Mead Lover's Digest #0728 Mon 1 March 1999


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



Nutty Flavour ("Curtis,Dave [St. John's]")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #727, 22 February 1999 (Bill)
Jamaica and Tamarindo (Carl Hensler)
RE: mail order honey (LaBorde, Ronald)
"Repairing" a blown cyser/metheglyn…? (Bryant Johnson)
Re: mail order honey (
Re: How long does honey keep? (
Re: How Long Does Honey Keep ("Brian A")
Cyser recipes? (Malcor)
honey sources ("Chuck Wettergreen")
lost volume ("Jake Hester")
Potassium Sorbate ("Jake Hester")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #727, 22 February 1999 (Vicky Rowe)
Re: Irish Hazel-mead Experiment (
Possible contamination & Racking time (Matt Birchfield)


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Subject: Nutty Flavour
From: "Curtis,Dave [St. John's]" <Dave.Curtis@EC.GC.CA>
Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 08:00:57 -0330

I have a Partridgeberry-Raspberry Mead which I have been fermenting since
August of '98. Originally a five gallon batch, it was later racked down to
4 and 1 gallon carboys. Couldn't bear to toss 3/4 gallon so I topped it
The 1 gallon cleared really well as did the five gallons of Strawberry Mead,
so I bottled these last week. The Strawberry Mead is simply incredible but
the P-R Mead is why I write.
The first taste you get is the wonderfully tart taste of the partridgeberry.
One of favorite berries and no wonder. When the Mead washes around your
mouth, it changes flavour to the sweeter taste of raspberries. Again
simply delicious. But then after you swallow the mead, a really strange
nutty flavour is tasted. The closest nut I can compare it to is probably
Brazil Nut but I could be wrong.
Regardless, does anyone know where this nutty flavour came from ? Is it
from the seeds of the raspberries, sitting on the yeast too long,
temperature changes, pH changes, …??
Thanks in advance

Dave Curtis
Project Biologist – Shellfish Water Quality Program
Environmental Protection Branch – Newfoundland
tel: (709) 772-4359
fax: (709) 772-5097

Experience Environment Canada's Regional "Greenlane" at:

For non government recipients:
"The views expressed here are mine and do not reflect the official position
of my
employer or the organization through which the Internet was accessed."

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #727, 22 February 1999
From: Bill <>
Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 06:23:28 -0600

> Subject: Re: has anyone heard of a flower called 'jamaica'?
> From: "Linda or Darin" <>
> Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1999 19:44:59 -0800

> I just bought 500 grams of dried jamaica flowers ($0.50/100 grams–how
> could I refuse?) in Gomez Palacio, Mexico. The street vendors sell an
> interesting iced drink made from them, and the shop owner where I bought
> the flowers said jamaica-flower tea is good for kidney stones. He also
> said you can make about 5 liters of drink per 100 grams dried flowers.
> Does anyone know the botanical name for the flowers, or a reason to not
> make a mead with them, or just have miscellaneous advice?

hibiscus – any of a large genus (Hibiscus) of herbs, shrubs, or small
trees of the mallow family….

Thew following link points to a complete text of Culpeper's herbal, a
famous 17th century work.

Since the name hibiscus did not come into general use until
approximately 1706, Culpeper's work from 1631 doesn't have that term. It
does, however, have an extensive section for the Mallows and
Marshmallows. Mallow: genus Malva of the family Malvaceae.

Definitions from Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary.


Subject: Jamaica and Tamarindo
From: Carl Hensler <Carl.Hensler@eng.Sun.COM>
Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 10:03:16 -0800 (PST)

Jamaica (hibiscus), Tamarindo (tamarind) and Horchata (rice/cinnamon)
are drinks commonly served in (real) Mexican restaurants in California.
I buy dry Jamaica flowers and tamarind pods by the bag in a Mexican
supermarket in Watsonville, and make both drinks at home. I just boil
some in water in the microwave to extract the flavor and add sugar to
create a concentrate.

