Mead Lover's Digest #0467 Thu 14 March 1996


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



re: bottling mead (Dick Dunn)
Killing Mead Yeast (Charles Dewar)
Contest Announcement (
Wormwood (Douglas Thomas)
Mead updates ("Charlie Moody")
Mead ("Robert A. Tisdale")
Confusing "Quick Mead" recipe (


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Subject: re: bottling mead
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 9 Mar 96 17:36:48 MST (Sat) (Tracy Thomason) wrote:
> I'm about to bottle a blueberry melomel. I want to bottle some still
> and some sparkling. Can anyone tell me how much sugar (or honey) to
> prime a 12oz bottle with so I can prime them individually?

Standard advice is "don't prime individual bottles." You can do it, but
you're inviting a lot of bottle-to-bottle variation. Even if you measure
very carefully, volume measurements of dextrose (what's usually used for
priming) are notoriously inaccurate. Don't even think of priming with
honey! (Or, think of it long enough to imagine having honey everywhere.)

The easy way to split a batch for still/sparkling is to bottle the still
half first, then bulk-prime what's left and bottle that.

That said, if you still want to bottle-prime, figure that the rule of thumb
for priming is 3/4 cup of dextrose (in the usual finely-ground form) for a
5-gallon batch. 5 gallons less the usual losses is about 50 12-oz bottles.
3/4 cup is 12 T = 36 t, so you need about 3/4 tsp per bottle.

With blueberries, beware of a slow finish to fermentation…check that
final gravity.

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!

Subject: Killing Mead Yeast
From: (Charles Dewar)
Date: Sun, 10 Mar 1996 00:12:00 GMT

I'm making a mead with 13# of guajillo honey and champagne yeast. Is there any
way to halt fermentation when the desired level of sweetness is attained or
should I let it ferment completely and then add honey to sweeten?

.. nfx v2.0 [C0000]

Subject: Contest Announcement
Date: Mon, 11 Mar 1996 10:04:20 -0500

The Parlor City Brewers Coalition, comprised of the Borderline Yeast
Infectors and the Broome County Fermenters present The Parlor City Brew Off
homebrew competition April 13 in Binghamton, NY, at the Parlor City Brewery.

This BJCP sanctioned event is open to the usual styles of home made beer,
mead and cider.
Entry fee is $5 for the first and second entries, $4 for each additional.
Any type bottles will be accepted, as long as there are 20 oz total.
Carbonaters will be returned.

Cool ribbons and prizes will be awarded in all categories for first, second
and third places.
Mead and Cider will have own Best of Show judging and prize.
Best of Show for beer is a kegging system.
Top BOS will also get plaques.

This is your last chance to score points for this years NY Brewer and Club

Entry deadline is March 30. Dropoff points have been set up in the Syracuse,
Albany and Binghamton, NY areas.

For additional info or entry packet, contact Roger Haggett, contest organizer

Judges and stewards contact me.
Bob Talkiewicz, BInghamton, NY <>

Subject: Wormwood
From: Douglas Thomas <>
Date: Mon, 11 Mar 1996 08:10:03 -0800 (PST)

Of late I have seen wormwood being mentioned in postings both on the HBD
and Mead Lovers…
There is a reason why almost every country in Europe has banned the sale
or export of Absinthe, and that is because it is highly addictive and
basically eats your kidneys and liver away. In small amounts, it does
not do much, and in fact, can help get rid of intestinal worms (that's
why it is named suchly), strengthen a weak stomach and bring about a
number of clensing actions. The scent of it alone can help one sleep,
but drinking the fermented herb is dangerous. OK, I may be sounding a
wee bit insane here, and normally I let people do whatever they like, but
Wormwood and all of its cousins (mugwort and tarragon) have an effect on
the soft organs of the renal system. Many French painters of the
impressionist period suffered seriously from damage done by this.
Tarragon, though not dangerous in normal dosages, can be quite unhealthy
for pregnant women and young children, if injested in amounts larger than
1 oz. Mugwort is the next most potent, being much more psycho-active and
also a strong depressant, while wormwood is probably the strongest in the
family. Please read up on this herb. It is not something to go around
making absinthe like drinks for the hell of it. They will hurt you and
possibly cause damage. Go smoke some other controlled substance or
injest unnamed fungi to get your kicks. This is one to stay away from.

Doug Thomas

Subject: Mead updates
From: "Charlie Moody" <>
Date: Wed, 13 Mar 1996 08:09:33 -0500 (EST)

Well, I've been checking my liquids prior to leaving town for 2 weeks; I
haven't received much in the way of answers or comments, but I'll
continue to post in hopes that someone will point out any obvious

MEAD the First: Tonic Metheglyn 02/04/96

'Shaolin Joy Juice'

03/13/96: SG has dropped to 1.010, which makes it about 28proof, but it's
still bubbling away once every 13 sec. Taste has gotten sharper, but is
still quite palatable; I wonder if this will still be drinkable once it
dries out all the way…. Maybe I'll feed it a bit more honey when I
rack again.

MEAD the 2nd: 'Tropical Ambrosia' Melomel 03/02/96

'Fruit-Cocktail' Melomel


03/13/96: After blasting away @ 1 per second for a week, on 3/10 it
dropped to 1 in 3 seconds, then to 1 in 7 seconds on 3/11; as of this
morning, the rate is 1 in 49 sec! This is really a dramatic fall-off
(sudden, too), and the must is actually begin ning to fall clear! At
least, it's become translucent, as opposed to the other batches, which are
still utterly opaque. I'm leaving today for 2 weeks in Colorado; I hope
it will be okay sitting here. I think I'll rack this as soon as I return.
I wond er if I should add more hulls/energiser/honey when I do….

