Mead Lover's Digest #0463 Wed 28 February 1996


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



re: Help: Rubber gaskets (Dick Dunn)
Water (Ed, Quantum PE (508)
Posting results (jherz)
Varietal Huh? (Russell Mast)
competition announcement (Mark Taratoot)
Topping off/Sparkloid (Jeff Smith)


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Subject: re: Help: Rubber gaskets
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 25 Feb 96 20:44:55 MST (Sun)

ROWLEY@KUHUB.CC.UKANS.EDU writes about Grolsch-style bottles (wire bail top
with rubber gasket to seal)…
> …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.

Happens that I've got some longer-term experience with these. I made a
mead in early '83 and put some of it in Grolsch bottles. We still have a
few bottles left, and we opened one last year (thus 12+ years). The seal
had held. The gasket was absolutely worthless for further use–hardened on
the outside, and it came apart when I tried to pull it off the ceramic
stopper–but the mead had held its carbonation all that time.

I wouldn't recommend using those gaskets for so long, and I don't use that
type of bottle any more anyway. But I found it interesting that, with
gentle treatment, the seal held. (I would have put the gaskets into a
boiling-water bath, but no other treatment.)

Another consideration: The original-equipment Grolsch seals appear to be a
natural rubber. The replacements I've found in the past have been neoprene,
which should last a lot longer.

Backing away from Matt's question and talking more about bottling mead,
I've decided that the swing-bail top isn't worth it. Once you've got a
crown-capper, you can cap bottles quickly. The Grolsch bottles have extra
parts to deal with (that floppy-top seems to be in the way), and the
washers have to be replaced now and then.

Dick Dunn Boulder, Colorado USA

Turn off the tube. Hang up the phone. Get out of the car. Log off.
Get out and live for real for a change.

Subject: Water
From: (Ed, Quantum PE (508) 770-2251)
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 1996 10:53:47 -0500


Over the weekend a thought occured to me as I popped open one of the

last bottles of my honey ale. There's been alot of talk, off and on, on
the Homebrew Digest about the effect of water chemistry on beer styles.
I'd like to start this same discussion with regard to mead brewing, and I'll
even start it off with a few thoughts.

Yeast need nutrients to ferment properly. In beer brewing this is

provided by the malt. In mead brewing most of us add either yeast hulls
or the "white crystal" type. In my last batch I added both. What effect
does/could water have on nutrients?

The pH of the must (well, mine anyway…) is usually around 3.8 or so

at the start of fermentation. My understanding of wine yeast is that they
like pH around 3.2 to 4.0. What effect does/could water have on pH of the

I remember some time ago in the Homebrew Digest someone brought up

the valid point of meticulously selecting the proper malt, water prophile,
mashing schedule, etc. to reproduce a certain style of beer, and then just
"dump in" 3/4 cup corn sugar at bottling time. Out of this comment came a
very well done piece on determining proper carbonation for a particular style.
The point here is that we as mead brewers may be overlooking an important
parameter when we just "dump in" the water we use to brew.

So what does everyone think? Is this a valid concern or am I all wet?



Subject: Posting results
From: (jherz)
Date: Tue, 07 Feb 1995 10:37:54 -0700

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I would like the very respected Mead Lover's Digest to post the results of
the recent Dredhop homebrew Competition that occured on Feb. 17, 1996.
Attached is a text document of the resutls. As well, the results have been
posted on the Web Site for the Compeition which will only be up until the
end of February. The Dredhop was an AHA sanctioned and
BJCP recoginzed compeition.

Thank you,
Julia Herz

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1996 Dredhop Homebrew Competition
Boulder, Colorado
Put on by Hop Barley and the Alers Brew Club in Boulder
A record 189 entries
Web Site origin of results:

Welcome to the place,
Where the First Place Winners,
For Each Category,
Will Be Posted, in Real-Time…
On the actual day of the competition!


