Mead Lover's Digest #0546 Fri 14 March 1997


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



contest announcement (
Cyser Historical References… ("Brander Roullett (Volt Computer)")
small head space (K.E. Nyquist)
Re: Sediment in sparkling mead (MLD 544 & 545) (Dan Howard)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #545, 11 March 1997 -Reply ("Wallinger")
Wedding Plans (Cuchulain Libby)
Star anise, bitter orange peel, and coriander (Francois Espourteille)
Vintage and variation (Bruce P Stevens)
1st Mead Question ("Patrick E. Humphrey")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest (K.Ingle)


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Subject: contest announcement
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 1997 09:33:58 -0500 (EST)

Contest announcement and call/beg for judges.

The third annual Parlor City Brew Off, a BJCP sanctioned homebrew contest, is
scheduled for April 19 at the A.O.H Hall in Binghamton, NY.

All recognized styles of beer, cider and mead will be accepted.
Any type bottles accepted, carbonaters accepted and returned. Refer to entry
packets for details.

Best of Show for beer wins a $100.00 gift certificate from West Creek
HOmebrew of Endicott NY.
Best Of Show for Meads and Ciders wins a gallon (12 lb) of honey.
Cool plaques will also be given for each BOS first place.
Ribbons will be awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in each category.

Entry packets will be available around March 22 at the following dropoff
points: DOc's, Binghamton, NY; E.J. Wren, Liverpool, NY; Heller's HOmebrew,
Syracuse, NY; Eddy's Beverage/ The Hoppy Troll, Saratoga Springs, NY; Hudson
River Brew Supply, Troy, NY; The Brewery Shop (FX Matt Brewery) Utica, NY.
Entries may be dropped off or shipped to West Creek Brewing Supply, Endicott,
Entry deadline is Friday, April 11.

Kurt Nelson, organizer <>

Judges and stewards – we need your help – please contact Bob Talkiewicz
<> Breakfast stuff and Lunch provided:)

For entry packets or miscellaneous info, contact assistant organizer Roger
Haggett <>

This is the final event in the NY Homebrewer of the Year circuit.

Bob Talkiewicz, Binghamton, NY <>

Subject: Cyser Historical References...
From: "Brander Roullett (Volt Computer)" <>
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 1997 14:19:02 -0800

I am looking for period Historical references and recipes for Cysers.
anything pre-1600's would be wonderful. anybody seen anything like

Brander (Badger) Roullett

  • ———————-In The SCA———————-

Lord Frederick Badger of Amberhaven, TWIT, Squire to Sir Nicholaus
Red Tree Pursuivant-Madrone, An Tir Marshal-College of St Bunstable

Subject: small head space
From: (K.E. Nyquist)
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 1997 16:58:10 -0700

>Now, here is where gas diffusion comes into play in the secondary. As the
>CO2 diffuses from the liquid into the head space (per Henry's Law) a layer
>of CO2 develops. That layer of CO2 develops because gas diffusion is a
>slower process than Henry's Law diffusion. So the Henry's Law equilibrium
>is achieved rather quickly at the surface, protecting the liquid at the
>surface. But over time the CO2 will diffuse into the rest of the head
>space, increasing the air that the liquid will be exposed to.

Hey don't worry about long "informative" postings. I thought the Gas Law
lesson was a great addition to the forum. (It forced me to apply some of
that old biochemistry knowledge I have) I would like to clarify my
understanding regarding the gas diffusion interplay within the secondary
though. As the CO2 leaves solution it forms a "bed" of gas over the liquid.
When the syphoning has completed and the airlock has been placed within the
lips of the carboy, that bed of gas still remains. While in the secondary
the yeast settles out and the fermentation continues producing CO2 (though
less than compared to that of the primary) forcing the bed of gas higher up
until a burp is released out of the airlock. Of courses it all depends on
the size of the head space…but would not all the bad room air be PUSHED
out of the carboy as the CO2 bed grows up wards. I though this was one of
the things that allows for longer aging of higher alcoholic recipes. So my
question is: If I have a small head space should I still be concerned?

