Mead Lover's Digest #0738 Thu 29 April 1999


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



Yeasts, Braggot, Commercial Meads (Ted McIrvine)
mead source? (Daniel Gurzynski`)
MLD#737, Yeast Recommendations ("Wout Klingens")
NZ Honey's (Patrick Bureau)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #737, 23 April 1999 (Steven M Haag)
RE: Cyser Recipes (
D-47 Yeast (
Hawaiian Honey? ("Jerry Sadowski")
Braggot Info — summary, and thanks! (Robert J Haines)
5th Annual Boneyard Brew-Off ("Brian J. Paszkiet")
Buying Mead in the Boston Area ("Brian A")


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Subject: Yeasts, Braggot, Commercial Meads
From: Ted McIrvine <>
Date: Sat, 24 Apr 1999 00:53:03 -0700

I've been lurking for a few weeks and appreciate the relaxed good will
and gentle spirit of posters on the mead digest. Here are my thoughts
on three issues in the last mead-lover's digest:

Regarding mead yeast, I prefer using either a pure strain of liquid
yeast or a wild lambic strain depending on the effect I want to
acheive. Ale yeast (such as the W-Yeast strains) are good because they
are fairly alcohol tolerant (they seem to poop out around 14% alcohol in
my experience) without imparting off-tastes and eating every fermentable
in sight. Champagne yeast is good too, it seems to withstand higher
alcohol levels but without the contaminants and off-tastes of bread

Based on my off-list discussions about Braggot, it doesn't seem to be
well-defined regarding malt-honey balance or hops. If you don't want
hop flavor but want the preservative effects, stale hops are great. My
last braggot was basically a Belgian Tripel with about 12 lbs of pils
malt and 5 pounds of honey. It was hopped fairly aggressively for a
tripel, yet almost all the hop flaver has faded after 8 months in the
fermenter and 2 months in the bottle. I used WYeast Trappist 2 strain,
and it left a slight residual sweetness after fermenting the 1.100
gravity down to 20.

Another poster asked about mead for a wedding. If you don't want to
brew your own, there are more commercial meadmakers around. My personal
favorite (probably more out of sentiment, as most of my friends make
meads that are comparable) is Camelot Mead, made in Bloomington Indiana.


Subject: mead source?
From: Daniel Gurzynski` <>
Date: Sat, 24 Apr 1999 07:50:08 -0400

>Subject: mead source?
>Date: Fri, 23 Apr 1999 12:40:10 EDT

>Was wondering if you had any idea how I could go about locating a source
>to purchase mead for a wedding. I cant seem to find a "distributor" very
>easily here in Boston.


Here in New York State there is the Earle Estates Meadery, at
They have a number of very palatable meads as well as other products.

"Every normal man must be tempted at times, to spit on his hands, hoist
the black flag, and begin slitting throats."
H.L. Mencken

Subject: MLD#737, Yeast Recommendations
From: "Wout Klingens" <>
Date: Sat, 24 Apr 1999 15:10:25 +0200


>Any comments or critiques? Do you all agree with Clara Furness'
>recomendations? What reasons would you give for using different
>yeast types?

Again an interesting set of questions. I can only tell you my experiences so
far and I really am interested in hearing other opinions. I have been toying
with several yeasts. Tokay, Sauternes, "All-Pupose", Riesling and I am
currently trying out an aromatic yeast, which seems to be used by commercial
First of all: different yeasts have different fermentation profiles.
Second: mead is not grapewine, so you won't get a Riesling with a Riesling
strain. Or a Chablis with a Chablis strain.
Third: if you buy a Tokay strain from one manufacturer, you are likely to
get another Tokay strain than when you buy it from another, because these
strain differ slightly (or so I am told).
For my conclusions so far:
With *my* methods, under *my* fermentation conditions, with *my* yeast
strains it *seems* that:

  • – Tokay is a slow fermenter. I know, that with a SG of 1.120, with the

amount of nutrients I used that time, it finishes at 1.006, making it the
best traditional mead I ever produced. I don't know about the performance on
a mel.

  • – Sauternes finishes *very* sweet (at 1.040) if you don't use DAP. Adding

DAP causes it to finish tart and dry. I started at this batch at 1.110.

  • – My all-purpose (Fermivin) isn't suitable for showmead IMHO, because it

will let your mead finish at a TA of 0.5%, which is too low for my taste.

  • – Riesling with DAP causes a 1.120 batch to finish dry.

I tried the aromatic yeast "Fermiblanc" on an off-dry cyser. It seems to
work out rather well. First racking is due this weekend. I still have to try
it on a show mead. I expect it to leave some residual sugar.

