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Mead Lover's Digest #0500 Thu 26 September 1996


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



Wine Covers (
Re: Blackberry Melomel (Marc Shapiro)
re: Gravity of raspberries (Dick Dunn)
Unsubscribe (Joan Trahan)
Status Report on Tupelo Trad, Tropical melomel (Charlie Moody)
Clearing agents (
Capsican Mead (William Chellis)
Mazer Cup 1st Place Braggot Recipe (Fred Hardy)
MCMC Traditional Mead Recipe (Ron Raike)
brief musing at issue 500 (Mead Lover's Digest)


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Subject: Wine Covers
Date: Thu, 19 Sep 1996 13:07:54 +0000

<I gave this a shot with my most recent mead (a Peach melomel), but
<they do not appear to be shrink-wrapping.
<Has anyone seen these things before, and know how to use them? Will
<other forms of heat work, such as a Hair Dryer? I don't want to crack
<the bottles by sticking the necks in hot water.

I have used the plastic ones before with great success. Although you
can use a hair dryer I found that it left some wrinkles I couldn't
get out. The best thing is to use a heat gun. I bought it just for
that purpose but have also found it to be a usfull tool just to have
around the house. The dont cost too much $20-30. If you like to cork
your mead like I do it's worth the investment and it save you a lot
of time. I like to wait for 3 weeks after corking before I put them
on, to make use the bottle is not leaking or anything. Hope this

Matt Maples

"An honest brew makes it own friends."

Subject: Re: Blackberry Melomel
From: Marc Shapiro <>
Date: Sat, 21 Sep 1996 10:35:46 -0400 (EDT)

Mike Kidulich <> wrote:
> I recently made my first mead (actually a melomel), with 10 lbs of
> wildflower honey and 7 lbs of frozen blackberries (basically the
> blackberry mead fron Papazians HB Companion). It fermented quite
> quickly, from an OG of 1.113 to an FG of 0.996, in 13 days. I racked it
> for the second time Saturday, and was quite pleased with the result. Had
> a definite honey nose, and a lot of blackberry, like drinking a dry red
> wine. It has dropped clear already. Should I let it age in bottles, or
> in the carboy? It is in a three gallon carboy, with no headspace.

Wow! That must be one potent melomel. A drop in SG of 1.117 should be
about 15.5%.

That said, if you have racked twice, already, and it has now dropped
clear you are on the way to one fine melomel. I would suggest allowing
it it sit in the carboy for another week or two, just to be sure that
everything has dropped out. There isn't enough yeast or sediment in the
carboy to pose any problems for you at this time, from what you have
said. After that time, what you do is really up to you. If the melomel
is already drinkable and not tasting harsh then bottling at that time is
probably a good idea. If there is still some harshness then you could
rack into another three gallon carboy (so long as you can still avoid
head space) and let it age there for several months before bottling. (If
the harshness is minimal, you might just want to bottle and remember not
to drink it for a few months – just to avoid the hassel of extra racking

  • – that is up to you.) Much of this is a judgement call that needs to be

made by the brewer/vintner (you) from your observations at the time, but
you do have several options.

I made one mostly blackberry wine once (with small amounts of rasberry
and cranberry, as well) and it turned out really well. I hope yours
does, too – it sounds like it will. Don't worry!


Marc Shapiro

See my WEB page: The Meadery at

THL Alexander Mareschal Canton of Kappelenburg

Barony of Windmasters Hill
Kingdom of Atlantia

No poem was ever written by a drinker of water. – Horace (63 BCE – 8 BCE)

In Wine there is truth. – Pliny the Elder (23 CE – 79 CE)
Good wine praises itself. – Arab proverb
Water separates the people of the world, wine unites them. – Anonymous

Subject: re: Gravity of raspberries
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 22 Sep 96 12:08:34 MDT (Sun) (Bob Tisdale) wrote:
> I was thinking of making a raspberry melomel and was wondering how much one
> pound of raspberries/gallon of water contributes to specific gravity.

