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Mead Lover's Digest #0503 Sun 13 October 1996


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



re: Just Starting. (Dick Dunn)
Capsican mead ("Dione Wolfe, Dragonweyr, New Mexico")
Recipies by Request: Ambrosia Melomel (Charlie Moody)
Re: Need info (Richard Bainter)
Re: Need Info (Dave Polaschek)
Syracuse, NY Competition, Nov 23 (fwd) ("Kieran O'Connor")
Honey weighs 12 lbs / gallon (Mead Lover's Digest #502, 10 (Karl Long)
pomegranite punch (Sheryl Nance-Durst)
fermenting molasses (Ann Marie Reh and Danielle Bomball)
'Traditional' meads containing spices? (Brian Myers)
Mead (John Atkinson)
re: maple syrup (
water softeners (


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Subject: re: Just Starting.
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 10 Oct 96 01:35:32 MDT (Thu)

John B. Hinkle <> writes:

> I want to start brewing Mead, but I want a quick
> recipe (ie days, instead of weeks/months/years).
> I would like to determine how well I like it, before
> I start on a long batch.. Any help is much appreciated.

I doubt I'll be the only person to reply essentially "forget it" to this
one. If you can't wait at least weeks to try it, you're not going to get a
decent idea of what mead is about. If you want to know what can be done
with a good mead, and you want to find out in a hurry, you need to find a
source of good mead already made, and try that.

Find out what commercial meads are available where you are. There are a
few good ones. You may be able just to buy a reasonable mead to taste and
decide whether you like it.

Look into homebrew clubs in your area and try to find mead-makers; you may
be able to find a tasting session that will let you start to understand
mead. But be prepared for some scoffing and some closed doors because of
your haste.

Dick Dunn Boulder County, Colorado USA

Subject: Capsican mead
From: "Dione Wolfe, Dragonweyr, New Mexico" <DKEY@MEDUSA.UNM.EDU>
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 1996 02:37:10 -0700 (MST)

The owner of my ususal brew supply store has considerable experience making
various styles of green and red chile mead. In addition, he can supply you
with addresses or phone numbers of chile sellers who ship around the country.
I strongly recommend trying our New Mexico green or red chile for an
interesting batch.

The web site for Victor's Grape Arbor is You
can e-mail from the web site or directly at

Never Thirst,


Subject: Recipies by Request:  Ambrosia Melomel
From: Charlie Moody <>
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 1996 02:02:43 +0500

>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-=
>mango-tangerine-cranberry melomel, and a mostly-traditional mead made
>w/ tupelo honey.

>Both have turned out wonderfully: I'll be happy to repost the recipies =

>if anyone's interested.

Well, a bunch o' folks mailed to ask for the recipies, so here's the firs=
t, from
my log-book:

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

'Fruit-Cocktail' Melomel

14.5 # orange blossom honey (unprocessed?) from the local food co-op
4.5 G spring water

NOTE: in making this again, I'd cut the honey down to 4 Q, or 12 #, a=

nd =

the water down to 3.5 G, and I'd pre-boil 2 G & have it wa=

iting in =

the carboy.

2 pineapples, from Maui, peeled, cored, & chunked
4 mangoes, from mexico, peeled & chunked
1 tangerine, organic (kimmow?), sliced & seeded

NOTE: Instead of chunking the fruit, I'd chop it fine enough to fit t=

hru the =

neck of the funnel (*DOH!*)

cranberries, dried (no sulphites), 2 cups
ginger juice, hawaiian baby, 7 ounces
tea, strong, black, 1 cup
zest of 2 limes
zest of 3 oranges

NOTE: I'd chop the cranberries, rather than leaving them whole.

yeast hulls, 3.5 tsp
yeast energiser tablets (B-1 & lactose), 7 tablets

1Q yeast starter:

  • bread yeast, 3 packets

  • water, boiling, 2.5 pints

  • honey, generic, 1 cup

  • yeast, RS Premier Couvee, 2 packets

NOTE: Empty bread yeast into Pyrex Quart cup, pour in water, mix well=


stir in honey; when mixture cools to 80-90F, add yeast. =

Pour into

quart jars (half-full), and cap tightly. Shake vigorousl=

y. Loosen

lids. Make well ahead of time.

That's the recipe; the tale of the making, below, should help you make =

sense of the notes above, and avoid my errors: =

What an incredible mess I've made!!!

