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Mead Lover's Digest #0454 Thu 25 January 1996

 

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

 

Contents:

medicinal tasting mead? ("Warren A. Ransom")
Re: Fallacies ("Lee C. Bussy")
must oxygenation/bacterial secondary fermentation (Mark Roberson)
peach/lemon/acid/etc. (DoubleDDD@aol.com)
Hops are OK in Braggots (Olson)
Ambrosia Adventure (Olson)
Re: Brewing Mead (John DeCarlo)
Stopping fermentation (Torben Andersen)
Re: Ambrosia Adventure results (Michael L. Hall)
Miracles, nutrients ("Harralson, Kirk")
Finest Blends… (Ralph Snel)
Clarifiying Mead ("Haiku Czar!")
lemon-ade mead ("Lynn Riskedal")
A Suggestion and Thanks to Rich Webb (SSLOFL@ccmail.monsanto.com)
Moniack Mead (abbot@ftp.com)
Yeast Nutrient (MicahM1269@aol.com)
Prune juice (Greg Krehbiel)
Inside Mead (Joe Uknalis)
Ambrosia Adventure summary (Mead Lover's Digest)

 

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Subject: medicinal tasting mead?
From: "Warren A. Ransom" <war@quanta.com>
Date: Sat, 20 Jan 1996 17:16:16 -0500 (EST)


first the background: i made a mead over a year ago, it was in the
primary/secondary/tertiary for about 5 months, and then in the bottles
for about 8 months. i tasted one about a month after bottling, not
expecting it to be any good yet and it was awful! Listerine. well, i
asked someone about it and they told me that this is normal, or at least
not unusual, give it time and it will still develop. well, i tasted it a
little while ago, after about 8 month in the bottle and while it was not
nearly as bad as before, it was still really unpleasant. it's not that i
don't like mead, it still tasted like mouth wash. did i really mess
things up? can these get badly contaminated? i'm a homebrewer, brewing
for almost four years, and know what i'm doing (just thought i'd say this
so i don't get the 'clueless newby' speech 🙂
fermentation seemed fine, no problems or unusual occurences, and the
bottles have been sitting in my basement for their duration. this is my
first batch of mead, and if it's messed up i will be sad, but not
discouraged. is this normal? is it possible that it will still develop
into something great in another 6 months, or few years?

War@quanta.com | There should be a science of discontent.

  • -an amazing feat| People need hard times and oppression to develop psychic

of creation. | muscles. -from "Collected Sayings Of Muad'Dib" by the
The Palace of Insanity-http://quanta.com/~war Princess Irulan


Subject: Re: Fallacies
From: "Lee C. Bussy" <leeb@southwind.net>
Date: Sat, 20 Jan 1996 17:24:53 +0000


On 20 Jan 96 at 11:28, simsj@esn126.scra.org (Jim Sims)
wrote:

> The intent of this reply is NOT to cast doubt on Rich's obvious
> success/credentials/abilities/parentage, etc 🙂 The intent is to
> make folks aware of alternative thoughts on traditionally "accepted"
> or "known" "facts" about yeast, brewing, etc.

Uh oh… here comes a "momily" speech.

> My comments are based on my coupla years experience brewing beer
> and
> making mead, and a few years reading HBD and MLD, where there are
> lotsa folks who collectively know way more about this than any _one_
> of us.

Well, I respect your experience and any raw data that you may present
here but I have to take an opposing view on a few of these things
presented.

> >> Same with aeration. If you can inject filtered atmosphere (or
> >> ultimately, pure, medical quality oxygen), your yeast lag time (initial,
> >>reproductive) phase of the ferment will be minimized, and a
> >>healthier fermentation will be the result.
>
> Another potential "urban legend". Check the recent discussion on
> the Homebrew Digest. I don't recall _who_, but some microbiologist type
> pointed out that aeration has little to nothing to do with yeast
> reproduction because that is a anerobic (oxygen-free) process.

We are a little off the track here.. whether or not the reproductive
phase is aerobic or anaerobic (and it by most accounts seems
anaerobic) is not the concern. What we are forgetting here is the
need of the yeast to build up reserves for the reproductive and
fermentation phases.

The first phase of the ferment the yeast go into an aerobic phase in
which they build up adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is an
extremely important source of energy for the cell. Without this
respiratory phase, the yeast will autolyse causing many off flavors
in the must.

