Mead Lover's Digest #0630 Tue 6 January 1998


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



honey flavor (
Advice needed on making sparkling mead (Jim)
Making 1/2 Gallon Sparkling ("Phillip J. Welling")
Merrydown Mead (Rod McDonald)
1st Raspberry Melomel (Bryan Fitzhugh)
How to cork? (Tidmarsh Major)
Mead Co-Op (Michael L. Hall)
Foreign Commercial Meads (Michael L. Hall)
First mead (Matthew Arnold)
Re: Chaucer's Mead (Jane Beckman)
Mead co-op (Matt Maples)


NOTE: Digest only appears when there is enough material to send one.
Send ONLY articles for the digest to
Use for [un]subscribe/admin requests. When

subscribing, please include name and email address in body of message.

Digest archives and FAQ are available for anonymous ftp at

in pub/clubs/homebrew/mead.


Subject: honey flavor
Date: Sun, 04 Jan 1998 13:25:37 -0800

I've done two batches of mead, and used honey some in making beer. Does
honey have a strong flavor, or is it only some honey varieties? Some
of what I'm getting is higher alcohols. Here's my usual

3# honey
steep around 170F for about an hour, spice if desired.
champagne yeast

I'm thinking of cutting the honey down to 2 lbs., and using a fruit
like raspberry to get some color and flavor. I'm looking for something
like a good wine cooler, that softer persuasions might prefer to
beer. I like the idea of drying it out with the champagne. I get the
same "strong" flavor when I use ale yeasts so I don't think that's
a cause.

Thoughts? Good ones?


Subject: Advice needed on making sparkling mead
From: Jim <>
Date: Sun, 4 Jan 1998 14:04:01 -0800 (PST)

Greetings all!

After making about a half dozen still meads successfully, I decided to
make a sparkling melomel.

I started a 5 gallon batch in mid-December using the following:

12# Orange Blossom Honey
6# Frozen Raspberries
water to 5 gallons
2 packs Red Star Pasteur Champagne Yeast

At 2 weeks all airlock action had stopped. I removed all the berries and
racked from the 6 gallon plastic bucket primary to a 5 gal. glass carboy.
A hydrometer reading showed a s.g reading of 0. Taste was excellent.

Now, how do I proceed in making this batch a sparkling mead?
I have experience making beers and braggots carbonating by adding 1 cup
of corn sugar to a 5 gallon batch just before bottling.
However, I want to use honey to carbonate the melomel.
How much honey should I add?

When Should I bottle?
I want the Melomel to be as clear as possible, but there will need to be
some still active yeast in the must to do the carbonation.
How long will the yeast remain active in the secondary fermentor when
there is just about no sugar to feed on?


Subject: Making 1/2 Gallon Sparkling
From: "Phillip J. Welling" <>
Date: Sun, 04 Jan 1998 18:45:51 -0700

I have a 1 gallon batch about ready to bottle (my first batch) & I wanted
to make 1/2 of it sparkling.

How much sugar or corn syrup would I need to add to make 1/2 of it

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

Subject: Merrydown Mead
From: (Rod McDonald)
Date: Mon, 5 Jan 1998 13:16:55 +1000

All those years ago (back in High School – shall we say a couple of decades
ago) – I and friends (including another subscriber to this digest who will
remain nameless unless he wishes to confess) used to drink whatever meads
were available in the NSW country town of Goulburn where we grew up, and
these were Merrydown, Maxwell (an Australian mead) and now and then the
polish meads that came in clay bottles. Notwithstanding the fact that our
palates were rather young and undeveloped and possibly due to the fact that
we made a point of drinking them in very amenable circumstances, (usually
out of doors at night, at graveyards, beside rivers, at banquets – and we
hadn't even heard of the SCA – by firelight, on hill tops etc etc) I seem
to recall that the old Merrydown, for a sweet mead was not too bad. Better
than Maxwell's at least. Perhaps it is just fond memories of a well-spent
youth, but I would certainly buy another bottle of Merrydown if ever I
found one on the shelf of the bottle-o!

And I also seem to recall Lindisfarne Mead (from Lindisfarne, in case you
hadn't guessed) was pretty damn good too.

Wassail and slainte


Subject: 1st Raspberry Melomel  
From: Bryan Fitzhugh <>
Date: Mon, 5 Jan 1998 02:38:51 -0600 (CST)

I sent this to r.c.b with no helpful responses and was wondering

if perhaps somebody in this digest may be able to help/comfort/guide me
towards making this first attempt a reasonable success. Thanks!