The local co-op, had some real nice orange blossom honey,
and the idea here is to use fruits that will support and enhance the flav=
or of
the honey. I thought the cranberries would make a nice counterpoint to a=
the sweet fruit, and that the tea might add depth, or character, or somet=

I heated 2 gallons of water, then added 5 quarts of the honey, got it all=

stirred in, then brought the temp. up to about 180F. Kept it there for 3=
0 min.
Everything went fine until I started adding the fruit to the must. I qui=
realised that the pot I was cooking in was running out of room, and I sti=
had plenty of fruit to go!

I grabbed my half-gallon pyrex cup & scooped out about 3 pints, and added=

the rest of the fruit to it, stuck it in the microwave & zapped it severa=
l times,
stirring after each zap, while struggling to get a completely-full 4-gall=
on pot
off the stove and into to sink to cool. *sigh* Not all the must made it=

The stuff was thick as anything and *extremely* sweet (apparently even
more so than my first must (SG=3D1.1225)), so I figured I'd better dilute=
some…oops, then I had 6.5 G of must filling up my 6.5 G fermenting buck=
*sigh* Now it's a two-carboy batch…at least there was room for the yea=

Ever try to pick up a *full* 6.5 G bucket & pour it *all* into a funnel p=
on top of a carboy? *sigh* Of course you haven't, and neither have I: =
started bailing into the funnel, and making an incredible wreck of the
kitchen…which I then managed to track all over the carpet…. =

By this time, I had fruit clogging the funnel, pools of fresh honey-glue
creeping across my kitchen counters and floor, sticky spots on the floor
throughout the house, and two open carboys, but I finally got the fruit
distributed between the bottles, got the fruit *rammed* through the funne=
and *into* the carboys (*grrr*), locks installed, and everything cleaned =
(or at least, wiped down).

No, I'm fine, really…*pant*pant*pant*….

The result? I now have +/- 7 gallons of fruit-punch melomel producing CO=
in industrial quantities: bubbling about every 1.5 seconds. The stuff s=
and tastes heavenly, but the must is really much too sweet for me to drin=
even though the starting gravity (after dilution) is 'only' 1.090.

This batch was much more work than my first one, even though the first
batch took me a full 2 days, what w/ the herbs and all. Partly, I was th=
rown =

by my mis-calculation of the must's volume, and that had me playing catch=

up from then on.

[proud-papa noises of a new mead-daddy mercifully deleted]

03/13/96: After blasting away @ 1 per second for a week, on 3/10 it drop=

ped to 1 in 3 seconds, then to 1 in 7 seconds on 3/11; as of this mornin=
g, =

the rate is 1 in 49 sec! This is really a dramatic fall-off (sudden, too=
), and =

the must is actually beginning to fall clear! At least, it's become tran=
cent, as opposed to the other batches, which are still utterly opaque.
Average temp =3D 72F.

30/23/96 – Bubbles once in 100 sec. SG =3D 1.000. This is the clearest =
of =

the batches; When I rack it in the next day or two, I'll add another pou=
nd =

or two of honey & see what happens.

It smells mild and fruity, tho it ought to be about 23 proof. I'm taking =
a taster =

to the party with me tonight.

NOTE: The taste was well-received @ the party

04/12/96 – The airlock bell had collapsed on this one, too, and it had fa=
llen =

*very* clear…so of course I had to mess with it! Cooked 2.88# (1 qt) o=
f =

Orange Blossom honey in .5 G spring water (yes I did boil it, but only =

because I was distracted by the phone!), and added a *fifth* peeled-and-
chopped mango; 2 T yeast hulls & 1 energizer tablet (thiamine & lactose)=
, =

and poured it into the must. Mixed well by rolling the bottle around on =
the =

bottom rim. It's not clear any more (duh!), and fermentation has *def-
initely* re-started. Bubbling every 6 sec.

NOTE: I pretty much left it alone all summer, except to rack both carboy=
s =

into a single 6.5 G & let it sit. Average temp =3D 85F.

Color is of apple juice, only richer & deeper, and clear as a bell. Flav=
or is =

mellow, fruity, and rich (IMO), still, and just sweet enough – no bite, n=
o =

off-flavors. Delicious and refreshing – especially chilled!

Subject: Re: Need info
From: Richard Bainter <pug@Interval.Net>
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 1996 07:53:52 -0500 (CDT)

> 1. Does anyone know where I can obtain some 2 or 4 liter glass bottles,
> preferably resealable? Pharmacists used to have 1 gallon brown jugs, but
> none have them in my area.