The Bushed Brewer

Subject: Re: Sediment in sparkling mead (MLD 544 & 545)
From: (Dan Howard)
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 00:29:02 GMT

> For people looking for an easier way than disgorging to get rid of
> sediment in sparkling wines, there is a specialised kind of cap that
> "eats" sediment. Unfortunately, I don't have exact details handy…

A self-professed lurker emailed me with most of those details. He has
no problem with me passing the information along, so here it is:

>I saw the sediment-eating corks you refer to in a couple of Montreal
>They look like regular plastic champagne corks, but with a resrevoir
>tip. An extension of the cork protrudes about two inches beyond the
>normal top of the cork. With the bottle inverted, sediment accumulates
>in this tip. When fermentation and sedimentation is completed, you fold
>over and wire down the tip. Voila, the sediment is safely out of harm's
>way, and you can serve sparkling wine without disgorging it.
>Personally, my wife and I get a huge kick out of the disgorging
>process. We do it in the garage, all suited up with old clothes and
>goggles. What makes things work well for us is superchilling the
>bottles before the operation. This dissolves as much carbon monoxide as
>possible, reducing pressure in the head space and retaining as much
>carbonation as possible. We get generally very good results, and love
>not relying on fancy equipment to make an excellent crystal-clear
>sparkling wine. It just depends on your personality, I guess.

We now just lack a name for these things, and where one might obtain
them. Does anyone know?

Dan Howard

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #545, 11 March 1997 -Reply
From: "Wallinger" <>
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 1997 21:08:03 -0600

Ken Schramm sent a personal reply that I thought I would respond to
publicly, along with a question of my own for the group…

> From: Ken Schramm <>
> To:
> Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #545, 11 March 1997 -Reply
> Date: Wednesday, March 12, 1997 7:59 AM
> Wade,
> How dare you be apologetic after a post like that. That was
> positively excellent, and precisely the reason I READ the MLD and
> blast through the HBD. It was concise, well thought out and conveyed
> the information very understandably.
> A quick question; givenm that a carboy was not purged with CO2 before
> a secondary fermnentation is racked into it, how much O2 might be left
> after the equilibrium is established and the gas diffusion ensues?
> Thank you so much for sharing your expertise.

My pleasure, and thanks for the positive remarks.

> Yours,
> Ken Schramm

I must admit that I'm not quite sure about your question. I assume that you
are asking how much O2 is left in the carboy after secondary fermentation.

One point I was trying to make in my post is that if only 1% of the
fermentation takes place in the secondary then you will get 10,000 cc of
CO2, per the calculations from a previous poster. That's 10 liters, or
roughly half the volume of a completely empty carboy.

Now, what exactly is 1% of the fermentation. Well, if you have a starting
mead at 1.100 and expect to complete at 1.000, then the last 1% of
fermentation is roughly the reduction from 1.001 to 1.000. (This isn't
exactly true, but that's another topic. If this interests you I will
attempt to explain.)

So if the remaining head space is 20% of the total carboy volume, or about
4 liters, then the maximum amount of O2 remaining is 4 liters divided by 4
plus 10 liters, or about 30%.

I say maximum, because the real dynamics of the system will likely have the
CO2 pushing out the O2 in a wave because the CO2 generation will take much
faster than the CO2 diffusion into the O2. I would guess that the O2 would
probably get completely pushed out, but I'm not certain.

Incidently, the solubility of O2 in beer is about 40 ppm when 100% O2 is in
the head space. I don't know what it is for mead. But with air in the head,
the solubility is 8 ppm O2 (40 ppm times 20% O2 in the air above the
liquid). This is Henry's Law, that the concentration in the liquid is
proportional to the concentration in the vapor space.

Now if only 30% of the air remains after secondary fermentation then the O2
in the liquid drops below 3 ppm. I suspect that even this is harmful, but
staling will take longer at lower concentrations. Keep in mind that as O2
is consumed by staling reactions in the liquid, more O2 will be absorbed
into the liquid from the vapor space to maintain the 3 ppm equilibrium

The 16 liters of liquid in the carboy weighs 16 kg. 3 ppm O2 in the liquid
weighs 0.000048 kg. I'm not sure what the weight of O2 in the vapor space
is off hand, but it is reasonable to assume that it can contribute to this
minute weight of O2 in the liquid space for some time.

Perhaps someone in the audience has the books to calculate this. It would
also be interesting to know how much oxidation (in terms of weight of O2
consumed through staling reactions) must take place to reach the flavor
threshold. Can anyone help with this?

Wade Wallinger
Pascagoula MS (until I move to Houston TX next month)

Subject: Wedding Plans
From: Cuchulain Libby <>
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 1997 02:27:22 -0600

Greetings All,
I have set a date for Feb. 14 1998 and would like a recipe for 5gals. of
a semi-dry sparkling mead to serve at the reception. I have never made a
mead before and understand it can take a year, so I have one shot at

San Antonio

Subject: Star anise, bitter orange peel, and coriander
From: (Francois Espourteille)
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 09:44:39 -0500


I have been thinking about putting together a mead that would
resemble a Belgian Wit beer, but replacing the malt by honey. For the
rest, I would add the traditional spices (see above), and possibly
some (mashed) raw wheat (yes, the mead will be cloudy) and some oats.
The flavor / aroma contribution of honey should blend well with the
Wit spices. Anyone has any experience with this type of recipe and/or
the use of coriander, star anise and bitter orange peel in meads? I
would probably use a Wit beer yeast. While I have made a fair number
of meads, I have never worked with braggot/spiced braggot type meads.
Anything to watch for that would be different from traditional meads?



