Mead Lover's Digest #0440 Mon 23 October 1995


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



Re: Ale yeasts in meads (Dieter Dworkin Muller)
Bulk honey prices (The finest in the nation)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #438, 21 October 1995 (
Mead Horns (Sylverre Polhemus)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #438, 21 October 1995 (
Re: Labels (Michael P Lindner)
Green Light, Orange Light (Russell Mast)
Mead Ale? (Fred Hardy)
Belgian ale yeast, warmly (Jacob Galley)


NOTE: Digest only appears when there is enough material to send one.
Send ONLY articles for the digest to
Use for [un]subscribe/admin requests. When

subscribing, please include name and email address in body of message.

Digest archives and FAQ are available for anonymous ftp at

in pub/clubs/homebrew/mead.


Subject: Re: Ale yeasts in meads
From: Dieter Dworkin Muller <>
Date: Sun, 22 Oct 1995 08:19:06 -0600 wrote:

: I've been using ale yeasts for mead for years now. People are continually
: amazed that I have good mead in a couple months, and it still ages out
: to be very good tasting. In some cases it doesn't have the full wine-like
: complexity of a mead brewed with wine yeast (or mead yeast), but I can
: enjoy my mead sooner. This may be considered sacrilege by some, though.
: People who've never tried brewing mead with ale or lager yeasts may just
: not believe that you can have a good mead ready in months.

I brew mead in the common manner (carboys around the house), and
usually have to have many-month agings. A friend of mine who uses the
facilities of the local brew-on-premises facility ages his about two
or three weeks (however long it takes for him to get down there after
the gravity readings he gets by phone are low enough). He
consistently has something quite drinkable within two months, except
when he's made a poor choice of ingredients, such as too heavily

At one time or another I've tried to simulate at home most of the
things that the brew-on-premises folks have available to them (ale
yeast, temperature control, super sanitation, etc, etc). The only
thing I haven't tried, that they do whenever they bottle, is
pressuring everything through a micro-pore filter. Filtering seems to
be the main key. I suspect that a lot of the aging process is giving
the little stuff time to drop out. However, you also lose something
by filtering, because his meads are usually less complex than mine.

Just a couple of data points….


Subject: Bulk honey prices
From: The finest in the nation <STU_GJCARRIE@VAX1.ACS.JMU.EDU>
Date: Sun, 22 Oct 1995 10:42:36 -0500 (EST)

I get honey for about $1 a pound from the local beekeepers. I'm curious what
kind of bulk prices you can get on honey. I'm sure this varies with region,
but does anyone know a fairly average price for buying lots of wholesale honey?
Just curious… Also, what are some good mail order distributors of exotic
honeys? I want to expand my horizons. TIA!


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #438, 21 October 1995
Date: Sun, 22 Oct 1995 11:25:15 -0400 (EDT)

Re: Labels for Mead Bottles:
The Meadery at Greenwich sells
a stock, pressure sensitive label
that home meadmakers can use
on their bottles. There is room on
the label to stamp your own name.
It is not the most attractive label –
beige with a big bee on it, but it is
cost effective for anyone who just has
a few cases to label for friends and
family. Call 1-800-MEADERY.

Subject: Mead Horns
From: Sylverre Polhemus <>
Date: Sun, 22 Oct 1995 21:24:35 -0500 (CDT)

Someone asked about proper mead receptacles. Might I suggest you seek out
a local Renaissance Festival? I just returned from our local fall
renfest, and saw (and lusted after! :-}) several drinking horns, pottery
chalices, etc. Many are "in period", though you may have to ask — a lot
of stuff is sold for tourists. Then again, that might not matter to you.

One note — don't buy pewter. It affects the taste, though not

if you drink your mead fast enough!

Merlin was playing his pipe in the wood. . .