Jamaica is the milder flavor. Tamarind is very sour and flavorful, and
might be interesting in a mead.

Carl Hensler

Subject: Jamaica flowers
Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 19:02:26 EST

Jamaica flower is the name for what we in the US call Hibiscus, usually the
red one. This red flower is used in the fairly well known tea, Red Zinger, to
give the zing and the red color. It (the dried flower) makes a wonderful
additive to meads and wines, but I have no idea what the honey tastes like.
Hope this helps

Doug Thomas

Subject: RE: mail order honey
From: (LaBorde, Ronald)
Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 14:29:03 -0600

From: "Chuck Wettergreen" <>
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 1999 14:15:17 -0600

I'm looking to buy some honey not normally found in this area (Illinois).
which seems to have a good variety and reasonable prices, but

1) it's on AOL, not what I consider a "professional" host site for a
Additionally, one time last week I got a "doesn't exist on this server"
message when trying to connect to the site.

2) I've e-mailed them, was slow to receive a reply, and they didn't answer
the questions I asked about whether the varieties I wanted were available.

3) I buy in bulk and I, like Dick and his apple trees, am not anxious to drop
a couple of hundred into someone else's pocket.

4) They haven't answered their phone when I've called, nor returned the
message I left on the answering machine.

Well, I just got off the phone with a large national catalog company(no, not
honey, industrial equipment).
I have been overcharged and spent the last 4 hours getting things corrected.
These people were polite, and trying to help, and also honest, I must add.
Still, it took me 4 hours and they have their offices chock full of nuts-err
computers to help them. It took two faxes, four phone calls, and about 8
people to finally correct this. Remember – they wanted to help. Ha, you
got me on a good day.

So, I would be extreeeeeeeeeeeemly careful dealing with the organization you
mentioned. Personally, if I felt that I just had to purchase from them, I
would test them first. How – call them cold and make up some problem and
see how they respond.


Ronald La Borde – Metairie, Louisiana –

Subject: "Repairing" a blown cyser/metheglyn...?
From: Bryant Johnson <>
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 17:43:07 -0500

Hello, everyone:

Currently, I have almost 5 gallons of cyser/metheglyn that has lost
all taste EXCEPT the alcohol (16.5% from montrachet). Tastes like
either dimatap or listerine. I've been thinking about using some
jams/jellies to flavor and sweeten back smaller batches of this. That
would dilute the alcohol content, sweeten, and flavor at the same
time. I've got strawberry, peach, apricot, and damson plum jellies.
Would also innoculate with pectic enzyme and K-sorbate.

Any suggestions? Thanks.

Bryant Johnson

…………got mead?

Subject: Re: mail order honey
Date: Wed, 24 Feb 1999 01:14:45 EST

From: "Chuck Wettergreen" <>

<<I'm looking to buy some honey not normally found in this area (Illinois).

I found this site:
(Jan's Sweetness and Light Shop)

which seems to have a good variety and reasonable prices, but

1) it's on AOL, not what I consider a "professional" host site for a business.
Additionally, one time last week I got a "doesn't exist on this server"
message when trying to connect to the site.>>

Hi Chuck:

This is my wife, Janice's page, and, I'm sorry, we've been out of town on

a trip for a few days. We are building a (25 meg available) web site at Mostly this is an informative site about pollination, but
we intend to add Jan's page there, as well. We are busy tending 500 hives
(spring has already busted out here in SC!), and packing and delivering honey
to stores, so we don't have the time we'd like for maintanance (and adding
bells & whistles) to the web pages.

<<2) I've e-mailed them, was slow to receive a reply, and they didn't answer
the questions I asked about whether the varieties I wanted were available.>>

We now have blackberry, fall (robust) herb, clover, apple blossom, orange

blossom, American acacia (black locust), and small quantities of some others.

