Mead Lover's Digest #0683 Tue 30 June 1998


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



re: Subject strange berries (
RE: dissolving campden tabs (LaBorde, Ronald)
Re: Definition Request: 'Sweet Mead' (Jack Stafford)
tannins ("Mr. Warren Place")
Oregon Grape and Salal ("Grant W. Knechtel")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #682, 29 June 1998 ()
Various & Sundry Questions ("Henckler, Andrew")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #682, 29 June 1998 ()
RE:Siphon Tips ("Ben Pollard")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #682, 29 June 1998 ()
Re: Heather Honey (Mark Cassells)
Re:Home Grown ()
Re: heather honey ("Wout Klingens")
Re: Mead w/tea settling faster ? ("Wout Klingens")
Tea in Meads/Colorless Tannin? ("Andrew M. Hartig")
Jasmine ("Andrew M. Hartig")
Currant mead ("Stephen J. Van der Hoven")
muscadine pyment/hippocras ()
Dandelion mead? ("Leo Demski")


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Subject: re: Subject strange berries
Date: Mon, 29 Jun 1998 09:35:40 -0700

> I was talking to a friend in the Pacific N.W. (USA) that said he
>had heard of wine made from Salal berries and also wine made from Oregon
>grapes (not grapes grown in Oregon, but purple berries on a spiney little
>bush that makes hiking in shorts sometimes painful). Has anybody ever
>triend making mead with either of these berries? I didn't think either of
>them were edible (and still have my doubts).
I don't know how the rumor that Oregon Grape is poisonous got started, but
it is just not true. I've talked to people who will argue with me to no end
about it but as a boy scout we use to suck on them to keep from getting dry
mouth when hiking. I also have a wine book that has a recipe for Oregon
Grape wine. The way I remember it Oregon Grape is not very sweet and a
little on the bitter side but then again so is elderberry and it make a
great mead. Let me know if you are interested in the wine recipe, it may be
a good place to start.

As for Sal berry I can't say that I have tried it or know much about it.

Subject: RE: dissolving campden tabs
From: (LaBorde, Ronald)
Date: Mon, 29 Jun 1998 11:49:37 -0500

From: "Mr. Warren Place" <>

> I usually use powdered potassium sulfite made into a stock
>solution for sanitizing my musts, but I'd like to use the few campden
>tablets I have on hand. I can't seem to get them to dissolve. I've
>crushed them and added half a cup of water, but the powder just floats
>top. Am I supposed to heat the water or what?

Use about an ounce of your must, warm it up and dissolve the crushed
campden tablets in that.


Ronald La Borde – Metairie, Louisiana –

Subject: Re: Definition Request: 'Sweet Mead'
From: Jack Stafford <stafford@newport26.HAC.COM>
Date: Mon, 29 Jun 1998 10:18:38 -0700 (PDT)

On Tue, 23 Jun, "Richard Moore" <> wrote:
> 1 gal (about 12#) Orange Blossom Honey
> 3.75 gal water
> Steeped honey & water for 20 minutes at 175 degrees F to kill nasties
> Added 2 T Acid Blend, 1 T Yeast Nutrient during cooldown
>Pitched Wyeast Sweet Mead, stepped up 3 times with organic apple juice
>to 1 qt.

s n i p…

> At 5 weeks, it cleared again; SG at 70. Added a rehydrated pack of Lavin
> 1116, since I figured the wyeast was about at its limit. Activity started
> immediately, but subsided a day later; SG at a hair over 60. I have a bloop
> about every 3-4 minutes, and the new yeast is still in suspension at week 6
> (now).

I thought you wanted a sweet mead. The Lalvin yeast will cause fermentation
to begin again, creating a drier mead. The $4 you spent on the Wyeast liquid
culture may have been for naught. Lalvin K1V-1116 is a fine yeast, but not
my choice for a sweet mead.

A sweet mead retains alot of the sweetness from honey. All of the sugars in
the must are not converted to alcohol. This is why yeasts with low attenuation
are chosen for preparing this style of mead. Sweet mead yeasts stop fermenting
before all the sugars are consumed. Your sweet mead yeast worked properly.

Costa Mesa, CA

Subject: tannins
From: "Mr. Warren Place" <>
Date: Mon, 29 Jun 1998 10:34:59 -0700 (PDT)

How are post fermentation tannins added? It seems the powder just clumps
when it is added to water. I have a mead that is somewhat insipid. I
would like to try and correct this with a little acid blend and tannin
powder at bottling (neither were added to the must).

