Mead Lover's Digest #0562 Fri 16 May 1997


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



1 down (
Re: Mead Beginners (Jeff Duckworth)
raspberry honey (Paul Kretschmer)
Titratable Acidity vs. pH. (Dave Cushman)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #561, 13 May 1997 (Bob Tisdale)
RE: Mead Lover's Digest #561, 13 May 1997 (Eckard Witte)
Book on Historical Brewing (Matthew C Maples)
Question about Mead/glass Grenades [cloudy mead?!] ("David Dickinson")
Medieval mead query (Jonathan Day)
How High is Too High (Aeoleus)
Using Gelatin ("Richard Weiss")


NOTE: Digest only appears when there is enough material to send one.
Send ONLY articles for the digest to
Use for [un]subscribe/admin requests. When

subscribing, please include name and email address in body of message.

Digest archives and FAQ are available for anonymous ftp at

in pub/clubs/homebrew/mead.


Subject: 1 down
Date: Tue, 13 May 1997 09:47:07 -0700

Made my first mead this weekend. Don't hit the <Q> key, I won't bore
you with the details except to say that everything went wrong, and yet
everything went right. Seems to be my normal brew day lately,
although this time I had an accomplice.

I left sugar in the kettle. I can still see it sitting there 3 days
later (my brewery has a different sanitation schedule than most.
Which helps explain my typical brew day I suppose). Anyway. I have a
happy freight train of spewing, bubbling braggot, or mead, or melomel,
but how do you mix all that honey, fruit, sweet sticky whatever so
that it all dissolves? Ye big long spoon of the stir? I would think
it would need to be moved pretty quickly and turbulently to dissolve
that much sugar in water. Actually, why do I assume that would be a
bad thing… ?


(Hmm, if I was from the Orient, would I name my son "Ye Big Long"? We
could call him Long for short. OK, this is getting silly.)

Subject: Re: Mead Beginners
From: Jeff Duckworth <>
Date: Tue, 13 May 97 13:19:18 -0500

>Subject: Mead Beginners
>From: "Jeff M. Ashley" <>
>Date: Sat, 3 May 1997 19:19:32 -0400
>1. Make sure you use champagne yeast. Wine yeast isn't alcohol-tolerant
>enough. I use 2 packages of dry yeast, reconsituted, and have expereinced
>good results so far.

Typical wine yeasts can tolerate 12-13% alcohol, are you trying to make
rocket fuel? Champagne yeasts can be difficult to work with as they
leave you little room to adjust the sweetness of your product. If you
want a product with 12-13% final alcohol and some residual sweetness
champagne yeast is going to give you trouble as it will consume your
sugar until 17-18% alcohol…which is good for some things and not others!

My attempts to kill off yeasts before the alcohol was high enough to do
it for me resulted in those glass grenades…

Jeff Duckworth

Subject: raspberry honey
From: (Paul Kretschmer)
Date: Tue, 13 May 1997 10:47:26 -0700

I've made four batches of mead so far, using champagne yeast, fermenting
it very dry, and priming at bottling to produce mellow carbonation.

The only differences were in the source of the honey.

1. Trader Joe's Mesquite honey
2. same as #1
3. Raspberry Honey
4. Orange Blossom Honey

The Mesquite honey produced an easy drinking light mead, but a little
short on flavor. Some people it's dull; it reminds me of ginger ale.
I'm thinking of drinking it with a shot of cassis, a mead kir.

The raspberry honey mead has a wonderful flavor and aroma. It's got the
depth and complexity of a good wine.

I'm waiting on #4.

Question: Does anybody know of a good source of raspberry honey?
Mail-order or otherwise?

I live in San Francisco, but don't mind driving if I can get good

Thank you,


Subject: Titratable Acidity vs. pH.
From: Dave Cushman <>
Date: Tue, 13 May 1997 11:26:28 -0700

In the last, Rod McDonald questioned Dan McConnells information:

>>An acid testing kit measures titrable acidity (the number of acid
>>functional groups present in the sample and expresses them as tartaric
>>equivalents), not pH. pH measures the number of H+ ions in the sample.
>>These are not the same, nor can they be converted from one to the other.

