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Mead Lover's Digest #0489 Sat 13 July 1996

 

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

 

Contents:

large batches and regulations (Dick Dunn)
Braggot, etc. (Fred Hardy)
Large batches (Caroline Walsh)
Re: yeast nutrient/energizer ("Tracy Aquilla")
Re: Large Batches (Joyce Miller)
Re: Large Batches of Mead (John R. Murray)
Re: Purple Loostrife Mead (Terence David Estrin)
Re[2]: Large Batches of Mead ("Chuck Graves")
Simple Grapefruit Mead ("Pat Babcock")
mead in the early US (lprescot@sover.net)
Braggot ! (Neal Dunsieth)

 

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Subject: large batches and regulations
From: rcd@raven.talisman.com (Dick Dunn)
Date: 3 Jul 96 01:28:32 MDT (Wed)


Mark Ottenberg <mao@clark.net> responded to a question about large
batches:
> Nice to make such nectar in such large batches, however, at least here in
> the US, I think law restricts you to about 50 gallons of homebrew a year
> unless you are a bonefied brewary, meadery, winery, etc…

The US law is 100 gallons per year for one adult, or 200 gallons per year
in a household with two or more adults. (Legally, mead is wine and follows
almost all the wine regs. See 27 CFR 25.) That's the federal law; there
may be state and local regs as well. This is not legal advice; INAL;
YMMV; objects in mirror are closer than they appear if you don't under-
stand convex mirrors.

>…Doubt you will
> find real troubles, but be forwarned. Then again, how are you managing to
> drink over 1 gal a week? That has got to be a bit hard on the liver etc. …

I suspect for a lot of us, the issue is that our circle of friends includes
a lot more mead-drinkers than mead-makers; thus a mead-tasting event draws
our supplies down. By ourselves, I doubt we'd manage to drink a gallon in
a good week…but I've seen several gallons go by at a Friday afternoon
gathering. I'd guess no more than 1/4 of our friends make mead, and I'd
guess that's an unusually high fraction.

Dick Dunn rcd@talisman.com Boulder County, Colorado USA

…Too bad about Boulder.


Subject: Braggot, etc.
From: Fred Hardy <fcmbh@access.digex.net>
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 08:55:51 -0400 (EDT)

Mark Ottenberg wrote:

> Nice to make such nectar in such large batches, however, at least here
> in the US, I think law restricts you to about 50 gallons of homebrew a
> year unless you are a bonefied brewary, meadery, winery, etc. Doubt you
> will find real troubles, but be forwarned. Then again, how are you
> managing to drink over 1 gal a week? That has got to be a bit hard on
> the liver etc. …

This reference implies there is a US law governing the quantity of
homebrew you can make as an amateur. More correctly, there are laws, since
there is a Federal tax policy, and every state has laws pertaining to
alcoholic beverages within the state's boundaries.

Federal tax policy permits an adult to make 100 gallons of tax free
homebrew a year. If there are two adults in the household, the amount
goes up to 200. That does NOT legalize homebrewing, it simply sets a
limit on tax free brewing for federal ATF regs. Some states are more
liberal than others in laws governing the making and transportation of
homebrew, but none can waive the Federal limit for untaxed brew.


> Subject: Braggot, Am I close?
> From: snsi@win.bright.net (Jeff Smith)
> Date: Tue, 2 Jul 1996 17:09:28 -0500 (CDT)


> I bottled the first mead I've made since subscribing to MLD and am
> looking to my next mead impatiently. I've been thinking braggot.
>
> So far my receipt looks like this (so far):
>
> 8 Lb. of honey (six lb. Sam's club, Two Lb. buckwheat or other strong
> honey)
> 5 lb. 2-row malt
> 4 oz dark Munich malt
> 2 oz coriander @ 5 minutes left in boil
> 1 pack ale yeast
> 1 pack wine yeast
> Should I use hops?

My suggestion: Increase the Munich to a full pound and decrease the honey
to 6 lbs., if you are making 5 gallons. A good rule of thumb for braggot is
to shoot for a 50/50 balance between the malt and honey specific
gravities. Five lbs.. pale plus one pound Munich should give an OG around
1.047. The 6 lbs. of honey will get you to around 1.095 – about 50/50.

Hops are optional. If used, I recommend keeping them below the bitterness
threshold, otherwise you'll have beer with a bunch of honey in it. Less
than 7-8 IBU would be OK, but why bother?

I have good luck with Wyeast 1728 (Scottish ale), and with K1V-1116 wine
yeast. One or the other, not together. Either one will handle a brew with
SG under 1.100. I discourage the use of dry beer yeast, since it is so
prone to infection. If you use liquid ale yeast, make up a qt. of starter.
If using wine yeast, use at least 7 grams (dry) and rehydrate.

