Mead Lover's Digest #0722 Tue 26 January 1999


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



How much water? ("Yvonne Loveday")
NaOH, CO2, and O2 ("Stephen J. Van der Hoven")
Haze and pH ("Philip J Wilcox")
Re: Cotton Honey for Mead? (
Yeast experiences (
recipes for coffee mead, mint mead? (
6th Annual Peach State Brew-Off Results (
My experiment with a coffee mead (
Hangover chemistry (John Ratterree)
Hawaiian Honey (Christopher "R." Hebert)
Long Term Storage ("Philip J Wilcox")


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Subject:       How much water?
From: "Yvonne Loveday" <>
Date: Thu, 21 Jan 1999 7:56:38 EST-500

Hi folks,

I'm ready to try my first batch of mead after a 5 or 6 year hiatus from
beermaking. I've joined this group to hold my hand as I begin the process.
<g> I've seen this recipe all over the net, but nowhere have I seen how
many gallons it makes. Anyone have any ideas? Also, I would like a
sparkling sweet blueberry mead — with medium to high alcohol content, and
I'd like to begin enjoying it by May 1st. How's that for a tall order? Do
I have a good recipe? If not, do you have a better one?


12 pounds, Wildflower Honey
2 pounds, blueberries
2 teaspoons, gypsum or water crystals
3 teaspoons, yeast nutrient
1 ounce, Hallertauer Leaf hops
1 tablespoon, Irish Moss
2 packs, Red Star Pastuer Champagne yeast


Boil hops, yeast nutrient and water crystals for 30 – 45 minutes. Add
Irish Moss in the last 15-30 minutes of the boil. Turn off the heat and
add the honey and the blueberries, steep at 180-190 degrees for 15 minutes
minimum (30 minutesis ok too). Pour the whole mixture to a bucket or
carboy and let cool (or use a wort chiller if you have one). Add the yeast
at the temperature recommended on the packet (85-90 degreesI think). Let
it ferment. Rack the mead off the fruit after 6-7 days (you can actually
let it go longer if you like). Let ferment for 4 more weeks in the
secondary then bottle. Other people like to rack their meads at
3-4 week intervals and let it keep going in the carboy. I don't think too
much fermentation went on after the first 4 weeks (I made this in July so
it fermented fast), so if you keep racking you'll basically be doing some
of the aging in the carboy, otherwise it will age in the bottles.


Primary Ferment: 1 week
Secondary Ferment: 4 weeks

I'm guessing five gallons. Sound reasonable? Thanks for your help, and I'm
looking forward to chatting with you all.


From: Paul Mozdziak <>
Date: Thu, 21 Jan 1999 08:35:24 -0600

>Has anyone every made a successful Watermelon Mead?

I have a recipe that I can post at a later time.

I used 5-6 watermelons that I squeezed the innards out by hand–so it was a
total of 5 to 6 gallons of juice to 15 pounds of honey.

It's an acquired taste as–but I like it.

Paul Mozdziak
Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Department of Anatomy
1300 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53706

FAX 608-262-7306

Subject: NaOH, CO2, and O2
From: "Stephen J. Van der Hoven" <>
Date: Thu, 21 Jan 1999 09:02:43 -0700

John Wilkinson asked about degradation of NaOH due to temperature
fluctuations. I suspect that the degradation may be due to age more
than temperature fluctuations. NaOH solutions have a tendency to adsorb
CO2 from the atmosphere over time. The CO2 combines with H2O in the
solution, forming carbonic acid (H2CO3). Being an acid, the H2CO3
dissociates into H+ and HCO3-. H+ combines with OH- (from the
dissociated NaOH) and forms more H2O. Since there is less OH- in the
solution than there was originally, more of the NaOH solution would have
to be used to reach the titration end point and your wine/mead would
appear less acidic than it really was.

I'd also like to address a few comments/questions made by Wout
Klingens. All scientists (not just some) say CO2 is heavier than air.
Air is 99% N2 (molecular weight 28) and O2 (molecular weight 32). CO2
has a molecular weight of 44 and is therefore heavier than air. The
reason we all don't suffocate (especially my ancestors in the low-lying
Netherlands) is primarily due to advection (winds) in the atmosphere.
Diffusion also plays a part, but advection really stirs up the
atmosphere. That's why heavy molecules like CFCs can make it all the
way to the stratosphere and destroy ozone (O3, molecular weight 48).