Warren Place

Subject: Oregon Grape and Salal
From: "Grant W. Knechtel" <>
Date: Mon, 29 Jun 1998 11:26:39 -0700

Warren Place asks,

I was talking to a friend in the Pacific N.W. (USA) that said he

had heard of wine made from Salal berries and also wine made from Oregon
grapes (not grapes grown in Oregon, but purple berries on a spiney little
bush that makes hiking in shorts sometimes painful). Has anybody ever
triend making mead with either of these berries? I didn't think either of
them were edible (and still have my doubts).

Although I have made mead from neither of these berries, they are indeed
edible. Oregon grape is so sour as to be nearly unpalatable, but I
understand Native Americans in our area used them sparingly as flavoring.
Salal is also edible, but is so bland that I've never bothered to eat
many. Perhaps a combination of the two would be tasty? I look forward to
reading posts from others who have tried mead from these fruits, since our
local woods and backyards are full of them. Wassail!

  • -Grant

Neue Des Moines Hausbrauerei
Des Moines, Washington, USA

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #682, 29 June 1998
From: <>
Date: Mon, 29 Jun 1998 16:11:55 EDT

David asks:

"I live on long Island and I am looking for heather honey. Is there anyway
for me to find this type of honey in my area, or in US dose it go by a
different name. Yes, I know that a mead made with heather honey will take
about 8 years to age."

Try "Castlemark Honey." Lost their web address, but they do have a home page.
They import it; if any heather honey is produced in the U.S., I'm unaware of

Subject: Various & Sundry Questions
From: "Henckler, Andrew" <>
Date: Mon, 29 Jun 1998 15:22:06 -0400

Hi All:

I have been pretty exclusively beer-focused over the past year, but
after judging meads a couple of times recently, my curiosity about meads
has been renewed. Hopefully the more experienced mead-makers out there
can offer some advice on a few matter.

1) I am planning on starting with a medium-dry mead, using about 12# of
honey for a 5 gal batch. Is this about right for a medium mead?

2) What yeast is popular/good? I've used red star champagne in the
past, but I know that this yeast tends to give a very dry mead. I'd
like to avoid unnecessarily long aging times and stay away from yeasts
that throw off a lot of fusels.

3) I was planning on not boiling the must in order to preserve more
honey aromatics. Can I get away without pasteurizing if I oxygenate and
pitch enough yeast?

4) I was planning on adding yeast nutrient. Is 1 tablespoon right for
a 5 gal batch? Should I be adding yeast nutrient as well?

5) Is star thistle honey OK to use? I like the taste of this honey and
I can get it essentially unprocessed, but I have only used clover and
orange blossom honey in the past.

Thanks in advance to anyone who shares their hard-won insight.


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #682, 29 June 1998
From: <>
Date: Mon, 29 Jun 1998 16:19:05 EDT

addendum to my last note this date:

That address for the heather honey source is
Saw their note in MLD after sending my message. . . sorry.

Subject: RE:Siphon Tips
From: "Ben Pollard" <>
Date: Mon, 29 Jun 1998 19:29:15 -0500

I use the old turkey baster, $1.59 or so for the plastic ones at wally
world. First thing you want to do is throw away the bulb and just use the
hard plastic tip. It takes the place of the 1" piece of racking cane and
airlocks and has one big advantage. Most turkey basters I have seen have a
smoothly reduced tip which will allow you to easily insert and remove it
from your hose. Use it like the others as a mouthpiece to suck on to start
the siphon, it's just easier to get on and off.
Ben Pollard
Classic Fermentations, Amarillo, TX

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #682, 29 June 1998
From: <>
Date: Mon, 29 Jun 1998 21:58:33 EDT

Would any one have a "fool proof" recipe for a gross beginner for mead? I have
a gallon of local honey and wish to make my first mead.


Subject: Re: Heather Honey
From: Mark Cassells <>
Date: Mon, 29 Jun 1998 22:18:01 -0400

Last issue, David wrote:

> I live on long Island and I am looking for heather honey. Is there anyway
>for me to find this type of honey in my area, or in US dose it go by a
>different name.

David, I am about to recieve another shipment of heather honey. I expect
this batch to cost less than the last, but it is still pricey. I should
have it in and priced on the web in a few weeks.


