Mead Lover's Digest #0695 Wed 2 September 1998


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



Re: Fruit flies (Dick Dunn)
Elderberry mead ? (John Looney)
Re: Cotton Candy ()
Re: adding spices (Tom Lentz)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #694, 26 August 1998 ("Marc Shapiro")
Re: adding spices ("Marc Shapiro")
Peach Melomel (
yeast nutrient (
Re: Tupelo Honey mld#693 ("Snydock, Gary E")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #694, 26 August 1998 (dennis key)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #694, 26 August 1998 (Daniel S McConnell)
Yeast nutrient/energizer questions ("Andrew M. Hartig")
Brother Adam: A Report (zemo)
Diammonium phosphate and magnesium chloride (
Release of CO2 after adding fining agent? (CW)


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Subject: Re: Fruit flies
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 26 Aug 98 00:51:37 MDT (Wed)

Peter Miller <> wrote…
> …but can I just ad a caveat to the use of vinegar in the
> brewing room? Just remember that the _tiniest_ infection from vinegar in
> any of your active meads may start the chain reaction that will turn your
> prize mead into salad dressing, so make sure that you don't unwittingly
> carry the acetobacter into your brew…

Any prepared vinegar is processed and distilled. There won't be any live
acetobacter in a commercial vinegar.

Dick Dunn Hygiene, Colorado USA

…Mr. Natural says, "Get the right tool for the job."

Subject: Elderberry mead ?
From: John Looney <>
Date: Wed, 26 Aug 1998 11:45:28 +0100

I've noticed that on my way home from work, there is a large elder bush,
with a huge quantity of berries on it. I was wondering if this fruit can be
used to make mead, and if so how ? Just make up a dose of honey & water &
herbs, let it brew a few days, and then add the crushed fruit ? Are
elderberries sour or nasty or anything ? Also, an idea of a time till it's
drinkable from someone that's made elderberry mead would be nice.

Also, I've managed to get a copy of a transcript of "The closet of the
eminently learned Sir Kenelme Digbie". Would it be legal to OCR this, and
submit it to project gutenberg, for the benefit of mead makers everywhere ?

The copy I have is a 20 year transcript from the International Bee Research
Association. Is it legal to copy a copy ? I know the typesetting can be
copyrighted, but is the content also copyrighted ?


"I am Grey. I stand between the candle and the star.

We are Grey. We stand between the darkness and the light."

John "Kate" Looney, Horizon Open Systems. Sun Microsystems distributor and
Support centre. Hotline: [+353 1 8055700] Web

Subject: Re: Cotton Candy
From: <>
Date: Wed, 26 Aug 1998 08:17:21 EDT

In a message dated 8/26/98 2:36:09 AM Eastern Daylight Time, mead- writes:

<< My problem.
I checked the melomel about 4 hours later and there was a great deal of
white fluffy looking stuff floating through out the melomel. I checked
again an hour later, and most of the "cotton candy" had settled to the
bottom. There was still some floating on top. It looked like a fluffy one
inch rope of white cotton candy.

What is this? What did I do wrong? What should I do to save my melomel? >>

I am not sure what it is but I had a very similar problem last year with a
Strawberry melomel. What ever it was settled out and I racked off of it. At
first I was convinced it was some kind of raging infection until I realized it
was being held up by co2 and fell rather quickly after I agitated the carboy.
The Mead tastes great. The only thing I could guess is that it is Pectin from
the Strawberries.

Don't Panic

Subject: Re: adding spices
From: Tom Lentz <>
Date: Wed, 26 Aug 1998 07:14:56 -0700

I crush the cinnamon sticks (with a knife handle, hammer, rolling pin, etc)
and put them in the must for boil (well, I don't actually boil, just get it clos
and hold it for 15-20 minutes). Whole sticks don't impart enough flavor,
and ground cinnamon will leave your mead cloudy (but will taste fine
otherwise). As for other spices to use, here's some that I use in a favorite
metheglin of mine (from memory, I hope I get it right):

12 cinnamon sticks (crushed)
20 cloves (also crushed/cracked)
3 oz orange peel (the orange part, not the pith. Available in the spice rack
at the grocery store in 3 oz bottles)
3-5 nickel-sized slices of ginger. Don't get carried away here, too much
makes it taste plasticy. I may omit the ginger in the future.
A few ordinary tea bags (for tannin, I'm up to about 4-5 bags but still
experimenting with this ingredient).
1 to 1.5 gal honey, water to 5 gallons, and heat to pasturize for 15-20
minutes (maybe overkill), while skimming off the scum that rises.
I usually use the liquid Wyeast Sweet Mead yeast.
A few tsp. of acid blend (easy does it), and a little yeast nutrient.

