Mead Lover's Digest #0600 Mon 6 October 1997


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



mld 599 (
Oak chips ("John R. Bowen")
Re:In the Raw ("John R. Bowen")
Re:Subject: Oak Chips from John Mason (
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #599, 4 October 1997 ("John R. Bowen")
Jasmine Mead?? ("Mike Kidulich")
Re: fruit in secondary, mead starter (Joyce Miller)
Fruit Concentrates (
syrup adjuncts in mead (Sir Warren Place)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #599, 4 October 1997 (Cam Lay)
re: fruitless in baltimore (Dick Dunn)


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Subject: mld 599
Date: Sat, 4 Oct 1997 15:57:59 -0400

In reference to a few questions posted:
I haven't used Dole concentrate, but I have used Welch's juice
concentrate with very nice results. If I can find Dole, I'll try that
First off, Montracet dry wine yeast finishes off fairly dry, and
therefore needs to be aged longer. Also, try adding more honey until the
yeast poops out. I'm guessing you prefer a sweeter mead. I have used
Premier Cuvee with excellent results for a sweet mead, and currently have
a Prise de Mousse in the fermenter, which fills my 2 car garage/office
with the sweet scent of mead!
SIMPLE TIP (or is that stupid tip)
If your mead is cloudy, serve in non-clear glass or mug. Looks better
already! Or you can claim it to be a mideivel recipe you found. Who's
going to dispute you?
Paul Haaf

Subject: Oak chips
From: "John R. Bowen" <>
Date: Mon, 27 Aug 1956 13:07:11 +0000

I don't know about the taste of oak chips, but my recollection of some
old advice I was given was to steam them for about 15 minutes to help
sanitize them before use.


Subject: Re:In the Raw
From: "John R. Bowen" <>
Date: Mon, 27 Aug 1956 13:13:39 +0000

Andrew, i hope what you have is crystallized honey, not waxy honey.
Was floats on the surface of water and honey. While raw unprocessed
honey might contain a few small pieces of wax, I have never seen it
with any significant quantity.

If indeed it is crystallized, you can heat it to about 150F for a
while to "melt" it (use a water bath or just put it in the oven on
"low"), or add it to hot water or whatever you would nornally do
making mead forn uncrystallized honey. If you can physically get it
in the fermenter, it should behave just like the liquid stuff in the

Any was will float on the mead and can be avoided when racking.


Subject: Re:Subject: Oak Chips from John Mason
Date: Sat, 4 Oct 1997 23:39:06 -0400 (EDT)

In a message dated 97-10-04 15:19:11 EDT, you write:

<< Subject: Oak Chips
From: John Mason <>
Date: Tue, 30 Sep 1997 09:16:35 -0500

>Does anyone have some advice on the use of oak chips? Oak barrels
>aren't really an option for me.

John, I have used oak chips about 5 times with mead and a couple of

times with wine without any infection. The meads I used them in were fairly
high in alcohol content. I put the chips in a sanitized glass and then used
a wine thief to extract some mead and put in on the oak chips. I let the
mead rest on the chips with aluminum foil over it for a day or two. Then, I
sanitized a funnel and carefully poured the contents back into the carboy.
It got just enough flavor to make it nice. On one batch, I did this twice
to get the oak flavor strong enough to balance out the other flavors. Be
careful if you do this though, as it seems the oak comes out stronger after
the yeast drops.

I have also used oak chips in wine a couple of times by putting them

directly into the wine. I have not had an infection yet. What I did here as
the alcohol wasn't as high yet when I put them in was soak them for about 15
minutes in an iodophor solution. This would probably also work with mead
that isn't as high in alcohol.

I think based upon my limited experience with this that it is quite

possible to get oak flavor into the mead without infection. However, I sure
would like to get some French Oak Chips and compare those to the American Oak
I have used. They seem to have a slightly difference taste when you taste a
wine from France vs. a wine from CA that seems to have an American Oak taste.
I like both, but it would be fun to experiment.

I hope this helps. I am sure others on the Mead Lovers Digest can

elaborate upon and/or correct anything I have said. Duane

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #599, 4 October 1997
From: "John R. Bowen" <>
Date: Mon, 27 Aug 1956 13:36:05 +0000

John, perhaps you can be more specific on the taste of "crap". Is is
moldy, musty, yeasty, acidic, alcoholic, harsh…? Be as descriptive
as you can. I am guessing you have massive contamination, so a couple
of thoughts:

Why are you waiting to add the yeast to your sterile must? Boil it if
you will (see below), cool it in the boiling kettle as rapidly as
possible, move it to your fermenter and add the yeast as soon as it
reaches room temperature. That delay is just waiting for something
odd to grow first.

You might want to aerate before adding the yeast, although with dry
yeast packets, this may not be necessary. If it is, just shake the
must up to introduce air before the yeast.

You mention stirring the fermenting must to aerate daily. Not
necessary. Once the yeast is added and starts growing, leave it
alone. The yeast will feremnt quite well without air, and you risk
oxidation and contamination with stirring.

Many of us don't boil the fruit. Try boiling the honey/water if you
want and pouring that onto the fruit while hot, to pasteruize the
fruit. Boiling the fruit will "set" the fruit pectins and, IMHO,
affect the taste. But it is probably not the cause of your problem.
Do continue to add the fruit directly if you must boil it–don't use
the cheesecloth bag in case it is part of the problem.

