Mead Lover's Digest #0651 Wed 25 February 1998


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



Re: Mead Lover's Digest #650, 22 February 1998 ("Marc Shapiro")
Syphoning solutions (Bruce Conner)
The New Meadllimium Results (
re: corney kegs (Dick Dunn)
thanx for the corney keg info/clarifying agents (L)
Earle Estate meads (Spencer W Thomas)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #650, 22 February 1998 (r l reid)
mead level in corneys (Zaephod Beeblebrox)
[FWD] American Mead Association: Like a Phoenix rising from (Dan McFeeley)
Worried or Not? (Michael Tucker)
Long-term storage in corny kegs (Matthew Arnold)


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Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #650, 22 February 1998
From: "Marc Shapiro" <>
Date: Sun, 22 Feb 1998 18:07:39 +0000

> 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.

I just wanted to second this statement.

> 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.

My wife and I took the tour at Little Hungary Farm winery last year
and really enjoyed it. I had figured that I would talk wine and mead
with Dr. Androczi and my wife would be bored. As it turned out she
had just as much fun on the tour and talking afterwards as I did. We
also won a bottle of melomel for correctly guessing what one of his
more unusual plants was. After talking for an hour or more after the
tour and tasting all of his melomels we bought 3 more bottles in
addition to the one that we won.

Dr. Androczi mention the "thieving turkies" to us, as well. He also
mentioned the "nasty deer." The turkies eat his grapes, but the deer
eat the vines to the ground.

After the tour I changed my sig block to what it is now, with a quote
from Dr. Androczi. It seemed appropriate. When someone asked him
when he was going to retire, he said "When I get old." He probably
will live to be 150. He claims that he drinks his melomel daily and
has never taken an aspirin in his life.


Marc Shapiro

Visit 'The Meadery' at:

"If you drink melomel every day, you will live to be 150 years old,
unless your wife shoots you."

  • –Dr. Ferenc Androczi, Winemaker of the Little Hungary Winery

Subject: Syphoning solutions
From: (Bruce Conner)
Date: Sun, 22 Feb 1998 18:12:42 -0500 (EST)

There are lots of ways to syphon, but I have one that is simple and sterile
and doesn't require a lot of stuff. You can make it yourself for about $2
and EVERYONE who has used it loves it (at least my email box says so) Have
a look at and see for

Send an email if you use it and enjoy it. Happy mazering!

Bruce Conner

Subject: The New Meadllimium Results
Date: Sun, 22 Feb 1998 20:24:10 EST

Anyone here recieved their score sheets back from this competition yet?
it seems like a reasonable time has passed…..


Subject: re: corney kegs
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 22 Feb 98 18:44:54 MST (Sun) ("Dbomball" or perhaps "Astrid"–confusing!) wrote:
> 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…

It would be a problem if it happened, but there's no reason to expect it to
do so. It's a matter of *what* metal, of course, but the kegs are stainless
steel. Many wineries age in stainless (for wines where wood character is
not desirable) precisely because it doesn't leach anything or contribute

>…Glass or wood are much
> better than either metal or plastic for aging any kind of alcohol.

Not really.

Glass is as neutral as stainless (not significantly more or less so, I
suspect), but it's heavy and breakable. At the size of a 5-gallon Corny,
glass is still manageable, but the steel keg is easier and less fussy.
Main problem with steel, I think, is that you don't get to watch the show.

Wood will add flavor. It is also porous, which allows evaporation and
oxidation. Now, the flavor of the wood may be a component you want, but
only in moderation; you've got to be careful with aging in wood. As for
oxidation, see the ongoing discussion here…a little is ok, but only a
little. Aging in small wood casks is particularly touchy on both these
counts due to the surface/volume ratio…personally, I wouldn't even try
aging mead in a cask smaller than 10 gallons.

I'd put plastic at the bottom of my list.

Dick Dunn rcd, domain Boulder County, Colorado USA

…I'm not cynical – just experienced.

