Mead Lover's Digest #0487 Wed 26 June 1996


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



Re: Botulism (Spencer W Thomas)
Tanks, etc. (Fred Hardy)
fermenters (Dan McConnell)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #485, 21 June 1996 ("Chuck Graves")
elderberries and roses (Neal Dunsieth)
How much yeast is too much? (Broon)
U.S. meadery list? (Joyce Miller)
Re: Purple Loosestrife (Sean Cox)


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Subject: Re: Botulism
From: Spencer W Thomas <>
Date: Mon, 24 Jun 1996 04:17:12 -0400

Actually, the bacteria are not heat tolerant, but the spores are.
Something like 15 minutes at 250F is required to effectively kill the
spores. That's why vegetables must be pressure canned at 15lbs PSI
(which produces >250F temperature).

I found these references on the web:


U S Food & Drug Administration Center for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition
Foodborne Pathogenic Microorganisms and Natural Toxins 1992 (Bad Bug Book)

Foodborne botulism (as distinct from wound botulism and infant
botulism) is a severe type of food poisoning caused by the ingestion
of foods containing the potent neurotoxin formed during growth of the
organism. The toxin is heat labile and can be destroyed if heated at
80oC for 10 minutes or longer.

Almost any type of food that is not very acidic (pH above 4.6) can
support growth and toxin production by C. botulinum.

The Mississippi State Extension Service provides this handy chart

Temperature of Foods for Control of Bacteria

0oF – 32oF — Freezing temperatures stop growth of bacteria but
may allow bacteria to survive. (Do not store food above 10oF for
more than a few weeks.)

32oF – 40oF — Cold temperatures permit slow growth of some
bacteria that cause spoilage.*

40oF – 60oF — Some growth of food poisoning bacteria may occur.

60oF – 125oF — DANGER ZONE. Temperatures in this zone allow
rapid growth of bacteria and production of toxins by some
bacteria. (Do not hold foods in this temperature zone for more
than 2 or 3 hours.)

125oF – 140oF — Some bacterial growth may occur. Many bacteria

140oF – 165oF — Warming temperatures prevent growth but allow
survival of some bacteria.

165oF – 212oF — Cooking temperatures destroy most
bacteria. Time required to kill bacteria decreases as
temperature is increased.

212oF – 240oF — Canning temperatures for fruits, tomatoes, and
pickles in waterbath canner.

240oF – 250oF — Canning temperatures for low-acid vegetables,
meat, and poultry in pressure canner.

* Do not store raw meats for more than 5 days or poultry, fish or
ground meat for more than 2 days in refrigerator.

>From Michigan State University Extension Service, we find

Botulinum spores are very hard to destroy at boiling-
water temperatures; the higher the canner temperature, the
more easily they are destroyed. Therefore, all low-acid
foods should be sterilized at temperatures of 240 to 250
degrees Fahrenheit, attainable with pressure canners
operated at l0 to l5 PSIG. PSIG means pounds per square
inch of pressure as measured by gauge. At these
temperatures, the time needed to destroy bacteria in low-
acid canned food ranges from 20 to l00 minutes. The exact
time depends on the kind of food being canned, the way it
is packed into jars, and the size of jars. The time needed
to safely process low-acid foods in a boiling water canner
ranges from 7 to 11 hours; the time needed to process acid
foods in boiling water varies from 5 to 85 minutes. The
practice of processing low-acid foods in a boiling water


Subject: Tanks, etc.
From: Fred Hardy <>
Date: Mon, 24 Jun 1996 11:06:42 -0400 (EDT)

Kirk wrote:

> I've been making mead in my 55 gallon honey drums for some years and
> want to move to a better fermatation vessel. I am interested in a poly,
> fiberglass or stainless in a volumn of 50 to 100 gal. Anybody have any
>info on what would be the best value in a vessel of this size and where
> one may possibly find it for sale?
> Kind wishes,
> Sleeping Bear Apiaries/Kirk Jones
> BeeDazzled Candleworks/Sharon Jones
> email