The mechanics of the respiratory phase are:

C6 H12 O6 (glucose) + 6 O2 –> 6 CO2 + 6 H2O

In an extremely brief and incomplete manner let's look at the
following:

The yeast reduce Pyruvic acid to oxaloacetate from which amino acids
and proteins can be synthesized. Another pathway would be from
oxaloacetate to acetyl Co A, an Acyl Co A or other acetic acid type
compounds than can be oxidized to fatty acids, lipids and complex
glycerides which are all required for cell wall formation and
strengthening. Oxygen is required for every one of these processes.

A deprivation of oxygen in the initial phases of the ferment will
retard the formation of the cell walls and the yeast will not be able
to regulate the uptake or selective uptake of the sugars in the wort
or must. Either the cells will die and lyse or develop abnormally both
of which results in off flavors.

Acytyl Co A eterifies fusel alcohols without the presence of
sufficient oxygen. Normally the yeast would metabolize these back to
oxo-acids. Lacking oxygen the yeast will excrete these fusel
alcohols or dehydrate them to esters by Acetyl Co A. One of the
major esters produced in this manner is ethyl acetate or that famous
banana aroma that we get from an under aerated must or wort.

Another symptom of under aeration is pyruvic acid, amino acids and
fatty acids being decarboxylated to aldehydes. This is a normal
function but without sufficient oxygen they will also be excreted.
The most predominant aldehyde being Acetaldehyde or the green-apple
smell.

Whew!

That was boring!

Anyway, I wanted to present fact rather than "Urban Legend" for you
all to chew on.

Some of the more significant research on this has been done by Dr. George
Fix and Dr. Maribeth Raines, all recommending oxygenating the wort
or must.

Then, as long as I'm de-lurking:

> I find that adding fruit with the initial fermentation accomplishes
> multiple goals:

*snip*

Well, I add the fruit or more accurately I add the must to the fruit
after the primary fermentation has died down. I do this for the
following reasons:

1. It prevents the vigour of the primary ferment from stripping
valuable and desired aromas from the fruit.

2. It allows you to do a "half batch" where you can rack half of the
batch onto the fruit.

3. It fits well in my sanitization scheme in which I take the frozen
fruit (I agree with this method for the reasons you specified) and
sanitize it with an appropriate amount of sulphites (1 tablet to 1
gallon of fruit) for 24 hours prior to racking the must onto the
fruit.

In this manner you can adequately sanitize the fruit without heat
(very desirable IMHO) and you don't run the risk of over-sulphiting
the must. I'll explain:

If you add 1 Campden tablet to 1 gallon of fruit, you get an
approximate concentration of 25 ppm sulphites. The acid in the fruit
rapidly liberate the SO2 which is the active sanitizing compound.
The rate of the liberation of the SO2 is proportional to the relative
acidity of the must. Even assuming a 25% drop in available or free
sodium metabisulphate (which is conservative IMHO owing to the
acidity) upon dilution by adding the must (in this discussion we'll
say 5 gallons for the sake of discussion) you end up with an overall
level (or addition) of 3.125 ppm sulphites:

25 ppm – 6.25 = 18.75 ppm (after 24 hours)

18.75/6 (total gallons must and fruit) = 3.125 ppm

I also use this method for my fruit beers with excellent results.

> (1) It adds nutrient for the yeast, eliminating the need for
> "energizers"

Not entirely true. It adds simple sugars which can induce the
"Crabtree effect" which will cause the yeast to bypass the normal
aerobic phase of energy storage and subsequent reproductive phase and
go directly into a fermentation phase which owing to the weakness of
the yeast and the relative low cell density in the must will cause a
long lag time and a sluggish initial fermentation. The normal cycle
then starts when the glucose level drops to a more normal level.

> (2) the mead clears more quickly as the fruit seems to precipitate
> the particulates faster

A fruit beer will clear faster but this effect is only delayed by
adding the fruit after the primary ferment.

> (3) adding fruit at the start eliminates the risk of
>
> >> Aeration of the fruit will lead to oxidation of the alcohol,
> >> leading to wet cardboard type aromas and tastes

Not entirely a problem and not exactly true either. Firstly, you
have to rack it eventually. Adding oxygen to the must at the point
of racking to the secondary will have little ill effect. The
increased sugar level in the presence of the oxygen might cause the
yeast to go aerobic temporarily but that is of no real concern to us.
In fact, the tradition of aerating a beer or "dropping" as the
British call is has recently come into vogue again with beer brewers.
This entails the aeration of the wort while racking into the
secondary in order to enhance diacetyl production thereby making a
more complex beer.