This is a bit complicated by how ripe the berries are (riper berries having
more sugar, of course) and complicated more by how you treat the berries to
extract the liquid: If you just toss fresh berries into the fermentation
and strain them out after a bit, the contribution will be less than if you
freeze the berries (to break them down) before fermentation and press the
berries after you strain them out of the mead.

I just extracted a bunch of juice from our end-of-season berries, so here's
some raw data you could use to get ballpark numbers. (All units here are
silly old US measures.) I started with about 10 lb of berries and got 2.75
quarts of juice at 1.035 SG. The berries were frozen, then thawed, and
given a light pressing in a small fruit press. Almost 2/3 of the juice was
"free run"–meaning that it just ran out as I was loading the press, before
I applied any pressure. (Freezing loosens up a bunch of juice, and the
weight of the berries in the press brings out more when the berries are

Doing some very rough calculation on this (and hoping I haven't botched
it), this seems to say that a pound of berries ought to contribute the
equivalent of 6-9 fl oz of liquid at 1.035 SG, the amount depending on how
much effort you make to extract liquid.

FWIW, I like to use some 2-2.5 lb of raspberries per gallon. This gives
a strong raspberry character. I've used as much as 3 lb per gallon.

Dick Dunn Boulder County, Colorado USA

…Too bad about Boulder.

Subject: Unsubscribe
From: Joan Trahan <>
Date: Sun, 22 Sep 1996 21:22:51 -0500 (CDT)


Subject: Status Report on Tupelo Trad, Tropical melomel
From: Charlie Moody <>
Date: Sun, 22 Sep 1996 22:26:09 +0500

Early this past March, I made a couple of batches of mead: a pineapple-m=
ango-tangerine-cranberry melomel, and a mostly-traditional mead made w/ t=
upelo honey.

Both have turned out wonderfully: after sitting in their carboys for six=
months, they both got thoroughly tasted at a Labor Day party, and at a G=
oodbye Summer party, two gallons of the melomel & one liter of the tupelo=
at each function. Survey says that each is a big hit with pretty much e=
veryone who tasted them (a couple of Jack Daniels fans said they tasted l=
ike Mogen David). I got kissed a lot, and toasted a lot.

The both really are very good, I'm pleased (and amazed) to say. Both a s=
till, and clear as a bell, and each is a rich deep golden color. The mel=
omel is distinctively fruity, and the tupelo is distinctively tupelo. Th=
ey're smooth, mildly sweet, and carry no off-flavors. I can hardly wait =
for them to age enough to *really* show off!

I'll be happy to repost the recipies if anyone's interested.

For my next pair of batches, I'm still considering a chocolate braggot, a=
nd also a watermelon-mint melomel (maybe a mango-lime-mint). Anyone have=
any experience with either mint or watermelon?=

Subject: Clearing agents
Date: Sun, 22 Sep 1996 09:57:18 +0000

<it (and a month or more after it finished). It is still a bit
<murky and I am wondering if there are simple recommendations for
<getting it perfectly clear?


For mead I have found nothing that works better than sparkaloid. Yes,
I know what some of you are thinking, "sparkaloid is too much work",
or "I could never get it all racked out" or something like that.
Although it is more work that a gelitin product I have NEVER had
sparkaloid fail to clear a mead to a crystal clear state. The one
thing people don't like about it is it is a very lite and fluffy
powder. This does present some problems at raking time if you have to
move the carboy. After you put the sparkaloid in place the carboy up
high enough so you dont have to move it before racking and give some
care not to stir it up with the racking tube. On a mead that is at a
final gravity of around 0 to 10 it will take only a few days to
become clear and about 1.5 to 2 weeks to settle down to the bottom.
Good luck and tell us all what you end up using and how it goes.