Just returned from the Texas Renaissance Festival, while during

the "year of the feast" banquet they served sweet white wine, ale, and
water. *sigh*

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #438, 21 October 1995
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 1995 07:01:57 -0400

In a message dated 95-10-22 05:05:46 EDT, you write:

>Subj: Mead Lover's Digest #438, 21 October 1995
>Date: 95-10-22 05:05:46 EDT

>Subject: Mazers and such
>From: "I'll buy you a ewe!" <STU_GJCARRIE@VAX1.ACS.JMU.EDU>
>Date: Thu, 19 Oct 1995 21:48:49 -0500 (EST)
>Hello again all!
>The chapter in Gayre's book on the vessels used to serve mead has me wanting
>some mazers and mether cups…maybe even an ornate horn or two 🙂 My
>of course is, does anyone make these things? I'm sure they cost a bundle if
>they are made, but I'm still curious. It would be nice to have a communal
>mazer for mead tastings with the friends. Thanks in advance for replies!

I would recommend that you try to contact someone in your area from the SCA
(Society for Creative Anachronism) Many of us are active brewers, and I have

seen drinking horns beautifully carved with Aesop's fables! If they aren't
with making mazers, some of the artisans and metalworkers might very well
be willing to make one to your specifications.

Pete Handberg

Subject: Re: Labels
From: Michael P Lindner <>
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 1995 09:23:22 -0400 (EDT)

> From: "I'll buy you a ewe!" <STU_GJCARRIE@VAX1.ACS.JMU.EDU>
> We have had less than good
> luck figuring out a way to make nice labels affordably. It seems silly to pay
> too much for the things. Is there a program to design labels? Preferably
> shareware or something. I would like to be able to scan art etc into my
> labels. Also, how can you get copies printed cheaply? Kinkos charges a LOT
> for color. Anyone overcome this dillema? TIA.

Here's what my wife and I did last Christmas. Use any drawing package to
make something nice (if you really want to scan something in, there are
places advertised on the net who for a reasonable fee ($5-$10) will scan an
image and send you back the GIF or JPG file). In our case, we made a simple
label using Framemaker – some nice "scripty" text with our names, the
vintage, a nice border, and a drawing of an apricot (for our Apricot

We printed it out, went to the local office supply store, and bought some
"antique-y" looking paper, and copied the labels onto the nice paper. We
then cut the labels apart and hand colored them with markers and crayons
(the apricot, leaves, and border – takes a few seconds per label). The
labels were affixed to the bottles with a strip of double-sided scotch tape
down each side of the label. Voila!

The most expensive item was the paper, and the hardest part was cutting the
labels straight (I wound up using a print cutter from my darkroom). The
labels looked great!

Mike Lindner
(908) 576-2017

Subject: Green Light, Orange Light
From: Russell Mast <>
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 1995 09:43:37 -0500

> From: Chris Weight <>
> Curious. For beer brewers, ultraviolet light is evil — we would never
> let our beer stand in sunlight. But I believe this is primarily to
> avoid a reaction between hop oils and light. UV is pretty powerful
> stuff — is there nothing in Mead that reacts to light? Or do most
> other folks keep their mead in a dark place.

It's actually the green light that causes the "skunking" to occur in beer,
and it is related to the hops. Being a beer brewer originally, I have my
stuff set-up that I can keep my mead dark, and usually do. Also, my first
few batches of mead had hops in them, so it was important there also.

The hops provides a bitterness to balance some of the other flavors, and
provides some measure of protection against bacterial infection. The mead
will have a slight (or stronger) hoppy taste, but I like that, and I still
make the occasional batch with hops,.

It's clear that there is a link between botulism and honey in infants, but
what about for pregnant women? Should we chalk that up to someone's
extrapolation which has been spreading by word-of-mouth?

> From: (Olson)

> 8.5 pounds American Meadmaker Ultimate Orange Blossom Brewing Honey

Brewing Honey? American Meadmaker? Anyone know what's up with this? Is
there any difference between "brewing" honey and the stuff I get at health
food stores? (Is this just a joke and I'm not getting it?)

> This is a very simple mead that get all of its character from the
> honey. This particular batch of honey had the best aroma of any
> orange blossom honey that I have ever experience. It is worthwhile
> to hunt out good smelling and good tasting honeys.

Ahh, maybe that's it.

