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Mead Lover's Digest #0573 Tue 17 June 1997


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



Re: Mead Lover's Digest #572, 14 June 1997 (raven1)
second opinion requested (Di and Kirby)
Re: Old Mead and Sherry Flavor (Joyce Miller)
sweet sparkle (David Johnson)
RE: new wine thief ("Fritz, Kent")
Sherry flavors and heating fruit ("Mark E. Smith")
vinegar ("Linda or Darin")


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Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #572, 14 June 1997
From: raven1 <>
Date: Sat, 14 Jun 1997 17:35:28 -0400

> Subject: Chile mead
> From: "Dione Wolfe, Dragonweyr, NM" <DKEY@MEDUSA.UNM.EDU>
> Date: Thu, 12 Jun 1997 17:18:33 -0700 (MST)
> One of our group of subscribers asked me for a chile mead recipe a few weeks
> ago. I finally go my log and computer together at the same time and place.
> Green Chile Mead
> 2 lb. New Mexico green chile roasted, frozen, thawed and peeled.
> Zest of two lemons
> 1 gallon (12 lb) honey (I generally use a local generic raw variety)
> Pasteurize at 150 degrees for 20 min then leave covered overnight.
> Add 1 Tbs. yeast nutrients.
> Strain into 3 gal carboy and pitch yeast starter (I used Red Star Cuvee)
> Racked 2-3 times to clarify, then used Spark Loid with excellent results.
> Bottled after 2 months. O.G. 1.055, potential alcohol 7%

As a devout chilehead, I'd love to try the above recipe (actually, I was
thinking of using somewhat hotter chiles like Thai), but you got me on
one ingredient. What is "Spark Loid"? It sounds like some kind of
clarifying agent, but I've never heard of it.

"We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams."

  • Willy Wonka

Subject: second opinion requested
From: Di and Kirby <>
Date: Mon, 09 Jun 1997 23:26:59 -0500

Hi there…I was just wondering if you folks could point out any illogic
or screwy math in what follows. Perhaps some of you have tried this
before. I apologize to those allergic to algebra.

I racked a morat (mullberry melomel…anyone know how to pronounce

"morat"?) today. I was making two gallons, but had left room in my
two-gallon bucket for working space. After racking it into two 1 gal.
bottles, I had to add water to bring it up to the level I wanted.

Now, the issue. I like being able to know how alcoholic a brew is

when it's done, so I don't pass out and say things I don't remember
later, like with my *first* batch of mead. 🙂 I took a hydrometer
reading after I added the water, but forgot to take a reading before
adding it, so I had no idea how far the yeasties had gotten thru the
sugars. (OG=1190, BTW) I despaired, until I remembered that a little
algebra might fix that problem. Yeah, my friends all think making mead
is cool, until they realize it sometimes means *math*!

So here's my logic: A gallon of mead is 16 cups. I left some

headroom, 'cause the mead is still going pretty well, so let's figure
I've got 15 c, of which 3 are water at 1000 or so gravity. The remaining
12 c are the mead at "X" gravity. Added together you get 15 c at 1015.
so I wrote it out as:

3/15(1000) + 12/15(X) = 15/15(1015)

or, dividing out the fractions, and simplifying:

2(1000) + .8(X) = 1(1015)

200 + .8X = 1015

8X = 815

8X = 8150

x = 1019
…which would therefore be my specific gravity before adding water,
meaning that it made about a 4 point difference.

Does this make sense? It seems like a awfully big drop, from 1090 to
1019 in one week. I mean, it *was* going pretty well, but this is
amazing. Does that drop, and/or the math, look about right?

Also, when I figure the alcohol at the end of the road, do I pretend

that the original gravity was 1086 or so, to make up for that 4 point
difference the water made?

I know this was a long post. Thanks.


Subject: Re: Old Mead and Sherry Flavor
From: Joyce Miller <>
Date: Sun, 15 Jun 1997 12:46:19 -0400 (EDT)

>I thought I would consult others out there as to whether you think that a
>sherry flavor is good or bad in older meads. Presumably it is related to some
>sort of oxidation, which could be considered a flaw. OTOH, it is a very
>interesting addition to a flavor profile, and could be considered an asset.
>John DeCarlo,

I once made a cherry melomel that was delightful when young, but then lost
its "cherryness" and became bland. I moved, put it into the attic
"temporarily," and forgot about it for two years. Later I discovered that I
had a marvelous cherry sherry. The grolsch gaskets had let in just enough
air for it to oxidize perfectly.