So all I am really saying is, that wine style, as far as I have learned in
my two year "experience" is depending on hundreds of different factors. For
instance with a different batch of honey the Sauternes may finish even
sweeter, or less sweet, due to the variations of nitrogen in honey. Or acid
additions may produce a completely different behavior of the yeast.
Aeration of the must does of course also have its influence.
The French seem to agree with Clara Furness. They seem to use some sort of
Chablis strain rather than a Champagne strain. They literally have ages of

My reason for using different yeast types would be, that if I wanted a dry,
crisp, fruity, light mel, I'd now use Lalvin K-1.
If I want a rich, full bodied show mead, I'd use Tokay, with some nutrients.
If I want a light, medium sweet show mead, I'd use Sauternes without
But that could change over time, when I gain even more experience 🙂



PS. Any follow-up on the oxidation problem?

Subject: NZ Honey's
From: Patrick Bureau <>
Date: Sat, 24 Apr 1999 10:26:02 -0400

Anyone attempted making mead with MANUKA or TAWARI Honeys
from New Zealand ?

I have acquired 12 lbs of each and debating since these are
pretty dark and strong tasting honeys..

Patrick Bureau
SCA Name: Patric de Long-Coeur
Ansteorra,Barony of the Steppes,
Burning Thunder,
Mazer, and all around FrenchMan

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #737, 23 April 1999
From: Steven M Haag <>
Date: Sat, 24 Apr 1999 23:58:28 -0500


I've been procrastinating, and so haven't made the hibiscus mead yet. But my
wife has been reading up on medicinal uses of herbs, and noted that dandelion
wine "tastes a bit like sherry, and makes a good tonic." With that much
encouragement, and the currently good crop of dandelions in St. Louis, I thought
I'd start a basic stock fermenting, then split it and do a couple of smaller
batches with the flowers.

My question: when making dandelion wine, do you remove the green part from the
base of the flower? The yellow part of the flower is sweet, but the dandelion
root tea we had the other day was pretty bitter. And I don't want a mead that
tastes like an herbal medicine.

Steve Haag

Subject: RE: Cyser Recipes
Date: Sun, 25 Apr 1999 11:02:57 -0400 (EDT)

Jeff Rose asked for easy cyser recipes. Well, you could get a LITTLE easier
than this, but not much. This is the recipe that I suggest to anyone just
getting into meadmaking:

4 gallons apple juice
1 gallon honey
7 – 10 sticks of cinnamon
5 – 7 thin (1/8 inch — 3 mm) slices of fresh ginger root
20 – 30 cloves

Place the spices in a muslin, or cheesecloth bag. Heat the juice to the point
of steaming, but not boiling. Hang the spice bag in the pot, cover and let it
sit overnight. (By morning, your kitchen will smell wonderful!) Rehydrate your
yeast and make a starter with a small amount of the juice which has been
removed and cooled to proper pitching temperatures.

In the morning, heat the juice up to the same point as before. Remove from the
heat. Remove the spice bag and add the honey in while stirring constantly.
Once the honey is thoroughly mixed in, cover the pot and allow it to cool to
pitching temperatures, then add in the starter from the night before.

Treat as you would any mead, melomel, or wine.




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 Farm Winery

Subject: D-47 Yeast
Date: Sun, 25 Apr 1999 16:02:59 EDT

I have seen a few people mention using Lalvin D-47 yeast, and it seems they
all experienced a sulfur smell. I have used it for two batches, mainly
becuase the guy at the brew store claimed it wouldn't be "too" dry, and they
were short on sweet yeasts. Anyway, the first batch was a traditional
Mesquite mead using 10 lbs Mesquite Mead, acid blend and D-47 yeast for 3
gallons (no tablest, boiling only). That was in May of last year. I finally
bottled it two weeks ago, but the darn thing is still fermenting! It has
made a sparkling sweet mead which is actually quite wonderful. It has a rich,
hazelnut flavor to it. However, I can still detect a slight sulfur taste with
the first mouthful.

Ok, not too bad. Now, I have a completely different metheglin going. It's a
vanilla-maple flavored experiment. For 3 gallons I used:

12 lbs Generic Honey (Sam's club, sorry)
1 cup strong Vanilla Maple flavored Black tea from Celestial Seasonings
Several extra drops of vanilla extract
Lalvin D-47 yeast

I don't use tablets, so I boil my honey for about 15 minutes.
I brewed this in February. It has already cleared and is a LOT drier than
the Mesquite mead. I racked it and added 2 more cups of honey, because I
don't want another dry mead. This one has a distinctly sulfuric smell to it.

I was wondering what kind of results other people had with this yeast.

Alexandra Ceely
Magdalena van Haarlem

Subject: Hawaiian Honey?
From: "Jerry Sadowski" <>
Date: Mon, 26 Apr 1999 09:04:17 -0500

I'm planning a trip to Maui in June. Does anyone have any info on
purchasing honey there? Specifically what varieties are available,
what's a good price, shipping it back and addresses of sources?
Thanks in advance.

Subject: Braggot Info -- summary, and thanks!
From: Robert J Haines <>
Date: Mon, 26 Apr 1999 20:47:36 -0400

Hi again everyone,
In MLD #735, I posed a couple of questions regarding Braggot.
I got responses via the digest and off-list (which I'll summarize in
a moment).