Castlemark Honey
Mark G. Cassells

Subject: Re:Home Grown
From: <>
Date: Tue, 30 Jun 1998 01:42:06 EDT

In MLD #682 Dan asks about home grown prickly pears.
First point: I always wear leather gloves when handling any part of the
cactus. The "pricklies" aren't immediately painful, but become very
annoying. Much like getting into fiberglass (speaking as a former surfboard
shaper). No matter how careful one is, one will always end up with a few
spines in their skin. For this a quality pair of tweezers is the answer.
>"How many cactus plants did you plant?"<
I happened upon a maintainence crew clearing out an area of cacti at
Playalinda Beach, aka Canaveral National Seashore, aka the beach where they
launch the space shuttles. They let me take all the cactus parts I wanted. I
filled up two 18"x 24"x14" boxes with cactus lobes and lobes still attached to
branches. I brought these home and just stuck them in the ground in a 5' x 15'
plot in my yard. Give a cactus a little ground, water, and sunlight, and it
will take off.
>"How long did it take before they started producing fruit?"<
I got the cuttings in July of ' 96. They already had green pears on them when
I planted them. All those pears continued to grow at my house, ripened, and
became prickley pear batch # 8. The next year (last year) the cacti put on a
whole bunch of new growth (lobes) but only made five pears. This year there
is even more new growth, and lots of pears. Probably enough for a five gallon
batch of mead.
>"What time of year do they produce fruit?"<
Here in Florida they bloom (very pretty light yellow flowers) in early March
with a second flush of flowers in late June. The pears start to ripen in late
August and stay good on the plant until the next bloom in March. However I
would bet this is not the same schedule as in areas where there is freezing
I have a tradition of going to Playalinda (spanish for beautiful beach) on
Labor Day weekend, making the blood sacrifice, and picking the pears for my
first batch of P.P. mead of the season. It has been lucky for me there have
been no shuttle launches scheduled for that weekend since I started making
P.P. meads. NASA closes the beach two days before and a day after each
It was Charlie Papazian who got me started making P.P.meads. I have climbed
to the top of "Mead Mountain" next to the Flat Irons in Boulder and drank
prickly pear mead with him up there. It was just as cool as he says.
That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Subject: Re: heather honey
From: "Wout Klingens" <>
Date: Tue, 30 Jun 1998 14:21:08 +0200

> I live on long Island and I am looking for heather honey. Is there anyway
>for me to find this type of honey in my area, or in US dose it go by a
>different name. Yes, I know that a mead made with heather honey will take
>about 8 years to age.


One of the members of this digest carries heather honey.
Get in touch with Mark Cassells <>
He imports the stuff.

Subject: Re: Mead w/tea settling faster ?
From: "Wout Klingens" <>
Date: Tue, 30 Jun 1998 14:20:02 +0200

Chuck Wettergreen <> wrote:

>After much pushing/prodding/nagging/cajoling by Dutch meadmaker Wout
>Klingens, I added some grape tannin to a pie cherry melomel that had been
>sitting cloudy for the past 11 months. There was an *immediate* chemical
>reaction. The airlock started to bubble and a dark brown sediment began to
>form before my eyes. The next day it was brilliant clear and there was 3/4"
>(2 cm) of dark brown sediment on the bottom. I had seen this same thing
>before when I foolishly added gelatin to a hazy cyser and immediately
>formed a cloud-like colloid that wouldn't clear. I asked the MLD and
>someone suggested tannin, the rest is history..

I can't remember cajoling. I won't cajole him, ever! 🙂 I would comment on
the prodding, but my I can't find the word in my dictionary. Does anyone has
a clue to what this is supposed to mean? Is it nice? I hope not 🙂
Anyway, before anyone thinks I am some sort of a Dutch guru, I have some
questions and remarks of my own, to demonstrate my ignorance.
Gelatine is protein and tannin is a substance, negatively charged which will
attract protein, form clusters and precipitate, taking down any floaties
Now according to my docs the correct amount would be a 50/50 amount of
gelatine and tannin. Which would suggest a 1 to 1 relationship between a
protein and a tannin melecule. Which would be comparing a pound of feathers
with a pound of lead, I know.
The reason for me mentioning this, is, that tannin also adds a flavor to the
mead called adstringency. If you want that, fine, but if you don't want it,
you would have to know, how much protein is in the wine, how the tannin
would react to those proteins and so, how much tannin you need to clear it,
without leaving any tannin behind.
Another question is: do we want those proteins to precipitate? Are they
maybe an essential part of the flavor of a good mead, or are they on the
contrary contributing to off-flavors?
Even more questions come to mind. Do you add tannin to the must, or solely
as a clearing agent afterwards. If you add it to the must, then do you not
strip it from valuable sources of nitrogen? Or is the bond between the
tannin and the proteins such, that the nitrogen will still be available to
the yeast?
The must will foam extremely when adding tannin prior to pitching. Should I
be worried or is this healthy?
A little math: According to McConnell the average honey contains 0.26%
protein. So to a must with 10 pounds of honey you would have to add 5000 *
0.0026 = 13 grams or 2.5 teaspoons of tannin, to completely bind the
That's a lot! Any comments??

