Mead Lover's Digest #0460 Sun 18 February 1996


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



Re: Mead Lover's Digest #459, 14 February 1996 (Terence David Estrin)
Re: little bottles (
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #459, 14 February 1996 (
Mead in a Beer Competition (Fred Hardy)
Two Cents, Brackets and Pears (Tom Nickel)
mead in beer bottles (was Re: 1996 CDO) (brewmaster Mitch)
catagorizing beverages (
Small Bottles ("JOHN A. JR. CARLSON ")
Re: Varietal and Misc. Comments (Steven Rezsutek)
Priming for carbonation ("John B. Rhodes")
MEAD QUESTION ("Limper, Lori")
stuck ferment (Paul Mozdziak)


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Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #459, 14 February 1996
From: Terence David Estrin <>
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 1996 15:23:12 -0800 (PST)

Hi all,

This is my first posting to the digest, although I have to say

that I have been reading it for a while now and find it absolutely
fascinating. This is a partial response to Jeff Smith's question about
whether anyone is making mead with buckwheat honey. Well Jeff, funny
you should ask, because I just did! About a month ago I started a
buckwheat show mead using 18 pounds of Kidd Brothers buckwheat honey
(that's a distributor of honey here in Vancouver) in a 6 1/2 gallon
demijohn. I used no acids or tannin, added a bit of yeast nutrient,
and used Lalvin's "killer" yeast for the first time. Ambient temp. for
fermentation was about 69 degrees. Within two days of pitching the
yeast, fermentation was so vigorous that it almost blew off the
airlock. It's been about five weeks now, and I just racked it.
Fermentation has slowed down quite a bit, but I expect it will go on
for a few months. At this point the mead smells intensely buckwheaty
and the taste, well, let's just say "Romulan ale" comes to mind. I'm
told that an 18 month old buckwheat mead tastes incredible, so I'll be
patient. e-mail me if you have any questions.

For the record, my other meads in progress are a Nicola Valley
Wildflower mead and a Kaua'i Blossom wildflower mead (brought the
honey back on vacation!).

Terry Estrin

Vancouver, B.C.

Subject: Re: little bottles
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 1996 16:22:56 -0800

Jeff Smith ( writes:

>Does anyone know of a source you can find smaller 10 oz or 7 oz ponies type

Leinenkugels 7oz bottles are still available if you get to Superior or
points south. I've also seen Huber Bock in 7oz bottles, but not for a
year or two. Coca-cola is also available in 7oz bottles in the Mpls-St.
Paul area, and it's kinda nice having the clear bottles to look through.

  • -DaveP

"Isn't sanity a one-trick pony anyway? You only get one trick:
rational thought. But when you're crazy, the sky's the limit!"

  • -The Tick

Dave Polaschek –

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #459, 14 February 1996
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 1996 23:45:37 -0500

In a message dated 96-02-14 18:15:36 EST, you write:

> My mead seems to have purple/dark brick red colloidal clots
>collecting on the edge of the fermenter (that look rather like
>the stuff you get out of a red wine bottle), I'm using a new recipe,
>but all the stuff I'm using I've used before apart for a bottle
>of lime essence (thrown in just for the hell of it) which
>contained ethanol, lime oil, tartrazine, and a common blue dye
>(whose name eludes me). Any ideas. Could it be the 10g of
>Tannin (in 60L)?

This sounds like coagulated tannin to me. I assume you added the tannin
during the heating process, but do you use the slow-heat or boil method?

Subject: Mead in a Beer Competition
From: Fred Hardy <>
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 1996 09:54:00 -0500 (EST)

Dave Moore posted that his mead entry in the 1995 Capitol District Open
was downgraded because it was not in a "beer" bottle. He states that it
was in a perfectly legal "green wine bottle."

He is correct that his bottle was legal. Otherwise it would have been
rejected by the organizing committee.

It is legitimate for a judge to make a constructive comment about a
bottle, such as fillage levels. The wrong kind of bottle is not, IMO, a
legitimate constructive comment. Grading down because of the bottle is
not acceptable under any circumstance.

We do not review every judge sheet before we return them to the entrants.
It has been suggested that we should, but I don't think it is practical.
I would appreciate entrants giving me feedback on how we did. I hope
Dave's entry was not graded down, and the judge simply made an
inappropriate remark on the sheet. In either event, Dave, please accept
my apology. The judge was, IMO, out of line.

If a judge has a question about the physical appearance of an entry
she/he should check with the organizer. Commenting that a skunky beer in
a green bottle might score higher if it was in a brown bottle is a
reasonable comment. The entry should, however, be scored down for
skunkiness, not because of the type of bottle. Mead (I assume no hops) is
immune, which makes the judge's comment even more out of line.