Pale Ales (English Pale Ale, American Pale Ale, American Wheat)
Number of Entries: 13
Winner: Scott OverDorf with Pale Ale, Category 5a(English Style Pale Ale)
Second: Mark Northrop Sierra Madre Pale Ale, Category 6a(American Style Pale Ale
Third: Brad Holland with Pale Ale, Category 6a(American Style Pale Ale)

Specialty (Classic Style Specialty, Specialty and Smoke)
Number of Entries: 16
Winner: Tim McConnnacle with Mic Mocha Ale, Category 23a(Smoked Beer, Bamberg St
yle Lager)
Second: Keith Schwols with Dragons Belch, Category 20a(Smoked Beer, Bamberg Styl
e Lager)
Third: Micheal Carroll with Money Boy Dark Ale, Category 23a(Specialty beer, Spe

Belgian (Dubbel, Triple, Belgian, Strong, Belgian Wit)
Number of Entries: 10
Winner: Bruce Payne with Trippel, Category 2c(Belgian and French Ale, Tripel)
Second: John Carlson with Mr. Strong, Category 2e(Belgian and French Ale, Belgia
n Pale Ale)
Third: Mitch Mather with Dubbel Trouble, Category 2b(Belgian and french Ale, Dub

Number of Entries: 10
Winner: Jone & White with Uncle Pleasants 90c, Category 8a(Scottish Ale, Scottis
h Light Ale)
Second: Jim Homer with Scottish Export, Category 8c(Scottish Export Ale)
Third: Bill Hasse with Kilt Vail, Category 8b( Scottish Ale, Scottish Heavy Ale)

Strong Ale (Barley Wine & Old Ale)
Number of Entries: 11
Winner: Mark Fagerburg with Marks Centennial Ale, Category 1a(Barley Wine)
Second: Steven Ashton with Dragons Milk, Category 1a(Barley Wine)
Third: Dan Rabin with Brain Drain Ale, Category 1a(Barley Wine)

Meads (Traditional, Melomel, Hippocras, Metheglin)
Number of Entries: 16
Winner: John Carlson with Cranberry Mint Metheglin, Category 27b(Herb and Spice
Mead, Still Metheglin)
Second: Keith Schwols with Hot to Trot, Category 27b(Herb and Spice Mead, Still
Third: Paul Gatza with Please Don't Berry Me, Category 26b(Fruit and Vegetable M
ead, Still Melornel)


German Lager, German Ale, German Wheat, American Lager
Number of Entries: 27
Winner: Mark Groshek with Wunschloses Ungluck Weizenbier, Category 19b(German -S
tyle Wheat)
Second: Bill Hasse with Leebrau, Category 15b(Classic Pilsner-Bohemian)
Third: Paul Yale with Munich Pilsner, Category 15a(Classic Pilsner-German)

English Bitter
Number of Entries: 16
Winner: Bill Hasse with Pink Prince Pope, Category 7b(English Best Bitter)
Second: Steven Ashton with Ashton's ESB, Category 7c(English Extra Special Bitte
Third: Jon Haux, Tom Haux, James Valdez with Sawtooth Ale, Category 7b(English B
est Bitter)

IPA/California Common
Number of Entries: 17
Winner: Troy Lauss with Wild Red Headed Ale, Category 5b(India Pale Ale)
Second: James Howell with GW All Grain Steam, Category 24a(California Common)
Third: Gregg Cross with an IPA, Category 5b(India Pale Ale)

Number of Entries: 16
Winner: Gary Starkey with Freezing Moon Stout, Category 11c(Sweet Stout)
Second: Russell McGeoch with Harry Goose Bump Rotton Rectum Stout, Category 11b(
Foreign-Style Stout)
Third: Kevin Stevens with Oatmeal Stout #2, Category 11d(Oatmeal Stout)

Brown Ale/Porter
Number of Entries: 18
Winner: Ken Howell with Mild Mannered Blonde, Category 4b(English Dark Mile)
Second: Ron Jones with Coal Porter, Category 9a(Porter)
Third: Adam McNally and Shelly Wisniewski with Mungo Parks Explorer Brown Ale, C
ategory 4d(American Brown)

Fruit/Herb Beer
Number of Entries: 18
Winner: Roger Grow with Eire X-Mass, Category 22a(Herb & Spice Beer)
Second: John Eichman, Category 21a(Fruit & Vegetable Beer)
Third: Jerry Lyon with Naked Lady Mix Berry, Category 21a(Fruit & Vegetable Beer

BEST-OF-SHOW BEER: Wunschloses Ungluck Weizenbier
Winner:Mark Groshek, Category 19b (German-Style Weat Beer)

BEST-OF-SHOW MEAD: Cranberry Mint Metheglin
Winner: John Carlson, Category 27b (Still Metheglin Mead)

Web page designed by Common Ground of Boulder – Business Internet Specialists
Copyright 1996.
This Web Site is enhanced
This Site Web Site Address is – Please add to Y
our Bookmarks List

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Julia Herz
Common Ground of Boulder

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Subject: Varietal Huh?
From: Russell Mast <>
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 1996 15:37:49 -0600

> Subject: Still more Varietal Musings
> From: Steven Rezsutek <>

> We might as well give in to chemical synthesis and begin extracting "Bordeaux
> from a Sloe", so to speak.

