Mead Lover's Digest #0567 Wed 28 May 1997
Mead Lover's Digest #0567 Wed 28 May 1997
Forum for Discussion of Mead Making and Consuming
Dick Dunn, Digest Janitor
RE: Millenial Mead (DFusion@aol.com)
Aging the Mead (Chris Stankaitis)
Cyser from Apples (Ian Klinck)
Re: Cold Mead (Medicinal) ("Dave Moore")
Re: cold medicine mead (Di and Kirby)
Australian Honey (Rod McDonald)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #566, 24 May 1997 (SirDano@aol.com)
in praise of older meads (Daniel S McConnell)
Lots of Lists? (Peter Miller)
Racking (John Richardson)
Sweat Mead after two years (Friedman Abe)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #566, 24 May 1997 (Darragh Nagle)
Re: Mead Beginners (Rebecca Sobol)
Sandalwood mead (Gil)
Mazer Cup Mead Competetion? (CLSAXER@aol.com)
Cheese Melomel (Daniel S McConnell)
taj (Jane Beckman)
Mead, Both Young and Old (BRUCE WENZEL)
Re: Newbie questions, cysers, flowers, etc. (Rebecca Sobol)
Re: Millenial Mead (Rebecca Sobol)
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Subject: RE: Millenial Mead
Date: Sat, 24 May 1997 03:42:02 -0400 (EDT)
In MLD#565, Dan Cole asked about Millenial Mead.
In Oct. of '96, I made a batch of New Millenium Sack Melomel. Here is the
11 3/4 lb Weaver (local Central Texas) wildflower honey.
5 lb fresh strawberries
2 lb fresh Kiwi
2 pomegranites (seed and fruit)
1 tsp yeast nutrient
Vinters choice Sweet Mead yeast (#3184) (1 slap pack + a starter slurry)
Enough bottled spring water to fill to 3 gal.
The fruit was sliced and put in a fine nylon mesh bag, then steeped at 155 F
for 20 min. Honey was added and simmered at 145 F for 20 min. I then
lowered the temp to 80 F and pitched the yeast.
The primary fermentation (in a 6 gal plastic bucket with the nylon friut
bag) was like nothing I had ever seen before. There were bubbles the size of
grapefriuts!!!. I racked it into a carboy about 10 days later, removing the
fruit bag. Fermentation slowed down, and I racked the mead off it's sediment
into another carboy. After awhile, it started fermenting again, and to this
day still is activly bubbling. It even still has a bit of foam in the neck.
Since then, it has cleared dramatically to a glorious strawberry color. It
tastes pretty good right now (wow is it sweet!), but in retrospect, I would
have done the fruit differently. The fruit flavors are hard to find.
Hopefully two and a half years aging will turn this stuff into ambrosia.
Is this fermentation abnormal for sweetmead yeast? Another batch I did
with the same kind of yeast didn't ferment nearly as violently as this one.
Good luck to all Millenial Mead Makers!
Subject: Aging the Mead
From: Chris Stankaitis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 24 May 1997 11:53:39 -0400
Ok, since there is a lot of talk about it right now, I must ask.
How long CAN you age a Mead for? I've heard people say a couple of
years atleast, but can it go bad from just sitting on the shelf aging..
I think a crime worse than dipping into your stocks after 4 months must be
popping a bottle after XXX number of years and finding that it's gone bad and
you should have drank the mead a year ago..
any comments? how old was your oldest bottle of mead that still tasted
Chris Stankaitis email@example.com
Ontario / Canada
Subject: Cyser from Apples
From: Ian Klinck <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 24 May 1997 12:00:45 -0400
I've done a couple of batches of cyser from apples, as well as one from
cider. All have turned out well.
The most recent one I did from apples, I used 10 lbs. of Macintosh and 3
lbs. of Granny Smith, using about 9 lbs of honey in a 5-gallon batch. It
fermented right out (below 1.000 FG), and now, after it has aged a bit, is
really nice. The initial "bite" of the taste is the tart Granny Smith, but
the aftertaste is all Mac.
The first batch of this sort that I did, I quartered the apples. Since
apples tend to float (in water, never mind mead must!), I ended up catching
some mold on the apples that were floating. I fished them out and the
batch turned out OK, but the second time I moulinexed the apples. No apple
above the water line, no mold.
I've also done a perry (pear mead), where I froze the pears (they were
given to me frozen), and I thawed them by heating them in a big pot, and
straining off the juice. It seems to have turned out OK, but I haven't
really cracked a bottle yet.
