Mead Lover's Digest #0693 Sat 22 August 1998


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



Re: Learning the Art of Patience (David Sherfey)
Re: Questions galore ("Marc Shapiro")
killing fruit flies (Chuck Wettergreen)
Oak/Spices ("Henckler, Andrew")
Re: Fruit flies (Steve Daughhetee)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #692, 17 August 1998 (Cindy Renfrow)
Meadows of Mead (Dan McFeeley)
Bizzz-a-bizz-a-buzz-buzz-buzzzzz (Some Guy)
Question about Dry Ice (Tony Feaster)
Fruit Flies (gnats) ("David Johnson")
Sweet mead/fruit (
Kitzinger Yeast (
Re: Tupelo Honey (Michael Tucker)
Oxidized (?) mead results (John J. Cunniff)
Lurgashall Mead ("David Johnson")
Janopena Beer Recipes? ("Michael O. Hanson")


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Subject: Re: Learning the Art of Patience
From: David Sherfey <>
Date: Mon, 17 Aug 1998 04:47:30 -0400

Scott encourages us to have patience. The trouble is that many people
are accustomed to instant gratification and do not have patience until
they learn the value of it. So how do you teach a new meadmaker how to
have patience? By allowing that person to indulge to their limits of
satisfaction by drinking as much as they want of their mead as it ages.

Make more mead!

Give them a good recipe (very important) to start with that will make
the style they want, and then suggest that they make two batches (or
more). By the time they get through the first few months of tasting
that vile young stuff, they will still have more mead to age, and will
learn the value of aging and will naturally learn the art of patience.

Make more mead!
David Sherfey
Warwick, NY

Subject: Re: Questions galore
From: "Marc Shapiro" <>
Date: Mon, 17 Aug 1998 10:06:24 +0000

JGORMAN asks about adding an alcohol tolerant yeast several months
after using a sweet mead, or ale yeast, to avoid bottle grenades. He
also sks about using sulfite to stop a fermentation to achieve a
sweet wine.

Unfortunately, neither of these methods will work. If your sweet
mead, or ale yeast finishes fermenting, then leave it at that.
Adding an alcohol tolerant yeast at that time will simply renew the
fermentation and leave you with a dry mead. Just make sure that you
fermentation IS COMPLETELY DONE with the low alcohol tolerant yeast.
Check the SG several times, seperated by a few days each time, and
make sure that there is NO CHANGE. Then you can be confident that
fermentation has ended. If you have no objections to sulfite and
sorbate then this would be the time to add them (just before

Neither sulfite, nor sorbate, will stop an active fermentation. If
you want to stop a fermentation before it goes completely dry it has
been suggested that you chill the mead first to stall out the
fermentation. Then you can add the sulfite and sorbate to prevent
the fermentation from restarting. I would recommend keeping the mead
under an airlock for a few weeks after bringing the temperature back
up and checking the SG at the beginning and end of this period just
to be sure that fermentation has not restarted. Then, if the mead is
clear, either bulk age, or bottle, according to your preferences.



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: killing fruit flies
From: Chuck Wettergreen <>
Date: Mon, 17 Aug 1998 09:48:42 -0500

In MLD #691 Charlie <> asked about gnats:

>I have a problem with gnats! A few weeks ago, my eldest threw a poker

I suspect, as do a lot of other people in MLD #692, that you have fruit
flies. They seem to magically appear this time each year, probably because
there is a lot of mature fruit and vegetables lying around.

Getting rid of them safely is relatively simple. Buy a quart bottle of
cider vinegar. Regular vinegar will do, but I believe the pesky buggers
prefer something fruit-based. Pour 1/4 to 1/2 inch (2-3cm) in a small
dish, like a custard cup. Add 1 to 2 *drops* (absolutely no more than this)
of dishwashing detergent. Swirl lightly to just mix. Leave this out near
your fermenting area.

Almost immediately you'll see the fruit flies come out of hiding and make a
beeline straight for the vinegar (they love rotting fruit and that's what
this smells like to them). They'll land on the side of the dish, go down to
take a sip, and ZAP, the dishwashing detergent pulls them in and makes them
drown. By the next morning you'll find lots of them on the bottom of the
dish. This solution should be changed daily as the vinegar evaporates and
becomes ineffective.

zemo <>, otherwise known as Steve Holat, a next-town
neighbor of mine who I've never met (Hi Steve!) said in MLD #642:

>I love lavender. I have a well established barrel of it outside the
brewery (read: SO's house). I have a >recipe from either Bees Lee's or
Cat's Meow for lavender mead, but does anyone have a tried and
>true recipe? I'm thinking of using the cold extraction method posted in a
recent MLD, since I've been >collecting the flowers. Please share your
lavender mead experiences with me.

