Mead Lover's Digest #0725 Mon 8 February 1999


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



Campden, take two ("Jake Hester")
Re: New MEad Maker (Dave Polaschek)
Re: My First Mead – Ideas Please (Dave Polaschek)
Re: [FWD] Applegrinding with Garbage Disposal (Michael Kohne)
me post, no think . . . ("Spies, Jay")
Coffee-flower honey? (Tidmarsh Major)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #724, 4 February 1999 (Beth Ann Snead)
info about Cider Digest (Cider Digest)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #724, 4 February 1999 ("Ken Schramm")
Recipe Critique #1 (Joe Callahan)
Recipe Critique #2 (Joe Callahan)
Mead (James Morano)
Agave nectar (
Favorite yeast(s)? (Matthew Birchfield)
Oak kegs (


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Subject: Campden, take two
From: "Jake Hester" <>
Date: Thu, 04 Feb 1999 04:38:35 PST

I posted this question earlier and no one replied, so I thought I'd try

Can anyone advise me on the best time to add campden tablets? I found
one web page that insisted they be added to the must/wort/whatever a day
before the yeast is pitched, one said to dissolve a crushed tablet in
1/4 cup of water and add it at the first racking, and still another
source insisted that campden shouldn't be added until bottling time.
None of these pages justified why to do it that way, it was just part of
the instructions. What should I do?

Thanks again!

Jake Hester

Subject: Re: New MEad Maker
From: Dave Polaschek <>
Date: Thu, 4 Feb 1999 07:44:01 -0600

David Turnbull wrote:

>The one "skill" it seems I don't have is this whole deal about acidity. And
>also, real information about yeast seems impossible to find. Does anyone
>have good sources for information about either of these?

Zymurgy had a special issue on Yeast and Beer. It's quite useful. The
Summer 1994 issue also has a table listing yeasts and their
characteristics. They describe a large number of yeasts, many of which
will work well for mead-making.

As for acidity, I haven't seen a treatise yet, but my guidelines are to
never add acid blend until the mead is done fermenting. At that point, I
taste and see if it needs some acid. Adding acid blend too early has a
risk of over-acidifying your must and slowing or stopping the
fermentation. It's easier to wait until the fermentation is complete and
"acidify to taste."

  • -DaveP

Dave Polaschek – Polaschek Computing, Inc. –
PGP key and other spiffy things at <>
Sure I've got a permit. It's called the Second Amendment.

  • – Ted Nugent on Gun Control

Subject: Re: My First Mead - Ideas Please
From: Dave Polaschek <>
Date: Thu, 4 Feb 1999 08:07:48 -0600

Carl Wilson wrote:

>Here is what I plan on:
>10 lbs. sliced apples (simmered)
>15 lbs. honey
>1 Tbsp. gypsum
>4 tsp. acid blend
>2 1/2 tsp. grape tannin
>yeast energizer (as per package instructions)
>Cote de Blancs Yeast

Don't simmer the apples. You'll set the pectin and be on your way to
making jelly. Just mash 'em and squeeze out the juice. Or buy
non-preserved Apple Juice in the grocery store. It's possible to find it
year 'round. If you don't read any of the rest of this message, please
pay attention to this part.

Don't add gypsum or acid blend or tannin to your first mead. You're
complicating things too much.

If you've got the apples in there, you probably don't need the yeast
energizer, either. Just make a good yeast starter.

Simplify. This is your first batch. Don't add a bunch of things you don't
need. Once you've seen what the first batch tastes like you can start
tinkering. If your first batch is overly complicated, it's harder to know
what you might want to add or subtract.

Here's what I've been recommending as a first cyser:
1 Gallon Apple Juice (unpreserved)
10# honey
water to make 5 gallons (lukewarm)

Throw the apple juice and honey and a gallon of water into a glass carboy
and shake until the honey is dissolved. Add the remaining water to bring
the level up to 5 gallons in a 7-gallon carboy or 3.5-4 gallons in a
5-gallon carboy. Add a starter of Edme Ale yeast, and put on the airlock.
That's it.

The important points here are:
* It's not a strong mead. It will ferment cleanly with the ale yeast. It
will end up dry. You can immediately decide if you like your meads
sweeter. If so, you can use more honey next time.
* It will ferment relatively quickly. Rather than having to wait a year
for it to finish fermenting, you can have this into bottles in about the
same time as a beer. You'll get to sample the results sooner.
* It's uncomplicated. You don't have to worry about "did I add too much
acid?" because you didn't add any.
* You don't have to carbonate it all. Bottle half the batch, and then add
a half-measure of priming sugar. Now you've got two different
end-products. You can decide whether you like still or sparkling meads
* Carbonating sweet meads is tricky. Carbonating dry meads is just like
carbonating beer. You've made beer. You mix some sugar & water and add it
before bottling. Simple.
* If you carbonate it, you have a dry sparkling cyser, which will be
champagne-like in character. You can tell people "It's kinda like
champagne" (for the sparkling) or "It's kinda like Dry Blackthorn Cider"
(for the still) and they'll have an idea of what to expect.

