Mead Lover's Digest #0741 Tue 18 May 1999


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



re: Blueberries…bag 'em or strain 'em? (Scott Murman)
Honeysuckle Mead ("Jake Hester")
bees lees address (John Landreman)
TA titration (Bill Ostrander)
Extremely sour sweet smelling cyser ("Lanham, Steven I.")
more blueberry stuff ("Chuck Wettergreen")
uses for botched mead? ("Jake Hester")
Definition of Melomel (Bill Benzel)
Fruit in the primary (Ted McIrvine)
"Ambrosia by Kristy" Good mead. (matt_maples)
Newbie Questions ("Erik Moe")
Yeast Questions (Al n Paige)


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Subject: re: Blueberries...bag 'em or strain 'em?
From: Scott Murman <>
Date: Wed, 12 May 1999 13:16:40 -0700 (PDT)

I agree with all of the advice Dick posted regarding fermenting with
fruit. I have the same experiences with both making melomels and
fruit beers.

> I wish someone would do a controlled experiment to see how much fruit char-
> acter is lost by fermenting fruit in the primary. This is a piece of evi-
> dence the mead community needs.
> Dick Dunn

It's been my experience that the one attribute lost during
fermentation is aroma, whether it be from added spices or fruit. If
you are looking for aroma, then making additions after the
fermentation is over and the aging has begun, can give you back what
is lost.

  • -SM-

Subject: Honeysuckle Mead
From: "Jake Hester" <>
Date: Wed, 12 May 1999 13:43:03 PDT

Hi guys- we're currently in the height of the honeysuckle season here in
South Carolina, so I've decided to start a few experiments using honeysuckle
blossoms…. my first one was a basic mead using 1.5 lbs of wildflower
honey and 1.5 of orange blossom honey, 3 tsp acid blend and two quarts of
honeysuckle blossoms, Pasteur champangne yeast, plus water to 1gal.

The only thing that has me concerned is that the must smells much more
strongly of honeysuckle than I had anticipated, so I'm afraid the
honeysuckle flavor will be overpowering… does anyone have any experience
here? I'm thinking that I might should start a second batch with only one
quart of blossoms, but since those darn things take so long to pick to get
the neccessary volume, I'd hate to waste the labor by changing the wrong
variable… if you guys think 2qts is about right, I can try other stuff,
like varying acid content. Please advise- thanks!


Subject: bees lees address
From: John Landreman <>
Date: Wed, 12 May 1999 15:07:57 -0600 (MDT)

In Mead Lover's Digest #740

micah millspaw – brewer at large asks for the address of the bees lees
The address is:

John Landreman
Colorado Springs, CO

Subject: TA titration
From: (Bill Ostrander)
Date: Thu, 13 May 1999 00:14:32 GMT

John Wilkinson asked at what pH does the indicator change in TA titration.
I believe that the end point is pH 8.2.

Bill Ostrander

Subject: Extremely sour sweet smelling cyser
From: "Lanham, Steven I." <>
Date: Thu, 13 May 1999 02:20:11 -0500

Hello to list I have a cyser that is teeth jarringly sour.
it has no smell of vinegar to it at all. I started with three
gal of pure apple cider 14lb of mixed type honey and topped
it off with less than one gal of boiled cooled water and sweet mead
yeast. The smack pack was used to make a starter of one two liter
bottle not quite full. When the starter was very active I mixed up
the cider and honey and dumped it in. The ferment was slow to start
and took two days to get up to speed. Starting grav was 1.056 I think
and now its down to 1.022 but its so sour I cant stand it what happened??

Subject: more blueberry stuff
From: "Chuck Wettergreen" <>
Date: Thu, 13 May 1999 07:42:42 -0500

In MLD #740 a number of folks offered suggestions on making
mead with blueberries.

Here's mine. When I come across a large amount of berries, I first
run them through my vitorio (sp?) fruit mill (also known as a squeezo).
This contraption is made by Garden Way and consists of a bin
which feeds into a transport screw which feeds the fruit into a
conical decreasing thread screw. The screw fits into a matching
metal screen. To make a long story short, you put the fruit in the
top, turn the handle, juice and pulp come out the side, skins and
seeds come out the end. Designed for tomatoes, they also come
with berry screens and grape screens.

I process the berries, running the skins into a fine mesh grain bag.
Once initial fermentation is done, I squeeze the skin bag and throw
away the contents. (Yes, Dick, I also ferment my fruit in the primary
and notice no loss of aroma in the process.)

Several people also seemed concerned with racking from must
with fruit in it. The way to avoid clogging or transfer of fruit is to
put your racking cane (with foot on it-the orange thingy) into a
sanitized fine-mesh grain bag. Then put the bag/cane combo
in the must and begin siphoning. If it clogs up, just move the tip
of the cane to a different place in the bag and continue siphoning.
Works every time.

Someone else mentioned that their mead had been in the carboy
for five months and was still fermenting. They also mentioned that
they had already racked twice. Every time you rack you remove a
large percentage of your yeast population. If your mead isn't
finished and you rack, you either wind up with a sweet mead, or
you continue to ferment for a much longer period than you would
have, had you left it on the yeast. The only exception to this that I
practice is when fermenting with fruit. Then I rack after (usually)
a week, but I am careful to pour back in all of the yeast that has
fallen out in the primary, and squeeze all of the juice/yeast out
of the skins/pulp.

