Mead Lover's Digest #0633 Fri 9 January 1998


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



Re: Mead Lover's Digest #632, 8 January 1998 (
Making an airlock (Travis Nicklow)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #632, 8 January 1998 (
Subj: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #632, 8 January 1998 (SweetnessL)
Nips Supply (
Re:Bad Mead (RBarnes001)
Bad Mead, Nips, Mazer Cup (Ken Schramm)
competiton (Jeffrey Rose)
Re: cloudiness / nips (DakBrew)
Re: How long does mead take? (Bill Shirley)
Response and Question (Stephen J. Van der Hoven)
RE: Mead Lover's Digest #632, 8 January 1998 (Matt Maples)
cloudiness / nips (Di and Kirby)


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Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #632, 8 January 1998
Date: Thu, 8 Jan 1998 19:18:23 -1000 (HST)

To NL Steve: I have available limited quantities of very unusual, rare,
in-the-hive aged honeys from O'ahu. . .some over 10 years old; nectar sources
are pure keawe (mesquite); lehua ohia, mixed tropical upland blossoms, varying
in color from pale yellow, amber, dark amber, to almost black. We have made
excellent meads, pyments, and beers, especially amber ales, porters and stouts
(an Imperial Stout of +12% alcohol that rivals those of the Trappists!). . .all
with no grains added! I would be pleased to discuss supplying some of the
Meadies out there with specific honeys from the land of aloha. Michael M.
Kliks, PhD, Master Beekeeper, Manoa Honey Company, "Sweetness and light
from the Ko'olau Mountains of O'ahu.

Subject: Making an airlock
From: Travis Nicklow <>
Date: Thu, 08 Jan 1998 23:34:13 -0500

Ok, ok, So I'm cheap and new to this. How would I go about making an
airlock with a jar ? I'm only interested in making small batches of mead,
Say in a 1 gallon jug or something.


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #632, 8 January 1998
Date: Thu, 8 Jan 1998 19:09:32 -1000 (HST)

To Jay Spies: to clarify your cyser wait until you have the must characteristics
you want and then use the product known as Sparkaloid to clarify it. . .you
should have no problems. Michael Kliks

Subject: Subj: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #632, 8 January 1998
From: SweetnessL <>
Date: Fri, 9 Jan 1998 00:35:53 EST

From: NL Steve <>

<<Regarding the mead co-op idea:
I am trying to think of a way of expanding the types of honey I've got to
with, beyond those I can find in my region. What if we create a directory or
master list of beekeepers & honey vendors, particularly those who can ship
unusual or regional varieties of honey? Any takers or suggestions? For
example, I stumbled on some nice raspberry blossom honey at a shop in the
Santa Cruz, CA mountains, & would be glad to pass along the info. But I'm
still looking for rosemary and heather honeys. >>

Here's some eastern sources of varietal honeys:

Draper's Super Bee Millerton, PA 1-800-233-4273 Not online but soon will

Laney Family Honey Co. North Liberty, IN 46554 Not online, to our

Dave Howland, Main St. Berkshire, NY 13736 Not online, to our knowledge.

Bundrick Honey Farms, Crestview, FL

Kallas Honey Farm near Milwaukee, WI

Pot o'Gold Honey Co. Hemingway, SC (that's us: Jan & Dave Green)

How's that for sending folks to the competition!

Drapers, we can give our highest recommendation, as we've known them and

dealt with them for many years. Dave Howland is locally well known for a nice
raspberry blossom honey in the Catskill Mts.

We have used Laney's honeys and found them to be very high quality.

The others we don't know enough about to say pro or con, only that they

have varietal honey available.

We know other beekeepers that produce some great honeys, but need to check

to see if they are willing to mail order.

We are working to be able to import the world famous heather honey from

Scotland, but it will be a while before we can get it together.


Subject: Nips Supply
Date: Fri, 9 Jan 1998 06:15:11 -0500

I don't know about where your'e from, but in So. Jersey, stores
(supermarkets like shoprite or pathmark etc…) carry Coca-Cola 7 oz 6
packs for about $2.79. They are NOT twist-off, so they would work great.
I myself only have one, but it capped just fine. Hope this helps you

Paul Haaf

Subject: Re:Bad Mead
From: RBarnes001 <>
Date: Fri, 9 Jan 1998 07:14:54 EST

> Many more meads are harsh and undrinkable when young, but slowly mature to
> something wondrous. Let us not stop there; we must admit that there are
> some meads which are never pleasant or right. They give warning early on;
> we hold out hope but they fulfill their promise of being undrinkable.

