Mead Lover's Digest #0648 Wed 18 February 1998


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



re: Collecting bottles via dumpster diving (Dick Dunn)
aeration of wine, mead, and beer (John Wilkinson)
RE: Mead Lover's Digest #646, 15 February 1998 ("Karian, Anthony A")
Moniak Mead (Rod McDonald)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #647, 17 February 1998 (
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #646, 15 February 1998 (dennis key)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #646, 15 February 1998 (dennis key)
Irish Moss (Kate Collins)
Malo-lactic fermentation (
Filtration (Jim Liddil)
maple mead (
Maple sap ("Hy Ginsberg")
Black Licorice Mead/Meth ("Shaun Funk")
American Mead Association: stories, plans, what-to-do (Dick Dunn)


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: re: Collecting bottles via dumpster diving
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 17 Feb 98 14:48:40 MST (Tue)

"James Hodge" <> wrote…
> Just a few comments on collecting bottles out of dumpsters: If you are
> doing this in the dumpsters out in back of bars and restaurants, it can get
> to be a pretty grisly and disgusting business. Depending on local
> ordinances and recycling requirements, many places toss everything into one
> big collective dumpster; leaving you the unpleasant and unhygienic task of
> cleaning someone's leftover pasta primavera (or worse) off of your bottle.

Also realize that the dumpster is private property, so the restaurant might
be fussy about it since they don't want you to get hurt and then sue them.
Ask the restaurant first. They may say "no", or they may look the other
way, or you may catch their interest and end up having them offer to save
bottles for you! (It has happened, and it is really a help.)

> Generally, a much better strategy for collecting bottles is to visit your
> local recycling center and do your dumpster diving there. You might have
> to explain your actions to the recyclers, who will be confused by someone
> wanting to take stuff out of their bins, but once they understand what your
> up to, I have found that they will be pretty cooperative.

I'd emphasize that you want to clear it with them before you take the glass.
Although one of the overall principles is that it's more effective to re-
use than to recycle, some recyclers depend on selling certain materials to
keep their operations going. Once the stuff is dropped off, it's normally
theirs (legally) so you've got to work with them on the matter.

Dick Dunn rcd, domain Boulder County, Colorado USA

…I'm not cynical – just experienced.

Subject: aeration of wine, mead, and beer
From: (John Wilkinson)
Date: Tue, 17 Feb 98 18:19:51 CST

There has been some discussion lately of the effects of O2 on wine, mead, and
beer. I have made a few batches of wine and mead and lots of beer and my
understanding is that after fermentation beer does not abide aeration.
However, a certain amount of O2 seems to aid in the maturation of wine, from
what I have read of wine making. The book I have used as a reference in my
wine making says to allow red wines to splash on the first racking but not
whites. This is supposed to supply necessary O2 for maturation of the red.
The author (I can't remember his name but the book title is something like
Making Wine, The Extract Method) says the O2 picked up on racking wine takes
the place of O2 that gets through the wood of cask aged wines. I don't think
he ever said exactly how the O2 affected maturation but Steve Alexander in an
article on phenols in a recent Brewing Techniques said that tannin in wine
was oxidized by any O2 and thus protected the wine from other harmful
oxidation. He said the oxidized tannin precipitated out to form sediment.
I do know that red wine contains more tannin than white and that red Bordeaux
with higher tannin levels seem to age better than those with less. This
almost sounds like the tannin is necessary to get rid of the O2 and the O2 is
necessary to get rid of the tannin. There is obviously more going on than
that, though.
Anyway, I don't know that any of this would apply to mead, though, as I don't
think it should have much if any tannin. It would seem that O2 would only
harm mead.
As far as corks allowing some air in, wine is generally stored on the side to
keep the corks from shrinking and allowing aeration (I think) but I suppose
a small amount gets through the cork as it does through the wood of the
barrel. Would the mead benefit from any O2?

John Wilkinson – Grapevine, Texas –

Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #646, 15 February 1998
From: "Karian, Anthony A" <>
Date: Tue, 17 Feb 1998 16:04:54 -0800

Subject: The great Boiling/Sulfiting/Pasteurization debate
I don't mean to ruffle anybody's feathers, but I have never boiled,
pasteurized or sulfited any of my meads, and I've yet to have a problem.
(Fingers crossed here.. 🙂 I've only made about two dozen over the
last couple years, but they've included traditionals as well as fruit
melomels, and they've all turned out good and cleared up well. I do
sterilize fruit by washing them in a mild bleach solution then rinsing
well before juicing or cutting up. And I have generally used store
bought honey so that probably helps keep the wild beasties to a minimum.

I also use high alcohol tolerant yeast, Flor Sherry being my preference
(don't like the Champagne taste). I've pitched the yeast cold and dry
with lower OGs, and used good sized starters with higher OGs. I do
adjust pH as suggested here, and commonly finish fermentation in 4-6
weeks. And I use reverse osmosis water. This may not be a repeatable
experiment in the scientific sense, but I don't care as long as my meads
turn out well. Your mileage may vary.