While this may not be desirable in most meads, it's not a real
concern if you are careful. Oxidization of the must is highly
unlikely with viable and active yeast in the must.

Well, this was longer than I ever intended. Sorry for the length.
I'll go back into lurker mode again… I promise.

* I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up,
* it's as good as they are going to feel all day.


Subject:  must oxygenation/bacterial secondary fermentation
From: roberson@carbonate.chem.utah.edu (Mark Roberson)
Date: Sat, 20 Jan 1996 16:46:46 -0700


Subject: Re: Making Magic: Brewing Mead, by Rich Webb, Mead and brewing Deity
From: simsj@esn126.scra.org (Jim Sims)

[ Let's keep this civil, folks: evidence seems to be far more
scarce than fiercely held opinion ]

>> Same with aeration. If you can inject filtered atmosphere (or ultimately,
>>pure, medical quality oxygen), your yeast lag time (initial, reproductive)
>>phase of the ferment will be minimized, and a healthier fermentation will be
>>the result.

> Another potential "urban legend". Check the recent discussion on the
>Homebrew Digest. I don't recall _who_, but some microbiologist type
>pointed out that aeration has little to nothing to do with yeast
>reproduction because that is a anerobic (oxygen-free) process.

The HBD has recently generated a lot of smoke and a little light on this

subject, Tracy Aquilla and A.J. deLange contributing much of the latter.
George Fix's Principles of Brewing Science discusses the role of oxygen in the
yeast life cycle, although I don't recall him dealing with it in this specific
context.

My understanding, as an interested non-specialist, can be summed up as:

Under typical brewing conditions, yeast ferment rather than respire
even in the presence of oxygen; this fact does not directly effect
rates of budding.

Oxygen is important during the early, rapid growth stages of a batch;
it is required for the synthesis of sterols, which form an important
part of the cell membrane, and thus contributes to the establishment
of a healthy yeast population. After a stable cell concentration has
been reached, excess oxygen is scrubbed out by CO2.

Naturally this is not the last word, and I welcome any corrections and

amplifications. For those who are interested, I have saved some of the
relevant posts from the HBD and would be willing to pass them along.

*************************************************************

Subject: malolactic fermentation?
From: lprescot@sover.net

David Prescott about sources of malic acid acid from acid blend and

apples. I have a related question: I have read hints about using bacteria
in a secondary fermentation to convert lactate to malate, but never any
details. Does anyone have any specific wisdom to distribute, particularly
about appropriate strains and culture sources?

MJR


From: danmcc@umich.edu (Dan McConnell)
Date: Sat, 20 Jan 1996 23:54:33 -0500


From: hall@galt.c3.lanl.gov (Michael L. Hall)

>I recently published an article in the January 96 issue of _Inside Mead_,
>the publication of the American Mead Association. The article concerns
>mead judging, and includes a description of a mead competition which can
>be scaled to accommodate both small and large competitions.

Mike:

I think that you should arrange with Dick to print the entire "Treatise" in
MLD. It is well organized, has many good points, but also some flaws in my
opinion (I'm sure you expected that). I have *many* comments. To level
the playing field, I think that it would be helpful to first print the
essay and then open the discussion. As far as I'm concerned, this will be
an advancement in mead judging; our common goal. I would much rather work
together to improve mead judging and reach an agreement than to argue over
minor points.

DanMcC


Subject: peach/lemon/acid/etc.
From: DoubleDDD@aol.com
Date: Sun, 21 Jan 1996 02:26:04 -0500


Here's my $.02 on meadlovers 452

On stopping fermentation;

My sources tell me that wine stablizers only work with an already low

cell count. Its used in wines that have fermented out to insure that a few
more alcohol tollerant cells don't continue and sparkle the wine. I think you
need to stop the fermentation with sulfite. 3 to 5 Campden tablets to a five
gal batch should do the trick. Hopefully your not sulfite sensitive as many
people are alergic to sulfites. Good luck.

