Mead Lover's Digest #0707 Fri 13 November 1998


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



How to get accurate gravity readings when pulp is involved… ("Joe Kaufman")
Gettting Started (Carl Wilson)
Books on Mead (Carl Wilson)
Re : Questions galore (John Purdy)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #706, 10 November 1998- Eucalypt honey (rmalpas@au…)
Re: Eucalyptus honey (Peter Miller)
Commercial Meads ("C.M. Sears")
Eucalyptus honey (Mark Taratoot) ("Patrick Bureau SCA: Patric de Long-Coeur")
Filtering mead (Eric Reimer)
St.Louis Brews Homebrew Competition (Jack Baty)
wax on corks ("Chuck Wettergreen")
Gallon Jugs for Mead? (Carl Wilson)


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Subject: How to get accurate gravity readings when pulp is involved...
From: "Joe Kaufman" <>
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998 09:15:32 -0600

Hey all,

Just made a very simple honey/jam/juice mead where the jam and juice
were of the strawberry variety. The jam was quite pulpy (Kraft's),
which is nice, but when I took my initial specific gravity reading I
came upon a problem…

The batch I made has 10 lbs of honey, 4 pounds of jam, and almost two
gallons of fairly substantial juice (Juicy Juice), so I was expecting
something fairly heavy (you will have to forgive me when I talk about
weights…I usually speak of the "percent" reading on the hydgrometer
instead of the 1-point-whatever number…). Anyway, I was expecting
something at least around 13 or 14, but the reading was barely 11. And
that raised a question:

When some of the fermentable matter comes in the form of fruit pieces or
pulp that sinks to the bottom of the carboy (i.e., it ain't liquified),
how does one get an accurate specific gravity reading? Obviously some
of the pulp matter will convert to alcohol, but a normal hydgrometer
reading can't really take the weight of pulp into account, can it? Do I
just need to mix the carboy better and quickly pour a weight sample
before it settles? Heck, some of the strawberry chunks would hardly fit
in my tube much less stay suspended in the solution long enough to count
for the hydrgometer displacement?

Anyway, just wondering how folks out there (and I know a lot of you do
much more fruit etc. stuff than I do…I am far too lazy) make sure all
fermentables are being counted in the original gravity of your meads…?


Subject: Gettting Started
From: Carl Wilson <>
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998 11:50:50 -0600

I'm about to get started in the homebrew/mead making hobby and would
like some advice as to getting started. I'd like to be able to make
mead and brew beer and ales with the same equipment. Any suggestions as
to the needed or recommended equipment and suppliers of equipment would
be recommended.

Carl Wilson

Subject: Books on Mead
From: Carl Wilson <>
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998 12:35:43 -0600

I forgot to ask this question in my previous post: Are there any good
books out there on mead making complete with recipes for meads, cysers,

Subject: Re : Questions galore
From: John Purdy <>
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998 14:24:12 -0500

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.

Yes they do. I assume we're talking about the sweet mead one makes by
repeatedly adding honey until the little yeasty beasties just won't eat
anymore. I have two at home now that are just barely 6 months old, still in
the carboys, and they have wonderful color and clarity. I use Irish moss
with every brew. It's cheap, easy and natural.

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?
I think it should be fine… Lambics are corked and capped and that's a
method I like following on my sparkling meads in their champagne bottles.
I'm not sure how well bees wax will work. I have a friend who tried using
paraffin to disappointing results and I have been told that
breweries/distilleries use a sealing wax when they do it. Most other waxes
crack from the cold. If the bees wax thing works let me know. I have a
decent supply of that and it seems fitting. (No pun that time guys.)

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #706, 10 November 1998- Eucalypt honey
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 09:43:43 +1100

Eucalypt often do not make the best meads, I have no experience with iron
bark itself but certainly other species such as Yellow Box , Red Gum,
Yellow Gum, Jarra , Marri which are all part of the Eucalypt species are
difficult to make mead from , mainly because of the typically strong overt

It is generally accepted in Australia that with a few exceptions you are
far better using clover or a fruit based honey i.e orange blossom etc, or
at least using a blend.