But first, a quick "thank you" to those who provided facts, opinions,
recipes, and other valuable stuff, both on-list and off:
(listed in no particular order)

  • -Steve Daughhetee

  • -Peter Bertone

  • -Andrew Lynch

  • -Phil Wilcox

  • -Marc Shapiro

  • -Mark Taratoot

  • -John Purdy

And of course, thanks to the Digest Janitor, Dick Dunn, who
makes all this possible! If I missed anyone, please accept
my apologies.

There was generally agreement that a Braggot should get
50% or more of its fermentables from honey. In general,
I tend to agree with the sentiments expressed one
respondent, who began with "Who needs to worry about
definitions?" … but I also figure that if I'm going to call it a
Braggot, I should at least know what a Braggot is supposed
to be. Then if I want to break the rules, I'll know I'm doing it.

A couple of folks also responded that they'd done or
tried light-colored Braggots — done with wheat malt or
lighter extracts and pronounced "excellent." Guess my
assumption that Braggots were always darker was mistaken.
Meanwhile, another poster responded that his Braggot
got its origins from a robust porter (pretty much what I
was intending to try) and also pronounced it "excellent."

Now on to some bits-n-pieces:

  • – Duncon&Acton (or Acton&Duncan) does contain one

Braggot recipe.

  • – One poster also pointed me to the recent BYO issue, which

contains an article and a recipe for Braggot.

  • – There also happens to be a "Braggot" thread going on

in rec.crafts.brewing right now; interested parties might
want to check out DejaNews and search for postings
with "Braggot" in the title.

  • – One poster specifically noted that K1V-1116 yeast seems

to react with malt to form "bubblegum esters." If you like
'em, cool. If you don't like 'em, you might want to select
a different yeast.

Thanks again, and hope the summary helps someone else.

Bob Haines

Subject: 5th Annual Boneyard Brew-Off
From: "Brian J. Paszkiet" <>
Date: Tue, 27 Apr 1999 10:36:21 -0500

The Boneyard Union of Zymurgical Zealots of Champaign, IL
would like to announce our upcoming 5th Annual Boneyard
Brew-Off taking place June 11-12, 1999. We will be judging
all 1998 BJCP beer, mead, and cider categories. This is an
AHA sanctioned competition as well as a qualifying event for
the Masters Championship of Amateur Brewing (MCAB) II (see for more details). Points will also be
awarded for Midwest Homebrewer of the Year.

The main judging will start at 9:00 am on Saturday, June 12th.
Standard AHA rules apply: we will need three unmarked
10-16 oz brown or green bottles, with bottle ID forms attached
to each bottle with a rubber band, a completed entry/recipe
form, and $6 for each of the first entry, $5 for each subsequent
entry from the same brewer(s). Entries must arrive between
MAY 26 and JUNE 5, 1999. We will accept walk-in entries
from judges at 8:15 am on the day of the competition
(June 12th) as long as the completed paperwork and fee arrive
by June 5th.

Our special category again this year will be the "No One Gets
Out Alive High-Gravity Brew-Off". In this category, we will judge
any beer with a starting gravity over 1.070 purely on the basis
of drinkability and octane. For this category, we only require
two unmarked 6-16 oz brown or green bottles. We will allow
any high gravity style, but if you wish the beer to be also judged
in another category, you must separately enter it in that category.
No fortification is allowed. The winners in this category will not
be eligible for best of show, but will receive a special award.

Entries should be sent to:
Boneyard Brew-Off
c/o Piccadilly Beverage Shop
505 S. Neil St.
Champaign, IL 61820

For additional information, contact the competition organizer
Brian Paszkiet ( or (217) 352-2438(H) or
(217) 333-9033(W)).

Forms and rules are also available on the World Wide Web at:
Online entry and judge registration will be available in mid May.

Brian Paszkiet
BUZZ President

Subject: Buying Mead in the Boston Area
From: "Brian A" <>
Date: Wed, 28 Apr 1999 03:47:23 PDT

Dear Laureen,

There are a few good sources for mead in Eastern Mass. The major
commercial brands available here seem to be Chaucer's, Heron's Ghyll,
Bunratty's and Nectar of Gaia. Chaucers and Nectar of Gaia are very
good, sweet meads that I would recommend. Heron's Ghyll is an apple
wine fortified with honey, and Bunratty's Meade is a grape wine
fortified with honey. I would avoid them both, if possible, as they
are neither very good or very authentic. You can obtain either
Chaucers or Nectar of Gaia (sometimes both) at the following stores:

Kappy's Liquors (Peabody or Malden).
Bunghole Liquors (Salem).
Bolton Orchards (Bolton).

Also, there is a small shop in or near Winchendon that has a sign that
says "Mead and Gifts" where they sell "As You Like It" mead, which is
quite good, flavors change regularly with each batch they make. You
can usually taste each of the available meads prior to purchase, so
you know what you're getting into.

If you're interested in a Cyser (Apple Mead) try Nashoba Valley Winery
and Orchard in Bolton, MA (Rt 117 exit off Rt 495). They make a lovely
dry cyser as well as a number of great fruit wines.

Merry Mead,

End of Mead Lover's Digest #738