Mead Lover's Digest #0706 Tue 10 November 1998


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



Eucalyptus honey (Mark Taratoot)
RE: Bottling? (Martin Fredrickson)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #705, 4 November 1998 (dennis key)
Questions galore ("Michael Scott Meiners")
Newbie questions (John Metzner)
oxidation evaluation? (Randy Paul)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #704 ("R. G. Sears")
mazer cup (


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Subject: Eucalyptus honey
From: Mark Taratoot <>
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 1998 08:15:22 -0800 (PST)

First, let me take this opportunity to thank Dick Dunn for
maintaining this forum and the cider digest. I rarely post here,
so I don't get a chance to publicly recognize Dick. Hey Dick,

Now for my issue:

Our local food co-op features a "honey of the month" each month
in addition to regular offerings of local raw honey. This
month's honey is labeled Iron Bark Eucalyptus Honey from
Australia. It is a thick honey with a distinctive taste that
really reminds me of fresh butter. Yep, butter. There are other
subtle flavors as well. Of course the first think I think when I
see a new honey is "What would this taste like after

Does anyone have any experience with this or other eucalypt
honeys in mead, either alone or blended with other honey? I'll
probably just go ahead and get started, but I would love to hear
others experiences.


Mark Taratoot

Subject: RE: Bottling?
From: Martin Fredrickson <>
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 1998 10:25:36 -0800

Gregg Stearns wrote:

> What is the best way to bottle mead? I planned on racking it
> after the
> first fermentation, letting it settle some, wondering if I should add
> any clarifier, then bottling in 1.75L wine jugs and corking.
> Should I prime when I bottle with more honey? if so how much?

That depends on what you want. Do you want a still mead or a sparkling mead?
If you want a still mead, you will not add any priming and can use corked
bottles. If you want a sparkling mead you need to bottle in crown capped
bottles or in champagne bottles with either crown caps or mushroom corks and

As for when to bottle, that isn't too hard to figure out. I always wait
until after the mead has settled clear in secondary. After the primary
fermentation, I will rack the mead and let it settle again. If I have a
large amount of sediment after the first racking, I will rack it again, this
really helps improve the final clarity of the mead by reducing the amount of
yeast and particulate in the mead.

I am not a real fan of fining agents, preferring to let time and nature take
their course, but I have used them in the past with decent results. I just
believe the benefits of bulk aging outweigh anything gained by getting the
mead into bottles any faster.

If you want a sparkling mead, I recommend going a little on the high side
for the priming. For this you should use champagne bottles since they are
made for the high pressure of sparkling wine. I would use 1 cup of corn
sugar or around 3/4 to 7/8 cup honey to prime. Make sure you have viable
yeast in your mead. If it has undergone a long secondary fermentation, add a
fresh packet of yeast to the mead when you add the priming and then bottle
it. Store in a fairly warm place for a couple of weeks to give the yeast a
chance to do their job and then move to a cool storage area for a couple of
more weeks before sampling it. The resting period is important because it
allows the carbon dioxide to fully dissolve in the mead.

Just out of personal preference, I like to use standard 750ml wine or
champagne bottles because they hold just enough to have a couple of glasses
with a friend. Anything bigger is just not practical for me, especially
since I don't like the idea of storing opened bottles of mead in the

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #705, 4 November 1998
From: dennis key <>
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 1998 12:38:11 -0700 (MST)

Concerning bottling: If you are going to prime the mead with sugar or
more honey, it is because you want a sparkling product. In that case, you
need to bottle in champaign bottles with plastic corks and wire them down
or use crown caps. I have used both and find no particular advantage of
one over the other–both work very well.

I have, over a couple of years, accumulated 2-3 cases of Steinlager 750 ml
beer bottles. They are sturdy, dark green to protect the mead and hold a
respectable amount. Besides, there was the pleasure of drinking a pretty
good beer with each new acquisition.

Never Thirst,


Subject: Questions galore
From: "Michael Scott Meiners" <>
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 1998 21:20:21 -0500

Hello. Thanks to all who replied to my book request. I got some good
advice (especially to check my local library!) I have a few questions for
you all:

I racked my blackberry melomel the other day and tasted some of it. It had
a distinct watered down taste. How could this be? Now I know that water is
the main ingredient of mead, but I used 3lbs of honey and three quarts of
blackberries (per gallon). I should have gotten enough flavor from those
quantities. Could I possibly be tasting the earthy aftertaste that one gets
when eating raw blackberries?

My sack mead is going on 6 months and has not shown the slightest
inclination of clearing. Do sack meads clear at all? I would think that
the honey that is left after fermentation stops would cloud the mead anyway.

