Mead Lover's Digest #0696 Thu 10 September 1998


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



Aging/yeast (
Mead Lover's Digest #695, 2 September 1998 -Reply (Joe Sever)
RE: Mead Lover's Digest #695, 2 September 1998 (Brian Lundeen)
Dry Ice ("John Kostelac")
Update on Chimay Yeast (Richard Gardner)
Sweet sparkling meads. (
Re: Elderberry mead ? (John Looney) (Robert P Davis)
Cloves, acetobacter and airlocks, Brotehr Adam ("McDonald, Rod")
Caramel in mead… (Joe Kaufman)
spices (
Copying Digby ("Marc Shapiro")
Trying to make mead like Br. Adam ("Linda or Darin")
Re: adding spices (Scott Murman)
Sparkling Mead/tea clarification/sweet mead/Lambic Mead ("Gerald Manweiler")
Corn Syrup Spiked Honey ("Mike Allred")
Clearing Problem (Phill Welling)
RE: Elderberry mead (


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Subject: Aging/yeast
Date: 2 Sep 1998 12:49:13 -0400

I have a question about aging mead. Should you age mead with the bottle on
it's side like wine, and if so why? Also, what is a good yeast to use if
making a cyser?

Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #695, 2 September 1998 -Reply
From: Joe Sever <>
Date: Wed, 02 Sep 1998 16:12:02 -0400

I always heard that "you can catch more flies with honey than you can
with vinegar"…

So the old adage is false, eh? No more Mr. Nice Guy… >8^(


>>> <> 09/02/98 02:20pm >>>

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: Mead Lover's Digest #695, 2 September 1998
From: Brian Lundeen <>
Date: Wed, 2 Sep 1998 15:35:21 -0500

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

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

Yeast energizer that I have seen is typically based on B vitamins. At the

stage which many people use it, ie a stuck fermentation, IMO its
effectiveness is questionable. Yeast nutrient is, or should be, a balanced
mixture of ingredients which will promote healthy yeast replication and
fermentation. My personal favorite is a product called Superfood, sold by
the Wine Lab in St Helena. It includes yeast hulls, yeast extract,
vitamins, and DAP. I generally put this in before adding yeast, then add
more DAP after the fermentation is under way. The technical reason for this
is that yeast has a preference for ammonia and will utilize it instead of
taking in other nutrients that are beneficial to their development. By
adding most of the DAP later, you are forcing the yeast to eat their
broccoli before they get their cake. 🙂

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.) "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?)

Again, these and DAP are included in Superfood. The Wine Lab advises that

nutrients should be added in the proper proportions. I would rather rely on
their experience than look for these items separately and try to get the
right mix.

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?

They are Australian made B vitamin spreads. Supposedly taste horrible.

Made famous in an old song by Men at Work (am I giving away my age by
saying this?). Any decent health food store should at least have heard of
them, whether they sell it or not. And I wouldn't put them into my wine or


Subject: Dry Ice
From: "John Kostelac" <>
Date: Wed, 02 Sep 1998 14:51:07 PDT

>>Using dry ice to carbonate a mead (beer, etc.) is one of those ideas
>>seems to come to the surface every now and then, for no reason I can

Dear Mead Making Mavens and Beer Brewing Buddys,

Firstly, I agree with all sho have indicated that attempting to use dry
ice to carbonate any beverage is dangerous and difficult. After
purchasing dry ice for the Halloween festivities (more for my
entertainment than the kids) I was haded abrochure from the Penguin Dry
Ice folks. Contained therein is the answer to the aboce quotation. They
suggest that using dry ice in little bitty chunks dropped into bottles
is a great way to carbonate your homemade soda. Further I have found the
same suggestion from USDA pamphlets on uses for dry ice. Personally, I
have better uses for it. My favorites are:

  • – Fog

  • – Place a small chip in a Kodak film can. Close and wait. BOOM. Repeat.

  • – Place in a small container some distance from a picnic area at dusk to

"call" the mosquitos away.

  • – Inflict small freezer burns on my hands. This is not an activity, but

a standard side effect.