  • -DaveP

Dave Polaschek – Polaschek Computing, Inc. –
PGP key and other spiffy things at <>

You know you're really somebody in the software world when

Richard Stallman complains about you having a gratuitous patent.

Subject: Re: [FWD] Applegrinding with Garbage Disposal
From: Michael Kohne <>
Date: Thu, 04 Feb 1999 09:35:22 -0500

<snipped lots of stuff about using a garbage disposal to grind apples>

I wasn't watching when the original post came out, but if the idea is just
to grind up whole apples, you might look at a 'Vitamixer'. It's a
commercial blender that's sold into the home market with the idea that you
make 'healthy' juices yourself by grinding up whole fruit. It's expensive
(from a blender standpoint) but it's built like a tank (at least the one my
Mother-In-Law has is) and you can just throw whole apples, or whatever in
there and it grinds them up like you wouldn't believe. Their advertising
literature shows a laboratory destruct test in which they threw blocks of
WOOD into the thing, and it ground them up into sawdust.

Just something to think about…

Michael Kohne
"The apocalypse: it's not just for religious extremists anymore."

Subject: me post, no think . . .
From: "Spies, Jay" <>
Date: Thu, 4 Feb 1999 10:58:31 -0500

All –

Mark Nelson wrote:

>>>Isn't there a pretty clean and uncomplicated way to carbonate mead, or
beer, or whatever?<<<

DOH !!!

Yes, there is. I just forgot to mention it. Mark kindly finished my
thought. You can indeed carbonate mead this way. I somehow twisted the
logic up in my head because when I make mead, I normally make sweet or
semi-sweet mead by feeding the yeast until it poops out because of alcohol
content. If you do this, my answer makes sense. If you just let the mead
eat all the sugar, then add some more dextrose or honey (or DME) then Mark's
answer makes sense.

Leave it to me to overcomplicate an inherently basic process. However, be
aware that if you use honey to carbonate, you're likely looking at at least
a month or a month and a half (under optimal conditions) to reach anything
near acceptable levels. If you want champagne-like levels of carbo, I'd
advise only bottling in champagne-like bottles. They can take the pressure.


Jay Spies
Wishful Thinking Basement Brewery
Baltimore, MD

Subject: Coffee-flower honey?
From: Tidmarsh Major <>
Date: Thu, 04 Feb 1999 10:24:58 -0600

I just looked at the web address David Turnbull posted for Smith Farms
in Hawaii, and their honey page notes that they occasionally have
coffee- and macadamia-flower honeys. Has anyone tasted either of
these honeys before?

Tidmarsh Major
Birmingham, Alabama

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #724, 4 February 1999
From: Beth Ann Snead <>
Date: Thu, 4 Feb 1999 10:43:56 -0800 (PST)

> > The post by Donald Yellman below appeared on the most recent Cider

Could you post the subscriber info for this list please?

Beth Ann

Subject: info about Cider Digest
From: (Cider Digest)
Date: 7 Feb 99 19:13:45 MST (Sun)

Let me forestall replies to the preceding item. Here's the standard
canned message about the Cider Digest:

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Dick Dunn, Digest Janitor Boulder County, Colorado USA

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #724, 4 February 1999
From: "Ken Schramm" <>
Date: Thu, 04 Feb 1999 15:37:46 -0500

This is an open invitation to all BJCP or otherwise qualified judges….

The Mazer Cup judging will be held Saturday, February 27 at 2:00 pm. The
location is the home of Jeff Renner in Ann Arbor , Michigan, Listed in The
National Registry of Historic (Hysteric?) Brewing Buildings: Exactly 0
miles from Jeff Renner. Spencer Thomas, Bill Pfeiffer (former AHA Mead
Maker of the Year), Dan McConnell, and Jeff Renner are some of the MLD/HBD
contributors who will attend. A grilled turkey and Renner-brot (and Jeff
makes some bitchin' bread) are on the menu.

David Turnbull, this is not in Chicago, but it is close enough and
impressive enough to make it worth the trip. We will treat you well, and
the mead tasting experience is one that will be hard to match.

Several members of the Ann Arbor Brewers Guild have volunteered beds for
judges. Ann Arbor is just off of I-94, about four hours from Chicago, 20
minutes from Detroit Metro Airport, and 40 minutes from downtown Detroit.
This is an exceptional opportunity for judges to taste an incredible
variety of meads at one place and time. I would welcome any and all
judges who are interested. Dan McConnell has applied for BJCP sanctioning.