I just racked my first attempt at a mead, a raspberry melomel to

the tertiary and have a question about the taste. I've never tasted any
meads before so I have little to base my perceptions on. Anyway, I
started the mead with 10# of honey in 5 gal and let that ferment until it
began to slow. Next, I added about 60 oz. of raspberries to the
secondary. It had slowed to well under 1 bubble/min so I just moved it to
the tertiary for aging. The gravity reading was 0.992 and it definitely
has some alcohol in it. It has a decent raspberry odor, but not much
taste at all. It tastes sort of bland with quite a bit of tartness.
I presume the tartness is from the raspberries but am wondering how this
should mature. From what I've heard a lot of meads are hardly touchable
for the first 6 months. Will more raspberry flavor come therough? Will
the tartness mellow much? I guess I should add that the portion I sampled
came from the very bottom of the bottling bucket (which was left after
racking) so I'm not sure if this may be very representative of the batch.
My thoughts are:

1) I may not like meads with gravities quite this
2) Taste it after another month or so in the
tertiary and maybe add some raspberry

I used Lavlin K-1116 or somehting like that. A wine yeast…

Just want to know everyone's thoughts and suggestions. Now I kind

of regret not adding more raspberry but I've heard that just straight mead
was nice also so I figured what the hell… I can say the mead tasted
pretty nice when the SG was around 1.04 as I racked to the secondary (of
course it was way too honey-flavored but seemed quite promising).

Thanks in advance, and my apologies for the long post…

  • -Bryan Fitzhugh

Subject: How to cork?
From: Tidmarsh Major <>
Date: Mon, 5 Jan 1998 09:49:28 -0500 (EST)

After several batches of sparkling mead in crown cap and champagne
bottles, my first still mead is ready to bottle, and I'd like to put it in
750mL wine bottles, but I'm not sure of the best way to prepare the corks.
I've heard of boiling, steaming, and soaking in a campden-tablet solution;
what do those of you on the digest do? Email me personally, and I'll post
a summary to the list.

Tidmarsh Major

PS–For the record, it is a peach melomel, 11 lbs fresh peaches, washed
and pitted but with the skins, 13 lbs orange-blossom honey, and Lavin
KV-1116 yeast. Primary was in plastic; secondary is in glass.

Subject: Mead Co-Op
From: (Michael L. Hall)
Date: Mon, 5 Jan 1998 11:15:10 -0700

A couple of people responded to me privately that they would
be interested in a "Mead Co-Op" — in other words a group of
people that mailed mead that wasn't locally available to each
other. I would be interested in this also, but I don't have
the time to organize it.

Unfortunately, I don't have access to many good local meads,
except for meads that I pick up on road trips to Denver. I do
pick up some meads on my overseas and distant US trips, but
only enough for personal consumption.

If anyone is interested in organizing something like this,
please let the digest know.

  • -Mike

| Michael L. Hall, Ph.D. <> |
| President, Los Alamos Atom Mashers <> |
| Member, AHA Board of Advisors <> |

Subject: Foreign Commercial Meads
From: (Michael L. Hall)
Date: Mon, 5 Jan 1998 11:16:16 -0700

I noticed that several people commented on the Bunratty Mead from
Ireland. I visited the Bunratty Castle (& Folk Park — great place to
smell burning peat) last year and picked up a couple of bottles of their
mead to take home. I like it, but it doesn't seem particularly exciting
to me — just a well-done, traditional, medium-sweet golden mead. Much
better than Chaucer's (of course), but not nearly as interesting as
the Moniack Castle Mead from Scotland.

In the summer of 96 I picked up a mead in Belgium. Here's an
excerpt from an article I wrote about my trip (see the full
article at

The next day, on my way back to the Grand Place, I happened to spot an
unassuming shop with a sign saying "Maisson de Miel". Smelling mead, I stopped
in and talked to the woman who was working there. She spoke a little English
and I spoke no French, but we managed to talk a little about the interesting
honeys that she was selling. When I told her that I made mead from honey, she
nodded acknowledgment and pulled a bottle from behind the counter. It was
called "Nectar Mede, Honigwijn – Hydromel". It didn't look particularly
inviting, so I only bought a single bottle. When I got it home and tasted it
(I'm drinking some now), it was a very interesting and complex mead. It has
medium to full sweetness, but without a cloying aftertaste. The color is a deep
nutty copper hue, about 12 SRM, which is pretty dark for a mead. There is a
distinct sherry or brandy character to the taste, and I suspect that it
contains some form of grapes, probably red ones. Overall it is a very pleasant
mead, reminiscent of a tawny port, with the lingering flavor of raisins.

