Mead Lover's Digest #0547 Wed 19 March 1997


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



Sugar -vs- Honey flavouring… (
Re: 1st Mead Question (Marc Shapiro)
re: coriander and orange peel (
Star anise (William Chellis)
witty meads (Daniel S. McConnell)
First attempt. (Francois Espourteille)
Buckwheat/raspberry mead (mossdude)
Yeast Starters (Glenn & Kristina Matthies)
ale mead (PickleMan)


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Subject: Sugar -vs- Honey flavouring...
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 1997 19:12:59 -0600

In 1990, I made 5 gallons of wine from a can of concentrate. I mixed up half of
the necessary water with half of the required sugar. I then added a clover honey
to the remainder of the water until it had the same potential alcohol as the
sugar/water (to the limit of my then-ability to adjust this…)

I sterilized five 1-gallon bottles and split the concentrate among them. After
adding the water according to the following "plan", I split the yeast equally
among the bottles. The five batches were sweetened by:

a. 100% sugar 0% honey
b. 75% sugar 25% honey
c. 50% sugar 50% honey
d. 25% sugar 75% honey
e. 0% 100% honey

The results of a double blind taste test were mixed with the 100% honey
flavoured wine coming in 2nd place generally.

I'd like to hear from anyone else who may have tried this kind of experiment.

Mike (

Subject: Re: 1st Mead Question
From: Marc Shapiro <>
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 1997 20:47:53 -0500

In reference to:

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

> 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
> finished?


A traditional mead, made with just honey and water, can and will take
quite a while to ferment and age. The addition of fruit, however, will
help it to ferment faster. The addition of the yeast energizer also
helps, of course.

I usually use more fruit in my melomels than you have but mine usually
finish fermentation in 4 to 6 weeks. I have on several occaisions done
a strawberry melomel which has gone to completely dry in about 3 weeks.
The key thing to remember is, if the fermentation is healthy and happy,
don't worry.

As to your clarification question: It is hard to say, in advance, what
any fermentation is going to do. I try to avoid adding fining agents if
at all possible. I prefer to let the mead settle and rack off of the
sediment a few times to get it clear. Sometimes, this doesn't work. I
suggest that you wait and see if it will clear on its own. If not then
you can always add the fining agents later.



Marc Shapiro

Visit 'The Meadery' at:

"If you drink melomel every day, you will live to be 150 years old,
unless your wife shoots you."

  • –Dr. Ferenc Androczi, Winemaker of the Little Hungary Winery

Subject: re: coriander and orange peel
Date: Sat, 15 Mar 1997 06:57:05 -0500 (EST)

The question was asked:

"Anyone has any experience with this type of recipe and/or

the use of coriander, star anise and bitter orange peel in


I have worked with orange peel quite a bit, and have also made
meads with coriander. The only advice that I can give is to be
sparing with the coriander. It's a wonderful spice for mead,
but I found that after six months in the bottle, it actually
came forward in the mix, while the peel and other spices
mellowed. In my case, the resulting mead was more like a
coriander mead with a hint of orange peel, nutmeg, blueberries
and what-have-you.

For five gallons, I've had success using the ZEST (not pith)
from 2/3 to one orange peel, as well as the juice from that
orange. I haven't worked with "bitter" orange peel. I also
haven't worked with star anise. Finally, I haven't worked with
my computer enough to properly quote the writer. Sorry!

As a postscript, I've found that nutmeg and coriander make a
nice combination in meads, and, for that matter, pancakes. Have

David Prescott, Shaftshbury, Vermont

Subject: Star anise
From: William Chellis <>
Date: Sat, 15 Mar 1997 19:37:52 -0500 (Francois Espourteille) Asked about using star
anise etc. We have made a couple of meads using sa. We grind spices in
an electric coffee grinder , and use them directly in the must for the
whole fermentation. A Chinese Five Spice Mead we made has been one of
our finest meads to date.
bill & joan

"The world will not be saved by old minds
with new programs.
If the world is saved. it will be saved
by new minds – with no programs."
(The Story of B by Daniel Quinn
Bantam Book/ISBN:0-553-10053-X)

Subject: witty meads
From: (Daniel S. McConnell)
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 1997 08:34:57 -0500

From: (Francois Espourteille)

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?

I have two of these in a carboy now that were made a year ago.
Here are the recipes:

Wit Mead
1 lb lt DME
1 lb amber DME
10 lb orange blossom honey
38 gr bitter orange-30 min boil
38 gr coriander-15 min boil
2 gr grains of paradise-10 min boil
1 star anise-10 min boil
1 fresh orange peel-5 min boil
D47 yeast fermented at 65F.

Boil the malt extract to a boil in 8L H2O adding spices at the indicated
times. Add honey and steep 15 minutes, chill and top up with H2O to make 5
gallons. I fermented on the spices.

Mo' wit mead
2 lb Dark DME
1 gallon fruit blossom honey
40 gr bitter orange-30 min boil
40 gr coriander-15 min boil
2 oz Hallertau hop plugs-15 minute boil.
1 fresh orange peel-5 min boil
D47 yeast fermented at 65F.