BTW, allowing non-beer entries in the 1996 Capitol District Open is
currently under review. It is likely that they will not be accepted this
year, but the jury is still out.

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: Two Cents, Brackets and Pears
From: (Tom Nickel)
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 1996 09:55:51 -0800

Well, I just entered a bracket in the Ambrosia Adventure and got told that
it was way too beer-like. Everyone liked it and rated it well, but said it
did not exemplify the style. I used 70% honey and 30% malt along with
hops. I don't understand why hops eliminate bracket as a style of mead. I
agree with Russ that bracket and honey beer are two totally different
beverages and that should be kept in mind by the judges. A beer is a malt
beverage regardless of hop usage and bracket is a honey beverage that uses
malt weather or not you are using a spice, such as hops. IMHO.

On to a new discussion though. Does anyone have any opinions on what types
of pears work best in a perry or pear-mead? And how much honey must I use
to ensure that it is a mead and not just a foritfied perry? How does this
relate to the bracket discussion, and where on earth would I enter this in
a competition? What would it be if I put hops in it? Could I make a
pear-beer? What would the malt/hop/honey/pear ratio have to be? : )
Seriously though, I am making a pear mead and would like some advice on
what to use and how much. I have some Anjou pears, but have heard people
using Bosc as well. Any good methods for pressing the juice out?

Also, has anyone heard anything about the Julius Bochantin Winery in
Pasadena? They are listed in *Inside Mead* but the number is no good. I
am heading to LA and was looking forward to trying some mead up there.

Trying to keep it light-hearted in sunny (and warm) San Diego,
Tom Nickel

Subject: mead in beer bottles (was Re: 1996 CDO)
From: (brewmaster Mitch)
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 1996 12:26:12 -0600 (CST)

Dave Moore laments (and who can blame him ?):

> I entered the last Capitol District Open and was rather dismayed to have
> been down rated by one of the judges for "not using a beer bottle like
> everyone else". I used a perfectly legitimate green "wine bottle".

If someone knocked your mead for not being in a beer bottle 'like everyone
else', then they are a moron. Don't let that incident put you off.

> I think that I will no longer enter mead in a BEER & "Other" contest.

I guess it depends on the competition. Some of them take care to ensure that
the meads will be reviewed by judges familiar with meads. I'm sure that the
March Mashfest (CO) is such an event.

> Any plans for a true MEAD contest?

The two big ones are the Mazer Cup and the Ambrosia Adventure, both of which
just occurred recently. The Mazer gets a lot of press in this forum, but I
saw no mention this year of the Ambrosia Adventure until after the fact, in a
post where someone mentioned judging in it.

And as long as I'm here, and since no one had a reply to my last query a
few weeks back, I will restate it:

Is there any risk of sulphites leaching out of sulphited corks into your
mead (assuming the bottles are laid down) ?



  • – Mitchell B. Gelly — owner/brewmaster of the ManOwaR nanoBrewery —

software QA specialist, UNIX|VMS|AOS systems administrator, Usenet admin,
zymurgist, BJCP certified beer judge, brewer of lambic and other oddities

Subject: catagorizing beverages
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 1996 13:38:34 -0500

Maybe it would help to have some specific percentages of how much sugar comes
from each source to catagorise. Where does Braggot end and Honey Ale begin?
Maybe if you have 20% sugar from honey and the rest from apples it should be
"honey cider" and if you have 80% from honey and the rest from apples it
should be "apple mead or apple melomel." If it falls in between call it

It's difficult to asses what is the "primary" and what is the adjunct. If
perhaps anything is more than 80% sugar from honey it could be called a mead
(with a modifying prefix.) Since some ingredients (usually grains and such)
are much more demonstrative in flavor the percentages would be varied (ie.
60%+ of barley = honey ale and anything other is braggot.)

Any ideas?

Subject: Small Bottles
From: "JOHN A. JR. CARLSON " <>
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 1996 07:10:29 -0700 (MST)

I found a source for small bottles (8oz.)The Beverage People in Fulton,
CA used to carry them for about $15.00 a case (24 bottles). I don't have
the 800 number as I recycled the old catalog.

Another source that I use is to re-use the bottles from the *new*
sixpacks of Anchor Old Foghorn. At $15.00 a sixpack it is nice to get
some use from the purchase besides a really good barleywine. 🙂

  • –John

Subject: Re:  Varietal and Misc. Comments
From: Steven Rezsutek <>
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 1996 11:07:04 -0500

Not to belabor this admittedly small point too much, but…

Russell Mast writes:
> Not IMO. I think that, as the original poster started with (was that you?),
> the categories should be defined by TASTE rather than RECIPE.

I wasn't the originator on this, BTW, though I did offer my own proposal
on classification.

