Mead Lover's Digest #0711 Mon 30 November 1998


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



Use mead in this dessert! (Bruce Conner)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #710, 26 November 1998 (
Thanks for the summary Dan (Eric James Urquhart)
cross-hatches and volcanoes (Dane Mosher)
Acid blends? (Malcor)
Disgorging sparkling meads ("Michael Scott Meiners")
Volcanic mead incident (
pounded (Mead Lover's Digest)
re: volcano ("Spies, Jay")
Carboy Volcanoes ("Stephen J. Van der Hoven")
Brown Sugar in Cyser (Keith Michael Looney)
Hydromel (Anne Trowbridge)
Re: Low grav meads, #?, Volcanic carboy (Joyce Miller)


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Subject: Use mead in this dessert!
From: Bruce Conner <>
Date: Thu, 26 Nov 1998 13:04:29 -0500

A little late for Thanksgiving, but you can use this for the other
upcoming holidays. It's called syllabub (SIL'-uh-bub). A very old menu
item, very popular in the 18th century. They still serve it at Colonial
Williamsburg. It's similar to what we would call a parfait, but it's
only chilled, not frozen. Normally, it would be made with wine instead
of mead, but since we all KNOW mead is better than wine, why shouldn't
we use mead? So give this a try and you'll doubtless agree, they knew
what they were doing back in the 18th century.

Serves 6

Mead – 150ml (2/3 cup (US)) Sweet or dry mead. A Riesling or other
white wine will do if you are out of mead.
Lemon juice – 2 tbsp
Lemon zest – 2 tsp plus some to decorate (Zest is yellow part of the
rind grated with a fine cheese grater)
White sugar – 75g (a heaping 1/3 cup measure (US))
Whipping cream – 300 ml (1-1/3 cup (US))


1.Put the wine, lemon juice, zest and sugar into a bowl. Leave for at

least 3 hours.

2.Add the cream and whip until the mixture stands in SOFT peaks.

Don't make it too stiff. It should separate out a bit when it cools in
the fridge. You'll have a little wine layer at the bottom and a whipped
cream layer over it when it's done.

3.Transfer to 6 wine or sundae glasses and decorate with lemon zest.
4.Chill for several hours before serving.

Enjoy, and Happy Holidays!

Bruce Conner

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #710, 26 November 1998
Date: Thu, 26 Nov 1998 13:01:57 EST

Screammmmm. When I went to my first pagan festival I was introduced to a
variety of meads, clarets, etc. with a variety of tastes. I found most all
them to be far too sweet for my tastes, yet a dry mead was quite promising. I
found your website and subscribe to your email Digest. I still have not
attempted to make a mead, because of the "chemistry" "specific gravity" you
seem to all get into. I find this all too overwhelming, yet most of the pagans
I know who make their own claim it is so easy, and it doesn't sound like they
do all this testing, preparing, adding additives….am I over reacting here,
or can this be a lot simpler then what you seem to be doing? JADE

Subject: Thanks for the summary Dan
From: Eric James Urquhart <>
Date: Thu, 26 Nov 1998 10:56:05 -0800 (PST)

The info you posted concerning acid levels was great Dan. Thanks a lot.

Eric Urquhart, Centre for Pest Management,
Dept. of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University,
8888 University Drive,
Burnaby, British Columbia, CANADA V5A 1S6

lab (604) 291-3090 fax (604) 291-3496

Subject: cross-hatches and volcanoes
From: Dane Mosher <>
Date: Thu, 26 Nov 1998 14:08:17 -0600

Hello everyone,

> What does your cross-hatch symbol mean when you North Americans talk
> about honey?

# is a symbol for pounds.

> Within second of adding it he had an eruption from his carboy.
> Enormous amounts of foam started shooting out the mouth of the carboy and
> proceeded to flow out the mouth of his carboy for several minutes <snip>

I have heard of this happening with beer, and I suspect it must be the
same phenomenon here. The only explanation I have heard for this is
that the fermenting mead was saturated with CO2–so much so that the pH
became too low for the yeast to continue. By adding your starter, you
provided many nucleation points for the CO2 to form bubbles on, in a big
way. With the huge release of CO2 (and foam), the pH raised enough for
the yeast to continue their work.

I have heard that yeast hulls are sometimes added to fermentations for
the purpose of providing nucleation points for CO2.

I'm curious as to why this happens to some people and not others (such
as me).

Thanks to Dan McFeeley for a great post on acids!

Dane Mosher
Big Spring, Texas, USA

Subject: Acid blends?
From: Malcor <>
Date: Fri, 27 Nov 1998 16:33:54 -0600

I've used acid blends long ago when i knew very little about mead making.
Now I've got 3 batches going, and I wonder;
I haven't tested any acid levels, but they seem to be fermenting just fine.
One tasted sweet when i racked it, but my cyser tasted very dry, little
sweetness in it.
Do acid levels affect the sweetness, and/or the fermentation rate/time?