You might try Presque Isle Wine Cellars

9440 Buffalo Rd. (US Rt. 20)
North East PA 16428
(814) 725-1314 Information
(814) 725-2092 FAX (24 hrs)
(800) 488-7492 Orders
M-Sat 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM EST

They offer SS containers from 21-132 gals. 52 gals (200 L) $358, 106 gals
(400 L) $505. The poly tanks start at 200 gals., but they have used
plastic drums of 60 gal. capacity for about $16.00 with lid. Prices are
1994-95 catalog, so they may have changed. BTW, the SS tanks have a
floating lid with attached pump. The lid can be positioned for a given
volume, and the seal inflated with the pump to insure it is airtight. The
lid has a built in airlock.

I have used Presque Isle for various supplies, and have found them to be
good folks to work with. I have no affiliation with them. I'm just a
satisfied customer.

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: fermenters
From: (Dan McConnell)
Date: Mon, 24 Jun 1996 11:21:56 -0500

From: (Kirk Jones)

>I've been making mead in my 55 gallon honey drums for some years and want
>to move to a better fermatation vessel. I am interested in a poly,
>fiberglass or stainless in a volumn of 50 to 100 gal. Anybody have any info
>on what would be the best value in a vessel of this size and where one may
>possibly find it for sale?

Two options come to mind

GW Kent offers a number of Stainless fermenters designed for storage of
wine. They all have spigots in the bottom, a full, tight cover and a
floating oil seal so they can handle any volume short of the maximum. They
come in various sizes: 30, 75, 100 and 300L are listed in their catalog,
but I have seen MUCH larger tanks in the warehouse. As in 8ft tall and 4
ft diameter. Not THATS a lot of mead.

pico Brewing Systems can fabricate a fermenter in whatever capacity or
design you desire, with spigots, triclamps etc.


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #485, 21 June 1996
From: "Chuck Graves" <>
Date: Mon, 24 Jun 96 13:32:51 EST

>I am seeking some advice on LARGE batches of mead (20 gallons or more).
>I started a 20 gallon batch back in early March and it seems to be going
>along much more slowly than other batches that I have used. These are the
>details of the batch

>72 lbs honey from local beekeeper
>8 lbs light malt extract (for nutrients)
>4 oz acid blend (don't have the exact mixture here at work)

80 lbs of fermentable sugars…you will definitely get a sweet mead when
you're done!! However, the malt will give it an unusual taste. I have made
malted mead before which finishes like a dry wine. The addition of the malt
gives it the slightest aspect of a beer…which is why my wife refuses to
drink that particular mead. In your case, I'm not sure what it will
contribute to the taste because you have used so much honey.

As for the malt extract, I don't know of any nutrient base it is adding.
The malt will brew first but it is not going to add anything to the
fermentation process.

>The starting gravity of this mead is guesstimated at 1.140 as it was off
>scale on my hydrometer.

Assuming your numbers are right, your starting gravity should yield a
potential alcohol of 19.5%. You said you had already dropped to 1.065.
According to my math, you have about 10.75% alcohol. My best guess is the
sherry yeast is just about done.

>What I need to know is
>1- Is there any way to speed up this fermentation a bit, as the mead is needed
>for a friends May 97 wedding

>2- Is there any way to speed up the aging of this brew once it is bottled. I
>have some filtration equip so getting a clear product should not be much of a

You're just about done. At this point, don't fiddle with the chemistry. The
best advice is patience. If you really want to hurry things along, raise the
temperature slightly to about 75 degrees. It will not alter the flavor.

Leave it in the carboys until "you can read the newspaper through the mead"
(one of my teachers favorite accolades). When it clears, bottle it. By now,
it's probably almost there, just give it time. (You also didn't mention the
activity on the airlock…which should disappear.)

I would also recommend that you taste it now…except for a slight "young"
taste this is how it will finish.

Right now, relax. Mead does not have to be bottle conditioned for over a year.
Just wait for it to completely clear. It should be another month or so…then
it should be crystal clear and ready to drink. The hard part may be in keeping
folks out of it until the wedding.

Chuck Graves

ps. mead is not like wine…it doesn't take three years in a bottle to come
out right…and it doesn't take two years to brew…three weeks can be plenty.