And a note to the person who thought they might have used too many
strawberries in their mead: there ain't no such thing! The last batch of
strawberry I did, I used a whole flat (12 quarts) in a 5-gallon batch, and
Ian Klinck (SCA: Rhys ap Bledri)
Subject: Re: Cold Mead (Medicinal)
From: "Dave Moore" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 24 May 1997 13:44:17 +0000
Regarding several posts on the prospect of a medicinal ("Cold") mead. I
haven't ever done this, but would like to recommend a reference book:
"Peterson Field Guides, Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants" by Steven Foster
and James A. Duke.
It's very readable and includes color photos of some of the plants and line
drawings of the others.
For example Kate Collins mentioned "Bergamot". There is a color photo of this
plant and the section on uses says:
"American Indians used leaf tea for colic, flatulence, colds, fevers,
stomachaches, nosebleeds, insomnia, heart troubles; in measles to induce
sweating; poulticed leaves for headaches. Historically, physicians used leaf
tea to expel worms or gas."
No warnings or dangers associated with this plant.
Some plants listed like "Comfrey" warn of leaf similarity to more dangerous
plants like Foxglove which can be deadly.
Good Luck, but Be Careful!
PGP key available at "http://www.mnsinc.com/moore"
Subject: Re: cold medicine mead
From: Di and Kirby <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 24 May 1997 18:09:05 -0500
Another herb you might try, in addition to the ones Kate suggested, is
Eccinacea, or Purple coneflower. I find it lemony tasting, and not at
all objectionable. (Of course, some folks don't like it at all.) It's
good for short term use in boosting your immune system, but after a
coupla weeks it loses effectiveness. If you can't find the herb itself,
there are a number of extracts on the market. If you get one with an
alcohol base (which does give it an objectionable flavor, as it's not
meant to add yumminess) mix it with hot water and let it sit 5 or 10
minutes, and the alcohol will evaporate.
Another couple of good cold herbs, which I *wouldn't* mix with the
stuff already mentioned if you're concerned about flavor, are garlic and
cayenne. In a very dry mead, they might not be too bad, depending on how
much you like those tastes. I know they've been used to flavor things
like vodka, and cayenne at least is not unheard of in spicy meads.
Unless you cook it, it really isn't as hot as you'd think. These two
herbs are strong enough that I'd probably just put 'em in the carboy
with everything else, rather than simmer them.
I guess if you're stuck in bed with a cold, there are worse ways to
spend your time than trying out a new mead!
Subject: Australian Honey
From: Rod.McDonald@dist.gov.au (Rod McDonald)
Date: Mon, 26 May 1997 17:04:50 +1100
From: Kate Collins <Collins@uidesign.se> Date: Fri, 23 May 1997
Or, with regard to honey, use something really unusual – for
example honey from Australian bees. They're a strange species
and the wax they produce is almost black and (apparently) very
different from other beeswax, so I assume the same would apply
to the honey.
As far as I know honey from bees in Australia only differs from honey in other
countries by virtue of the nature of the blossom upon which the bees feed. Honey
made from Eucalyptus blossoms is rather strong-tasting compared with a lot of
other blossoms and as a consequence it requires longer maturation. AFAIK the
bees are the same. And if you were going to use it then you had better get a
move on if you want to have it matured in time for the millenium (unless you
favour 1 Jan 2001 as the first day of the new milennium – gives you an extra
Unless you are talking about native Australian bees, which, once again, AFAIK,
are not 'farmed' (kept?) but would need to be raided from odd sites in the bush
(if you can find them – and I have never found any), notwithstanding all the
difficulties (searching, climbing, low yield). And I don't know what this black
wax business is. In fact I don't know anyone who would even think of looking for
native honey, assuming native bees DO make honey.
We also have Kangaroos hopping down the streets of Sydney.
Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #566, 24 May 1997
Date: Mon, 26 May 1997 19:00:30 -0400 (EDT)
I was curious if anybody out there has a "Banana Mead" recipe that they
wouldn't mind sharing with me? I would really appreciate it!!
Subject: in praise of older meads
From: email@example.com (Daniel S McConnell)
Date: Mon, 26 May 1997 21:09:31 -0400
>From: "Joe Kaufman" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>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…)
Actually, it WAS meant to be somewhat of a harmless jibe, but it does bring
up a few good points all of which are a matter of opinion and endless
debate it you want them to be. You will not be flamed by me, Joe. Your
opinions are as valid as the next.
