Mead Lover's Digest #0723 Sat 30 January 1999


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



Re: Phil's Baby's Birthday Mead! (Congrats!) (Bryant Johnson)
Re: How much water? (Tidmarsh Major)
Yvonne's mead ("Spies, Jay")
Re: Hawaiian Honey (
Bread yeast for mead (Anne Trowbridge)
Reply to Yvonne Loveday (Joy Wiltzius)
I'm no expert… ("Mark Boughter")
Baker's Yeast for mead??? (Bryant Johnson)
NaOH aging (John Wilkinson)
[FWD] Applegrinding with Garbage Disposal (Dan McFeeley)
NaOH aging (John Wilkinson)
Blueberry mead, CO2 and oxidation ("Chuck Wettergreen")
Re: Hangovers ("Shane Gray")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #722, 26 January 1999 (


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Subject: Re: Phil's Baby's Birthday Mead!  (Congrats!)
From: Bryant Johnson <>
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 1999 07:24:54 -0500

> 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
> All,
> 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

Congratulations, Phil!!! Can't help you on the type of mead to make,
but I think its a wonderful idea!

In my opinion, I would say that long term storage would depend on the
style of mead you make. If you make a mead that is closer to an
ale/lager/beer, then you might want to try keg or beer bottle. If,
however, like me, you make a mead that is closer to a wine, I'd highly
recomend the use of either corked bottle and/or a carboy. You'll be
laying in down for a considerable amount of time, so just be sure to
set a schedule to periodically check the airlock on a storage carboy.
Also make sure that there are no lees–rack until it's crystal clear,
then rack again! The corked bottle route is probably going to be the
least amount of trouble over the next 20 years.

Again, Congrats!

Oh, BTW, where in Michigan are you? I lived in Alma for six years and
have a friend there that got me started in winemaking. Miss all the
trout streams!

Bryant Johnson
Dunn, NC

Subject: Re: How much water?
From: Tidmarsh Major <>
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 1999 08:29:19 -0600

Five gallons total sounds about right. 12lbs of honey is about a
gallon, and a gallon of honey in four gallons of water, in my
experience, yields about 1.090 OG. You might want to consider a
different yeast; Pasteur Champagne is known for fermenting out
extremely dry, and you might want a little bit of residual sweetness
to balance the hop bitterness. I used Lalvin K1-V1116 for my last
peach melomel and liked the results. I'm sure others will chime in
with suggestions as well.

Tidmarsh Major
Birmingham, Alabama

Subject: Yvonne's mead
From: "Spies, Jay" <>
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 1999 09:44:52 -0500

Yvonne –

First off, it's not too tall of an order, but I'd advise a couple of things
to achieve the end result you want . . .

First, I'd use a medium attenuative ale yeast like Wyeast European ale or
London Ale if you want a sweet mead. Using Red Star Champagne yeast will
produce a bone-dry mead (I speak from experience).

Not sure why you want to use hops — they'd be a bit out of place in a
melomel, and your recipe directions don't mention a hop addition.
Personally, I'd ditch them.

Third, I'd use more blueberries — at *least* 5 pounds, and I'd pasteurize
them and add them to the secondary so the aroma doesn't get scrubbed out by
primary fermentation. Also, as a *general* rule, you don't need much if any
nutrient if you're using fruit — it's normally got plenty, but if you add
fruit to the secondary, go ahead and add the nutrient to primary. Also,
when you add the blueberries, do yourself a favor and rack the mead into a
bucket before ading the fruit. Adding and *removing* fruit from a carboy is
a colossal pain in the ass. I'd personally suggest adding blueberry extract
at bottling (all the flavor and aroma, none of the work), but that's just me
. . .

If you're going to use an ale yeast like I suggest, make a starter if you
buy a Wyeast smack pack. If you're somewhat experienced in beermaking, you
should be familiar with the procedure. If not, e-mail me and I'll give you
a quickie primer. You can also use a dry ale yeast like Nottingham or
Lallemand, they work. You mentioned adding the yeast when the must is about
90 degrees, as per the instructions on the yeast packet. You may have it
somewhat reversed. *Rehydrate* the dry yeast in 90 degree water, but cool
the must down into the 70's before pitching.

