Mead Lover's Digest #0701 Fri 16 October 1998


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



Re: Airlocks (
Hard cider (
Sparkling mead/clarification data points ("Henckler, Andrew")
What beverage goes with Spam? (PAUL W HAAF JR)
vodka in airlocks (?!?) (
Re: Weight vs volume of honey. ("Snydock, Gary E")
More questions on vanilla mead (Nathan Kanous)
Pyrocanthus (
Firethorn (Sheryl Nance-Durst)


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Subject: Re: Airlocks
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 07:04:42 EDT

Martin Fredrickson wrote:

> There is one other precaution I would take if I ever did have a contaminated
> airlock, I would throw it away and use a new one

"Can't be cleaned? Heck, I don't know, I keep a vat of chlorine and water in
which I submerge everything. I'm sure there are airlocks down there I've even
forgotten I've owned. I'm not worried about them being contaminated!

But I won't argue your method. If you want to throw your airlock away, by all
means do – it is afterall, yours to do as you wish

Subject: Hard cider
Date: 12 Oct 1998 09:01:36 -0400

I want to make a hard cider that still tastes like apple cider with a low
alcohol content.. To do this I want to experiment with stopping fermentation
at different gravities to get the disired taste. What can I use to kill the
yeast, stop fermentation and not give any off flavors to it?

Subject: Sparkling mead/clarification data points
From: "Henckler, Andrew" <>
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 10:08:37 -0400

(I suspect that this will get caught in the temporary digest suspension,

I will be bottling a champagne-style mead very shortly. This mead is
about 11% alc., very dry and very still and clear. I have adjusted the
acidity to .6% and it is beginning to taste right. What is the typical
acidity level for actual champagnes? I'd like to avoid over-shooting.

When I bottle this mead, do I need to add fresh yeast to get it to
carbonate? The strain used was Lalvin EC-1118. How much corn sugar
should I use to prime? I would normally use 3/4 cup of corn sugar, but
I would like a fairly effervescent mead (champagne carbonation levels).
Is 1 cup of corn sugar too much?

A couple of data points on mead clarification:

A mead made with 3# of canned apricot puree in a 3 gal. batch is still
quite cloudy a month after fermentation stopped. A spiced mead dropped
clear after primary fermentation was finished. Both were made with a
similar gravity level, ~1.085, and the same yeast strain, Lalvin
KC-1116, and were fermented in the same location. The metheglin is as
clear as generic apple juice, while the melomel is as murky as a swamp.
I suspect that tannins, etc. in the spices may have caused it to clear
so quickly.

BTW, how long do most of you wait before losing patience and dumping in


Subject: What beverage goes with Spam?
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 10:28:50 -0400

Has anyone else recently been getting hit with more spam than usual? I'm
not on the web, and most of my mail is from HBD, MLD, and CLD, plus a few
family and friends.
Most of this unpalatable meat is from YAHOO origins. Any suggestions?
Paul Haaf haafbrau1atjunodotcom

You don't need to buy Internet access to use free Internet e-mail.
Get completely free e-mail from Juno at
or call Juno at (800) 654-JUNO [654-5866]

Subject: vodka in airlocks (?!?)
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 15:14:45 EDT

Martin continues to warn:

<< That is absolutely true but you are all forgetting one thing.
Alcohol has a lower boiling point than water. This means that it has a
higher vapor pressure at all temperatures which means that it evaporates
faster than the water. I don't have the exact figures but I expect that if
you leave some amount of vodka in an airlock for an extended period you are
going to drop below the tolerance level of acetobacter and set yourself up
for trouble.>>

Near room or cellar temperatures, the evaporation rates of alcohol and water
are close enough that this just is not a practical concern — vodka won't
distill itself at these temperatures. Just keep topping off the airlock as the
fluid level drops, same as you would with water, and the alcohol level will
stay prophylactically high. Among winemakers who age wine in wood barrels, or
among barrel-agers of whiskey, the relative evaporation rates of water and
alcohol are well documented. (I believe there's info on this is Acton &
Duncan's home winemaking book.)
And Dione is facetious, but right it. As I said before, it is not "necessary"
to put vodka in your airlock instead of water. That said, I'm going to bow
out of this issue. Wassail, and peace, and to each his own.