Subject: thanx for the corney keg info/clarifying agents
Date: Sun, 22 Feb 1998 19:40:06 -0800

I would like to thank to collective for the rapid and encouraging
response to my query on the suitability of corney kegs for aging mead. I
normally keep a CO2 head pressure on the kegs at about 5 psi. The kegs
are stored at approximately 65f.
I recently (6 months ago, but that's recent to meaders) made a 5 gallon
batch of "Rauch Braggot" using a gallon of wort derived from german
smoked malt (rauchmalz). Most interesting flavor. I was so impressed
that I decided to do a peated malt version. Too soon to tell how that
one will taste. If anyone has experience in Braggots using smoked malts
I would appreciate any input or feed back. If anyone is interested in
the recipe, I'd be happy to email or post it to the MLD. I've been
making mead since 9/95 (a newbie I know, but I have some pretty good

I solicit comments on clarifying agents/filtration. I have a filtration
setup (keg to keg) and filters from 5.0 micron to 1.0 micron. It is my
experience with beer that if the filter is too tight (pore size) some of
the flavor components are stripped. Is this the same with mead? I'm
using fairly exotic honeys (star thistle, catsclaw, mesquite etc.) which
impart their own unique flavors. I'd hate to end up with a clover like
bland flavor. TIA for your input.

Bill from Bill's Bathtub Brewery (and meadery), Lone Tree, Colorado.

"Two wrongs don't make a right, but three do"
Tom Lerher (former math prof from Harvard and sometime comedian) c.1955

"Life is like a sewer, what you get out of it depends on what you put
into it"
Tom Lerher

Subject: Earle Estate meads
From: Spencer W Thomas <>
Date: Mon, 23 Feb 1998 00:45:16 -0500

Earle Estates makes two contemporary meads. There is a dry at 3/4%
residual sugar, and a "semi-sweet" with 8% residual sugar. The dry is
quite dry, and is acidified to resemble a dry white wine. I have only
had a very small sample of the "semi-sweet", but I would imagine it is
quite sweet.

The traditional has 5% residual sugar, so is not as sweet as the
contemporary "semi-sweet," but is still pretty sweet.

An interesting thing about the Contemporary meads is that they are
produced using the "ultra-filtration" technique that was recently
mentioned in this forum. They come out tasting extremely clean with
minimal aging.


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #650, 22 February 1998
From: r l reid <>
Date: Mon, 23 Feb 1998 09:21:01 -0500 (EST)

> Subject: Re: siphoning methods
> From:
> 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.

Just last week I saw this at Cornell's and decided the risk the $10, without
much hope it would be any good. Wow! It was excellent! No more mouth
siphoning for me.

By the way, those who think a swig of whiskey swished around the mouth
will effectively kill all microorganisms in your mouth frankly don't
understand what it takes to kill those beasties.

But I'm not sold on the Sucking Thing because of the sanitation – I'm
sold on it because of the ease. Mouth siphoning requires multiple attempts
and lots of swearing. The Sucking Thing requires about 2 or three squeezes.
I'm sold on it.

Subject: mead level in corneys
From: Zaephod Beeblebrox <>
Date: Mon, 23 Feb 1998 22:30:38 -0500

Reply to Carl bemoaning his inability to judge how much mead is left in
his corneys:
1. Weigh them empty with lid.
2. Mark the weight in pounds on the outside of the keg with a Sharpie
(c) or other type of permanent marker. I advise against chisels and
3. When in doubt weight the semi-full keg, or if you are a pesimist the
semi-empty keg. Subtract the tare (dry) weight. Since water is a pound
per pint, the results are obvious.

Frank M.

STILL no fancy graphics here!

Subject: [FWD] American Mead Association: Like a Phoenix rising from
From: Dan McFeeley <>
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 1998 00:20:09 -0600

This was a response to an e-note to Sarah & Keith Wanless, asking about
the status of the American Mead Association and permission to post
it on MLD.

