Mead Lover's Digest #0650 Sun 22 February 1998


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



Cornies for aging ("C.W. Hudak")
Re: Corny kegs (
sucking (
Sucking the tube (Darragh Nagle)
Meadery Directory (Dan McFeeley)
Collecting bottles via dumpster diving (Karl Long)
Re: Cornelius Kegs (
Irish Moss, fining, aging and bottles ("Martin Fredrickson")
Aging (
hopped mead ("Gerald Manweiler")
Re: siphoning methods (
corney kegs (Dbomball)
Little Hungary Farm Winery (Mark Cassells)
Earle Estate meads/Oa (kathy)
mouth siphoning, free bottles (Chuck Wettergreen)


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Subject: Cornies for aging
From: "C.W. Hudak" <>
Date: Thu, 19 Feb 1998 22:59:32 -0800

"t. leherer" writes:
>As a newbie to the MLD, I have not seen any comments on the use of 5
>gal. corney kegs for aging meads. I would appreciate comments as I
>currently have 35 gal. aging in corneys, I would certainly hate to have
>made an error in judgment.

No problem. Stainless is great for aging and you have the added benefit
that you can purge the headspace with CO2 after racking. I just hate to tie
up my few precious cornies with mead for a year or more. I prefer to use my
cheaper glass carboys (which allow me to check on clarity easily) for aging
and then bottle for the long haul.

You aren't planning on throwing a keg mead party soon are you? Hope you'll
be sending out invites to the MLD ;^o


Charles Hudak in San Diego, California (Living large in Ocean Beach!!)
ICQ# 4253902
"If God had intended for us to drink beer, he would have given us stomachs."

  • –David Daye

Subject: Re: Corny kegs
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 07:42:26 EST

In a message dated 98-02-20 01:59:13 EST, you write:

<< Subject: corney kegs?
Date: Thu, 19 Feb 1998 19:08:54 -0800

As a newbie to the MLD, I have not seen any comments on the use of 5
gal. corney kegs for aging meads. I would appreciate comments as I
currently have 35 gal. aging in corneys, I would certainly hate to have
made an error in judgment.

Any thoughts on clarifying agents? Sparkaloid? Gelatin? Isinglass?
Bentonite? thoughts and comments more than welcome either email or to
the collective wisdom at MLD. >>

I use the soda kegs exclusively for aging meads. After fermentation is
complete I rack into sanitized soda kegs, seal them with approx. 10 psi N2 and
them set them aside for at least a year. I have been handling my meads this
way for the last 14 years with no problems.

As for finings, affter setting in the soda kegs for a long period of time the
mead has usually been clear. I do however filter my meads by using a 0.5
micron canister filter goiing from keg to keg.

micah millspaw – brewer at large

Subject: sucking
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 07:20:27 EST

Are we going to get into a big siphon debate 🙂
I use the racking cane with the orange universal cap.
The racking cane goes down the center tube, and then I pop the top on the
other tube and blow into it. Voila! Siphon underway

With the variety of gadgets now on the market, I don't see why anyone would
want to suck on the siphon tube, but hey, if it floats your boat…..


Subject: Sucking the tube
From: Darragh Nagle <>
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 07:27:26 -0800 (PST)

dennis key <> wrote:
>I have been brewing beer for over 20 years and making mead for six years.
>I ALWAYS start my siphons by sucking on the tube (yes! with my mouth!) and
>have had zero, zip, nada problems of any sort. I suppose it's a matter of
>aesthetics and I'm not very!

I heard that European brewers swirl a mouthful of brandy around in their
mouths and over their lips before sucking the tube, to kill bacteria.
Antiseptic mouth wash works well for that purpose too.

I have used a turkey baster inserted into the tube to create the suction
needed to get the siphon started.

So for all you suckers out there, remember to keep it clean! 😉


Subject: Meadery Directory
From: Dan McFeeley <>
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 11:21:03 -0600

There have been requests from time to time about listings of
operating meaderies so I thought I'd post a directory taken from
the AMA journal, _Inside Mead!_, Aug. '96. Since this list is almost
two years old, I'm sure there are meaderies that have been left out.
If anyone has any additions that need to be added or if some of these
meaderies are no longer in business, let me know by private e-mail.
I'd be glad to make the needed corrections and then repost the directory.
Naturally, none of the below is an endorsement.


ADK Productions, Inc. Alaskan Mead Co.
Daniel Kassa David Snow/James Jensen
Washington DC 5915 Lake Otis Pkwy
703-750-1056 Anchorage, AK 99507

"As You Like It" Meadery Bargetto Winery
362-370 Main St Paul Woffard, Winemaker
Fitchburg, MA 01420 3535 N. Main St.

