Mead Lover's Digest #0529 Sat 18 January 1997


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



Frozen Fruit? (
Crystalized honey/cloudy mead/malo-lactic ferment (Ed, Quantum PE (508)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #528, 16 January 1997 ("Tom Lentz")
Re:melomels with juice instead of fruit (Peter Miller)
#528 (William Chellis)
Malo-lactic fermentation (Rod McDonald)
crystallization ("Olin J. Schultz")
Sparkaloid ("Wallinger")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #528, 16 January 1997 (
Re:HONEY HONEY HONEY (Strange and crystalized) (
basswood honey (


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Subject: Frozen Fruit?
Date: 16 Jan 97 12:17:00 -0500

I mentioned in the last digest that I was eyeballing some frozen
strawberries in the freezer for a melomel. Upon further investigation,
these are packed in suger (store bought frozen strawberries, not fresh ones
frozen by me). I thought I saw somewhere in past reading that use of (cane)
sugars in a melomel is not a good idea. Has anyone else heard of this? I
can't recall where I read it, or why it was not a good idea. Can anyone
provide any additional light on the subject? Thanks in advance.


Subject: Crystalized honey/cloudy mead/malo-lactic ferment
From: (Ed, Quantum PE (508) 770-2251)
Date: Thu, 16 Jan 1997 12:30:15 -0500

Steve writes:
> Question 1) I have a gallon jug of Wild Clover honey that's starting
> to crystalize. I understand I can get it back to non crystal state by
> warming it for several hours. My beekeeper bro-in-law says the
> crystalization is normal for the clover honey. My question is, has
> anyone had experience with making a mead out of honey that has been
> crystalized, then reheated? Any problems/concerns?

It'll be fine. You don't need to heat it if you can get it out of the
jug in crystal form. Once out, proceed as usual. If you need to heat
it, warm it slowly and keep mixing.

Chuck writes about his cloudy show mead:

>Then it got cloudy a la Carl Saxer.
>It stayed cloudy for a good four months, maybe more.

>Then, one day, it cleared again, dropping dark brown sediment to the
>bottom. But it didn't just clear, it cleared to brilliant! And the
>flavor! Not it's not just OK, it's full, rich, rounded honey flavor
>and aroma. This mead is radically different from the show mead I
>started out with.

>Who knows what happened? (I sure don't.) Could it be, as I speculated
>earlier, a malo-lactic fermentation? A beneficial house yeast? Is the malo-
>lactic conversion accomplished with a yeast or a bacteria? I know Wyeast
>sells a pouch of something that will start the process. C'mon somone must

Malo-lactic fermentation is caused by a bacteria. It changes malic
acid to less harsh lactic acid (hence the name…). This also causes
a "rather dramatic", as is printed in the wine books, drop in total
acidity. Did your acid level drop "rather dramatically"?
In order for this to take place you obviously need both the bacteria
and the malic acid. Did you add malic acid to your mead? The bacteria
is usually present in grape musts, but the numbers aren't typically
high enough to generate any activity until after the grape sugar-to-alcohol
fermentation. I don't know where the bacteria could have been introduced
during your process. I don't think that it is naturally present in honey.
Comments? When the mead turned cloudy was there airlock activity? The
fact that the mead was cloudy, fell clear and had a brown sediment leads
me to believe that what happened was proteins in the mead chained together
and sedimented. This would not cause airlock activity. The longer chain
proteins (I hope I have this correct, I'm open to other opinions) tend to
give body to the mouthfeel. You mention the flavor as being "full and rich".
Is there also an increase in smoothness and body to the mouthfeel? I've had
proteins precipitate out of meads, both in the bottle and carboy. The
resulting sediment looked dark brown (about the color of medium amber maple
syrup) and rather wispy, like cotton balls or lint. Sounds yummy eh?
The rest of the mead was brilliantly clear.



Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #528, 16 January 1997
From: "Tom Lentz" <>
Date: Thu, 16 Jan 97 11:25:34

Crystalized honey is just fine for mead. In fact, you may be able to
get a "deal" when buying honey that is starting to crystalize, since
nobody else wants it. I have used crystalized clover honey once, and
the mead turned out just as good as always. Yes, heating will
dissolve the crystals, but there's no need to do that if you're going
to heat the must to pasturize it anyways, just plop the crystals in
the hot water and they'll melt. Just don't bring it to a rolling boil
or you'll lose some of the aromatic qualities.

