Mead Lover's Digest #0558 Thu 1 May 1997


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



Digest size/participation (Dick Dunn)
Buckwheat honey reply (Mark Cassells)
South Africa ("Evan Dembskey")
culturing mead yeasts (
cotton candy strata (
alcohol concentration (Chuck Wettergreen)
what goes with jasmine ? Strawberries of course (Eric James Urquhart)
Meading test and Blending… (Mark Koopman)
Re: Ginger and Peach in Mead (Rebecca Sobol)


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Subject: Digest size/participation
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 28 Apr 97 20:44:50 MDT (Mon)

Randy Ricchi <> wrote, among other things…
>…how can we increase the participation in this digest? I've been into the
> homebrew digest for a few months now and the participation is great.
> Granted, there are probably a lot more homebrewers than mead-makers, but
> why should there be?…

I'm not sure that we need to "increase participation"…if that means in-
creasing the volume of this digest. Some folks would like to see more
material here, but I think a lot of folks are happy with the slower flow.
And every time we get one of those spikes in postings, where the digest is
running several times its normal rate, a handful of people unsubscribe.
That suggests to me we're running at a comfortable intermediate size and
amount of material. We don't have to "throttle" postings (hold them in a
queue to avoid sending out too much too fast) the way the HBD does.

The last time I checked, the mead digest had about 1/4 the number of
subscribers of the HBD. It's been growing slowly over the years I've
watched it; there doesn't seem to be any leveling off. I'm reluctant
to mess around with that and try to push it.

Probably the biggest reason there are more homebrewers than meadmakers is
just that there are relatively few commercial meads. Everybody knows what
beer is like; most people haven't even heard of mead.

"Popularity" is overrated, and I can laugh contentedly at the fact that we
don't have "lite mead" in 6-packs, nor TV commercials of twenty-somethings
tossing back "mead coolers" while they play beach volleyball. It is enough
for me that interest and knowledge of mead is being maintained and slowly
encouraged; I'd rather not see it go through a "fad" phase. (Fat chance
anyway, I know…) The important thing, to me, is not to let mead fall so
far out of favor that people have to go digging just to find out the basics
and history…in other words, we don't have to go fast but we need to keep
up the momentum.

Just one mead-dude's opinion.

Dick Dunn rcd at Boulder County, Colorado USA

…Simpler is better.

Subject: Buckwheat honey reply
From: Mark Cassells <GORDONTR@ENH.NIST.GOV>
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 1997 01:39:20 -0400 (EDT)

Buckwheat honey is a wonderful honey for mead, but not in combination with
other flavors. The honey is so strong, rather a molassas-like taste,
that any other flavors would be lost.
By itself though, it finishes rather like heather honey, spicy and aromatic.


Mark Cassells

Subject: South Africa
From: "Evan Dembskey" <>
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 1997 14:07:38 +0200

Are their any South Africans on the list? I'm looking for a nice, easy mead
recipe to try (I am, in case you missed something, a complete novice) here
in South Africa. And it seems ingredients for most of the recipes I've
found are impossible to get here.


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Has anyone out there fermented maple syrup in an attempt to make a Maple
"Mead"? What would the resulting beverage be called? Is there even a
category for fermented tree sap?

Subject: culturing mead yeasts
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 1997 12:23:01 -0700


I'm also moving to mead from beer, and I'm wondering what is the
best medium to grow yeasts for mead. Generally, the medium should
contain the components the yeast like, such as maltose for beer.
Does one make a honey-agar mix for mead, or a sugar-agar mix?
I'll likely be starting with some type of champagne yeast.


Subject: cotton candy strata
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 1997 05:37:13 -0400 (EDT)

Todd Miller writes:

"I've noticed a strata of what looks (for lack of a better description)
like cotton candy towards the middle, and another pile of the stuff about
2 inches thick settled on the bottom. Can anyone give me a clue as to
what this is? This isn't something I was expecting… "

My guess is that it's gone by now. I've always noticed this
too. I've always assumed it was proteins and stuff that is
about to settle out. Whatever the case, once the fermentation
gets going, you won't see it any longer, and it should clear,
eventually, nicely. Can anyone say more specifically what that
stuff is? I bet if you had boiled, it would have been the white
stuff (albuminic proteins, right?) that you would have skimmed

David Prescott, Shaftsbury, Vermont

Subject: alcohol concentration    
From: Chuck Wettergreen <chuckmw@Mcs.Net>
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 1997 12:53:39 -0500 (CDT)


At some point in time

MM> "Rodney Valdez" <Rodney.Valdez@MCI.Com> wrote:

MM> > I made a Mead Brandy about 5 years ago by mistake. Ah…now I know
MM> > what you are thinking, "What do you mean by mistake?" Yes my friends
MM> > by mistake. I did this by sticking a bottle of 15% sack mead in my
MM> > This is the only LEGAL way to make it here in the USA. (Nudge, Nudge,
MM> > Wink, Wink.)