<<Has anyone bought honey from these people? Their web site talks about
mead-maker links, but there are none there that I can find. E-mail OK.>>

We sell to a number of meadmakers, as well as to some home brew shops. We

have had no complaints. :o)

I just came in and it's well past midnight, but I'll check the links in

the morning.

Dave Green Pot o'Gold Honey Co.

Subject: Re: How long does honey keep?
Date: Wed, 24 Feb 1999 01:09:15 EST


<<Whilst cleaning my basement, I found about 20 lb. of raw honey I'd stashed
away at least two years ago. It is stored in plastic, airtight or very nearly
so, and has been kept at an average temperature of 68 degrees F. There is no
head space to speak of and there is a fine layer of froth resting atop the
honey. I can't recall the variety, but it was dark and came from the Indiana
shore of Lake Michigan. I am not certain, but it appears to be a bit darker
now. I've not opened the containers yet, but if all smells well, I'll make
mead of it next week. Does honey deteriorate with age? Are there any problems
I may run into with this batch? TIA, Charlie>>

It should be good, tho, as you mention, it will darken a bit in time. I

would skim off the froth on the top, without mixing it in. This probably is
from humidity in the air inducing fermentation at the surface, with wild
yeasts. It probably won't hurt, but could introduce slight off flavors.

As long as honey is "ripe," that is, the bees have dried it to less than

about 18% moisture, and no moisture is ever added back, it will keep
practically forever. It is unlikely to be "green" honey here, or your
container would be bulging or exploded, and the honey would be obviously

Dave Green, beekeeper
Pot o'Gold Honey Co. Hemingway, SC USA

Subject: Re: How Long Does Honey Keep
From: "Brian A" <>
Date: Wed, 24 Feb 1999 00:45:56 PST


Honey is an amazing product, in that it is the only natural food
substance that never spoils. The enzymes in raw honey prevent spoilage.
Honey found entombed in the Egyptian pyramids is still edible. So long
as nothing is added to the honey, you have nothing to worry about. Honey
does occasionally crystalize after long periods (actually a good sign
that your honey is not over processed) and can be re-liquified with mild
amonts of heat.


Subject: Cyser recipes?
From: Malcor <>
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 1999 00:44:07 -0600

Can someone send me, or post to the digest, a good cyser recipe?
My friend and I wish to concoct an apple flavored cyser, preferable on
the sweeter side.
I am planning on using Edme ale yeast, to retain sweetness. I am
wanting to do a 5 gal. batch, using cider, or apples (whichever work
better) in the recipe, local all natural honey, and any other goodies

Please send a recipe that's not too hard, as this will only be my 3rd
attempt at mead.
Glad to report that my first basic mead turned out nicely, using Wyeast
sweet mead yeast. Took a long time, but after 4 months of aging, it is
smoothing out nicely, and the honey taste is noticeable.
My cranberry mead is rather…tart, but may smooth out, as it is still
1st cyser…very dull flavor, mostly too dry.
methiglen is going to be bottled soon in wine bottles and aged til xmas,
very nice sweet flavor will mellow and be very nice in 9 months. Used
Edme ale yeast with large success. Very active fermentation from day
one (I always make yeast starters).


Gregg Stearns
The Daily Nebraskan

"No…Try not! Do…or do not! There is no try."
(Yoda, Jedi Master)

Subject: honey sources
From: "Chuck Wettergreen" <>
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 1999 14:52:57 -0600

In the last Digest (727) I raised a question about Jan's Sweetness
and Light Shop as a source for honey. Since then I have heard from=20
several people who were satisfied with their purchases there, and=20
from Jan's husband, who said that he was a little busy with his **500**=20

Thank you all for your input, I intend to place an order today/tomorrow.


Subject: lost volume
From: "Jake Hester" <>
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 1999 12:58:41 PST

How do you guys deal with replacing volume lost during racking, or do
you? Should I just allow the volume to decrease each time I rack, or
add some water, or add some water and honey, or none of the above?
Would it make sense to replace the volume with a water/honey mixture in
the same porportions as the original must for the first rack or two?