As to how to get a sparkling mead — that's more tricky. Got a CO2 system??
If so, it's a snap. If not, you'll have to judge when fermentation is about
done using a hydrometer and then bottle at just the right time. It's risky
because if you misjudge it could either be undercarbonated, or worse, you
could get gushers or bottle grenades. Neither are fun or safe. I'd advise
to go with a still mead for your first one, especially if you are unfamiliar
with the yeast.

If you want to drink it by May, at the very least invest in a lot of yeast
and *aerate* the must before pitching to get a lot of O2 in there for the
yeasties to work with. Either pour the must back and forth between 2
sanitized buckets, shake the fermenter, or the best case scenario, get an
aerating stone and an O2 setup to aerate the must with pure O2. If you
don't aerate, I guarantee that your fermentation will go like a slug and
will likely peter out early.

Hope these suggestions help . . .

Jay Spies
Wishful Thinking Basement Brewery
Baltimore, MD

Subject: Re:  Hawaiian Honey
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 1999 11:46:44 EST

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.>>

Try Walter Patton

Subject: Bread yeast for mead
From: Anne Trowbridge <>
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 1999 18:02:34 -0700

Not something I'd try myself, but a local meadmaker swears
by Fleischman's Rapid Rise yeast. Her show mead took best
of show at the (very) last Ambrosia Adventure some few years
back. The look on the judges' faces when they found out it
was Fleischman's was priceless. I would never have believed
it myself, but I've had many of her meads, and they were all
quite good. One benefit – they were drinkable at 2-3
months. As for sourdough, I've had beers fermented with
sourdough yeast – all were fairly cloudy, but I'm not sure
it was from the yeast. You might want to try doing a
starter, then pitching into a one gallon batch of mead.


Subject: Reply to Yvonne Loveday
From: Joy Wiltzius <>
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 1999 00:31:07 -0700

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?
Reply follows:
Your recipe is interesting, but it looks more like an ale rather than a
true mead (Ok, so I'm a purist).
12 pounds of honey will make for a very *dry* mead. I usually go with
the following for a good five gallon batch:
24 pounds of honey
1 pkg premer cuvee (or any brand of champagne yeast) yeast activated in
some warm (90-95 degrees) water
app. 1-2 tsp nutrient
2 and a half gallons of distilled water.

heat up the honey and enough water to get it out of the containers. Keep
it just below boiling for about 30 minutes. While you're heating it,
skim the white stuff off the top of the must (mead mixture). Once the
white stuff stops forming on top, you can take it off the heat. Cool it
down to about 90 degrees. Add your yeast, and nutrient, and put that
into the 5-gallon carboy, along with the remainder of the 2.5 gallons of
water you started out with. If you use the above ingredients, you'll
need something acidic in the mix as well; I use about 5 medium-large
navel oranges, peeled and divided… just put the slices into the
carboy. Once all that is in, you can top off the carboy with a little
more water, but be sure to leave a little space in the top so it doesn't
explode. Cap with a fermentator lock cap with a blow-off hose (the
hose needs to be aimed into a bucket or something; it's just to allow
for the mead to overflow if necessary). Once your mead stops over
flowing (a couple of weeks or so) replace the hose with an actual
stopper. After about three months, I'll re-rack it into another carboy,
let it sit for a while longer, then re rack it again… I age the mead
for over a year before I even bottle it.

If you want to play around with the flavors and make syzers, you can
substitute your 2.5 gallons of water with a pure fruit juice of some
sort. Apple and cranberry are my favorite, but make sure that it's 100%
juice. If you use a juice like that (preferrably unsweetened) then you
don't need the oranges.