Just opened a 7 year old bottle of this to celebrate a new house we bought.
I'd never managed to save one past 2 years before 🙂 It was absolutely

Tom Lentz

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #694, 26 August 1998
From: "Marc Shapiro" <>
Date: Wed, 26 Aug 1998 10:38:20 +0000

Dennis suggested … VINEGAR and SOAP! to get rid of fruit flies to
which Peter Miller replied:

Brilliant idea, but can I just ad a caveat to the use of vinegar in
the brewing room? Just remember that the _tiniest_ infection from
vinegar in any of your active meads may start the chain reaction
that will turn your prize mead into salad dressing, so make sure
that you don't unwittingly carry the acetobacter into your brew…

If you use distilled vinegar then there will be no active acetobacter
to worry about from that sector. Any way you look at it, however,
the FLIES are the real worry. There is much more danger of
infection from fruit flies all around your mead than from a bowl of
diluted vinegar a few yards away to draw the flies away from the
mead. Do what is necessary to get rid of the flies!



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: Re:  adding spices
From: "Marc Shapiro" <>
Date: Wed, 26 Aug 1998 11:52:31 +0000

Kurt Hoesly wrote

> I have a question for those of you who have more experience in
> mead-making than I do. I'd like to make a cinnamon mead, but I'm
> not sure what would be the best way to go about it.
> The options I've been considering are:
> #1 make a "cinnamon tea" by boiling water with a cinnamon stick in it

Yes. Either make a strong cinnamon tea and add it to the must, or
else make the must, itself, into a weaker tea. Use STICK cinnamon.
Do not use ground cinnamon or you will never get it out before your
final racking.

The way that I usually add my spices is to boil a gallon of water,
then add all of my spices (fresh, whole or chopped — NOT ground) in
a muslin or cheesecloth steeping bag, cover the pot and allow it to
steep overnight. This makes your kitchen smell wonderful! Then I
reheat the water to about 170 degrees, turn off the heat and remove
the spice bag. At this point I add the honey to the hot water and
mix it in well, then I put some cold water in the carboy and pour the
hot honey, water and spice mixture into the carboy and top it up to
the proper level. I then add the yeast starter that I began the day
before when I started steeping the spices.

> #2 put a stick in the fermenter before inital racking
> #2b put a stick in the fermenter after initial racking
> #3 add a couple of teaspoons of ground cinnamon directly to the must
> during primary (will it settle out?)

No. You don't want the cinnamon in the must while it is fermenting.
Alcohol will draw out different flavorings (often bitter ones) than
water will from most spices. In most cases this is not what you

> Also, one of my friends asked me if I could make a spiced orange
> melomel, but didn't suggest any spices. Any suggestions for what to
> use?

What I have done in the past is to use a mixture of teas as the
basis for my citrus metheglins. I use about 20 to 25 tea bags for a
five gallon batch. I use mostly herbal tea i.e. *cinnamon and
spice*, *mandarin orange*, and other teas that include citrus
flavorings. Sometimes I will add a little chamomile as well and I
always use some regular tea, too. To this, you can add whatever
additional spices you feel that you want more of and some grated
orange rind. Make a tea as I described above and go from there. For
NON-SOUR citrus I use about 1 qt of juice per gallon of must. You
can even use this much for some slightly sour fruits (like sour
oranges). When I make my "Calomondin Metheglin" I use no more than 1
pint of juice per gallon of must since the calomondins are VERY sour.
(Then I save the sweet calomondin peels and make a liqueur from
them, but that is another story.) Be sure to add some pectic enzyme
to your fruit juice prior to adding it to the must.



Marc Shapiro

Subject: Peach Melomel
Date: Fri, 28 Aug 1998 06:21:27 EDT

> I am thinking about making a Peach Melomel. This is the first time
> I am attemting a Peach Melomel. Iam concerned about how to keep
> the peaches out of the racking tube.

You're in luck! For the first three years of my mead making, I did nothing
but make peach mead!

I use 15# honey, and 7# peaches.
Heat the honey (or boil if you wish)
chop up the peaches and after you've boiled the honey, pitch the fruit into
the must and let it steep for 1/2 hour

Subject: yeast nutrient
Date: 28 Aug 1998 13:15:43 -0400

I read some where about making yeast nutrient using a recipe from Roger Morse,
the great fermentation of Santa Rosa yeast nutrient recipe. Does anyone have
that recipe?

Subject: Re: Tupelo Honey mld#693
From: "Snydock, Gary E" <>
Date: 28 Aug 1998 13:54:46 -0500

Michael Tucker was partially correct in his response regarding tupelo honey
as being from the tupelo flower and not the town. But, honey is not made
from pollen, it is made from the nectar that the bees collect from the
flowers. The nectar is collected in the bee's honey stomach and enzymes
begin to covert the nectar to honey. Once back at the hive, the field bees
transfers her load to a house
bee who introduces more enzymes and deposits the nectar into a cell where
the conversion process continues. The bees ripen the
honey by evaporating the excess moisture until the moisture content is below
18.6 % and then the cell is capped.

