Mead Lover's Digest #0595 Tue 23 September 1997


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



Haafbrau1: Adding Honey (
Haafbrau1: Yeast Nutrient (
Re: aloe vera (Jane Beckman)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #594, 19 September 1997 (Charles Hudak)
Odd Bubbles; Dates; Chalk; Calculated OG (Dennis Waltman)
Novembeerfest 1997 ("Webb, Richard B")
re: vanilla cream mead (PickleMan)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #593, 16 September 1997 (Thaddaeus A Vick)
sanitation in added honey (Di and Kirby)
Re: Prickly Pear Update and ? (Olson)
Using Persimmons (John Sullivan)
Use of oak in mead making ("Glenn Mountain")
Plastic Bottles ("Phillip J. Welling")


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Subject: Haafbrau1: Adding Honey
Date: Fri, 19 Sep 1997 10:55:13 -0400

I must really sound like an idiot, BUT, how do you add honey to a
fermenting mead? Do you heat/ let cool, dilute it at all, or just pop
off the airlock and pour? Try not to laugh too hard when responding.
Private e-mail is OK.

The more I know about fermenting, the more I need a drink.
Paul Haaf

Subject: Haafbrau1: Yeast Nutrient
Date: Fri, 19 Sep 1997 10:53:58 -0400

When making a mead, if I pour some dry wine yeast in the must while it's
still quite hot, will they become food for the yeast I pitch at the
correct temp?

Rene Descarte was a drunken f*rt, I drink, therefore I am! – Monty Python
Paul Haaf

Subject: Re: aloe vera
From: Jane Beckman <>
Date: Fri, 19 Sep 1997 10:02:08 -0700

I admit that I find myself wondering about the current passion for putting
aloe vera in everything, which seems more for medicinal purposes than taste.
I might remind folks that back in my youth (sigh, '50's and '60's), folks
used aloe as a *laxative.* If that's what you want in your mead, well…


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #594, 19 September 1997
From: Charles Hudak <>
Date: Fri, 19 Sep 1997 10:35:20 -0700

In MLD #594 Rene' writes:
>How can I find out about appeiaries (sp?) in the Ann Arbor, MI are?
>I want to make some mead, but as you know, good honey is very expensive.

Check the yellow pages under honey or 'apiaries'. Many homebrew shops
stock bulk honey as do some whole food stores. Here in San Diego, the
homebrew shops sell bulk orange blossom and wildflower honey for ~1.90/lb.
If you get in nice with the beekeeper, he (she?) would probably make you a
deal for bulk purchases. I buy 50lb buckets of honey for $1/lb. Of
course, if you want to use some obscure varietal, and you don't want to
make three batches with it (say eucalyptus or buckwheat) you may be stuck
paying the higher price for 10-15Gal. Still, if you bring your own
containers, many apiarists will mix and match for bulk purchases.

Remember, the active honey season is when the bees are out pollinating
which in MI may be over. You may have to pay more during the winter than
when the apiarists are actively collecting. Better to stock up during the
cheap summer months? The honey doesn't go bad, might as well.

BTW my latest mead is looking great!


14p wildflower honey
10p sour cherries
3tsp yeast nutrient
2 packages Red Star Cote de Blanc
O.G. 1.110
Brought 4 gal water to boil. Turned off heat and stirred in honey. Brought
to a boil (simmer) for 5-10min and skimmed merangue. Put crushed fruit in
large sparge sack (6+Gal) inside 6Gal plastic bucket with spigot attached.
Poured must over fruit and let sit at 170F for 30 min to pastuerize (or
stew as Dick says ;0). Chilled with immersion chiller and oxygenated for
45min with aquarium pump (email me for details if you like). Pitched yeast
and fermented at 75F for 5 days (pulp ferment). Racked into glass on day
six. S.G. 1.020.

Let you all know how it turns out.

My other latest two: Strawberry/Kiwi Melomel and Grapefruit Melomel are
coming along nicely as well.


"Think it, brew it, drink it"

  • -me

Charles Hudak

Subject: Odd Bubbles; Dates; Chalk; Calculated OG
From: Dennis Waltman <>
Date: Fri, 19 Sep 1997 14:02:12 -0400

I have a mead, made with 12 lbs of Star thistle Honey in around a 4
gallon batch (OG 1.100). I tried to use Wyeast Sweet Mead yeast that I
stepped up twice to a 500ml starter, but I got no activity after 48
hours and paniced and added dry yeast. Ferment did start OK, and was
fairly vigorous for awhile. There are, on the surface and on the carboy
surfaces, enormous bubbles that don't go way. I have not seen this
before, though my mead experience is not too massive. It almost looks
like the are not in contact with the mead surface at all. Is there a

Has anyone used Dates in a mead? I'm assuming one would use pitted
dates? How much needs to be used to get the Date flavor in mead?