Subject: Moniak Mead
From: (Rod McDonald)
Date: Wed, 18 Feb 1998 12:24:12 +1000

I note with interest the good reviews of Moniak Mead from near Inverness. Some
decades ago (1982 I think) I visited Moniak Castle, got the cold shoulder from
the proprietor, but managed a quick chat with a menial type labourer. At that
stage they were fermenting in what looked like maybe 200 litre plastic tubs, and
siphoning by mouth. I wasn't overly impressed with the product then, but my
taste may well have been coloured by the unnecessary snobbery of the castle

No doubt things have changed in the intervening period.

On another matter, a recent post (I don't recall from whom) spat on the practice
of siphoning via sucking with the ol' gob. What is the general practice on MLD,
and what range of methods do people use?


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #647, 17 February 1998
Date: Wed, 18 Feb 1998 00:07:10 EST

Collecting bottles via dumpster diving, can be a dangerous job, stepping on
broken glass and coming in contact with "who knows what."

I happened to come across a very reliable and cheap source this weekend. My
sister and I went up to my favorite winery, for wine tasting and while there
we inquired to the winemaster, what does she do with her empty winebottles.
She informed us she threw away or took to recycling. I inquired if I might
carry them away, she was very happy for me to do, for a bottle of my homemade
wine, which I agreed.

I now have an endless source of winebottles for my taking. Just another idea.
Good wine bottle hunting.

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #646, 15 February 1998
From: dennis key <>
Date: Tue, 17 Feb 1998 13:38:23 -0700 (MST)

Re: cyser

My experience with several batches is to pasteurize the honey and add to
the already pasteurized cider/juice with no further prep. It has worked
very well.

Never Thirst,


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #646, 15 February 1998
From: dennis key <>
Date: Tue, 17 Feb 1998 13:40:00 -0700 (MST)


If all else fails, try some bentonite. It has worked for me when
everything else has failed.


Subject: Irish Moss
From: Kate Collins <>
Date: Wed, 18 Feb 1998 09:42:07 +0100

Hi –

What exactly IS Irish Moss? My problem is that I live in Sweden, and
I can't find anything with that name anywhere. And what is the purpose
of adding Irish Moss to a mead? Is there a good substitute?

/Kate Collins

Subject: Malo-lactic fermentation
Date: Wed, 18 Feb 1998 05:09:07 EST

Hello all. I just found an interesting bit of info on cider making and aging

and thought it might apply to cyser making as well (that's how I found it,
looking for info on apple juice for cyser brewing) It is an overall good page
for cider info and has a few good links. It's located at I still haven't searched the whole
site yet, but it seems to be pretty concise and correct in the info I did look

ANYWAY, what interested me was an article on aging cider. It seems, and

those of you who know feel free to correct me, that in the late spring/early
summer of the year after the cider is brewed, it will "undergo a malo-lactic
fermentation…this has the effect of mellowing the cider, it will lose much
of its sharpness." This also follows the recent trend of bulk aging that has
been discussed on MLD. I was wondering if this would effect the cyser in a
similar fashion, or if the differences in the worts would eliminate this in
the cyser? If anyone knows for sure, let me know.

As my last batch of cyser is now aging in bottles (and after two months,

STILL tastes like gasoline) I plan on trying a new batch with a MUCH higher
quality apple juice that I found at a local grocers. The name seems to elude
me at the moment…all the old brain can come up with is Mana-something. It's
100% pure and pasteurized. Sweet and clean tasting. It makes a great drink
on its own and I hope the quality of the cyser will be much improved (at near
$4.00 for 50 oz. it had better be). The important thing is that it has NO
preservatives and no additives. Now if I can find a good source of honey
locally, I'll be in business. I'm still trying to get in touch with the local
Apiary for bulk raw honey, I know they exist, but can't seem to get a line on
a phone number. Anyway, I'll be working with one gallon batches and using
different yeasts for each. Trying to find the "perfect" yeast for plain
cyser. Also, I will be trying the Lambic-style on a batch using Brettanomyces
bruxellensis or B. lambicus and Pediococcus cerevisiae to introduce the sour
flavor traditional in Lambic. This will be a long term project…two years or
more…but I hope it will be worth it. I'll keep you informed on each
experiment as it happens.

That's all for now. More soon, I hope.


Subject: Filtration
From: Jim Liddil <>
Date: Wed, 18 Feb 1998 07:41:58 +0000

>I have had the opportunity to taste barrel samples and finished meads in
>NY state that were produced in 2 weeks from RO filtration preparation.
>The physical separation of long chain proteins and osmotic yeasts does
>work and produces a very nice mead that quickly. No heat or sulfites (to
>kill wild bacteria) but some added as a preservative tho?

I think Bruce means to say ultrafiltration not RO (reverse osmosis). What
molecular weight cut off filter was used?


Subject: maple mead
Date: 18 Feb 98 11:04:00 EST

>I seem to remember a maple mead discussed a couple of years ago. It was
>reported to be very good but produced a migraine-level headache after
>just one glass. Does anyone else remember that post?
>Never Thirst,

I remember the post, I just never experienced the problem with headaches.

