Mead Lover's Digest #0437 Wed 18 October 1995


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



Re: oxidation (Ralph Snel)
Morse References (Dan McConnell)
Re: Cotes de what? and maple whatever. (Dieter Dworkin Muller)
Cidery Mead 🙁 ("Steven W. Schultz")
1995 Capitol District Open is Open (Fred Hardy)
Re: Subtlety in Mead (Michael L. Hall)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #436, 15 October 1995 (Mark Albert)
Re: When do you bottle? ("West, Dale")
Re: When do you bottle? (Joyce Miller)
Re: Our First Mead (
Commercial mead…ale yeast…plums…etc… (In summing up, the moral seems a little bit obsure…)
Washing mead yeast (exabyte!smtplink!
Re: Dangers of Honey Ingestion (MLDigest #436) ("Donal, The Brewers' Witch")


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Subject: Re: oxidation
From: Ralph Snel <>
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 95 11:56:48 MET

Keith wondered about oxidation of his first mead.

My suggestion: don't worry, it's not beer. Unless you think you have
some infection that might grow because of the oxygen, or you have very
low alcohol levels (< 4% or so?), there's no need to worry about the
oxygen involved when racking. I've made many meads, and only one had
serious problems with oxidation, and that was after many months of
exposure to air.
I'm no beer maker, and never used hops, so I don't know how they behave
in the presence of alcohol.

A general note about oxidation: when alcohol oxidizes, it forms a product
that is naturally formed as an intermediate product between sugar and
alcohol during fermentation. So if you have an oxidized batch, referment
In my (single) experience with oxidized mead, I did not consider it a
flaw. Actually, a few years later, the mead came out wonderful, I wrote
about it a while ago.

One comment on your recipe: take it easy on the citric acid. I followed
a recipe once that required citric acid, but when the mead had fermented
out it was too tart. Sugar (or honey) will balance the taste, but for
not so sweet meads, I prefer no extra acids.

Good luck with your mead, and remember: relax and don't worry.

Ralph Snel

Subject: Morse References
From: (Dan McConnell)
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 1995 08:21:27 -0400

Here are a couple of Morse references that are in my files. If you can get
The Crane book on Honey, you will find a goldmine of information.

Morse, R., Making Mead, Wicwas Press, Cheshire, CN, 1980.
Morse, R.& Steinkraus, K.H., Wines from the Fermentation of Honey,

In: Honey, a Comprehensive Study, Crane, E. (Ed), Crane, Russak & Co., New
York, NY (1975).


Subject: Re: Cotes de what?  and maple whatever.
From: Dieter Dworkin Muller <>
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 1995 07:26:36 -0600

Joel Stave <> wrote:
:I made a batch of maple, um… stuff. It was basically maple syrup and water
:to SG 1.09 with some nutrient and acid blend. I let it ferment out dry, then
:sweetened it a little with more maple syrup and bottled. Its been in bottles
:for about 3 months now and I wasn't going to try it for another couple months.
:The other reason I added more maple syrup was that there seemed to be no maple
:taste at all after the ferment was done, although its hard to tell when the
:wine is that young. The harshness can mask a lot of subtle flavors.

I suspect you didn't have enough maple to start with. It's hard to
tell, because every source of the stuff has it in a different
concentration. When we did it, we started with a quart of dense maple
syrup (bought from a store that sells it in bulk only [Wild Oats, in
Boulder CO]; no brand name shown). We didn't take a gravity reading
on it, unfortunately, but I'd say it was at least twice as thick as
the stuff that's sold in the breakfast aisle of most grocery stores.
Based on taste (aka the natural hydrometer), we split this quart
across two 750-ml bottles, and topped up with water to about four
inches below the top of the bottle (for headspace). Call it two parts
water for one part syrup. Added some champagne yeast, and stuck an
airlock on it.

The result fermented out pretty close to completely. Lots of maple
character with any real sweetness. If/when we do it again, we
probably won't dilute it so much (or use a less enthusiastic yeast).

: What *should* this stuff be called?

Just about everyone who tried it agreed that `excellent' was


Subject:  Cidery Mead :-(
From: "Steven W. Schultz" <>
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 95 9:50:04 EDT

Made my first mead earlier this year, and bottled it a couple of

months ago. After about two months in the carboy, and also at bottling, this
stuff tasted like cider. Final gravity was 1.020.

