Mead Lover's Digest #0552 Mon 7 April 1997


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



Braggot Recipes. (David Ghere)
Barrels and Hydromel (Francois Espourteille)
vegetable meads/mead vinegar (Daniel S McConnell)
Mead Brandy (Jeff Duckworth)
vinegar? (Steve Daughhetee)
First Notice: Boneyard Brew-Off, Champaign-Urbana IL USA ("Joel Plutchak")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest (
Re: salad mead – need suggestions (Jack Stafford)
Re: Oak and Salad (Di and Kirby)
Raising pH in fermenting mead (Derrick Pohl)
Banana Melomel? (
Salmonella in Honey????? (
Malt honey? (


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Subject: Braggot Recipes.
From: st5bx@bayou.UH.EDU (David Ghere)
Date: Apr 04 1997 08:57:16 AM


I was just wondering if any of you out there would mind sharing

any of your braggot recipes. I was thinking about using a dark amber malt.


Subject: Barrels and Hydromel
From: (Francois Espourteille)
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 1997 09:59:03 -0500

Doug Moyer wrote:

>Several homebrew supply catalogs offer oak chips (sterilize first by
>steaming or baking). Has anyone tried this in mead? This would
>certainly be easier than worrying about the contamination issues

That is an option, but you only get some of the benefits of wood.
Chips will contribute some tannins and a general oaky note, vanilla,
and so forth. You won't get the aging benefit of wood, nor after
multiple cask use the mellow flavors of older wood (new wood
contributes lots of oakiness, usually too much). Casks allow a
certain amount of oxygen to enter and thus help in the aging process.
That's were the size of the cask is important, since as you vary the
size you vary the surface (of the cask) to volume (of the mead) ratio.
That ratio will regulate the rate of mead oxidation (aging), which
should be relatively slow. Smaller barrel have a higher surface to
volume ratio (more oxygen for less mead -> faster aging)than larger
barrels. Some say that 5 gal is not suitable for mead since the ratio
is too high; I have found it to work well if you don't leave your mead
in there for years. I often age the mead in wood for 1 year then
bottle or keg; seems to do the trick. It also recycles the barrels

>{snip}How much {oak chips} would you use, and would you add some
>to each carboy every time you rack it?

For beer, the typical amount is one or two cups. I have used chips
and simply rinsed them after racking and added them back to the newly
racked mead. New chips at every racking may give you too much oak

>Also, Francois mentioned that oak barrels came in a 5 gallon size.
>How much do they cost, and how do you get one?

The last one I bought, made of American oak from Arkansas, was about
$60. That was 3 years ago. French/British/Polish oak is close to
three times that, but they start at 7.5 gal (30L). Most homebrew
stores carry them or can order them. Some "general stores" / hardware
country stores also have barrels (and possibly better prices), usually
for wine makers, but that doesn't matter.

On a different topic…


>It is my understanding that a Hydromel is a diluted mead, usually
>with water.

In English, Hydromel refers to an unfermented honey/water mixture
which will become mead once fermented. In French, Hydromel is the
word for mead.



Subject: vegetable meads/mead vinegar
From: (Daniel S McConnell)
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 1997 09:29:09 -0500

From: (Dick Dunn)

>I've no idea what would happen with radishes or cucumbers!

>One person suggested that a tomato mead would not be off the map, and I
>tend to agree, but I don't know of anyone who's tried it. Readers, what
>can you tell us?!?

I've never seen tomato, but in the first Mazer Cup we had an entry for a
Borscht Mead. It was blood-red and tasted strongly of beets. As I recall,
it didn't place, but scored well because it delivered exactly as promised:
beets, carrots and honey. I think we gave the meadmaker an honorable
mention for creativity. After 5 Mazer Cups, this one STILL is among the
top ten unusual meads.

Chuck, why don't you make vinegar with the basil mead? It's really easy,
but slow. Simply dilute to about 5% alcohol, pitch a vinegar culture and
keep in a warm place with a cloth cover that allows O2 exchange (but
prevents fruit fly exchange).


Subject: Mead Brandy
From: Jeff Duckworth <>
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 97 10:33:23 -0500

A Question:

Is there such a thing as "Mead Brandy", of course, there is "such a
thing", but, has anyone ever seen/had such a drink? Not that I would
ever try to make any (Hello Mr. ATF Man!).

