Mead Lover's Digest #0621 Mon 8 December 1997


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



Help–Odor from Mead primary? (Bryan Fitzhugh)
stuck fermentation–should I add oxygen? (Brett Donahue)
Re: Commercial Meads (Scott Morrison)
neck ring (Steve Daughhetee)
mead co-op (Matt Maples)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #620, 4 December 1997 (NL Steve)
Racking (RBarnes001)
Kenelm"s famous closet ("Robert Alley")
Re: Low Alcohol Yeast (Sheryl Nance-Durst)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #619, 2 December 1997 (MicahM1269)


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Subject: Help--Odor from Mead primary? 
From: Bryan Fitzhugh <>
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 1997 14:39:34 -0600 (CST)

My first attempt at a mead is in progress as I type and I'm a

little concerned about the smell which is coming from the airlock. It's
bubbling at about 1/sec, but the smell is quite cidery (possibly
vinegaresque?). Is this common? Is this common in *non-infected* mead?
(Hey, I'll settle for anything right now) It's been bubbling away pretty
much since I stirred things up which most likely also resulted in
aeration, for better or for worse.

From what I've read acetobacter needs oxygen and it's been doing

this steadily for at least 4 of days. Not to mention I don't think
there was much alcohol to begin with…

Oh, there are only five things I am certain of in the

carboy–water, honey, and yeast, yeast nutrient (~2 tsp.) and yeast
energiser (~1tsp). Can somebody reassure me of something???

On a side note- the only activity visible in the carboy are tiny bubbles
rising up at the point where the carboy begins to narrow. These bubbles
are only present in a select quarter of the 'neck' which seemed a bit

Thanks in advance,

  • Bryan

Subject: stuck fermentation--should I add oxygen?
From: Brett Donahue <>
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 1997 13:47:52 -0700

I have a very stuck fermentation. SP is 1.068. The original recipe was
5 gal of mead consisting of 15lbs of honey and champaign yeast. The
mead has completely cleared. It is as clear as can be.

I started a new yeast starter and through it in with more yeast
nutrient. I check the PH and made sure that it was above 4. It seems
to have started fermenting again.

My question is: In this case, would it be ok to add oxygen? Would that
ruin the mead? Or would in help the yeast? Would the yeast use all of
the oxygen?

Subject: Re: Commercial Meads
From: Scott Morrison <>
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 1997 15:52:55 -0500

>Subject: Re: Commercial Meads
>From: (Michael L. Hall)
>Date: Wed, 3 Dec 1997 11:27:28 -0700
> writes:
>> Does anyone have a list of commercial meaderies and a discussion of their
>> products? Here in Ontario our government owned liquour stores sell a mea=
>> called Chaucer's mead which is made in California. Next week they get in
>> Moniack's Mead from Scotland. Has anyone ever heard of these products an=
>> have any opinion's on their quality.
>Chaucer's Mead is sweet without much character. Most people regard it
>as an inferior product.
>Mead from the Moniack Castle in Scotland is excellent, IMO. I picked up
>some at the castle (near Inverness) last year, and I've only got about
>half a bottle left. It's made from heather honey and has a dark brownish
>color. Very complex, lots of floral notes. Medium to full sweetness. No
>wine character, such as grassiness (IMO, this is a good thing).
>Does anyone else know of Moniack Castle Mead being sold in the US? If so,
>where and at what price? Maybe we should start a mead shipping co-op…
>- -Mike

I agree that Moniak Mead is incredible, but hard to find. Thankfully I
live close enough to Ontario that I can pick it up once in a while.

There are a couple of other commercial meads that I know about.


Verge d'Or This is a fairly sub standard watery 'honey wine' with a
taste resembling wet cardboard (mind you wet cardboard that had been
stored in a beehive for a while) Not recommended. But
The same meadery has just introduced "Beno=EEte" which is a bit more $ and
higher alcohol but quite good in the flavor… The aroma and taste is
perfumy but not opressively so. Nummy

British Columbia. It is still illegal in BC to produce mead (ie fermented
honey) for commercial sale so there aren't any true meads to be found.
However Merridale cider company on Vancouver Island makes a very decent
cyser and get around the law by doing 2 fermentations — the first with
apples and the secondary with honey. Its pretty powerful stuff but very
good. It can be found in speciality wine stores.