I think i'm gonna go out and get an acid test kit


Gregg Stearns
aka Brewmeister

Subject: Disgorging sparkling meads
From: "Michael Scott Meiners" <>
Date: Sat, 28 Nov 1998 15:44:12 -0500

I've just finished the sparkling mead section in Morse's Making Mead, and I
am amazed by the trouble it takes to disgorge a sparking mead. Does anybody
out there actually do it? If you do, do you recommend it to others? I
think I would be okay with a little bit of sediment.

Subject: Volcanic mead incident
Date: Sat, 28 Nov 1998 17:15:55 EST

Nathan K says:

"It appeared that
he had a stuck fermentation so I prepared a yeast starter using 100ml of
water, 4 tablespoons of sugar, a quarter teaspoon of DAP, and Champagne
yeast. I let it go overnight and the next day I added it to his 5 gallons
of mead. Within second of adding it he had an eruption from his carboy.
Enormous amounts of foam started shooting out the mouth of the carboy and
proceeded to flow out the mouth of his carboy for several minutes. In all
I would say that he lost at least a liter of mead in the incident. WHAT CAUSED

If you add something solid with a lot of surface area to a fermenting beverage
(especially a granular item), or something warmer than the must's temperature,
you're giving the must a reason to release CO2 very quickly. The extra
surface area gives the dissolved CO2 a place to form bubbles, which it will
very quickly. Warm temperatures reduce the ability of the adjacent must to
hold CO2 in dissolved form, so it goes into gas form. The answer is to make
sure anything you add to a must rich in C02 is completely liquified and cooled
to a similar or lower temperature than the must. Then add a little bit, wait a
few seconds to make sure there's no reaction, and add more. Probably some of
the starter culture ingredients you added were not in solution.

Subject: pounded
From: (Mead Lover's Digest)
Date: 29 Nov 98 00:02:50 MST (Sun)

I've exercised a teeny bit of editorial control to remove a raft of
postings explaining in various ways and levels of detail that the # symbol
is used in the US for pounds avoir.

Mead-Lover's Digest
Dick Dunn, Digest Janitor Boulder County, Colorado USA

Subject: re: volcano
From: "Spies, Jay" <>
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 09:18:01 -0500

Nathan asked about a volcano carboy —

Sounds like your Dad's mead was supersaturated with CO2 before you added
the starter. See, when you see bubbling out of the airlock, it means
the (mead – beer – whatever) has absorbed all the CO2 it can hold and
that CO2 has nowhere to go but up and out. The CO2 comes out of
solution in the form of a bubble and rises.

At the same time, CO2 likes to hook onto "things", for lack of a better
term. These "things" can be yeast particles, trub, fruit, or any solid
object, big or small. These things are called "nucleation sites",
because they serve as a nucleus for the saturated (i.e. not bubbles) CO2
to come out of solution and form a CO2 bubble. Since your mead was
likely supersaturated with CO2 to begin with, you have lots of potential
CO2 just waiting to come out of solution given enough nucleation points.
(Ever tried to pour a beer into a styrofoam cup? The rough surface of
the inside of the cup offers tons of nucleation sites for the CO2 in
your beer to come out of solution. In contrast, the smooth walls of a
beer glass offer very few. Trace a thin line of beer bubbles rising
from a glass down, and they will always begin in a rough spot or a small
pit in the wall of the glass.)

When you dumped a starter into the mead, you introduced a few billion
nucleation sites into your supersaturated mead, all of the saturated CO2
that could find a nucleation site found one, and the end result was your

In the future, you can minimize this by agitating the carboy before
dumping the starter, and also by adding the starter slowly, instead of
just dumping it in. Agitation releases much of the CO2 from solution,
and adding the starter slowly allows you to minimize and control

Hope this helps,

Jay Spies
Wishful Thinking Basement Brewery
Baltimore, MD

Subject: Carboy Volcanoes
From: "Stephen J. Van der Hoven" <>
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 10:06:30 -0700


I'm sure I won't be the only one telling you this. The eruption from
your carboy was caused by degassing carbon dioxide. Sounds like some of
the CO2 generated during the meager fermentation that did occur
dissolved into the mead over the course of 9 months. When you added the
new starter, it provided sites for the CO2 to nucleate and come out of
solution. Obviously, this can be a very rapid process and the limited
head space in a carboy doesn't leave much room for foam to settle. I've
had the same reaction when I dry-hopped a high gravity beer. Hmmm…
sounds like there is a positive correlation between the amount of CO2
that can be dissolved in a liquid and it's density (or sugar content).
Anyone have insights on that?