I've never done lavender, but I did an extraction of cinnamon basil flowers
(the basil used in Thai cooking- the flowers are purple but the leaves are
green). I picked the flowers through the Summer to keep the plant branching
and producing more basil. By August I had about a half a pound of flowers,
frozen in a zip-lock. I added this to a gallon of dry, about 15%, show
mead, and let it sit for about a week. One week was enough. After straining
and settling, the mead was a beautiful purple color, and had a *huge* aroma
of basil. It was also totally undrinkable; the flavor of basil was
overpowering. I think that you could do the same with lavender, and since
lavender is probably not as strong, yours may fare better. I think that a
sweet mead would probably complement lavender more.

Chuck Wettergreen
Geneva, IL

Subject: Oak/Spices
From: "Henckler, Andrew" <>
Date: Mon, 17 Aug 1998 11:09:01 -0400

Zemo asks about oak in mead…

>Subject: Brother Adam / Orchard honey / Lavender mead
>From: zemo <>
>Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998 11:41:10 -0500
>I've been trying to obtain references – ie, URLs, books,
>magazines, etc. – for information regarding Brother Adam
>of Buckfast Abbey. Specifically, I'd like to simulate his
>method of years-long primary ferments in oak barrels by
>fermenting in a carboy with a handful of oak chips. I'm
>planning to make a traditional mead, OG: 1100, rack it
>onto the chips and forget about it for a couple of years.
>I'm curious to know if anyone else has tried a method like
>this – on purpose – and what kind of results they got. And
>if anyone has info about Brother Adam, private email is OK
>- – I'll post results.

There is/was a recent thread on the homebrew digest about the use of oak
in beer and other things. From what I understand, it is very easy to
get too much of an oaky flavor in your beverage, and a mead, with less
to cover the flavor, could be over oaked in a week on chips, let alone
several years. My guess is that the oak barrels being used are either
lined with pitch, or have been used often enough that there is little or
no oak flavor contribution. Do Brother Adam's meads have any
discernable oak character? If not, I would suggest staying away from
the chips , as they are designed to add flavor.


What are the favorite spice types and amounts of experienced metheglin
makers out there? I am planning to start experiment with cinnamon and
maybe a bit of allspice, but there are lots of other spices out there
that I think might be good in mead (5 Spices, rosemary, black pepper,
herbs de provence, chipotle, tarragon, etc.). I'm just hoping to get
some informed opinions before I start playing with different
combinations and amounts.



Subject: Re: Fruit flies
From: Steve Daughhetee <>
Date: Mon, 17 Aug 1998 11:33:09 -0400

Dennis suggested fly traps and peter suggested pyrethrums for fruit flies.
I have to say that Dennis is on the right track, but lacks two key
ingredients. VINEGAR and SOAP! Yes, humble vinegar and soap are a good,
cheap, and proven method to kill every last fruit fly in a room within a
day or two. I usually start with a pint jar and add a half inch of wine
vinegar to the bottom. Add an equal volume of water (to keep the vinegar
from evaporating too fast) and add a couple drops of dish washing liquid.
Any liquid soap would probably work. You see, fruit flies can walk on
water. With soap to kill the surface tension, they sink like stones. As
these traps are cheap and easy to make, use several in the places flies
like to congregate. Next to the fruit basket, trash, carboys, sink ….
Soon you'll have a thick layer of little fruit fly corpses on the bottom of
your jar. Refresh the jar when the vinegar smell is gone.

Good luck!

Steve Daughhetee
Ithaca, NY

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #692, 17 August 1998
From: (Cindy Renfrow)
Date: Mon, 17 Aug 1998 13:15:00 -0400

Marc Shapiro wrote:
>So far as I know "The Closet…Opened" is still out of print and you
>will probably have to get it through interlibrary loan (unless you
>are lucky enough to live somewhere where a copy actually exists).
>The edition that I got hold of was edited by Anne Macdonell and
>published by Philip Lee Warner in London in 1910.