On lemon mead;

I started a lemon mead in sp95. I'm quite pleased with it so far. I

wouldn't call it dry but its not as sweet as I'd like it. I'll be blending it
with a sweet mead before bottling. I used Boyajian pure lemon oil in the
secondary for more flavor and aroma. This stuff is strong. It takes 66 lemons
to make a oz.! I also have orange and lime oils but I haven't used them yet.

On acidity;

I've had two "meadmaker of the year" winners give me opposing views of

the role of acidity in mead. One says that the percent acid needs to be above
.55 for a "stable" fermentation. The other says not to add acid untill after
fermentation, adding it solely for taste. I've been raising the acid level
above .5 for a year now and have had no problems with fermentation. However,
the acid levels have increased dramatily during aging. Some have gotten as
high as 1.05 % acid. I have been reducing the acid levels with acidex before
kegging or bottling. The other way of reducing acid is to use gypsum but you
must age again before bottling.

What do y'all think? Is a low acid mead vulnerable during fermentation?

TIA

On peach mead;

I started a peach mead last fall. I'm happy with it so far. Here's

the recipe I used:

Peach melomel

9/6/95 5gal
5 Qts./ 15 lbs. starthisle honey
1.5 ozs. B.P. mead yeast nutrient
1 gals. tap water (wendsday)
2.5 gal peach blanching water (tasted too good to throw out)
35 lbs peaches(seconds) prior to blanching/pealing/pitting

B.P. acid blend. adj. to .71%
priese de mousse yeast

.

acid tested at fermentation – .9%
acid tested at first racking – .8% 9/20/95
1 tbs pectin enzime
I ended up with 7 gal of dry peach mead. I racked1 gal. + of dry , I added 2
qts of s. thisle honey to 5 gals. for sec. ferm

Re: What would you do ?
I would leave it at 62^ and add champane yeast and wait.


Subject: Hops are OK in Braggots
From: olson99@mack.Rt66.com (Olson)
Date: Sun, 21 Jan 96 22:06:42 MST


In MLD#452 Fred Hardy argues against allowing hops to be used in braggot:

>I agree that braggots entered into competition often (usually?) contain
>hops. This should disqualify them in any American Homebrewers Association
>competition (it does not), and I hope the AMA will see the light. Braggot
>is a fermented drink made from honey and malt – Not honey, malt and hops.

I strongly disagree. Hops are a perfectly acceptable ingredient for braggots.

>Fermented drinks made with honey, malt and hops are called specialty
>beers. Even if 90 percent of the fermentables are from honey it is still
>a specialty beer. Braggot dates from pre-history in Britain, and probably
>the Norse countries, and essentially dissappeared during the 15th
>century. Hops did not become a common ingredient in malt-based brews
>in Britain until the 17th century, and did not gain general acceptance
>until around 1700.

Why should we narrowly define braggots in terms of one style of drink
made in one location during one time period? When hops were introduced
into brewing in Europe, there was a period of many years when hops were
legally not allowed in England and English ales. If someone were to now
to insist that the only true "ale" is one that has no hops, I would
strongly protest. We no longer live in those times.

Fred, I respect your interest and knowledge about historical brewing, but
please don't go over board and insist that they some how wrote the book on
braggots and then closed it to any future changes.

Similarily, I enjoy the excerpts from Colonel Digby's diary of mead making
that are sometimes published here. However, I have no plan to limit myself
to the ingredients and procedures that were available to him. We have come
a long way since then, thankfully!

>Mr. Hall distinguishes between Standard Mead (made with neutral honey)
>and Varietal Honey Mead made with a one-flower honey. It seems odd that
>he cannot distinguish between beer and braggot. The AHA guidelines for
>braggot state that the International Bittering Units (IBUs) of braggot
>should be "zero." IBUs are a measure of the dissolved isomerized hop acids
>in the beverage. The only way to have "zero" IBUs is to have no hops.

In other forums you have complained that the AHA guidelines are wrong
because they call for a color of 0 to 5, absurdly pale, suggesting that
no significant grain could be included. Sorry, you can't argue the AHA
guidelines both ways. They are just guidelines, not hard and fast rules.
They should have a wide color and a wide IBU range listed for braggots.

Last weekend I judged at the Ambrosia Adventure in Denver, a mead only
competition. One of the metheglins I judged was spiced with cascade hops
and spearmint. Not a combination that I would have thought of, but it
was interesting and well made. Was it a beer? Of course not, it had
no malt. But you suggest that it should be disqualified because it
had hops in it.

