Mead Lover's Digest #0747 Tue 29 June 1999


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



RE: Mead Lover's Digest #745, 19 June 1999 ("DENNIS KEY")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #746, 21 June 1999 (Yacko Warner Yacko)
Imbibers ("Spies, Jay")
1st time Mead Maker (Ernie Baker)
New Mead Organization (
re: Thoughts on a new Mead Organisation…. (Dick Dunn)
comments on mead recipe ("Belinda Messenger Ph.D.")
Steve's Questions (Ted McIrvine)
More on Honey Analysis (Dan McFeeley)
I need a good commercial mead (James Perry)
Gulf Wars Eight Memorial Cloven Lemon Mead ("Thaddaeus A. Vick")
Killing yeast by heating (Derrick Pohl)
purifying with blood (


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Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #745, 19 June 1999
From: "DENNIS KEY" <>
Date: Mon, 21 Jun 1999 17:06:17 -0600

I have used powdered corriander three times without any problems.

Never Thirst,


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #746, 21 June 1999
From: Yacko Warner Yacko <>
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 1999 09:00:09 -0400

> Mead Lover's Digest #746 21 June 1999
> Subject: Thoughts on a new Mead Organisation….
> From: "Charlie Moody" <>
> Date: Sun, 20 Jun 1999 11:43:37 -0600
I've snipped all of Charlies post, you'll have to refer back to it for
the details.

Time to delurk. I'm a newer member to the list and have never posted,
but as this type of organizational talk can change the course of many
different things, I thought I'd chime in. BTW, I've been brewing, in
some capacity, for about 6 years now and have recently (the past 3)
discovered brewing meads… primarily because I cannot buy it in Maine
(other than Chaucers and Bartletts).


A good thing to ask when considering an organization to replace the AMA
is 'Why did the AMA fail?'. I can think of a couple reasons why and
possible ideas on what may or may not help us all.

1) The AMA just plain didn't have enough interest. Nobody wanted to pay
money for the AMA information. Meaderies were not interested in it as a
trade journal and individuals were too few and far between.

2) Information that could have been supplied via a hard copy journal
type publication was starting to get freely distributed on the internet.
Less incentive to sign up with a paper organization.

3) What were the benefits of membership? I never joined, and I think the
AMA crumbled as I was learning how to make mead. I've seen one copy of
the magazine they printed, but dont remember much about it.

4) Why do we need a new paper organization? Is there any particular
reason that this cannot be accomplished almost entirely online? I know,
there's many makers, particularly breweries, thsat are not online.
That's the downfall to my quiz there… However, the contents of many
posts/threads can be written up in some digest form and included in hard
copy publications.

5) Along the same thread as the above, a lot of what an organization
like this can provide, lists of this and that, contact info, etc, can
easily be provided online. Also, services are becoming more popular for
fax on demand via internet, so that anyone with a touch tone phone or
email can request any document via fax. This can help provide a solution
for the non-internet connected. There's also the possibilty of annual
CD's comprising the contents of web sites, mailing lists, etc. CD's can
be read offline by anyone with a PC. Handy.

I understand you have the ideas of producing a community, a lobby and a
kind of 'co-op' feeling commercial purchasing arrangement. These are all
great things to accomplish.

The community, we have. We're starting it here. The digest is a good
start for developing a community of Meaders. We're already going

A lobby would have several strikes against us:

  • – We ARE international. There really is no majority, even in the US, it

seems there is no majority of people in any one state.

  • – A lobby needs lots of money.

  • – Alcohol is a tough lobby to get into. A mead lobby would quickly and

eaily be sounded out by one of the larger alcohol lobby's if they
decided we were getting in the way. The larger companies already have
millions to play iwth. However, I like the idea of helping to format
future regulations of mead. And unfortunately, I see most people as
continuing to classify mead as a varietal wine, including wine industry
people, which will result in no net gain for us. I'd kind of feel like
we were beating a dead horse.

The co-op kind of thing can be done within the community. If I find a
good source for XYZ honey, I'll ask them if they'll give my friends a
break on the price as well as myself. But I have not yet found that.
There's no reason right now that someone cannot pursue such an
arrangement with any homebrew place as well. Discounts on hardware type
things, brewing kettles etc. Just because we're a virtual membership
does not discount the fact taht we are a community interested in mead.

I think I understand what you're trying to accomplish, but I have to
wonder if it's needed. Was the AMA needed? If the AMA fell because of
lack of interest, I find it hard to believe that you'll find the
interest now. While I do agree that mead has gained in popularity
recently, it's still very small a percentage of sales.