Wout also asks what "saturation with air" means. All gases will
dissolve in water or other liquids. The amount of any particular gas
that will dissolve in water is a function of the amount of the gas in
air and the affinity for that gas to dissolve in water (the Henry's Law
constant for the chemists out there). Bottom line is, the greater the
concentration of a gas there is in the atmosphere, the greater the
dissolved conecentration in water. Once a gas dissolves in water, it can
readily react with other compounds and O2 is a very reactive gas. So if
you minimize the amount of O2 in the atmosphere (carboy headspace) by
displacing the air with "heavy" CO2, you minimize the amount of O2 that
can dissolve into your mead.

I hope I haven't bored too many of you with the chemistry, but if it
weren't for chemical reactions, we wouldn't be drinking the nectar of
the gods. Then again, you don't have to know squat about chemistry to
brew a good mead.


Subject: Haze and pH
From: "Philip J Wilcox" <>
Date: Thu, 21 Jan 1999 15:45:20 -0400

I have been reading back issues of the MLD researching my Flor Sherry Haze
problem and ran across a post indicating that a pH that is out of whack can
cause a protien haze? What is up with that? True or False? and at what pH?
I have access to a pH meter and am curious to know more.


Subject: Re: Cotton Honey for Mead?
Date: Thu, 21 Jan 1999 22:26:47 EST

In a message dated 1/21/99 3:02:03 AM Eastern Standard Time, mead- writes:

> I wonder about using
> cotton blossom honey in mead. I was talking with a local honey producer,
> and she said their fall honey is mostly cotton. It is a dark honey, which
> they sell as "wildflower" honey since they don't feel they can sell it
> called cotton honey. I haven't tasted the honey, I wonder if anyone has
> heard anything or has personal experience with it. I might just try it if I
> could get hold of a little of the honey to taste.

It's not pure cotton, which would be a fairly light honey, probably has

some of the late blooming brush in it, such as sumac. It may be very nice, all
you can do is test it. Why not buy a small jar to find out.

It sounds as though, it could be quite similar to ours, made at that time

of year, but who knows? Every honey is unique. Some are exquisite, some are
good, some are mediocre, and a few are awful.

Dave Green Hemingway, SC USA
The Pollination Scene:
The Pollination Home Page:

Jan's Sweetness and Light Shop (Varietal Honeys and Beeswax Candles)

Subject: Yeast experiences
Date: Fri, 22 Jan 1999 02:47:03 EST

I recently did a yeast experiment similar to Philip's. Admittedly it is not
scientific (i.e. no control group and yeast was not the only variable
changed). All of these need to age. But here are synopses of the results I
recorded in my logbook:

Black Cherry Melomel (Harvest Moon Black Cherry Juice 1qt/gal)
Yeast: Red Star Flor Sherry
IG 1.101, racked at SG 1.011
The yeast was slow to get started (bubbling was significant days 2-5 with a
peek on day 3)
The current result has a gentle cherry aroma, slight taste of cherry and a
hint of medicinal taste, very smooth, leggy, rather dry but not complex. Did
not clear well.

Cherry Cider Meleomel (R W Knudsen Cherry Cider 1qt/gal)
Yeast: Lalvin EC-1118
IG 1.101 racked at SG 0.996
The yeast was rapid and attenuative (bubbling was significant days 1-5 with a
peek on day 2)
The curretn result has a wonderful aroma, is clear, very leggy, the taste is
smooth and fruity on the open but has a bite at the end. My favorite of the

Papaya Melomel (Harvest Moon Papaya Nectar)
Yeast: Red Star Cote des Blancs
IG 1.101 racked at SG 1.012
The yeast was fairly rapid (significant bubbling days 1-8 with a peek on day
The result was clear, very dry, unpleasant to the nose with taste that is nice
at the beginning but leaves a harsh medicinal aftertaste. The melomel is not
very leggy. I'll probably never do a papaya melomel again.

Cranberry Melomel (R W Knudsen Cranberry Nectar 1qt/gal)
Yeast: Red Star Pasteur Champagne
IG 1.100 racked at SG 1.005
The yeast was slow but steady (significant bubbling days 1-9 with a peek on
day 3)
The result is slightly cloudy, with an excellent nose, leggy, smmot taste with
a tart finish however, it has a "hollow" taste and lacks body.

Elderberry Melomel (R W Knudsen Elderberry Nectar)
Yeast: Red Star Premier Cuvee
IG 1.100 racked at SG 1.005 (est)
The yeast was slow and irradic (significant bubbling for days 2-15 with a peek
on day 8)
The result is cloudy, with a strong off taste and no noticeable aroma. I
suspect this batch was contaminated due to chalky substance that appeared on
the top of the must just prior to racking (it was the only one that I did not
heat pasteurize — which could be reason for the flop instead of the yeast
selected — I'll heat pasteurize my must henceforth).