If you can make Bordeaux from a Sloe, and fool a competent judge with it, you
deserve a prize. Period. (In fact, if you could make Bordeaux from a Sloe,
cheaper than from a grape, you'd be a fool not to make it and I'd be a fool not
to buy it.)

Beverage judging should be about the TASTE of the beverage, and the body and
aroma and color and clarity. It should not be about the recipe. Period.

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

I think you're totally misunderstanding the point Fred and I are trying to make.

The point is – there is a TASTE difference in the varieties of honey.
Otherwise, yes, it WOULD be stupid to have a seperate category for them. The
varietal category, if any, would be about how it expresses the TASTE of the

> 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.

I don't find that conclusion suspect at all.

> Of course, this whole things then begs the question "If there were a varietal
> mead catagory, just how *would* it be judged?"…..

> 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.

I think, without a doubt, this is the only reasonable solution to the varietal
issue. Yes, it places great demands on judges. That may be reason enough to
just drop the category from all but the biggest events. Quality judging is
often hard to come by. I would never enter a beer in a lambic category, for
instance, unless I knew in advance that the judges would recognize the
difference between a Cantillon Gueze and a Sam Addam's Crapberry Shambic.

> > 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
> showcasing.
> 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.

What the hell are you accusing me of here? I'm sorry to be so defensive, but
you really ARE missing something in a big way. I never, ever meant to imply
in the slightest that there shouldn't be a "target taste". Where on earth
would you read that from my statement? Of -COURSE- there should be a target
taste. Forgetting the idea of a combo (where the target taste would be a combo
of other tastes perhaps) the target taste of the varietal mead is clearly
defined by the taste of the given variety of honey. This is so obvious, and
it's what I've been saying all along.

What I disagree with you about is "by definition, based on the recipe". It's

  • -NOT-. It's based on the taste. That's what I disagree about. Yes, the

recipe will influence the taste. Duh. But the judgeing for the category is
not based on recipe, it's based on taste. Are you still missing something?
Please take it to private e-mail if you still don't have a clue about what
I'm saying. (In fact, I'd like anyone with the inclination to write me
privately right now just tell me if I'm really being totally unclear or if
Steve's just being "thick" about it.)

> [Potentially] Silly thought:
> How 'bout having all "varietal" entries be accompanied with a small
> vial of the raw honey which they purport to express?

That'd be the equivalent of including a bottle of whatever you're trying to
clone in a homebrew competetion. Some people can do a real close job of
cloning a commercial beer which breaks some of the rules of it's "category".
They may lose points from an uneducated judge, or from one who takes the
guidelines too seriously. That's always a problem.

I think the issue boils down to – are judges going to be able to competently
identify the varietal flavor and judge accordingly. I think that contest
organizers and judges have to answer that question, but if they CAN, I think
it's a great category.

Subject: competition announcement
From: Mark Taratoot <taratoot@PEAK.ORG>
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 1996 18:29:00 -0800 (PST)

Heart of the Valley Homebrewers Present:
The 14th Annual Oregon Homebrew Competition and Festival

At the Oregon Trader Brewery
140 Hill Street, NE
Albany, Oregon 97321
(Off Street Parking Available)

Saturday, May 11th, 1996 From 11 am to 5 pm



Entry fee is $5.00. This year there will be no entries accepted the day
of the competition. Entries may be mailed directly to or dropped off at
the festival site or dropped off at one of our remote pick up sites. We
are also offering on-line entry and judge registration.

Special guest speaker: The world renowned

Fred Eckhardt

Complete details, entry requirements, rules, drop-off site locations, and
directions to the festival are available at our web site:

or contact Lee Smith at (541)926-2286
Mark Taratoot at (

Mark Taratoot "…though my problems are meaningless, that don't make them go away."

  • Neil Young

Subject: Topping off/Sparkloid
From: (Jeff Smith)
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 1996 11:27:26 -0600 (CST)

Howdy MLD'ers,

I'm about to rack my mead in progress and I was wondering what the group
opinion on "topping off" the mead with boiled water? Is it necessary or is
it an old wine makers tale?

Also has anyone on the line used Sparkloid (?) clairifier before? If so
what is it? What the heck is it made from? I've used it in the past with
very good but slow results but have been nervous about add something to my
mead and not knowing what it was.

Many thanks in advance.
Jeff Smith
'71 HD Sprint 350SX
Barnes, WI

End of Mead Lover's Digest #463