Mead Lover's Digest #0577 Thu 10 July 1997


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



Re: Wyeast Sweet Mead (Scott Murman)
Bulk Honey ("Hy Ginsberg")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #576, 6 July 1997 ("C. P. G. Saunders")
Sparkaloid (


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Subject: Re: Wyeast Sweet Mead 
From: Scott Murman <>
Date: Sun, 06 Jul 1997 23:45:43 -0700

This discussion of different sweet mead yeasts/ale yeasts for
fermenting has me wondering. Don't you need to be much more
careful of sanitation when using these yeasts? You'll have
a decent alcohol level, but still plenty of sugar on-hand,
and there are plenty of critters that actually enjoy high
levels of alcohol. Do you take any extra careful steps?


Subject: Bulk Honey
From: "Hy Ginsberg" <>
Date: Mon, 7 Jul 1997 08:47:03 -0400

In the last MLD Mark Koopman asked about bulk honey suppliers, paticularly
blackberry or raspberry. Well, I can't help with those particularly, still
it's worth posting the number for Betterbee Inc. (primarily a beekeeping
supply business), in Greenwich, New York: 1-800-632-3379. In their last
catalog they had Wildflower, Clover, Tulip Poplar, Blueberry, and Orange
Blossom honey for sale, all for $60 for a sixty pound (5 gallon) pail (plus
a 3 dollar deposit on the pail, and UPS shipping costs).

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #576, 6 July 1997
From: "C. P. G. Saunders" <redness@UVic.CA>
Date: Tue, 8 Jul 1997 14:38:20 -0700 (PDT)

Regarding mead and mythology

If you want to find information on mead in mythology, there is no better

place to turn than to Iceland. The Snorra Edda explains that Odin, the
"all-father" for more than one reason, consumed nothing but mead. He kept
a pair of magical boars, which he would slaughter daily to feed his
followers, but he personally ate nothing.

Knowing that, it's a lot easier to imagine how the war-goddess Freya

appeared fully armed and armoured out of the top of Odin's head. I've
heard those mead hangovers can be nasty…

A more significant legend is that of how poetry came to exist. Keep in

mind that poetry was as important as battle prowess in the Norse system.
In the Snorra Edda, "Selections from Poetic Diction," it says:

"…the gods were at war with the people known as the Vanir and they
arranged for a peace-meeting between them and made a truce in this way:
they both went up to a crock and spat into it. When they were going away,
the gods took up the truce token and would not allow it to be lost, and
made of it a man. He was called Kvasir. He is so wise that nobody asks him
any question he is unable to answer. He travelled far and wide over the
world to teach men wisdom aned came once to feast with some dwarfs, Fjalar
and Galar. These called him aside for a word in private and killed him,
letting his blood run itno two crocks and one kettle. The kettle was
called Odrorir, but the crocks were known as Son and Bodn. They mixed his
blood with honey, and it became the mead which makes whoever drinks of it
a poet or scholar. The dwarfs told the Aesir that Kvasir had choked with
learning, because there was no one sufficiently well-informed to compete
with him in knowledge." ("Snorri Sturluson: the Prose Edda," trans. Jean
I. Young. University of California Press)

The story goes on that the mead came to be posessed by the giant Suttung.
Odin was out walking one day and met nine serfs, and offered to sharpen
their scythes with a magic stone. He offered it to them in return for a
banquet, they said okay. Odin tossed the stone in the air, and as the
serfs scrambled for it, they accidentally killed each other.

Odin spent the night with Suttung's brother, Baugi. Baugi was bummed

out that he had lost nine serfs, and Odin felt a little bit responsible.
Odin offered to do the work of all nine serfs in return for a wee drop of
the mead. Baugi said it wasn't his to give, but offered to help Odin
approach Suttung.

Odin did the work, they approached Suttung and were flatly refused.

Odin (who was disguised as Bolverk throughout all this) had Baugi drill
through a mountain with an auger. After some treachery on Baugi's part,
Odin turned himself into a serpent and slithered through the hole (nothing
fallic in these legends, is there?).

Odin met up with Gunnlod, Suttung's daughter, and slept with her for

three nights. After that, she offered him three sips of mead. He
accepted, and drained each of the three mead vessels in one draught, then
turned into an eagle and flew back to Asgard.

Suttung chased after, and so the Aesir put out crocks to catch the mead

and set a trap for Suttung. As Odin flew in, "he spat the mead into the
crocks. It was such a close shave that Suttung did not catch him,
however, that he let some fall, but no one bothered about that. Anyone
who wanted could have it; we call it the poetasters' share. Odin gave
Suttung's mead to the Aesir and those men who can compose poetry. So we
call poetry Odin's catch, Odin's discovery, his drink and his gift, and
the drink of the Aesir."

Hope that helps. I've never encountered anything satanic in mead-related
ritual. It was important to the cult of Odin (which had as much legitemacy
in its time as the Catholics did a hundred years ago… so the term cult
should be taken loosely here), I believe, and certainly was well-liked by
many Norse people.