First of all, please know that my approach to meadmaking has always come
from a wine perspective where patience and time are the tradition rather
that from a brewing perspective where maturation occurs much more
rapidly-or maybe it's instant gratification. My winemaking background
colors all of my opinions. Second, almost all of my meads are dry or
off-dry, a style that may need more age that those that are sweeter, more
readily approachable beverages. Third, I have never been known to turn
down a glass of mead no matter what the age, ingredients or political or
philosophical perspective of the meadmaker. Good meads come from all
camps. Good meads are made by hedonists as well as those that sip slowly
with their pinkies up. I'm somewhere in the middle, although I admit that
I do tend to weave a bit from side to side.
With that said, let me discourse a bit. The smell of wine or mead is as
much an integral part of the enjoyment of these beverages as is taste
(inseparable, in fact). The odors that we associate as aroma are present
in the honey or fruit that makes up the mead. These are largely fruity but
not necessarily those that make up the constituents of the mead. They may
include such smells are raspberry, cherry, melon, grape, honey, strawberry,
lemon, banana or others such as flowery (iris, geranium, honeysuckle),
spicy, resinous or burnt. These odors dissipate early in the lifespan (2-3
years) of the mead or wine. Meads that display these character are best
enjoyed young before these aromas vanish.
Bouquet, on the other hand, are smells associated with fine wines of great
value. These develop slowly in the bottle. Although poorly understood, it
is known that the development of these constituents occur under reducing
conditions (the absence of oxygen) and thus can only occur in a closed
container. These tend to be more earthy in nature and more intense and
interesting (in some opinions) than the aromas. They include spicy and
perfumy. Some examples are cinnamon, musk, leather, tobacco, caramel,
licorice and coffee. Meads will develop these characteristics with age
and some people find these to be worthy of waiting for.
The beauty of youth is fleeting; the beauty of age takes time to develop.
Young, fresh meads are pretty, fun, highly enjoyable and will take you
where you want to be. A well aged mead has greater depth of character, a
certain burnished beauty, slow to appreciate, and in my mind a greater
treasure not simply due to rarity, but because it provides other enjoyments
and builds slowly to a more sensuous, lasting experience.
Now, before I go completely off the deep end and start to write verse…..
Di and Kirby resurrect a timely but ancient post of mine.
> From: "Daniel F McConnell"
> OFFICE MEMO milk and honey Date:12/1/92
> Whilst researching a talk on the making of mead for the Third Annual Taste of
> The Great Lakes Regional Homebrew Conference, I came upon a number of
> references to "milk and honey", including Biblical as in "the land of…."
> Anyway, during a sleepless night (due to a 2 month-old daughter) I had an
> inspiration. Were these guys talking about fermenting the stuff??? Sure
> enough the next thing I knew (4AM) I was gently heating a gallon of whole
> containing 2.5 lb of honey.
This is a clear example of a mead that tasted interesting and good for a
time and then (at about 2 years old) became ugly, just to prove that age
isn't the entire answer. I better go find the last few bottles and see how
they are doing….
Subject: Lots of Lists?
From: Peter Miller <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 27 May 97 12:43:08 -0000
>I've considered offering the digest in both plain ASCII and HTML, since
>HTML is a real standard and pretty widely understood.
Dick, I urge you please not to do that. You have no idea what a pleasure
it is to read the MLD, compared to the many other ratbag unmoderated or
poorly moderated lists that abound. The beauty of ASCII is its
simplicity. _Anybody_ can use it if they take a microsecond to think
about it – and after all the whole idea of ASCII is its universality. And
even if HTML is a standard that doesn't mean that it's as accessible as
ASCII. I think that as you say, splitting the list into two will mean
confusion without any significant content gain.
I for one appreciate the very streamlined, intelligent and highly
readable format of the MLD as it exists and raise a glass to you for
taking the trouble to keep it so.
- —- < firstname.lastname@example.org > —–
Perpetual Ocean Music & Sound Design
From: John Richardson <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 27 May 1997 07:01:17 -0500
I've just made my first mead in ~4-5 years. I've got it in plastic (1
week) and need the fermenter! Can I rack it into glass, at this point, or
should I wait? I've gotten myself into a bind, of sorts with time and the
need to brew beer. If anyone could e-mail me with an answer, it'd be great!
