Mead Lover's Digest #0631 Wed 7 January 1998


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



Loss of mead character ("Brian Ehlert")
Re:Mead Co-op (Bill)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #630, 6 January 1998 (NL Steve)
Re: Honey Flavor (DMaki62870)
bad mead (Brian Fackrell)
papaya melomel search (K Miller)
Mazer Cup Results (Finally!) (Ken Schramm)
Re: Merrydown Mead (Peter Miller)
Mead Lover's Digest #630: A Raft o' Remarks (Charlie Moody)


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Subject: Loss of mead character
From: "Brian Ehlert" <>
Date: Tue, 6 Jan 1998 17:52:33 -0500

Doug Thomas mentions:

And, Brian, since you mentioned filtering, if you used a sterile filter it is
possible that the yeast are dead, and much of the honey proteins were filtered
out with it, leaving a less flavorful batch, and the aging bottles that
suddenly got alcoholic, I have noticed sometimes a slight malolactic
fermentation that will raise alcohol by a % point or so and also when sediment
starts to form, you will notice alcohol more, because there is less in
suspension to coat the tongue. These are some possibilities.

And Brian continues:

I am really thinking the filtering did contribute to the loss of character.
A good wine reference is confirming that suspicion. The others are coming
back from the harshness, that is the weird thing. I am wondering if the
weather (fronts, low pressure zones, etc.) have any effect.

Subject: Re:Mead Co-op
From: Bill <>
Date: Tue, 06 Jan 1998 18:57:50 -0600

In MLD #630, Matt Maples expanded on the idea of a Mead buying co-op. I
hate to throw cold water on this idea, but I really think someone needs
to talk to a lawyer about this. Most states are extremely hostile to the
idea of anyone other than a licensed dealer importing alcoholic
beverages into the state – they want to make sure they collect their
taxes. So, anyone involved in this could be liable for violating their
state's liquor control and tax laws.

I hope I'm wrong.


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #630, 6 January 1998
From: NL Steve <>
Date: Tue, 6 Jan 1998 20:31:40 EST

In a message dated 98-01-06 18:57:00 EST, smurman writes:

<< 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. >>

Check out the recipe for Barkshack Gingermead in the mead appendix of
"Complete Joy of Home Brewing" by Charlie Papazian (published by Avon).
Sounds like what you're looking for. Consider substituting honey for the corn
sugar in the recipe. E-mail me if you want more detail.

Subject: Re: Honey Flavor
From: DMaki62870 <>
Date: Tue, 6 Jan 1998 21:12:55 EST


Honey varies greatly in the flavor imparted to mead when fermented.

Clover or mesquite are very mild in comparison to some others. Buckwheat,
tupelo and some others are very flavorful! I suggest doing some reading on
honeys and flavors. Others here may be able to provide some more expert
information that may be of some help. Books on mead making also discuss this.

In a message dated 98-01-06 19:30:13 EST, you write:

<< 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: bad mead
From: Brian Fackrell <>
Date: Tue, 06 Jan 1998 18:54:44 -0800

I have been lurking for some time and have recently tasted the first
mead that I have made. The taste is something like gasoline. This was
not the desired flavor. I have tasted this brew several times in the
last year and it has always been bad . The mead is a orange mead and is
over a year old. I have been tasting it about every three months. The
flavor has changed but has never been even remotely good. My question
is : do I continue to age this stuff or do I use it as drain cleaner?


Subject: papaya melomel search
From: K Miller <>
Date: Wed, 07 Jan 1998 21:24:52 -0500

A friend of mine is finishing her medical residency in eighteen months.
Knowing how dreadful all that is, I asked her what her favorite fruit was
so that I could "surprise" her with a melomel of that flavor. Without
hesitation she said, "Papaya."

I've done a search of Cat's Meow and a couple of other Web sites, but no
luck as far as finding a recipe. I've got Morse's book and Gayre's and
neither of them offer any specific help. I'm looking for any recipe or
hints (sparkling or still, dry or sweet.) I figure I've got one shot at
getting it right. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Private email or post to the digest (I'll summarize what I receive

Thanks in advance (and thanks in the present to Dick Dunn for his wonderful
work for both this and the cider digest).