I initially used Wyeast (sweet) mead yeast, but this yeast was

such a deadbeat that I added liquid California Lager (beer) yeast, in an
effort to initiate fermentation. That worked, although it pooped out at
1.050. Over the next few months I added a few packs of dry ale yeast, and
finally (in a successful attempt to renew fermentation) a packet of dry
champagne yeast.

As stated above, this stuff tasted just like cider. Isn't this

indicative of some sort of contamination? If so, is it likely ruined, or
will extended aging help?

Thanks in advance for any advice or assistance.

Steve Schultz

Subject: 1995 Capitol District Open is Open
From: Fred Hardy <>
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 1995 11:20:36 -0400 (EDT)

Mead and cider entries are welcome!

NOVEMBER 4, 1995

Last call for entries, stewards and BJCP judges! The entry window
is open, and stays open to 6 PM on Halloween <;{>. Interested
judges and potential stewards should contact Wayne Gisiger, Judge
Coordinator at his office (202) 501-2100 x2798, or at home (703)
256-8838. The HC is sanctioned by the American Homebrewers
Association (AHA) and recognized by the Beer Judge Competition
Program (BJCP). Points for judges and stewards will be reported
to both organizations. The judging is closed to the public and
only judges, stewards and the agonizing committee will be
admitted to the competition site.

Once again, the competition will take place at the Hyatt Regency
Washington on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The ice-breaker
beer is planned to be served at 10:00 AM, BoS judging is expected
around 2:30 PM. Winners will be announced and ribbons presented
immediately after the BoS is over. BTW, the ice-breaker brew this
year is an IPA.

Stewards should plan on arriving at 9:00 AM, and judges by 9:30
AM. Judges bringing pre-registered entries should arrive at 9:00
to give us time to get the brews into the correct flight.

The Hotel is at 400 New Jersey Avenue, NW, just a few blocks from
the Union Station Metro. For those driving, 1st St., NW (behind
the hotel) has free on-street parking on Saturday.

This year, the Dulles Regional Brewing Society has commissioned a
well known (to us) artist to create a unique and distinctive
design for a commemorative T-shirt. The white Ts have 3-color art
work, and feature the capitol (top tilted open with suds spilling
out) on the back.

Although these are being produced at great expense, they are
available for $12.00 apiece in L and XL sizes. If you are not
going to be with us in DC, but would like a shirt anyway, send us
your size(s), how many and your personal check made out to DReBS

c/o Fred Hardy
13215 Poplar Tree Road
Fairfax, VA 22033

We will mail it (them?) postage paid. Note: we can not accept
Postal Money Orders – also true for entries.

For those who will be participating on the 4th, just bring your
cash or check to the event. It would help if you gave me a heads
up so we can adjust our order with the supplier.

Enter early and often!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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: Re: Subtlety in Mead
From: (Michael L. Hall)
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 95 10:36:16 MDT

Mark Albert writes (in a private email, which I trust he won't mind me
quoting in public):

> I recently filtered two batches of mead (.5micron) that, IMO are too dry.
> My thought was to add some pasteurized honey to these yeast free batches.
> The mead would get sweeter without further attenuation. Do you think this
> is a bad idea?

No, in fact it is a good idea. The only thing I would be worried about
is whether or not the yeast is really gone. Filtration should get it
all, but then again there's nothing worse than exploding mead,
especially when you've waited years to taste it.

I usually kill off my yeast with sodium benzoate and add more honey to
get better honey character and to adjust the sweetness. I must admit
that I have had a couple of accidental sparkling meads that I had to
drink quickly. I think that I have most often had the sparkling mead
problem when I added sodium benzoate and sweetened with honey at the
same time, because I needed the carboy for something else.