Matt Maples
IS Department
IPAC Pharmacy

Subject: Capsican Mead
From: William Chellis <>
Date: Mon, 23 Sep 1996 21:47:43 -0400

We want to try a hot pepper(capsican) mead. We don't know where to
start. I'm sure someone can HELP.
bill & joan

Subject: Mazer Cup 1st Place Braggot Recipe
From: Fred Hardy <>
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 1996 16:28:26 -0400 (EDT)

I was delighted to learn that King Arthur's Own braggot won the category
at this year's Mazer Cup. For those who might be interested, here's the
way it was made.

1996 Mazer Cup – 1st Place Braggot

King Arthur's Own

This is an all-grain recipe. I have included an extract approximation
which will be close.

Quantity Made: 6.0 US Gallons
OG of malt portion 1.057
OG of braggot 1.083
FG 1.012 ABW 7.5% ABV 9.3%
Color (est.) 9.7 SRM

For both recipes, first make a pound of amber malt. Using pale malt,
spread to a depth of 3/4 inch in a glass or aluminum foil lined baking
dish. Preheat the oven to 100 degrees C (230 F) and bake for 45 minutes
to dry the malt. Increase the temperature to 150 degrees C (300 F) and
continue to bake for another 45 minutes. Cool and set aside for a week or
so in an air-tight zip lock bag. This allows the malt to mellow and
avoids possible harsh flavors.

Malt portion:
7 1/2 lbs. British Mild Malt
1 lb. Home-made amber malt
1 lb. Vienna malt

Crush malts and mash in to stabilize at 60 degrees C (140 F). Hold for 20
minutes. Raise temperature to 68 degrees C (155 F) and hold for 60 minutes
for full conversion. Mash out and sparge with 4 3/4 gallons (US) water.

Boil 60 minutes. Add 1 1/4 tsp. Irish Moss for the last 15 minutes of the
boil. After 60 minutes, add 6 pounds of wildflower honey and boil for 15
minutes, constantly skimming and discarding the foam.

Force chill, aerate and pitch with 1 qt. yeast starter.
I used (and recommend) Wyeast # 1728 (Scotch Ale).

Primary fermentation: 30 days at 18 degrees C (165 F) in glass
Secondary: 130 days (same temp, in glass)

At bottling, make up a cup of yeast starter, and inoculate with a pack of
Wyeast # 1056 (Chico ale) a day before bottling. Adding this fresh yeast
to the bottling bucket will get carbonation going faster. Carbonate with
1/2 cup white table sugar (sucrose) boiled for 5 minutes in 1 1/2 cups of
water (cool before adding to bottling bucket). Sample after 2 weeks.
Improves greatly with age.

At judging the braggot had been in the bottle 6 months.

For using malt extract:

Make and crush amber malt as above.
Soak crushed amber malt in 1/2 gal. water at 65 degrees C (150 F) for 30
minutes. Pour the water and grains through a kitchen strainer into at
least a 3 gallon pot. Rinse with 1/2 gallons of hot water, catching the
rinse water in the pot. Discard the grains. Add another 1/2 gallon to
the pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add 7 3/4 pounds of
amber dry malt extract and dissolve completely. Return the pot to heat
and bring to a boil (watch for boil-over). When malt mixture has settled
into a nice boil, add the honey, boil and skim for 15 minutes.

Have ready a fermenter with 3 gallons of cool water in it. Dump the
honey/malt mixture into the cool water, aerate and pitch yeast when
temperature is below 25 degrees C (77 F). It helps to cool the pot a bit
before dumping into the fermenter. Proceed as above.



We must invent the future, else it will | Fred Hardy
happen to us and we will not like it. | Fairfax, Virginia
[Stafford Beer, "Platform for Change"] | email:

Subject: MCMC Traditional Mead Recipe
From: Ron Raike <>
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 1996 16:49:22 -0400

MCMC 1st place recipe for Traditional Mead – still – sweet
This is the true recipe, the recipe sheet sent in was done from
memory at the last minute, sorry Dan and Ken.