But hey you got the honey make a batch an see how it goes.

Raymond Malpas

Subject: Re:  Eucalyptus honey
From: Peter Miller <>
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 14:15:23 -0000

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

Hi Mark,

>Does anyone have any experience with this or other eucalypt
>honeys in mead, either alone or blended with other honey?

Some of the mead books I've read, particularly the English ones seem to
think that eucalyptus honey imparts a "bitter" taste to mead (Acton even
goes so far as to say "unpleasant" and recommends you don't use it). I
have not found any bases for these observations. From personal experience
a Yellow-Box honey mead I made tastes just fine and I have also tasted
commercial Grey-Box, Green Mallee, Bimble-Box and Stringybark meads from
the Mount Vincent meadery in NSW, all of which were eminently palatable.
Some of the flavours are unusual so I guess if you're really used to
English style meads you might find they take a bit of getting used to,
but I couldn't describe them as bitter or unpleasant.

Good luck



Subject: Commercial Meads
From: "C.M. Sears" <>
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998 23:08:43 -0600

Regarding my previous post concerning commercial meads and Earle Estates
Meadery. They do ship their meads. They have a wide variety of meads,
cyser, and mead mixed fruit wines. e-mail is: and
their web site is


Subject: Eucalyptus honey (Mark Taratoot)
From: "Patrick Bureau SCA: Patric de Long-Coeur" <>
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 08:14:23 -0500


I have no experience with eucalyptus Honey,
But I have been dabbling with Manuka Honey
which is from New-Zealand Myself.. and I liked
it so much that I ordered some from NZ (10Lbs)
to be delivered so that I might attempt
a batch of Manuka Mead.. will keep you posted
on the results. it tastes like sweet butter
with a hint of mint. I have to come up
with a decent receipe though, got any ideas?

Patrick Bureau
SCA Name: Patric de Long-Coeur
Kingdom of Ansteorra,
Barony of the Steppes,
Burning Thunder,
Dallas, Tx
Mead Maker and Archer.

Subject: Filtering mead
From: Eric Reimer <>
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 09:19:09 -0500


I was wondering what effects filtering would have on the flavour of a mead.
The last batch of mead I bottled (a still strawberry melomel) has a tiny
amount of white "fluff" in the bottom of each bottle. This is after I had
allowed the mead to drop crystal clear and racked an additional time before

As for filtering, what size filter should I use if I were to filter? How
else could I avoid the fluff in the bottle?

As always, any and all responses will be greatly appreciated.

Eric Reimer

Subject: St.Louis Brews Homebrew Competition
From: Jack Baty <>
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 16:41:50 -0600 (CST)

The 1998 St.Louis Brews' Happy Holidays Homebrew Competition will take
place on the 11th and 12th of December. The competition will include both
beers and meads. Check the club web page, , for
entry details and style guidelines.

We would love to have you come to the competition and bring your expertise
to the mead judging. Judge registration is also available on the web site.
Judges are invited to the annual banquet and awards presentation which will
immediately follow the competition. We will have a number of beds-for-
judges available at members' homes.

Jack Baty
St.Louis, MO

Subject: wax on corks
From: "Chuck Wettergreen" <>
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 07:28:55 -0600

In MLD #706 "Michael Scott Meiners" <> asked:

>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?

I just recently noticed the current practice of California vintners of
white wines to "top off" their corks with beeswax. I asked a good friend
who owns a liquor store and is very knowledgeable about wine what the
effect of this was. She said that the effect was to stop the cork from
breathing and thus extend the shelf life of the (fragile white) wine by
preventing aging. She seemed to think it was a good thing. I'm not so

Geneva, IL

Subject: Gallon Jugs for Mead?
From: Carl Wilson <>
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 14:58:29 -0600

Rather than buying wine bottles, corks and a corker, would heavy 1
gallon glass jugs (like cider jugs) work for storing Mead?

Carl Wilson

End of Mead Lover's Digest #707