  • -Mike

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #436, 15 October 1995
From: Mark Albert <>
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 95 13:00:52 EDT

I just wanted to thank you all for the advice. Bottom line? I'll wait nine
months and try each of my batches. They will all be between 11 and 15
months of age. If they're to my liking, so be it. If not, it will probably
be because they are too dry, too basic or too acidic. I'll sweeten and
blend to taste, then bottle.
"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)

From: "BATLAN -D1FKV0W" <>
Date: 16 Oct 1995 14:51:14 GMT

Thank you to everyone for their responses, both in the Digest and in
private. As suggested, if it seems to be ready in time for Christmas
presents, I shall taste-test it to make sure it is not too harsh (a
rough job, but someone has to do it!) 😉

Joel Stave <> writes:

>Robert A. West wrote:
>> Two packets Cotes du Rhone (formerly Epernay #2) dry yeast.
>I was given to understand that Epernay #2 is now called Cotes de
>Can anyone verify?

I stand corrected. I didn't double-check my memory with my lab book. (Olson) writes:

>>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?

>Why do you care about the volume? I sure don't. CO2 is a pure waste
>product that disappears, so I ignore it. Why do you think it is

Since the C02 is being produced as a product of fermentation (once
respiration has ceased), the amount of CO2 produced should stand as a
proxy for fermentation activity. Of course, the usual proxy is the
time derivative of SG, but measuring SG requires opening the closed
fermenter, with attendant risk of contamination.

In theory, if one integrates the total CO2 output, one should be able
to calculate the SG to a fair precision. This may or may not require
that one know the particular sugars involved; it has been a long time
since I have studied the relevant reactions. Of course, a direct SG
measurement would be required as confirmation, but knowing whether
one is or is not in the ballpark of FG without cracking open the
fermenter might be of interest.

If there is no commercially available device, I may make one, just to
see if I can do it.

"Here's a health to the ox, and all of his breed,

May God send our master a good cask of mead.
A good cask of mead, as may we all see.
In the wassail bowl, I'll drink unto thee!"


Robert A. West

Subject: Re: When do you bottle?
From: "West, Dale" <>
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 95 16:25:00 PDT

Gordon Olson writes and wonders how fine mead should be before you bottle:

  • Part of the problem is that I didn't have a definite

  • measure of how clear the mead should be. If I could see

  • clearly through the carboy I would bottle. The problem is

  • how to define "see clearly."


  • What do the rest of you do? How do you decide when a mead

  • is ready to bottle?

I like you system with the light. I'm going to give it a try.
The system I have sort of used is the one recommended in the Mead Makers
Handbook by Jace Crouch and Mike Murray. They say to bottle after your mead
is clear enough to read a newspaper through a gallon jug of it and it has
been that clear for two weeks. The other rule they have is to bottle after
it has not thrown any sediment for a month.
In reality, I often rack after it has stopped throwing sediment and let it
sit in the carboy for another 6 to 8 months before bottling. I find that
even after a year in the carboy it will still throw sediment in the bottle
after a couple more years! I have given up on sediment free mead. I just
decant it like they did in the old days. Tastes great and looks beautiful
in crystal.
Dale West

Subject: Re: When do you bottle?
From: (Joyce Miller)
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 1995 17:06:01 -0400

Gordon wonders when to bottle…
>Part of the problem is that I didn't have a definite
>measure of how clear the mead should be. If I could see
>clearly through the carboy I would bottle. The problem is
>how to define "see clearly."

Well, I leave my carboys in the kitchen, generally, and I usually try to
look at them once every week or so, in the morning before I go to work,
when the sun is shining through the window. What usually happens is that I
notice that I can actually see across the flat yeast cake (it looks a lot
like a lunar landscape). I don't try to read the newspaper through it or
anything, it's just noticably clearer. This is actually easier to see if
you look down at it from a standing position, not on your hands and knees.
Of course, sometimes they never clear, so you might just want to rely on
airlock activity.

  • — Joyce

Subject: Re: Our First Mead
Date: Tue, 17 Oct 1995 15:48:56 -0400

In MLD#436 Jessee Young wrote:
>After the carbonation step in the refrigerator, we added 1.5 Campden tabs,
>that it would kill the yeast.

Chemicals? What's wrong with letting the mead ferment to completion and
letting the high alcohol level kill off the yeast. You will never truly kill
all the yeast in this way, but I prefer this method. I've heard of still
meads becoming carbonated over years of aging, but to add chemicals to my
mead seems like *sacrilage*!!!

I always thought a first effort would be something you would want to keep as
simple as possible.

