Mead Lover's Digest #0755 Thu 19 August 1999


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



A (possibly stupid) question… ("Warner, Mark")
Re: Traveling with mead (
Corking ("Stan Prevost")
Heartburn From Mead Drinking? ("Mike & Lynn Key")
bitter mead ("Andrea Pacor")
RE: Mead Lover's Digest #754, 15 August 1999 ("DENNIS KEY, RN, PACU (RECOV…)
Re: Mead judging, Brittany mead tour (Dan McFeeley)
Chilean Mead ("Mariela Soledad Sarpi San Martin")
Please help the new guy… (Stan Marshall)


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Subject: A (possibly stupid) question...
From: "Warner, Mark" <>
Date: Sun, 15 Aug 1999 16:29:48 -0400

Hi, all. I don't post here often, but I always read the digest, and have

learned a great deal about making mead, and brewing in general. I'll take
this opportunity to thank you all for your knowledgeable posts, and
willingness to share your info and time.

On to my question… I would like to make a 3 gallon batch next, and only

have five gallon carboys. Do I have much to worry about with the extra
headspace? Would I be further ahead to go and buy a 3 gallon carboy?

Thanks, in advance, for your replies.

Sincerely yours,
Mark Warner

Subject: Re: Traveling with mead
Date: Sun, 15 Aug 1999 16:48:32 EDT

I can't help get your stocks up, but this subject line reminded me of my
travels with mead:

I'm in the Air Force, and we move alot. Now having been making mead at that
time oh, for about a year or so, the Air Force decided to move me from Fort
Bliss, Texas in El Paso, to Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene.

I had the movers take everything but my mead and some essential furniture all
of which went into my truck. I drove a day to Abilene, but it was a week
before I found a place to live. Fortunately it was around March and it was

I moved into a nice apartment and unloaded everything except my mead, when I
decided to run to the store real quick.

Imagine my horror when I returned. Upon stopping, I looked back and saw two
5 gallon carboys sliding along the bed of my truck for the cab! Smash!!!
I lost two carboys and most importantly all that mead 🙁

For about a month, at least I enjoyed the aroma……

> Okay, I'm sure this was common sense, but sometimes in the heat of a big
> move, common sense can be in short supply. A caution regarding moving with
> mead and other fermentables…
> I brewed two meads in January 1997 when I lived in South Florida. A couple
> months, a couple job interviews later, and I bottled in June to prepare for
> a move to Michigan in July. One was a ginger metheglin, fairly dry, and the
> other was a heavy straight mead that still had a way to go, primed to
> hopefully end up sparkling. I loaded up 10 gallons of mead, bottled, minus
> what I gave away.
> Three day drive, including stops, in temperatures in the 90's. The car
> obviously got hotter. Well, two and a half years later, they still taste
> the same, as if they were frozen in time. I'm assuming I killed the yeast
> with the heat. Luckily, they tasted okay to begin with. The straight mead
> is just extra sweet, although still pretty high in alcohol so you know you
> have had a mead when you drink it.

Subject: Corking
From: "Stan Prevost" <>
Date: Sun, 15 Aug 1999 16:52:41 -0500

Hi, y'all –

There has been some discussion lately about difficulty encountered when
inserting corks into bottles. One tip I read, but haven't personally tried
yet, addresses the problem of compressing the air trapped in the bottle. A
piece of fishing line, or weed-eater line, can be inserted into the bottle
neck, then the cork inserted, then the nylon line pulled out. Supposedly
this provides an escape path for the air while the cork goes in.

