Mead Lover's Digest #0451 Sat 6 January 1996


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



Thanks and a Request. (Scott Dexter)
Re: Red Zinger Mead (
Re: Red Zinger Mead ("JMohler")
Mead Flavors (Tom Nickel)
Taste (Peter Matra)
classification of a mead (kurt schilling)
RE: MLD #450 (Rebecca Sobol)
Rhubarb Melomel (Robert Alexander)
Corking and sulphites (brewing chemist Mitch)
pear mead and Sparkloid (Douglas Thomas)


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Subject: Thanks and a Request.
From: Scott Dexter <>
Date: Sun, 24 Dec 1995 19:52:34 -0500 (EST)

I would liketo thank you all for your kind and prompt, I'm pretty much
convinced I am want to make a mead. My girlfriend and I both like
cranberries, and we were curious about a decent and easy Cranberry melomel.
Any suggestions would be a great help, also I like the idea of not having to
bother with a yeast nutrient and such. Seeing as Cranberries are so acidic
I figure there shouldn't be a need for acid blend either (Please correct me
if I am wrong on this point).

Once again thanks for all your help. I'm looking forward to my first mead


  • Scott

Subject: Re: Red Zinger Mead
Date: Mon, 25 Dec 1995 16:02:06 -0500

I used * full ozs. ( 4 entire boxes of tea bags ) for a 5 gallon batch

made with 15 ibs of wildflower honey. I added the strong tea to the primary
at the time of brewing so I am certain I lost a great deal of the aromatics.
Nevertheless, this is by far my best mead.

I waited a full year to bottle.
Good luck,

Subject: Re: Red Zinger Mead
From: "JMohler" <>
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 95 11:27:44 EST in Digest #450 wrote:

> 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.

In the Red Zinger meads I have done, I have added the infusion of 4 bags
to the starting materials for a one gallon batch of mead prior to fermentation.
A good deal of the Red Zinger flavor was lost in fermentation (though it did
mellow out fairly nicely). Still, I suspect you would be better off with
somewhat more (7 or 8 bags for 2.5 gallon).

Subject: Mead Flavors
From: (Tom Nickel)
Date: Tue, 12 Dec 1995 16:51:05 -0800

Hello again from San Diego,
I am wondering if anyone out there has information on flavor standards for
mead. I work at a homebrew store and we just recently had a tasting here
at work. We are trying to develop some taste examples for different
flavors that are present in mead, the way you can "flavor wheels" for wine,
or different esters and malt tastes in beer. If anyone out there has
information or opinions on flavors and aromas you can find in mead, please
write me at
Some of the ones we have found include apple, pineapple, camimbert cheese,
sherry, walnut, yeasty, etc…
If anyone has or would like to forward info and comments on commercial
meads, these would also be helpful. Thanks,
Tom Nickel

Home Brew Mart
731 S. Hwy 101
Solana Beach, CA 92075
619-794-BREW (2739)

Subject: Taste
From: Peter Matra <>
Date: Thu, 28 Dec 1995 16:24:04 -0500 (EST)

I actually think my mead tastes a little earthy. It doesn't taste
terrible, don't get me wrong. It really sweet and a lot cannot be drunk
at a time because it will get you sick. I asctually like to mix it w/
cranberry juice. Anyway I put Darjeeling tea in it, and feel that it
added to the taste. I never got a Listerine taste. But I never put ginger
in there. I would like to try ginger, cranberry, and even different tea
flavors. I have beautiful teas at home that have sassafras tastes, orange
tastes. I excited about the upcoming year. P.s. I don't have the actual
carcinogenic sassafras. How about tapping a birch tree, and add some
boiled down sap, that would offer a nice aroma and birch beer taste?

Stalking Wolf
Peter Matra

"Those who walk the woods, in God's country, walk on his ever changing
church. Drink the wine, plow the earth, listen to Mother Nature."

Subject: classification of a mead
From: (kurt schilling)
Date: Fri, 29 Dec 95 09:42 EST

One of my brewing aquanintences came up with a question the other day on how
to classify a mead that he has made. The mead in question was made with 5
lbs Vermaont Maple syrup and 10 lbs of clover honey. Where oh where in the
great scheme of meads does this mixture best fit? Is is a Methegyn or is it
a Melomel? Or is it somethingelse? Anyone's input will be most welcomed.

Thanks and have a SAFE and great New Year!!

