Mead Lover's Digest #0564 Wed 21 May 1997


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



Re: Mead Lover's Digest #563, 18 May 1997 ("Evan Dembskey")
rebottling grenades (PickleMan)
Re: rebottling grenades (Greg Woods)
New Member to List ("Burnette, Ollen–G3")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #563, 18 May 1997 (Di and Kirby)
Re: Mead Beginners ("Joe Kaufman")
Orrioe? (Jane Beckman)
Am I nuts? (Di and Kirby)
re: rebottling grenades (Dick Dunn)
SG and Fruit? (
Re: rebottling grenades (Joyce Miller)
Orris (David Johnson)
Re: rebottling grenades (Olson)


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Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #563, 18 May 1997
From: "Evan Dembskey" <>
Date: Mon, 19 May 1997 10:04:03 +0200

I've managed to get some wine yeast and yeast nutrient. What is the next
step? What equipment do I need?

Subject: rebottling grenades
From: PickleMan <>
Date: Mon, 19 May 1997 02:23:40 -0700 (PDT)

I have successfully rebottled mead near the point of explosion. You must
get it very cold. I froze mine until it became slushy. You may still
lose some slush, but you don't get huge amounts of foam. Just ready
everything before you go popping caps and then seal them back up before
your kitchen ends up looking like a giant snocone.


Subject: Re: rebottling grenades
From: (Greg Woods)
Date: Mon, 19 May 1997 07:50:30 -0600 (MDT)

>Date: Fri, 16 May 1997 09:35:33 -0700 (PDT)

> has anyone ever uncapped such a
> mead to vent, then recapped with sterile caps?

Yes, I have done this. None of the bottles got contaminated; the effervescence
probably made sure that all the air flow was *out* of the bottle.

Just a few caveats: first, wear safety glasses and a heavy shirt or jacket.
Bear in mind that you are handling bottles that could blow up at any second.
Next, be careful how long you allow it to vent. It has to be long enough to
get all the effervescence out, but not so long that it can become contaminated.
Watch all the bottles until virtually all the bubbles have stopped, then
recap quickly. Lastly, if you did bottle way too early, and active
fermentation is still in progress, this won't work, it will only put the
grenades off for a while. Be sure you check it fairly often, and store this
batch in a "safe" place (a place you don't often have to stick your face 🙂

I did this once and it worked; I actually wound up with a slightly sweet
but sparkling mead. But I don't recommend this practice. It's better to
be sufficiently patient and let the fermentation go all the way to completion
before bottling.

  • –Greg

Subject: New Member to List
From: "Burnette, Ollen--G3" <>
Date: Mon, 19 May 1997 09:21:51 -0500

Hi Mead Lovers!

I am new to this list, but not new to mead. I am a hobby beekeeper, I
keep a dozen hives as a small business here in Central Texas. I learned
about mead through beekeeping journals six or seven years ago, and have
had a batch working most of the time since. You know – bottle one, make
another, and so on. I've got parts of 11 batches in the cellar now,
most of which are pretty good, IMHO. Of course, I only brew what I
like. 🙂

Looking forward to exchanging ideas and tips with you.


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #563, 18 May 1997
From: Di and Kirby <>
Date: Sat, 17 May 1997 10:59:19 -0500

> Subject: Long term-low maintanence storage
> From: Evan Randall Page <>

> Good brewers,
> I am shipping off for a 4 year period of enlistment in the military in
> late Sept. and was hoping to learn how to brew mead and put away some for
> when I get out (this probably being the only way I could let it age a
> lot without drinking it all first). Any suggestions about how to produce
> and store the mead for the best results and the least maintanence?

Most importantly, get good honey. You knew that, right? Not the Sue
Bee-tyoe grocery store processed stuff. Also, Since you'll have plenty
of ageing time, and you have a choice of honeys, you could afford to use
a darker honey. They need more ageing time to taste good, but have very
interesting flavors.

Also, you might want to start it a good few months before you leave,

so that the fermentation is pretty much done before you go, and you are
really just ageing it when you're gone. You can never 100% tell what a
mead is gonna do, esp. when it's actively fermenting. Don't forget it's
alive, with just as much quirkiness as other living things. 🙂 Even so,
it would be a good idea to keep it at the house of a friend who could
check on it every so often.

> I've also heard that you can make good yeast without adding yeast
> if you don't boil it and kill off the natural yeast in the
> begining. Is that a good method?

Depends. You a gamblin' man, Evan? 'Cause you'd be betting four years of
anticipation on what kind of wild yeasts have decided to join your poker
game, so to speak. Yeasts make all sorts of chemicals, depending on what
kind of yeast they are and what raw products are available. If you go
with an unknown wild yeast, you could either get the most delicious
ambrosia you've ever tasted (which would then be very difficult to ever
reproduce)–or you'd get fingernail polish remover. Especially since
this is your first (apparently) try, and you will be leaving it
unattended for a long time, I'd play it safe and go with a
commercially-bred yeast. It's kinda like knowing what someone's poker
face looks like–they are much more predictable in their action.