Scott Morrison

Subject: neck ring
From: Steve Daughhetee <>
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 1997 16:51:01 -0500

I have a question regarding an apparent contamination problem.

Early this fall, I prepared a hard cider with five gallons of farm stand
apple juice and relatively little (10ppm) potassium metabisulfite. It
fermented well with the wild yeast and produced a clean cider at racking.
As I had a gallon of good summer wildflower honey just lying around waiting
for inspiration, I decided to take advantage of this large and proven yeast
cake to make a show mead. I added warm honey and water to the carboy along
with 20ppm of potassium metabisulfite, shook the hell out of it and let it
rest. It fermemted steadily for a month or so before I racked it. The
mead was quite outstanding (and dry) at racking (for a mead of such
youth). I placed the carboy in a cool room and it fell bright in the next
month. Recently, I noticed a pronounced white ring around the carboy neck.

I was wondering whether anyone had suggestions for salvage of this
recklessly made beauty?

Steve Daughhetee
Ithaca, NY

Subject: mead co-op
From: Matt Maples <>
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 1997 16:52:15 -0800

>Subject: Re: Commercial Meads
>From: (Michael L. Hall)
>Date: Wed, 3 Dec 1997 11:27:28 -0700
>Does anyone else know of Moniack Castle Mead being sold in the US? If so,
>where and at what price? Maybe we should start a mead shipping co-op…
>- -Mike

I think Mike has a great idea!!! I would love to participate in a co-op and
would gladly help orginize and run it if enough people were interested.
With the geographical diversity of everyone on MLD I bet we could come up
with quite a few meaderies to draw from. I know of two in my neck of the
woods, there is Life force in Moscow Idaho and Elendale in Dallas Oregon
(which may be out of business). My beer club (The Oregon Brew Crew :-))
does something like this every year for Belgium beers. The way they get
around heavy import restrictions is that they only buy about 4 or 5 cases,
the beer must be distributed to our member only, and most important no one
can make ANY money off the deal. One year the breweries even through in
some glasses with the cases. If any of you out there are even remotely
interested in participating in something like this please chime in because
it would only work if we got at least 25 to 30 people to participate.

As for the meaderies I mentioned let me tell you about them.

Elendale (Dalas Oregon)
I have only a few commercial mead but this one was by far the best. They
made a sweet mead (well it was more like a medium but it said sweet on the
label) that was superb. It was well balanced, tart and playful and not that
sickly sweet stuff you get out of most meaderies I've tried. They also make
a Dry that was very good (I even and a bottle or two left in the cellar)
crisp but not bitey more wine like than mead like but still very tasty. I
have not seen them in the stores for a long time (I was buying by the case
and I still have some left so I haven't looked real hard) so it does not
look hopeful.

Life Force (Moscow Idaho)
Unfortunately Life Force falls into the insipidly sweet category. Now I
have only had two of their mead and I don't know how many they have but the
ones I tried were out of balance. The only saving grace was that the
huckleberries they used in their huckleberries mead gave it some tartness
but sadly not enough.

If you are interested in participating in a buying co-op please drop me a
line so I can see if there is enough interest to move this forward. Please
respond to this address (personal) if you can't get though
on that one try (work)

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #620, 4 December 1997
From: NL Steve <>
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 1997 20:38:15 EST

<< writes:
>… Here in Ontario our government owned liquour stores sell a mead
> called Chaucer's mead which is made in California. Next week they get in
> Moniack's Mead from Scotland. Has anyone ever heard of these products and
> have any opinion's on their quality. >>

I've found Chaucer's to be very sweet (a dessert type mead) but lacking proper
honey character, possibly due to over-filtration or other overprocessing. It
is merely pleasant. Because of the fairly low alcohol level, it appears they
arrested fermentation artificially.
On another tack, someone (sorry, lost my copy of that MLD) asked about yeasts
for reduced alcohol meads. Of course, you could simply start with less honey
to produce a low alcohol mead. Or choose a yeast such as Wyeast Sweet Mead,
which put my mead at around 10 or 10.5% alcohol when I used it once. It
requires nutrients. I also had a stuck fermentation when I racked off the
lees before fermentation was finished, so don't make that mistake.
Now, a question:
I'm still looking for a source of interesting varietal honey, & while I'm open
to suggestions, I'm particularly interested in heather or rosemary honey. Any
Thanks, all, & happy holidays!