The winning braggot was a rauch braggot. It has a nice smoky aroma and
taste along with good honey character. Whether it had hops or not was
irrelevant.

Beer is primarily made from grain, mead from honey. To me hops are like
acid blend, it is used to balance the drink, to make it more palatable.
If the fermentables in a brew are more than 50% malt with some honey
added, it is a beer. If more than 50% is honey, it is a mead. This is
a definition that both the AHA and AMA agree on. An excellant definition.
Hops are added to spice up the drink and do _not_ define the drink. It is
the mead makers option whether or not to use hops. Suggesting that a
beverage made with 90% honey is not a mead is patently absurd! By the way,
beer competitions would not appreciate it in the "specialty beer" category.

Purists have put a "show" catagory into some mead competitions. In this
category acid blend and other adjuncts are not allowed. If you wish to
propose a subcategory of braggots that are only honey and malt, please
go ahead and propose it. But please do not try to disallow the use of
hops in the whole category.

>Further study reveals that braggot was probably spiced. Everything was in
>the Middle Ages, primarily for medicinal reasons. Cinnamon, for example,
>was prized as a medicine for long life in Britain, and cloves, nutmeg and
>ginger surely found their way into beers, wine and braggot.

I truly do not understand why you are willing to allow all kinds of spices
in braggots, but not hops!

Gordon Olson
BJCP National Judge
Maker of beers and meads for 15 years.


Subject: Ambrosia Adventure
From: olson99@mack.Rt66.com (Olson)
Date: Sun, 21 Jan 96 22:06:59 MST


I was lucky enough to be able to be a judge at the Ambrosia Adventure
mead only competition that was held in Denver on Jan 13.

The meads were uniformly better than last year. I tasted fewer meads
that were contaminated or had similar fermentation flaws. Also, most
of the mead were better balanced in terms of acidity than last year.

The quality of homemade mead keeps going up! Forums like this do alot
to spread the word about how to make good mead.

Which brings me to an interesting story. I also helped judge the Best
of Show part of the competition. The overall winner was a "show" mead,
a traditional mead that was brewed with Fleishman's bread yeast. That's
right bread yeast! The woman who made the mead, Morgan Wolf, was there
as a first time judge and I had a chance to talk to her. She does not
belong to an brewing club and had not read much about making mead before
she decided just to do it. No one told here not to use bread yeast. The
fermentation is going strong within 15 minutes, which she thought was
just great. To clarify her meads she puts them into the plastic two
liter bottles and freezes them in her deep freeze. After days or weeks,
when it is convenient, she thaws them, remixing the water and alcohol
that have separated, and then filters it all through a wine filter.

The resulting mead was teriffic! It had a wonderfull honey aroma and
taste (Catclaw honey). It was a sweet mead that was not highly alcoholic,
it did not have much "wine" character. It was very pale, crystal clear.

I don't know if any of the organizers of the AA have net access, but I
hope that the full list of winers shows up here. I only managed to get
a third place in the braggot category. The competition is getting very
tough. But that makes it fun to judge!

If you had entries, you should get your results and score sheets in
a few days.

Gordon Olson


Subject: Re: Brewing Mead
From: John DeCarlo <jdecarlo@mitre.org>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 96 09:10:15 EST


Jim Sims writes:
>> Same with aeration. If you can inject filtered atmosphere (or ultimately,
>>pure, medical quality oxygen), your yeast lag time (initial, reproductive)
>>phase of the ferment will be minimized, and a healthier fermentation will be
>>the result.

> Another potential "urban legend". Check the recent discussion on the
>Homebrew Digest. I don't recall _who_, but some microbiologist type
>pointed out that aeration has little to nothing to do with yeast
>reproduction because that is a anerobic (oxygen-free) process.

Before this goes too far, oxygen has been shown in practice and in the lab
to be good for yeast health and for fermentation early on. As Jim said, you
can get the details from the Homebrew Digest. The controversy appears to be
about the *role* played by O2 before fermentation is well under way, rather
than whether it is beneficial or not (the latter is not in question).