Just some thoughts, Charles McCrumb(

Subject: Commercial mead...ale yeast...plums...etc...
From: "In summing up, the moral seems a little bit obsure..."
Date: Tue, 17 Oct 1995 18:33:06 -0500 (EST)

Well, I just tasted my first mead ever to be fermented with an ale yeast. I
like it a lot better…it's really good for so young an age. I was after a
clean, very mildly sweet, weaker mead. This was the recipe:

10 lbs Virginia Wildflower Honey (pretty nondescript, eh?)
12 or so lbs of fresh plums pitted with skins on
3 oz of acid blend
fermented with Wyeast American Ale
fined with Sparkolloid

After 1 month…that's right one month, this stuff is drinkable. Fermented
quick and easy, cleared nicely and it has this terrific red color. Grapey
finish, mildly sweet. Pretty tart. I can't wait to see what it's like after
aging in the bottles. I would highly reccomend a plum mead to anyone who was

On another note, why do you think commercial mead is so crappy? Because there
is no market for mead? I feel that with the huge surge in craft brewing, that
the beer-drinking market would be open to a quality mead as much as the
wine-drinkers would. I hope someday soon to open a small meadery, myself,
making quality meads of course, though of a lighter alchohol content than wine,
say 8% or so. I can get meads like this in the bottle in one month and they
are quality after 6 months in the bottle. I imagine that after a year, such a
product would be highly marketable and affordable. I would want to make at
least one strong traditional that was aged further and probablycosting a bit
more as well.

I recently came across some used dairy tanks, 500 gals, stainless steel, trough
shaped. Can anyone think why these would not be appropriate for primary
fermentation of large batches?

Thanks for reading and for any replies…
Gregg Carrier

Subject: Washing mead yeast
From: exabyte!smtplink!
Date: Tue, 17 Oct 95 15:43:47 MDT

Hello all,

I have "washed", saved, and repitched beer yeast for some time now with
great results. My question is, can the same safely be done with mead
yeast? I see no reason why not other than the generally higher alcohol
content of mead versus beer. Would it be better to save it from the
primary as well, assuming that the answer to question one is "yes"? One
more to make it an even three; how long should the yeast keep if it is
refrigerated? I'm almost ashamed to say how long I've kept (and
successfully reused) beer yeast.

Guy McConnell – Huntersville, NC –
"I've got this Bank of Bad Habits in the corner of my soul…"

Subject: Re: Dangers of Honey Ingestion (MLDigest #436)
From: "Donal, The Brewers' Witch" <>
Date: Tue, 17 Oct 1995 21:09:51 -0500 (CDT)

Reason #1
> Maggie Burns asked about the danger of honey ingestion by pregnant
> mothers and/or babies. I know of no evidence of danger to pregnant
> women (there may be!), but the feeding of honey to infants (under 6
> months of age) is of concern. The most common form of botulism (ie.
> poisoning by botulinus toxin) is the infant form, and this has been
> linked to the ingestion of improperly canned baby foods, and the
> ingestion of honey. Honey can contain the spores of the botulinus
> organism (Clostridium botulinum), ingestion can result in
> bacterial multiplication in the gastrointestinal tract, the release
> of the powerful toxin, and severe intoxication, even death!
> Infant botulism is sometimes referred to as "floppy baby syndrome"
> While the connection to honey is circumstantial, the seriousness of
> this intoxication warrants great caution.

Reason #2
> I recently read in one of the parenting magazines that you should NOT give
> honey to children under the age of one. I do not remember why; I think it
> had to do with babies lacking the right enzyme or maybe because their immune
> system wasn't developed to handle bee stuff. Anyway, I do remember not to
> give it to a baby under one. I don't know about any effects on pregnant women

I think this sums up the opinions given. I just wanted to add that when
my first son was born our Pediatrician warned us about giving him RAW
honey, and told us it was because of enzymes (reason #2). He never said
anything about botulism and I truly seriously doubt this explanation.

Blessed Bees! 🙂

Donal, SysAdmin of The Brewers' Witch BBS (The Largest Pagan BBS in Texas!) (preferred) (work) Line 1: (713) 272-7350 (14.4)
(GC 3.0) GCS/IT/MU/PA d–(+)s+:++ac++++UBC++++$P+>+++L+!EW++>+++N+++Kw+OM–\



End of Mead Lover's Digest #437

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