Mead Lover's Digest #0450 Sun 24 December 1995


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



Re: Barkshack GINGER Mead needing some help (Greg Woods)
Re[2]: New to Brewing/Mead (
Keith asks about waaaay too much ginger (
A question that has stumped many. (Alejandro Midence)
Pears again!!!! (Douglas Thomas)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #449, 20 December 1995 (Rebecca Sobol)
Filters, Sulphite substitution, pectic enzyme (Me no are no nice guy)
Honey suppliers needed (Bruce Conner)
MDL#449 (Artificial sweetners etc..) (kurt schilling)
Filterization (Sam Shank)
Red Zinger Mead (


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Subject: Re: Barkshack GINGER Mead needing some help
From: woods@ncar.UCAR.EDU (Greg Woods)
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 95 9:08:06 MST

> Subject: Barkshack GINGER Mead needing some help

> BTW I used 4 oz of fresh graded ginger.

You don't say what your batch size was, but unless this was a one gallon
batch (in which case 8 lbs of honey is quite a lot!) I doubt that you have
used too much ginger. I used a POUND of fresh ginger (and 12# honey) in my
last 5 gallon batch of ginger mead, and it's not too much; the stuff is
wonderful and likely to get better with more aging (it's 8 months old now).

One thing I can say: very young meads tend to taste like Listerine anyway.
Add to that the ginger spicyness and it can be fairly overwhelming. While
the ginger spiciness is unlikely to age out, the Listerine taste will,
so my advice is to let it age some more (several months more) and try it

  • –Greg

Subject: Re[2]: New to Brewing/Mead
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 1995 08:13:42 -0800

In Mead Lover's Digest #449, woods@ncar.UCAR.EDU (Greg Woods) writes:

>Our digest janitor, whose melomels are known far and wide, may take
>exception to this remark 🙂 but I would avoid melomels for a while.
>Having to deal with the fruit increases the hassle factor and
>contamination potential a great deal. Do a few "traditional"
>meads or methoglins first.

I would disagree. Using fruit does increase the hassle factor a
wee bit, but the risk of contamination seems to pretty much be a
constant for the person involved, regardless of what goes into
the brew. Either you use good sanitary techniques, and the risk
of contamination is low, or you're slacking off and cutting
corners, and you're risking contamination all the time, fruit or

The biggest bonus about adding fruit to a mead is that if you add
any significant amount of fruit (enough that you'll be able to
taste it in the end product), you've also added all the nutrients
and such that the yeast are going to need, and you avoid the need
to add yeast nutrient. Adding too much yeast nutrient has been the
major factor I've found in meads that "take forever to taste good"
and I'm just plain against the idea if at all possible.

My suggestions are:
1) Sanitize everything thoroughly.
2) Use a yeast starter.
3) Relax, don't worry.
4) Sanitize everything thoroughly.

  • -DaveP

"Mr. Tick, can you destroy the Earth?"
"Egads! I hope not! That's where I keep all my stuff!"
Dave Polaschek –

Subject: Keith asks about waaaay too much ginger
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 1995 12:50:56 -0500 (EST)

I did the same thing over a year ago. It still has too much ginger
for my taste, but some of my friends like it. (They probably used
to drink cough syrup when they were younger, too.) 😉 The ginger
flavor has mellowed somewhat, so you may expect that some "improvement"
may occur over time. How improved it gets, of course, is largely a
matter of your individual tastes.
"Take arms against a sea of troubles and,
by opposing, end them." — Hamlet, Shakespeare | "Saddle up." –John Wayne

Subject: A question that has stumped many.
From: Alejandro Midence <>
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 1995 13:23:28 -0600


I've been brewing beer up till now and I want to try my hand at making a
mead. The problem is, I've never tasted the stuff and I want to try it
and see if I like it before I invest time and funds in it. My question
is simple: Do any of you guys know of a commercial example of mead which
is available all over the U.S.? I asked this question in the beer and
wine newsgroups and only received one reply. It was to the efffect that
there is a commercial mead in upstate new york but I can't get it here in
Texas. Can y'all help?

If there isn't a good commercial example you would recommend, could you
at least give me a rough description of the flavor? I've heard that it
tastes like fruity champagne, dry champagne, and other things. Are
these comparisons accurate? Can you provide a better description which
will shed more light? Thanks a million for any info you can provide.


Some folk o'er the water think bitter is fine,
And otheres, they swear by the juice of the vine.
But there's nothin' that's squeezed from the grape or the hop
Like the black liquidation with the froth on the top!!!

Subject: Pears again!!!!
From: Douglas Thomas <>
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 1995 12:23:31 -0800 (PST)

I have now added a full dose of pectic enzyme and 2 days later fined with
sparkaloid. The perrymel is still cloudy. I tasted a sample to make
sure it is not a contamination haze, and it tastes fine. It has now been
3 days from sparkaloid dosing. How long does it usually take? I have
never worked with it before, but followed the package directions very
Thanks again

Doug Thomas

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #449, 20 December 1995
From: sobol@ofps.ucar.EDU (Rebecca Sobol)
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 1995 14:22:48 -0700 (MST)

Subject: Re: New to Brewing/Mead
From: woods@ncar.UCAR.EDU (Greg Woods)
Date: Fri, 15 Dec 95 8:11:03 MST

> Subject: New to Brewing/Mead
> From: Scott Dexter <>

> Any suggestions for a good 'First' Mead….(I would
> imagine a Traditional Mead would be best to start).