Carl Helrich
Bellefonte, PA

Subject: Mazer Cup Results (Finally!)
From: Ken Schramm <>
Date: Tue, 06 Jan 1998 22:01:49 -0800

The Sixth Annual Mazer Cup
Winner's Circle

Many thanks to all who entered and judged in this year's Mazer Cup
Competition. Again this year, the level of competition continued to
rise. The Best of Show winner was Suzette Smith, for her spectacular
Orange Blossom Merlot Pyment. Here are the Winners in each of the

Category One: Show Mead
First: Suzette Smith, "Deer in the Headlights" (Mesquite)
Second: Paul Phillipon, "Fields of my Youth" (Wildflower)
Third: Rob Pederson, "Meditation Mead" (Blackberry Blossom)

Category Two: Traditional
First: James Bordner, "Canterbury House Mead" (Soybean)
Second: Brian Ehlert, "15" (Buckwheat/Clover)
Third: Dan McFeeley, "Tupelo Mead" (Tupelo)

Caregory Three: Melomel
First: Brian Myers, "Thirtyone" (Prickly Pears/Mesquite)
Second: Chuck Wettergreen, "Pie Cherry Mel" (Fresh Cherry

Juice/Clover/Wildflower/Mixed Brush)

Third: Suzette Smith, "Eight Arms Ain't Enough" (Blueberries/Clover)
Hon. Mention: Hal Buttermore, "Strawberry Kiss" (Strawberries/Wildflower)
Hon. Mention: Phil Wilcox, "Bumblefrog Blueberry Mead"

Category Four: Cyser
First: Daniel Juliano, "Holy Cyser" (Cider/Clover/Soybean)
Second: Hal Buttermore, "Cyser" (Cider/Clover/Wildflower)
Third: Chuck Wettergreen, "Gould's Cyser III" (Juice/Wildflower)

Category Five: Pyment
First: Suzette Smith, "Lana's Procrastination Pyment" (Merlot/Orange


Second: Michael Benner, "Shades of Red" (Zinfandel/Cabernet)

Category Six: Open/Mixed
First: Chuck Wettergreen, "Cherry Jack Melomel" (Cherries/Clover/

Wildflower/Mixed Brush/Special procedures)

Second: Ron Raike, "Belgian Braggot" (Generic Honey/Brett cultures/Beer


Third: Chuck Wettergreen, "Mulrath Metheglin" (Mulberries/Farm Honey/


Category Seven: Metheglin
First: Brian Myers, "Twentysix" (Caramelized Brown Sugar/Cinnamon/Ginger/

Cardamon/Oak Chips/Oklahoma Wildflower)

Second: Brian Ehlert, "Hayride" (Anise/Clove/Buckwheat)
Third: Joyce Miller, "Rose Petal Mead" (Rugosa Rose Petals)

Category Eight: Braggot
First: Mark Smith, "Thunder Head Red Braggot" (Multiple Grains/Cherry Island


Second: Carl Saxer, "Modesty Does Not Permit" (Multiple Grains/Raspberry


Third: Bill Pfeiffer, "Let 'er Rip" (Extract/Local Wildflower)

A Thousand thanks to all who entered. We will be delivering the Mazers
via UPS in the coming week or two. Again, thank you all.

Subject: Re: Merrydown Mead
From: Peter Miller <>
Date: Wed, 7 Jan 98 16:55:23 +1000

>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,

OK, it was me. Hey, that was one of the LEAST embarrassing things I did.

> I seem
>to recall that the old Merrydown, for a sweet mead was not too bad. Better
>than Maxwell's at least.

Believe it or not Rod, I found a bottle of Merrydown only recently and it
was _exactly_ as I remembered (as opposed to Iced Vo Vo's which are
nothing like they used to be…). You're right, it is quite sweet, but
somewhat offset by a fairly high alcohol content. It has a definite
"sweet sherry" type quality and I would have to say it is fairly atypical
as meads go (especially if you compare it to home-mades or something like
Mount Vincent). Once when I was in Cornwell (somewhere near Tintagel, if
I remember correctly) I had a local sweet mead which was quite similar to
Merrydown, so maybe it's a regional type thing?? I think you could
happily serve it (Merrydown) with a sharp cheddar at the end of a meal.
Or in a sherry glass when the vicar calls 'round. Certainly too sweet for
a quaffing mead.


Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #630:  A Raft o' Remarks
From: Charlie Moody <>
Date: Wed, 07 Jan 1998 06:07:18 -0400

> Subject: honey flavor
> From:

> 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?

Yes and yes. Honey in general has a pretty pronounced character, and
individual honeys can range from delicate to pungent yet still carry that
distinctive honey character (ie, perceived sweetness, body, 'tasting like

For example, I personally consider clover honey to be benchmark-standard
'honey' honey; I put it in my coffee every morning; sage honey is light
and delicate – putting *it* in coffee would be a waste because the character
can't stand up to the coffee. Our local (Georgia) wildflower honey, OTOH,
overwhelms the coffee!

Wait, this is the MEAD list….

So in mead-making, you might not want to put lots of flavor agents into a
sage or fireweed mead, as they could easily be drowned out by the
flavorings; buckwheat or deep-south wildflower honey, on the other hand,
could probably hold their own against anything and win.

These honeys don't really have flavors beyond the basic honey taste. Honeys
like orange-blossom and tupelo, on the other hand, are in the middle range
w/ clover, character-wise, but each has a very distinctive flavor or taste,
separate from questions of strong or mild.

As for ideas: it sounds like you want to make something that someone else
will like; I'd recommend that you only make meads that *you* will like. I
can't make a decent hot sauce, because I don't *eat* hot sauce; I make hot
*stuff*, but it doesn't have the flavor that hot-sauce fanatics crave.
Likewise, if you don't have a firm fix on what you want your mead to taste
like, you can't succeed (except accidentally) because you won't know what
success tastes like.
> ——————————

> Subject: 1st Raspberry Melomel
> From: Bryan Fitzhugh <>

> I just racked my first attempt at a mead, a raspberry melomel to
> the tertiary and have a question about the taste…. Anyway, I
> started the mead with 10# of honey in 5 gal and let that ferment until it
> began to slow.

Sounds like you racked after 7-10 days?

> 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.

I'm unclear on the timing and sequencing of this: you didn't rack onto the
berries, just dumped them in the bucket/carboy? And you then racked again
because the bubbles had slowed down? Were they whole berries or pulp?

> It has a decent raspberry odor, but not much
> taste at all…. [S]ort of bland with quite a bit of tartness.

If I'm interpreting your comments correctly (fat chance!), I suspect this is
because there was not enough honey to impart much honey character, and
because the mead didn't sit long enough on the berries to absorb much

> I presume the tartness is from the raspberries but am wondering how this
> should mature.

It will probably smooth out, but may not change much.

> From what I've heard a lot of meads are hardly touchable
> for the first 6 months. Will more raspberry flavor come therough?

As many have said, patience is key to making mead, and I'm guessing you're
moving through this too fast. the youngest mead I ever bottled had been in
the carboy 7 months, and is now almost 2 years old. Every one of my batches
has changed rapidly and dramatically during the first few months, so I've
tended to leave them in the carboy for extended periods (I have three
unbottled batches right now: one 15 months old, one 11 months, and one I
started Thanksgiving week) so they can "settle down". My rule of thumb: if
a freshly-racked mead shows no airlock activity, it's ready to bottle (or
ready for more honey!); otherwise, I let it sit & do its thing.

> My thoughts are:
> 1) I may not like meads with gravities quite this low
> 2) Taste it after another month or so in the tertiary and
> maybe add some raspberry extract/lactose

My suggestion would be to add more honey, extract if you like, then hold
your breath and wait a few more months.

> 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).

Huh? You said it was bland and not much flavor….

Perhaps you could offer some more detail: when you started the batch, how
long it spent in the primary, in the secondary, on the raspberries, how far
apart the bubbles were immediately before racking, etc.

Charlie Moody
PGP Fingerprint: 7F 0D 9E 8C 7E DF 33 11 2C 2B B8 19 6C 0F 2C 02

End of Mead Lover's Digest #631