In case you seek more on mead and mythology, the "Sayings of the High
One," a didactic poem on social behaviour, has a few things to say about

(From "The Elder Edda," trans. Paul B. Taylor and W.H. Auden, sorry, but I
don't have a better translation on hand)

Too early to many homes I came,
Too late, it seemed, to some:
The ale was finished or else unbrewed,
The unpopular cannot please
(st. 4, most trans. have "mead" rather than "ale")

Better gear than good sense
A traveler cannot carry,
A more tedious burden than too much drink
A traveler cannot carry (st. 15

Less good than belief would have it
Is mead for the sons of men:
A man knows less the more he drinks,
Becomes a befuddled fool. (st. 16)

Drunk I got, dead drunk,
When Fjalar the Wise was with me:
Best is the banquet one looks back on after,
And remembers all that happened. (st. 18)

Drink your mead, but in moderation,
Talk sense or be silent:
No man is called discourteous who goes
To bed at an early hour. (st. 23)

A gluttonous man who guzzles away
Brings sorrow on himself:
At the table of the wise he is taunted often,
Mocked for his bloated belly. (st. 24)

Never rise at night unless you need to spy
Or to ease yourself in the outhouse. (st. 107)
(okay, it seemed related somehow…)

Be not overwary, but wary enough,
First, of the foaming ale,
Second, of a woman wed to another,
Third, of the tricks of theieves. (st. 124)

Medicines exist against many evils:
Earth against drunkenness… (st. 129)

They gave me no bread, they gave me no mead:
I looked down; with a loud cry
I took up runes; from that tree I fell. (st. 131)

Nine lays of power I learned from the famous
Bolthor, Bestla's father:
He pooured me a draught of precious mead,
Mixed with magic Odrerir. (st. 132)

Learned I grew then, lore-wise,
Waxed and throve well:
Word from word gave words to me,
Deed from deed gave deeds to me. (st. 133)

Subject: Sparkaloid
Date: Thu, 10 Jul 1997 08:49:48 -0700

There has been several requests for Sparkaloid articel so I am just going
to post it again. I made some chages to it and added one additional tip.
Here we go….

First off let me tell you that I am NOT one of those mead purest or
naturalists that don't use chemicals in their mead. They are safe,
effective and if used RIGHT have no flavor. Science has brought us many
tools to make our mead faster better and more rewarding and damn it I have
no problems using them when need be.

As for Sparkaloid, the stuff is great. It took me quite a few batches
before I got the process down. The only bad thing that happened to those
batches is I ended up with a little Sparkaloid in the bottom of the bottles
but the stuff didnt have any flavor so it wasn't too bad. I've been using
it for about five years now and have never had it fail me yet.

Sparkaloid itself is a very very fine power (diatomous earth I think). You
should watch out for your final gravity, I don't know this for a fact but I
would guess if it were too high the Sparkaloid might not be heavy enough to
fall out. I would start thinking about it if you were at 1.030 but like I
said I don't know for sure if this would happen.

For Sparkaloid to work its best fermentation needs to be COMPLETE. Even a
little activity seems to keep it in suspension for a long time. First thing
I do is rack it off any sediment (of course) then if the final gravity is
above 0 (on purpose or by accident) I'll put in in the frig to make damn
sure that the yeast that's left is dormant The next day I'll put in the
Sparkaloid as per package instructions.The package instructions are as
follows. 1tsp/gall add to 1 cup boiling water. Boil for 15 min. For 5
gallon use 2 cups boiling water. Add to mead hot. If the gravity is above
0 I'll add some potassium sorbate (sorbastat K) to kill any dormant yeast
that might think about starting up again. If I plan to prime the mead I'll
leave out the sorbastat K and repitch just before bottling. The sobastat K
and the day in the frig are not required as long as you are certin the
fermentation is done and will not start back up.

The most important part of using Sparkaloid is after you put it in, put
your carboy in a place that you can rack from. It is important not to move
the carboy again until after you've racked it. If you do move the carboy a
big cloud of Sparkaloid will kick up off the bottom and thus into your next
carboy. Don't even start thinking "I could move it if I was real careful."
because you cant. The stuff is too light and fluffy.

When racking, make sure your siphon cane or hose does not hit the bottom. I
put the end of the cane only a few inches under the surface and move it
down as the level drops only touching the bottom at the last minute.

After you put in the Sparkaloid the next day you should see a very distinct
line of how far the Sparkaloid has droped. With a final gravity of 0 it
should clear in about three days. If the gravity is higher it will take
longer. I let mine sit for an extra day so the Sparkaloid really settles
good. The last batch I did which was a raspberry cider, took a good five
days to clear and I let it sit for another two. It came out crystal clear
and a beautiful ruby red color.

In some cases ( I have had three in 5 years) I have seen whiteish
translusant globs form that don't fall out right away. These are just
Sparkaloid and traped CO2. All you have to do is rock the carboy back forth
to break them up and they will fall out as well. Or if you dont want to do
that you can suck them up with the syphon cain and they will fall out
before the second racking.

After the first racking put the carboy in the same place so you don't have
to move it for the second racking. Even though your mead is crystal clear
at this point you are still not done. This is where a lot of people go
wrong. You need to let it sit for another day or two and more Sparkaloid
will drop out. If you were patient and careful you should have very little
Sparkaloid on the bottom. I usually end up with a very very thin dusting on
the bottom and a little stuck to the side. If you do a good job at the
second racking it will be ready to bottle. If you are not sure about it, go
ahead and rack it to a carboy and see if any more drops out.

I have had some meads clear right after fermentation is done and I have had
some that didn't clear even after months. Sparkaloid reliably takes that
time down to a week or a week and a half. It is not uncommon for me to have
a mead in the bottle within a month. I have got my ferments down to 2 to 3
weeks and with Sparkaloid clearing takes 1 to 1.5 weeks
so my equipment is freed up to start again or receive beer:-) In all of the
years I have been making mead, I have never had Sparkaloid fail to clear a
mead to crystal clarity. Yes, It is more work but it is fast and reliable.
I hope this helps, I may post it to the group also.

End of Mead Lover's Digest #577