The resultant brew from honey/maple syrup was really potent though. A single
12 oz. bottle would be sipping material for a long evening. nice flavor,
decent bouquet, and the kick of a mule. Of course, I did use champagne
yeast. When i try it again, I will choose a less attenuative yeast.

Matthew Bryson

Subject: Maple sap
From: "Hy Ginsberg" <>
Date: Wed, 18 Feb 1998 12:32:03 -0500

The possibility of using maple sap in mead was briefly mentioned in the
last MLD. For what it's worth, there's an excellent beverage that some
folks out here in Vermont make called "sap beer." Simply put, maple sap is
used in place of water in a normal beer recipe – the usual quantity of malt
is used, as the maple sap does not contribute an appreciable amount of
fermentable sugar. The effect is subtle and quite tasty. I bet you could
do the same thing with mead, and, at the very least, be the first on your

The sap will ferment on its own very shortly after draining from the tree
(which is why it's traditionally boiled into syrup at night on the day it's
collected), so, if you're interested, you have to coordinate pretty closely
with your local tree farmer.

Subject: Black Licorice Mead/Meth
From: "Shaun Funk" <>
Date: Wed, 18 Feb 1998 16:01:23 -0500

I would like to make a sweet mead with black licorice
flavor. What flavoring agents are effective to impart
this flavor? I have heard of dry star anise and brewers
licorice, but have never used either. Are there others?
How much would I use per gallon?

Also what type of honey would be appropriate? I can
get sourwood, clover, and light or dark wildflower
from a local beekeeper for $1.25/lb.


Shaun Funk
Moon Shadow Brewery
Clemmons, NC

Subject: American Mead Association: stories, plans, what-to-do
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 18 Feb 98 22:17:26 MST (Wed)

Quick outline: What happened. What's going on now. What to do if you
were a member. ===>The last one is important.<===

I've had a steadily increasing stream of queries about the American Mead
Association (AMA). It finally became easier to dig up some info than to
keep saying "I don't know" in varying levels of detail.

What happened?

The AMA was founded in 1986 by Pamela Spence. It was taken over in 1992 by
Susanne Price. Susanne died in an auto accident in early 1996. At that
point, Susanne was not only the president but the driving force. The AMA
fell on hard times. Two editions of the journal came out after her death–
a memorial issue containing material that had already been in preparation,
and then an issue which was nothing less than an embarrassment to the mead
community (including some material that was printed without permission).
That was a year ago; nothing has been published since. There are some dark
stories including severe financial mis-dealings. I don't want to be a
gossip-monger, but if the AMA had money in '96, and people kept subscribing,
and the AMA didn't do anything, and there's no money left, and there are
suppliers who haven't been paid, it is hard to avoid a judgment that there
were severe improprieties.

In mid-1997 an effort began to revive and re-start the AMA, by transferring
it to new hands. Unfortunately, although the new group acquired the organi-
zation, it acquired significant debts, very little money, and worst of all,
no information about the subscribers!

What is going on now?

There are two people seriously working on resurrecting the AMA. These are
Sarah Wanless and Andy LaMorte at Highlander Homebrew in Littleton, CO. I
spoke Wednesday evening with Keith Wanless; Keith and Sarah own the High-
lander. They ARE serious about getting a new organization started. Andy
had contacted me in mid-'97, probably before he knew how many problems he
would inherit. The new organization might not be called the "American
Mead Association" because of the liabilities (legal, financial, emotional)
of the old organization; it may be a new organization formed under a
different name. But these people do recognize the need for an organiza-
tion which can provide information, publish a journal, etc., about mead,
and they're trying to make it happen. They've found some help–a potential
publisher, a possibility for a bit of financial help, and the like.

Let me add that I've tried the best I can to corroborate the saga in the
above paragraphs…I heard essentially the same details from half a dozen
different people in the local brew/mead community. I believe it to be
accurate (perhaps understated on some counts), and in particular, Andy,
Sarah, Keith, and the Highlander are generally respected around here.

What if you were a member?

As I mentioned, one of the worst problems they've got is that they have
been unable to get the list of subscribers. Here's where you can help:
If you were a subscriber, please send your name, address, and subscription
status to: If you received the last edition of
"Inside Mead", your subscription expiration is printed on the mailing label
above your name. (Obviously that expiration is based on an assumption of
publication schedule that no longer holds, but if you send it, it will give
the new folks a way to calibrate what you're owed.) If you subscribed
after the last issue and therefore never got any journals, try to dig up
the info of what you paid for and send that along. If you've got your
check, a 1-yr subscription was $20; 2-yr was $35.

If you know meadmakers who were also subscribers but don't get this Digest
or don't have email access, please help out by relaying their subscription
info to the address above.

Keith claims that they are going to try to honor the subscription obliga-
tions. (This requires more money than was left by the old AMA. They have
some financial support but I gather than they could use more up-front help

Dick Dunn rcd, domain Boulder County, Colorado USA

End of Mead Lover's Digest #648