Mead Lover's Digest #0718 Sun 10 January 1999


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



FW: Pooped yeast (Eric Reimer)
hemp cake (Steve Daughhetee)
Re: Rowanberry – second ferment (Beth Ann Snead)
Brewing in 3 Gallon Batches (Tom Franklin)
acid blend ("Alex Curtis@KWESSF")
RE: Rhodomel (James Smith)
White blobs afloat (John Metzner)
re: Rhodomel ("Linda or Darin")
Re: Rhodomel (Gary Shea)
Re: Rhodomel ("Marc Shapiro")
Screw top caps, apple varieties ("Michael Scott Meiners")


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Subject: FW: Pooped yeast
From: Eric Reimer <>
Date: Wed, 6 Jan 1999 08:44:10 -0500

Happy New Year All.

I've run into a problem with a batch of spiced cyser. This is the recipe.
Ingredients: (for 19 litres)

* 5 Kg Honey (clover)
* 8 l Pure, Unfiltered Apple Cider
* 3 Cinnamon Sticks
* 5 Cloves
* 2 Nutmeg "Buttons", grated
* 10g dry yeast (rehydrated). It was a Lalvin champagne yeast but I don'
recall the exact number on the packets.

The honey was added to 85C water. The mixture settled to 75C. The honey
mixture was allowed to pasteurise for 20 minutes. The spices were boiled
for about 10 minutes in some water. The spice tea, including all the
pieces were added to the primary fermentor along with the honey mixture and
apple cider. Sanitised water was added to bring the total volume to 19
litres. O.G. was 1.110. Yeast pitched. Racked to secondary ten days
later. (Didn't measure S.G.) The mead started to clear in an additional 2
months. I had intended to rack the mead and feed the yeast with some
additional honey at this point, but had no time. Instead, the mead sat in
the secondary until this past weekend and was almost completely clear. The
gravity was 0.990. I thought I would go ahead and rack and feed anyway as
planned. I removed some of the mead, added about one quarter Kg of honey,
boiled, cooled. This mixture was added to the tertiary, and the rest of
the mead was racked on top. I made sure to rack lots of yeast from the
bottom of the secondary. I still had some space in the tertiary, so I
boiled some additional water, added another one quarter Kg of honey and
added this to the tertiary to fill the space.

Finally a question. I have not noticed any airlock activity in the
tertiary. The mead is almost completely clear. From this I assume that
the yeast was pooped out and I have waited too long to add additional
honey. Should I wait? Should I add an addition package of champagne
yeast? Is the amount of alcohol present too much for the yeast? I did not
want an overly sweet mead.

Please reply with any help to the Digest so that others may learn from my

Eric Reimer

Subject: hemp cake
From: Steve Daughhetee <>
Date: Wed, 6 Jan 1999 09:29:30 -0500

>I recently received some hemp cake from vinbrew supply, usual disclaimers
>apply, and I was wondering how it would do in mead? It's supposed to go
>in the mash, but if I steeped some in with the honey, what does the
>collective think this would do for it's profile. I only pasteurize my
>must, I don't bring it to a boil.

My impression of "hemp cake" is that it is the residue left after oil is
pressed from hemp seeds. That would make it primarily starch and protein,
with some tannins from the seed coat. There may also be some soluble
oligosaccharides as well. In a mead, I'd be worried about starch and
protein hazes forming. An interesting approach would be a braggot where
the cake was mashed with some malt to allow starch and protein conversion.
You would probably want to use no more than 1/3 cake to 2/3 malt by weight.
After sparging, boil the sweet wort (to sanitize and precipitate proteins),
add honey to pasteurize, and cool the must. Now you got me interested….

Steve Daughhetee
Ithaca, NY

Subject: Re: Rowanberry - second ferment
From: Beth Ann Snead <>
Date: Wed, 6 Jan 1999 07:20:15 -0800 (PST)

> The rowanberry mead that had almost cleared started a
> furious second fermentation. The mead character so far had been
> apple-like and extremely tart. It will be interesting to see what, if
> anything, this second fermentation has done to the flavor, though I
> haven't had time yet to try it. Any guesses about what was going on?

Sounds to me like a malo-lactic fermentation. It happens all the time
in my wine making endeavors. If the tartness of the rowan berry comes
from malic acid and the fruit was unprocessed (cooked and concentrated
definitely. I'm not sure if freezing fruit will destroy the malo to
lactic enzyme) then a second fermentation occurs which converts the
tart malic acid to a neutral flavored lactic acid. I don't believe
this is the same thing as lactose, but I'm just a simple vinter not a

Beth Ann

Subject: Brewing in 3 Gallon Batches
From: Tom Franklin <>
Date: Wed, 06 Jan 1999 12:08:49 -0500

Hi All,

While I've been brewing beer for some time now, I'm new to brewing
Mead. Forgive the "simple" question, but I don't want to blow my first

I've found that I have a fairly reliable source for 3 gallon plastic
food grade containers. Will I be able to simply take a 5 gallon recipe
and do the math down to 3 gallons or are there other considerations I
should take into account?