>Date: Mon, 23 Feb 1998 13:16:54 -0700
>From: Keith Wanless <>

>Organization: Highlander Home Brew, Inc.
>Subject: American Mead Association: Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes
>To all lovers and makers of mead:
>The American Mead Association is making a comeback! The organization, in
>disarray since the untimely and tragic death of its president and
>driving force, Susanne Price, in January of 1996, is being brought back
>to life by a group of meadlovers and meadmakers.
>Due to some rather sticky financial goo created after Susanne's death,
>the AMA as we knew it previously will be officially and legally
>dissolved, and a new organization with a new name will be created in the
>next few weeks. (Have to go through the legal stuff before we can get to
>the things we all know and love!!!)
>The new board of directors of the as-yet unnamed organization consists
>Andrew LaMorte, President
>Sarah Wanless, Vice President
>John Bates, Secretary;
>Plans for the immediate future include:
>1. Revival of the "Ambrosia Adventure" mead-only competition.
>2. Creation of a website / contact point, with message forums and / or
>chat rooms for meadmakers and drinkers, and dissemination of mead
>information of all kinds.
>3. Restoration, as much as possible, of the original AMA's mailing list,
>which disappeared in the shuffle following Susanne's death.
>4. Honey Analysis and Sales: We'd like to revive the "American
>Meadmaker" line of raw unfiltered honeys. Some testing will need to be
>done on each individual honey, of course. This will take some time.
>In order to accomplish the above, we need help in several areas:
>1. Please send us your address (including email) so we can keep in
>contact with you and let you know as things develop. If you've received
>this email directly from us, (not forwarded to you) we have some info
>regarding contact with you. If you have not sent us your physical
>address recently, we don't have it! If this email was forwarded to you,
>please send email to <> indicating your interest with
>pertinent info.
>2. Please forward this email to anyone you know who was a member of the
>old AMA, or who has an interest in mead. This way we can build a
>database of former and prospective members. There are currently only
>about 50 people on our list, so we know we're missing a lot more of the
>old members than we have!
>3. Website design and hosting: We've had a couple of offers for website
>design. Thank you very much to those who've offered, we'll be contacting
>you individually in the near future to iron out details. If anyone can
>offer, or knows of, free or very inexpensive website hosting, please let
>us know!!!
>4. Logo Design: If any graphic artists out there would like to design a
>logo for the new organization, please contact us!
>In addition to the Association re-forming, a new mead publication will
>be brought into existence. A monthly magazine dedicated to meadmaking,
>mead drinking, and all things "meady" is in its formative state. If you
>or someone you know would like to contribute articles or other
>information to the magazine, please let us know! The first edition of
>the as-yet unnamed magazine is slated for publication in April.
>Anyone interested in the magazine please send us your name and
>(physical) address!!! The first three issues will be sent to you free of
>charge. After you've had a chance to look at three issues, you can
>subscribe if you like it.
>Please forgive the impersonal nature of this bulk email response.
>However, we thought it was best to get a "mass confirmation" out
>quickly. We will reply individually to each of you who have asked for
>info or offered assistance when time permits. It takes some time to
>respond to 60 emails coherently!
>Those of you who have sent your addresses, phone #'s etc. will be added
>to our fledgling database. If you haven't given us your address, please
>do so!
>More concrete information will be forthcoming in the next week or so –
>thanks for your patience. It's a bit difficult to get all the people
>together who are trying to run this thing , since we all actually have
>jobs and other inconveniences getting in the way.
>Look for more info in your email box soon!
>Wassail and Thanks!
>Andrew LaMorte, for the new Association
>Keith Wanless, for the new publication!

Subject: Worried or Not?
From: Michael Tucker <>
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 1998 14:31:23 -0500

Hi all,

As you might remember, I am new to the list and have my first batch of mead in
the works right now. Never tried the stuff, never even saw it from a homebrewer
or commercially. but, as a well read young man (well, I like to think so
anyway) I knew of its place historically, and since I dabble in homebrewing, I
of course encountered mention of it in various places associated with that
hobby, yada, yada, yada.

So, I thought I'd give it a whirl…… but, keep in mind I have no idea what
it tastes like, smells like, or looks like, aside from half-educated guesswork.
Since my degree is in microbiology, and I spent most of my undergrad time in
biotech (a while ago, and I am since out of that line of work), I figure I can
manage an "unknown" fermentation process. And…. since biology is so
fascinating and anything can happen….. I'm not too worried yet…. but I am a
bit worried- because of an abrupt change in the batch that I seemed to
cause…… <whew- am I long winded or what???>

Some background on the batch-
5 gallons total volume. I used about 15-16 lbs of honey. I basically followed
the "generic" recipe in the book "Mad About Mead". I don't have exact
quantities of ingredients right in front of me, but i put in the required
amounts of acid, nutrient, a bit of tannin, and I made a starter with one
packet of champagne yeast. Sanitized *everything* thoroughly, boiled the must,
and then put it into a 5 gal. plastic primary. Pitched my yeast.

