened for the first time last weekend that was
nicely carbonated but not gushey.

I was loaned a paper plate filter the day after I presented the glass
grenades and the filtered mead was clearer and smoother. I have found that
I enjoy the still mead better than the carbonated mead.

Now that I have found an niche for myself, I would like to produce a
cranberry mead in the 6 US Gal. quantity. I plan to use my existing formula
(17lbs honey and water) as a base since I like the qualities it has. Can
anyone tell me how many cranberries I will need? I plan to use frozen whole

Reply or private E-Mail is good.


Allen Harris
Helmeted Mead Maker & TD for The National
Allen Harris
Toronto, Canada

Toronto Regional Assn. of Specialty Homebrewers Web Master

Subject: honey during pregnancy
From: (Maggie Burns)
Date: Sat, 07 Oct 1995 09:55:11 -0400

Does anyone know that myth/fact/old wives' tale about the dangers of
consuming honey during pregnancy? I heard it somewhere about ten years ago
and now (aha!) it's becoming relevant : ) Also I heard that the same
applies to very young children. What's the story with this? Anyone have
any nice concrete references I can look up? Bad enough going without the
mead and its cousins, but honey would be missed.


Maggie Burns

Subject:       When to bottle?
From: "Andrew Harvie" <>
Date: Sat, 7 Oct 1995 15:43:30 +400

Greetings good people,

I've just bottled a ginger-lemon mead last night. It's definitly

the best I've done to date – just the right balance of ginger and
lemon to the flavour. I really really wish that I had measured and
written down the amounts !!

Anyway, back to the subject line… I left this mead (pyment?) in

the carboy for a year and a half after it stopped fermenting. No,
don't comment on my self-discipline – this was simply a matter of
extreme laziness. (plus a friend kept promising to come over to help
"sometime" and I kept believing it) To finally get to the point,
I'm wondering whether it helped to let the mead age as a batch,
rather than bottling, and setting the bottles in a cupboard for a
year? If so, I'm going to have to invest in a couple of extra
carboys. As I said at the beginning, this was by far my best batch.

Any thoughts?

Andrew Harvie
Full time instructor. Part time diver, godfather, amature cook, and
coffee merchant. For a free report on how to develop a second
income in the coffee business, send a note to
subject: Coffee

*** ***
" If you do what you've always done,

you'll have what you've always had "

*** ***

Subject: Roger Morse's Thesis?
From: The tip of stalagtites incising my knees <STU_GJCARRIE@VAX1.ACS.JMU.EDU>
Date: Sat, 07 Oct 1995 19:52:16 -0500 (EST)

Hi all,

Well, I contacted Morse via email and have had no response. Either he doesn't
check it or he doesn't like me. 😉 Anyone know where I can get a copy of his
masters thesis or any/all research he has published regarding the appropriate
nutrient mix for meads? For that matter, let me know if you know of anyone who
has written such things and where I can find them.

I am working on ANOTHER mead project (my last college credit) dealing with the
biology of a healthy mead fermentation. Mostly, I am trying to find natural
ways to incorporate the necessary nutrients into the must however possible. If
you can offer any advice on where to look or how to approach this, I would be
greatly appreciative. TIA.

On another not, I just brewed a Buckwheat Rauchmead. 10 lbs. of Buckwheat
Honey and 4 lbs of smoked (Hickory) grain. Pitched Wyeast Belgian Abbey for
lower alchohol and some esters. Pretty weird, eh? The must tastes
delightful and I can't wait. Anyone ever tried this?

A question: What unusual (ie not cinnamon, ginger, etc) spices have you had
good/bad experiences with? I have never tasted a metheglin that I enjoyed as
much as most melomels or traditionals.

Gregg Carrier

Subject: Subtlety in Mead
From: Mark Albert <>
Date: Mon, 9 Oct 95 08:48:02 EDT

I have now made several batches of mead and have had what I would call
reasonable success. I have used only top quality, fresh honeys, mountain
spring water and red-star pasteur champagne yeast. I have paid careful
attention to acid balance and have used yeast nutrients to help the little
micro-organisms along. I have always used a yeast starter, aerated well and
have pasteurized at 150-160 degrees farenheit for 10 minutes.

While the meads are OK, they just don't have the depth or complexity of a
fine (or not so fine) wine. Given the choice of a $16 California chardonay
or my finest mead…well, there would be no contest.

None of my meads have aged for a year; the oldest is about 6 months.

I would say that the symptoms fall into the following categories:

1) Cloying honey flavor. Not sweet, just concentrated. As though one were
eating honey–without the sweetness. My starting gravs have ranged from
1.09 to 1.13. Finished gravs from 1.007 to 1.016. Should I cut off the
ferment a bit earlier so that the honey flavor is balanced by some sweetness?