>>Thanks, Dan, but what does this mean for us? How do we work with titrable
>>acid as opposed to Ph information in our mead-making (assuming we can
>>actually measure it)?

Total acidity (TA) can tell us several things, but one of the real tangible
differences for the meadmaker is that the TA of the must should allude to
the overall balance of the flavor constituents of the final product.
Tasting the must prior to pitching yeast is not satisfactory because many
honeys are so delicate that if you adjust acidity to create some balance in
the must, the likelihood is that the finished product will be too tart.

pH is most meaningful in determining whether the environment (must) is
appropriate for a given yeast strain to reproduce (and ferment) in. Note
that there are separate pH test papers for beer and for wine production.
Beer yeast will generally prefer a higher pH (i.e. more alkaline)
environment, whereas wine yeast enjoys a lower pH (i.e. more acid)

Dan is absolutely correct – there is no direct correlation between pH and
TA. In fact, even considering an indirect correlation between them can
prove flawed. It is actually possible to observe must samples that are
high in both TA and pH, which intuitively makes no sense at all (and the
reverse is possible as well). I have personally observed this in musts of
Pinot Noir grown in cool years (I live in western Oregon).

For the curious with an appetite for reading, I would recommend two books:
"Wines: Their Sensory Evaluation" by Amerine and Roessler, and "Knowing
and Making Wine" by Emile Peynaud. Both books really discuss the affects
of pH and TA in musts on final products in detail, plus they are full of
much information that is useful to the meadmaker.

Dave Cushman

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #561, 13 May 1997
From: (Bob Tisdale)
Date: Tue, 13 May 1997 01:47:46 +0100

Robert Lewis writes:

Port Mead Recipe;
ingredients for 6 gallons are:

1 Gal can California Red Grape Concentrate 6 Lbs Sugar
5 Cans water 3 Oz Acid Blend
6 Oz Dried Elderberries 1 Lb Dried Bananas
2 level Tsps yeast energizer 5 Campden Tablets
Port Yeast
6 Lbs sugar to be added later in two stages.
& 2 oz brandy to be added to each 25 oz bottle when complete.

Where's the HONEY?

Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #561, 13 May 1997
From: (Eckard Witte)
Date: Tue, 13 May 97 23:29 +0100

> From: (Jack Stafford)

> I also found a honey liqueur from Germany called Barenjager which was dry
> and tasty but not (a true) mead. (Honey + vodka + herbs'n'spices)

If your liqueur called Baerenjaeger I'm sorry to say, but that has been an
(Germnan) imitation. The real one is called Baerenfang, it originally comes from

eastern Prussia (eastern Poland/western Russia today). It has 42% alcohol
normally; it has to have 35% at least.

I've got some receipe books and looked after a receipe for this liqueur, found
half a dozend, and it's always the same: no vodka, no herbs'n'spices, simply
honey, alcoohol and water!

Here it is: Warm up 450 g honey (no fir-, pine-, wood-, foresthoney – sorry, my
English is not the best: that means, none of those dark honeys) with 250 ml
water, until the honey dissolves. Be sure not to heat more than 45° C! Let it
cool down, add 440 ml alcohol (96%) and fill up with water, until you've got one

liter. Let it stay on a warm place for about a month, after that let it rest on
a cool place (cellar), until it's clear (can take a long time).

As pure alcohol is rather expansive, you'd probably do it with any neutral
tasting alcohol. You can do it with vodka; I'd do it with corn schnapps (made of

wheat). As this schnapps has got only 32% to 38%, you'd have to add some pure
alcohol to reach 42%; it's a little bit of mathematics.

Sorry for my bad English, Eckard.

Subject: Scungees...
Date: Wed, 14 May 1997 00:02:35 EDT

Hey – ho, all. I have been lurking here for about two months, and have not yet
seen this particular problem addressed…

I have made _one_ batch of mead thus far, and am pleased enough with it that
you can call me a meader for life. I chose to make Barkshack Ginger Mead,
(from the New Complete Joy of Homebrewing) with B.C. blackberries in it.

Now, the mead turned out very tasty, and very dry, just the way I wanted it.
The only problem I have with it is that, as it is a sparkling mead, there is a
layer of sediment in the bottom of my bottles. I have _no_ idea how to get rid
of it. For obvious reasons, I'd prefer not to have to siphon the mead out of
the bottles at the dinner table. Any suggestions?