Regarding the types of honey. Check your individual state laws regarding
the labelling of honey. In some states, if the honey has the
right color and aroma, it can be labelled as being a flower specific honey.
In practice, this requires diligence on the part of the bee-
keeper. For instance, in order for me to get clover honey, I would move my
bees into a clover field just as it was starting to bloom and
add honey supers at that time. As soon as the clover finished blooming, I
would remove the supers and extract the honey. Since the
bees are most likely to collect nectar from the nearest floral source, no
guarantees however, I can make the assumption that what is
in those supers is clover honey. Since I don't have neither the time nor
energy to be so diligent, I market my honey as Mixed Wildflower,
although I suspect that because of color and flavor it is primarily clover.

As a mead maker, it is ultimately your responsibility to be sure of your
source of honey. If possible, get to know some local beekeepers.
We are generally nice folks and if we can, we will sell in bulk – for a fair

Topic Change: I have forgotten most of my high school and college
chemistry. Can someone give a brief refresher in how to measure
specific gravity?


Gary Snydock (
High Oaks Apiary
Oakdale, MN

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #694, 26 August 1998
From: dennis key <>
Date: Fri, 28 Aug 1998 14:10:52 -0600 (MDT)

Re: Kurt's request for cinnamon mead:

I have made three batches of orange-cinnamon mead. The first and third
were very good, the second is still undrinkable two years later–I used
too much orange.

For six gallons, I pasteurized (in a big double boiler) a gallon of honey
with 12 cinnamon sticks, 3 oz grated fresh ginger and the peel of ONE(!!)
large orange. I let it steep covered overnight then strained it into the
primary. In the second batch, I used 4 orange peels–big mistake.
Anyway, I used a Red Star Cuvee yeast and "fed" the must with 1/4 lb honey
per gallon ever time the S.G. dropped to 1.005 until fermentation stopped.
Final gravity was 1.015 making a nice sweet mead. Use a potato peeler on
the orange and don't get any of the white pith in the must. It will make
it bitter. You can titrate for a drier mead or use a less
alcohol-tolerant yeast. Mine came out at 18-20% alcohol and is a great
dessert wine, but definitely not for drinking large amounts. That leads
to "mead meltdown" as we call the phenomena.

Never Thirst,


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #694, 26 August 1998
From: (Daniel S McConnell)
Date: Fri, 28 Aug 1998 18:13:38 -0400

Peter Miller writes:

>Brilliant idea, but can I just ad a caveat to the use of vinegar in the
>brewing room? Just remember that the _tiniest_ infection from vinegar in
>any of your active meads may start the chain reaction that will turn your
>prize mead into salad dressing, so make sure that you don't unwittingly
>carry the acetobacter into your brew…

Not quite true. Most of the vinegar that you *purchase* is distilled or
pasteurized and therefore sterile. No acetobacter there. Homemade vinegar
would be more of a problem, but if you make your own vinegar then you know
that acetobacter need LOTS of air to produce acetic acid. Even a couple of
acetobacter laden fruitflies drinking themselves to death in your
fermenting must will not cause the entire batch to turn to vinegar if you
limit the post-primary exposure to oxygen. Oh…and sulfite would help
too, if you are really worried.


Terry Estrin questions:

> Does anyone know when the Mazer Cup is taking place this year?
>I'm finally in the position where I have a couple of entries. Please don't
>tell me it's already happened…:)

Bill Pfeiffer is the ship-to man.

All I know at the moment is that I think we will be judging the first round
on November 28-29. I will not know for sure until the registrar and
organizer make final plans. We will accept entries in the month prior to
the judging. Pretty vague eh?

We will post all of the details to this list. Fear not!


Subject: Yeast nutrient/energizer questions
From: "Andrew M. Hartig" <>
Date: Sun, 30 Aug 1998 21:20:44 -0700 (PDT)

I currently have a "citrus mead" (orange blossom honey, ginger, orange
peel) which is now probably 3/4 a year old and is still plugging along
fermenting out all of the honey I feed it (supposed to be a sweet mead —
current abv% unknown). This was made using Edme ale yeast. To help it
speed up and finish I thought I might add some nutrient or energizer; as
this is a "traditional" mead it has very little nutrients of its own.
Some questions for the collective:

What is the difference between yeast nutrient and yeast energizer? Or are
the terms used interchangeably?