Soquel, CA 95073

Berrywine Plantation Betterbee Meadery
Lucille Aellen Wayne Thygesen
13601 Glissan's Mill Rd Bob Stevens
Mt. Airy, MD 21771-8599 RR 4 Box 4070, Meader Rd
301-831-5889 1-800-MEADERY


Julius Bochantin Winery Coventree Meadery
Julius Bochantin John Zeron
Pasadena, CA 91105 P.O. Box 9765
818-585-9048 Newark, DE 19714



Earle Winery Golden Grail Meadery
John & Esther Earle Jim Woll
Rd 1, Box 246 3000 Main St
Locke, NY 13092 Dallas, TX
607-898-3012 214-741-9500

Fred's Mead Company Honeymoon Meadery
c/o 21 2nd st Patti Williams & Thomas Swetland
Gainesville, FL 32601 Norwood, MA 02062
904-375-3772 617-769-7607

HoneyRun Honey Co Inn Wines
John & Amy Hasle Dick Phaneuf
Box 3172 Hatfield, MA
Chico, CA, 95928

Lakewood Vineyards Life Force Honey & Winery
Christopher Stamp 1193 Saddle Ridge Rd
4024 SR 14 Moscow, ID 83843
Watkins Glen, NY 14891 208-8892-9158
607-535-9252 800-497-8258

Little Hungary Farm Winery Mountain Meadows Mead
Frank Androczi Ron Lunder
Rt 6, POB 323 Westwood, CA 96137
Buckhannon, WV 26201 916-256-3920

Oliver Winery Pirtle's Weston Vineyards
Bill & Kathleen Oliver Elbert & Trisha Pirtle
8024 Hwy 37 Weston, MO 64098
Bloomington, IN 816-640-5728

Rocky Mountain Meadery Volcano Winery
Fred & Connie Strothman PO Box 843
3701 G Rd Volcano, HI 96785
Palisade, CO 81526 808-967-7479


Le Rucher Bernard Bee Bec Ferme apicole Desrochers D
& Assoc des hydromeliers du Marie-Claude Dupuis &
Que'bec Claude Desrocher
Diane Rice & Bernard Blache're 113, ran 2 Gravel
152, rue Principale Ferme Neuve, Qc
Beebe Plain, Qc CANADA J0W 1C0
CANADA J0B 1 E0 819-587-3471

Intermiel London Winery
Christian & Viviane Macle 540 Wharncliffe Rd, S
10291, chemin La Fresnie're London, ON
St-Benoit (Mirabel), Qc CANADA N6J 2N5
CANADA J0N 1K0 519-686-8431

Muse'e de l'Abeille & Les Vins Mustier Gerzer
Les Ruchers Promiel, Inc Ge'rald He'naul
8862, Blvd Ste-Anne 3299, route 209
Chateau-Richer, Qc St-Antoine Abbe, Qc

Les Entreprises Prince- Rucher Les Saules
Leclerc Patrick & Ste'phane Vanier
239, chemin Haut de la 27, chemin Saxby Nord
Paroisse Saxby Corner, Granby, Qc
St-Agapit, Qc CANADA J2G 8C7
CANADA G0S 1Z0 514-372-3403

Rucher Tete en Fleurs
CP 222
St Anaclet, Qc


La Abejita Ltd Palace Meade
Frederico Alvarodo Hatfield, UK
Apartado Postal 783
1100 Tibas, COSTA RICA


JC Daval Bunratty Mead
P Gouedard County Bunratty
A Lozachmeur
B Lancelot
(no addresses available)


Highland Wineries Havill's Mazer Mead
Moniac Castle Leon Havill
Inverness Plasketts Rd, Fernside

Rangiora Rd 1



Bartholomew's Meadery Mount Vincent Mead
RMB 1064 Jane Nevell
Denmark 6333 Common Road



__________ __________ ______
__ ________

Dan McFeeley, MA Riverside HealthCare
Behavioral Health Services Kankakee, Illinois

"Men think epilepsy divine, merely because they do not understand it. But
if they called everything divine which they do not understand, why, there
would be no end of divine things." – Hippocrates

Subject:   Collecting bottles via dumpster diving 
From: Karl Long <>
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 10:31:22 -0700

I have been away from the digest for awhile, so pardon me if this has
already been suggested.

We have several microbreweries in town (and one megabrewery).
>From my knowledge, the following only applies to the microbreweries.
The economies of scale may be different for Bud.

On the bottling line, the bottles come out of the sanitizer (probably heat),
get labeled, filled and then capped. There are standards for acceptable
elapsed time from sanitizing to capping.