`6_ 6 ) `-. ( ).`-.__.`)
(_Y_.)' ._ ) `._ `. “-..-'
_..`–'_..-_/ /–'_.' ,'
(il),-'' (li),' ((!.-'


Subject: I'm no expert...
From: "Mark Boughter" <>
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 1999 19:15:51 PST

> 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 >
> Tupelo from Florida in stock. What sayeth the wise ones?
> Phil Wilcox
> Poison Frog Home Brewery

I'm no expert but always thought that alcohol kept better in larger
quantities, at least until ready for use then the smaller quantities
are only more convienient…Even I don't know anyone who can drink 5
or 10 gallons of mead/wine before it goes bad…I do know 2 people
who probable off a fiver! 🙂


Subject: Baker's Yeast for mead???
From: Bryant Johnson <>
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 1999 23:01:14 -0500

I don't remember where I read it, but somewhere in the past month (my
honeymoon!) I read something along these lines: "mead is the only
fermentable drink that actually benefits from fermentation with a
baking yeast." That is an approximation of the statement. I had
never heard this before and the article (? whatever) did not go on to

Any of my fellow meaders out there heard of this? What is the
benefit? What happens? Thanks!

Bryant Johnson

(almost ready to bottle his first large batch of mead)

……………… mead?

Subject: NaOH aging
From: (John Wilkinson)
Date: Thu, 28 Jan 1999 10:07:41 -0600

Steve Van der Hoven answered my question about degradation of NaOH:

>…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.

I would assume the age of the NaOH when purchased would not be a problem
since it is closed but would be after opening. Is that correct? Also,
how long a life can I expect (for the NaOH) after opening a bottle? Do I
need to buy fresh NaOH with each batch I test?

Any help would be much appreciated.


John Wilkinson – Grapevine, Texas –

Subject: [FWD] Applegrinding with Garbage Disposal
From: Dan McFeeley <>
Date: Thu, 28 Jan 1999 11:52:42 -0600

The post by Donald Yellman below appeared on the most recent Cider Digest
and because it looked of interest to the cyser makers on this list, I got
his ok to cross post.

Dan McFeeley

  • ————[snip!]——————————————-

The following idea was submitted to "Pomona", the quarterly journal
of the North American Fruit Explorers Association, Chapin, Ill.. While
I have not yet received the winter 1999 edition of that journal, I have
been informed by cidermaker Bob Capshew of Indiana that the article
appears there. Bob suggested that I share the idea with Cider Digest.
I also contacted Andrew Lea of Somerset, England, a well known
cidermaker who thought the idea worth sharing.

For several years, I have been using a kitchen garbage disposal to

grind large quantities (12-15 bushels) of cider apples from my orchard,
having found the hand-cranked barrel grinder that came with my cider
press to be slow, wasteful, and generally inefficient. Because the
concept of using a garbage disposal seemed so simple, it did not occur
to me until recently that I might be the only one doing this. I can
only apologize for not having shared this as soon as I discovered that
it worked so well. And it does. It works and it's cheap.

All that is required is a table frame constructed of 2×4's or any

scrap lumber, about 36" tall, with a plywood or formica top about 2 feet
square. At least one side must be completely open to insert and remove
a 5 gallon plastic bucket. Use a sabre saw to cut out the appropriate
size hole in the center of the top, and install the (preferably new)
garbage disposal. The 90 degree plastic fitting that accompanies the
disposal is perfect for discharging directly to the bucket below. No
additional tubing is required. A metal switchbox and an ordinary light
switch may be installed in a handy location on the side of the table.
Three-wire cord must be used, since both the disposal and the switchbox
must be grounded. Otherwise, you may light up unexpectedly while
standing on a damp surface.

When I built my unit, I was not at all sure the concept would work,

and I opted for the cheapest garbage disposal available — a $30.00,
1/3 horsepower model. In retrospect, I wish I had gone a little further
up the scale, perhaps to a 1/2 horsepower model. I would also look for
the one with the largest throat, as we sometimes have to cut large
apples in half to fit them in. Garbage disposals are essentially
miniature attrition mills, which operate with small hammers, not knives.
The apple (or pear, or anything) slurry is expelled by centrifugal
force, and is absolutely perfect for pressing, but use of a large,
fine-mesh nylon bag to line the bucket is essential. When you lift the
bag out of the bucket to your press, you will find a substantial amount
of clear cider already in the bucket. Fortunately, the nylon bags are
inexpensive, widely available, and tough enough to last for several
years. The volume of dry pomace that remains after pressing is quite
small, indicating that juice yield is close to maximum.