Kurt Schilling

Subject: RE: MLD #450
From: sobol@ofps.ucar.EDU (Rebecca Sobol)
Date: Fri, 29 Dec 1995 12:34:31 -0700 (MST)

>From MLD #450

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


I don't know of a commercial mead that will really be a good example of
what a good homebrew tastes like. Some commercial meads are better than
others, but none are as good as most of the homebrew that I've had. The
problem with trying to describe the flavor is that every batch is different.
The flavor will be different depending on the type of honey used, the amount
of honey used, other ingredients, the type of yeast used, etc. Some meads
are very dry, some aren't. Some meads are very fruity, some are not at all
fruity. If there are no mead brewers in your area you may have to just
break down and brew a small batch to see if it's something you want to brew
more of. We use about 2 pounds of honey per gallon in most of our meads. If
you use more honey and a very high tolerance yeast you might end up with
something very dry, but it will take a very long time (years) to age. If
you use a yeast that is less alcolhol tolerant your mead will be sweeter. Use
less honey and some type of ale yeast to get something that will be drinkable
sooner. Mead can be lightly hopped to make it more dry and less sweet. It
all depends on your tastes. My brew partner and I tend to like meads that are
fruity, and a bit sweet, but I have had some very dry meads that I liked
alot. If you do try to make a batch of mead, and you taste it at bottling
time and think it's terrible, don't throw it out yet. Put it on a shelf and
let it sit for a few months and try it again. If it's still bad, it may
just need more aging. Keep on brewing the beer so you have something to
drink while you wait. The best meads do require patience.

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.

We haven't used Red Zinger, but we do have 2 batches of mead made with 2
other varieties of Celestial Seasonings tea. Midwinter Meth used 8 tea bags
in a 5 gallon batch, and the tea flavor is nearly nonexistent. Tiger Bomb
has 20 tea bags in a 5 gallon batch and has decent tea flavor. The tea was
made by pouring boiling water over the tea bags, and they were allowed to
steep for at least 10 minutes (I think). Then we added the tea to the carboy
along with a traditional mead must. My guess is that 5 bags per 2.5 gallons
will give a weak tea flavor, but possibly you will get more tea flavor by
adding it at bottling time rather than during the fermentation stage. Also
we used more water to steep our bags in, since we needed to add water to
the must in the carboy anyway. Maybe using less water to make the tea will
give you better tea flavor. Try it and let us know how it turns out.

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: Rhubarb Melomel
From: (Robert Alexander)
Date: Tue, 2 Jan 1996 12:19:49 -0500

Hi all! and best wishes of the season.

Been reading and enjoying the Digest for some time now. Great to see so
many people passionate about mead. I've been an enthusiastic (if not always
successful) meader for about four years now. And a wine-maker for about 14

This is my first posting, and I'd like to say 'thanks' to everyone

for helping to increase my understanding of mead, giving me food for
thought, and providing some fun and entertaining postings.

Been mostly experimenting with cysers and ciders this fall. (I've

GOT to get another traditional mead going soon :> ) And mostly
experimenting in larger quantities, too, i.e., demi-johns (the big 54 litre
ballon-shaped bottles). Got one demi-john of traditional cider going
(pressed the apples myself, and allowed to ferment on the natural yeast).
There's also a demi-john of cloved-cyser, a carboy of different
cloved-cyser (much more clove), and a carboy of traditional cyser (just
apple and honey). I'll let you know more about these when they mature a
little more.

Wanted to pass on a rhubarb melomel recipe that I came up with

about two years ago, and got quite positive comments on. This recipe came
about when I wanted to create a mead that had a higher acidic content, but
without adding a commercial acid blend. I wanted to get the acid from a
more 'natural' source. So I got thinking, and maybe this is a wierd
concept, but, 'what's the opposite taste to honey?' I finally decided that
rhubarb was probably the closest; sour and acid v/s sweet and soft. My goal
was a strong, balanced mead, with a bit of residual sweetness. Considering
the champagne yeast, I'd have to continue 'feeding' it honey until the
yeast pooped out. Here's how I made it:

Rhubarb Melomel
Qty: 23 litres (5 gal)

5 Kilos raw honey (11 lbs) not sure what type, but probably clover. From a
farmer's stand
4 – 4.5 K rhubarb, chopped (8-10 lbs) I didn't weigh this, and may be
over-estimating slightly
2.5 tsp nutrient
1/4 tsp tannin
Lalvin Champagne yeast

Heated and skimmed the honey (with some water) for about 20 min., and then
added the chopped rhubarb and let simmer for about an hour to extract the
flavour and other components. Actually, because of the size of my pot, I
had to do this operation twice, with half the ingredients each time.