Since you're planning on a long ageing, I'd personally go with a

wine yeast, perhaps Montrachet. but everyone's got their own favorite.
Ale yeast would even work, but since they are bred for a short ageing
period, it might not be best. Again, someone else may tell you different
(and may already have <g>) and that's just because mead making is as
much an art as a science.


Subject: Re: Mead Beginners
From: "Joe Kaufman" <>
Date: Mon, 19 May 1997 09:17:16 -0500

Hey all,

On Fri, 16 May 1997 23:27:30 -0400 Daniel S McConnell quipped:
> Well Jeff, you really got blasted in the last MLD, eh? While the body is
> still warm, let me add a comment or two…..

> From: "Jeff M. Ashley" <>

>> 1. Make sure you use champagne yeast. Wine yeast isn't
>> enough.

> Champagne yeast IS wine yeast.

>> 3. I hope you have more success than I have in staying out of your
>> for 3 or more months before drinking it all. It really is worth the

> I'm sure that you ment to write YEARS not MONTHS. Right? Please?

Perhaps this is just a harmless jibe, but I am actually wondering if YOU
are serious…I know I am going to spanked by the venerable die hards on
this group, but waiting years and years before drinking one's wares is in
my opinion overkill for many pallettes and many meads. I for one have
generally started drinking my various brews within 2-3 months, and while I
can tell the mead is getting _slightly_ better into the 6-9 month range
(don't even have any that is a year old yet…), there comes a time when
the taste increase is NOT worth the wait (at least to myself and to all of
my friends who have tasted any of my mead). Heck, call me and my friends
simpletons, but we generally enjoy a nip of a batch within a few weeks of
bottling (yes, some of we plebians are in it for the alcohol…)

I know I am an irreverent cur, but I generally buck all the rules of "good"
mead making, generally because my olfactory sense sucks (but, as I said, my
friends seem to enjoy my works too, so maybe the stuff is all right…). I
use plain old grocery store honey, basically anything off a grocery store
shelf involving sugar (apple juice, jam, raisins, Mountain Dew), and plain
old champagne yeast poured in dry. I have never had any grenades, no stuck
fermentations, no long waits (I always bottle within 3-4 weeks of
pitching), I have never had any downright bad-tasting meads, and I have
never had a contaminated bottle (I am sure we all agree that sanitation is
key in any case…), AND, I have never waited more than a month before
drinking a few bottles of any particular batch. I am sure a true taster
could also confirm that I have never had any exceptional meads, but I think
they are pretty damn good..

Mead making is about two things (for me)…having fun and creating a liquid
that gives me a buzz without making me gag. Perhaps my attitude is a bit
flippant for this digest, but according to the title, I drink/make "mead",
I "love" doing both, and now that I have posted for the first time, I am
part of the "digest". Let's have some fun, people!

Joe Kaufman

"Excess ain't rebellion…You're drinkin' what they're sellin'." –Cake

Subject: Orrioe?
From: (Jane Beckman)
Date: Mon, 19 May 97 14:54:52 PDT

I think the oreo tree must be next to the sugarplum tree "in the garden
of Shuteye Town." 😉

I can think of two possible candidates for "orrioe." Yes, one is orris.
But another possible is eringo. (If you say "eringo" fast, it sounds more
like orrioe than orris does.) Eringo (or eryngo) is the root of the sea holly,
_Eryngium maritimum_, which was candied as a sweetmeat in times past.

I nominate eringo root over orris, as I've found that orris, while being
fragrant, tends to be slightly bitter in taste. If they were eating
eringo as a sweetmeat, it strikes me that it might be better flavored than
orris is.

However, orris is more available than eringo, so you might want to use that
interpretation simply because of obtainability, if you wanted to actually
make something with it.

Jilara (looking for the chocolate cat)

Subject: Am I nuts?
From: Di and Kirby <>
Date: Sat, 17 May 1997 21:09:32 -0500

I was looking at a couple of mead sites today, and one mentioned, in
passing, the idea of *chocolate* mead. This sounded kinda yummy to me,
until it occurred to me that while I could imagine cocoa in mead, I'm
not sure how one would recreate the true flavor of chocolate. I mean,
you can't put milk or cream in mead…or *could* you? Would it be
possible to make a rich, creamy, chocolaty mead? For that matter, how
about an Irish Cream Mead? Would the alcohol level protect it, assuming
you used a high-alcohol tolerant yeast, or would you really need
something with a whiskey-level proof? Would it be yummy or disgusting?
I'm wondering if I've hit on something brilliant, or if I'm delirious
with exhaustion and know not the horrors of which I speak…Please let
me know which it is.