John DeCarlo, MITRE Corporation, McLean, VA–My views are my own
Fidonet: 1:109/131 Internet: jdecarlo@mitre.org


Subject: Stopping fermentation
From: tanderse@eso.org (Torben Andersen)
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 96 19:55:07 +0100

In MLD 452 Ed_I wrote:

> The two common methods (that I am aware of) to achieve desired final
>gravity are to let ferment dry then add sweetener and stabilizer or to keep
>adding fermentables until the yeast poops out. But I want mead, not jet fuel.
> Does anybody know of an easy way to be able to ferment to desired final
>gravity and then *stop*?

I believe that you are touching upon one of the central points in
mead-making. I would like to come back to the method referred to in MLD 448.
The idea described in the book is to heat the mead briefly to 55 Deg C (131
Deg F) to stop fermentation. This can for instance be carried out during
bottling. It should be reasonably simple to construct a thin, heated tubular
spiral through which the mead is taken to the bottles, thereby killing the
yeast. It would provide us all with a simple, chemical-free method of
adjusting sweetness and alcohol. Never more glass grenades. The question to
me is whether there is an impact on the taste of the mead.

Regards

Torben


Subject: Re: Ambrosia Adventure results
From: hall@galt.c3.lanl.gov (Michael L. Hall)
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 96 14:09:43 MST


I was asked, via private email:
> Was wondering if you knew the results of the recent Ambrosia
> Adventure??? Do you know anyone that may??

I don't know all of the results, but I do know a little. I judged
on the Best-of-Show panel and our top three meads were:

a Show Mead (I think it was made with alfalfa honey, but I
don't remember exactly)
a Lime Melomel
a Rauch Mead (smoked braggot)

There was a difference of opinion as to which should be second
(I preferred the Rauch Mead), but that didn't really matter anyway. The
unanimous first choice was the Show Mead, brewed by Morgan (somebody), a
woman who was present at the judging. Interestingly enough, we found out
that she used some unorthodox techniques:

  • she used Fleischman's bread yeast !!!

  • she freezes her meads in PET bottles, then thaws them

out and filters with a wine filter

Strange, but you can't argue with success. The Show Mead that she brewed
was excellent. We all tried to encourage her to write an article about
the mead for _Inside Mead_.

If anyone has more complete results please post them.

Fermently,
Mike


Subject: Miracles, nutrients
From: "Harralson, Kirk" <kwh@roadnet.ups.com>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 96 15:11:07 EST


First, a success story. I sampled my last mead at the 6 month mark, and almost
through it out. If I had needed the bottles, I would have tossed it. Last
night, after another 6 months, I tried another bottle just for kicks — no
expectations whatsoever. I absolutely cannot believe the difference. No wonder
medieval alchemist (probably mead makers themselves) thought they could turn
lead into gold! This highlights what I believe is one of the more difficult
things about making mead — no quick feedback on your efforts.

There seems to be a question now on using yeast nutrients. It seems some people
think these should be used sparingly to reduce harsh flavors. A while back,
someone posted that you need to add *lots* of nutrients if using an ale yeast.
Are these requirements different? I plan to use ale yeasts exclusively from now
on. I have the same questions about adding acid. I like the idea of adding
acids to taste after fermentation. However, my next two planned meads will both
start with high-acids fruits (lime and pineapple). Should I raise the ph of the
must with calcium carbonate? I was thinking about targeting a starting ph of
around 4.5, and monitoring it throughout fermentation. After fermentation, if
more acid is added, can you still count on the yeast for natural carbonation? I
was planning on using Wyeast 1338 European Ale yeast, which has given me great
results in several types of ales.

I truly appreciate any advice I can get from this digest. I would hate to wait
another year to make adjustments based on taste tests from my next mead.

Kirk Harralson


Subject: Finest Blends...
From: Ralph Snel <ralph@astro.lu.se>
Date: Tue, 23 Jan 1996 14:29:39 MET


David Martin wrote:

> The first is a traditional mead, it is VERY sweet.
[…]
> The second was an attempt at en elderflower & peach memomel. It is VERY
> VERY VERY acid.
[…]
> Any suggestions?

Ever considered mixing the two? Acid and sugar are very good complements
to eachother. Mix in the right proportions prior to drinking.
I did so myself with some "leftovers" and a very nice, 4 year old, rather
spicy and very dry mead. The result was incredibly tasty! I still have
about 50 liters of the old stuff, but the leftovers are all gone now… 🙁

Cheers,

Ralph Snel
ralph@astro.lu.se
Sweden


Subject: Clarifiying Mead
From: "Haiku Czar!" <duck@oasys.dt.navy.mil>
Date: 23 Jan 1996 11:12:38 -0400


A quick question from my first batch of mead:

I'm trying to finish up a basic mead (honey, water, nutrient, yeast) and am
having some difficulty with the clarification step.