Subject: Vintage and variation
From: Bruce P Stevens <>
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 97 19:51:59 -0400

Fred said

>FWIW, I age ciders and derivatives (cyser) from the year the fruit was
>grown. Like wines, the apples and pears I use vary in sugar and acidity
>from year to year.

Too bad you don't work for BATF, since they do n't believe this to be
the truth ….. only grapes vary from year to year and can be recognized
with vintage dating.

Unless there's been something new from them I still can't get approval to
show the year on the bottles…..but maybe I can with the meads since
honey character does change distinctly depending on the wetness and
climate during the mid to late summer when the bees are stocking up.

This past year's wildflower from Maine is distinctly more goldenrod than
clover due to this timing of the rain etcaccording to my favorite

Cool……….. but not according to the feds. Maine is not a
specifically recognized viticultural area noted for its distinctive
appelation…….ice wine.

Thats the only kind of grapes we can use up here since it freezes so GD
early in Sept/Oct.

Just thinking about the application process to get a waiver is driving me

PS – Just as this was going to press ,I got a call from a good brewer who
has concocted Pomegranate Lust in the past.He tells me that it's a tough
fruit to get the right amount of into the batch ..Needs a lot of it to
get the flavor to come thru. He told me he used 4-5 quarts of
Pomegranate juice from the veghead store in Rockland ,ME . He thinks
it was either Knudsens or After the Fall but one of those organic mfgrs.
of flavored whole juices. ALSO there's a Wassailing coming up here in ME


April 5th 1997 is the date for the Yankee Brewer's Conference &

We will be allowing MEAD to be entered this year as well a CIDERS, so
send them up our way !

Many good judges from the New England area will be up to analyze these

Fees are $5 for 1-4 $4 ea for more than 5 and entries can be
shipped to my attention
@ the Cask & Hive Winery 155 Norris Hill Rd.
Monmouth, ME 04259

One 750 ml or 2@ 375 ml will suffice for these beverages. Beers require
3 -12 oz bottles

All are welcome to attend and judge or sterward……..the more the
but please preregister with Tom O'Brien @ (207) 878-2031

Bruce P Stevens – ex Chem E, ex RC , ex ecute the IRS and Free Mead for

Well ,how about no more taxes first and Free Beer for All instead?

Subject: 1st Mead Question
From: "Patrick E. Humphrey" <>
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 1997 08:05:00 -0600 (CST)


This is my first post to the digest so please be gentle.

I have brewed about thirty batches of beer but I thought I would venture
into making a mead this time. My first attempt was last weekend and would
like to ask a couple of questions about it. I made a sweet raspberry mead
using the following recipe for 3 gallons:

6 pounds buckwheat(?) honey
1-1/2 pounds fresh frozen raspberries
1 tsp yeast energizer

initial gravity was 1.066

I brought 2 gallons of water to boil, turned off the heat and added the
honey while stirring. Heat was again applied until the mixture began to
boil again. I hate to say this but while it was heating the mixture
smelled like urine! It wasn't a very appealing odor.
Turned off the heat, added the raspberries and steeped for 15 minutes. I
siphoned the must into a carboy, topped to 3 gallons with tap water and
allowed it to cool. Pitched the yeast.

The yeast had been scaled up from a Wyeast smack-pak apppromately six times
using honey and malt extract as a starter medium. I had a half inch of
yeast sediment to pitch. Fermentation started within hours and developed a
one inch krausen within 24 hours. I was going to transfer the fermenting
mead off of the krausen but when I went to transfer at day 3, the krausen
had dropped to the bottom of the fermenter. Fermentation slowed on day 3
and has been fermenting slowly now for about 2 days.

I was under the impression that most meads take months to ferment out but
it seems that this one may be finished fermenting in a couple of weeks. I
haven't checked the gravity of the must since I pitched so it may still
have a long way to go.

The other concern I have is that the mead is quite cloudy right now. Will
this clear with time or should I add some clarifying agent when it is

I would appreciate any comments from the digest subscribers.


Pat Humphrey

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest
From: (K.Ingle)
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 1997 10:48:33 -0800 (PST)

Dick Dunn, Digest Janitor

Dear Mr. Dunn,

I have recently taken a new domain name––and would like
to have my subscription to Mead Lover's Digest transferred to that name
from My non-cyber name is Kris Ingle, and please feel
free to contact me if there are any questions or problems.

Many thanks for your help and nice publication,

(reply to

End of Mead Lover's Digest #546