Mead Lover's Digest #74 Thu 21 January 1993

Forum for Discussion of Mead Brewing and Consuming
John Dilley, Digest Coordinator


Commercial mead (Jane Beckman)
RE: commercial mead makers (BELLAGIO_DAVID)
Answers and questions (PMERTENS)

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Date: Wed, 20 Jan 93 10:25:45 PST 
From: (Jane Beckman)
Subject: Commercial mead

The shortage of commercial mead is all the more reason to keep brewing
one's own. Chaucer's seems to be the most available, currently, but even
that is variable. Plus, you are stuck with what some marketeer decides is
the best style/finish to sell the most bottles in a very limited market,
either at the brewer or in that more subtle environ of distributorship.
(Let's face it; mead isn't yuppie!)

Honeymoon was out of Northern California (Sonoma??), but I haven't seen
any available for some time. It was very "hand finished," with small-press
looking labels and corked bottles sealed with wax. Slightly sweeter and
smoother than Chaucer's.

Merrydown is out of England, but I haven't seen any of that, lately, either.
For many years, Merrydown was the only mead generally available, '60's/'70's
era. It's drier and tarter than the domestic meads, and I tend to prefer
it. (Honeymoon, I thought, was suitable only for pouring over ice cream,
its residual sugar was so high!)

I've seen a bottle labeled "Merry Mead" on a friend's shelf, but the label
makes me think it's a homebrew enterprise, rather than commercial: none of
the junk required by the USDA on it.

   –Jilara []

Date: 20 Jan 93 11:16:00 +1100 
Subject: RE: commercial mead makers

   In response to Dick Dunn's request on commercial mead:

I found a bottle at Cost Plus Imports over the holidays. It was $6.50 and
was made by a winery in Napa County. I have not drank it yet, so when I
do, I will report my findings along with the winery that produced it in case
you want to give them a call. I think I will drink it this weekend! Also,
I've found some good commercial Cider at Cost Plus also.

   Super Dave


Date: 20 Jan 1993 22:30:30 +0000 (N) 
Subject: Answers and questions

Hello fellow mead makers.
I have some answers to previous discussions held on this digest and some questions for the tyro I am.

Some time ago (Mead LD #22 and 28) Victor Reijs asked about distributionlists of winemaking products in Europe and about fruit-wine making.
As the first thing is concerned, I'm sure I have one distributionlist but I can't find it for the moment; I'm going to ask another one from my local supplier.

About fruit-wine making, it seems that europeans usually prefer to make those wines than mead.
It was my case but as I have some honeybees that have made a lot of honey this year, I'm trying to get my fruit-wines better by using honey in place of sugar  (making what you call melomel).
As I'm making fruit-wines, I can make some suggestions to those that are using a juicer as Joe Kazura do with apples.
In fact, the best way seems to freeze the washed and cutted fruits (around 20!Cbelow 0) for two days (to be sure the fruits are well freezed) and to press them in a nylon bag after thawing.

(to convert from !C to !F, multiply by 1.8 and add 32)
Put some sulfite on the fruits while thawing to prevent oxidation.
After pressing, shred the pulp 'cake' into some water and add the pectin enzyme for one night at room temperature (not too cold to help the action of the pectin enzyme) and then press the pulp again.

This method will give the bests results (up to 0.9 lb of juice for 1 lb of apples, depending on the apple you use) without heating the pulp.

Some time ago there has been a discussion about boiling or not the must.
A book says that boiling and skimming enables to throw off the proteins , bad ferments and wax but the wax is more soluble in hot water.
So there is an unwanted effect.
Have somebody already heard about furfurol? Its seems that this is a molecule that appears in heated or ageing honey and that is toxic.

About fermenting temperature.
Willie Smith said in MEAD LD #70:
>…changes in temperature are more detrimental than the 'wrong' temperature.
This is perfectly correct; a lower or upper temperature than the optimal one will only lower the fermentation rate but unstable temperature will give bad fermentation process.

Having no room with a constant temperature 24 hours a day, I also use an aquarium heater. It has an incorporated thermostat and I put it directly into the carboy.

The carboy is placed in a big cardboard box subsequently filled with some isolating (like small 'frigolite" balls). It works perfectly well.

Now some questions befgore beginning as a mead brewer.
I'm going to make an apple melomel following the receipt of Joe Kazura (MLD #68)

   How many kilograms (or pounds) of honey do you use for what final volume?
Do you take in account the sugars present in the apple juice?
You add Irish Moss while boiling the honey. What is it and what does it help to?
The last question…for the moment, is about the first and second carboys.
When fruit-wine making, I don't rack in the middle of the fermentation.
When do I have to do it (after one week or so in the first carboy?).
What are the rules to know the rigth moment and what are the reasons to do so?

Last thing: are there other MLD fellows in Belgium or in the surroundings?

Lab. Genet. Molec.
Namur, Belgium

End of Mead Lover's Digest