Mead Lover's Digest #0644 Thu 12 February 1998


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



Cranberry blossom mead ("David Johnson")
Aging mead (Bryan Fitzhugh)
Re: New Book (Michael Tucker)
yeast selection/good mead/bad mead ("Curt Speaker")
Sweeter cyser (Matthew Arnold)
Bottling – what to use? ("Thaddaeus A. Vick")
Heather Honey Experience? ("Wout Klingens")
ginger beer recipe (Cindy Renfrow)
Hazelnut Mead (Dan McFeeley)
Dry mead transformation (bob farrell)
Maple Syrup (James Pokines)
Calcium Carbonate and clearing time. (Matt Maples)


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Subject: Cranberry blossom mead
From: "David Johnson" <>
Date: Mon, 9 Feb 1998 23:28:06 -0600


Well I went ahead and did it. I took my 14 lbs of Cranberry blossom

honey and went ahead. I made it up to 3.75 gal of must and used 4 tsp of
yeast nutrient. I pasteurized it by heating to 180 deg for 20 min. I pitched
2 packets of Lalvin K1-V1116. OG was 1.140. I have been aerating it with
filtered air for an hour. When I am confident that it will not overflow, I
will probably dilute it to 4 gal. I am telling you about this because it is
the biggest mead I have ever done and I will probably need help from time to
time. It is certainly a deep color. About like a pale ale. Perhaps I have
made my millenial mead.


Subject: Aging mead
From: Bryan Fitzhugh <>
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 1998 08:28:31 -0600 (CST)

Okay, so I have my first attempt at a raspberry melomel sitting in

the living room right now. It's been finished fermenting for at least 3
weeks and I'd like to check it again to see how it tastes. I believe I
may need to kill the yeast and add some honey to sweeten it as it was
about .994 last time I checked and needed a little somethin-somethin. I'm
just curious about aeration effects and what everyone does about it.
Since it's done fermenting, opening it and re-sealing it would leave it
with a layer of air on top (which it probably already has since it was
virtually finished when I racked it last). Is this suitable? It's up to
where the carboy begins to narrow, but nowhere near then top. Earlier I
would add some honey/sugar to kick in the ferment a bit and fill up the
headspace, but with the technique of adding honey after killing the yeast
this would seem a bit difficult. Anyway, I just wanted to get everyone's
thoughts and suggestions as I haven't really noticed this addressed
before. Is it alright to sample away? Any tips on adding the extra bit
of honey?

Also, what about aeration of still meads at bottling time? Any
thoughts? Thanks much!

  • -Bryan Fitzhugh

Subject: Re: New Book
From: Michael Tucker <>
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 1998 10:18:14 -0500

> Well, fellow meadsters, I thought I had all the books
> about mead, but I was wrong. On a hunting expedition
> at, I found 'Mad About Mead' by
> Pamela Spence,

ditto. this was the book that brung me to ya's. sort of. Anyway, this
book got me intrigued. So, I put a batch together. First one ever. Wish
me luck. funny thing is, I've never even tried the stuff. Honestly.
Never drunk a drop.

Michael R. Tucker
New Media Online Producer
Fayetteville Observer-Times
Tel. 910-486-3535

Subject: yeast selection/good mead/bad mead
From: "Curt Speaker" <>
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 1998 14:01:53 EST

After reading numerous posts on this subject, I fell obligated to add
my $0.02 on mead making:

Many folks are under the impression that meadmaking involves mixing
some honey with some water (let's not get into the boil/no boil
discussion just now :-), add yeast nutrient, pitch some champagne
yeast and let it ferment until it's clear – then bottle. This
methodology will undoubtidy produce unsatisfactory results and
unhappy meadmakers.
There are a huge variety of yeasts available to make mead with. If
you choose champagne yeast, you will (almost inevitabley) end up with
an extremely dry, alcoholic beverage. Champagne yeast is one of the
strongest fermenters available, and will use up every bit of sugar
present in the must. Try different ale yeasts, wine yeasts or the
yeasts that have been specially adapted for mead making. The only
way that you can get a mead with any residual sweetness using
champagne yeast is to use more than 3# of honey for each gallon of
Using yeast nutrient can also be the source of off flavors.
Many nutrient mixes are made up of ammonium phosphate and urea; they
provide sources of phosphorus and nitrogen, which are somewhat
lacking in honey. I have found that 1/4 cup of light dry malt
extract can serve the same purpose without adding the harsh chemical
flavors. If you are making a melomel (fruit mead), no additional
nutrients are necessary – fruit has plenty of phosphorus and nitrogen
compounds in it. And the last point to remember is that mead takes
time before it is truely drinkable. While homebrewed beer is ready
to enjoy 2-4 weeks after bottling, I have made only one mead that was
okay after 3 months but got better with age. A cyser that I made
over 1.5 years ago just took 2nd in a large competition. There is no
immediate gratification with mead. Bottle it, put it away for at
least 6 months and forget about it. There are exceptions to this
rule, but in general mead is not something that should be enjoyed
"young" – it has this nasty habit of taste like Listerine!!!
Hope this helps…
Brewer, meadmaker and judge