Geneva, IL

Subject: uses for botched mead?
From: "Jake Hester" <>
Date: Thu, 13 May 1999 08:33:01 PDT

I've got a batch of cyser that didn't turn out perfectly- it's oversweet for
my tastes, plus it's got a sharp, bitter aftertaste that I suspect was
caused by a brief bacterial infection it had in its second month…

Anyway, that's a moot point now- the stuff is drinkable, but only barely so,
and has been aging for a few months with zero improvement. I plan to save
one bottle to try again in a year or two, but I'd like the vacate the other
bottles to make room for a batch that's currently ready, and I'm not
interested in drinking the stuff…. but I don't want to just dump it.

To that end, I'd like to do something creative with what's left… has
anyone here tried distilling mead, to make kind of a honey brandy? Or does
anyone have experience cooking with mead? After all, cooking wine always
seems to be terrible…. any ideas? Thanks in advance!

Subject: Definition of Melomel
From: Bill Benzel <whb@Op.Net>
Date: Thu, 13 May 1999 15:48:37 -0400 (EDT)

For purposes of discussion:

If I start a batch and add fruit to the must in the primary I'm making a


if I add fruit to a mead that has already completed fermentation and is
several months old, let it sit for a month or so, then bottle it, is it a
melomel or should it be called a fruit flavored mead??


Subject: Fruit in the primary
From: Ted McIrvine <>
Date: Fri, 14 May 1999 00:52:07 -0700

I'll burn at the stake with Dick in solidarity with his heresey. I got
into mead making only after spending quite a bit of time making a
variety of Belgian-style lambic ales. Based on recipes I've seen in
print, many people don't use enough fruit in their recipes and then
blame the process on the absence of fruit flavor when it is actually the
absence of enough fruit that causes the problem! Why not start with at
least two pounds of fruit per gallon, maybe even more, and adjust the
fruit instead of looking elsewhere?

Frankly, I've never seen mead ferment vigorously. I've seen 130+
batches of beer/ale ferment vigorously, but mead never seems to blast
out of the fermenter with the same exuberance. Possible virtues to
adding fruit in the primary are that the fruit flavors have longer to
blend and mature, the fruit can add some yeast nutrient missing in honey
only musts, and finally (for those who share my admiration of funky wild
yeasts) fresh fruit has those special local wild yeasts that can enhance
fermentation and flavor.

The best Belgian Kriek that I made had some unpasteurized fruit with
wild Indiana yeast on it. I can't wait until my fruit vines start
sprouting in New York City; I'm under the impression that the pollution
levels will spawn similar fermentations to that of the Payottenland.


Dick Dunn wrote in part:
> I'll (re)state a heretical opinion: Ferment them in the primary.
> I have heard the traditional logic (to which I believe Patrick's post
> alludes), that if you add fruit in the primary, the vigorous fermenta-
> tion will carry off all the aroma.

Subject: "Ambrosia by Kristy" Good mead.
From: "matt_maples"
Date: Mon, 17 May 1999 16:26:16 -0400

I just tried a new commercial mead on Friday and thought I would share a
quick review with you all. The mead was from "Ambrosia by Kristy" and it
was their sweet mead (and their only mead as far as I know). It weighs in
at a little over 10%, it has a nice golden color and a strong honey aroma.
It is definitely a sweet mead but has a great acid balance so it is not
overly so. It has a wonderful flavor that has enough subtle nuances to keep
you coming back for another sip (and another and another). Overall I was
very impressed and I definitely will keep a couple on hand in the cellar.
In my opinion it seems like it will continue to age well for at least
another 2 to 3 years (maybe longer but only time will tell). I highly
suggest giving this one a try. And if there are any of you newbie lurkers
out there looking for a commercial mead to give you a good target to aim
at, this is it.

"Ambrosia by Kristy"
4921 85th Ave West
University Place, WA 98467

Matt Maples

Subject: Newbie Questions
From: "Erik Moe" <>
Date: Mon, 17 May 1999 22:10:20 -0500

Hello All,

I just made my first mead, a melomel, about a week ago. The recipe I
created was for 5 gallons. It contains the following:

12 lbs. Honey
1 can (~3 lbs.) Raspberry Puree
5 tsp. Acid Blend
1-1/8 tsp. Grape Tannin
1-1/4 tsp. Yeast Energizer
3 tsp. Yeast Nutrient

I sulphited the must with 8 Campden Tablets, then pitched a 1-1/2qt. Wyeast
# 3184 (Sweat Mead Yeast) starter about 8 hours later. The fermentation
activity is almost nil, though not completely absent. Howerver, several
times I have observed a lack of positive pressure in the carboy, where water
in the three piece airlock has actually started to travel backwards. The
carboy is currently in the basement. I imagine the temperature is somewhere
in the neighborhood of 65 degrees F. I am a homebrewer that is used to
strong health ferments. Any suggestions? Should I hit it again with
another dose of health yeast. Should I raise the temperature? Or should I
have a homebrew and don't worry about it?

Erik Moe

Subject: Yeast Questions
From: Al n Paige <>
Date: Tue, 18 May 1999 20:51:32 -0500

Has anyone had any experience using the yeast ICV D-47 by Lalvin? What
was your pitching rate for a 5 gal batch? At what temperature did you
ferment the mead? Were there any off flavors produced by the yeast?
Stuck ferments? Any and all info would be greatly appreciated.


Al Franciosi

End of Mead Lover's Digest #741