I want to use a "natural" (vs. chemical) nutrient so that I won't have
long periods of aging to mellow out any chemical taste (I also believe the
more natural, the better). What do I use? My brew supply shop has never
heard of "yeast hulls" and only carries the diammonium phosphate. The
following are some suggestions I've picked up from the web, and I was
curious about what other people think of these things:

1.) "Yeast hulls" — I cannot find these at homebrew supply store near me.
Supplier has never heard of them. Is there a brand name it goes by?
(would prefer to stay local vs. having to mail-order).

2.) Per recent discussions, boiled bread yeast to supply nutrients to
active yeast. (Possible drawback is inability to kill them? Also, would
this cause Autolysis problems?)

2.) "Yeast extract". What is this and where can I get it? Local health
stores have never heard of it. (Is this the same as "Brewer's Yeast" —
or if different, would Brewer's yeast work? What is that stuff?)

3.) Vitamin B12. (Crushed and added to must?)

4.) Small piece of whole grain bread. (Potential for mold?)

5.) Egg white (whipped, then broken into chunks and added to cooled must.
Potential salmonella problem. Would cooked egg whites work — i.e. have
the same nutrients available?)

6.) "Fermax" — I think I heard this mentioned. Again, what is this?

7.) "Vegemite" and "Marmite" — supposedly available at health food
stores. What is it and why have none of the health food stores by me
never heard of it?

Any and all information is welcome. Private email okay. I just want a
natural way to help those wee yeasties do their job and finish up so I can
get on with my life.

  • -A:

Subject: Brother Adam: A Report
From: zemo <>
Date: Mon, 31 Aug 1998 18:40:08 -0500

For those unfamiliar with Br. Adam, he was a Benedictine monk
in charge of the apiary at Buckfast Abbey, Devon, England.
As head beekeeper, he travelled around the world in order to
improve his bee stock. He wrote many articles on beekeeping,
some of which were turned into books. He died at the ripe old
age of 92, in September of '96. My interest in Br. Adam stems
from seeing his named mentioned, almost nonchalantly, in posts,
articles and in Acton and Duncan's 'Making Mead'. But, whenever
it's mentioned , its almost always followed with something like:
"a maker of excellent mead". Initially, when I started making
inquiries into his methods, I was surprised to learn that he
BOILS <:o his must and ages for years in oaken barrels. Finally,
I was steered to an article in an old Zymurgy by the man himself:
'The Art of Making Mead' (Winter '87, vol 10, no 5). I'll
paraphrase his eight 'Special Points in Making Mead':

1. Use soft or rain water. Avoid rust.
2. The best honey produces the best mead.
3. Use a quality wine yeast, not brewer's or baker's.
4. The must and all equipment should be sanitized.
5. Do not try to speed up fermentation with excessive chemicals
and nutrients.
6. Fermentation temperature should be constant as recommended
for the yeast.
7. The ideal time for fermentation is during late spring to early
summer. The best time for sparkling, however, is the fall.
8. For the finest meads, age in oak for a minimum of 5[!] years.

Further reading tells us that a slow ferment is best. To improve
fermentation but not effect quality, 1/2 to 2 ozs of cream of tartar
and 1/4 to 1/2 oz citric acid per 5 gals(US) can be added. Also,
counter to everything I've read, DO NOT rack off the lees! His claim
is that sherry is made this way – he also used old sherry barrels
for his fermenters. Along with an initial, vigorous ferment and a
six week to four month primary ferment, secondary ferments can occur
during the next couple of summers.
So here is my plan to make Mead ala Br. Adam:
Soak oak chips in sherry – renewing sherry every couple of weeks – to
artificially age chips for next spring. Make 1.100 OG must and boil
for 1-2 mins. Pour must into carboy, with quantity of chips that will
assimilate the surface area of a 30 gal barrel for 5 gals. Add cream
of tartar and citric acid. Pitch with Prise de Mousse yeast. Attach
airlock, set in cellar, and forget…except to check to make sure
airlock does not dry out. Would anyone care to comment?
If anyone has specific questions re: Br. Adam or the article,
email me.

Steve Holat – Trying to make mead like Br. Adam
Underhaus Brewery (& Meadery)
Batavia, IL

Subject: Diammonium phosphate and magnesium chloride
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 1998 15:12:41 EDT

When I was at the wine supply store, the owner said that if I were making
mead, then I should add some DAP and some epsom salts to my must. I've read
about the salts, but has anyone heard of adding DAP as a nitrogen source if
one is already going to add yeast nutrients?

Michelle Schilz

Subject: Release of CO2 after adding fining agent?
From: CW <>
Date: Tue, 01 Sep 1998 20:37:54 -0400

I recently added sparkalloid (sp?) to 3 of my meeds that had very

little visible bubbling. Now there is a lot of activity that
wasn't there before!!! Is this common or did fermentation just
kick back off a bit?

Trask (aka Chris Welch)

End of Mead Lover's Digest #695