Hello! FYI, my book "A Sip Through Time" contains all the alcoholic
beverage recipes found in Digby's "The Closet…Opened".


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

Subject: Meadows of Mead
From: Dan McFeeley <>
Date: Mon, 17 Aug 1998 11:58:37 -0500

I have to thank all those who replied to my last post in correcting my misuse
of the poetic term "meads." Tidmarsh Major pointed out the obvious, that the
use of mead as a beverage in everyday life had declined long before the time
of the poets I quoted. Ah well, I suppose it's the thought that counts — it
*did* seem like nice image to draw, romantic settings of meeting a lady over
a glass or two of mead. 🙂

Cindy Renfrow also offered a good critique of the cold steeping method
I posted from the article in _Herbal Quarterly_. In looking back over
the article after reading her response, I believe the author intended the
same precautions that Cindy recommended, i.e., straining out the first set
of petals once they they become translucent and then adding a fresh batch,
repeating this until the floral water reaches the strength intended by the
wine or mead maker. I had overlooked this and consequently this important
point was unclear, to which Cindy responded with a needed reminder of the
possibility of inviting mold into the must by leaving the flower petals in
the water. Her suggestion of putting the petals into a strainer bag such
as that used for fruit in melomels or gruit infusions in metheglins was
an excellant suggestion and not found in the article.


Dan McFeeley

Subject: Bizzz-a-bizz-a-buzz-buzz-buzzzzz
From: Some Guy <>
Date: Mon, 17 Aug 1998 14:30:13 -0400 (EDT)

Cam gives the appropriate advice! (Listen up, Sam! I had those moths –
Indian Meal Moths, as identified via an entemology web site – too!) The
operative term is clean! Not that the fact that you got an infestation is
any indication that you live in squallor, but once they start laying the
eggs about, they're damned difficult to get rid of.

Here's what I went through – once with the little red-eyed devils, once
with the meal moths: Throw anything that is a food source and may contain
eggs away. Keep other things that DON'T contain the eggs in plastic
containers (the dagnabbit meal moths will chew through cardboard and
plastic bags to get at the goodies).

Fruit flies, I'm told, are interested in the gasses produced by the
fermenting product. I removed my airlock from the fermenter, and put a
"blow-off" hose arangement on to move those gasses as far from the
fermenter as I could. Then I took a fly trap and put a nicely rotting
apple in it. The apple smelled SOOOOOO much better to the buggers than
did the mead gasses that they chose to perish in the jar rather than get
drunk off of the fermenting mead. I then got the trusty ol' shop vac out
and vacuumed every nook and crevice with as fine an attachment as I could
get. Pay particular attention to places where there may be narrow gaps
between things, like shelf stringers nailed to walls.

The moths hatch, as I recall, every thirty days. The cycle for the flies
is on the order of days. The point is, though, you want to review the area
for evidence of the pests within and just beyond that cycle. If you're
talking about a closed room, this is fairly easy – just check around with
a flashlight for them.

Here's a website I found that may be helpful:

(Sam: the moth larvae leave webs wherever they are eating. Ours came in
on hamster food, and took right kindly to my grain bins. I threw out
everything that had the little webbies in it, vacuumed the hell out of
everything in the vicinity, and washed everything down with a household
cleaner. Checking turned up a moth or two for about a week after than,
but I had pretty much removed their food source, and haven't seen a moth
in almost a year. We took to checking the box of food out in the store.
If they wouldn't let us check, we'd take our business elsewhere.
Eventually, the hamsters starved to death… KIDDING! Honest! But we did
never have a reinfestation. Here's a website for you , too:

See ya!

Pat Babcock in SE Michigan
Home Brew Digest Janitor
HBD Web Site
The Home Brew Page

"Just a cyber-shadow of his former brewing self…"

Subject: Question about Dry Ice
From: Tony Feaster <>
Date: Mon, 17 Aug 1998 22:32:01 -0500

Hello all-

I am thinking of making a sparkling Mead and a friend of mine suggested
using dry ice for carbonation instead of priming with some sort of
sugar. Has anyone ever heard of this method? Any ideas on how much to
use so I don't have exploding bottles or other problems?


Subject: Fruit Flies (gnats)
From: "David Johnson" <>
Date: Mon, 17 Aug 1998 21:54:39 -0500


I had a problem in my basement with a similar small fly. First I looked

for where they were breeding and cleaned it out vigorously as has been
suggested here before. Second, I had noticed they were attracted to light
in my dark basement. Thus I used a small bug zapper and in a few days they
were gone. I kept it going for a couple of weeks to make sure I had
interrupted their breeding cycle and have been relatively bug free since. I
still get an occassional fly but I am back to my pre-infestation levels.


