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Mead Lover's Digest #0462 Sun 25 February 1996


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



cleaning the honey (Tracy Thomason)
WYeast sweet mead MLD #461 (Robert A. Tisdale)
Help: Rubber gaskets (ROWLEY@KUHUB.CC.UKANS.EDU)
Re: Brown Sugar and Wine. (Christina Busald)
Still more Varietal Musings (Steven Rezsutek)
brown sugar (Sylverre Polhemus)
Wyeast Sweet Mead Yeast (
Odd Melomel (Neal Dunsieth)


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Subject: cleaning the honey
From: (Tracy Thomason)
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 96 18:46:00 GMT

I have a question for the group:

When making mead I steep the honey at 170dF for 30 minutes. Is this enough to
kill off unwanted wild yeasts and bacteria? I don't want to boil it (I hear tha
reduces the flavor and aroma) and I don't want to use sulfites. Although I coul
d be
persuaded to change my mind if necessary. Any comments would be greatly


Subject: WYeast sweet mead   MLD #461
From: (Robert A. Tisdale)
Date: Thu, 22 Feb 1996 20:52:11 -0600

I have used WYeast sweet mead yeast with 15 lbs Gaujillo honey.
Fermentation stopped after about 2 weeks with an alcohol content of 6.5%.
This was a very sweet mead to say the least. It tasted great with no
aging, sort of like honey water. It did not improve with age. I entered
it in the Salt City Brewers contest in Syracuse, N.Y. and received a rating
of 25 out of 50. Both judges said that it was a "nice" mead.
Possible problems I may have created include the addition of 1 tbs of acid
blend, which may have lowered the PH enough to inhibit the yeast. Another
problem could have been that I did not add enough yeast extract.
I used only 1 tbs.
There are other methods available which can enhance fermentation. Check it out.

Have fun,

Bob Tisdale
Mead Maker

Robert A. Tisdale TEL: (601) 325-2085
Dept. of Entomology & Plant Pathology FAX: (601) 325-8837
Mississippi State University E-mail:
Mississippi State, MS 39762-9775, USA

Check out our World Wide Web Home Page

Subject: Help: Rubber gaskets
Date: Thu, 22 Feb 1996 09:46:23 -0600 (CST)

Hey all–

I've a question _tenuously_ related to mead. I have, on occasion,

bottled my mead in grolsch-type bottles with rubber gaskets/o-rings
on the cap but have never left them around long enough to find out any-
thing about long-term (say, over three years) survival of the rubber.
Sometimes, I have noticed some embrittlement of the rubber, but these
rings are so cheap, I usually just get more if i need them.

Now I am working on a project at our natural history museum

trying to determine the survival rate of the same type (but bigger) rubber
gaskets for enthanol-preserved fluid specimens. And some of these are
showing up with the same type of embrittlement. I am trying to find out
under what conditions these gaskets deteriorate and what can be done to
forstall that.

So, do any of you who make mead or brew use these grosch-type

bottles? what do you do with the rings before bottling? Do you sterilize
them with any particular compounds? Bleach? Boil them? I have heard of
boiling some types of bottle caps, but not for purposes of enlonging
their shelf live. If you do anything in particualr, why do you do what
you do?

I'd appreciate any help you'd be able to offer.

Matt Rowley
Department of Anthropology
University of Kansas

Subject: Re: Brown Sugar and Wine.
From: Christina Busald <>
Date: Thu, 22 Feb 1996 12:15:05 -0500

In your previous post you asked about the effect of adding brown

sugar to wine. You said you had added molasses to youre wine before. well
brown sugar is just cane sugar with a small amount of molasses mixed in.

Subject: Still more Varietal Musings
From: Steven Rezsutek <>
Date: Thu, 22 Feb 1996 12:56:43 -0500

Fred Hardy writes :

An orange blossom honey mead should showcase the flavor characteristics
of orange blossom honey, regardless of what is actually in it.

I'm assuming (hoping? 🙂 that you meant "regardless of what _else_ is
acutally in it", since the implications of a [prize winning] orange
blossom mead that did not contain any orange blossom honey at all are
rather staggering, to me at least, particularly if the catagories, and
the awards given in them, are to have any credibility in a commercial
sense, for which Ken Schramm expressed at least some desire. We might
as well give in to chemical synthesis and begin extracting "Bordeaux
from a Sloe", so to speak.

Perhaps this reflects my belief that mead is primarily an agricultural
product, but I think, assuming that one wants to produce a "varietal
mead", that the "goal", or at least that effort for which the awards
should be given, should be more along the lines of:

"To make mead *from* (e.g.) Orange Blossom honey [and whatever
ingredients that lend to the task]"

and not:

"To make mead which presents a flavor which most suggests
Orange Blossom honey whether or not orange blossom honey is

Otherwise, why make the distinction at all? Maybe others don't think
there's a difference here, but I do. YMMV, natch.

[…] if the honey exhibits the orange blossom characteristics, it is
orange blossom honey. Those characteristics should carry through to the

No argument here.

