Mead Lover's Digest #0708 Tue 17 November 1998


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



Re: gallon jugs (
Re: Gallon Jugs for Mead? ("John A. MacLaughlin")
re: Filtering Mead (Paul Gatza)
Commercial Meads ("Thaddaeus A. Vick")
Sparkling mead not sparkling (Shane & Laura)
new brewing list (Gregg Stearns)
Equipment for Getting Started ("Stephen J. Van der Hoven")
Yuk! 😛 Dry Mead (
Starting gravity? (Malcor)
pulp and gravity ("McDonald, Rod")
Re: How to get accurate gravity readings (Jack Stafford)
Use of tea in meads (ALAN KEITH MEEKER)
Re: Eucalyptus honey (Robert Hook)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #707, 13 November 1998 (dennis key)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #707, 13 November 1998 (Kelsie)


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Subject: Re: gallon jugs
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 07:34:25 EST

In a message dated 11/13/98 2:34:42 AM Central Standard Time, mead- writes:

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?


I would be very cautious with this type of glass jugs. They are not pressure
rated. And for the most part are quite weak in the side walls. Any appreciable
amount of pressure ( unexpected fermentation, which meads are know for ) could
result in a large glass bomb. I would try to stay with containers designed to
hold carbonated beverages, because of the strength.

micah millspaw – brewer at large

Subject: Re: Gallon Jugs for Mead?
From: "John A. MacLaughlin" <>
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 08:05:56 -0500

In MLD #707 Carl Wilson <> asks

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

Yes, I find them very satisfactory. The only disadvantage I see is
psychological: one is much more aware of sedimentation in a
gallon than in a smaller bottle.

Subject: re: Filtering Mead
From: Paul Gatza <>
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 08:56:03 -0700

Eric Reimer asked about experiences in filtering mead. Here is mine: I
took six gallons of boysenberry mead and racked it off the berries into
a new carboy. I immediately sent three gallons through a 5-micron pad
homebrew style plate-and-frame wine filter. I then sent that same three
gallons through 0.5 micron pads. I then bottled both the filtered mead
and the unfiltered 3 gallons at the same time. My impression is that the
filtering stripped not only flavor but also removed some of the color
from the mead. It had less overall character than the unfiltered
version. I have since gone back to racking and time as my preferred
means of clarifying.

Paul Gatza
American Homebrewers Association (303) 447-0816 x 122
736 Pearl Street (303) 447-2825 — FAX
PO Box 1679 — E-MAIL
Boulder, CO 80306-1679 — AOB INFO
U.S.A. — WEB

Subject: Commercial Meads
From: "Thaddaeus A. Vick" <>
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 07:17:18 -0800 (PST)

> 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

I just checked that out and it doesn't look like they have any

straight mead. Even the meads that are called "traditional" talk about
"subtle grape overtones" which looks to me like it's not a traditional
mead at all but a pyment.

Thaddaeus A. Vick, Linguist to the Masses

ICQ: 21574495
"Give me the songs of a nation, and it matters

not who writes their laws." — Plato

Subject: Sparkling mead not sparkling
From: Shane & Laura <>
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 09:12:22 -0800

I recently bottled a blackberry mead that I had had in carboys for over
two months. I wanted a sparkling mead but thought that there would be
enough yeast left in suspension, I used champagne yeast originally, to
prime the bottles. I bottled with one cup of corn sugar for 21 litters
of mead. It has been nearly one month since I bottled and I could not
wait any longer and had to test a bottle last night. The mead itself is
coming along quite nicely but there is no sign of carbonation. It seems
that the yeast left was insufficient to prime the mead. Is there any
easy fix or do I mark it as a lesson learned and remember to pitch some
yeast at bottling next time? I had thought to open the bottles and add a
few grains of dry champagne yeast. Will this work and if so will I have
to add more sugar or will the sugar I added at bottling be sufficient?

Private responses are welcome or just post to the digest.

Thanks for your help,
Shane Cook
Work is the curse of the drinking class.