"Whoa, guess that yeast wasn't done yet!",
Jeff Duckworth

Subject: vinegar?
From: Steve Daughhetee <>
Date: Sat, 5 Apr 1997 10:55:53 -0500

Spring, with the thought of fresh vegetables, has finally arrived in
Central NY. Since we're all on the topic of salad, I was wondering if
anyone had experience making vinegar from mead? I've made it from
pineapples and from cider, but I was wondering how much of the delicate
flavor of honey could survive the acetic fermentation process.

This might also be a productive outlet for an overly spicy mead experiment
(basil flowers? Yum!). It should be totally dry at the outset to prevent
mold growth. If it's a big mead, this can be accomplished by dilution and
re-pitching with an alcohol tollerant yeast before letting it go aerobic.

Subject: First Notice: Boneyard Brew-Off, Champaign-Urbana IL USA
From: "Joel Plutchak" <>
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 1997 11:05:30 -0600

Announcing the 3rd Annual B.U.Z.Z. Boneyard Brew-Off

Brewers, start your kettles! Judges, mark your calendars!

The Boneyard Union of Zymurgical Zealots (B.U.Z.Z.) is organizing our
third annual homebrew competition. The competition is sanctioned by the
American Homebrewers Association (AHA) and the Beer Judge Certification
Program (BJCP), and is registered as a *** Midwest Homebrewer of the Year ***

When: Saturday, June 14, 1997

What: Any homebrewed beer or mead. For purposes of this competition,

"homebrewed" is defined as any beer not brewed in, by, or for
commercial facilities or organizations. Brew-on-Premises
shops are considered to be commercial facilities.


Standard AHA 1997 Style Guidelines for beer and mead will be used to
judge entries; no sake or cider will be judged. Categories may be
combined or collapsed at the discretion of the competition staff,
though every attempt will be made to award ribbons in each category.

Additional special category:
No One Gets Out Alive High Gravity Brew-Off
Sole Requirement: Starting gravity over 1.070. Entries will
be judged solely on potency and overall drinkability.
Winner of this category will not be eligible for Best of Show,
but will receive a special trophy.

*** PLEASE NOTE: Entries accepted May 27 through June 9, 1997 ONLY! ***
Walk-ins allowed with prior notice if entry forms are received
during the above period.

On-line entry forms and further shipping instructions will appear
here and at at <> in
early May.

Fee: $5 per entry; $4 per entry for four or more per brewer.
2 bottles per entry; standard AHA bottle requirements apply:
10 – 14 ounce, crown capped, plain brown or green glass
with no raised lettering or other distinguishing marks.


The B.U.Z.Z. would like to thank the following sponsor(s):

* Picadilly Beverage Shops


For more information about becoming a sponsor, contact the Competition

Judges welcome! We plan a raffle, dinner Saturday evening, and all
the usual B.U.Z.Z. festivities. Please contact the Judge Director or
Competition Organizer for more details.

Organizer: Registrar:

Joel Plutchak Daniel Juliano
email: email:
916 W. Charles Street
Champaign IL 61821
(217) 359-4931 (eves & wkends) <=== preferred
(217) 333-8132 (M-F, 8am-4pm)


Judge Director:

Troy Jesse


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest 
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 1997 13:11:05 -0500 (EST)

The Acton & Duncan mead book got me intrigued about heather honey meads. I'm
sure this has been discussed before in the digest, but hey, I'm new here.
Any ideas on traditional heather honey recipes, and on where to order
Scottish heather honey for the U.S.? Thanks!

Subject: Re: salad mead - need suggestions
From: (Jack Stafford)
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 97 11:43:15 PST

On 1 Apr 97, (Dick Dunn) wrote:
>Starting from the easier points…I've made a metheglin that had black
>pepper in it, among other spices, so I know that works.

A friend of mine made a garlic mead a few years ago. This mead is
very strong on the garlic. This mead is quite handy in the kitchen
and goes well with vegetables and breads. Perhaps this would please
your wife as long as she likes the taste of garlic and sweet wine.

Thank you very much for maintaining this list.

Yeast of Eden Homebrewers
Costa Mesa, CA

Subject: Re: Oak and Salad
From: Di and Kirby <>
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 1997 21:56:48 -0600

In MLD #549, Jeff Duckworth wrote:

> Several homebrew supply catalogs offer oak chips (sterilize first by
> steaming or baking). Has anyone tried this in mead?

No, but I have tried acorns (rather, sort of "acorn tea" left over from
boiling the tannin out of acorns to eat them) in a cyser. It's very
nice, tho' still a bit young. The acorns had a bit of a mapley, pecany
taste, which you can smell, but the taste is overpowered by the apples.
The liquid had a bit of oil in it, which I can now find no trace of. I
was pretty conservative with the acorn stuff, but think I'll be less
afraid of it next time, since it seemed to work really well. The only
problem is guessing how much actual tannin was in there. 🙂

From: (Dick Dunn)

> As folks have noted, to the Digest or in private email to me, my suggestion
> for a "salad mead" happened to coincide with what we in the US call April
> Fools' Day. Gosh, imagine that!