Most kitchen supply stores carry these. (We have Container stores here
that carry a wide variety of glass bottles and containers.) I've found
it best to find friends that have them though. *grin*

> 2. What exactly is the "weight" of honey? The recipe called for 15 pounds,
> and I assumed that was 240 ounces. Someone recently told me that a pound
> of honey actually is 12 ounces, not 16 ounces.

I believe ~12 *fluid* ounces is 16 (dry?) ounces. I know we get 12 pounds
and it's 1 gallon of honey. This works out to about a pound and a half
per pint (16 *fluid* ounces). Unless I have my conversions wrong.

> 3. Does anyone have experience using molasses? Or maple syrup? Either one
> (or both) sound like a delicious addition.

I have only used molasses and maple syrup in ciders so far. (Where it
works wonderfully.) I am getting ready to put up 3 1 and 3 3 gallon test
batches. Maybe I will give one of these a shot.


A newcomer to the list,

Phelim Uhtred Gervas | "I want to be called. COTTONTIPS. There is something
Barony of Bryn Gwlad | graceful about that lady. A young woman bursting with
House Flaming Dog | vigor. She blinked at the sudden light. She writes | beautiful poems. When ever shall we meet again?"

Subject: Re: Need Info
From: (Dave Polaschek)
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 1996 08:37:07 -0500

In MLD 502 "Howard R. Bromley" <> writes:

>2. What exactly is the "weight" of honey? The recipe called for 15 pounds,
>and I assumed that was 240 ounces. Someone recently told me that a pound
>of honey actually is 12 ounces, not 16 ounces.

A pound of honey is 16 oz. About 2.4 pounds to a quart is a quick
estimate if you don't have a scale handy.

>3. Does anyone have experience using molasses? Or maple syrup? Either one
>(or both) sound like a delicious addition.

I've brewed a few batches of Maple Wine as well as Maple Mead. Yummy.
The one thing is that I tend to ferment things until they're pretty
dry, and maple without the sweet is pretty different from maple with
sweet. Haven't found anyone who didn't like it, but it's different and
worth mentioning. You can go 50-50 honey and maple syrup up to 100%
maple if you'd like. Less than half maple syrup left too little maple
flavor for my tastes, but that'll vary based on the syrup you're using.
If you go 100% maple syrup, take a gravity reading of the syrup before
diluting it too much. How far down maple syrup has been boiled can
vary quite a bit, and you don't want to end up with way too little or
way too much in your brew.

  • -DaveP

Dave Polaschek — —

Subject: Syracuse, NY Competition, Nov 23 (fwd)
From: "Kieran O'Connor" <>
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 1996 09:58:21 -0400 (EDT)

Hi all

I'd like to announce the Salt City Brew Club's 11th annual competition.
The deadline for entries is Nov 8, competition is Nov 23.

We are accepting all styles of beer, mead and cider. Also please note the
following additional styles (or modifications)
Please note we have good mead and cider judges–and they are judged
separately from the beers. Meads also get their own Best of Show.

1) Oatmeal stout is a style
2) Classic American Pilsner is a style
2) Robust and Brown porter and two separate styles

** Further, we will accept any color, type or size of bottle. We will also
accept carbonators (they will be returned). **Only two bottles per entry**

Jugding sheets are available the day of the competition if you pick them
up, or you will receive them in one week.

Note: Best of show prize is a $200 gift certificate for a homebrew shop
(who will mail order).

Last year we had 270 entries, we should top 300 this year. We hope you'll
enter. If you'd like a packet, email me your snail address with the
subject line "Packet Request" and I'll send one your way.

FInally, we are looking for judges: Syracuse is in the heart of NY State.
260 miles from NYC, 150 miles from Buffalo or Albany. Please contact me if
you are interested in judging. Beds for judges available.

Questions: email me, or call (315) 449-2844, eves.


Kieran O'Connor
Syracuse, N.Y. USA

In vino veritas; in cervesio felicitas.


Subject:  Honey weighs 12 lbs / gallon (Mead Lover's Digest #502, 10 
From: Karl Long <>
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 1996 09:24:57 -0600

October 1996 )

2. What exactly is the "weight" of honey? The recipe called for 15
pounds, and I assumed that was 240 ounces. Someone recently told me
that a pound of honey actually is 12 ounces, not 16 ounces.
Are you talking fluid ounces or dry (avoirdupois) ounces?
If you are weighing honey, there are 16 ounces to the pound. Although
some of us might think of honey as liquid gold, we do not use troy weight
like we would with gold (12 oz (troy) = 1 lb (troy)

If you are measuring honey, there are 128 fluid ounces to the gallon.

For honey:
12 lbs. = 1 gal. = 128 fl. oz.
1 lb. = 128/12 fl. oz. = about 10 2/3 fl. oz.