Good luck.


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: fcmbh@access.digex.net


Subject: Large batches
From: Caroline Walsh <roz@meridies.org>
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 08:32:30 -0500 (CDT)


On Mon, 1 Jul 1996 10:04:15 -0400 (EDT) Mark Ottenberg <mao@clark.net> wrote:

>Greetings,
>Nice to make such nectar in such large batches, however, at least here in
>the US, I think law restricts you to about 50 gallons of homebrew a year
>unless you are a bonefied brewary, meadery, winery, etc. Doubt you will
>find real troubles, but be forwarned. Then again, how are you managing to
>drink over 1 gal a week? That has got to be a bit hard on the liver etc. …
>
> — Mark, nanobrewer at
> Old Yeller Meadery
>

For some reason, I was thinking the limit was 250 gal. per adult. Guess we
better find out about that. Also, have have several college friends who do
not have their own place who do there brewing at my house. I wonder if I
can claim their limit too, or if theirs is considered part of mine?

Roz


Subject: Re: yeast nutrient/energizer
From: "Tracy Aquilla" <aquilla@salus.med.uvm.edu>
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 96 11:04:03 CDT


In Digest #488:
David Prescott <lprescot@sover.net> wrote:
>I've been making meads for a few years now, and have picked up a fair amount
>of information about yeast nutrient along the way. Recently I've read a lot
>of references to yeast energizer, particularly with respect to use in tandem
>with nutrient. I've always figured it was just a different set of salts and
>other items than the Fermax I've been using. Is this actually something
>different?

I suppose they aren't all the same, but the yeast nutrient I'm familiar with
consists of dibasic ammonium phosphate [(NH4)2HPO4], while the yeast
nutrient is a mixture of this salt and autolyzed yeast extract.
Tracy


Subject: Re: Large Batches
From: jmiller@genome.wi.mit.edu (Joyce Miller)
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 11:21:41 -0400


>Nice to make such nectar in such large batches, however, at least here in
>the US, I think law restricts you to about 50 gallons of homebrew a year
>unless you are a bonefied brewary, meadery, winery, etc. Doubt you will
>find real troubles, but be forwarned. Then again, how are you managing to
>drink over 1 gal a week? That has got to be a bit hard on the liver etc. …

The law in the U.S. is 100 gallons per adult per year, up to a *maximum* of
200 gallons per year per household. Basically, this means that you and
your homebrewing spouse can make up to 200 gallons a year together.

Now, when Jay's and my jobs are at their worst, we may drink a pint a night
each with dinner, 🙂 but that's still only 91 gallons per year, and we
like to try commercial stuff, too. Of course, we do have friends over,
many of whom like to sample our beer. Even so, I don't think we've ever
been in danger of even getting *close* to the legal limit of 200 gallons
per year.

The thing that amazes me about brewing that much at one time is: what if
it doesn't turn out well? I've had enough bad batches that I'm even leery
of brewing 5 gallons!!

  • — Joyce

Subject: Re: Large Batches of Mead
From: murray@indigo2.scri.fsu.edu (John R. Murray)
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 11:32:32 -0400


>>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…
>>>
>>> Sleeping Bear Apiaries/Kirk Jones

Mark Ottenberg
>Nice to make such nectar in such large batches, however, at least here in
>the US, I think law restricts you to about 50 gallons of homebrew a year
>unless you are a bonefied brewary, meadery, winery, etc. Doubt you will
>find real troubles, but be forwarned. Then again, how are you managing to
>drink over 1 gal a week? That has got to be a bit hard on the liver etc. …

Actually, federal law runs like this: 100gal/year for a household of one adult,
200gal/yr for households of two or more. State law may vary somewhat, but most
of the states that allow brewing allow the federal limits.

The Association of Brewers (American Homebrewers Association, etc) has a state-
by-state WWW-index on the legal status of home beer brewing. Of course, that
doesn't cover mead, which falls under wine in federal and most state statutes,
but in a lot of the pages on individual states they also discuss limits on home
winemaking. (the URL of the index is http://www.aob.org/aob/legal/list.html)

John R. "finally approaching 100 gallons after 4+ years of brewing.." Murray

John R. Murray murray@indigo2.scri.fsu.edu http://www.scri.fsu.edu/~murray/
FSU Aikido Club/North Florida Aikikai home of Miko's Aikido MPEGs and the
Tallahassee, FL WWW Aikido online calendar of events

  • the pen is only mightier than the sword at a range greater than five feet –

Subject: Re: Purple Loostrife Mead
From: Terence David Estrin <estrin@sfu.ca>
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 09:41:11 -0700 (PDT)


Hi all,

Here in B.C. we also have a problem with the purple loostrife

plague, and all this talk about using purple loostrife honey for mead
got me thinking. I have no idea where to get honey flavored with this
plant, but what about using the flowers the same way that one would
use dandelions for wine? If they're not toxic, you might end up with
an interesting, fragrant purple mead. In fact, I think I'm going to
head down to the local pond and do some collecting this week!
(However, I'll do some research to find out if the flowers are toxic
first).