  • -Oscar Wilde

Phone: (604) 736-1187
ICQ #: 15754362

Subject: new brewing list
From: Gregg Stearns <>
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 11:51:36 -0600

I have started a new homebrew list for beer and mead. I am not trying
to steal anyone from this list. I set it up because I started a new
homepage for homebrewers.
I'm slowly adding things, and have the list setup in non digest form,
with all messages archived. To subscribe visit:
I hope to get people to submit recipes of their own, that I can post
(with credit to them of course) so people have a better reference for
brewing mead and beer.


Gregg Stearns

"No! Do not try. Only do, or do not. There is no try."
(Yoda, Jedi Master)

Subject: Equipment for Getting Started
From: "Stephen J. Van der Hoven" <>
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 12:27:58 -0700


I use the same equipment for brewing mead and beer. You should check
with your local homebrew shop or one of mail order places for a "starter
kit" which will include the basic equipment to get you going. The
basics include a fermentation bucket, a glass carboy, racking cane and
hose, bottle filler attachment, bottle capper, airlock(s), rubber
stopper (for carboy and/or bucket) etc. Not usually included in starter
kits, but absolutely necessary for boiling wort, is a 4-5 gallon
stainless steel pot. Some useful extras that may or may not come with a
kit are a hydrometer, thermometer, thermometer strip (for sticking on a
carboy or bucket), grain bag, bottle brush, bottle washer. The list of
accessories seems to go on and on. I always seem to be buying some
gadget. If you are planning to have multiple batches fermentating at
one time, you will need extra buckets and carboys. Beer only ties up
buckets or carboys for a few weeks, but meads can take several months to
ferment and many folks like to bulk age in carboys for many more
months. You will need at least one more bucket/carboy than you have
batches fermenting at one time because of the need to rack from one
container to another. I currently have 3 buckets, 3 carboys and 5 or 6
one gallon jugs (for small batches of mead) and am thinking about geting
another carboy.

As far as books go, I dont' know that you'll need one. There is a
wealth of info on the Internet, including many recipes and brewing
techinques. I'm sure the answers to many of the questions you'll come
up with have been discussed on this digest at one time or another.
You'll find that there may be multiple (and conflicting) answers to some
questions. My only advice for those times is do what is easiest/best
for you and see how it turns out. The ony "secret" I have for brewing
good beer and mead is be anal about cleaning and sterilizing your
equipment before, during and after use.

Good luck with your new hobby. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


Subject: Yuk!  :P  Dry Mead
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 18:45:44 EST

Good Gentles All,

I have a 6 gallon carboy full of "new" raspberry melomel (i.e., less than 2
months old.) During my last racking, I noticed that the mead had already gone
from sweet to dry.

I, myself do not LIKE dry mead. However, this batch now tastes very
astringent and tanic. Is it beginning to acetify, or oxidize, or whatever
you call it when your lovely honey-brew begins to turn to vinegar?

There is about a gallon and a half of head-space left in the carboy. Should I
just brew more honey-water, top it off and hope that does the trick? Or will
THAT go dry, too?

Subject: Starting gravity?
From: Malcor <>
Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 12:37:56 -0600

If I made a metheglin, 5 gallons, with 15lbs of honey…
Would a Starting Gravity of 1.108 be accurate?

I took two readings, and that came up both times.
I've never taken a hydrometer reading of mead until now.
I'm hoping this batch turns out great.

I used Wyeast Sweet Mead liquid yeast. If you try using this
it's best to make a starter after 12 hours, then pitch it at High
Krausen. The first time I used it, after 3 days I hade to
kick it with some dry champagne yeast.

Anyhow, it's already beginning some heavy fermentation.
I hope to age it 6months to a year after bottling.

Gregg Stearns
aka Brewmeister

Subject: pulp and gravity
From: "McDonald, Rod" <>
Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 11:21:55 +1100

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


One pretty crude method I have used to deal with a pulpy must (but not for a
must with lumpy bits of fruit floating about) is to take many readings
during the first few weeks. Typically I would ferment on pulp/fruit in a
bucket for about a week before putting under air-lock. Once the must has
been strained, and sometimes pressed/squeezed and strained through muslin
the readings are more accurate, and using those more accurate readings, and
assuming (and this is the big assumption) an approximate linear decline in
specific gravity it is possible to guesstimate an approximate starting
gravity, sort of…

No doubt there will be better methods out there!