Subject: elderberries and roses
From: (Neal Dunsieth)
Date: Tue, 25 Jun 1996 10:39:12 -0400

For Joyce Miller: I am in the process of doing something a little different
with elderberries. My wife and I recently discovered a health food store
that stocks dried elderberries in the bulk spices section. I always wanted
to do something with elderberries so I picked some up. The attendant was
nice enough to let me sample the berries for aroma and taste before I
actually bought them. Man are they pungent! In my most recent metheglyn
they are aumenting the flavor of a number of other spices and teas. We'll
post how that one turns out, but it smells nice.

Also, my third batch was a rosepetal mead that I lifted largely from Ye Olde
Batte's recipies on some web page I have long since forgotten. (Sicky-sweet
story: I made it with flowers my wife got me for our four month
anniversary.) The recipie states that deep red roses are best to use.
Pink, peach, yellow, and white roses are likely to turn your water a yucky
brown color. It is best to get fresh rosepetals from home grown, full sized
plants if you can. They tend to be more flavorful and fragrant. If you
have to, you can store the rosepetals in freezer bags and place them in the
freezer for up to two weeks. Avoid store-bought roses, tea roses, climbers
and the like. You will need a few pints of petals in volume for a one
gallon batch, the more rosepetals the better, and you will probably not want
to bring your must to full boil (one of those real instances where the
aromatics are likely to be lost with boiling). The variation I made used
clover honey with a tiny amount of buckwheat honey added for flavor, and
fermented with Wyeast dry mead. It turned out somewhat sweet but
unfortunately lost a fair amount of its roselike character with time. The
color, though, it this fabulous amber honey-pink. If you would like the
recipie, E-mail and I can forward it to you.


Parting Shot:

If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, who actually
cares if it makes a sound or not? I'd rather have a home brew.

Subject: How much yeast is too much?
From: Broon <>
Date: Tue, 25 Jun 1996 12:05:05 -0400 (EDT)

As a novice brewer brewing >5 gallon batches, I've been dividing my yeast
proportionally but was wondering what if any adverse effects there might
be to say putting 5 grams of yeast in a 2.5 or 3 gallon batch. Would it
speed fermentation up, blow my lock through the roof, or leave lots of
nasties in my mead?


Subject: U.S. meadery list?
From: (Joyce Miller)
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 1996 10:20:16 -0400

Someone was asking me for a list of meaderies in the U.S. the other day.
They said that they thought that a friend had told them about such a list
that was supposedly posted here a few years (?) ago, but I can't remember
when that might have been. I also mentioned to them that any such list
would be almost hopelessly out of date by now. Does anyone remember when
that list was posted, and if there is another list anywhere? I'm going to
start in on Alta Vista and Yahoo, but that could take awhile (I'll post the
results here, depending on what I come up with).

  • — Joyce

Visit the Ferrets in Art History page!


Subject: Re: Purple Loosestrife
From: (Sean Cox)
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 1996 16:29:10 -0400 (EDT)

According to TOBOBEAR@VAX1.Mankato.MSUS.EDU
>On the purple loosestrife idea: promoting it is bad idea because here in
>Minnesota it is considered a noxious weed and legally must be removed
>otherwise the owner of the property it is found is liable to be fined. Of
>course few people get fined and the best example is The city of Winona in
>which the majority of the plants around Lake Winona are purple loosestrife
>and the city has made no efforts to remove them.
> If I remember correctly they must be removed by July 1 (of every year)
>otherwise the owner of the property is subject to fines.

That's pretty funky. I was just walking by our local nursery here in

Greenwich and they had a big (200+ sq ft) display of purple loosestrife for
sale in the front of their building. I don't recall what they were asking for
it (maybe $10-15 for a 3-4' plant), but I thought it was fairly funny that
they had it in a "place of honor" while many people work hard to get the darn
stuff to die. 🙂 The place was closed, so I didn't get a chance to talk to
the staff to see how it was selling….

  • -Sean

Sean Cox, Systems Engineer FactSet Research Systems Greenwich, CT

End of Mead Lover's Digest #487