Our digest janitor, whose melomels are known far and wide, may take
exception to this remark 🙂 but I would avoid melomels for a while.
Having to deal with the fruit increases the hassle factor and
contamination potential a great deal. Do a few "traditional"
meads or methoglins first.

  • –Greg

Adding fruit does add a bit of complexity to the process, but my partner
and I like melomels. 😉 We started out by adding fruit juice rather
than fruit for our first melomel. We cooked the honey and water (heated,
not boiled) and then when it was done we turned off the heat and added the
juice. Then we let it sit covered for another 15 minutes to pasturize
the juice. We often run the fruit through a juicer and keep the juice in
the freezer for a while before we brew with it, so we don't have to deal
with doing the fruit and mead in the same night. That also allows us to
get fruit when it's in season, even though we may not have time to brew
right then. Sometimes we have juiced and brewed in the same night, but
it does make for a much longer night.

Subject: Any good Strawberry melomel recipes and honey question
From: Douglas Thomas <>
Date: Fri, 15 Dec 1995 14:10:13 -0800 (PST)

I am still looking around for a good strawberry melomel recipe. I
love strawberries and would like to try a batch. I especially like
the flavor of rhubarb with strawberries, so if there is any
suggestions out there. My honey question is this. I was reading
in a book called "Making Mead" by Roger Morse, and he mentions
using the strongest honeys available to make mead, while I have
also read in various articles, that the best meads are made by
light meads. If there are any opinions or examples out there I
would like to know. Personally I have been using "Dave's
unprocessed, mountain honey" from Oakland CA. It is dark, slightly
floral and has a very medium body. It works well for almost anything.
Please post or email me responses
Doug Thomas

I never met a strawberry mead I didn't like. 😉 Our strawberry mead is
one of those that we picked up the fruit when it was in season and cheap,
even though we really didn't have time to brew with it right away. The
strawberries were juiced, and the mead made later on with the juice. I'm
not sure how many pounds of strawberries went into the roughly 4 liters
of juice, but this mead does have a good strawberry character. We have
discussed making a strawberry rhubarb mead and were guessing that a pound
of rhubarb added to our Strawberry Strike recipe (10 pounds of honey, 4
liters of strawberry juice, for a 5 gallon batch) would be good. Do others
on the list think that is enough rhubarb, or too much?

On the honey question, I think it depends on what you are going for. A
strong honey might overpower many fruits or light spices. A strong, dark
honey would make a good traditional mead, or be good in heavily spiced
metheglyn. Many fruits or lighter spices need a lighter honey so their
flavor isn't overwhelmed by honey.

Subject: Barkshack GINGER Mead needing some help
Date: Fri, 15 Dec 1995 17:30:10 -0800 (PST)

Hello all,

I made a Barkshack Ginger Mead a few months ago. I used 8 lb
Clover honey along with nutrient and too much ginger. I used a
champagne yeast… It went beautifully clear, but the ginger
was way too strong. Not sure what to do, I added another 4 lbs
of clover honey and letter rip… It has not clear yet but I
just racked it. Unfortunately, it did not sweeten it. Since I
used champagne yeast, it would probably take another 10 lbs. of
honey before the yeast poops out…

Do you have any suggestions in how to reduce the ginger taste.
Would letting it sit in a carboy for a few months, add some new
fruit to sweeten it, or bottle it and wait, wait, and wait.

BTW I used 4 oz of fresh graded ginger. Next time, if I use
ginger again, I'll use 2 oz. What are some of your experiences
using ginger? Keith

Too much ginger? Not possible IMO. I *like* ginger. We used about 4 oz.
of ginger to 13 pounds of honey in our Zingeberaceous Applebark and only
3 oz. ginger to 10 pounds of honey in our Ginger Peachy. (Both 5 gallons.)
The first does have apple juice and the second peach juice, but both could
stand to have more ginger in them IMO. Ginger meads do take a long time
to age. I've tasted several that others have brewed, and that's the
general conclusion that we have come to. Bottle it and wait, wait, and
wait, and then wait some more. It will smooth out. Our ZA was pretty
good right after bottling. It tasted young but with lots of potential.
Now the ginger is less noticeable, but if anything, I think it tastes
younger now than it did before (if that's possible). GP was not very
good when it was bottled, however a recent taste test showed considerable
improvement. Right now I like GP better than ZA. I don't either one is
even close to being properly aged though. Hopefully there will still be
some left by the time that it is. 🙂 I really like Greg Woods' ginger
mead, and he used quite a bit more ginger than we did. The only problem
with his ginger mead is that it's gone.