There is a Ben Turner (Compleat Home Winemaker and Brewer, I think) book
that had a table of typical sugar contents of fruit dried and otherwise from
which you can use to estimate likely SG from fruit solids. If anyone is
interested I'll try and find it and post the contents of that table,
assuming I can find the time too!


Subject: Re: How to get accurate gravity readings
From: Jack Stafford <stafford@newport26.HAC.COM>
Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 10:02:49 -0500 (EST)

On Tue, 10 Nov, "Joe Kaufman" <> wrote:
> 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…?

I'm pretty lazy too. Sometimes I do not record the original
gravity of my beer and mead. This time I did, because a very
high OG was suspected.

I started a black plum mead in a 6 gallon plastic bucket.
(Fruit or wheat in beer recipes makes a messy primary ferment.
Sometimes fruit pulp rides up on the foam and into the airlock.
Plastic is my choice because if the airlock gets plugged up,
the lid pops off. If this happens in a glass carboy it's a
much bigger mess to clean up; and you usually lose the batch.)

The bucket was filled about 1/3 with frozen, crushed black
plums. I briefly boiled 12 pounds of light honey, let it sit
to cool slightly. The hot must was poured over the frozen
plums. After a half-hour, I topped up with cold water. When
it became room temperature, I shook the bucket for a while to
aereate the mixture.

I took a hydrometer reading on a sample drawn from the bottom
of the fermenter bucket. 1.800 That seemed a little bit
"far out". 🙂 I then took the lid off the bucket and set my
hydrometer into the surface of the brew. 1.180 So I figure
that the OG is somewhere in between. Pitch a sweet mead yeast
and away we go. After three months and one racking to glass,
the gravity is holding at 1.020

Costa Mesa, CA

Subject: Use of tea in meads
Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 16:26:31 -0500 (EST)

Hi. I've seen a bunch of mead recipes calling for some amount of tea to be
included. What is the purpose of this? Is this supposed to introduce
tannins? Could one also use grape skin tannins or tannic acid to get the
desired effect? And just what exactly *is* the desired effect? I imagine
it's to gain some of the tannic character one finds in wines. Is this an
attempt to add some astringent character to help offset excessive
sweetness? Does the character of the tea itself manifest itself in the
final mead?

Thanks, Alan.

"Graduate school is the snooze button on the alarm clock of life."

-Jim Squire


  • -Alan Meeker

Johns Hopkins Hospital
Dept. of Urology


(410) 614-4974


Subject: Re:  Eucalyptus honey
From: Robert Hook <>
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 18:02:40 +1000

>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.

All of my meads have used honey either purely from eucalypts, or blended
with other blossoms. As we say in Oztrylia – no worries. She'll be right
mate. If you like the honey, you'll like the mead – there seems to be a
concern that some sort of strong eucalypt flavour will make it into the
mead, which puzzles me, as the honey doesn't have that flavour. I'd advise
you to whack up a batch and see how you like it. I've found Ironbark to be
good for sweet still meads.

Remember, the Oxen are slow, but the Earth is patient.

mailto: (source PGP signature from here)
Robert Hook
Brisbane, Qld, Australia

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #707, 13 November 1998
From: dennis key <>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 13:14:36 -0700 (MST)

Concerning Carl Wilson's question on gallon jugs: They work fine. I use
them to bottle meads intended for large gatherings–our Pagan community
has four a year. Be sure the plastic ring in the cap is intact and the
cap isn't rusted and protect clear jugs from sunlight.

Never Thirst,


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #707, 13 November 1998
From: Kelsie <>
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 13:32:42 +1300

> 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?

Manuka is very antiseptic/anti fungal, as is the honey.
I haven't tried making mead with it, but I've heard it can be done, just make
sure you get your yeast well started.


End of Mead Lover's Digest #708