Last summer, I picked up several meads in Germany, but I haven't tasted
them yet.


| Michael L. Hall, Ph.D. <> |
| President, Los Alamos Atom Mashers <> |
| Member, AHA Board of Advisors <> |

Subject: First mead
From: (Matthew Arnold)
Date: Mon, 05 Jan 1998 18:33:52 GMT

Well, I bottled my first-ever mead–a cyser–last week (pause for applause). As
I mentioned in a previous post, it was based on DaveP's "Hangover Cyser" from
"Mead Made Easy."

The Recipe: In Cyser (one gallon batch)
1.5# Orange Blossom Honey
3/4 gal Apple cider
1 can Welch's white grape concentrate
1 pkg Red Star Champagne Yeast
Brewed 11/16/97
Bottled 12/29/97

I had enough for ten (12oz) bottles with a smidge left over for tasting. I
bottled it with 1/8 cup corn sugar and kept it in the upstairs bathroom (only
warm room in the house at this time of year) for a week before putting it in
the corner of the basement, aka, my lagering cellar.

Taste notes: smelled like a dry apple wine (surprise, surprise), tasted like
firewater. Methinks this one is going to have to sit awhile. I couldn't finish
drinking the few ounces I saved. It tasted pretty good, but with a serious
alcohol burn. Any ideas how long before this one will be drinkable? I thought
about busting one open on my birthday (Feb. 10) to test it, or would I be
wasting my time to try it that early?



Subject: Re: Chaucer's Mead
From: Jane Beckman <>
Date: Mon, 5 Jan 1998 14:19:12 -0800

>The part that totally befuddled me though was their recommendation that you
>consume the mead shortly after purchase to enjoy the "fresh honey flavor".
>Do they not believe in aging mead? All I can say to that is YECCHH!!

I can tell you from experience that Chaucer's doesn't get any better with
age. It doesn't necessarily get worse. It just gets…different. Since I
think of it suitable only for pouring over ice cream, to begin with, this is
not a recommendation.

You see, I won a case of Chaucer's in a contest, once. It took me years to
go through the case, and there was NO change of character for the first five
years. It started tasting vaguely different at about that point. That was
the last of it, though, so I couldn't tell what it did from there…

EXCEPT…little did I know a bottle survived from this batch in the back of
the wine cabinet in my father's basement for *15 years.* Almost fearfully,
I opened it and tasted it. Guess what? It still tasted overpoweringly
sweet, like Chaucer's, but it now had the strange bad-sherry undertone of a
sweet wine that has been stored far too long and now has long since peaked
and started to deteriorate. I didn't drink much of it before I chucked the


Subject: Mead co-op
From: Matt Maples <>
Date: Mon, 5 Jan 1998 15:01:15 -0800

Hello out there in MLD!!

A short time back the subject of a mead buying co-op was brought up and I

was more than happy to jump on the idea and start organizing one. The
response has been ok but we need more interested parties to make it work.
Let me tell you how I see the co-op taking shape.

First off this would not be a business. I nor anyone else in the co-op

will be making any money off of this. This is done of the love and the art
of mead not money. I see the co-op as a group of friends coming together to
try meads we would not normally be able to get our hands on.

Second, this is NOT a way to get cheap mead. There is going to be shipping

costs and the cost of packaging. This will make it more expensive than if
you went to the meadery your self and bought it, but the following are the
reasons why we would accept these additional costs….

A) Most wineries that I have dealt with will not ship less that a case

(which makes for a big investment for one person). We would spread that
case investment between many people.

B) It is customary for wineries to give full case discounts from 10-15%.

This would help off set the additional shipping costs.

C) I can't think of a C right now but I'm sure there is one around here


Third, no one will be required to buy anything. A notice will go out for a

mead at an approximate price, if you want to buy some you place an order,
if not you don't period! Now I might try to encourage people to buy in so
we can round out a full case order but other than that there will be no
pressure to buy.

Fourth, feedback. Everyone that buys some will be encouraged to send in

there opinion of the mead. I think that this kind of interaction is what a
lot of us are looking for. After all trying the same product and exchanging
opinions on flavor notes, aromas, appearance and over all quality can only
help us in our own brewing endeavors. And if we give these opinions back to
the meaderies maybe we can help the mead industry mature in the U.S..

Fifth, availability. With the geographic diversity of the group we should

be able to find and get a hold of meads that we wouldn't normally know
about. In this respect there will need to be participation from the
members. Other than that members can participate only as much as they want.
You can just sit back and lurk or you can participate in shaping what will
undoubtedly be a fun group.

This will be a fun group if we can just get it off the ground. Hope to hear
from some of you soon.

Matt Maples (preferred address) (use this address last)

End of Mead Lover's Digest #630