Some of your 1/2 gal. batches look a little heavy on the honey, unless
I am misunderstanding your final volume. Perhaps you could try a
gallon with just 2 lbs honey in the final gallon volume. It may
ferment cleaner and faster, until you get this straightened out.

Do, I think, just add the dry yeast. I have never mixed dry with hot
water and it always works fine. I just dump it in and let it sit on
the surface with additional stirring.

This sounds very frustrating, at the least. Keep us posted, and good


Subject: Jasmine Mead??
From: "Mike Kidulich" <>
Date: Sun, 5 Oct 1997 11:06:32 -5

Greetings, fellow mead lovers,

I have been thinking about making a mead using jasmine tea. I have
orange blossom honey, and leaf tea with jasmine blossoms. Anybody
ever use tea in a mead? I was thinking about doing one gallon to
start, and using about 1 oz. of tea leaves. Should I put them in the
primary or the secondary? I am kind of leaning towards the secondary,
to avoid losing the delicate floral character of the jasmine.


Mike Kidulich
Upstate New York Homebrewers Association

Subject: Re: fruit in secondary, mead starter
From: Joyce Miller <>
Date: Sun, 5 Oct 1997 14:56:39 -0400 (EDT)

>Subject: re: Pyment, fruit in secondary
>I'm not at all convinced on the points of freshness or aroma-blowing-
>off. The loss-of-aroma argument is a common one, but so far as I can
>tell it's mostly an argument based on common sense rather than actual

In my *experience*, grapes are very powerful, and are one of the few fruits
that retain most of their flavor through the primary ferment. With
everything else, I have been letting plain mead ferment for two weeks, and
then racking onto the fruit (or whatever). It results in stronger flavor,
and uses less of the flavoring ingredient.

>Just to be slightly argumentative, I'd point out that winemakers and cider-
>makers perforce put fruit/juice in the primary!

Well, obviously! But that's a high concentration of juice.

>Subject: Re: making starters for mead yeast?
>While I don't think mead starters are absolutely essential, I do think them
>The exact ratio is suspect but I read once that the starter should be 10% of
>the volume (i.e. 1/2 gallon for 5 gallons) My apologies to Dick Dunn if I am
>wrong, but I believe that was his figure.
>Wyeast seems to be particularly a slow fermenter, IMHO Wyeast just doesn't
>have enough in it's smack pack to do the job

Wyeast has a very small inoculum, and really isn't "ready to pitch," IMO.
It should be used to inoculate a starter. I've also found that using a
really big starter results in fewer nasty off-flavors in the finished product.

  • — Joyce

Subject: Fruit Concentrates
Date: Sun, 5 Oct 1997 19:15:45 -0400 (EDT)

> 100% fruit concentrate in cans

I know what you mean about lack of fruit!
I have used in the past Kerns Peach Drink before. Kerns has a line of fruit
juices that are really good. I used about 60 oz of juice for a 5 gallon
Seemed to work just fine.

You could also use those concentrates from LD Carlson, available at homebrew
stores. I've used them with equally satisfactory results.

Subject: syrup adjuncts in mead
From: Sir Warren Place <>
Date: Sun, 5 Oct 1997 22:19:34 -0700 (PDT)

You might also try using liquor extracts sold in most homebrew shops.
Hazelnut works well in brown ales, but thats all I can speak to so far.

Warren Place

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #599, 4 October 1997
From: Cam Lay <clay@CLEMSON.EDU>
Date: Mon, 06 Oct 1997 10:05:22 -0400

Jay wrote:

>*less* than sweet, I am at a loss. However, at the local market, I
>saw Dole 100% fruit concentrate in cans (like O.J.), and they had
>raspberry, peach, and the like. My question to the collective is can
>I use these in place of fruit? Do they have the necessary sugar,

I routinely make cider with frozen apple-juice concentrate, augmented
with malt, sugar, brown sugar, honey, or whatever-I-feel-like-feeding-it.
So far, not bad. One batch a little on the "rocket-fuel" side, but
aged to palatability in a few months.

"Data" is not the plural of "anecdote," of course. Good luck!


Subject: re: fruitless in baltimore
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 6 Oct 97 10:52:01 MDT (Mon)

"Jay Spies" <> wrote:
> …at the local market, I
> saw Dole 100% fruit concentrate in cans (like O.J.), and they had
> raspberry, peach, and the like. My question to the collective is can
> I use these in place of fruit?…

You may be able to use them, but there are a couple of things to watch out

* Look for preservatives, in particular sorbates, which will give you
fits trying to get fermentation started.
* A lot of this stuff is very proud to proclaim that it's "100% fruit"
but a bit bashful about telling you what the fruit really is. It tends
to be white grape juice, and if you're lucky maybe a bit of apple
juice, with the label-flavor (raspberry, peach…) being down the list.
It's still fermentable (+/- the preservatives) but it doesn't have a
lot of the character of the fruit you think you're getting.

Dick Dunn rcd, domain Boulder County, Colorado USA

…Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity.

End of Mead Lover's Digest #600