Boil the malt extract to a boil in 8L H2O adding spices at the indicated
times. Add honey and steep 15 minutes, chill, strain out the hops and top
up with H2O to make 5 gallons.

The first is very nice, like a massive Belgian beer. Plenty of honey
flavor and aroma with some malt notes and lots of corainder and orange,
The second also has plenty of honey flavor and aroma with some malt notes
but is poorer mostly due to the hops, which I feel detracts in this mead.
Less hop or more time will bring this one into better balance. I added the
malt to aid the fermentation.

Here is a clear case of "what is this?" I would not call it a braggot
because it does not have much malt character. I was not intending to make
anything that will neatly fit into any of the current or future mead
guidelines-just making mead for myself.


Subject: First attempt.
From: (Francois Espourteille)
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 1997 14:03:42 -0500

Patrick E. Humphrey wrote:

>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

You sure picked a strong honey for a first batch; with the exception of
heather honey (hard to find), this is probably the honey with the
strongest, most unusual flavor profile. With any luck it was not
straight buckwheat (it's often mixed with another honey). I made a
traditional mead with 100% buchkwheat honey some 5 years ago and it is
just now becoming drinkable. The flavors are so strong they take a long
time to blend and mellow out. You may have a hard time finding the
flavor of raspberries with that honey in a year or two.

>I hate to say this but while it was heating the mixture smelled like
>urine! It wasn't a very appealing odor.

Yes, the two batches I made which used buckwheat honey initially gave out

a bit of outhouse aroma; they did mellow out nicelly with time. Lots of

>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

The primary fermentation will take a couple of weeks; then you have the
secondary fermentation which can take a few months to a year. Once the
bulk of the fermentation is finished (reduced CO2 production), then rack
to secondary, put an airlock and leave it alone for 2 or 3 months.

>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 finished?

I never bother with fining agents. The most important ingreedient with
meads is usually time. With time (and low temperatures) the mead will
clear; it might take a month or 2 years. You have picked a honey which
will throw a lot of sediment, not to mention the fruit (if you boiled the

fruit, the extracted pectin will probably keep the mead hazy). You will
need to rack for a year (every 2 to 3 months) or more to get raid of the
sediment and cloudiness. But chances are your mead won't be ready to
dring before then anyway. I made a buckwheat honey / plum melomel a few
years back. Turned out great, but kept on dropping gunk for two years.
Now it's excellent and brilliantly clear. Give it time and don't worry.

Hope this helps.


Subject: Buckwheat/raspberry mead
From: mossdude <>
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 1997 19:07:15 -0800

"Patrick E. Humphrey" <>
uses the following ingredients in an experimental mead:

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

1. I am very curious to find out how your use of buckwheat honey turns
out. I have most of a 60 lb. supply that was graciously donated to my
cause several years ago. In spite of recommendations against the use of
it, I have attempted several small batches of various kinds of mead using
this honey, including: two batches of cyser with alternate 40/60
proportions of wildflower and buckwheat honey (1 yr. old), ditto for
two batches of maple mead (3 yr. old), and buckwheat mead (no adjuncts)
(3 yr. old). In all cases the result has a distinct bourbon-ish flavor,
which is, unfortunately, sufficiently far from the real thing to please a
Jack Daniels drinker as myself. Any other comments?

2. I have made two batches of raspberry mead with clover honey. The
first batch was an uneducated guess using 5-6 lb. for 5 gallons. The
result was red/purple, but lacked any real raspberry flavor. The next
attempt used 10 *cups* for a 2.5 gallon batch. This is now 1 yr. old and
my initial samples are quite good. If you care to guess the lb/cups
conversion, you may get an estimate of what to expect.


Subject: Yeast Starters
From: Glenn & Kristina Matthies <>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 1997 18:18:08 -0500

I am planning to use liquid (Wyeast 3632 Dry Mead) yeast in my next batch.
I have used liquid yeast in beer making but never for mead. What do I use
to make a starter with, dry malt extract like I use for beer? Do I make a
single starter or should I make two, the first being around 1.050 and the
second around 1.080? (1.080 is my planned OG) Any suggestions or comments
on #3632 would be appreciated. TIA

Glenn & Kristina Matthies
Lockport, NY

Glenn's Buffalo Beer Page

Subject: ale mead
From: PickleMan <>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 1997 16:12:29 -0800 (PST)

I was looking over my recipe log and found it has been a year nearly since
I started a new mead. I also noticed that two years ago I made the "ale
mead" recipe in the Action & Duncan book. I noted that it was very
drinkable within a little over a month of conception, but didn't get
exceptional until the hops mellowed after about 3 months. I would like to
make a refreshing cooler like this for summer drinking agian, but am
thinking about leaving out the hops and maybe adding a small portion of
fruit juice. Maybe I'll just leave it plain. Has anyone tried any
variations of this recipe with success?


End of Mead Lover's Digest #547