Mango Melomel (Kerns Mango Nectar 35 oz/gal and Ocean Spray Mango-Mango
Yeast: Lalvin K1-V1116 (Initially innoculated with Red Star Pastuer Red, but
that failed)
IG 1.100 racked at SG 1.024 when it cleared.
The K1-V1116 produced significant bubbling for days 1-5 with a peek on day 2.
Taste is fruity, sweet with a strong medicinal flavor (mouth wash) the must
fell clear on day five and will probably need another innoculation of
yeast…. I'm waiting to see.

I still have several more yeasts to try, but I think I'm going to be partial
to the Lalvin EC-1118. I have put off trying the montachet because of prior
disappointments with red wines.

Randall Stevenson
Mead improves with age — the older I get the more I like it.

PS Thanks to all who responded privately and in MLD to my inquiry about pH
being affected by fermentation. All the information was helpful.

Subject: recipes for coffee mead, mint mead?
Date: Fri, 22 Jan 1999 09:22:48 EST

I had tried to make a mint mead the other day, and I was (so far) unimpressed,
I think I let the mint leaves steep too long, had that sort of flavor. Has
anyone made a mint mead, and if so, how? Should I keep trying with leaves, or
switch to just a few drops of mint oil?

Also, I had the idea of using coffee instead of (some or all?) of the water,
to get a coffee mead. Has that been done before, and was it drinkable, or an
interesting idea with horrendous results?

Also, my wife does a lot of baking with sourdough, and I was wondering if a
bread yeast makes a decent mead yeast, and how to capture while keeping the
flour content down (to minimize the starches).

Lane Gray

Subject: 6th Annual Peach State Brew-Off Results
Date: Mon, 25 Jan 1999 01:44:37 -0500

The Peach State Brew-Off was run on January 23rd, at Max Lager's American
Grill and Brewery, with early judging flights on the Thursday/Friday prior.

The competition results can be found at:

My thanks to the judges and stewards who helped make the competition run

(the Mead winner took overall 3rd place Best of Show)

Dennis Waltman (Organizer)

Subject: My experiment with a coffee mead
Date: Sun, 24 Jan 1999 03:58:29 EST

I had tried to find a recipe for a coffee mead. No luck on Deja News, or

I tried one anyway, and it has already started fermenting. For the curious,
the ingredients are as follows:
8 cups of a moderately strong coffee–Millstone, 2/3 Breakfast Blend,

1/3 Columbian Supremo

4 Lbs wildflower honey
water to fill to one Gal.
O.G. 1.145
Yeast, Lalvin EC1118 (I usually prefer Danstar's Windsor ale yeast, but this

had a pretty high OG, and I didn't think it would live, after my cyser
trouble last month)

I have no idea whether this will yeild a drinkable brew, or if it was just an
idea that was better left unthought. I will advise of the results as they


Subject: Hangover chemistry
From: John Ratterree <>
Date: Sun, 24 Jan 1999 22:01:35 -0500

It is thought that hangovers result from the fact
that the liver is busy processing alcohol (which
the liver threats as a poison) instead of sugar
and other substances. This uses up B-vitamin that
would otherwise be used for sugar metabolism
(hence the "sugar hangover") and other processes.
An old remedy for hangover "cure"/prevention is
watercress which is high in B-vitamin. Supposedly
it is the B-vitamin from the yeast in bottle
conditioned beers that makes them "hangover
free". I take a B complex every day but double
the dose on party nights with copious amounts of
water, followed by an extra one when I get home.
So far nothing worse than a slight jetlag feeling
after even the worst errors in judgement. To
continue a long story – the sugar content in mead
must counter act the vitamin effect of the yeast.
Hope this helps

John Ratterree

Subject: Hawaiian Honey
From: Christopher "R." Hebert <>
Date: Mon, 25 Jan 1999 14:38:18 -0700

Does anyone know a source of raw Hawaiian Honey? I've searched the
'net, but to no avail.


Subject: Long Term Storage
From: "Philip J Wilcox" <>
Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999 11:46:18 -0400

From: Philip J Wilcox@CMS on 01/26/99 11:46 AM


Having found out that I am soon to become a first time father. I am
considering laying down a Pipe of Mead for my childs future use. Ok. maybe
not a pipe, but at least 5 or 10 gallons. What is the best method for
longterm storage? Carboy? Keg? Beer Bottle, Corked bottle? and finally,
What Kind of mead should I make? Are there some honeys that age better than
others? Currently I have 2 Michigan wildflower honeys and a gallon of
Tupelo from Florida in stock. What sayeth the wise ones?

Phil Wilcox
Poison Frog Home Brewery

End of Mead Lover's Digest #722