Tom Lentz

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #528, 16 January 1997
Author: ,
Subject: Mead Lover's Digest
#528, 16 January 1997 at INTERNET
Date: 1/16/97 9:08 AM

crystalization is normal for the clover honey. My question is, has
anyone had experience with making a mead out of honey that has been
crystalized, then reheated? Any problems/concerns?

Subject: Re:melomels with juice instead of fruit
From: Peter Miller <>
Date: Fri, 17 Jan 97 09:08:11 -0000

>From: Belinda Messenger Routh <>
>Date: Tue, 14 Jan 1997 15:53:28 -0800
>There's been a lot of discussion about the amount of fruit to use for a
>melomel but what about juice? It seems simpler to use juice rather than
>all that mucky fruit pulp. I've only brewed traditional mead (with the
>exception of 2 batches of cyser that I _hated_). How much juice per gallon
>have people tried?
>Always learning,

There's nothing at all wrong with using juice to make a mel, and I have
had some fine batches with it, but there are some benfits in using "all
that mucky fruit pulp" that you don't get with juice. Fermenting on the
pulp gives richer flavours and better colour, and in most cases I've
found gets the fermentation going very quickly. There are also tannins
and other goodies in fruit skins that give more substance to the final
mead (IMHO). It really isn't that much trouble to use fruit – a lot lot
lot easier than juicing the fruit…. (and far less time-consuming).

(also always learning!)

Perpetual Ocean Music & Sound Design

Subject: #528
From: William Chellis <>
Date: Thu, 16 Jan 1997 21:37:11 -0500

Steve: asked about chrystalized honey, Ive used it with no problem.
Don't do what I did, I put the whole jug in my pot anh heated it while
the first 2 gallons of water was heating. The botton fell off the jug
from the heat.

Rubarb: I used 6lb of rubarb in one mead with 4oz of fresh grated ginger
root, required 20 lb of honey for a start PA of 18/5gal batch. came out

I used 4 lb of rubarb in another.

goob brewing

Subject: Malo-lactic fermentation
From: (Rod McDonald)
Date: Fri, 17 Jan 1997 15:12:01 +1000

At the risk of boring you all silly with too much detail:

The following from Ben Turner's and Roy Roycroft's "The winemaker's
encyclopedia" (Faber, 1979, ISBN 0 571 11420 2) about malo-lactic
fermentation might be of interest.

"Malic acid is a natural acid present in most fruits and
vegetables…It is a sharp acid, which in the absence of air and
sulphite is fermented by one of the rod forms of the lactic acid
bacteria to CO2 and lactic acid, which is less sharp. The titratable
acid is reduced and the pH is increased. It is common in high pH wines
containing malic acid.

…it can be induced in a wine to reduce acidity. A little of a wine
that has a malo-lactic fermentation can be added to a too acid wine.
It should only be attempted in a dry wine, never in a sweet – in a
sweet wine the bacteria will ferment sugars into mannitol (which, by
all accounts, is very bitter and to be avoided like the plague).

To secure a malo-lactic fermentation the wine must be high in malic
acid and relatively low in alcohol. It must also be free from Sulphur
Dioxide (SO2)."

The entry then goes on to discuss more details of how to induce it,
how sometimes there is mucilage and undesirable metabolic by-products,
that the great wines of Bordeaux require it, changing the colour and
softening the taste. Also mention of SO2 for stopping it and air
inhibiting it, as well as theory that the slight sparkle (petillance)
from the CO2 being produced resulted in the first sparkling wines.

Well, there you have it.

Did Chuck Wettergreen's cloudy then clear show mead have a high malic
acid content? If so maybe M-L fermentation. Was there sulphur in it?
(Sorry, can't bear to spell sulphur with an f) If so, maybe not M-L
fermentation. Had air any access (ie through cork rather than rubber
for maturation? If so, maybe not M-L fermentation. Was it high in alc?
If not then maybe M-L ferm.

So many variables, so little time!!!

Are there any experts out there for this one.

Rod McDonald

PS A jar of Vegemite is good for throwing at the family pet when it
wanders into the room whilst a delicate mead-making operation is in
progress. Alternately, it is good for eating on toast the morning
after a mead-drinking operation.