I too, have had some experience here. When I hand someone some mead, the
almost universal reaction is "Whoa!" I find this happens with Dry meads, and
that with medium meads, the reaction is more appreciative.

while I prefer dry mead I have started making mediums for others,


Subject: Bad Mead, Nips, Mazer Cup
From: Ken Schramm <>
Date: Fri, 09 Jan 1998 09:20:08 -0500

Having reviewed this past digest, I add my voice to Dick Dunn's
comments on the bad mead. PLEASE don't give up yet. Many of us will
be willing to conduct private dialogues with you, and certainly we
can be of much more effective assistance with as much detail as

The good thing about mead is that, with only a few exceptions, most
batches can be improved by tinkering, which I have even accomplished
on one occasion by carefully emptying the bottles back into a carboy,
adding some more honey and fussing about with spices in a tea bag and
other fruit additions.

As for nips, a high quality party store may be willing to let you
take their empties off their hands in return for the (if applicable)
deposit. You could also ask the owner at any bar that serves them in
your area to accumulate a few for you. Another option – for those
willing to take the necessay care to avoid light exposure – is Coca
Cola bottles. These 6.5 oz beauties are built to take a lot of
repeated use, and they let you keep track of clarity nicely, too. I
have picked up some bottles from the 1920's at garage sales (they are
dated and have the local origination on the bottom). OK they have
some advertising on them, but its what's inside that really matters
to me.

As for the Mazer Cup, we only got two pyments this year! That is in
fact an unmasked, completely-lacking-in-subtlety challenge to mead
makers to take a shot at a Mazer next Mazer Cup in what was a very
under-attended category this year.

Lastly, I agree with Chuck about drinkable young meads, and will at
this time profess to having noticed a correllation with minimized
proccessing (no heat or boiling) and less need of maturation. Good
nutrition, good oxygenation, some pH control, and these babies seem
to be ready for the table much more quickly. Perhaps Mama Nature is
sending us a hint, here. "I made the water, the honey, the fruit and
the yeast. Put them together and quit with the ministrations!" Or
not. Sweeter meads also appear to be drinkable sooner, but that is
likely simply be the sweetness masking the undesirable fementation

Happy New year, all.


Subject: competiton
From: Jeffrey Rose <>
Date: 09 Jan 98 09:30:04 -0500

Does anyone know of any large mead competitions coming up? I've
previously submitted homebrew and cider to regional (New England)
competitions and now want to see how my meads are judged.

Subject: Re: cloudiness / nips
From: DakBrew <>
Date: Fri, 9 Jan 1998 09:24:14 EST

In a message dated 98-01-08 22:45:04 EST, Jay wrote:

> Question 2 – does anyone out there in the collective know of a source
> for the 6-7 oz bottles sometmes referred to as nips? I've managed to
> collect about 20 through barleywine consumption 🙂 and new years eve
> scavenging %-D but I was wondering if anyone had any other suggestions
> or empties lying around. I'll need about 40 more. Suggestions?
> Jay Spies
> Wishful Thinking Basement Brewery

Jay I have found Hinekin in 7oz bottles by the case at a local (Maryland, PG
County) beer & wine store. You or your friends must drink the hinekin but
thats not that bad becouse they are in small bottles. I think I paid about
$16.00 or $18.00 eather way they are less then .75 cents per bottle not bad
realy. Oh yea the labels came off real easy.

good luck

Subject: Re: How long does mead take?
From: Bill Shirley <>
Date: Fri, 09 Jan 1998 08:29:55 -0600

> From: Chuck Wettergreen <>

> For some time I have pondered the repeated statements on HBD/MLD
> to the effect that "meads take a long time to make".

I have found that the yeast can make a big difference on this.
I imagine that different kinds create various fermentation by-
products that break down furthur over time.

When a friend and I did a 5-batch test with 5 different yeasts,
3 of them were hot or very hot after 1 month. Those all calmed
down with age.