Another mead in ferment, made with 12 pounds of Red Raspberry Honey in 3
gallons (roughly 1.120 OG) stopped fermenting for awhile (more than 1
week) at 1.050 SG. I added some chalk in pre-boiled water to the must
and gentlely swirled the carboy. Activity did start back up. Was it
the chalk or the swirling that likely did the most good?

When making melomels I add the fruit to the heated honey mixture in the
kettle (rarely going above 150F) However, most of the fruit does not go
into solution. Measuring the OG of the must is not going to reflect
sugars still attached or in the fruit pieces. Do you determined a
calculated OG for the melomel, go with the reading, or does the sugars
that have not gone into solutions get wasted and are not part of the
total sugars available to the yeast? What about when you add the
transfer the young mead into another vessel with the fruit? How does
one determined the likely gravity for calculations?

Thanks in Advance

Dennis Waltman

Subject: Novembeerfest 1997
From: "Webb, Richard B" <>
Date: Fri, 19 Sep 1997 10:56:19 -0700

The Brews Brothers,
Seattle's oldest homebrewing club announces
Novembeerfest 1997 homebrewing competition.

Started in 1991, Novembeerfest has become the Pacific
Northwest's most respected competition for amateur home
brewers around the world. Novembeerfest has grown from
a local competition to the most respected competition
in the Pacific Northwest.

This year's competition features something new – Fame!
Competition Organizer Jim Hinken has arranged for
respected breweries and brewpubs to produce the top
five beers for commercial release to the public!
The five breweries are:

Elysian Brewing Co. – Seattle, Washington
La Conner Brewing Co. – La Conner, Washington*
Twin Rivers Brewing – Monroe, Washington
Flying Pig Brewpub – Everett, Washington
* Still in planning phase

Novembeerfest welcomes all beer styles recognized by the
American Homebrewers Association. The judging will take
place November First. Judging will be conducted according
to the Beer Judge Certification Program rules and will
use B.J.C.P. judges from around the Northwest. Beers
chosen for commercial release will take into consideration
the brewhouse practices of the five participating
breweries. For example, no Lambics will be considered due
to the risks involved in using beer spoiling organisms.

In past competitions, Novembeerfest has featured two
things often omitted from other major competitions: Speed
and accuracy. The organizers have developed sophisticated
computer software that eliminates the possibility of
scoring errors by the judges. At the conclusion of the
competition, this same software will produce a thorough
statistical analysis of each brew in the competition that
will show the brewer where his or her beer placed within
the flight. Brewers won't have to wait weeks for their
results. Score sheets and statistics are mailed within
48 hours of the competition!

Entry fee for a three bottle entry is U.S.$5. Entry deadline is
October 29, 1997.

For more information, contact:
Brother Rob Nelson
Post Office Box 1016
Duvall, WA 98019-1016
Phone: (425) 788-0271
Fax: (425) 788-0271 (self detecting machine)
Web site:

Subject: re: vanilla cream mead
From: PickleMan <>
Date: Fri, 19 Sep 1997 16:05:05 -0700 (PDT)

I like the sound of this mead and have been thinking about doing one
myself. I was inspired by the Thrilla From Vanilla in Bee's Lees.
However, I would like to make something sweet and lightly alcoholic (this
seems to be the most elusive of the meads, especially when you need it
carbonated as well). I've tried aspartame in a cider and didn't care for
the aftertaste. I have difficulties metabolizing lactose, so thats out.
I've even tried Stevia sp., but it gave a grassy taste to the mead.(and
you can forget using the extract here in the U.S. if you can find it you'd
still have to be made of money to afford it). Which brings me to my last
point, I've remember Duncan & Action stating that arabinose (a sugar)
wasn't fermentable and had great sweetening power. However, nobody else
has ever heard of it. Anybody have an ideas?

Warren Place

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #593, 16 September 1997
From: (Thaddaeus A Vick)
Date: Sat, 20 Sep 1997 13:31:46 -0400

Miguel de Salas wrote:
>Charles Hudak writes:
>>>If you boil the fruit, you set the pectin. It DOES boil down to that, and if
>>>you don't want to use pectic enzyme or have a cloudy mead, you will want to
>>Wrong. I get brilliant melomels and I've not sulfited a one. Rather, I
>>pastuerize the fruit by pooring hot must over the fruit and letting it sit
>>at ~170F for 30 minutes. Pop in a wort chiller and chill down to
>>fermenting temp and your all set. Remember, heat kills too.

I bottled a blueberry mel about a month ago that is crystal clear. I

didn't boil the fruit or use enzymes or sulfites. What I did was pour the
honey water into my plastic fermenter onto the crushed berries as soon as
I took it off the heat. I then let it stand until it was cool, pitched a
packet of Premier Cuvee, and let it go. At about a week I racked it off the
fruit and in another month or so it was as clear as could be. The only
sanitation procedures I used was pasteurizing the honey, and soaking every
utensil I used in hot (as hot as it comes from the tap) Clorox water. I
haven't tasted it yet, but it seems to have survived my lack of care fairly
well. I'm planning on opening the first bottle around Christmas and I'll
post a full recipe then when I know how it came out.

