Mead Lover's Digest #0559 Fri 2 May 1997


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



Re: Ginger and Peach in Mead (Dick Dunn)
Re: Maple "Mead" (Dave Polaschek)
Re: South Africa (Dave Polaschek)
maple or tree sap mead (Francois Espourteille)
culturing mead yeast (Steve Daughhetee)
RE: Maple "Mead" (Jeremy Pike)
Maple syrup and sap (Pete Miller)
Re: Maple "Mead" (Dieter Dworkin Muller)
Maple Syrup beverages (Rich Webb)
alcohol concentration (Chuck Wettergreen)
Digest traffic (Mark Taratoot)


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Subject: Re: Ginger and Peach in Mead
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 1 May 97 23:32:31 MDT (Thu)

Rebecca Sobol wrote:
> 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.

("Great minds think alike"…we made a mead with that name many years ago,
and we know Becky…but ours was gone before she'd ever had a chance to
have tasted it. It's a nice name, and ginger/peach is a nice combo.)

> Our experience with peach is that they don't clear very well…

I've had a number of encounters with peach and apricot. I've had some
problems clarifying some, but not others. I spent some time thinking about
this. I have a guess (and not much more than a guess) that it has to do
with how you treat the fruit. The more you process the fruit in a way that
tends to make it pulp-like, the harder it will be to make it clear. This
is, as Becky suggests, not a big deal for the mead. It's nice to have a
clear mead, but it's a secondary consideration. However, more to the
point, the more the fruit disintegrates during the early fermentation, the
more you set yourself up for one of those Rackings From Hell.

For peach or apricot, I would suggest using thin slices…I've done this,
and it worked very well from aspects of extracted flavor, color, ease of
racking, etc. Don't do anything that will produce a puree of the fruit!
You might get excellent flavor, but you'll pay for it!

> …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…

Personal taste, the meads I've made with a lot of ginger seem "young" some-
how until they're close to a year old.

Dick Dunn rcd, domain Boulder County, Colorado USA

…Simpler is better.

Subject: Re: Maple "Mead"
From: Dave Polaschek <>
Date: Fri, 2 May 97 06:44:30 -0500 writes:
>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?

Maple wine. Or maple mead, depending on whether you use honey or not.
Yes, I've made it. It's very tasty, but it's hard to imagine the flavor
of maple without the sweet, which is what you get if you ferment it out
to dry.

<> for an example.

  • -DaveP

Dave Polaschek – or

Subject: Re: South Africa
From: Dave Polaschek <>
Date: Fri, 2 May 97 06:44:23 -0500

"Evan Dembskey" <> writes:

>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.

I'm not in South Africa, but being one who improvises when making mead,
here's a rough recipe I'd try. Acidic fruits will take more aging than

Generic Sparkling Melomel

(to make 5 gallons / 20 l)

* 10 lbs / 4kg honey – buy something with character, not pale, highly
processed stuff. If you can get it direct from a farmer, that's good.
* 5lbs / 2kg of local fruit. If you have access to a nylon hop-bag from
homebrewing beer, use that to contain the fruit. It'll mean much less
straining later.
* add water to make 5 gallons / 20 l
* shake until mixed
* add 1 tsp yeast nutrient
* add champagne yeast, ale yeast, or whatever's convenient. There have
been winners made with bread yeast, but I'd only use it if nothing
else was available (or if I was feeling experimental). For the amount
of honey & fruit in this recipe, you shouldn't have much of a problem
with the alcohol killing off the yeast.
* when the first, vigorous fermentation is complete, rack
* wait on the secondary fermentation.
* when that's done, rack, check gravity to make sure it's done, prime
as for beer, and bottle.

Keep notes describing what you did, and how it tastes at each step.
When you decide you've made a winner, you'll want to be able to
recreate it. If you make something that's nearly a winner, you want
to know what you did so you can tweak the recipe a little and get
to a winner. If you make a stinker, you want notes so you can figure
out where you went wrong.

If everything's happy, your primary, vigorous fermentation should be
done within a month, and could be done in as little as a week. I'd
guesstimate about 2 months for the secondary, but it could be as
little as 2 or 3 weeks.

  • -DaveP

Dave Polaschek – or

Subject: maple or tree sap mead
From: (Francois Espourteille)
Date: Fri, 2 May 1997 07:41:33 -0400

Greetings, (for lack of a more casual identification) asks about maple

>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?

I have never used maple syrup in mead, but have been toying with the
idea of using maple sap (before it becomes syrup) to make a mead, using
a tree honey (possibly apple tree honey). The sap would replace the
water in the ingredient bill. I have seen such a recipe in one of my
mead books (can't remember where at this time) and the idea intrigued
me. Tree sap should provide for a quick fermentation since it is
loaded with nutrients and minerals. Sugar contribution will be
minimal, but it should contribute some flavor. The honey should be
very light to allow sap flavor to come through. I missed the boat
(again) this year, but will seriously try to get some sap next sring.
Anyone tried that?