18 lbs. Blended Wildflower Honeys – raw – from a baker
2.0 cups New York Maple Syrup – Grade A – Med. Amber
32 oz. fresh lemon and lime juice some pulp

  • 12 lemons and 8 limes

4 pieces (1/8 fruit) dried orange peel
5 pieces dried tangerine peel
3 pieces dried lemon peel
2 oz. coriander

Started by generating ~4 gal RO water. Then treating it
with 1/2 tsp. gypsum, 1/2 tsp. CaCO3, 1/4 tsp Sea Salt.
Brought to a full boil in 8 gal. brew pot for 30 min.
Heat off, added some orange and some lime peels and 1/2 oz
coriander (all ground together), let sit and cool to 90C. Added
Honey and maple syrup. Temp dropped to 80C. Back on heat.
Added strained juice of 6 fresh off the tree Florida lemons and
4 fresh Florida limes – 16 oz.

Stirred a few times for 30 min. Temp back up to 90 – kept
there. Added juice with pulp – 6 more lemons and
4 limes. Some hot break forming and moving. Chopped
remainder peels and coriander in chopper and added. Let sit
10 min. Heat off. Final Temp at 90C. Stirred well (whirl pooled).
Covered with saran wrap, put lid back on and ice bathed (lots
of ice) for 2.5 hrs. Removed saran wrap to find a nice conical
forming upward from the center of the brew pot – from whirl pooling.
Clear with spices and fruit mostly in the center. Some haze
in suspension. Racked to carboys. 2.5 gal. got the a
champagne yeast starter and 3.5 gals. got the Wyeast Mead
Sweet yeast starter. Both were started with a honey based
starter solution at ~1.050 – 1.5 liters for 1 week repitched twice.

OG of the must was ~1.14 – only way to measure was to cut in
half with water and measured 1.070. Nice citric smell and taste.
Tried to keep temp at 68-75F for fermenting. Champagne
carboy was racked at 40 days and bottled 35 days later, very
clear and went straight into bottles. FG is 1.020. Kinda hot for
my liking.

Racked the Wyeast Sweet carboy in 2 weeks down to 1.065 and
bottled 2 months later, very clear and still, no prime – straight
into bottles. FG is 1.045. This may be considered by some to
be a metheglin but the honey and alc's really come through
and balance well with the fruit and spice flavor. No nutrients
were used. This is the 1st place traditional mead for the '96
MCMC. Judge comments include:"Excellent cacophony of flavors

  • – this is so big yet well balanced to the Nth degree – clean, not

burning or rough" – "Well balanced and very mellow – clean
finish and big strength – great job!" … Thanks.
Final scores – 41,38.

Ron Raike – CREOL/UCF
Facilities – Head Brewer

Subject: brief musing at issue 500
From: (Mead Lover's Digest)
Date: 26 Sep 96 00:57:07 MDT (Thu)

People tend to notice round numbers and attach (mostly unwarranted) signif-
icance to them. I noticed we're up to issue 500 of the Mead-Lover's Digest,
so I thought I'd attach a few comments.

The digest has been going for about 4 years now, which works out to about
one issue every 3 days. We could handle more traffic, but the current pace
seems to be something almost everyone can handle. (I get very few unsub-
scribe requests saying "thanks but I just can't keep up".) I think it also
indicates that interest in mead is alive and well.

The size of the list is right around 850 subscribers today. It's been
fairly steadily climbing during the time I've been handling it, but the
growth has been slow enough that it seems to have maintained a sense of

The digest has been remarkably free of backbiting, conflicts, flames, and
such. I've wondered about this off and on, afraid to analyze it too
closely for fear it would change…but I think I finally decided that the
patience required for mead-making must perform a selection on the folks who
subscribe to the list.

It's also been almost entirely free of the Craig Shergold selling Mrs
Fields cookie recipes to make $$$ fast and combat the Good Times virus…
none of the usual newbie postings. Nearly the only thing I have to clean
out is bounced mail and misdirected admin requests.

It works. Thanks, folks.

Mead-Lover's Digest
Dick Dunn, Digest Janitor Boulder County, Colorado USA

End of Mead Lover's Digest #500