Also, please feel free to send me any favorite recipes. I have an urge to make
many more batches… *8^)

Subject: Book on Historical Brewing
From: Matthew C Maples <>
Date: Wed, 14 May 1997 10:46:41 -0700

Just thought I would let you all know about this GREAT brewing book I just =
bought. It's called "Sip Though Time" by Renfrow. It compiles brewing recip=
es from 100 BC to about 1860. It about 250 pages most of then are recipes, =
it has a small section on beers and ales, and large sections devoted to mea=
ds, hypocras, methgilins, and wine. It also has a section on distilled prod=
ucts as well as one that encompasses cordials, coddles (sp), syllabubs, and=

I read it straight though (how many recipe books can you say that about) it=
was fascinating, the language of the recipes, the style trends though the =
ages, the author even left in the spelling mistakes. The authors narrative =
is at a minimum, usually only to clarify a recipe or to warn of a potential=
ly dangerous ingredients.=20

The book has a wonderful glossary which comes in very handy considering the=
wide variety of measuring scales used throughout history not to mention th=
e wordy prose style of some of the recipes from the 1600 & 1700 hundreds. I=
t also contains an appendix on the herbs used in the recipes. It tells thei=
r common names as well as their Latin ones, what they are used for and thei=
r pharmacological effects. I don't know how many times I jumped back to tha=
t index while reading the section on hypocrases. It also has a full bibliog=
raphy and I for one am going to use it to find some more books on the subje=

This is a must if you are into historical brewing and I highly suggest it f=
or anyone who is a serious brewer. The only place I have found it for sale =
is a company call Green Duck. For those of you in the SCA, yes it is the sa=
me Green Duck. They have a great web site at . It cost $=
18 and Steve at Green Duck was very helpful and nice.=20

I know this sounds like a sales pitch but its not, the book is just that go=
od. If you do order it please tell Steve Matt Maples told you about it. You=
will not be disappointed.

Subject: Question about Mead/glass Grenades [cloudy mead?!]
From: "David Dickinson" <>
Date: Wed, 14 May 97 23:18:48 UT

Hello Friends,

I wrote about a sweet cherry mead a few months back (still in progress).
Since a day or so after racking to the second secondary I havent' seen a
bubble (it was down to about twice per minute when I transfered). I have no
idea where Wyeast's Sweet Mead Yeast stops (I expected it to give up at about
7% and it was about 8% that when I transfered)…How the H@#^^ do you know
when the little critters have played themselves out? [If I were using a "dry"
finishing yeast I would have more faith in my hygrometer]

The secondary is a beautiful, rich crimson (perfectly clear) and I'd like to
bottle ASAP, but I cringe at the thought of wasting any of what promises to be
a joyous batch (even the transfers have been delicious). If I refrigerate for
a few days after bottling, should this be enough to knock the yeast out or
does it take more extreme measures?
Is cloudy mead a problem for most people? I used pectic enzyme in my most
recent batch of mead, it was suggested for a batch of wine, but I've never had
problems with cloudiness in beer, or my other batch of mead (I use R/O water
though, perhaps this makes a difference…)



Subject: Medieval mead query
From: Jonathan Day <>
Date: Thu, 15 May 1997 09:10:57 -0500 (CDT)


A while back, I copied down some mead recipes from a very old (1710)
recipe book, written by a William Salmon, MD. I've not made any of
these yet, for one very simple reason – I am not able to identify
some of the ingredients. It's possible that there were mis-prints,
that some of the spices are now known under a different name or
that I simply mis-transcribed some of the names. (It wasn't made
any easier by the printers using a script typeface for the recipes!)

(Since all the recipes use 'yest' instead of yeast, it's safe to
assume that that at least /has/ changed in spelling since 1710.)

The two ingredients I'm having most problem with are Bawm and
Orrioe Roots. Any ideas what these are?