Also of note, doesnt the AHA have a mead section, at least for judging?
Could we not possibly pour our efforts into that division of the AHA?

OK.. I'll shut up now… but that's what I was thinking on it. I'll go
back to lurking again now 🙂

Subject: Imbibers
From: "Spies, Jay" <>
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 1999 09:26:31 -0400

In MLD #746, Dave Burley sez:

>>>Dehydration is a source of the discomfort the next morning and I
encourage all imbibers to have at least one glass of water per drink you
had, before retiring, to reduce this discomfort.<<<

Wow, that'd make for a long night…


Jay Spies
Wishful Thinking Basement Brewery
Baltimore, MD

Subject: 1st time  Mead Maker
From: (Ernie Baker)
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 1999 07:18:37 -0700 (PDT)

In reference to my recipe in MLD #745,
Steve, your respnse in MLD #746.
1. Recipe was for three gallons.
2. Without the hops, no need for irish moss, I agree.
3. When you make mead using recipes for 3 or 1 gallon, is there anything
wrong with using 5 gallon plastic primary and 5 gal carboy for
Note: I think this is a great Digest, alot of
information out there helping people like me (novice).. Ernie

Subject: New Mead Organization
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 1999 09:34:21 -0400

Further to Charlie Moody's suggestions for a new mead organization (which I
think is a great idea), why not avoid the problems of having one individual put
up the cash and largely take the risk? Perhaps an organizational model like a
cooperative (think a food coop or a credit union), where many members "buy a
share" or membership initially and share the work, would be a better solution.
It would be a shame for the new org to revisit the failure of the AMA or roll in
the quagmire the AHA has found itself in.

No doubt some of Charlie's suggestions will be more feasible than others, but I
for one like the idea of the new org advocating the interests of meaders,
publishing a newsletter and working on making honey and other supplies more
accessible. I agree that the organization should try to become self-funding
quickly, but the pursuit of moolah might best be kept slightly in the
background, based on the troubles the AHA has had with reining in this activity.
I think that a good approach to the whole competition idea might be to look at
what organizations like the BJCP has done with respect to training judges (a
major problem in most competitions) and establishing and maintaining mead style
guidelines. Some of the other ideas are good, but may need to be more long
term, like persuading regulatory bodies to make changes to alcohol laws.

I look forward to seeing others' ieas.


Subject: re: Thoughts on a new Mead Organisation....
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 23 Jun 99 06:39:10 MDT (Wed)

"Charlie Moody" <> wrote about ideas for a new mead
organization. Inevitably this brings up questions about the old American
Mead Association–why it failed and why it couldn't be resurrected. These
are background questions but they're important because they may have a
bearing on whether a new organization could succeed.

The AMA was founded in 1986 by Pamela Spence. She ran it and published a
small newsletter (intended to be roughly quarterly, I believe). Pamela
wrote that she had originally become interested in mead "for the purpose
of stimlulating interest in an alternative market for honey" but was
pulled to a focus on mead in its own right.

In 1992, Pamela handed the organization and the newsletter to Susanne
Price, who had become interested in mead from a home brewer's perspective.
Susanne built up the organization through the "homebrewer connection" (she
had previously worked with the AHA) and enlarged the newsletter. The AMA
seemed to be prospering, but Susanne was killed in a car accident in early

The AMA then fell on hard times. The people who took over the AMA, along
with Susanne's somewhat-associated specialty honey business, drained the
coffers of the AMA, failed to pay some honey suppliers, continued accepting
subscriptions/dues to the AMA but stopped producing newsletters, and even-
tually disappeared (along with the mailing list). The first attempts to
resurrect the AMA ran into those obstacles–the organization and the name
were associated with unpaid bills, unmet obligations to subscribers, no
money, no member list, and considerable ill will. The point of this part
of the story is that the AMA did _not_ fail for lack of interest or enthu-
siasm. It was destroyed.

There was a serious attempt to salvage what could be found of the old AMA
and create a new mead organization. I believe this began in 1997 but
seems to have foundered in 1998. The folks behind this were the owners of
a Denver homebrew supply shop and a colleague/employee of theirs. That
shop was one of several in the Denver area that went out of business in
recent times, so it's not hard to guess that they have had more pressing
concerns than trying to (re)create a mead organization.

Dick Dunn Hygiene, Colorado USA

Subject: comments on mead recipe
From: "Belinda Messenger Ph.D." <>
Date: Wed, 23 Jun 1999 01:44:08 -0700

>Subject: reply to first time Mead Maker
>From: "Stephen J. Van der Hoven" <>
>Date: Mon, 21 Jun 1999 08:33:36 -0600
>> 1/4 tsp irish moss
>Not very useful for a mead. I'd leave it out also.