2) Alcohol flavor/Low acid flavor. Without addition of acid blend towards
the end of the ferment, the meads come out very alkali and taste from
alcohol. A tablespoon of acid blend after the second racking essentially
does the trick, but I have not read of this practice in any of the recipes
I've seen. Should mead be more alkali than white wine? More generally,
what is a good target Ph?

Is some of this due to a lack of appreciation to mead? Is it inappropriate
to compare mead to grape based wine? Any one I serve my mead to compares it
with grape wine and the mead falls short.

I suppose part of the problem is that I have never tried mead before and
don't really know what my target should be? Does anyone know where I can
obtain a good bottle of mead to use as a benchmark?

Thanks in advance,

"The opinions expressed above are not necessarily those of Investment
Management Services, Inc. Or anyone else."

Mark Albert
212-794-8511 (H)
212-339-2764 (W)
212-339-0954 (Fax)

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #433, 29 September 1995 
From: Spencer W Thomas <>
Date: Mon, 09 Oct 1995 10:07:07 -0400

> From: Brian Ehlert <>

> Buckwheat is a very complex honey. You may not even realise the various
> character, yet.

You should listen to this guy. He took best of show in the Mazer Cup
competition this year with his wonderfully flavorful buckwheat honey
show mead.

=Spencer Thomas in Ann Arbor, MI (

From: "BATLAN -D1FKV0W" <>
Date: 09 Oct 1995 16:22:16 GMT


Having successfully brewed my first batch of beer (consensus:
pleasant, underhopped for the style, not very challenging, but a good
first effort), I thought that a mead would be interesting to do, and
would make interesting Christmas presents. I bought myself two
carboys (6 1/2 gal primary, 5 gal secondary) and set out with the
following, extremely simple recipe:

Equinoctial Mead (brewed on the Autumnal Equinox, of course)

1 gal. (approx 12 lb) Ziegler's Orange Blossom Honey
(orange character is pronounced)
"Jason's Packet of White Stuff", a mixture of yeast nutrient,
citric acid and Irish Moss prepared by the local
homebrew store.
Water to make 5 gal.
Two packets Cotes du Rhone (formerly Epernay #2) dry yeast.
One #7 rubber stopper (oops!) 🙁

I boiled the honey with the Irish Moss mixture until there ceased to
be any scum to skim (ca 15 min from start of boil), added to cold
water in the carboy (lowering the temp to 85F almost instantly),
sealed until the morning the temp had reached 75F, and pitched.

Based on the weight of ingredients (12 lb honey and 32 lb water), and
the total volume (5 gal = 40 lb water) I expected an OG about 1.100.
I measured the OG just before pitching as 1.038, temperature
corrected to 1.041. I infer from this that the must stratified as it
sat, and that my computed OG is closer to accurate.

Within 12 hours there were signs of fermentation, and from the
cycling of the fermentation lock, I compute that the yeast were
producing about 2.4 liters/hour of C02 gas within 48 hours. The CO2
bubble layer (do you call this kraeusen for mead?) was incomplete,
with one or two patches of bare must.

The fermentation has now (10/9) slowed to less than 1 liter of
CO2/hour, and the bubble layer is fairly complete. If it finishes
and clears in time, I plan to prime and bottle it in 16 oz bottles,
labeled "Best if used AFTER …".

Question #1: If I am correct about stratification, did I injure the
fermentation by allowing it to stratify? If not, am I correct about
the calculated OG? Should I just RDWHAH?

Question #2: Are there measuring devices on the market that allow a
precise figure for CO2 produced? Is this information as meaningful
as I think it is?

Question #3: Will I be able to bottle and will it carbonate and clear
by Christmas? Or should I plan on doing something else this year?

Question #4: What "Best if used AFTER …" date should I plan on
putting on the labels?

Question #5: If someone drinks this immediately upon receipt, will it
be drinkable?

Also, in the "for future reference" column, I assume one can make
maple metheglin (or whatever one calls it — maple/buckwheat sounds
appropriate, somehow), but can/should one make a fermented beverage
made from straight maple $yrup? What would it be called? Any


Robert A. West

Subject: New Brewing Gadget
Date: Mon, 9 Oct 1995 18:14:59 -0400

Found a new brewing gadget last weekend; a tape recorder!

It sits on a small shelf in the brewery (kitchen) next to a clock. When
someone has a comment or note to take, they push record say the time, then
whatever they wish to record.

When done brewing, I play it back and transcribe the notes into my computer.

Subject:        sulphites
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 95 7:43 EDT

hi to all,
after 4 months in the carboy i bottled
my stillmead.I didn't sulphite.after a
month in the bottle i opened one and
there was some slight carbonation,no bubbles
yet.Does sulphite kill the yeast? Can i put
a small amount of sulphites in to the bottles,
if so,how much for a 22oz. bottle.If anyone has
a solution i'd greatly appreciate it.


End of Mead Lover's Digest #435