Subject: re: Cranberry Mead
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 18 Dec 95 23:31:36 MST (Mon)

It was bottled in April of 1994, ready to drink at bottling, and
I've been slowly doling it out since then. Among my friends,
it's a favorite. It has a medium pink color and a distinctive
cranberry flavor…people who haven't had it before will taste it
and say either "I *KNOW* that flavor…
what IS it???" or simply "Wow…that's cranberry!"

It very clearly said CRANBERRY to me. Lovely color and aroma. He's not
kidding, it's a favorite. Sounds like I'll be buying cranberries next week.

Subject: Carbonation
From: Peter Matra <>
Date: Wed, 20 Dec 1995 10:14:40 -0500 (EST)

I just opened my first batch! I turned out great, It is very good, and
still retained some nice sweetness. The only thing which doesn't
bother me is carbonation. It si not carbonated. A slight fizz but
it is nothing like commercial cider or beer. I used the natural
yeast, should I put some fresh champagne yeast in the bottles at
bottling time? maybe with some sugar? Do people normally add more
yeast at bottling?

No don't add yeast at bottling time. You'll get glass grenades.
To carbonate, rack into a plastic pail, boil 3/4 cup corn sugar with
1 cup water and stir in, then bottle. The corn sugar will work with the
last of the yeast to carbonate. At least that's how we do it.

Rebecca Sobol
Boulder, CO

All of Unicorn Unchained Meadery mead recipes are now available
at our web site. Visit the Unicorn Unchained Mead Page at

Subject: Filters, Sulphite substitution, pectic enzyme
From: Me no are no nice guy <>
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 1995 18:48:51 -0500 (EST)

Hello all!

So Santa may bring me a wine filter, but I have to let her know what to get.
So, what does anyone use with success? Nothing too expensive, of course, but
send me any advice you may have on what kind of filter works welll…I have
CO2, corny kegs, etc…thanks!

Another thing, how can I guarantee a clean mead without boiling or sulphiting.
I like mead that has not been boiled, but I would like to move to an all
organic mead. Right now I'm using sulphite. Is there any organic substance
that serves somewhat the same purpose?

What is the scoop on pectic enzyme? I've heard people talk about it as a
cearing agent. Does it work well?

On ginger mead: I too over-gingered my ginger mead. After a year and a half in
the bottle, it was dry and sparkly and better than champagne. The ginger will
smoothe with time. Even a little ginger needs a long time to mature as it is
so strong a spice. As with all meads, let it age age age…

Happy Holidays all! Hope you have enough mead to drink and enough friends to
drink it with!

Gregg Carrier

Subject: Honey suppliers needed
From: (Bruce Conner)
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 1995 00:28:41 -0500

I'm looking for a source for some of the more offbeat honeys. Afte
searching far and wide in the Boston area and coming up wit nothing, the
next logical thing to do was to ask here. A local (within 100 miles)
supplier would be best, but mail order would do in a pinch.

What I want is stuff like mesquite and thistle honey. All I can seem to
find around here is clover, which makes a nice enough mead, but doesn't
spark my creative side.

Anyone have any sources they would like to share?

Bruce Conner

Subject: MDL#449 (Artificial sweetners etc..)
From: (kurt schilling)
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 95 10:03 EST

THere is a product on the market that allows one to sweeten to taste safely.
This is Alexanders Wine Conditioner. It is a propriatary mixture of lactose
(a non-fermentable sugar), Potassium sorbate, and Posassium meta bisulfite.
For those who may be sensative to sulfites, don't use this product. The mead
or wine should of course be completely fermented out and flat.
I have been using this for 6 years or so on wines with no problems. I hae
most recently used it to sweeten and stablize a Concord pymet and a small
batch of Pear Melomel.
I added 1 1/2 T per bottle in the Pymet and 1 T per bottle for the melomel.
Residual sugar tested out (post conditoining) at 1.5-2 % .It should be
available in most home brew/winemaking shops.

Slainte mhor! and Have a great and SAFE Christmas!
Kurt Schilling

Subject: Filterization
From: shank@biocserver.BIOC.CWRU.Edu (Sam Shank)
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 1995 15:17:52 GMT

There has been some discussion of filtering meads at bottling.

I would like to try this to see how it turns out. Can someone point me in a
direction of a place to obtain filters, pump, etc…? What can I expect to
pay for such a simple-ish setup?

What size filters are used (=B5m)?

Thanks, Sam

Sam Shank Department of Biochemistry Case Western Reserve University Home 216-333-8690 Fax 216-368-4544 Work 216-368-5573

"Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder."


Subject: Red Zinger Mead
Date: Sat, 23 Dec 1995 17:18:57 -0500

I usually do traditional still and sparkling meads, but after a recent cup of
Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger, have contemplated doing a Red Zinger Mead.
I have a 5 gal batch of 3 lb/gal orange blossum mead (FG 1.002) that I will
bottle in the next few weeks. I am thinking about splitting the batch and
adding red zinger tea to half.
Has anyone used Red Zinger before? How much tea and at what strength should
I use? I was thinking about 5 bags in a pint added to 2.5 gallons.

End of Mead Lover's Digest #450

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