I can only please one person at a time. Today is not your day. Tomorrow
doesn't look so good either.

John A. Kostelac –
713.853.6561 office 713.288.1779 pager

Subject: Update on Chimay Yeast
From: Richard Gardner <>
Date: Wed, 2 Sep 1998 21:23:50 -0500 (CDT)

In a word, yes, this turned out good. Back on 31 Mar I wrote to MLD:

Does anyone has any experience in using Chimay ale yeast in a mead? I
figured it might could withstand high alcohol and also give some interesting
flavors. I'm trying this out now. I cultured from a '97 Chimay Blue (alc
9%/vol) straight from Belgium (BTW, the bottle says best drunk by the end of
2003 in French, Flemish, and German) and have it going in two one gal test
batches (I don't take SGs for my 1 gal batches):

  • – Sage and Wildflower melomel (68 oz honey) plus juice of 1 lemon/1 blood

orange (1.100 OG?). 1.5 months and 1 racking it is still bubbling away
every 10 sec. Starting to clear already, and a great dark amber hue.

Very drinkable now. Beautiful color, cleared well – and ended up sweet and
flat (so fermentation was comlete). I was surprised by the sweetness of the
end result given the alcool tolerence of the yeast, but it is good
regardless. Heavy honey taste complimented by the "bubblegum" ester from the
yeast. This one is a winner that you could drink bottle after bottle of,
before dropping onto the floor – it is sneaky. Actual recipe was 12 oz sage
(at least 15 years old, cleaning out the cupboard), the rest Colorado
wildflower. My overall assessment is that Chimay Blue is a good yeast for a
mead, but don't expect a dry result. Of course 68 oz of honey in 1 gal may
have something to do with the sweetness.

Subject: Sweet sparkling meads.
Date: Wed, 2 Sep 1998 21:52:10 -0500 (CDT)

I thought of this reading some replies to the Dry Ice notion. I

have successfully made sweet sparklers by repitching with a mild beer
yeast. I made a very well liked root beer with honey, sasafrass bark,
sasparilla root, and yeast. Many beer yeasts will not assimilate the
more complex sugars found in honey. I primed with maple syrup, but
fructose, maltose, or corn sugar could easily be used.

I tend to prefer my meads dry and still, but I have had success

this way. It also makes a kicking rootbeer (rootmead) that doesn't
taste of alcohol.

Subject: Re: Elderberry mead ? (John Looney)
From: Robert P Davis <>
Date: Wed, 2 Sep 1998 23:22:54 -0400 (EDT)

Re: Mead Lover's Digest #695, 2 September 1998

> 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.

To the best of my knowledge, *any* fruit can be used to add a lovely
flavor and color to mead. I have made raspberry mead, cherry mead, and
blackberry mead in the following fashion:

  • Place the fruit in a Zip-loc type bag and freeze.

  • Thaw and refreeze three or four times to break down the cell

walls, allowing the fruity goodness to escape.

  • Add the thawed fruit to the primary fermenter, and when your

basic wort/must/concoction is done, pour the *hot* wort over the

  • Ferment and rack as usual.

  • Be careful not to boil the fruit, even to a near boil. This will

set the stuff in the fruit they use to make gelatin, making the
mead cloudy. SOme people use clarifiers; I don't. I'm also
confident that the hot wort will sufficiently sanitize the fruit.

> 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 ?

It's already all over the Web. I'm not certain where exactly, off the top
of my head, but I know I've seen it. I am *not* a copyright expert, so
don't ask me for a *definitive* answer! 😉


  • R

  • -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Random Tagline:
"And God said: E = mv – Ze/r …and there *WAS* light!"

| Robert Davis, Student of | Robert MacDaibhidh, |
| Music and History at | Creative |
| Mansfield University | Anachronist |

| Shire of Abhainn Ciach Ghlais, AEthelmearc. |

| |

Subject: Cloves, acetobacter and airlocks, Brotehr Adam
From: "McDonald, Rod" <>
Date: Thu, 3 Sep 1998 09:57:25 +1000