Subject: re: rebottling grenades
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 19 May 97 23:30:38 MDT (Mon)

Someone nameless, aka <THYME@OREGON.UOREGON.EDU> writes:
> i started a batch at christmas time and let it ferment until feb. before
> bottling. the gravity seemed to have leveled out despite the fact the
> mead was still *too* sweet by my stds, esp. since i'd used a champagne
> yeast…

We need more details here! OG?? FG? How many times, and when, did you
rack? (Note that if a fermentation stratifies and stalls, racking will
*sometimes* [not always] break it up enough to get it going again…so the
racking schedule is relevant.)

>…so i bottled it. a month later i openned a bottle and it was
> slightly effervecent, but not too remarkable. it got stronger with time
> until last night when i openned a chilled bottle and found a virtual
> fountain inside the bottle. fun, but i can tell i'm heading towards
> disaster. has anyone ever uncapped such a mead to vent, then recapped
> with sterile caps?…

I've taken an entire mead out of bottles into a carboy, let the carboy
settle, and rebottled. [No, it was NOT a lot of fun! But I had to do
something.] In the case I had, I knew it had started fermenting again,
so I knew it needed not just re-capping, but a chance to outgas the excess
CO2, finish fermenting, and settle down again. So, essentially, I poured
everything back into the carboy and went back to pre-bottling.

This was not a lot of fun. But it was a lesson. I think it was enough
un-fun that I might even have learned the lesson! Ferment out, or

Dick Dunn rcd, domain Boulder County, Colorado USA

…Simpler is better.

Subject: SG and Fruit?
Date: Tue, 20 May 1997 08:09:53 -0400 (EDT)

Hi there I am planing some Melomels this summer and was wondering if there is
an easy way to predict what the adition of Fruit will do to the SG? Since
there will be a lot of undisolved sugar ( I imagine ) in the fruit that the
yeast will gain access to over time. I do not want to puree the fruit since I
have read of the racking and clearing problems. I am not even sure that
pureeing the fruit would alow the sugar ( frutose ) to be mesured with a
hydrometer. I supose I should be asking how it will affect the final alcohol
content? I am just trying to understand what I am making and how different
ingredents will affect the final product.

Thanks for any help
Knowlede is power, I am week but growing stronger every day.


Subject: Re: rebottling grenades
From: Joyce Miller <>
Date: Tue, 20 May 1997 20:21:20 -0400 (EDT)

>i started a batch at christmas time and let it ferment until feb. before
>bottling. the gravity seemed to have leveled out despite the fact the mead was
>still *too* sweet by my stds, esp. since i'd used a champagne yeast. so i
>bottled it. a month later i openned a bottle and it was slightly effervecent,
>but not too remarkable. it got stronger with time until last night when i
>openned a chilled bottle and found a virtual fountain inside the bottle. fun,
>but i can tell i'm heading towards disaster. has anyone ever uncapped such a
>mead to vent, then recapped with sterile caps? i'm willing to sacrifice a
>couple bottles to contamination if i'll avoid the grenade syndrome. any advice
>is appreciated.

I once had very good luck with a batch of potential grenades by very gently
lifting each cap up *a tiny bit* with a bottle opener, letting it go
"psssssst" until it looked like it was going to boil over, then letting the
cap back down. This had to be done several times over a few weeks, but not a
single one exploded.

  • — Joyce

P.S. Wear safety glasses, just in case.

Subject: Orris
From: David Johnson <>
Date: Tue, 20 May 1997 19:51:21 -0700

Rodales Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs says that orris isthe rhizome
of the florentine iris (irisXgernanica var florentina). The ancient
Egyptians and Greeks learned that the bland smelling orris root would
take on a remarkable fragrance if dried for at least 2 years.
Medicinally, the root powder and juice were used as a cathartic and
diuretic, and to treat convulsions, coughs,upset stomachs, bites, and
acne. The aromatic uses are the main present day uses. It is used as a
fixative in potporris, and it is part of the fragrance frangipani. The
fragrance of orris increases with age. It also is useful in giving the
mead maker something else to exercise patience with.


Subject: Re: rebottling grenades
From: Olson <>
Date: Tue, 20 May 1997 22:28:12 -0600

For meads that have become "slightly" over carbonated, I have
sucessfully pried up a crown cap just enough to let the carbon
dioxide out and then immediately used a capper to reseal the
same cap before the mead started spraying out. One batch required
this treatment three evenings in a row before the carbonation
was acceptable.

For another, more extreme, batch I emptied every bottle into my
kettle. The mead from each bottle immediately turned into foam.
After letting it settle, I racked the mead into a carboy and let
it set for a month before re-bottling. I was lucky and had no
infection problems.

If your mead is this bad, chill it down to as cold as you can
get it before opening the bottles.

Since that experience, I have had lots more patience in my
mead making procedures. One can learn from experience.

(12 years of mead making and still enjoying it!)

End of Mead Lover's Digest #564