In the last several days there's been a change in appearance in the fruit:
it looked pretty wretched in there for awhile, but things have spruced up
nicely, and now it resembles fruit salad! I wonder what it would taste
like w/ a spritz of whipped cream or drizzle of honey….

Average temp = 72F.

The question of glass in this mead still remains unanswered. If some
minor cavitation has occurred, will normal racking procedures leave any
glass bits behind, or should I prepare to take extraordinary measures?

I'm not likely to have the chance to test SG before I leave, but I doubt
there's been enough time for all 15# of honey to get chewed up. I've
been agitating fairly thoroughly / frequently (no sloshing!), so I
suppose fermentation may have been speedier as a result. Any feedback?

Tupelo Traditional

03/13/96: bubbling once every 2 seconds. Smells remarkably like tupelo
honey…. Opaque as anything, and very fizzy-looking, and thoroughly
delightful-smelling. This I have no qualms about leaving alone for 2

Average temp = 72F.

Charlie Moody


PGP Public Key: finger -l
PGP Fingerprint: 7F 0D 9E 8C 7E DF 33 11 2C 2B B8 19 6C 0F 2C 02


Subject: Mead
From: "Robert A. Tisdale" <>
Date: Wed, 13 Mar 1996 22:20:52 -0600

I recently made a 5 gal batch of mead using 15 lbs of mesquite honey
and YWeast Bordeaux wine yeast. I did not use acid blend. It stopped
fermenting several days ago after 3.5 months, so I added 1 tbl of
gelatin to help clarify it. Well, the gelatin did not work and in the
mean time the mead started fermenting again. Will the gelatin impart
a bad taste to my mead?

In the course of adding the gelatin I had to siphon off about one cup
of mead to make room in the carboy. Naturally I tasted it. There
were no sensations at the back of my throat or on the sides of my
tongue. However, the top of my tongue went absolutely bonkers!! Does
this have anything to do with not adding acid blend??

Bob Tisdale

Subject: Confusing "Quick Mead" recipe
Date: Thu, 14 Mar 96 06:34:00 UTC 0000

Well, I've decided I'd like to try something a little faster for my next
batch, as we've various carboys hanging out in the pantry for protracted
periods of time. So- I dove into Cats Meow, and came up with the following
recipe. It sounds like just what I want, but each time I re read the
directions, it gets more obscure… so I'm throwing myself on the mercy of
more experienced meaders.

First, the recipe:

<source: Kevin Karplus ( Issue #538, 11/16/90
<Yield is 3.1 gallons. Excellent clarity, fairly sweet flavor, slight
<sediment, light gold color. An excellent batch.
<Ingredients: (for 3-1/2 gallons)
< *3 gallons water
< *5 pounds honey
< *1/3 cup jasmine tea
< *1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
< *2 teaspoons cinnamon
< *1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
< *1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
< *1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
< *ale yeast

So far so good, though I don't understand why ale yeast in particular,
unless it's to keep the alcohol content low? Is that how it would work? In
the past we've used champagne and wine yeasts, and one notable batch using
bread yeast that was great after 2-1/2 years. He doesn't say what kind of
honey he's used with all those pumpkin pie spices, but I can experiment. Any
suggestions? There's a lot of different types of honey available around

<Boil water, adding tea and spices. Remove from heat and stir in honey.
<(Some mead makers boil the honey, skimming the scum as it forms) Cover
<boiled water, and set aside to cool (this usually takes a long time, so
<start on the next step).

Okay, so far… I know about the arguments for and against boiling the must,
and we've tried it both ways. The only real difference I can tell so far is
there's more left to ferment if you don't boil so long. Our last batch we
tried bringing it up to an almost boil, using a candy thermometer on the
side of the pan, for 5 minutes. We'll see in 6 months. Also, we never seem
to have any significant stuff to skim…I speculate this is because the
honey available to us is usually fairly filtered, even if not heated. Maybe
I ought to try putting a beehive on the roof? (we haven't a big backyard,
but we do have a flat roof). Anyway, I digress.

<Make a yeast starter solution by boiling a cup of water and a tablespoon or
<two of honey. Add starter to cooled liquid. Cover and ferment using blow
<tube or fermentation lock. Rack two or three times to get rid of sediment.

Now, here's where I start to run into serious brainlock. I know if I were
more experienced, I would just KNOW what he's talking about, but there seems
to be some sort of logical gap here. Why, you say, he's just saying dump or
"pitch that yeast starter solution right into your cooled must, preferembly
after transferring the must to a carboy that can hold 3-1/2 gallons." But

<The less honey, the lighter the drink, and the quicker it can be made. 1
<pound per gallon is the minimum, 5 pounds per gallon is about the maximum
<for a sweet dessert wine. This mead is a metheglin because of the tea.

Fine, fine, very good…

<The yeast is pitched one day after starting the batch, the crud skimmed
<about 10 days later, then wait 3 days and rack to secondary. Wait 2 more
<weeks and bottle—about 4 weeks from start to finish.

Even though that yeast was started right after boiling the water and
preparing the must, it isn't pitched until the next day. What are you doing
with it in the mean time? And clearly it's going to be tough to skim
anything off a big glass carboy, so if it's happening in a food grade
plastic pail, what about the blow tube or fermentation lock? What am I
missing here? And when do you do the "2 or 3 times" racking? Surely this
needs to happen during the 2 weeks it's in the secondary?

Any and all comments, public or private, welcome. If anyone has a better
quick mead, or a good reason why I shouldn't try this one, I'd especially
like to know.

Morgaine Ni Dana
San Francisco, CA

End of Mead Lover's Digest #467

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