Russell Mast responds to me thusly:

> 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 :-)]

I think one of us misunderstands Fred Hardy's suggestion about having a
seperate category for "varietal" meads. I think he's talking about ONE
category for ALL varietals. Not one for each. Maybe I'm wrong.

Actually, I was operating under that assumption as well. What is missing
in the above is the leap of logical faith that I took to draw my rather
suspect conclusion, namely that the judging of a varietal mead catagory,
were one to exist, would be based to a large degree on how well the individual
mead expressed the nature of the varietal honey used.

*** An aside ***

Of course, this whole things then begs the question "If there were a varietal
mead catagory, just how *would* it be judged?". I gave this some more involved
thought last night, and came up with the following. This is hardly a definitive
list, just what I happened to have come up with. I'm anxious to see what others
think along these lines.

1) "Best mead(s) of the bunch" — What's the point, then? All that
would have been done is to segregate blended meads.

2) "Best |varietal expression|" — makes the most sense to me, but
I think it would be a pretty difficult thing to do in practice,
given the demands it would place on judges.

3) "|Best varietal| mead" — sounds like too much of a value judgement
to me. Who could honestly say with any certainty that Orange Blossom
was "better" than Tupelo?

The net result is that I am even more convinced that I was before that
there is neither need nor place for a "varietal" catagory. I know that
the issue is more complex that the above, but so far as I can tell, any
other criteria, such as lack of off odors, would apply equally across
any catagory boundary. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong in that

*** Back to the program ***

Russell again, responding to me:

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

No, I think that the "varietal" category should express something specific
about the variety of honey used. I'm undecided about whether it needs to
be one variety or a combo, but defining categories by taste is a seperate
issue from how to define the "target taste" of the "varietal" category.

But if it were to showcase more than one variety of honey, then "Which
one is it?", since "varietal" implies, to me at least, a *paritcular*
(i.e. one) variety that would be brought to its best expression. I
think that would rule out "combo", if I read you right.

> 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?

I strongly disagree. Obviously, the recipe will have something to do with
the flavor. But, if the idea of the varietal category is to showcase the
TASTE of the specific honey. The reason to have the category is that each
variety of honey has it's own unique taste which can be a major point of

I seem to have missed something here… I don't understand how one can
define a catagory based on the taste of a honey/mead without having
defined a "target taste" for that honey.

[Potentially] Silly thought:

How 'bout having all "varietal" entries be accompanied with a small
vial of the raw honey which they purport to express? Then there
could be direct evalutation of how well the meadmaker did, and it
might do a lot to remove unfamiliarity with a honey from the list
of "problems". Of course, I suppose that the honeys would have to
be evaluated before the meads to prevent them from interfering with

Steve [the Longwinded :')]

Subject: brown sugar
From: Sylverre Polhemus <>
Date: Thu, 22 Feb 1996 20:25:32 -0500 (CDT)

Douglas Thomas asked about using brown sugar in a dessert wine. While

not a mead question, it was interesting, so. . .

1st question — what type of brown sugar are you buying? Some is

simply white sugar mixed with molasses (which probably wouldn't add much
in the way of taste, since you mentioned having molasses in there
already); some is less refined, with a subtly different taste.

2nd question — why would you think that brown sugar would give a

sherry-like taste, if molasses didn't? (Am I missing something here?)

3rd question — have you tried rec.winemaking? Or rec.brewing?

Not that I'm trying to discourage your presence here of course (try a
mead or two! They're much more fun than wines. . .)

Glass dismissed!
(Tankard at the ready)

Subject: Wyeast Sweet Mead Yeast
Date: Thu, 22 Feb 1996 23:35:54 -0500

>In rec.crafts.brewing, a few folks reported poor results with Wyeast Sweet
>Mead yeast. Since I am fermenting my first batch of mead with this yeast,
>I am getting concerned. Has anyone used this yeast? What were your
>results? My mead was made with 13# of Gaujillo honey, the yeast, yeast
>nutrients, and acid blend.

I have had great success with Wyeast Sweet Mead yeast, and hardly use
anything else. My batches are typically the same as yours, but with only 10#
of honey and varying amounts of fruit. I have recommended the yeast several
times and will continue to do so.

Jon Woodman

Subject: Odd Melomel
From: (Neal Dunsieth)
Date: Sat, 24 Feb 1996 13:01:55 -0500

I have only made a few batches of mead, those being heavily spiced
metheglyns, and it occurred to me that I had not yet made a simple,
"traditional" mead. (It was worrying me because the metheglyns I had
sampled before bottling did not taste quite the way I had expected.) I had
always kept my distance from melomels due mostly to lack of interest. Then
my wife noticed the local market had recieved a supply of blood oranges.
(If you are not familiar with these, they are like regular oranges but
slightly more tart, and their juice is literally blood red.) I could not
pass up the chance. Has anyone else out there tried this before? How do you
figure the amount of fermentable sugar in a volume of juiced oranges?

Thanks in advance.

End of Mead Lover's Digest #462

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