Thaddaeus A. Vick –or–

Subject: sanitation in added honey
From: Di and Kirby <>
Date: Sat, 20 Sep 1997 23:50:54 -0500

> John Heubel <> wrote:

> I've heard about adding honey til the yeast stops working to adjust
> desired
> level of sweetness:
> 1. How much at a time and how frequently?

I usually do it when the SG drops to about 1.010 or 1.005, as often as
that happens before I reach max alcohol and desired sweetness. As far as
how much…I usually think about how much more alcohol the type of yeast
I'm using can tolerate, and figure how much "additional gravity" would
put it to that level, plus to my desired sweetness. Then I use however
much honey puts it to that gravity, (or a bit below if I'm playing it

> 2. How do I insure sanitization of honey at this point since
> I don't want
> more water added at this point (pasturizing thru heat) . Sulfites?
> Not a
> factor at this point due to high alcohol and *good* yeast population?

I'm *really* interested in hearing how other folks answer this. I've had
good results so far, ut I'm not entirely convinced that it's not at
least partly due to luck. What I've done so far is pasteurize the honey
in a very small amount of water, just enough to be able to readily
dissolve it in the mead. After racking, I usually have some headspace to
fill anyway. It occurs to me now that I could also use a bit of the mead
itself, if I didn't take too much. I try to be scrupulously sanitary,
and only sulfite as a last resort if I feel like I may have screwed up,
but I prefer not to. I think with a healthy yeast population also, I'm
relatively safe. What have other people tried?


Subject: Re:  Prickly Pear Update and ?
From: Olson <>
Date: Sun, 21 Sep 1997 08:58:29 -0600

>I've heard about adding honey til the yeast stops working to adjust
>desired level of sweetness:
> 1. How much at a time and how frequently?
> 2. How do I insure sanitization of honey at this point since I
>don't want more water added at this point (pasturizing thru heat).

When I want to add 1 to 3 pounds of honey to an already fermenting
5 gallon batch of mead, I pasteurize the honey by heating it to
145-150 F for 15-20 minutes. My microwave has a temperature probe
so it is easy for me (the microwave) to hold the honey at a constant
temperature. Then I slowly pour the hot honey directly into the mead
(in a glass carboy). If the mead is actively fermenting, lots of
bubbles are produced. If the mead has slowed down, there is very
little reaction.

I do not stir or agitate and I have never found a layer of honey
sitting in the bottom of any carboy. I do not dilute the honey
with water before pasteurizing it. I've never cracked a carboy,
the honey poured slowly in the center cools before it gets to the

How frequently do I add honey? The first time when it is still
fairly active, as soon as the gravity drops below 1.020, usually
after about 2 weeks. The next time could be in 2-4 weeks and then
as the fermentation really slows down, it may be a month or two.
It depends on the ingredients, temperature, and how sweet I want
the final result to be. The later additions are usually only one
pound, the early ones are 2 pounds. I usually start with an initial
gravity in the range of 1.070 to 1.085. Remember that in 5 gallons,
one pound of honey usually increases the mead's specific gravity
by about 0.007.


Subject: Using Persimmons
From: John Sullivan <>
Date: Tue, 23 Sep 1997 05:36:46 -0700

I have a friend who has some significant acreage on which there are a
number of persimmon trees. The persimmons are now ripening and beginning
to fall. He tells me that we should have no problem gathering a couple
of five-gallon buckets. These things can be a pain to work with. They
contain numerous pits each. My question (and it is a longshot that
anyone will know) is if there is anything harmful in the pits that should
prevent me from adding them to a mead or lambic? Any help or advice on
where to go for answers would be helpful. Private E-Mail or posting to
the digest is fine. Thanks!

John Sullivan
St. Louis, MO

Subject: Use of oak in mead making
From: "Glenn Mountain" <>
Date: Tue, 23 Sep 1997 21:47:18 -0500

Hi All,

I'm new to both mead making and the MLD so please be gentle.

Just wondering if anyone has any experience in using oak barrels to either
ferment or age their mead in as in wine making ?
If so, is new or old oak preferred or is it just a matter of personal
taste. I am more interested in the practicality but would be very
interested to here any opinions of the flavour profile that would result.


Glenn Mountain
Melbourne, Australia

Subject: Plastic Bottles
From: "Phillip J. Welling" <>
Date: Tue, 23 Sep 1997 08:51:50 -0600

Hello all.

I am new to making mead & was wondering if 2
liter pop bottles works well for fermenting.
I was wondering because I don't have the space
to make large batches & 2 liters would be the
right size for storing away while waiting for
the fermenting to finish.

Phillip J. Welling
ICQ #: 2579862
Visit my home page at:

End of Mead Lover's Digest #595