Subject: Sweat Mead after two years
From: Friedman Abe <Friedman_Abe@ems.prc.com>
Date: Tue, 27 May 1997 09:50:47 -0400
I've just opened a batch of mead that I made about two years ago. The
quality is much better than commercial mead but it's still rather sweet.
I used a wine yeast and I'm wondering, has the yeast finished by now or
will it still become dryer? Is there anyway to make a sweet mead dryer?
Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #566, 24 May 1997
From: Darragh Nagle <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 27 May 1997 08:06:56 -0600
"John B. Hinkle" <email@example.com> wrote:
>I am seeking advice, and suggestions for my Strawberry Melomel.
>I started with 2 1/2 lbs of Strawberrys (this was only a one gallon batch).
>Approx 3 lbs of honey, and used Red Star Champange Yeast. After simmering,
>I let the must stand over night before adding the yeast. I fermented it
>in an open container for a couple of days, airating each day. Then I moved
>it to a closed fermenter. It's been almost 4 months now, and it tastes
>Now for the questions, Did I use to much fruit? I am going for a sweet
>mead, did I use the wrong Yeast? Is open fermenting a good idea?
>Can I save this mead or is it dead?
I use one pound of frozen strawberries for a 5 gallon batch. I think you used
The yeast is the same as what I use.
I do not airate.
I go immediately to a closed container, to protect against bacteria
while the yeast are multiplying. Once the population is high and the
alchohol level goes up, infection is less likely.
If it tastes horrible, you should dispose of it.
Subject: Re: Mead Beginners
From: firstname.lastname@example.org.EDU (Rebecca Sobol)
Date: Tue, 27 May 1997 16:44:02 -0600 (MDT)
> Subject: Re: Mead Beginners
> From: "Joe Kaufman" <email@example.com>
> Date: Mon, 19 May 1997 09:17:16 -0500
> > 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…)
My brew partner and I haven't been brewing long enough to have any
really old meads, so my experience comes from drinking the well
aged meads of others. I've been drinking home made mead for many years
more than I've been brewing my own, so I have tasted the occassional 10 year
old bottle. Years of aging do make a difference. Sometimes a huge
difference. Sometimes meads that were undrinkable when young get really
good after several years in the bottle. That's not to say you can't try
a small bottle every now and then to see how it's coming along. If it's
terrible though, don't throw it out, just put it away for a year or two
and try it again. It might still be terrible, or it might just age into
something nice. Our oldest mead has been in the bottle for 2.5 years now,
and it does improve with each tasting. I still don't think it's ready. I
think it will be much better in a few more years. I don't taste it very
often anymore because I do want to save it until it's really well aged.
Some of our other batches have less honey and more fruit and have gotten
very good in much less time, but even these may improve with further
aging. I think it's a good idea to take at least a bottle or 2 from
every batch and put it away somewhere to really let it age for several years.
Your mileage may vary.
Subject: Sandalwood mead
From: Gil <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 27 May 1997 17:00:28 -0700 (PDT)
10 years ago or so, when I was still into experimenting with mead, I read
several recipes for beverages made in India that were flavored with white
sandalwood. I made a batch of mead using wildflower honey and added a Tbl
of the powdered wood to a half gallon of must when it was still hot, then
cooled it quickly by adding a half gallon of cold water. I can't
remembert how it turned out, but I think you could taste the sandalwood,
and I think it was slightly bitter. I never made it again, but I think
that next time I would just add it to the finished mead. let it sit a day
then strain it out. Wood chips also might work better, but I remember the
Indian recipe I saw said to powder a block of the wood. My trusty, Golden
Guide to Herbs and Spices, by the late, great, Julia Morton, says
that sandalwood is used in baked goods, and chewing gum, ice cream, candy
and breath fresheners; though it has been pointed out that this work,
written in 1976, is out of date. Gil
Subject: Mazer Cup Mead Competetion?
Date: Wed, 28 May 1997 02:53:14 -0400 (EDT)
It is nearly June. What's the skinny on the Mazer Cup Mead Competion 1997?
We've been brewing some goodies and we're chomping into bits with
Carl & Doris Saxer
Subject: Cheese Melomel
From: email@example.com (Daniel S McConnell)
Date: Wed, 28 May 1997 11:42:28 -0400
>> Whilst researching a talk on the making of mead for the Third Annual
>> The Great Lakes Regional Homebrew Conference, I came upon a number of
>> references to "milk and honey", including Biblical as in "the land of…."