> […]
> if you blend tupelo and alfalfa honeys together, and it really
> showcases one or both or some distinct 'variety' of honey that
> someone doesn't know about, why not call it a "varietal"?

Well, if you blend tupelo and alfalfa, and it showcases one of them
very well, then sure, I'd say it is a "varietal" mead. If, on the
other hand, it comes out having some "new" taste, then I think the
"varietal" moniker wouldn't apply — it is a blend.

Likewise with "Wildflower" (which is how I got involved in this
discussion)… I've been making meads lately from a locally produced
honey that has a very distinctive flavor profile. It is a "wildflower"
honey, in the sense that it comes from undetermined sources, yet it is
light and delicate, and quite unlike anything I've ever tasted with the
label "wildflower".

If Wildflower were considered a "varietal" honey, I think that these
meads wouldn't do very well, since it bears no resemblence to what most
folks (perhaps anyone outside my area) will have experienced as

The problem is that there is not, nor can there be so far as I can tell,
a taste standard for something that fits the technical definition of
what is a wildflower honey. [Sarcasm mode — The alternative would be
for this unique honey to have it's own varietal designaton, which should
get me plenty of firsts in my catagory :-)]

There is a parallel in the wine world that we could, if not follow, then
perhaps borrow or leanr from. A "varietal" wine, at least in the US,
must consist of at least 75% of the [grape] variety from which it
derives it's name (it used to be a much lower percentage).

We could do the same, substituting "known sole source" honeys for grape
vareties, perhaps relaxing or removing the percentage limit. The
"requirement" would be that it expresses the variety of [known sole?
source] honey for which it is named.

> […]

> Essentially, I'm of the opinion that regardless of what categories you decide
> to use, they should be defined by the taste. (And appearance and body, but
> solely defined by their sensory impact.) How you achieve that sensation
> might vary a bit, but the idea should be that you're trying to achieve that,
> rather than follow some recipe or rules of what's an acceptable path to glory

I think what you seem to be driving at here is perhaps better described
with the label 'Distictive'.

I agree totally with what you say here, but then why have a class for
"varietal" honeys, which is, by definition, based on the recipe, at all?
As I stated above, I belive the word being sought for is "distinctive",
but this is rather redundant, since who would want to make a catagory
for "bland"? 🙂


Subject: Priming for carbonation
From: "John B. Rhodes" <>
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 1996 13:39:04 -0700

I made a mead and then primed with about 1.5 oz of corn sugar per gallon.
It is barely carbonated, much less than beer, even though I used more corn
sugar than I do in beer. Can someone tell me how to carbonate? I wanted my
mead to be similar to champagne in carbonation. I do have champagne bottles
to withstand the pressure. Thanks.

John B. Rhodes Clifton, Colorado USA

From: "Limper, Lori" <>
Date: Sat, 17 Feb 96 13:28:00 PST

I attempted to make my first batch of mead on the winter solstice of 1994.
I followed
the guidelines in Charlie Papazian's "Joy of Homebrew". They are more or
less the same as your guidelines. I used 12 lbs of honey, yeast nutrients,
champagne yeast, etc. I bottled the mead in June 1995 (6months later on the
summer solstice), adding
more champagne yeast at this time because I wanted a sparkling mead. I
tried my first bottle on Halloween night, Oct. 1995. It was awful! It had
a distinct aroma and taste of acetone. I drank it anyway because it was
Halloween. I was extremely
sick shortly thereafter (perhaps because it was MY Halloween party and I had

also been drinking Lucifer , a bit of Sam Adam's Triple Bock and shots of
Wild Spirit).
The next day I had the worst headache I have ever had in my life from a
I think the sickness and headache were due to overindulgence, but I also
wonder if
it was possible that there was something wrong with the mead to make me so
I am afraid to drink anymore. It really smells sort of like grain alcohol
plus acetone.

One thing I may have done incorrectly was that I did not scrape off the
"scum" when boiling the honey. Could that have caused the unusual flavors?
Or do I just need to let it sit longer? I am a Microbiologist and am very
careful about sterility. I do not think the mead was contaminated.
Any ideas?
Pagan Brewer

Subject: stuck ferment
From: Paul Mozdziak <>
Date: Sat, 17 Feb 1996 18:47:23 -0600

Help–I started a pyment with too high a specific gravity and as one might
expect–it fermented, but it has stopped at a specific gravity of 1.005.
I've tried reinoculating the yeast, and sucking off some wine from the
carboy and getting that going and then adding it back too the carboy etc.

If I add some potassium sorbate to the mead will that adequately protect me
from "glass grenades". Thank you in advance.
Paul Mozdziak
NASA Space Biololgy
Research Associate
Department of Anatomy
University of Wisconsin-Madison

End of Mead Lover's Digest #460