Tom Lentz <> wrote:
<snip> a favorite
> metheglin of mine (from memory, I hope I get it right):
> 12 cinnamon sticks (crushed)
> 20 cloves (also crushed/cracked)

And I would like to add a caveat (must be a peculiar thing we Aussie's like
to do!) about adding cloves. They go beautifully with apples, and go very
well in a cyser, but beware of adding too much prior to or during fermention

  • – they have an antibiotic effect and can stop dead the fermentation. I guess

experiment with a small amount,at the front end, and if insufficient clove
flavour is there, try adding it in some form later in the fermentation, or
after racking but prior to bottling.

and (Daniel S McConnell) wrote:
> 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

It's not something I would like to risk. Only a couple of weeks ago I had to
sterilize and re-fill all my airlocks (abour 8 wines/melomels/meads on the
go at the moment) . Every one of them smelled strongly of vinegar, and had
little white masses of (I assume) acetobacter in them – god only knows what
they were feeding off! Thankfully not one mead or wine was tainted.

zemo <> (Steve Holat) wrote:
> 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. <snip>

Steve – I don't recall you saying that Brother Adam used oak chips! 😉

Wouldn't we all love to make meads like Br Adam? Since process and equipment
(eg barrel aging versus glass) are usually fundamental to the mead results,
unless we have access to the full range of resources that Br Adam had such
meads often remain a dream, or a plan for future fulfilment. I applaud your
idea of attempting to develop a means for making a Br Adam style of mead,
and I wish you luck. Trouble is I suspect the only way of doing it is to use
his entire process 🙁
As has been discussed on this list in the past, the effect of aging in oak
is very dependent on the size of the oak barrel. Did Brother Adam say what
size his old sherry barrels were, or in fact what type of sherry – I would
suspect a pale sherry would leave a different flavour as compared with a
darker sherry?

And I presume you don't intend to waste the sherry that you plan to renew
every couple of weeks?


Subject: Caramel in mead...
From: Joe Kaufman <>
Date: Wed, 02 Sep 1998 23:03:55 -0500

Hey all,

I made a chocolate mead a while back by just using

chocolate syrup that you find in a grocery store. After
about a year now, it is getting very good (10 lbs honey, 4
lbs Hershey's chocolate syrup, and 4-2 liter bottles of Dr.
Pepper), so I want to try something simlar except with
caramel (and apple juice as the main liquid
involved)…caramel/apple, get it?.

I was wondering as to what would be a good way to get the

caramel in there? If I just melt caramels and add it during
pasteurization, will it "re-coagulate" later and fall out of
solution? Is there a certain kind of caramel I should use
to make sure it stays dissolved? I see all kinds of caramel
ice cream toppings and such, but would rather have pure
caramel as opposed to some ultra-processed syrup product…

Any thoughts on how well the caramel essence will come

through tastewise? The chocolate seemed to work well, so I
am just assuming that caramel would be a good shot too. It
will be up against Tupelo honey… Any and all comments are
very welcome, via e-mail or the digest!

Joe Kaufman

Subject: spices
Date: Thu, 3 Sep 1998 06:31:53 EDT

> Subject: Re: adding spices
> From: Tom Lentz <>

I crush the cinnamon sticks and put them in the must for boil

I think Cinammon tea bags work well (I use a dozen apple-cinammon tea bags and
it's excellent!)

Congrats on even having a bottle of mead 7 years old! I've made it to 3 years
and that's about it

Subject: Copying Digby
From: "Marc Shapiro" <>
Date: Thu, 3 Sep 1998 21:38:05 +0000

On 2 Sep 98 at 12:20, wrote:

> 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 ?

My wife, the librarian, points out that you would be on fairly shaky
groud with that one, and contacting IBRA would be a good idea.
Whereas the text is out of copyright, the spcific edition is not. A
transcript counts as an edition and is therefore covered under

The other posibility is to get a different copy of "Digby." There is
a 1910 edition edited by Anne Macdonnell and published by Philip Lee
Warner in London. That one, being 88 years old, is beyond copyright
and should be OK.