Can any inferences be made from fermentation bubbles? For example I've
noticed as my melomel went into the fourth month the size of the bubbles
decreased. Can this be read as a sign of a slowing down of fermentation?
Also I have noticed occasions where a steady stream of bubbles would develop
at a particular location in my carboy and stay there for months. Any idea
of what gives?

Finally, do corks (made from real cork of course) need to breathe? If I
wanted to say, seal my bottle tips with bees wax, would this have any
ramifications on the health of the cork and mead?


  • -Mike

Subject: Newbie questions
From: (John Metzner)
Date: Thu, 5 Nov 1998 15:32:32 -0900 (AST)

Hello All,
First off, thanks to everyone out there on the MLD for their
contributions and especially to Dick for keeping the MLD running. I've
just finished going through the digests for 1998 which really cleared
up somethings which I've read in some of the Mead and wine books I
picked up. For instance, none of them mentioned a single thing about
naked virgins or full moons and their relation to mead. ;^).

Now on to the questions. I started my first mead a couple of
weeks ago using the 'Northern Light Mead' recipe from the _Mead Making
Handbook_. I started a 3-gallon batch using 7.5 Lbs. of Raspberry Honey
(only type I could find locally), the peels from 3 lemons and 3 tablespoons
of dark brewed tea. I brought 1 gallon of water, 3 tsp. yeast nutrient,
3/4 tsp. grape tannin, lemon peel and tea up to a simmer, shut off the
fire and added the honey. I poured this into the primary fermenter, added
enough water to bring it up to 3 gallons and added 3 campden tables.
Let it sit overnight. Late the next day I hydrated one packet of Red Star
Montrachet yeast (Dick's favorite <G>) and added it to the fermenter. The
specific gravity read 1.066, kind of surprised at that I was aiming at
1.100 as per the recipe, more on that later. Put the airlock on and stuck
it on the top shelf of the pantry (read: warm spot in an Alaskan house).
Fermentation got started by the next day with a bubble every 5 seconds or so.
After two weeks the fermentation slowed way down to about a bubble
every 20-25 seconds. The SG was now 1.020, with a PH of 3.2. It was
cloudy with the distinct smell of yeast in the carboy. Still a bit sweet,
but it didn't gag you. No dreaded listerine/gasoline/medicinal taste.
I also got to checking into the low initial SG of 1.066 and found
the original 12 Lb bucket of honey still weighed ~8 lbs. So it would
appear that I only put in a litte more than half of the honey I should have
originaly, somewhere around 4 lbs. instead of 7.5.
As a marketing friend of mine would say, "That isn't a mistake,
it's an opportunity!" It looks like I have a couple of things to fix,
get the PH up a bit and provide some more sugars for the yeast beasties.
I have a one gallon jug of pure apple cider calling to me from the
pantry shelf which I was thinking I might make this batch into a cyser.
Maybe take half of it, steep cinnamon sticks and a few cloves in it, put
it in the secondary and rack onto it.

Sound like a plan?

Will the cider raise the PH enough or am I going to need some
calcium carbonate? I have another lemon which could sacrifice
it's peel in the name of a higher PH.

What SG should I now aim for in the secondary? ~1.050?
I the way you figure it, original target (1.100) minus actual (1.066)
equals (.034) plus current (1.020)? Equals new target (1.054)?

I'm thinking I'll still need to add more honey to this brew to get an
honey flavor out of the final product. Any guesses on how much?

Any suggestions appreciated, reply direct if you want and I'll
summerize for the digest.

Much thanks,
John Metzner
Fairbanks, Alaska

Subject: oxidation evaluation?
From: Randy Paul <>
Date: Thu, 5 Nov 1998 19:49:26 -0500

What do the experienced meaders out there believe to be the sensory
evaluation characteristics of (over) oxidized mead? There's been a lot of
discussion here lately on how to avoid oxidation, but I haven't heard of a
unique and undesirable signature characteristic. With beer we know that
oxidized hop oils impart a "cardboard" aroma and flavor, but most meads
don't have hop oils. In an much earlier post, it was suggested that it's
the "sherry-like" flavors and other qualities that are usually accociated
with desirable characteristics of aged meads. Can't we do better than this?

TIA – Randy

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #704
From: "R. G. Sears" <>
Date: Sun, 08 Nov 1998 00:02:16 -0600

Regarding Commercial meads. Has anyone tried any commercial meads from
upstate New York? Earle Estates Meadery in the finger lakes region
makes some commercial meads that I am especially fond of. Among others
they make a traditional semi-dry mead, and a contemporary dry mead.
These particular meads are what inspired me to pursue mead making on my

Subject: mazer cup
Date: Sun, 8 Nov 1998 12:28:31 EST

Whats up with mazer cup? I recall a mention a few months back that it would be
in November. It the event still on?

micah millspaw – brewer at large

End of Mead Lover's Digest #706