The internal parts of even the cheaper garbage disposals are all

stainless steel, so a thorough cleaup with the hose is quick and easy.

I wish I could say that is all there is to the story, but I cannot.

Garbage disposal motors rely on the liquid they process for cooling, and
they are not really built for continuous duty. While you can feed in
apples at an amazing clip, after 25-30 minutes the motor will overheat
and trip the internal circuit breaker. Then you must wait 10-15 minutes
before you can reset the breaker. Eventually I may burn up my little
motor, but so far, so good. Even with these occasional breaks, I can
still grind 3-4 times faster than the hand grinder, and turn out a much
better product. Now I wonder whether a larger, more powerful disposal
might be more inclined to take the continuous use. I have also given
some thought to wrapping cooling fins around the motor, installing a
small fan under the table, or drilling ventilation holes in the motor
case itself. But, since these are induction motors, with the windings
right there under the case, I am loath to drill. A good motor man with
a machine shop could probably figure out some way to solve the
overheating problem.

Meanwhile, if you are willing to take an occasional break to let

the motor cool down, you can grind a lot of apples in an afternoon with
the disposal grinder.

Don Yellman
Great Falls, Virginia

Subject: NaOH aging
From: (John Wilkinson)
Date: Thu, 28 Jan 1999 12:29:42 -0600

In my earlier post about NaOH I forgot another question I had. Is there a way
for someone without a chemistry lab to check if NaOH is good? I suppose if
there is something I would have around that could be used as a standard I could
test the NaOH. Is that possible? What would it be?


John Wilkinson – Grapevine, Texas –

Subject: Blueberry mead, CO2 and oxidation
From: "Chuck Wettergreen" <>
Date: Fri, 29 Jan 1999 07:37:34 -0600

In MLD #722, "Yvonne Loveday" <> said:

>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?

This is a five-gallon recipe. If *I* were making it, I would
dramatically change the ingredient list and procedures.

> 12 pounds, Wildflower Honey
> 2 pounds, blueberries

This is not enough. I would increase significantly (like to 10

> 2 teaspoons, gypsum or water crystals
> 3 teaspoons, yeast nutrient
> 1 ounce, Hallertauer Leaf hops
> 1 tablespoon, Irish Moss

I believe that all the above is totally unnecessary.

> 2 packs, Red Star Pasteur Champagne yeast

Using this yeast and this amount of honey you will have a
sparkling dry blueberry mead. I would either increase the amount
of honey by 3-4 pounds, and/or use a different yeast. I suggest
Lalvin K1 V1116.

Oxygen, oxygen, oxygen – after the yeast has been proofed and
pitched. And I do mean oxygen, not air. Shaking is OK, but pure
oxygen, bled in through a fine (2uum) airstone is much much


Sanitize everything first. Freeze the blueberries. Thaw the
blueberries and either mash or food process until very fine.
Take a plastic primary fermenter and mark it at the 5 1/2
gallon level on the side with magic marker. Pour the blueberry
mush into a sanitized (iodophor works fine for this) nylon
fine-mesh grain sparge bag inside the primary fermenter.
Tie the top of the bag closed with string. Add the honey and
3 gallons of warm (120F/49C) water. Stir until honey is
dissolved. Meanwhile rehydrate the yeast per package
directions to insure that it is viable. Follow package
directions*exactly* ,especially as concerns temperature of
water for rehydration. Add more cold water until you reach the
5 1/2 gallon mark. Stir well until mixed. Add proofed yeast.
Oxygenate at a pressure that the O2 bubbles *just* break the
surface for 20 minutes. Punch down the blueberry bag. put top on
fermenter and keep at 65-70F(18-21C). Wrap with towels to even
out temperature fluctuations.