Stan Prevost
Huntsville, Alabama

Subject: Heartburn From Mead Drinking?
From: "Mike & Lynn Key" <>
Date: Sun, 15 Aug 1999 19:23:41 -0400

Does anyone else get heartburn, i.e., pressure and burning sensation, in
the chest and stomach when drinking mead? I just bottled my first mead (16
lbs. Tupelo honey, 1 packet Red Star Pastuer Champagne yeast, 1 tsp. acid
blend and 5 tsp. yeast energizer). It had been aging in the carboy since
late December. I racked it twice. O.G. was 1.170, F.G. is 1.040. Each time
I sample some of this VERY sweet mead I get the above sensation in 5-10
minutes after sipping a small amount. Perhaps it's not heartburn but some
type of reaction to the honey? I don't think it's a yeast reaction (I drink
and brew beer–no problems there). Thanks.

Cordially, R. Michael Key

"Extremism in the pursuit of prudence is no vice"–Greasy Fingers, Chicago

"I stink, therefore I offend"–Da Card, Greasy Fingers' little brother

Kool Keys' Family Website

Subject: bitter mead
From: "Andrea Pacor" <>
Date: Mon, 16 Aug 1999 13:28:44 CDT

Hi everyone
Right now my second batch ever is calrifying in its second carboy.
As I was leaving italy for a long period in the US, I left the four carboys
with a friend to take care of – he was quite excited with the idea.

I decided to write because at first racking, which I managed to attend, it
turned out that one of the meads is very very bitter. My friend insisted we
use chestnut honey which he had at home. We boiled cinnamon, nutmeg and
cloves in water, poured in the honey and pasteurized it for 20-30 min., let
it cool and then pitched the yeast the next day. The result are three
sweet-tasting meads and the bitter chestnut one.

Is there anyting we can do to improve on the taste? I thought of two

a) heating the mead to pasterurization temps and adding honey
b) making more must, adding it to the chestnut mead and pitching yeast

I am open, and will be grateful for, any suggestion.


andrea – italy (now in kansas)

Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #754, 15 August 1999
From: "DENNIS KEY, RN, PACU (RECOVERY ROOM) 272-2720" <>
Date: Mon, 16 Aug 1999 12:11:12 -0600

RE: Getting the corks all the way in. I boil sufficient water, dribble in a
dash of sulfite and soak the corks for 15-20 minutes. The hot water softens
them enough (usually) so they go in all the way. I have the ramrod type
corker. I think I'd have an easier time with the more expensive model that
grasps the bottle and uses lever action th seat the cork.

Never Thirst,


Subject: Re: Mead judging, Brittany mead tour
From: Dan McFeeley <>
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 1999 10:08:26 -0500

On Tue, 10 Aug 1999, in MLD 754, Chuck Wettergreen wrote:
>In MLD #753 Vicky Rowe <> wrote:
>> Wow! sounds like a great trip. I'll have to try to make a trip to Brittany
>> when I go to Europe…..meanwhile, is there any chance of getting a copy
>> of that article? I'd *love* to read it……..

It was in the Spring 1996 vol 19, no. 1 issue of Zymurgy, pp. 61 – 65,
titled "It's Been A Pleasure Meading You: An International Meadery Tour,"
by Jim Martella. You might be able to get a copy through the interlibrary
loan system, or contact the AHA @ 303-546-6514 to order a back copy of
the Zymugy issue.

As Chuck says below, it was an interesting but all too brief article on the
author's tour of meaderies in France, England and Scotland. The author had
little to say about meaderies in the British Isles, so the majority of the
article is on his tour of France.

Martell found that the French use a variety of methods are used in making
mead. Mead makers vary in the choice of whether to heat the honey must
before fermentation, or in the use of additives such as acids and yeast
nutrients. Some do, some don't. Different yeasts are also used, such as
wine, cider and ale yeasts, and some even use spontaneous fermentation.
On the other hand, elsewhere in the article Martell says that the major
yeast strain used by the French in mead making is a Chablis yeast. The
French classify mead according to the quantity of honey used at the start
of the ferment. Sec, or dry mead begins at SG 1.055 to 1.065 and finishes
at 1.00; doux, or sweet mead begins at 1.085 to 1.090 and finishes at 1.00.