In answer to Rodney's post, in MLD's #556 & 557, Dick Dunn, Spenser Thomas,
Bill Shirley, and Darin NLN all wrote to state, or in some cases imply that
increasing the alcohol content of a mead by freezing was (in the US)

This subject was definitively covered by Dennis Davison in his _Zymurgy_
article on eisbock. Dennis' eisbock took a first (I believe) in the
AHA NHC and he wrote an article about the making of that beer. Dennis
went directly to the source, the BATF, and asked if freezing to
increase alcohol content by removing ice was illegal. The BATF said
that distillation (the *removal of alcohol* from a wine/beer/mead/
mash/etc.) without a license was illegal, but that *concentration* of
alcohol in a wine/beer/mead/mash/etc. was not illegal. As I remember
it (I'll check it tonight at home) the article gave legal citations
*and* the name of the person at BATF who would confirm the above to
the skeptical.

Considering that Dennis gave step-by-step instructions on how he did
it in a nationally distributed magazine, I'd suspect that we can make
and talk about making mead brandy, applejack, and other concentrated
victuals without going (Nudge, Nudge, Wink, Wink).

* RM 1.3 00946 *

Subject: what goes with jasmine ? Strawberries of course
From: Eric James Urquhart <>
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 1997 16:30:34 -0700 (PDT)

Hi Mike,

The flavour profile of strawberries share many components in

common with strawberries at when comparing the volatile chemicals which
are present. I regularly add malee essence ( Thai jasmine water) to
strawberry jam. It intensifies the aroma and flavour of the strawberries
amazingly. While servingt as a judge at a beer competition a mead was
entered which smelled strongly of jasmines. The guy who entered it swore
that it was a strawberry mead without tea or other flavours. In fact, he
hadn't tasted it for 2 years and said the jasmine falvour had developed
with aging. It's almost strawberry season too. If possible get local
dead ripe strawberries. Commercial long distance berries are a poor

Eric Urquhart, Centre for Pest Management,
Dept. of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University,
Burnaby, British Columbia, CANADA V5A 1S6

lab (604) 291-3090 fax (604) 291-3496

Subject: Meading test and Blending...
From: Mark Koopman <>
Date: Thu, 01 May 1997 11:48:02 -0500

Well,… the couple who got me started on the subject of this newsgourp
came over the other night for a meading. I had prepared last year two
one gallon batches of traditional blackberry honey meads, one boiled and
the other pasteurized. We did a double blind tasting between the two
and the results were in line with what the knowledgeable readers of this
list would have predicted. The boiled batch was clearer, while the
unboiled batch preserved more of the aroma and taste of the honey. I'd
used a Wyeast sweet mead yeast, yeast extract and 3 pounds of honey
/gallon. The mead had retained sweetness, of course, but was not
cloying to any of the four at the tasting. Eventhough the boiled had
lost some of its bouquet and a bit of taste, it was still quite good.

The other couple brought a bottle of dry blueberry melomel (very high
blueberry content), and a dry rhodomel (rose petal mead). In addition I
pulled out a bottle of the sweet Muscadine pyement (similar recipe as
above, except with pasteurized wild muscadine grapes), which I posted
about earlier this year. After the test and a taste or two of each, the
crowd drew their breath as I proceeded to mix some of the muscadine with
some of the blueberry. It was truly exceptional! After sampling,
everyone agreed that the blending of the sweet and dry and the
combination of the well retained blueberry and mucadine flavors provided
a complexity and taste which surpassed any of the pure fermentations.

This concept of blending finished meads is not my own. Although the
original idea comes from the wine folks, I must express my gratitude to
Ken, Dan and Spencer for the recent Zymurgy article. Thnk you VERY VERY
much. I am now starting batches of varying fruit content and sweetness,
so that next winter there will be blendings a plenty, and the potential
for refining some truly wonderful meads.

Subject: Re: Ginger and Peach in Mead
From: sobol@joss.ucar.EDU (Rebecca Sobol)
Date: Thu, 1 May 1997 18:22:58 -0600 (MDT)

Hi all,

I've noticed in recent digests queries about using ginger in mead and
peach in mead. We used both in the same mead, and called it Ginger Peachy.
Our experience with peach is that they don't clear very well. We have
never been very concerned about that. We have not used any clarifying
agents in our meads. Ginger Peachy is not crystal clear, but it is a
very good mead IMHO. Our experience also says any mead with ginger in
it takes longer to age. How long is longer? Don't know, but use patience
for best results. Ginger Peachy just keeps getting better and better
every time I try it. We also have Zingiberatious Applebark, which is a
ginger and apple juice cyser, based loosely on Barkshack Ginger Mead in
Charlie Pappazian's New Joy of Homebrewing. This one is much clearer than
it's peachy twin, and it too gets better and better every time I try it.
I probably haven't posted this recently, so for anyone new to MLD, all of
our (Unicorn Unchained Meadery) recipes are available on our web site. If
you don't have web access and would like a Unicorn Unchained recipe, just
send me some email and I'll send you a copy. In addition to those mentioned
above, some of our more unusual meads are Maced Tuna Fig (mace and prickly
pear apples), Persphone's Passion (pomegranate), Dean's Memorial Mead (apple
and choke cherry), Jack O' Lantern (spiced pumpkin), Rainy Day Violets
(violet flowers), Tiger Bomb (Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice Tea). There
are more mead recipes besides these, but you get the idea, I hope. We like
to experiment.

Rebecca Sobol * * Boulder, Colorado <– Unicorn Unchained Meadery

End of Mead Lover's Digest #558