The mead has fermented for 2+ months. I followed the directions for
Sparkaloid and the mead cleared up nicely. Unfortunantly, the Sparkaloid
seems to have separated into two layers–one on top and one on the bottom.
Has anyone experienced this problem? Anything I can do?

If I get some Sparkaloid into my bottles will ever settle out? will it spoil
the flavor? I'd hate to lose over a third of my batch because there is
Sparkaloid floating about.

Thanks for your help!

Jeff Duckworth
duck@oasys.dt.navy.mil


Subject: lemon-ade mead
From: "Lynn Riskedal" <riske003@maroon.tc.umn.edu>
Date: Tue, 23 Jan 1996 11:10:02


A request for a lemon mead has brought me out of the lurking mode (or
whatever the current term is for one who reads but doesn't participate). I
made a lemon-ade mead that was fantastic. I used Schwans lemon-ade
concentrate. As near as I can remember and glean from my notes, I used
about 18 boxes of the concentrate (which makes about a quart of Lemon-ade)
for 5 gal. The honey ratio was about 2# per gal. I think I used Champaign
yeast. Sorry for the vagueness.
I've been cold brewing since I read a recipe in MEAD MADE EASY by
Polaschek. I boil water to make the honey flow easier and to throw off the
city chemical stuff, but that is the extent of cooking.

Regarding the price of Honey. I've been made aware that the price supports
for beekeepers from the agricultural appropriations either has been or will
be taken away. This is making local honey more costly than the imported
stuff, and is discouraging beekeepers from staying in the business. The
potential reduction of bees will have major ecological ramifications. Just
something I picked up along the way.

Thanks for all the discussion on mead variations!

Lynn


Subject: A Suggestion and Thanks to Rich Webb
From: SSLOFL@ccmail.monsanto.com
Date: Tue, 23 Jan 1996 10:52:39 -0600

I have been brewing beer for some time and am going to attempt my
first batch of mead soon. I have read the mead.faq, and found it to be
helpful. I enjoyed reading the paper 'Making Magic : Brewing Mead' by
Richard Webb on the last MLD. I will keep many of your helpful hints
in mind while planning/preparing my first batch.

I use Wyeast for my beers, and plan on using the same on my first
mead. I culture my yeast, and prepare starters from my slants when
brewing beer.

To Rich Webb:

In your paper, you highly recommended making a starter. However,
you did not go into detail about making one. I am quite familiar to
making wort starters for beer, but would like to know how the
experienced mead makers make their starters for the must. Although you
probably don't want to go into extreme detail on your paper in the
interest of keeping it a short introduction, I would suggest that you
give a few basic pointers for those who don't have many other
references to go by. Could you please send me a private e-mail of how
you go about preparing starters for your batches?

Any other MLD readers, I would appreciate your suggestions as well.

Thanks again to Rich Webb for sharing his paper with us.

Shane Lofland
(sslofl@ccmail.monsanto.com)


Subject: Moniack Mead
From: abbot@ftp.com
Date: Tue, 23 Jan 1996 17:01:53 -0500

I visited Moniack Castle this past August while in Scotland. Fortunately
some friends told us about their mead beforehand, otherwise we would have
never known about the place.

Their mead is indeed made of heather honey, and contains nothing else
other than water and yeast. Moniack also makes many varieties of fruit
and flower wine and uses the same yeast for everything. It's a very
small operation, probably a dozen employees including one lady who
makes jellies. I forget what they said their output was, but it may have
been around 500,000 bottles a year (this covers everything they make).
I believe they age everything in old whiskey barrels. A lot of their output
is shipped directly to restaurants.

The mead was #5.50 per bottle. Unfortunately they do not export to the
US, and probably won't because they said the alcohol level puts it in the
category of a spirit rather than a wine (once again the US government
has no classification for mead) and it's probably not worth it for such
a small operation to deal with all the hassles.