94/06/11 This mixture was then put into a large primary pail, and
topped up with water. BTW, my water comes from a well, and is VERY hard, so
I didn't feel the need to add any minerals, like gypsum, to the must.
94/06/12 S.G. 1.080 Pitched yeast into primary
94/06/13 Going like crazy!
94/06/21 S.G. 0.996 ! Racked to carboy. Added ~ 1 K. (2.2lb)
honey, which raised S.G. to 1.016. Topped up with water.
94/08/01 S.G. 0.994 Rack. Clearing well. Tastes horrible,
acidic and solvent-y. My notes say I added .5 K. kilo honey, which raised
the S.G. to 1.016. Looking back, that doesn't seem to make sense, but
THAT'S what the notes say. *shrug* 🙂

My notes end here. The stuff tasted so bad, I just wrote it off as a bust
effort. I know I racked and added honey one more time (what the hell). It
seemed the yeast would NEVER poop out. After that the stuff was just
ignored. I figured I'd get around to dumping it when I needed an empty

As it turned out, it's a good thing I have a few extra carboys. 🙂

When I next tasted the stuff, it was seven months later; March of 95. Most
of the harsh, solvent tastes and strong acid had mellowed (probably due to
malo-lactic fermentation, I'm guessing) and both the rhubarb and honey
notes were present, though subdued. Good legs, too. The mead was still VERY
dry, but that turned out to be OK; the overall presentation was similar to
a chablis — steely, earthy, complex. Didn't check the finish S.G., just
started drinking it, but I guess it was around 0.990. Alc. around 15%.

Much of this mead was drunk by just tapping it from the carboy, so

there was considerable oxidation over the next few months. Though I know
this is bad form, it didn't seem to harm the taste. (Why?) Maybe it helped?
Oh, and about half of the quantity was stored in a small oak cask for about
a month (Aug 95), then remixed back into the carboy. In any case, I finally
got some bottled, and the few I have left are still improving. (I think the
oak flavour was important.)

This mead was a real hit, especially among my grape-wine drinking

friends (and especially among the ones who've been conditioned to turn
their noses up at anything that's not BONE dry). <G>

The procedure I took to make this mead was full of accident and

serendipity: I'd hate to try and reproduce it exactly. But I think there's
good info in the recipe, which can be applied to other attempts.

Best regards to all,
Robert Alexander

Subject: Corking and sulphites
From: (brewing chemist Mitch)
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 1996 08:48:09 -0600 (CST)

Here's a question: Will an appreciable amount of sulphites leach out of corks
that have been treated with such into the mead in the bottle ?

I do not use sulphites in my meads. They aggravate some people, and the less
chemicals the better. However, when soaking my corks (to soften them for
corking), I soak them in water that has had a campden (sodium metabisulphite)
tablet added. This prevents mold from growing on them. If you've ever pulled
a moldy cork out of any beverage, you'll agree that it is a good thing to

Now this would not even be a question if the bottles stood forever upright
after corking, but at some point they are laid down, to keep the corks moist.
So – I'm sure that some tiny amount of this must be leached out of the cork,
but will it be in a quantity where I will have to warn sulphite allergic
people ?

If anyone wants to 'do the math', I'm talking about 1 tablet in 2 qts of water,
in which anywhere from 12 – 24 corks are soaked.

I may be overreacting. The corks are not dripping this liquid into the mead.
They are not wet when used, and it's not like wringing a sponge into the mead
when they go into the bottle.

If it's a hazard to others, I'll quit it and find another method.



  • – Mitchell B. Gelly — owner/brewmaster of the ManOwaR nano-Brewery —

software QA specialist, unix systems administrator, Usenet admin,
zymurgist, BJCP certified beer judge, brewer in the lambic style

Subject: pear mead and Sparkloid
From: Douglas Thomas <>
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 1996 14:54:26 -0800 (PST)

About 2 – 3 weeks ago I posted about my pear mead and the fact that it is
not clearing even after fining with gelatin and albumin. Sparkloid was
recommended to me. I have dosed it up and let it settle now for 2
weeks. It has settled out a fair amount but is still taking a long time
and is on the cloudy rather than bright side. Does anyone have
ideas about further dosing, how long it takes to settle, or anything of
the sort. Also, I would like to know if there are any good works on
fining agents. I have found very little other than brief mentions in
books about skim milk, egg albumin, egg shell, gelatin and oak dust. I
would like to read up on these older forms of fining if possible. All of
my gelatin and albumin experience and knowledge comes from Wagner's work
>From grapes into wine. Thanks a lot, and any suggestions would be welcome.

Doug Thomas

End of Mead Lover's Digest #451