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: Trying to make mead like Br. Adam
From: "Linda or Darin" <>
Date: Thu, 3 Sep 1998 23:14:28 -0700

Steve Holat says

>>>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?<<<

Yes, I would.

I would recomend you do it every year for the next five years. Then, if
your experiment works, you can keep making it, and you'll have some every

Darin Trueblood

Subject: Re:  adding spices
From: Scott Murman <>
Date: Fri, 4 Sep 1998 15:00:19 -0700 (PDT)

Marc Shapiro wrote:
> 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
> want.

Huh? Where'd you hear this? Aren't most flavors both water soluble
and alcohol soluble? Isn't the pH of the alcohol lower? I would
think that more tannins would be extracted in boiling water. I either
add the spices/whatnot while I'm pasteurizing *and* then add them into
the primary as well, or I prepare an infusion using grain alcohol and
add this before bottling. Never noticed any bitter flavors either


Subject: Sparkling Mead/tea clarification/sweet mead/Lambic Mead
From: "Gerald Manweiler" <>
Date: Sat, 5 Sep 1998 23:10:09 -0600

I recently bottled a sparkling mead (June 4th) and have been slowly
sampling. When I racked for the final time and added 4 cups of sun tea for
clarifying, I didn't get very much clarifying at all. Time has appeared to
done the trick, especially 3 months later. Perhaps I did something wrong, or
does tea just take that much time to clarify 5 gallons?

I also carbonated the mead in stainless kegs, then counterpressure bottled.
I used 14 psi to bottle. I thought that all fermentation had ceased,
however, I am now finding that I get gushers when I open a bottle, unless it
has been sufficiently chilled, like a champagne. Would this be due to
fermentation in the bottle, or is this something particular to sparkling

I would like to get sweet , sparkling mead. Since adding extra sugar would
only re-start fermentation, what methods should I use to completely kill
fermentation prior to increasing sweetness, and bottling?

And now for something truly odd…

I have had a few bottles of belgian kriek (cherry) lambic beer, and rather
enjoyed them. The thought occurred to me that perhaps a sour mash melomel
may be a very unique and interesting beverage. Has anyone tried it?

Gerald Manweiler

Subject: Corn Syrup Spiked Honey
From: "Mike Allred" <>
Date: Tue, 08 Sep 1998 11:00:00 -0700

I have heard stories lately of honey producers cutting the honey with
corn syrup. The people I buy honey from assure me that they don't do it,
but the price is VERY good. How do I tell if the honey has been mixed
with something else? How do you test the quality of honey before the
Mead ages a few years and you find that it wasn't the best honey you
could have purchased. I would hate to be 10 batches into a honey
supplier and then find out that the honey was garbage.

Any suggestions?

Subject: Clearing Problem
From: Phill Welling <>
Date: Wed, 09 Sep 1998 10:19:30 -0600

I've had a gallon maple mead sitting in my fridge trying to clear for about
a month and it is only as clear as iced tea. I have a 4 oz. taster that has
cleared pretty well. I was wondering if anyone knows how much longer it
would take to clear naturally.

Phillip J. Welling
ICQ # 2579862
Visit my home page at:

Subject: RE: Elderberry mead
Date: Wed, 9 Sep 1998 09:28:58 -0700

>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
>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.

I have made several batches of elderberry mead. They don't have much sugar
in them at all and to taste them one wouldn't think that they would make
very good mead but if you sweeten them up just a bit it tastes great. I
think it is best with a FG of around 5 to 8. At that point it has kind of a
red wine character, lots of tannin and kind of an earthy tone. I have tried
just adding the juice as well as fermenting on the fruit (berries and
stems). On the fruit adds some complexity as well as some astringency, it
also takes up to 3 years to age well. I use about 1lb berries (weighed
berries with stems) per gallon and about 12% and is best left more on the
dry side but definitely not bone dry. I don't add any acid but I suppose
you could if you really wanted. If you have any questions feel free to drop
me a line.

Matt Maples

End of Mead Lover's Digest #696