Many thanks!

Tom Franklin

Subject: acid blend
From: "Alex Curtis@KWESSF" <>
Date: Wed, 06 Jan 1999 12:55 -0600

happy new year everyone!!!

i have a few questions about acid blends.

1. why are they used in brewing mead?

2. when/how do you add an acid blend when brewing mead?

3. what is the best form to use, ie citrus juice, powder, pills…etc?

thats about it, let me know what you think about this



Subject: RE: Rhodomel
From: James Smith <>
Date: Wed, 6 Jan 1999 16:09:12 -0500

Found this on the web someplace maybe it will help you out

Date: Wed, 21 Sep 88 02:23:45 mdt
Subject: Recipes — AT LAST! Original-From:

Ye Olde Batte's PROVEN Recipes

Basic Metheglyn (Took First Prize at Homebrewers Competition) Put three
pounds (1 quart) light honey to about a gallon of water and heat to just
below boiling. Skim off as much as you can of the white froth & discard.
Add a palmful of whole cloves, a handful of stick cinnamon, and a couple of
palmfuls of whole allspice. Add the zest (thin outer peel) of one
medium-large orange. Remove and discard the white pith from the orange and
crush the remainder into the pot. Add one cup double-strength black tea (two
teabags to one cup boiling water).
Keep the whole mess at steaming (NOT BOILING) temperature for two to five
Cool to lukewarm ("baby-bottle" or "blood" temperature) and strain or rack
(siphon) into one or two large bottles, filling only to the "shoulder" of
each bottle. Add one or two tablespoonfuls of dry yeast to each bottle and
attach airlock. (Mead is the ONLY fermented product it is not only safe, but
often preferable to use bread yeast to manufacture). You may want to leave
the bottles "unlocked" for 12-24 hours to give the yeasty-beasties a head
start. Leave in warm, but not hot, place for 7-21 days, or until airlock
"breaks." Rack into clean bottles. You may top up with clean water, if you
wish. This lightens the flavour and assists in the mellowing process. DON'T
use processed city water! Age in cool spot for AT LEAST six weeks — it can
safely go for a year. Rack once more when it looks clear, and be sure always
to leave all the GUCK in the bottom of the bottle whenever you rack.

ENJOY IN MODERATION — NOTHING is as bad as a mead hangover!

Wylde-Rose-Petal Metheglyn

Use basic recipe as above, but reduce cloves to 5 or 6 large — count 'em —
and add one whole nutmeg, split in half, and one or two one-pint ziploc bags
of fresh (or frozen) rose petals. Wild roses are the best for this, as they
are more fragrant; the red or pink have more flavour than the white. When
you pick, go for the newly opened or just opening flowers; take ONLY the
petals; pack 'em as tightly in the bags as you can. They store well in the
freezer until use (but not overlong). This recipe makes a smaller volume of
product than the basic, but the bouquet and flavour are unique and
delightful and the colour is GORGEOUS!

Subject: White blobs afloat 
From: (John Metzner)
Date: Wed, 6 Jan 1999 13:31:11 -0900 (AST)


I took a look at my 2nd batch of mead and saw something rather

disturbing. This is a cranberry mead which has been racked back off the
fruit after about a week and seems to be fermenting nicely. There is a
layer of white blobs on the surface, about 3-5 mm in diameter, look kind
of like cottage cheese (large curd). They appear to be precipitating
from the surface to the bottom of the carboy, where there is another layer.

This is the first batch which I've fermented in a glass carboy, so

I'm not sure if this is normal or not. Any ideas what these 'curds' might
be? Pectin? Yeast?

John Metzner –
Fairbanks, Alaska

Subject: re: Rhodomel
From: "Linda or Darin" <>
Date: Wed, 6 Jan 1999 20:44:27 -0800

Jake says:

>>>How does one go about making rhodomel (mead w/roses)?

Rosepetal mead is a seasonal variety here at Castillo del Lago.

During the flowering season we harvest all the petals from our plants.
First, we enjoy the beauty of our roses. Then, when they are a day or two
past their prime, (but before the get really wilted), we grab all the
petals, sort of like closing the rose back up into a bud, and pull them
off, all at once. Pack them tightly into a ziplock and store them in the
freezer. Usually, by the time we have 2 or 3 quart bags stuffed, we start
up a 5 gallon batch of straight mead ( 1 to 1-1/2 gallons of honey, water
to 5 gallons, yeast). Let it rip until it is almost done, then stuff all
the petals into the secondary carboy (pick out the big bugs, don't sweat
the small ones), and rack onto it. After 1 or 2 weeks, swirling
occasionally, (taste it to make the judgement call), rack it off the roses
and proceed as usual, racking it periodically until it doesn't drop any
more sediment to speak of.