Occasionally, there will be a problem which requires shutting down the
line. When this occurs all the bottles are removed from the line between
the sanitizer and the capper. Since the number of bottles removed from
the line is relatively quiet small compared to the number of bottles filled
and capped, it apparently is not economical to reuse the bottles (remove
labels, clean, etc).

They dump out the beer from bottles which made it to the filler, then put
them all in cases which are then sent to the recycler.

I called three microbreweries. One of them does not bottle, but two of
them bottled in 22 oz. bottles. I asked if they had any bottles they were
throwing away. I picked up 13 cases of 22 oz. bottles (12 bottles per
case). I could have gotten five or six more cases, but I didn't have any
more room in my car.

I had to remove labels from about half of them (soaked them in bleach
and dish soap overnight and the labels fell off). All were brand new.

All it cost me was about an hour between calling around and picking
them up. They even helped me load them.

If there are any microbreweries in your area, give them a call. I don't
know about wineries. In season, they might have a similar supply of
wine bottles.

Karl G. Long
Lindsay Brothers Mead
Fort Collins, Colorado

Subject: Re: Cornelius Kegs
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 13:28:22 EST

In MLD #649 t. leherer writes:
> As a newbie to the MLD, I have not seen any comments on the use of 5
> gal. corney kegs for aging meads. I would appreciate comments as I
> currently have 35 gal. aging in corneys, I would certainly hate to have
> made an error in judgment.

I have been aging meads in cornelius kegs for over 5 years now. I started
the practice because I had many more kegs than carboys at the time. The only
special considerations that I know of are: It's hard to judge how much mead
you have left without removing the lid and looking inside, and you must make
sure to have minimal gas pressure inside the keg to avoid force carbonating
your mead. However if want your mead sparkling the gas pressure in the keg is
not a problem. Just maintain the same psig you would to force carbonate
beer. For a still mead just apply enough carbon dioxide to create positive
pressure inside the keg ( < = 1psig). Without positive pressure in the keg,
if the keg cools you may get suck back when you tap it.

For me the positive side to using C kegs is, first (as with beer) much less
bottle washing! I just bottle as much mead as I need when I need it for
competitions and gifts. It stays in the keg until I need it. C kegs store
much easier than cases of bottles. And like I said, aging in kegs frees up
carboys. I can't think of anything bad about aging in kegs. If there is
anything I haven't experienced it.
35 gallons? Alllll Right! When's the party?



Subject: Irish Moss, fining, aging and bottles
From: "Martin Fredrickson" <>
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 10:37:57 -0800

I would just like to clarify, (no pun intended), the use and purpose of
Irish moss. As stated in MLD #649 by several people, Irish moss is a
seaweed, chondus crispus, found in the North Sea and commonly collected on
the shores of Ireland, hence the name. It is a source of carageenan which
is used as a fining agent and emulsifier. It is used extensively in the
brewing of beer, particularly in England, and by homebrewers as a means to
reduce chill haze. Chill haze is formed by a complex of tannins and high
molecular weight proteins that forms in the finished beer under a
particular range of temperatures, (usually below 45 degrees F).

Irish moss is used as a "copper" or kettle fining agent. This means it is
added during the wort boil during the beer brewing process, usually about
15 minutes before the end of the boil. This aids in formation of the "hot
break" which is a precipitated tannin-protein complex which is undesirable
in fermenting beer. I have never heard of Irish moss used in any other way,
it certainly shouldn't be used in an attempt to clear a mead after

Irish moss works by providing a charged surface which the proteins and
tannins are attracted to. The technical term for the mechanism is
adsorption, all fining agents work this way and have varying degrees of
effectiveness based upon their tendency to become charged.

As for its effectiveness in mead, unless you are going to boil, and you are
using ingredients that are high in tannins and protein, it won't do you
much good. Where it would be effective is if you are making something with
a high malt content such as a braggot. In the case of traditional meads,
metheglins, etc. I wouldn't bother trying Irish moss, in fact, I am a
proponent of letting mead clear in its own time. I have never had a mead
that did not fall clear, some have taken a while to get there but they all
eventually do. Once it falls clear, I rack it off the sediment and then let
it sit another month or two before bottling. This process gives me a clear
mead with almost no sediment in the bottles. If you would like to try a
traditional cask fining agent, try isinglass, this is derived from the swim
bladders of certain fish and is used extensively in Britain in the
production of "real ale."