  • -R

Subject: Mead Ale?
From: Fred Hardy <>
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 1995 15:19:50 -0400 (EDT)

Gary Booker posted a question about ale mead. In his post he
stated that his yeast starter was already at kraeusen, so the ale
mead must already be fermenting. Anyhow, some comments.

I don't know what ale mead is, but from Gary's description it
must be beer with a lot of honey in it. This is classified as a
specialty beer by the American Homebrewers' Association. Mead
with malt as part of the fermentables is braggot (or bracket).

Braggot probably has not been made commercially since the late
15th century. It originated in the British Isles as a way to
raise the alcoholic content of the second running of a mash. The
first running made strong beer, but the second was lower in
specific gravity and beer made from it would not keep. The small
beer from the second running also fetched a lower price than
small beer fortified with honey.

The second running would have produced a beer of modern day
strength with 5%-6% alcohol by volume (ABV). Enough honey would
have been added to raise the ABV to at least 9% to insure both
shelf life and higher price. The additional alcohol was necessary
since hops (and their preservative properties) were not in
widespread use in England until the 16th century.

What Gary was going to make was a very weak small beer (20%
fermentables from malt) with hop bitterness and aroma, and a
bunch of honey. Since he doesn't give quantities or starting
gravities, it is hard to say what kind of malts to use. Probably
any would do since the resulting beverage will have very little
malt character. It is probably best called a metheglin – mead
made with herbs and/or spices. The malt is incidental.

Braggot would be made without hops, and with about 50% of the
fermentables from malt. Its color would vary from light amber to
medium brown, and ABV from around 9% to 11.5+%. Authentic braggot
also would be fermented warm (room temperature) with an ale
yeast, and was probably spiced. Black malts were not produced
commercially until the 19th century, so malts would have varied
from pale to brown, with only the smallest amount of black from
uneven kilning. The following assumes a 5-gallon batch.

For malt, I suggest 7 pounds of pale malt and 1 pound of American
Victory (toasted malt flavor) or Munich (additional maltiness).
Mash at 153 degrees F for 60 minutes. For malt extract brewers,
substitute 2 3.3# cans of unhopped pale malt syrup.

Honey would have been what we call wildflower, since it was not
until the 19th century that honey could be removed without
destroying part of the hive. This improvement in hive design made
it practical to place a hive near a specific honey source
(clover, for example) and remove the flower-specific honey when
the source ceased to flower and before it was contaminated by
other nectars. The following honey scale approximates ABV of the
braggot with the suggested amounts of malt (above):

Honey Gravity Alcohol
4 lbs. OG = 1.077 ABV = 9.0%
5 lbs. OG = 1.086 ABV = 10.2%
6 lbs. OG = 1.095 ABV = 11.4%

Add the honey during the last 15 minutes of the wort boil, and
skim the foam to remove the haze producing proteins. I also add 1
and 1/2 tsp. of rehydrated Irish Moss for this last 15 minutes.

Wyeast #1007, #1056, #1084, or #1728 yeast will all work well,
but each will impart its own special character. Irish Ale (#1084)
produces a particularly smooth and soft finish. Scotch Ale
(#1728) produces a rougher beverage with a hint of sourness, and
is more like what I imagine a 14th century braggot to be. A well
aerated wort/must and healthy yeast are needed for a clean

Primary fermentation will behave similar to high gravity beers (1
to 2 weeks), and 3 months in the secondary are needed to smooth
the brew before bottling. For sparkling braggot, prime with fresh
yeast and a sugar source (sucrose, glucose, malt, honey).
Personally, I prefer still braggot, slightly chilled.

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: Belgian ale yeast, warmly
From: Jacob Galley <>
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 95 17:35:37 CDT

> Subject: Re: Ale yeasts in meads
> From:
> Date: Wed, 18 Oct 1995 09:21:11 -0700


> A Belgian ale yeast in a mead fermented at 85F will produce very different
> results from an American ale at 65F.

I think the word you're looking for is 'bubblegum'.


End of Mead Lover's Digest #440