This might sound a bit gonzo to those who fret about infection, but that is
why we wait until there is something greater then about 10% alchohol before
we dry-hop the petals.

This years batch was 15 pounds of local sage honey, pitched with Vierka
Mead yeast on 5/29/98. Racked onto the roses on 8/9/98, and off of them on
Bottled on 10/10/98, clear as a bell, FG of 1.032. (The petals seem to
serve as a fining agent. Works with the lavendar we do as well.)
We've already given most of it away for Yule and the holidays and such. It
is good NOW!!!

Another option I have not yet tried is to boil and steep the petals, strain
them off, and then use the rosewater to make your mead. I'm going to do a
couple of 1 gallon test batches that way next year.

Of course, we are not fond of drinking pesticides, so we grow our roses
organically. Be aware of where you get your roses…

Darin Trueblood

Subject: Re: Rhodomel
From: Gary Shea <>
Date: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 05:29:08 -0700 (MST)

Jake — I can't claim success, exactly, but I have a ~4 gallon batch
in process that's about as simple as a mead can be. I started a
slap pack of Wyeast Sweet Mead in a half-gallon container with
one lb of honey and 1/2 tsp of yeast energizer. A week later a
friend brought me 7lbs. of rose petals (it's what she could pick
conveniently in her folks' semi-commercial rose garden).
I mixed up 10 lbs of honey, 1 tbsp yeast energizer, 5 gal's of H2O
and the full contents of the starter batch. I stuffed the rose petals
into a sparge bag and into a 6 gal bucket, and poured the liquid
mixture over the top. No particular attention to sanitation.
Was left with about 3/4 gal of must that didn't fit. The next
morning another few quarts decided they didn't fit either,
and bubbled onto the kitchen floor.

That was 7/24. Currently it's still not quite willing to give
up the ghost… there's a bubble every 5-10 minutes although the
batch has gone very clear. The flavor was pure essence of Listerine
for a while there, ecccch, but is better now… not good but better.
The rose flavor is definitely still there behind the mouthwash.
It's not anywhere near so sweet as I wanted/expected it to be. Back
to Edme I guess 😉 I'm planning on checking the ph sometime soon…
it was around 3.8 or 4.0 9/2/98.

> From: "Jake Hester" <>
> Date: Mon, 04 Jan 1999 11:03:25 PST
> How does one go about making rhodomel (mead w/roses)?
> Jake Hester
> South Carolina – USA

Subject: Re: Rhodomel
From: "Marc Shapiro" <>
Date: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 22:50:27 +0000

> Subject: Rhodomel
> From: "Jake Hester" <>
> Date: Mon, 04 Jan 1999 11:03:25 PST
> How does one go about making rhodomel (mead w/roses)? I've found
> nothing that gives real instructions, just two conflicting glossaries- one
> saying that it's actually made with rose petals, and another claiming that
> it's made with an extract of rose called attar (I think; I'm working from
> memory here). Has anyone out there successfully made rhodomel, and if so,
> can you guide a poor newbie?


I haven't done a rhodomel, but I did make a 'Rose Petal Wine' quite a few
years ago. Definately made from the petals, but you have to be sure that the
roses where not treated with insecticides, or other chemicals that you would
not want in your mead. I bought rose bushes just for the wine, myself. If
you don't have a source of reliably safe rose petals (and it takes a LOT of
petals) then you might consider using rose water, instead. Rose water is
simply the essence of the rose oil (extracted in water from the petals)
distilled enough to concentrate it, but not to extract only the essential oil.
is still water, but very heavily rose scented and tasting. If you can't find a
recipe with proper quantites of rose water you might just have to experiment,
yourself. I would think that the correct percentage of rose water to must
would be somewhere in the single digits, but that is just a guess.

BTW the wine was very good and only got better after a couple years of
aging (what little was left, by then).



Marc Shapiro

Visit 'The Meadery' at:

"If you drink melomel every day, you will live to be 150 years old,
unless your wife shoots you."

  • –Dr. Ferenc Androczi, Winemaker of the Little Hungary Winery

Subject: Screw top caps, apple varieties
From: "Michael Scott Meiners" <>
Date: Sun, 10 Jan 1999 16:35:04 -0500

Is it possible to re-crown cap beer bottles that are screw top? Initially I
thought that it wouldn't be possible without special screw type caps, but
then I looked closely at a bud light cap and it looked like an ordinary cap
that was crimped around the thread by an ordinary capper. The mead and
homebrew books I have don't mention anything on this.

Are some apple varieties better for making cyser than others? I know some
varieties are better for cooking than others, I would expect the same for
making cyser. Some might impart better flavors, and some might have a
higher concentration of malic acid – good if you are making sparkling mead.


  • -M

End of Mead Lover's Digest #718