Terry Estrin
Vancouver, B.C.
estrin@sfu.ca


Subject: Re[2]: Large Batches of Mead
From: "Chuck Graves" <chuck_graves@mail.hq.faa.gov>
Date: Wed, 03 Jul 96 13:49:57 EST


Greetings, all.

>Nice to make such nectar in such large batches, however, at least here in
>the US, I think law restricts you to about 50 gallons of homebrew a year
>unless you are a bonefied brewary, meadery, winery, etc.

Actually, the U.S. statute is 100 gallons per adult; 200 gallons for
head-of-household.

Cheers,
Chuck Graves


Subject: Simple Grapefruit Mead
From: "Pat Babcock" <pbabcock@oeonline.com>
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 14:42:30 +0500


Geez oh petes!

I recently came across a VERY simple recipe for a "quick" mead that
I had planned to be my first. As I recall, it read something like
boil 5 gallons of water with the peel of one grapefruit, add a scant
handfull of yeast nutrient (what's a scant handfull? A palmfull?)
and X pounds (ten, I think) of honey. Stir, stir, stir, cool, put in
a fermenter with the meat of one grapefruit, pitch and ferment away.

Well, I've misplaced the recipe, and forgot the source. Anyone hear
of something like this? Can someone direct me to it? (Or, maybe you
want to stuff my mailbox with similar simple recipes? The citrus
sounded kind of good. Hmmm! Mebbe a pink lemonade mead…)

Any and all help appreciated…

See ya!

Pat Babcock in Canton, Michigan (Western Suburb of Detroit)
pbabcock@oeonline.com URL: http://oeonline.com/~pbabcock/
President, Brew-Master and Chief Taste-Tester
Drinkur Purdee pico Brewery


Subject: mead in the early US
From: lprescot@sover.net
Date: Thu, 4 Jul 1996 12:20:50 -0400 (EDT)


For whatever its heuristic value is worth, I found an interesting reference in
a book I'm reading about the history of the Appalachian plateau counties of
eastern Kentucky. The book, by Harry M. Caudill is titled "Night Comes to the
Cumberlands" and is published by Atlantic- Little, Brown. Mr. Caudill is
directly descended from the first settler of Letcher County and sure seems
like he knows what he's talking about. In describing the earliest days, he
says:

"Whisky was absent from few households. If a mountaineer could not enjoy it
for its stimulation because of religious convictions He consumed it as a
medicine. … The land was without milder beverages save for an occasional
cask of 'methiglum'. This ecstatic drink was the fabled "honey wine" of Wales
and was said to 'kiss like a woman and kick like a mule'.

This got me to thinking. While I've seen lots of talk about mead in history, I
haven't heard a lot about it in the early history of the US. Mead was form
centuries, I believe, the national drink of England, until 1600, yet I haven't
seen much about its use here. Here in Vermont, where a recent census showed
98.6% of the population is Caucasian-American, there is no reported history of
mead-making. Vermonters apparently made ciders and applejack, and of course
the rum trade in those days was legendary. In Quebec I've heard descriptions
of amazing country wines made from fruits and vegetables… Anyone know much
about this? I thought its appearance in Kentucky was kind of interesting.

David Prescott, Shaftsbury, Vermont


Subject: Braggot !
From: chaucer@erinet.com (Neal Dunsieth)
Date: Sat, 6 Jul 1996 15:13:30 -0400


In MLD #488 Jeff Smith asked about braggot.

>>So far my receipt looks like this (so far):
>>
>>8 Lb. of honey (six lb. Sam's club, Two Lb. buckwheat or other strong honey)
>>5 lb. 2-row malt
>>4 oz dark Munich malt
>>2 oz coriander @ 5 minutes left in boil
>>1 pack ale yeast
>>1 pack wine yeast
>>
>>Would this turn out close style wise?
>>Would the Munich push the malt flavor to far?
>>Any spices that would match the coriander?
>>Should I use hops?
>>
>>
>>Thanks for the time, Happy Fourth!
>>
>>Jeff Smith | '71 HD Sprint 350SX, Temp '77 GS 400 X
>>snsi@win.bright.net | Barnes, WI

Braggot (or braggat, bragget, bracket, etc.) has been batted around a little
bit in the MLD and a few other sites, but generally does not receive much
more than passing consideration. I have only tried a single batch which
remains an experiment in progress, so by way of actual experience I don't
have much to offer; but I have read a little here and there.