Most people would agree that time is likely to help a young mead,
while we know this is not often true for a beer (for example).

just some opinion,

  • bill

Subject: Response and Question
From: (Stephen J. Van der Hoven)
Date: Fri, 09 Jan 1998 11:29:32 -0500

I would like to respond to Jay Spies' questions in the last MLD and I have
a question of my own.

In regard to Jay's clarity problem, I just used Sparkalloid on a cloudy
kiwi-lime mead and it went from cloudy to sparkling overnight. Jay, you
may want to check out back issues of MLD for discussion of advantages and
disadvantages of using Sparkalloid, but it works for me. For a source of
6-7 ounce bottles, I have found an unlimited supply in "dumpster diving".
What I mean by that is go to your local recycling center and raid the glass
bottle dumpster. Any type of bottle you want is available. You'll have to
check with the lawyers (yourself) about the legality of this practice, but,
again, it works for me.

My question has to do with using a hydrometer. How do you calculate %
alcohol using a hydrometer? I thought my local homebrew shop owner told me
to subtract the initial "potential alcohol" reading from the final reading
but my wife tells me this is wrong. She's not sure how to do it either and
none of the texts we have are specific. My hydrometer has scales for
specific gravity, alcohol potential and balling. Any suggestions?

Stephen J. Van der Hoven
Environmental Sciences Division
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
P.O. Box 2008, Mail Stop 6400
Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831-6400
Phone: 423-241-5178 FAX: 423-574-7420

Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #632, 8 January 1998
From: Matt Maples <>
Date: Fri, 9 Jan 1998 10:30:18 -0800

>don't see any loophole in this theory that would allow such a co-op to
exist. In MD, homebrewed beer/wine/mead is allowed for home >consumption,
but shipping interstate is definitely not. The same prohibition applies to
alcoholic beverages offered for sale. You can buy >them *from* a
wholesaler, but you can't then ship them to someone else as if you *were* a
>I'd steer completely clear of this one. Sorry to rain on the collective
I do appreciate the input but we have no intention of going into this thing
blind. I have already contacted the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms
they said the Feds have no problem with friends shipping friends small
quantities of alcohol even between states. She did mention that there might
be problems with individual states and their issues with sales tax. This
issue is going to be brought up and resolved first thing. No one here is
looking to break any laws or cheat the system, but mead is very hard to
get in most areas and we are just a group of 2 dozen people all trying to
alleviate the situation. The key here is that it is a small group of
people, small quantity of mead, and absolutely no profit is being made. I
think that we do have to tread lightly but there is no reason at this point
to come to a screeching halt.

Subject: cloudiness / nips
From: Di and Kirby <>
Date: Wed, 07 Jan 1998 23:58:21 -0600

Jay Spies writes:

> I know this mead still has
> another few months in the carboy, but should I just wait it out or
> should I add some pectinase enzyme when I transfer to tertiary in about
> two weeks? When I say cloudy, I mean cloudy yellow that you can't even
> shine a spotlight through. Tips?

I've done a batch or two of cider/cyser and tasted a few more. It's been
my experience that these take a while to clear compared to regular mead.
I've got a cyser from September that still isn't clear, and it isn't
worrying me yet. It's dropped enough sediment that I oughta rack it, but
I can't see through it, and it's still bubbling away.

But even if it never clears, I wouldn't worry about it. As long as it's

clearly stopped fermenting, and tastes good, I consider it drinkable.
Acutally, and I may be a freak, it has seemed to me as if cysers that
are forcibly cleared with pectinase and stuff also lose some flavorful
ingredients along with the haze. I've also seen beers marketed as
"non-filtered" and still cloudy, and thus hailed as more flavorful.

I think the concern with clarity is a)it's a clue that the mead is done

fermenting and b)it looks pretty that way. If you aren't intending to
use this in competition, and as long as it otherwise seems normal and
healthy, I'd not worry about it.

> Question 2 – does anyone out there in the collective know of a source
> for the 6-7 oz bottles sometmes referred to as nips?

If anyone answers this question, please respond to the whole list, or
also to me. I'd love to get some of these myself. Thanks.


End of Mead Lover's Digest #633