Subject: crystallization
From: "Olin J. Schultz" <>
Date: Fri, 17 Jan 1997 15:06:24 -0800

Can someone who knows tell us about crystallization of honey. Do all
types do it? At what temperatures does it start to happen? Does
pastuerization have any affect? If I was to buy a 55 gallon drum from a
local apiary next summer can I use a drum belt heater to keep it viscous
during the winter?

Olin Schultz

Subject: Sparkaloid
From: "Wallinger" <>
Date: Fri, 17 Jan 1997 18:25:30 -0600

I added sparkaloid (about 1 tsp boiled in about 8 oz water) to a tertiary
fermenter (5 gallon glass carboy) as an experiment in clarification. This
is a mead I made in October (or thereabouts) by adding raspberry extract in
the secondary fermenter to an otherwise traditional mead. The mead cleared
brilliantly within days. I intend to age the mead for several more months,
but would like to know whether I can successfully leave the mead in the
tertiary (on top of the precipitate) or should transfer to a quaternary
(???) fermentor, or to bottles. Comments?

Wassail, and Go Packers

Pascagoula MS

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #528, 16 January 1997
Date: Fri, 17 Jan 1997 23:31:00 -0500 (EST)

In a message dated 97-01-16 11:46:49 EST, you write:

<< Subject: obtaining unusual honey
From: (Paul Kretschmer)
Date: Wed, 15 Jan 1997 18:14:46 -0800

I would like to know where I can buy unusual honey in the Bay Area. I
am interested in honeys from a single flower source that taste like that
flower: lemon, sage, avocado, etc.

Since I need about 12 pounds for a 5 gallon batch of mead, I would be
buying in bulk and I would like to get the honey cheaply.

Does anybody have any ideas?

Thank you.

Where in the Bay Area are you ? I live in the valley and have access to a
wide variety of single flower honey. I will be at the BABO judging meads in
Feb. I have in the past brought over honey for other mead makers. Let me know
if this may help.

micah millspaw – brewer at large



Subject: Re:HONEY HONEY HONEY (Strange and crystalized)
Date: Sat, 18 Jan 1997 03:28:52 -0500 (EST)

This is a note regarding two questions posted in Mead Lovers 528
First Pkretschner wanted to know about unusual honey in the greater SF Bay
Area. Well, I have purchased some but can't tell you the apiaries involved.
These are at the local farmers markets. SF in UN Plaza wed and sun usually
has a bee keeper there. I have purchased mesquite, blue curl, clover, pine
and wildflower from this particular one. The other farmers market I go to is
the El Cerrito Plaza one, Tues. and Sat. 10 – 2pm. The bee keeper that comes
by here has coastal honies, out of Marin. Sometimes he has star thistle and
almost always Coastal Wildflower, which is very good. If you cannot make it
to these, Berkeley and a number of other cities sponser farmers markets,
including one at Jack London Square on Sunday Mornings.

Now, about crystalized honey. I used to have a bee keeper friend (who
unfortunately stopped his hobby) who would sell me crystalized honey at a
discount, because so many people thought something had gone wrong. Well, all
it takes is a large pot of water. Put the honey jar in the pot, with at
least water up 1/2 the side of the jar. Now slowly bring the temperature up
and hold it at 130 – 150 degrees. Depending on the particular honey, solids
will seperate, and protiens can break. Boiled honey is a no no. It drives
off the bouquet and can harm the clarity. Now, I know I just opened a can
of worms, but that is my experience.

Right now I am about to rack a small batch of persimmon wine made with
Whitebread Ale Yeast. This yeast is a fantastic one if you want to keep some
sweetness to your wine or mead. Seeing that it won't ferment much above 11%
alcohol, it seems to be a great one for those sweeter holiday meads. Not
much of a yeast taste to it either.

Subject: basswood honey
Date: Sat, 18 Jan 1997 10:22:28 -0500 (EST)

This week I was in southern Wisconsin and I tasted some Basswood honey at an
apiary. I was told that it is made from the blossoms of the Linden tree. The
honey had a interesting taste, has anyone made or heard of a mead mlde from
this honey?

micah millspaw

End of Mead Lover's Digest #529