Braggot itself still struggles for a definitive classification among brewed
beverages, gone largely the way of simha and barleywine. Most people will
define it as a drink that owes its fermentation to both honey and malted
grains in roughly equal proportions. Addressing the Braggot identity
crisis, Fred Hardy wrote in MLD #461:

>As for braggot, remember that judges do not see the recipe sheet, and are
>ignorant of the actual composition of the beverage.
>
>The Mazer Cup guidelines for braggot are probably a pretty good rule of
>thumb for a beverage made from malt and honey that exhibits the
>characteristics of a mead. If a judge finds that the beverage is too
>beer-like for braggot, then the judge is right, regardless of the malt to
>honey ratio.

These guidelines hold not only for the Mazer Cup, but also for the National
Homebrew Competition (or at least they did last year): "Made with malt…
honey flavors predominate." Questions of spicing, hops, malt content,
proportions, and yeast remain unanswered, mainly because they become matters
of style rather than dogma. As I look through my old notes, more of Fred
Hardy's commentary pops up, this time from MLD #440 (which I only have in
printed copy). He does a really nice job describing what he and a number of
others believe to be the likely origins of braggot. It's kinda like pasta
faglioli, really. Much like mamma used to throw leftover beans and macaroni
together so they wouldn't go to waste, the 15th century English brewer would
sometimes run a second, weaker ale from the same mash he used to produce his
original batch blending in some mead to make it "sellable" thereby
stretching his supply of malt – so it is speculated. It seems ironic that
someone would want to actually produce such a thing that was born more of
necessity than primary invention, but then again when I am given the choice
at the Olive Garden I will always pick the pasta faglioli as my first
course. After all, good is good. But the bastardized origins of braggot,
its diversity, and its probable role as a stopgap solution for impovrished
brewers leave little question as to why it is so hard to "pin down" in terms
of style.

As for your questions:

STYLE: With current guidelines, you will make your own style considerations
for the most part. It seems you like a heavier style, and I'm intrigued by
your choice of buckwheat honey as a large constituent. To me buckwheat
honey out of the jar just tastes like it would complement the flavor of a
good malt!

SPICING/HOPS: Coriander was a natural choice for spicing. It should stand
up to just about anything. I have heard of and/or speculated about such
other herbs as rosemary, allspice, and basil. In my metheglyns I use a lot
of ginger and cinnamon which are not unheard of in what you are doing. And
as for hops, traditionally there would have been little or no hopping of
this style of beverage in 15th century England. Now cresting the 21st
century the matter comes down to individual preference. (I don't hop my
beverages yet because I just don't have the experience or the understanding
to know what I'm doing with the stuff. When I start my first beers in the
fall I hope to remedy that.)

MALT: The darker malts are a risk if you are concerned about covering up the
honey character of the braggot, but four oz. of Munich should be just fine,
especially when you're placing beside two pounds of buckwheat honey.

Reading through your recipie and assuming a 5 gallon (US) batch, my only
concern is that there may be a little too much fermentable stuff in the
bottle. Recipies I have seen have called for about 8-10 pounds of combined
malt and honey for a 5 gallon batch. Again, I did much the same as you (11.5
pounds / 5gallons) and ended up sweating a little when the brew was getting
a little too estery for my liking. It ended up being O.K. (so far), but my
advice is to cut back a little. If it's already started that's O.K., too,
just watch the batch carefully.

My batch is currently in its second fermentation. Like you I decided to
initiate with an ale yeast which gave good results. I am not sure if it was
necessary to add the second yeast (Wyeast dry mead), but at the time I was
looking for something a little stronger and more complex than I got with
just the ale yeast. It's still going strong, but I expect to bottle in the
next month or so.

Braggot is still a relatively free field, open to considerably more
variation than beers or meads alone. There are a few of us out there who
dabble, fewer still who make braggot our focus, but I am hoping for the sake
of variety that such things will change in the future. Keep brewing. Wassail!
Neal

Parting Shot:

While in the wild wood I did lie,
A child – with a most knowing eye.

(from "Romance" by Edgar Poe)



End of Mead Lover's Digest #489


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