I'm working with one-gallon batches, and I lose a cup or more every time
I rack… It's starting to look like I'll have little mead left by the
time it's ready to bottle! Any thoughts for a poor newbie?

Many thanks – Jake

Subject: Potassium Sorbate
From: "Jake Hester" <>
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 1999 13:01:06 PST

How much potassium sorbate should I use to halt a weak fermentation?
I've got my mead where I want it, and I've got some potassium sorbate on
the way, but I've seen no guide as to how much to use. Anyone?



Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #727, 22 February 1999
From: Vicky Rowe <>
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 1999 20:52:39 -0500

> Subject: Source for Heather Honey
> From: Ian Klinck <>
> Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 23:13:58 -0500
> Someone was talking about trying to find Heather Honey.
> I got my Heather Honey from Castlemark Honey:
> 8000 Edgewood Church Rd.
> Frederick, MD 21702
> (301)473-8015
> (888)335-6464
> (At least, that's the info off the business card I got from them…)
> They had a wide variety of specialty honeys. Yeah, the Heather Honey's
> more expensive than anything else…
> Ian
> – —
> Ian Klinck / Rhys ap Bledri – <>
> or – ICQ # 13175337

They are great! Mark and CastleMark will be at the North Carolina
Renaissance Faire at the NC State Fairgrounds on March 27 and 28th, and
at the Virginia Renaissance Faire from the end of April thru May
(weekends only). If you are in those areas (I'm in NC), call ahead, and
let them know what you want, and you can pick it up at the Faire!

I love their stuff, and the quality is high. I've made quite a few
batches with Castlemark honey, and if you do period brewing, they also
have a great period brewing book: 'A Sip Through Time' by Renfrow. Great

No, I don't work for them, I'm just a satisfied customer. Oh, and the
owner of Castlemark has made award winning mead, so he *knows*

Vicky Rowe
Blue Moon Meadery….

Subject: Re:  Irish Hazel-mead Experiment
Date: Sun, 28 Feb 1999 16:34:21 EST

I have a happy update. 😀 😀 😀

Had to drain off a little of the hazel-must, to create head space in the
carboy. There was just enough liquid to fill a 350 mil bottle, so I figured
"what the heck." I took the baby hazel-mead to an event this weekend, and
entered it with several other of my meads in an A&S competition.

Didn't win. 🙂 BUT, the stuff did send shock-waves of delight through
everyone who got a sample. Even at a tender age of 3 weeks, the brew is
smooth, sweet, and palatable, and has a pleasantly light alcoholic taste. At
the first sip, the honey taps you on the shoulder. About five seconds, the
hazelnuts clobber you over the head. It's a wonderful combination.

I had half-a-score of people state that they "normally won't even touch mead",
but in this case, they were eagerly awaiting the finished product.

The must can only improve with age. We are DEFINITELY onto something here.
🙂 🙂 For those who were just considering trying out this recipe….I urge
you to go ahead and do so.

Numquam sitite! /~\D

^v^ Fionna ni Caisidhe of the Firebrand

Subject: Possible contamination & Racking time
From: Matt Birchfield <>
Date: Mon, 01 Mar 1999 09:21:13 -0500

Hi All!

I have a quick question about what I hope is a normal occurrence, but
may be a contamination problem:

I brewed a pretty strong batch of traditional mead which over the last
2 days has developed a ring at the top of the primary fermenter. The
ring looks like it may be slimy, but I can't really tell. Is this
evidence of contamination or is it normal for a high gravity (or any)
mead? The batch has been in the primary for a little over 2 weeks,
which brings me to my next question …

How long should a mead be left in the primary? This one, as I said
above, has been pushing bubbles through the air lock about every 3-4
seconds for over 2 weeks, and shows no sign of clearing yet. There is
a lot of circulation occurring in the carboy and just a small
congregation of bubbles on top.

Thanks in advance for the help!

Matt Birchfield
Blacksburg, VA

End of Mead Lover's Digest #728