  • — Joyce

Subject: sweet sparkle
From: David Johnson <>
Date: Sun, 15 Jun 1997 22:17:56 -0700


While searching the MLD archives for answers to my questions about

a sparkling sweet mead. I found the following:

Subject: sweet, carbonated cider
From: John B Gilmour <>
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 1996 13:21:34 -0500 (EST)

I have made several batches of sweet, carbonated cider. The problem, of
course, is how to kill of the yeast in the bottle. The first time I made
it, I bottled and capped the cider and left it to ferment overnight. The
next day I boiled the bottles in large kettles. About a third of them
exploded spectacularly. Since then I have learned two things. First,
sweet cider does not have to ferment long in the bottle. A little
carbonation is plenty, and reduces the probability of the bottle
exploding. A couple of hours is enough. Second, immersing the bottles
in water straight from the hot water heater will suffice to kill the
yeast. I set the water heater to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, put the bottles
in a fermenting bucket and filled it with water, and that killed the
yeast very dead. It does not even take long — less than an hour. As
soon as they are dead, the yeast drop out of suspension quickly and form
a sludge on the bottom. The cider fully clears over another week or so.

Albeit this was done with cider, I was wondering if anyone has done this with
a mead and what were the results. Is there any adverse effects on flavor? Is
it necessary to have live yeast in the bottle for the flavor to mature?

My present batch (3rd batch) was started 3/28/97 with 4 lbs

gooseberries, 15 lbs. clover honey, 1 tbs yeast nutrient, and a mixed culture
of a belgian ale yeast and a kolsch yeast. It started at OG 1.104 and as of
this AM was 1.017 with a pH of 3.4. the flavor (other than a strong alcohol
flavor) seemed to have a good balance (I have yet to run it past my chief
taster) like an auslese. It has a rose color and is bubbling very slowly. I
have roused the yeast a couple of times by rotating the carboy on a lazy
susan. It then takes off for a couple of days andclears again. Could I
bottle half according to the above method? Would I need to add a more
attenuative yeast to get the carbonation going before heating it?
Alternatively, if my chief taster likes it, I could sulfite it, bottle as
still, and lock in my winnings. My cider text suggests 2 Campden tablets/gal
for a pH of 3.4. Is this enough? Private e-mail is OK. TIA

Dave Johnson

Subject: RE: new wine thief
From: "Fritz, Kent" <>
Date: Mon, 16 Jun 1997 09:57:31 -0700

>From: Chuck Wettergreen <chuckmw@Mcs.Net>

>I asked my homebrew shop to order the latest goody that I saw in one
>of the brewing mags (Zymurgy or Brewing Techniques). This newest wine
>thief has a plastic foot valve attached to the bottom of a (about) 18
>inch long plexiglass tube. The tube diameter is large enough to hold
>a standard broad range hydrometer, but it's too small to hold a
>finishing hydrometer.

I bought one of those about 10 months ago. It works great in 5 gallon
carboys, but it wont fit inside the smaller diameter mouth of my 6.5
gallon carboys.

Kent Fritz

Subject: Sherry flavors and heating fruit
From: "Mark E. Smith" <>
Date: Mon, 16 Jun 1997 16:29:28 -0700

I just got done with my first 15 gallon batch of Elderberry-plum Mead and
have taken a look at the latest digest. I see that there is a question
about sherry qualities in mead after aging for a long time. I must say
that I have tried an experiment before where i have taken two meads of the
same recipe and same yeast and with one I diluted the honey in two gallons
of heated water and did my recipe and the other I boiled out the honey for
an hour and did the same. At this point I have tasted the two ((both are
about two years old) and the one that was diluted had a musky taste to it
at first and is exibiting a bit of a sherry taste, the other has a more
chardonnay qualitiy. Now this is not scientific or anything but I think
that it might have to do with the risidual wax and sediment left from the
honey, it might create a barrier in the liquad itself as to help oxidation
and a sherry taste. I have since always boiled my honey out.

Another little thing that is a quirk that maybe will help some folks,

whenever I am using fresh fruit in my Meads I always take about the first
half gallon or so of hot wort/must and pour it over the fruit, this allows
a cooking sensation to the fruit and also sterilizes it somewhat, I have
found that there is no substitute from making mead then using the fruit
from the very beginnning.

Hey, If anyone has a good recipe for an nut mead such as Almond or

hazelnut I would love to hear about it. Just saying HI from the Motherlode
hi Micah.

Subject: vinegar
From: "Linda or Darin" <>
Date: Mon, 16 Jun 1997 18:45:39 -0700

I have a question that is almost, but not quite entirely, off-topic. I use
5% distilled white vinegar in a couple of the steps in the processing of my
son's cloth diapers. I keep a quart bottle in the bathroom, where the
diaper bucket is, and the gallon jug by the washing machine. I fill the
quart bottle from the jug when it is low. I have noticed that I keep
winding up with this white, gossamer, floating stuff in the quart bottle.
I have not noticed this in the gallon jug. I assume it something growing,
and that if I actually clean the bottle, it will go away. I would,
however, like to understand what is going on, and though this isn't about
mead, I bet knowledge pertaining to this situation resides somewhere out
there in Mead Lover Land.

Darin Trueblood

End of Mead Lover's Digest #573