Subject: Racking
From: RBarnes001 <>
Date: Fri, 5 Dec 1997 06:16:14 EST

In a message From: bob farrell <>

> Last week I racked 5 gallons of blueberry melomel to the secondary. I had
> difficulty maintaining the siphon due to the amount of fruit residue in the
> primary carboy, and only racked about 3 1/2 gallons.


> In the future, would I be better off using a plastic bucket for initial
> fermentation, so that I can squeeze the pulp and scoop out the fruit before
> racking?

I have always added my fruit after the boil and let it steep in the wort/must
before placing in the primary – if there's any fruit I want to add later, I do
that in the form of extracts

I suppose if you insist on putting your fruit in the primary (and I see
nothing wrong with that) perhaps you could put in in one of those grain bags.
That would help you with the problem of fruit clogging the racking cane.
However, for guys like me who use carboys for all fermentation, getting that
grain bag full of pulp OUT of the carboy would be just a little tough!

Good Luck!


Subject: Kenelm"s famous closet
From: "Robert Alley" <>
Date: Fri, 5 Dec 1997 18:00:43 -0500

I'm not sure if people have this book. I just ordered my copy of the
hardback version, but haven't received it yet. I'm including part of my
last email from an English friend of mine with the information (just in case
you're interested).

Take care,


Have you WWW access? if you have, go to, and do a title
search for 'Kenelme'. Be careful about the spelling, as it
doesn't do part word matches. I'd looked before, and got no results
looking for Kenelm, but I finally found them by searching for Closet
(You can guess what most of the books were!). You'd be able to order
from them by credit-card if you wish There are two versions. A
paperback for stlg15, published by the bee-keepers association,
(classified under 'Stockbreeding' by the bookshop would you
believe!) which I think has only the mead recipes in, but I haven't
seen it. And a hard-back for stlg25.50. I ordered mine through a local
bookshop, as I don't like passing card details over the web, but I
can give you any info you want on that one, as it's the one I have.
As far as I can tell, it's a complete issue, as it says:
"This edition first published in 1997, by Prospect Books, Allaleigh
House, Blackawton, Totnes, Devon TQ9 7DL The text is that of the
first edition, published by H.Brome, at the Star in Little Britain,
London, 1669"
It includes a lot of recipes for food etc as well as _many_ for mead,
metheglin, meathe, hydromel, and a couple of ales, ciders, and wines.

Subject: Re: Low Alcohol Yeast
From: Sheryl Nance-Durst <>
Date: Sat, 06 Dec 1997 15:38:51 -0600

>I'm fairly new to the mead making world although I've been a beer
>brewer for a couple years now. I'm interested in making a plain old
>mead, but I would like it to have a fairly low alcohol content. Does
>anybody have any experience and or knowledge of what variety of yeast
>might give good results with low alcohol tolerance? Perhaps some type
>of ale yeast?

I did a batch of Lemon-Ginger using Munton & Fison ale yeast. It
came out fairly low alcohol & was pretty good within 1 month of
bottling. I've only used wine yeasts before, so I was surprised how
much of an "ale" taste was imparted by the yeast. I've also heard
some mead makers recommend Edme ale yeast in the past.

Sheryl Nance-Durst

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #619, 2 December 1997
From: MicahM1269 <>
Date: Mon, 8 Dec 1997 07:17:33 EST

In a message dated 97-12-03 04:25:52 EST, you write:

<< Subject: Commercial Meads
Date: Mon, 1 Dec 1997 09:43:25 -0500

Does anyone have a list of commercial meaderies and a discussion of their
products? Here in Ontario our government owned liquour stores sell a mead
called Chaucer's mead which is made in California. Next week they get in
Moniack's Mead from Scotland. Has anyone ever heard of these products and
have any opinion's on their quality.


I have never tasted the Moniacks , but I have the Chauncers, on more than one
occasion. It is a terrible mead. I comes with a packet of spices to add to it.
I suspect that the spices are only to hide the off flavours. I would not spend
money on that one.

micah millspaw – brewer at large

End of Mead Lover's Digest #621