Here's the recipe, as I transcribed it:


Take fair water 60 Gallons, Bay-leaves, Bawm, Hops, Ginger, Orrioe Roots
bruised, Savory, Thyme, of each half a pound; let them scald in the liquor in
a simmering heat, (but not to boil) for 2 hours: clear the liquor from the
Ingredients, and to every three Gallons put one Gallon of Honey, boil them
(but not too fast) scumming it very clean, so long as any will arise,
especially the latteral Black Scum; cool the liquor, and put it into a Tub,
where let it stand for some 2 days; put to it a Quart of good New Ale yest,
stir them together, and let them rest a day or two to Work: Fleet off the
yest, and stir it again, letting it rest another day: Scum off the yest again,
and cover up the cask slightly; as it works over, fill it up with thee same
agian; and when it has done working, stop it up slose, but have a Vent hole by
the Bung, to give it Vent sometimes. Some clarify the Water and Honey when
boil'd, with Whites of Eggs, Shells and all beaten together, the strain out
and cool; and afterwards work it up, (to every two Gallons) with Whites of two
Eggs, two spoonfulls of yest, beat all together, stirring it every hour; and
the next day they add the Whites of four Eggs, and two spoonfulls of
Wheat-Meal, beaten together, and so Tun it up, hanging it in a Bag, a little
Cinnamon, Cloves, and Ginger bruised, which when it has done working, they
stop close up.

Subject: How High is Too High
From: Aeoleus <>
Date: Thu, 15 May 1997 15:44:52 -0400

Okay, now I don't want to get any flames for not using a hydrometer. I
*do* have one, I just didn't use it this time. 🙂 Anyhow, Right now,
I've got a traditional cyser in secondary, and I'm considering what to
do with it. The deal is, it's like a really huge mead. 15 pounds of
honey with a gallon of Apple Juice to balance the sweetness, water to
make 6 gallons, wyeast sweet mead, yeast energizer, etc. Anyhow, as I
write this, I'm coming up with some questions, so I'll list them:

1. Is two weeks primary/4 weeks secondary enough? It seems to be

finished. There also seems to be relatively little sediment at this
time (as compared to the molasses ale that I just made).

2. Has anyone ever added soda pop flavourings before bottling? What

was the result? I was thinking a bottle of cherry and a bottle of cream
soda. (don't laugh!) 🙂

3. Has anyone got any good 1 gallon recipes? I know the fermentation

is completely different for a 1/5 batch so simply dividing the
ingredients is not appropriate. I'm going for variety here.

4. Has anyone had any experience cooking up something that is this

heavy? I'd like to hear it.

Plus, as an added bonus, I'll give you my recipe for a methaglyn I
cooked up in November (My first batch). It's rather decent, but in
retrospect, go easy on the cloves:

10 lbs honey
Water to make 5 gallons
cloves, cinnamon, ground mace, and allspice, to taste.

Also in retrospect I shouldn't have used acid.

That's the story, thanks in advance for your help!

  • — Brian Ream Kalamazoo Michigan

  • — Never call someone stupid and misspell it.

Subject: Using Gelatin
From: "Richard Weiss" <>
Date: Thu, 15 May 1997 19:46:12 -0500


I'm Dick Weiss and a first time poster and long time lurker. I'm looking

for some words of wisdom on using gelatin to clear my mead. It is an Orange
Blossom and was brewed 12/29/96. It has been racked to a 3rd carboy to
clear and is just doing fine but I want to bottle it because I will be
moving in the near future. I will be clearing my Red Raspberry and Star
Thistle at a later date so I have quite a bit to do.

1. Do I add potassium sorbate to the carboy to drop the yeast out of
suspension and then mix the gelatin according to the instructions and add
it to the mead?

(This is some great mead <IMHO> and I really don't want to mess it up.)

2. How long do I have to wait to bottle after I add the gelatin?
3. Is there any thing special that needs to be done that isn't written
anywhere else?

This is how I planned to do it:

1. Add 1/4 teaspoon potassium sorbate (per gallon). I was just going to

add it to the carboy and leave it sit over night.

2. Make the gelatin mixture and put it in a plastic fermenter and rack t

mead onto the gelatin. Stir this mixture (trying not to oxygenate it),
cover and let sit several days (2 or 3?).

3. Rack mead into bottles.

Any feedback will be appreciated.

TIA Dick Weiss

End of Mead Lover's Digest #562