I agree with all of your comments on the recipe with the exception of the
irish moss. It does a wonderful job of clearing the mead quickly after
fermentation stops, as long as you boil it with your water. I've made
traditional meads with and without and the irish moss does wonders.
Belinda Messenger, Ph.D
AgraQuest, Inc.
1530 Drew Ave
Davis, CA 95616
530-750-0150 extension 21
530-750-0153 (fax)

Subject: Steve's Questions
From: Ted McIrvine <>
Date: Wed, 23 Jun 1999 16:15:30 -0700

Welcome to the list Steve <>. I appreciate the
good advice I find here and also the fact that differences of opinion
don't turn into testosterone-laden shouting matches. Some answers to
your questions:

> 1) Where can I obtain commercial mead?
> 11) Would you drink mead at a commercial establishment?

I've had commercial mead from the Camelot Meadery in Bloomington Indiana
and also at the Bluegrass Brewing Company in Louisville KY. I really
loved the Bluegrass Brewing Co. Mead; it was a raspberry melomel (tasted
quite a few years ago.) But in general, I'll try anything because I'm
anxious to try new things and to develop my palate.

> 3) Has anyone explored the viability of selling mead?
> 4) What are the legal ramifications of selling mead?

You need a license to sell alcoholic beverages. My mother-in-law thinks
I should keep my day gig instead. And my mother-in-law is always right.

> 5) What percentage of mead lovers prefer carbonated? Still? Sweet?

Yes… but whether I bottle as still or sparkling often depends on
strength. I haven't force-carbonated mead for bottling, although once I
did serve it from a keg and then lager it under CO2 in the keg before
bottling the remainder.

I drink mead from wine glasses, and I usually age it in crown capped
bottles. Competitions usually require crown caps. Someday I may get a
corker and bottle meads and Belgian ales in cork bottles.

> 9) What are your favorite flavors of mead?

I like sweet fruit meads best, but this is a matter of taste

I normally don't buy mead for home drinking, I've got plenty of my own.

> 13) What do your friends say when you tell them about mead?
> 14) Anyone got any good honeymoon mead stories?

My friends love mead. And I was married last year and not only drank it
on the honeymoon, but also at the ceremony. We had a hybrid wedding
(Jewish & Episcopalian) and did the Jewish drink and glass ritual.

I haven't experimented much with yeasts and honey. I generally use
champagne yeasts on strong meads and Belgian ale yeasts when I am making
a weaker mead and want some residual sweetness from a low-gravity must.
But I plan on investigating some alternatives.


Subject: More on Honey Analysis
From: Dan McFeeley <>
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 1999 09:35:05 -0500

This is a table taken from a paper by Dan McDonnel and Ken Schramm titled
"An Analysis of Mead, Mead Making and the Role of its Primary Constituents"
available at
The source of the table as footnoted is John White, et. al., "Composition
of American Hones," USDA Technical Bulletin #1261, 1962.

As you can see, there is variance among each honey type.

This is a good paper, well worth reading through.

Dan McFeeley

  • ————————–[snip!]—————————————–

Total acids are expressed as millequivalent/kilogram; it reflects amount
of cationic charge produced by the acids in the solution. The average
for the 490 samples was 29.12; we have weighted our assessment of each
honey's acidity against that value.

Table 1. Honey constituents by variety expressed as a percentage[1]

Citrus Clover Fireweed Mesquite Rasp. Sage T.Pop Tup


Moisture 16.5 17.7 16.0 15.5 17.4 16.0 17.6 18.2
Levulose 30.9 37.9 39.3 40.4 34.5 40.4 34.6 43.3
Dextrose 32.0 31.0 30.7 36.9 28.5 20.2 25.9 26.0
Sucrose 2.8 1.4 1.3 0.95 0.5 1.
1 0.7 1.2
Maltose 7.2 7.7 7.1 5.4 5.7 7.4 11.6


High.Sug. 1.4 1.4 2.1 0.35 3.6 2.4 3.0


pH 3.84 3.77 3.03 4.20 4.04 3.51 4.45


Total acid 30.34 26.53 26.77 16.33 39.19 29.10 42.99 36.5
Ash 0.073 0.071 0.108 0.129 0.471 0.108 0.
460 0.128
Nitrogen 0.014 0.039 0.032 0.012 0.07 0.037 0
.076 0.046

Subject: I need a good commercial mead
From: James Perry <>
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 20:31:16 PDT

Well to make a long story short, and save space, I had a very bad batch of
mead and need a bottle or two for my handfasting, read pagan wedding, that
is coming up in about a month. All the commercial meads I've tried were, to
me at least, as bad as most mass produced beer. So does anyone know of any
sources that would stand up to the occasion.