The only time I had significant sediment in any of my meads was when I
first started making it a few years ago. At that time I was somewhat
impatient and wanted to drink my first couple of batches as soon as I
could. I used sparkalloid and polyclar in an attempt to clear my meads, I
was not happy with the results and it turns out that one of them was not
finished fermenting. This caused additional fermentation to occur in the
bottles adding even more sediment, (no I don't use any kind of stabilizer
in my meads, I prefer to keep them natural with no additives). The lesson I
learned is, be patient, the mead will finish in its own time and will be
the better for it.

My experience with aging has been somewhat inconsistent, I have had meads
improve with age and others that have become less enjoyable as the months
passed away. The ones that became less enjoyable typically were melomels
with a fairly delicate fruit such as strawberry. I have noticed a
significant difference in mead bottled with corks and those bottled with
crown caps. I often bottle part of each batch in beer bottles so I have
some I can enter into competition. My experience has been that the corked
bottles mellow much faster, the capped bottles tend to age much slower.
This is one reason why I let the mead go to completion on its own, bulk
aging helps to maintain a more consistent product.

One last note, another great source of bottles is to check with catering
companies. They frequently go through many bottles of wine. I have a friend
who supplies me with all the wine bottles I could ever want. Most of the
time I get full cases of identical bottles from her.


Subject: Aging
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 12:04:18 -0800

Interesting stuff coming down the pipe regarding aging, corking, etc.
I had a couple of comments and questions to add.

There's two different processes being discussed, aging and
oxidization. In the first, the continued contact with yeast allows
them to break down higher alcohols and fermentation byproducts.
Almost without exception, this will lead to what's regarded as a
better tasting drink. Oxidization (reduction?) involves compenents
reacting with free O2, and becoming molecules with different flavor
profiles. This can be either a "good thing" or a "bad thing". A
beneficial case is the reduction of the harsh tannins from grape
skins, and also oak woods, which would otherwise overwhelm the flavor
of a wine. Sherry could be considered either good or bad.

I think a cask of wine sitting in a cellar can certainly undergo
significant oxidization over a period of years. Changes in temperature,
evaporation, large contact areas, etc. could all allow O2 to react
with the wine. I have a difficult time accepting oxidization when it
comes to wine sitting in corked bottle however. Unless the wine is
still (uncarbonated), there will be a pressure developed inside the
bottle which would prohibit O2 from entering even if the cork is
porous. Even if the wine is uncarbonated, the surface area and height
of the cork make it hard for me to accept that any significant O2
could enter. If it can keep CO2 in, I would think it could keep O2

I don't doubt that people see a difference in flavor and aging time
when comparing crown capped to corked bottles, but I do have to wonder
at the cause. I think it can only be from the yeast aging the mead,
and not due to oxidization. Perhaps the larger volumes of wine
vs. crown capped bottles, perhaps a difference in pressure affecting
yeast activity, perhaps … <shrug>. I certainly don't have an
answer, but oxidization just doesn't seem likely to me.


Subject: hopped mead
From: "Gerald Manweiler" <>
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 13:25:52 -0700

Thought I'd stop lurking and share my latest attempt at mead, recipe

23 liters spring water (hardness tests not done yet)
10 lb honey (have to ask the producer what type)
3 oz Fuggles hops (pellitized)
1 tbs gypsum
2 1/2 tsp acid blend
1/4 tsp Irish moss
1/2 oz yeast energizer
6 gm Morgan lager yeast

1) 2 liters water, 10 lbs honey rolling boil for 45 min.
2) hops added at 15 mins, boiled for 30 min.
3) gypsum/Irish moss/acid blend added at 30 mins, boiled for 15 min.
4) yeast hydrated 20 mins at 26 degrees C in 1/2 cup municipal tap water
5) poured wort into primary plastic fermenter, added (approx.) 10 degree C
spring water.
6) yeast pitched at 19 degrees C
7) cover primary and wait.


  • – OG 1.034 . I suspect that I did not let the bubbles dissipate and

therefore have a false reading. Previous meads had
OG of 1.0695 and 1.060

  • – Wort tasted really good. I definitely could taste the hops, which I found

to very nicely balance the sweetness.

  • – 4 days later, no fermentation at all, mold growing on surface. On

investigation, realised that the yeast was out of date. Sanitized a 23 liter
carboy, racked 50% of wort to the carboy, re-threw with new yeast (hydrated
same procedure), racked last 45%, and throw out contaminated wort. Used
closed primary fermentation for 2nd attempt.

  • – Successful fermentation within 12 hours.

  • – Transfered carboy to basement (<17 degrees C)

  • – Racked wort off sediment 1 month later to secondary, sealed with airlock.

  • – Tasted very good. Perhaps a touch too sweet, but fermentation is not

complete yet. Also, I thought I had enough acid blend when I brewed it, only
to find that I only had 2 1/2 tsp. I had intended to use 4 tsp. I could very
definitely drink it as is though.