French mead makers agree on several things, according to Martell. They
think the use of Chmpagne yeast in mead is humerous, they don't believe
in using techniques designed to speed up fermentation and production of
mead, and they believe that their mead is the best. Mead is compared
with a young Bordeaux Grand Cru wine in France. Many believe that mead
is at its best when aged 5 to 10 years, and others age mead 20 or even
50 years.

The Gallic pride in mead making, as in other things French, is easier to
understand when we are reminded of how young the U.S. is, relatively
speaking, on the international scene. Our sense of historical identity
as a nation goes back only a few centuries, while that of the European
countries stretches out for millenia. In my home state of New Jersey,
you can occasionally see stone walls dating back to the Revolutionary war;
in Europe and other countries, this is only a brief yawn in a long history.
National pride would seem to be all the more prevalent when the sense
of historical identification runs deeper. Dom Perignon is supposed to
have exclaimed "I'm drinking stars!" when he first discovered sparkling
Champagn — in mead making, we are drinking history.

Chuck wrote:

>It is an interesting article, but we found one important item to be
>totally untrue. The author said something about the mead makers
>he talked to being secretive about their ingredients and processes,
>even thought he spoke French as well as or better than English.
>We found exactly the opposite to be true. The mead makers *we*
>talked to were not only willing, they were very enthusiastic about
>sharing their methods, honey varieties and sources, yeasts, uses
>of acids, stabilizers, . . . . [rest of post deleted]

The stereotype of the indifferent or even arrogant Frenchman is all too
easy to fall into. Chuck and Wout's experiences speak of the opposite
here! I wondered if a possible reason for the differing experiences of
Chuck and Wout versus Jim Martell was because Martell, in spite of his
expertise in French language and culture, was a visitor and, on his own
admission, a neophyte at mead making. Chuck and Wout are both experienced
and able mead makers and can appreciate the subtlies of mead making much
more than Martell at the time of his visit. I think the reaction of the
French mead makers Martell visited may not have been "reluctant," as he put
it, but perhaps more accurately described as polite. It's so much easier
to open up and share ideas with people, even visitors from other countries,
who share a kinship in a tradition such as mead making.

Another point Martell touched on lightly was the high quality of French
meads, but did not dwell on those of other countries, with the exception of
the Lurgashall Winery in West Sussex, England. Prior to Martell's meadery
tour in 1995, he had tried to find commercially made mead in the U.S. but
was unsuccessful (curious, considering that he had contacted the American
Mead Association, and there were certainly commercial meaderies in existence
at that time). Not to take anything from the French with their well deserved
reputation from centuries of tradition, but I think that if Martell had made
a tour in the U.S., meeting and talking with mead makers both on the amateur
or commercial level, or visiting major competitions such as the Mazer Cup,
he would have had an opportunity to sample some of the best meads this
country can produce, and certainly meads comparable to those produced by
the French.

Sorry, just a little Yankee pride. 🙂

Dan McFeeley

Subject: Chilean Mead
From: "Mariela Soledad Sarpi San Martin" <>
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 1999 23:23:35 -0400


I'm a chilean student of Food Ingeneering (Do you know about Chile?, we are a
fabulous country in the Sud of Sud America)

I'm working in my memory of grade, of the University, about mead making with
chilean honey.

But I dont' have information about "Sensorial Evaluation of mead" because in
Chile we dont't have mead and I'm really know about this point.

Please, Yoy can help me?

Thank you very much………. Byeeeeeeee!!!

Subject: Please help the new guy...
From: Stan Marshall <>
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 1999 20:58:33 -0700

Hi All….

I've been lurking for a couple of months and think I'm ready to make my
first batch of mead…. And I'd appreciate any help I can get to make my
first experience as painless as possible. I have had several pounds of
raw sage honey given to me by a friend, so I'm looking to find out if
this is a good variety to use for mead. I'm also hoping someone might
have a recipe that would "showcase" the flavor of the honey.

Thanks in advance for the help,

End of Mead Lover's Digest #755