Subject: culturing mead yeast
From: Steve Daughhetee <>
Date: Sat, 3 May 1997 08:23:41 -0500

SM asks about culturing yeast for mead as opposed to beer. Good news! You
can do the same thing you're already doing for beer. Wine yeasts are
perfectly happy growing on malt extract. There's no need to change media
in your plates. You do want to use a large starter for your final inoculum.

Subject: RE:  Maple "Mead"
From: Jeremy Pike <>
Date: Fri, 02 May 1997 09:22:11 -0700

I made a maple wine last spring(March, '96) 1.5 quarts dark real maple
syrup per gallon, Red Star champagne yeast. I bottled it in October of
that year. It never really cleared but the gravity went from 1.1 to
996. I racked it a couple of times in between. When I bottled it, it
was like battery acid but my limited experience with making mead kept me
from tossing it(not to mention the cost of the syrup!!;=)) Just tried a
bottle this week and it's aging nicely, very drinkable with still a
major alcohol burn. It also has a very nice maple aroma and after
taste. If you make anything like this, use a nice dark grade B or
darker syrup. I think I could have made this a little less potent.
It's definitely an after dinner dessert wine, and needs alot more aging,
but I'm very happy with it and will make it again. E-mail me if you
want the full recipe.



Subject: Maple syrup and sap
From: Pete Miller <>
Date: Fri, 02 May 1997 09:47:47 -0700

>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?

My uncle recently described his unusual technique for making mead: tap 4
gallons of black birch sap to mix with 1 gallon of honey. Cut a number
(undefined) of birch twigs and steep the twigs in the sap like a tea.
Add the honey, ferment, etc.

Pete "Moss" Miller

Subject: Re: Maple "Mead"
From: Dieter Dworkin Muller <>
Date: Fri, 02 May 1997 08:09:54 -0600 wrote:
: 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?

A friend did exactly that a few years ago. It finished out pretty
dry, and was very popular with its imbibers. He used maple syrup from
the local health food place, rather than from a grocery store (i.e.,
relatively unprocessed). We diluted it with water just as if it were
honey (i.e., two parts water to one part syrup), and used a champagne
yeast. Unlike most meads, it did not require any significant aging.

If you like the flavour of maple without the sweetness, this is
definitely something to try.


Subject: Maple Syrup beverages
From: Rich Webb <>
Date: Fri, 02 May 1997 07:50:32 -0700

In MLD #558, asks the musical question:

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?

I used to have a reputation as a brewer out on the edge. In keeping with
that rep, once upon a time I made a batch of, well, SOMETHING using a
gallon of maple syrup. I treated it just like I would have had the syrup
been honey. This means that I probably boiled it, added acid blend and
yeast and nutrient, and turned it loose. (This isn't how I make mead
now, but when you're a brewer on the cutting edge of foolishness, you
make a lot of mistakes and learn a lot!)

Years later, it's mellowed quite a bit. It tastes, well, a bit mapley,
as one might expect, but there are smoky notes, kind of a hickory/maple
smoke flavor. I have no clue as to what the name might be, as I never
really worried about it. I entered it in a local fair (Do the Puyallup!)
once, but it wasn't very well received. Reading this post at work, I'm
now inspired to go home, chill one of these puppies down, and give a
full report to the masses thronging at my electronic door. I promise to
be very busy this weekend, but we'll see about recipes and tasting notes
as soon as I can get to them…

Rich Webb

Subject: alcohol concentration    
From: Chuck Wettergreen <chuckmw@Mcs.Net>
Date: Fri, 2 May 1997 10:38:11 -0500 (CDT)


In MLD #558 I said:

MM> alcohol in a wine/beer/mead/mash/etc. was not illegal. As I remember
MM> it (I'll check it tonight at home) the article gave legal citations
MM> *and* the name of the person at BATF who would confirm the above to
MM> the skeptical.

I lied; Dennis didn't give citations or the name of someone at BTAF, but
the rest of what I wrote is in agreement with what he wrote.


* RM 1.3 00946 *

Subject: Digest traffic
From: Mark Taratoot <taratoot@PEAK.ORG>
Date: Fri, 2 May 1997 10:21:33 -0700 (PDT)

In MLD 558, Dick expresses sentiments about not needing to increase
frequency and/or size of the digests:

  • —snip—-

> 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.

  • —snip—

I am one of those happy folks.

OBmead: Currently working on an apricot melomel (probably will be a
strong, still mead), a "small" mead on a lager yeast (OG 1.054, hopefully
enjoyable by the summer, if not, then next summer), and a traditional mead
made with honey from a friends family hive. I have a gallon of
blueberry/blackberry honey that I will be fermenting ASAP. It has a
fairly strong molassas flavor, so I may tone it down with some additional
wildflower or clover honey. Anyone else fermented with this honey?

Mark Taratoot

End of Mead Lover's Digest #559