Foamed like crazy day one- which I skimmed as suggested by the book. I let it
sit in the primary- covered- for a week. then I racked it into a glass
secondary, attached the fermentation lock, and it happily bubbled and gurgled
actively for two weeks or so- I could see the tiny bubbles of CO2 fizzing away-
everything looks normal so far. During this time, it also threw off about an
inch and a half of sediment. OK- so far so good. the book suggests that you
rack the mead off of the sediment once a month or so. OK- fine. I sanitized a
glass carboy, racked the mead off of the sediment into that, then topped it
back off with a gallon or so of clean, sanitary spring water (also suggested by
the book), repositioned my ferm lock, and….. nada. Nothing. no visible
signs of life. No glubs from the ferm lock, nothing. (I did taste it- I was
disappointed in the flavor, but it didn't taste "sour" or "off" like it had
been contaminated…. I figure it is still "raw" and needs time to mellow.)

The mead is clear, I can see through the stuff- a dark reddish golden color.
I guess what has me worried is that moments before I racked it, it was bubbling
away- one glub every 3 minutes of so. Moments after the transfer, nada. Its
alomst like i wiped out the wee beastie yeasties in toto. I can't believe that
to be true- but that's what its like. Its now been two solid days since the
transfer and still no signs of life. Let's just say I am concerned by the
extreme change in behaviour…… should I be worried?

Michael R. Tucker
Fayetteville Observer-Times
New Media Online Producer
Tel. 910-609-0635

Subject: Long-term storage in corny kegs
From: (Matthew Arnold)
Date: Wed, 25 Feb 1998 15:12:03 GMT

This topic has been tossed around quite a bit in the MLD recently, with
arguements both for and against. I decided that I'd contact John Palmer, a
metallurgist and frequent contributor to the Homebrew Digest and Brewing
Techniques magazine.

Here is my question to him:

> There's been a bit of a debate on the Mead Lover's Digest about using corny
> kegs for long-term storage of meads (one year or more). I know that
> properly-cared-for stainless steel is extremely resistant to corrosion.
> Given that the pH for meads, cysers, etc. is lower than beer tends to be, is
> there a potential corrosion problem with using cornys to age these beverages
> over long periods of time or would the mead actually passivate it? How about
> for barleywines or other such long-aged beers? There have been a lot of
> opinions thrown about, but no real authoritative answers.
> May I have your permission to post your response on the MLD?

His response follows:

Hi Matt,
Stainless steel is very resistant to most organic acids. It will not be
affected by the acidic pH of mead or cyser or barleywine. The only risk is
if there is a lot of trub on the bottom, which could lead to biofouling
corrosion, but that is really not very likely.
The only acids which attack 304 stainless are the halogen acids like
The only thing that will actually passivate a stainless steel is oxygen or
an oxidizing acid like Nitric or Phosphoric. Mead is not going to do it,
but I dont think mead is going to corrode it either.

Let me re-interate how to care for stainless steel. Clean it thoroughly
with a non-chlorinated cleanser if there are discolorations or deposits.
An oxalic based cleanser like Kleen King or Revereware or Bar Keeper's
Friend work well. Bon Ami will work pretty well too. Once the stainless
is clean and rinsed, dry it and let it stand exposed to normal indoor air
for a week. The stainless steel will repassivate itself by reforming the
protective surface oxides. You may then store mead or beer in it with
impunity. Do not use bleach to sanitize, it removes the oxides, use
iodophor or boiling water or something else.

Post away,

There you have it. As long as the surface oxides are in good shape (i.e. no
corrosion) neither beer nor mead will leach anything from or cause damage to
stainless steel cornys.

Check out John's website at for some interesting
articles on brewery cleaning, santizing, and corrosion issues.



End of Mead Lover's Digest #651