What I wonder is who was doing the fermentation during those first 9
months? Doesn't sound like the first batch of champagne yeast survived
the process.


Subject: Brown Sugar in Cyser
From: Keith Michael Looney <>
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 21:03:59 -0500

A couple of years ago at a competition in Syracuse, NY, I judged a
couple of wonderful sweet cysers which had brown sugar in the recipe
(and possibly some other added flavorings, but it is too long ago for me
to recall). I would like to make a mead similar to these, but I have
not come across enough recipes to give me a good idea of what different
amounts of brown sugar would add to the flavor. If anyone has had
experience with using brown sugar in a cyser recipe, I would love to
hear about the amount that you used and the results that you achieved.

Also, are there any special considerations that should be taken into
account when choosing a yeast for a cyser?

My recipe so far:
4 gallons apple cider
16 pounds orange blossom honey
? cups/pounds dark brown sugar
acid blend as required
yeast nutrient
? yeast

I am relatively new to mead making (this will be my third) so any other
advice would be appreciated as well.

Keith Michael Looney

Subject: Hydromel
From: Anne Trowbridge <>
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 19:58:00 -0700

In an effort to lower the cost of wine coolers for a friend,
I've experimented with a few different low-gravity meads.
The basic recipe 5 gallon recipe uses 3 lbs honey, 1.5 lbs
dry malt extract, 2-4 oz malto-dextrin, and fruit if I feel
like it (acid blend 1 tsp if I don't use fruit).
I boil 2 gals water with the malt, malto-dextrin 15 minutes,
& irish moss powder (1/4 tsp). I add acid blend in the last
minute, add honey & take off the boil. I let the must sit
20 minutes before cooling. Add to your carboy with water to
5.25 gals and add yeast. My target gravity is 1.040 to
1.045; I've use ale yeast and wine yeast, my personal
favorite being Lalvin D-47. Terminal gravity is about
1.010, resulting in abv of about 4%. I keg it and
force-carbonate to a moderate level, dispense around 15 psi,
and serve at about 45F. It's not too sweet, but very
refreshing; non-beer drinkers love the alternative. I love
the fact that it's on tap in 4-6 weeks! Perhaps not
traditional – but a pleasant alternative.


Subject: Re: Low grav meads, #?, Volcanic carboy
From: Joyce Miller <>
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 17:54:52 -0500 (EST)

>From: Nathan Kanous <>
>Anybody got any experience with making lower gravity meads? Just curious.
>nathan in Madison, WI

Sure, just reduce the starting gravity to about 1.070, and use an ale yeast
(no Belgians, they produce funny tastes in honey). It will go a little
slower than beer. Just be sure that you drink it within a year, because it
doesn't have the alcohol to keep longer than that.

>Subject: #?
>From: "McDonald, Rod" <>
>OK melophiles, I've kept quiet for a long time on this, and I ain't gonna
>take it anymore.
>>I added a total of 17# of honey
>What does your cross-hatch symbol mean when you North Americans talk about

Pounds. Good old American pounds, which no one else in the world uses
anymore. A kilogram is about 2.2 American pounds.

>Subject: Volcano Carboy!
>From: Nathan Kryger <nathan.kryger@CyberSafe.COM>
>It appeared that
>he had a stuck fermentation so I prepared a yeast starter using 100ml of
>water, 4 tablespoons of sugar, a quarter teaspoon of DAP, and Champagne
>yeast. I let it go overnight and the next day I added it to his 5 gallons
>of mead. Within second of adding it he had an eruption from his carboy.
>Enormous amounts of foam started shooting out the mouth of the carboy and
>proceeded to flow out the mouth of his carboy for several minutes.

>does anyone know WHAT CAUSED THE ERUPTION?!?

Simple. There was a lot of dissolved CO2 in the mead, and the addition
disturbed it, and it then boiled out of the mead. When meads appear stuck,
they sometimes are just fermenting very slowly, and so the mead becomes
supersaturated with CO2, and when it's disturbed, the gas can boil out
suddenly. Like when you open a bottle of selzer suddenly. It would have
probably have happened if you had stirred it with a spoon, or even picked it
up and put it on the counter to rack it.

Chin up. Just think, it's not as bad as the giant volcanic lake in the
Cameroon that did the same thing and exploded in the mid 1980's. Hundreds
died there, suffocated by the 10-foot thick blanket of CO2 that took quite a
while to roll down the mountain. No, I am not making this up. So much CO2
offgassed that the water level in the lake dropped three feet, if I remember
correctly. Your mead isn't nearly so dangerous.

  • — Joyce

End of Mead Lover's Digest #711