Curt Speaker
Biosafety Officer
Penn State University
Environmental Health and Safety

Subject: Sweeter cyser
From: (Matthew Arnold)
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 01:00:27 GMT

Hi all!

I have my second-ever batch of cyser, a one gallon batch with the follwing

3/4 gallon apple cider
1# clover honey
.5# orange blossom honey
1 pkg Danstar London Ale yeast

Basically, I was hoping to test the effects of using this particular yeast. I
hope to make it a sweeter than my previous bone-dry cyser. I purchased some
stabilizer (L.D. Carlson potassium sorbate) at my local HB shop. My plan was to
add the stabilizer and then a certain amount of honey to sweeten it. I suppose
the old "mix and taste" method would be best to determine if it's sweet enough,
no? Do I have to let the cyser sit with the stabilizer in it for a bit, or is
it immediately safe to taste?

Secondly, my first batch is still sitting downstairs. I have it in a corner of
the basement that stays at about 40F during the winter. Is this too cold for
"proper" ageing? I've a feeling this batch is going to take a _long_ time to
age properly. It's still very firey. Unfortunately I reviewed my notes and saw
that I pulled the one tablespoon of yeast energizer stunt too. Oh well. Wir
leben und lernen (we live and learn–didn't want to put my two years of high
school German to waste!)



Subject: Bottling - what to use?
From: "Thaddaeus A. Vick" <>
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 1998 13:58:22 -0500

>From: Kate Collins <>
>After a long mead-making hiatus, I'm finally ready to start brewing
>in earnest. However, I've never bottled any meads that I've made –
>I've only made 1 gallon batches which I drank immediately. So I'm
>wondering what the best bottles are for (surprise!) bottling. As
>long as I stick to still meads, is it ok to use recycled wine, cider
>and beer bottles and just use sparkling wine bottles for sparkling

Recycled wine bottles are fine. I know a fellow who bottles some

of each batch in beer bottles to avoid having to open a full-size bottle
for the judges at competitions. It is possible to get bottles for free
by dumpster-diving behind restaurants, or if that's not to your liking you
can try asking them to save them for you.

>Is there any reason why corking is better than capping or
>vice versa (for sparkling and still meads)?

Not all crown caps are oxygen-proof. For beer this is not a problem

because it is usually only stored for a few months at most but for meads,
which may be aged for a year or more, this presents a danger of oxidation.
If you cap your mead, make sure you get oxygen-proof caps. And of course
I assume that you know that if you cork a sparkling mead you must wire the
cork down, the wire harnesses should be available from any homebrew supply

| Thaddaeus Vick, Linguist to the Masses | |
| ||

| "Papa Hegel he say that all we learn from history is that we learn nothing |
| from history. I know people who can't even learn from what happened this |
| morning. Hegel must have been taking the long view." |
| — Chad C. Mulligan, sociology burnout |

Subject: Heather Honey Experience?
From: "Wout Klingens" <>
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 08:53:12 +0100

Hello all!

Time to start my next batch.
Does anyone out there has experience with heather honey??
I'm told that due to the strong taste and smell this honey should be
suitable for a strong, high alcohol mead.
I would like to make a plain mead, no herbs, no juice.

Also: because of my previous adventures I would like to go for 20% alcohol.
Will this honey be suitable or will the 'burn' be too overpowering. I hear
different stories about this.

Any opinion will be appreciated!