>> Anyway, during a sleepless night (due to a 2 month-old daughter) I had an
>> inspiration. Were these guys talking about fermenting the stuff??? Sure
>> enough the next thing I knew (4AM) I was gently heatinga gallon of whole
>> containing 2.5 lb of honey.
>This is a clear example of a mead that tasted interesting and good for a
>time >and then (at about 2 years old) became ugly, just to prove that age
>isn't the >entire answer. I better go find the last few bottles and see
>how they are >doing….
I found this mead. It's still basically ugly (my daughter is beautiful,
BTW). The mead is a bit better than I remember it, but still creamy,
cheesy, interesting, but not very good. Although it might go well with a
sweet dessert. Or maybe in coffee, hummmmm Celtic Coffee!
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jane Beckman)
Date: Wed, 28 May 97 11:11:14 PDT
Taj is Ethiopian "honey wine" (their term, not mine). It's essentially a
mead brewed with the addition of hop tea, and drunk right after primary
fermentation. One of the local Ethiopian restaurants makes their own, and
I've gotten something like guidelines on making it. No one seems to have
exactly a "recipe" though.
Subject: Mead, Both Young and Old
From: email@example.com (BRUCE WENZEL)
Date: Wed, 28 May 1997 12:51:29 -0700
>On the way back from some friends' wedding a couple of years ago I stopped
>and got some local honey near the wedding site. I took it home and made a
>mango-mel out of it. I gave them a bottle of it for their first
>anniversary, and will probably give them another bottle of it on their
Could you share your recipe of mango-mel? How did it come out? I love mangos
and I think they would be wonderful in a mead.
Subject: Re: Newbie questions, cysers, flowers, etc.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org.EDU (Rebecca Sobol)
Date: Wed, 28 May 1997 15:10:09 -0600 (MDT)
> Subject: Newbie questions, cysers, flowers, etc.
> From: Kate Collins <Collins@uidesign.se>
> Date: Wed, 21 May 1997 17:48:08 +0200
> 1. Cysers – does anyone have any recipes for cysers made
> from apples, not juice? What's the general ratio of
> apples to liquid? Does freezing help for apples, or
> do they have to be squishy-overripe and messy?
> 2. Flower meads (Floromels?) – does anyone have any
> experience in this area? I've seen recipes for
> rhodomels floating about, but no other flowers. What
> about elderberry, violets, apple blossom, dandelions?
Last year there was a really good apple crop and we made several
cysers. Step one, press the apples to get the juice. This isn't
quite what you had in mind, but that's how we've done our cysers.
We do have a couple of flower meads using sweet woodruff and violets.
I also have a bottle or 2 of a friend's dandelion mead. We made a
a tea with the blossums and added the tea to the must just before
pitching the yeast. Use lots of blossums. I'm not sure if it's
possible to use too many. We have something like a pint and half
of violet flowers in a one gallon batch of mead, and it does have
a good violet flavor and a very interesting color.
Subject: Re: Millenial Mead
From: email@example.com.EDU (Rebecca Sobol)
Date: Wed, 28 May 1997 15:26:09 -0600 (MDT)
> Subject: Millenial Mead
> From: Dan Cole <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Date: Wed, 21 May 1997 19:12:18 -0400
> Well, I am faced by a problem rarely faced by most people, but one which
> all us home vintage makers should be familiar with… brewing a special
> batch for a special occassion. And what could be more special, more rare,
> than the turn of the millenium?
> I am suddenly preoccupied with the thought of putting together a mead that
> I will leave undisturbed and untasted until the turn of the Millenium (Jan
> 1, 2000 or 2001, I haven't decided which one I will celebrate the most).
> So I am asking everyone out there with more mead experience than myself (3
> batches down so far) for their suggestion for something so spectacular that
> it is deserving of the spotlight of center stage on such a rare occassion.
> For something like this, money should be no object (within reason, please).
> Anyone else planning some special concoction for the evening?
We are planning a millenial mead. In fact we should be brewing it fairly
soon. We do want it to be well aged by 2001, so it seems like we need
to get it started soon. We were thinking about possibly making a
traditional mead with something more exotic than our usual wildflower
honey. Maybe an orange blossum honey. Or, how about a thyme metheglyn?
Melomels just don't seem right to me. Can you get thyme honey? A
traditional mead using a thyme honey might be just the thing.
End of Mead Lover's Digest #567