Because the addition of Oxygen causes the yeast to grow
additional yeast, and remain in aerobic phase, fermentation
probably will not start for 12 to 24 hours. Once fermentation
is proceeding vigorously, once a day "punch down" the blueberry
bag into the fermenting mead. Perhaps even squeeze the bag a

After a week of vigorous fermentation, take out blueberry mush,
squeezing as much juice out as you can. Rack to a carboy, taking
a gravity as you do so.

Observe, observe, observe until fermentation is finished. Rack
several times once you observe clearing, purging your carboy with
CO2 before you rack into it. Once the mead is finished and clear
(you may want to use sparkolloid, depending on how much of a
hurry you're in), add the equivalent of 1 tsp. per 12 ounce
bottle of corn sugar or honey, and bottle in beer or champagne
bottles. Keep warm and wait several weeks for carbonation to

In MLD & 721 Wout Klingens trolled for a bite
on CO2 and oxidation:

>Why is it, that the general opinion is, that blanketing a mead
>with CO2 will prevent oxidation? Because some scientist says,
>that it is heavier than air? If that was absolutely true, then
>we would all suffocate. Especially us, in The Netherlands,
>which means "low country", because we would get all the
>greenhouse gasses you US guys are producing over there 🙂

In MLD #722 "Stephen J. Van der Hoven" <>
bit and gave an excellent scientific answer to Wout's question.

But, I would merely like to add, ask any fireman, factory worker,
or submariner (me -formerly) about entering a tank that may
contain CO2 and they'll tell you that you will die unless the
tank is vigorously ventilated with air first. Lower a lit match
into a carboy which has been blown out with CO2 and you will see
how much O2 is left.

>Now let's see, what happens, when I top off, instead of adding
>CO2. My docs say that if you top off, a smaller surface contacts
>the air. So less of the mead will get "saturated" with air. A
>good argument for making large batches.
An even better argument for filling your carboy with CO2, although
I certainly don't disagree with the concept of making big batches
of mead. :?>)

Geneva, IL

Subject: Re: Hangovers
From: "Shane Gray" <>
Date: Sat, 30 Jan 1999 12:35:47 +1100

In the last MLD, John wrote; "It is thought that hangovers result from the
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."

Whilst this is certianly one theory to account for a hangover, a more recent
theory I have read is as follows.

When we drink an alcoholic beverage, we are utillisng the powerful drug
ethanol to give us the desired (or undesired, as the case may be)effects.
But most alcoholic drinks contain other substances than just ethanol, and
one of these is methanol. Methanol is another of the alcohol class of
compounds, but one which is poisonous to humans (probably other living
things as well?). When alcohol enters our blood stream it is sent straight
to the liver and in response the liver secretes an ezyme called alcohol
dehydrogenase (AD). AD works on the alcohol and breaks it down into
substances which are less toxic to the body. AD is also involved in the
breakdown of methanol in the body as well.

Now AD really likes ethanol, and it will breakdown ethanol in preference to
any other compound, but when all the ethanol has been brokendown, it'll turn
to methanol. Methanol, in the process of being brokendown, is converted to
formaldehyde and formic acid, and it is claimed that these are the baddies
that cause hangovers.

The tricks to avoiding hangovers are to;

1) Drink beverages with a low methanol content like Vodka (I don't know if
meads are in there?)
2) Drink plenty of water (the water has the action of stimulating the
kidney's, which are able to secrete ethanol and methanol unchanged)
3) Use supplements such as B vitamins, St Marys Thistle (Silybum marianum),
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), etc. to improve liver functioning, and
therefore it's ability to convert the formaldehyde and formic acid into less
unfriendly beasties.
4) And of course, but less tempting, is not to over induldge.

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #722, 26 January 1999
Date: Fri, 29 Jan 1999 22:35:54 EST

Randell, can you share your reciepe for Black Cherry Melomel? This sounds
exactly what I want to make!!!!! I din't want to use fruit, just the juice.
Would you use more honey on your next batchto take out the bite, as you say or
did you like the "bite"? JADE @

End of Mead Lover's Digest #723