> I've no idea what would happen with radishes or cucumbers!

If it was a joke, I am very relieved. It sounded horrible! 🙂 I tried
very hard to think of useful suggestions, but the only one I could come
up with was "just please don't drink it when you're done." But I didn't
think that would be very civil, and hey…you wanna drink your salad,
who am I to say no?


Subject: Raising pH in fermenting mead
From: Derrick Pohl <>
Date: Sun, 6 Apr 1997 12:25:04 -0700

My first batch is still fermenting, but very very slowly, so I finally got
the pH checked and it's way too low at 2.7. As I recall, the optimum pH
for fermentation is in the 3.6 – 4.0 range. What should I add, and how
much, to correct the pH to 3.6 or so?

Details of the batch:

22 litres (roughly 5 imp. gal. or 6 US gal.)
O.G. 1.055
Current S.G. 1.015
Pitched yeast about 11 weeks ago (Wyeast Dry Mead)
Current pH 2.7
Desired pH 3.6-4.0

I suspect the main reason this problem has arisen is that the recipe I used
called for adding the acid blend before adding the yeast. I have since
read in this Digest that that is a bad idea and acid should be added after
fermentation. The culprit who authored the recipe is none other than
Charlie Papazian, and the recipe is Barkshack Ginger Mead from the Complete
Joy of Home Brewing.

Derrick Pohl <>
Vancouver, BC, Canada

Subject: Banana Melomel?
Date: Sun, 6 Apr 1997 22:44:30 -0400 (EDT)

Banana Banana my kingdom for some information. I got the idea to make a
banana mead so I started looking for recipes and found only one. I found it
in the cats meow, and the author has not even tried it. I will quote it here,
could some of you please comment on the procedure. I am a little weary of
using the skins and boiling them sounds like trouble to me, there is also no
mention of pectic enzyme? Please help ease my curiosity I have this notion in
my head of a mead that taste's like banana nut bread. (heavy sigh) Maybe
just make a banana melomel and put a few drops of amarreto or frangelica in
the glass at serving time.
(Quoted form the cats meow)
Banana Melomel
Classification: mead, melomel, banana mead

Source: Matt Maples (, MLD #396, 4/10/95

Although I have never tried it I do have a recipe for bannana melomel. I have
been thinking of trying it for some time but never got around to it. If you
do try this recipe all I ask is for you to let me know how it turns out.
Ingredients: (1 gallon)

3 Lb bananas
1.5 cup grape concentrate
7 pt water
2.25 lb honey
3 tsp acid blend
.25 tsp tannin
1 tsp nutrient
wine yeast

Slice washed bananas (skins and all) and put into a nylon bag and tie. In 1.5
Qt water bring to a boil and simmer for 30min. Remove bag and pour hot
liquour over honey and grape conc. Add the rest of the ingriedients and
enough water to make 1
gallon. Pitch when at 70 deg. Keep me updated on its progress.

OG: 1095
FG: 1000

(end quote)
Please help. TIA You guys seem to have so much knowledge I am only loking
to share a small portion of it. If nobody will admit to first hand knowledge
of fermenting with banana's then at least some informed opinions would
greatly apricated. I promise that I am going to try making a banana melomel
this summer and will report my experience. (good or bad) Again thanks in
advance for the help.

Dan K

Subject: Salmonella in Honey?????
Date: Mon, 7 Apr 1997 09:15:22 +0000

My wife and I are expecting so of course we have been busy reading any
baby stuff we can get our hands on. While reading a parenting magazine
I came across an interesting article. It was about moving your baby to
solid foods and it listed the what foods you should give them and at
what age. The interesting part was it said you should not give a baby
under two years old raw honey because it could contain salmonella.
This sounded absolutely absurd to me and I wondered if anyone out
there had some hard facts on the topic.

Matt Maples

"A Honest Brew Makes Its Own Friends"

Subject: Malt honey?
Date: Mon, 7 Apr 1997 09:54:44 +0000

A question for you bee keepers out there. If you supplied bees with
an abounant supply of liquid maltose:
1) would they take it
2) could they live on it
3) what would the honey be like

Matt Maples

"A Honest Brew Makes Its Own Friends"

End of Mead Lover's Digest #552