Subject: Sweet mead/fruit
Date: 18 Aug 1998 11:25:23 -0400

It's the sweet mead guy again. On that topic, what would happen if you add
malto dextrin or lactose (unfermetnable sugars) to the must? Besides the
obvious gravity increase, would this produce a sweeter mead? Also, someone
mentioned about finishing at 1.003 vs. .995. Does a higher FG automatically
indicate a sweet mead and a lower indicate a dry?

I am in the process of fermenting out a melomel with black cherries. In the
last post someone mentioned about flowers molding in the must because they are
floating on top. My cherries are floating on top and there appears to be a
gray/white film on them. I can't tell if it is a mold or just a dried up
kraeusin. Is there a possibility it is a mold? Should the cherries be
sinking and turning white like raspberries? I pasteurized the honey, fruit,
acid and an orange mango tea bag at 140 for 20 min. Then sulfited prior to
pitching Lavlin 1116 rehydrated yeast. Fermentation kicked off in less than
24 hours. Thanks. The new mead guy going crazy. Three batches in two weeks.

rIvEr DoG bReWeRy

Subject: Kitzinger Yeast
Date: Tue, 18 Aug 1998 09:50:35 -0700

A while back I met a brew shop owner at our annual Spring Beer Fest and
naturally we got to talking about brewing. After the usual banter I
mentioned that I was a mead maker and asked if he any yeast that was
developed specifically for the task. He said he had a few different brands
of mead yeast, "In fact", he said "we have over 100 different varieties of
yeast. If they make it we have it". Well needless to say this was quite a
claim and I had to check this out even though his shop is 40 min. from my
house. He did in fact have a very impressive selection of yeast (most of it
dry) and I picked up a mead and a tokay yeast from a company called
Kitzinger. There is always a lot of talk about yeast here on MLD but I
never remember any mention of this brand of yeast from Germany. Has anyone
tried this stuff. I am about to make a starter off the Tokay and was hoping
to get a little info before I started. I hit the net with not much luck, I
found some beer recipes that used Kitzinger beer yeast but they were all in
German. If anyone has info about this brand I would love to hear it.

Matt Maples

Subject: Re: Tupelo Honey
From: Michael Tucker <>
Date: Tue, 18 Aug 1998 14:43:12 -0400

>I just got back from a Blues festival in Clarksdale MI. I was within arms
>reach of Tupelo but sadly, time did not allow for a jaunt farther east. I'd
>really love to get ahold of some Tupelo Honey.

Actually, I believe tupelo honey is honey where the bees have harvested
pollen from a tupelo plant (tree?) , not honey from a place called tupelo.
Of course, I may be wrong…..

Michael R. Tucker
Web Developer

Subject: Oxidized (?) mead results
From: ed372@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (John J. Cunniff)
Date: Thu, 20 Aug 1998 10:15:49 -0400 (EDT)

Many thanks to all those who responded to by question about
a mead that had a mysteriously misplaced airlock. Most of
the responses indicated that the first thing I should do is
taste it. (as my 12 year old daughter is fond of saying:
"Duh Dad.") Since the taste was unharmed and the previously
noticed medicinal aroma slightly improved, and nothing
was seen floating in the mead, I went ahead and bottled it.
I did not use any additives such as vitamin C because I
wasn't sure what I was doing and decided to follow the KISS
principle. Six to twelve months from now I guess I'll know
if this was a success.
Thanks again,
John Cunniff

Subject: Lurgashall Mead
From: "David Johnson" <>
Date: Fri, 21 Aug 1998 12:49:45 -0500


I have come into possession of a mead made by Lurgashall Winery. I am

just windering what others have thought of this mead. Is it good or
typical of the meads produced in England ? I plan on serving it to guests
and would like to be able to answer questions. So any info is welcome.


Subject: Janopena Beer Recipes?
From: "Michael O. Hanson" <>
Date: Fri, 21 Aug 1998 20:17:43 -0700

I've read discussions of jalopena mead. Does anyone have an extract-based
recipe for jalopena beer they would be willing to post?

Thanks in advance,

Mike Hanson

End of Mead Lover's Digest #693