Subject: ginger beer recipe
From: (Cindy Renfrow)
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 10:23:09 -0400

Hello! Phillip J. Welling asked for a recipe for ginger beer that did not
use hops. Here is an old recipe:

Ten pounds of sugar. Nine ounces of lemon juice. Half a pound of honey.
Eleven ounces bruised ginger root. Nine gallons of water. Three pints of
yeast. Boil the ginger half an hour in a gallon and a half of water, then
add the rest of the water and the other ingredients, and strain it when
cold, add the white of one egg beaten, and half an ounce of essence of
lemon. Let it stand four days then bottle it, and it will keep good many
(From Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt-Book: Designed as a Supplement to
her Traetise on Domestic Economy, 1857.)


Cindy Renfrow
Author & Publisher of "A Sip Through Time, A Collection of Old Brewing
Recipes" and "Take a Thousand Eggs or More, A Collection of 15th Century

Subject: Hazelnut Mead
From: Dan McFeeley <>
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 10:38:33 -0600

A few MLD's or so back I posted that I had been experimenting with
flavored syrups as an adjunct additive. At first I had tried adding
the syrup to a finished mead. This was a traditional mead with a final
gravity of 1.002. I added about 429 ml hazelnut syrup per four liter
bottle and found that the thickness of the syrup sent it to the bottom.
Gently stirring the mead every so often seemed to cure the problem.
I thought it tasted too much of the cane sugar syrup but everyone else
seemed to like it. My thoughts were that it might work better with a
higher gravity mead and less syrup.

Since the syrup was mostly cane sugar I thought it might work as an
added fermentable to the must. Possible problems would be the 0.1%
sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate in the syrup which I thought
might inhibit or ruin the fermentation. The most recent report after
bottling a hazelnut mead is still favorable. The mead was a bit rough,
but nothing that aging wouldn't set to rights. Here is the recipe for
anyone who is interested:


1 cup Buckwheat Honey
3 cups Alfalfa Honey
425 ml Hazelnut syrup
1 1/4 yeast nutrient
2.25 gm yeast hulls
water to make 4 liters

Feb 23 '97: Honey must made according to ingredients above; pasteurized

by heating to 155 degrees and holding for 15 minutes. O.G.
was 1.090; Ph 3.7

Mar 5 97 Racked at a gravity of 1.020, added 100 ml of a 50/50

mixture of buckwheat honey and water, also added 160
ml of hazelnut syrup.

Dec. 97 Bottled.


Dan McFeeley

Subject: Dry mead transformation
From: bob farrell <>
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 13:03:43 -0800 (PST)

I'm a novice meadmaker (4 batches in process, none bottled) and found Scott
Mills' post (MLD #643) to be thought provoking. I have thought about
adding some honey to sweeten a dry .997 ginger metheglin and a .995
blackberry melomel but have a few more questions as to how to proceed.

1. Can I reduce/eliminate the possibility of exploding bottles by
refrigerating my carboy for ? days to kill any remaining active yeast?

2. When adding honey to sweeten, can I avoid camden tabs or filters.
Is it possible to just boil or pasteurize a honey solution? By boiling, I
would expect it to clear faster and add sweetness. By pasteurizing, I would
expect some aroma addition. Are these assumptions correct?

Would appreciate any advice,

Bob Farrell

Subject: Maple Syrup
From: "James Pokines" <>
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 17:27:39 -0600

Question: Has anyone experimented with fermenting maple syrup alone (no
honey or malt), and what are the proportions that you used per a 5 gallon

James Pokines

Subject: Calcium Carbonate and clearing time.
From: Matt Maples <>
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 1998 12:15:53 -0800

In the 6 years I have been making mead I have never made one that I
considered too acidic, until now. About 8 months ago I started a Cranberry
Merlot pyment (or melomel). Everything went well, it fermented to just
about where I wanted and in time cleared reasonably well. I tasted it last
weekend and found that the flavor was outstanding but the acidity was too
high. Well I hit the books, bought an acid testing kit and some chalk. It
turned out to be .83 tartic (must have been all those cranberries because I
didn't add any acid) so I added enough chalk to drop it .2 to about .63. I
have yet to test it again but here is my question. In the books I have read
they say that you should not add chalk too close to bottling as it will
take 3 months to fall out. Now I want to send some of this mead into
competition so the last thing I want is sediment on the bottom but I made
this mead for an event that is about 2 months away. Can anyone tell me if
it really takes that long for it to drop out. If it does is there a fining
agent that will scrub it out sooner. My only other option is to bottle some
of it for the event and leave some in the carboy to bottle at a latter date
for competition. I don't really like the last option so if anyone can help
me out I would appreciate it.

End of Mead Lover's Digest #644