Please feel free to contact me at this E-Mail address, or to contact me at
my home at (248) 816-1592.

Yours Brewly,
Ken Schramm
12 light years behind Jeff Renner
I went to Alaska. The fishing was so good, I thought I was there

Subject: Recipe Critique #1
From: Joe Callahan <>
Date: Thu, 04 Feb 1999 21:26:39 -0600

I am new to mead making. I view mead as honey wine and a wine should be
like a wine. That is it should be about 12% alcohol. I have 2 cranberry
meads and a blueberry mead in carboys (Since last summer).

I would like to make an Orange Blossom honey (12#/ to 3 gallons),
sterile water, campden tablets. I would use Premier Cuvee' yeast, yeast
nutrients, yeast nutrients. After full krausen I would add 1 oz. dried
bitter orange peel, 1 oz. dried orange peel, 2 oz. fresh orange peel
(peeled with potato peeler and soaked in vodka for several hours before
adding)(each put in separate vodka soaked hops bag (new) w/marbles for
wieght). Leave the flavoring peels in for 2-3 weeks.

This recipe is not based on any recipe I've read, so I'm unsure.
Is four pounds honey to a gallon unrealistically high ?
Is there too much orange peel ?
I'm weak on flavoring and acid level knowledge. Any advice will be

I hope to bottle this at the end of this year (adjust acid at that time
if necessary), ready to sample and give away Christmas 2000. Thanks in

Subject: Recipe Critique #2
From: Joe Callahan <>
Date: Thu, 04 Feb 1999 21:44:58 -0600

I got this free booklet with a purchase, Winemaker's Recipe Handbook, by
Raymond Massaccesi, copyright 1976 (old by today's standards). Recipe
#64 (a Pyment) calls for (for 1 gallon) 1 1/2# honey, 2# of Lt Raisins.

Isn't that an awful lot of raisins? I'd like to make 3 gallons. That
would be 6# of raisins. I'd like to try this with Orange blossom honey
and Sunkist Golden raisins.

Is there any way to compute the OG?
Any comments would be well received, I'm new to this.

Subject: Mead
From: James Morano <>
Date: Sat, 06 Feb 1999 10:58:13 -0500

To: Dick Dunn

I would like to obtain a comprehensive list of all the commercial

meaderies currently active and operating in the USA. I understand that
be AMA started such a listing in their 1995 Meadmakers Journal. Is an
update available? If not, can you provide me with a good copy of this
1995 AMA Meadery Directory?

Subject: Agave nectar
Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 00:03:58 EST

Hi, I'm new to the list and have a question. I have been making mead for
about 10 years, off and on. Recently, while at the health food store buying
honey, I came across an 8 oz bottle of Agave Nectar (the stuff Tequila is made
from). Has anyone ever tried to use this to make a Tequila Mead? I bought it
and it has a very nice flavor. Thought about buying three more bottles and
trying a gallon. Any thoughts?

Stephen Knowles
Pigeon Forge, TN

Subject: Favorite yeast(s)?
From: Matthew Birchfield <>
Date: Sun, 07 Feb 1999 22:53:42 -0500

Hi All!

I'm new to the digest, and at this time I don't have the ability
to search the archives, so I'm sorry if this message is worn
out. Feel free to send private email if it is (or if you

What are some of your opinions about the best yeast to use for a
high-gravity (1.140-1.160 O.G.) sweet mead (just honey, water,
small amt. of lime juice, and yeast nutrient)? I want it to
finish pretty sweet.

I can get a White Labs Sweet Mead/Wine Yeast (#WLP720) locally
… anybody tried this one yet? How'd it turn out?

I've never brewed a 5 gallon batch before, and always used
various wine and ale yeasts, and have never been totally happy
with the results, so any advice you can provide will be greatly


Matt Birchfield
Blacksburg, VA

Subject: Oak kegs
Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 23:55:43 EST

I have found a source for kegs, but I have a question. I have never tried
long term storage like this, but I was under the impression, maybe misguided,
that you wanted the wine, mead, etc, in contact with the wood, adding tannins
and such. The kegs that are offered in this catalog are offered two ways:
parafin lined or charred. I know whiskey is stored in charred kegs, but which
would you use for mead? It would seem to me that the parafin lined ones would
offer no additional flavors, just the benefit of long-term storage and the
mystique of having a real wooden keg full of mead. I'm afraid the charred
ones may impart very strong undesirable flavors.


Stephen Knowles
Pigeon Forge, TN

End of Mead Lover's Digest #725