Yet to come:

  • – I plan on racking wort off sediment every month, for 6 months.

  • – On final transfer, I am going to sulfite it and use finings (probably

isinglass). I may filter prior to bottling, haven't decided yet.

  • – Will be carbonating with C02 and bottling with counter pressure bottler

into 1 liter swing top bottles.

  • – Come July/August, I'll post taste test results. May even be un-biased


Gerald Manweiler

Subject: Re: siphoning methods
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 20:52:40 EST

I was a little surprised that the responses to the question on sucking on a
racking tube to start a siphon didn't (so far) address the fact that there are
several gadgets for sale that can do the same thing in a clean and sanitary
way. I use the "Sucking Thing," which was overpriced at around $12, and uses
a squeeze bulb to start a siphon. Other methods are out there & over the long
haul, to me, this beats filling a hose with water or whatever. Why introduce
risk of contamination when you don't have to?

Subject: corney kegs
From: (Dbomball)
Date: Sat, 21 Feb 98 11:04:31 -0600

Personally, I would not advise aging mead in corney kegs. I would worry
about the acid in the mead leaching metal from the keg. This leaching will
affect both the taste and the quality of the mead. Glass or wood are much
better than either metal or plastic for aging any kind of alcohol.

Good luck,
*******The early bird gets the worm,*******
***but the second mouse gets the cheese.***

Subject: Little Hungary Farm Winery
From: Mark Cassells <>
Date: Sat, 21 Feb 1998 12:53:19 -0400

This is just to tell you of a wonderful tour and
time I just had at the Little Hungary Farm Winery
in Buckhannon, West Virginia.

My wife and I spent a few hours with "Frank" Ferenc
Androczi stomping around in his vineyards and orchards,
his cellar, and what passes as his tasting room.

Don't go there if you are expecting anything glitzy
or technical, it's not there. What is there is an
82 year old man, full of life and full of stories
about his life and winery.

The only product he puts out is Melomel, made from
his own grapes, apples, and pears, and the honey
from his own bees. I forgot to count the barrels
in his cellar, but as a guess, there were not more
than 50 old oak whiskey barrels (some with the old
distillery's name still legible) there.

He freely talks about the various fruits he grows,
the uphill political battle he fought to get his
license, the wild turkeys who steal his grapes
("They eat the grapes, I eat them; it's fair."),
his recipe, and how maybe it's approaching time
to retire.

Before he does retire and sell his business, I
strongly recommend this as a day trip to anyone
who can get there.


Castlemark Honey
Mark G. Cassells

Subject: Earle Estate meads/Oa
From: kathy <>
Date: Sun, 22 Feb 1998 09:09:46 -0500

Greetings or Wassail!

How do oak chips added to the secondary work for oakeyness to mead? I
seem to have mislaid all my collection of oak barrels.

Also, the local wine store started stocking Bunratty Meade (a white wine
with honey and herbs added) which I found too sweet to enjoy, and Earle
Estates Meadery Traditional and Comtempory meads of Locke, New York.
The Earle meads were more interesting but quite sweet also. Anyone else
have comments on Earle? I'm pretty new to meads and not sure what to
expect as I'm basically a beer and cider person, and $16/bottle seems a

Cheers, jim booth, lansing, mi

Subject: mouth siphoning, free bottles
From: Chuck Wettergreen <>
Date: Sun, 22 Feb 1998 10:36:42 -0600

Several years ago I went to my periodontist (a visit I NEVER want to
repeat). I asked her, "If I rinse my mouth with vodka/whiskey/grain
alcohol, will it kill the lactic acid bacteria in my mouth? Her answer
was, "No. Your mouth is LOADED with lactic acid bacteria. Swishing with
vodka/whiskey/grain alcohol might kill the surface bacteria, but they also
reside in your saliva glands. As soon as you are done swishing, your
saliva glands will pump out new ones to take their place. You cannot
sanitize your mouth with alcohol."

I never mouth siphon (directly on the tube). I either use Dick's hose
filled with water, or use a sanitized piece of cut-off racking cane, which
is removed before the liquid gets to the piece of cut-off cane.

One of the best places I've found to get bottles is at homebrew contests.
By volunteering to judge or steward, you will have (sometimes) hundreds of
nice, clean label-less bottles to choose from.

t. leherer asked about using corney kegs for aging mead. I find corney kegs
especially helpful for mead storage, especially when I've run out of
carboys. Lately I seem to need them more and more often. So much mead to
make, so little time.


End of Mead Lover's Digest #650