James P.

Subject: Gulf Wars Eight Memorial Cloven Lemon Mead
From: "Thaddaeus A. Vick" <>
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 22:23:19 -0700 (PDT)

Well, this is my latest attempt. A bit of the story behind it:

Gulf Wars VIII (major SCA event) was the weekend before my spring break,
so I decided to go for the weekend. I bought a lot of cloves and lemons
for the party I knew they'd have Saturday night. (It's an SCA custom.
If you don't know and you want to, email me and I'll explain.)
Unfortunately a hurricane came through and the entire war was rained
out. Everyone went home and there was no party to speak of. I was
planning on doing a mead while I was home the following week, and here
I was stuck with a bunch of cloves and lemons that I had no further use
for, so I went by the homebrew shop and thumbed through their recipe
book until I located a recipe for Lemon-Clove mead. I got it home and
modified it slightly to conform to the ingredients I had on hand and the
degree to which I was too lazy to do all the stuff it said, so here is
the recipe I actually brewed.

Gulf Wars Eight Memorial Cloven Lemon Mead

Brew date: March 19, 1999
Ingredients: 12 lb. wildflower honey

juice of 8 lemons
zest of 8 lemons
2 Tb whole cloves
Red Star Pasteur Champagne yeast

OG: 1.06

Combine honey with two gallons of water. Simmer and skim until

the foam stops coming. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and cloves
and simmer for 30 minutes. Skim out all the lemon zest and cloves and
the additional foam and pour into a carboy with two gallons of water.
Top off with more water. When cool, pitch yeast starter.

June 20, 1999

Mead is quite opaque. There is no sign of fermentation any

more, although it was fairly lively for a while. I racked to a
second carboy, slightly smaller. It's slightly clearer. Nice flavor,
not too alcoholic, which is as expected from the relatively low OG.
The flavor is mostly honey with a faint lemon aftertaste. Quite dry.
The SG is down to 1.000, so I think it is probably done fermenting.
I racked the carboy full right up to the neck and stuck it back in
the cellar for some aging, and hopefully some clearing. It's probably
a pectin haze from the lemons. If it doesn't clear by Christmas, I'm
just going to bottle it cloudy. After all, it's for drinking,
not decorating. 🙂

Thaddaeus A. Vick, Linguist to the Masses Email:
URL: ICQ: 21574495

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one

persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress
depends on the unreasonable man."

  • George Bernard Shaw


Subject: Killing yeast by heating
From: Derrick Pohl <>
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 15:49:48 -0700

About the recent dicussions on whether it is feasible to stop yeast
activity by heating, as opposed to the usual chemical methods: I would
think the biggest problem with heating is oxidation. Oxidation increases
rapidly with rising temperature — so if it's bad to splash your mead
around while racking at room temperature, imagine how much worse it must be
to rack and stir it while heating up to 150 deg F or higher! I would think
for that reason alone killing yeast by heating is probably a bad idea.

Further, the reason we seek out and treasure unpasteurized honey is for its
better flavour, so why then pasteurize the resulting mead?

Personally I'm not too keen on stopping yeast activity with chemicals
either. I think if you want sweet mead (which is the main reason to want
to kill the yeast, right?) the best way to go is the traditional
time-consuming method: add honey until the yeast OD's on alcohol, then add
some more.

[CAVEAT LECTOR: Though I've brewed beer for years, I've only brewed 2
meads, so what do I know! But I do read MLD faithfully….]

Derrick Pohl
Program Assistant, Undergraduate Program Ph. 604-875-5838
Dept. of Family Practice, Faculty of Medicine Fax 604-875-5017
University of British Columbia
690 West 11th Ave. (Fairmont Family Practice Clinic)
Vancouver, BC, V5Z 1M1, Canada

Subject: purifying with blood
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 22:35:39 -0600

So I keep seeing news articles along the lines of:

: France's Consumer and Anti-Fraud Office says Cotes du Rhone and Cotes
: de Provence AOC wines are safe despite this month's seizure of 100,000
: bottles of Rhone Valley wine. The bottles seized near Avignon were
: believed to have been purified with ox blood.

Now, it seems to me that blood has many properties, mostly causing
people to be concerned about purifying it, rather than using it to
purify. I keep having this vision of _The Fevre Dream_, where
vampire-types are drinking a thick fluid out of wine bottles as an
alternative to their traditional meals. However, there've been enough
reports of the above, from (presumably) independent sources, that I
have to believe it's being done. Can anyone explain the underlying



End of Mead Lover's Digest #747