Wout Klingens

Subject: Tea in Meads/Colorless Tannin?
From: "Andrew M. Hartig" <>
Date: Tue, 30 Jun 1998 10:16:01 -0700 (PDT)

This "tea in mead" thread got me thinking about what types of different
teas might be used in meads. Has anyone thought about using (or has
anyone actually used) Chinese Oolong tea? Or maybe green tea?

This kind of relates to the request for a colorless tannin besides that
obtained from grapes. Green teas tend to turn the water a light yellow to
green color when they are brewed, and oolongs have a wonderful light brown
color not too far off from the color of honey. I guess the question
becomes: what in tea provides tannins?

The one main thing that distinguishes black teas from oolongs and green
teas is that the leaves in black teas are "fermented" for a period of time
before they are dried. "Oolong" means something akin to "semi-fermented",
hence their lighter color when brewed, and green teas are not fermented at
all before they are dried.

If it is the fermentation of the leaves that provides the tannins, then
only a black tea (or possibly and oolong) would work for the clearing of
meads and supplying tannins. But, on the other hand, if the tannins are
naturally present in the leaves to begin with, it would seem that any kind
of tea would work. So a possible solution to adding tannins without much
distorting the color of your mead would be to use an oolong or a green
tea. My bet would be on oolong as it has a real mild flavour, whereas
green tea can sometimes taste a little too "green".

Please note that I have never tried adding tea to clear a mead (but will
with my current batch!) and the above is merely hypothetical, so *caveat

I would be interested in what others have to say about this.

  • -A:

Subject: Jasmine
From: "Andrew M. Hartig" <>
Date: Tue, 30 Jun 1998 10:18:03 -0700 (PDT)

Around the place where I work there are a lot of star-jasmine plants.
The smell is absolutely divine! I know that jasmine is sometimes used in
teas, but has anyone out there ever used the flowers in a mead? Ever
heard of jasmine-honey?

  • -A:

Subject: Currant mead
From: "Stephen J. Van der Hoven" <>
Date: Tue, 30 Jun 1998 13:24:14 -0600

In the yard of the house that I moved into recently there is a currant
bush that is brimming with berries. Anyone out there had any experience
with using currants in a mead?


Subject: muscadine pyment/hippocras
From: <>
Date: Tue, 30 Jun 1998 16:57:31 EDT

Hi Y'all,

Just wondering if anyone has made anything with muscadines (mustang grapes).

I have almost 6 one gallon bags full in my freezer and I am thinking of making
something. I have used them before in a light hippocras which was an
adaptation of Papazian's barkshack ginger mead, and had good results (recipe
available upon request), and some wine that I made from them old school (wild
yeast method – which also, suprisingly, turned out pretty good). Please
include method of grape juice extraction. I got poor extraction from
submersion in a mesh bag during primary (although I didnt use much to begin
with). I got excellent extraction rate from the wild yeast method, which
involved mashing a cooler full of grapes then leaving them in a cooler outside
in 100F+ heat and infamous Houston humidity (who'd a thunk it!?) but I am
fairly certain this is NOT a good way to go for what I'm making.

Bright Blessings,

"And those who ancient lines did lay

Will heed the song that calls them back"

Subject: Dandelion mead?
From: "Leo Demski" <>
Date: Tue, 30 Jun 1998 16:28:54 PDT

Hey everybody!

I was wondering if anyone out there had any recipes and/or knowledge
concerning making a dandelion mead? I have a good source for
non-sprayed flowers, and good Dakota honey…

What about Flower meads in general? Any recommendations? Procedures? I
don't have any of my mead references with me (I'm on a working vacation
in the Black Hills of South Dakota)….

Also, has anyone experimented with using spruce in mead?

I greatly appreciate any information anyone can provide (please post to
the journal)


  • -Leo Demski

End of Mead Lover's Digest #683