  • — Steve

Subject: Re: Weight vs volume of honey.
From: "Snydock, Gary E" <>
Date: 12 Oct 1998 17:15:08 -0500

In MLD 698 Mike Allred asks

>>Now, is does anyone know what the normal weight to volume ratios for
>>honey are? I would need something alittle more detailed then 12 pounds =
>>1 gallon.

Getting to a smaller quantity, 8 fluid ounces of honey equal 12 ounces by
You can expand/shrink the math from there.

One other comment that I'd like to make regarding the quality of the honey
you buy.
If possible, get to know a local beekeeper. As a lot, we are proud of our
product and
take extraordinary means to see that it does not get contaminated.

Regarding the comment on raw honey being naturally cloudy and crystal clear
being overly processed, I can say that this is partially true. It is
possible to get honey
crystal clear by simple filtration using fine nylon as the filter so that
fibers don't end up
in the honey. During filtration, the honey is kept at 80 degrees to
facilitate flow.

I agree that what you buy in the grocery stores is probably over processed
because many
commercial packers pasteurize their honey prevent early crystallization
which naturally
extends shelf life although (IMHO) at a dramatic cost in the flavor of the


Gary Snydock
High Oaks Apiary
Oakdale, MN

Subject: More questions on vanilla mead
From: Nathan Kanous <>
Date: Tue, 13 Oct 1998 08:00:33 -0500

I requested information on making a vanilla mead. I got some feedback.
Some people report that vanilla flavor and aroma are lost quickly if
vanilla beans or extract are put into a fermenting must. That seemed to
indicate that adding extract before bottling, or beans very late in aging
would potentially provide better flavor and aroma.

I had other feedback that indicated otherwise…that adding vanilla extract
shortly after fermentation has begun works just fine…plenty of flavor and
aroma in the final product. This individual recommended 8oz of extract per
5 gallons.

Any other thoughts on this?

Nathan L. Kanous II, Pharm.D., BCPS
Clinical Assistant Professor
School of Pharmacy
University of Wisconsin – Madison
Office Phone (608) 263-1779
Pager (608) 265-7000 #2246 (digital)

Subject: Pyrocanthus
Date: Wed, 14 Oct 1998 21:57:20 EDT

Responding to Richard Weiss about pyrocanthus, well, I certainly remember my
father making fresh jelly and sauces out of it, and the birds do love it when
it ferments, especially the crows. My concern is this, I have heard the same
thing you have, which is it is poisonous, and asking a arborist friend of
mine, it turns out that pyrocanthus is used somewhat loosely to describe
numerous related but different bushes. I would find out the scientific name
of the ones that are edible and compare them to what you have. We wouldn't
want something brewed up that may kill you. I recall the jelly my father
making was relatively mild, but very nice. The inside of the berries were
somewhat mealy. Hope this helps. Doug Thomas

Subject: Firethorn
From: Sheryl Nance-Durst <>
Date: Thu, 15 Oct 1998 23:30:27 -0500

According to both the Maryland Poison Center and the University of
Arizona poison center, pyracantha is considered non-poisonous.
(The University of Arizona notes that eating firethorn may cause
irritation of the mouth. No mention as to whether it's actually
pleasant to eat, though.)

I would generally consider Texas A&M to be a reliable source of
information. They have one of the best agriculture departments
in the country.

Sheryl Nance-Durst

>Subject: Firethorn & ASCII problem
>From: "Richard Weiss" <>
>Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 19:40:32 -0400
>My neighbor has several Fire Thorn (Pyracantha) bushes in his front yard
>with lots of red/orange berries on them. I've looked around to find
>information on this shrub/bush but have come up with conflicting
>information. My local garden center said the berries are poison but I
>have a book on wine recipes that has a recipe for wine made with the
>berries. The site at Texas A&M has a recipe for a jelly made with the
>berries. My questions are this:
> 1. Has anyone ever made a beverage with these berries?
> 2. Are they strong/mild tasting?

End of Mead Lover's Digest #701