They did mention that they would be importing to Canada, as was already
mentioned in a previous post. It can also be ordered through the mail,
but probably not internationally but I'm not sure, from a gourmet food
merchant on Princes Street in Edinburgh. Unfortunately I don't have the
details, this is all from memory.

We're slowly savoring the 3 bottles we brought home. Considering it's
just honey, it has a very complex flavor. It's definitely not traditional
mead in the sense that it should be consumed in beer-like quantities, this
is for slow sipping. The closest comparison I can think of is Barenjager,
a German honey liqueur, although not as syrupy.

Unfortunately I could not buy bulk quantities of heather honey, all I
could find was pound jars at gift shops. And with the dry weather last
summer, heather honey will probably be even scarcer.

Moniack Castle is just a few miles due north of the center of Inverness.

If anyone needs additional info, email me. I have more info at home.

As for "Ancient Mead", a grocery store was selling it here in New Hampshire
5 or 6 years ago. It was initially about $4 a bottle. The last I saw of it,
they had a mountain of it they were closing out for 99 cents. Initially
I liked it (naive as I was – it was the first mead I tasted) until I
tasted some real mead. I think this is probably bad white wine with
a hint of honey added. Definitely avoid it.

Scott
abbot@ftp.com


Subject: Yeast Nutrient
From: MicahM1269@aol.com
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 1996 07:51:00 -0500


My two cents on this yeast nutrient/energizer topic. I may not claim to be a
mead god or anything like that, but I have made a few batches of mead.

1) Honey is generally lacking in the essentials for normal yeast metabolism.
2) ph levels are very important for normal yeast metabolism. Different honeys
have a wide range of ph ( 2- 8 ) This needs to be adjusted ( after hydration
) for optimal fermentation conditions.
3) Using the wrong yeast nutrient can result in off flavours/smells that may
or may not age out. There are many available nutrients, they should be
selected for the specific honey that is being fermented. Contributions made
by fruit and such should be allowed for.
4) That the addition of pure O2 does not benifit yeast as much as purified
air ( as the air contains essential trace gases).
5) There is no substitute for adequate pitching rates. And temperature
control.

micah


Subject: Prune juice
From: Krehbiel@ix.netcom.com (Greg Krehbiel)
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 1996 10:47:23 -0800


I was drinking some prune juice the other night (a warrior's drink,
according to Lt. Worf), and it occurred to me that prune juice might be
okay if it weren't so cloying. Has anyone tried fermenting the stuff?

Greg


Subject: Inside Mead
From: Joe Uknalis <juknalis@ARSERRC.Gov>
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 1996 14:55:23 -0500 (EST)


Folks-

Can someone post an address for subscriptions to Inside Mead (and membership

in the AMA) & the cost.

thanks

Joe


Subject: Ambrosia Adventure summary
From: mead@raven.eklektix.com (Mead Lover's Digest)
Date: 25 Jan 96 00:34:40 MST (Thu)


There are already a few other comments about particular entries in the
Ambrosia Adventure. Here (courtesy Julian Strekal, but any errors in
transcription are min) is a summary of results:

Best of Show: a "show mead" (Category 2) by Morgan Wolf of Denver. See
comments elsewhere in this digest about the unusual technique!

Winners in each category:

Category Winner location

1 Traditional Keith Schowls Ft Collins, CO

2 Show Morgan Wolf Denver, CO

3 Melomel John Carlson Denver, CO

lime


4 Prickly Pear Jim Parker Littleton, CO

5 Pyment/Cyser Keith Schowls Ft Collins, CO

pyment, from "sherry grapes"


6 Metheglin Stephen C Law Oklahoma

cinnamon/rosemary


7 Bracket Jean-Noel Reynders Denver, CO

8 "Stranger than life" Keith Schowls Ft Collins, CO

bracket using smoked malt


Other notes: 116 entries total, largest was category 3 with 40 entries.
Most entrants were relatively local (Colorado front range) with a
scattering of entries from other states.

Julian made a couple of comments about Susanne Price…she had been in New
Mexico; she died in a car accident early on January 5 on the way back to
Colorado to prepare for the Ambrosia Adventure. Julian and Susanne had
been working together on the AMA. The AMA will definitely continue, but
there's going to be a while to regroup and recover from the tragedy.


Dick Dunn, Digest Janitor Boulder, Colorado USA
Mead-Lover's Digest mead-request@talisman.com



End of Mead Lover's Digest #454


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