Subject: pomegranite punch
From: Sheryl Nance-Durst <P_SHERYL@KCPL.LIB.MO.US>
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 1996 16:09:20 -0500 (CDT)

>We have a traditional dry metheglyn that is aging quite
>nicely, a medium Blood Orange Melomel which is taking on some interesting
>sherry notes with a wonderful bitter orange finish, and a concoction we call
>Persephone's Punch which is a dessert-like pomegranite melo-meth that
>knocked the socks off the last five people who tried it, two of whom were
>certified beer judges.

Do you have the recipe for the Persephone's Punch? My first two batches
are just finishing & I've been scouting around for another recipe to try.
(This hobby is pretty addictive, isn't it?) I've wondered how pomegranite
tastes. You say its a meth – what spices do you use with it?

Sheryl Nance-Durst

Subject: fermenting molasses
From: Ann Marie Reh and Danielle Bomball <>
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 1996 19:39:55 -0500

A friend of mine has fermented molasses. It is difficult and takes some
watching. I believe this is because of the acid content(?). I've never
done it myself, so I'm very interested in your results. Please post
what you find out.


Subject: 'Traditional' meads containing spices?
From: Brian Myers <>
Date: 11 Oct 96 13:44:43

I noticed in Zymurgy's 1996 special issue that the winner in the
traditional mead category used coriander and orange peel in his
recipe (although small amounts). So, is it "right" to use small
amounts of spices like coriander or hops in a traditional mead?
I know the AHA style guidelines don't specify recipe requirements,
but they do state "no flavors other than honey" for the
traditional style, and I would expect a mead with obvious spice
flavors to be judged out-of-style. If one takes the extreme
viewpoint that a traditional mead should contain no spices at
all, then there is NO category in which a lightly spiced mead
could be entered – the spiced mead style guidelines call for
the spice to be expressed in flavor and aroma, so a little bit
of coriander or hops would not be true to THAT style. Maybe what
we really want is a sub-category for traditional mead, something
like "strict traditional"? If so, what should such a sub-category
call for? No yeast nutrient, hulls, or acid blend, perhaps? Only
wild yeast? How far do we go? And, note that this would be the first
AHA category with recipe _requirements_ (a good thing, or a bad

Note that I'm only talking about AHA judging categories here – of
course if the mead is not going to be entered in a competetion,
the mead-maker should use whatever ingredients they wish.

Any thoughts?

Subject: Mead
From: John Atkinson <>
Date: Sat, 12 Oct 96 10:14:48 -0700

I just saw your document on mead … right now, I just started
making mead again after 20 years.

I remember making one kind that was absolute ambrosia. … but i forgot
tje recipe.

I remember it had herbs like cinnamon in the rcipe, and it was absolutely
foul for about three years, then suddenyl cleared and was wonderful.

Any idea what the recipe may have been?

Permanent Email:
Current Email:

Subject: re: maple syrup
Date: Sat, 12 Oct 1996 06:25:55 -0400 (EDT)

In MLD 502, Howard R. Bromley asks about the use of maple syrup
in meads. I have made "meads" with maple syrup, but the honey
taste was so far into the background, that I really can't call
it a mead. In my opinion, it's absolutely delicious, but very
strong and powerful. My friends who do not brew, and for that
matter, my wife, tend to be put off by this unique flavor. But
maple wines get my complete vote of confidence.

In the archives, John Gorman (does anyone have his current
email address?) has a maple recipe in MLD #100. Also, there is
some discussion of maple syrup vs. honey, and I think a recipe
in Joyce Miller's "Bee's Lees".

The only warning I could add is that Maple wines, for me, have
fermented and cleared quicker than meads. However, even though
I could read newsprint through the carboy, a few months later a
proteiny, almost gelatinous something-or-other precipitated out
in small quantities. extended bulk aging might be a good idea.

Good Luck!

David Prescott, Shaftsbury, Vermont

Subject: water softeners
Date: Sat, 12 Oct 1996 07:03:22 -0400 (EDT)

I have long wondered about the effects of my water softener on
my meads. Without it, my well water had a considerable amount
of iron in it, and I figured my mead might resemble something
like Geritol. Similarly, there is all the other stuff that gets
filtered out in the chain of events between well and tap. I
know that water softeners remove calcium and add a measure of
sodium, but is anyone else aware of the pros and cons of water
softeners in making mead? Any easy fixes?

Thanks in advance,

David Prescott, Shaftsbury, Vermont

End of Mead Lover's Digest #503