Mead Lover's Digest #0756 Tue 24 August 1999


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



Sage honey (Kevin Mc Lean)
All corked up ("Charles Hudak")
acid level in finished mead (Jason Dobranic)
Self started Cider/Cyser ("Larry R. Sieting")
Sage Mead Recipe (Paul Gatza)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #755 (
3 gallon batch/corking (
racking (Leni Pleau)
MLDigest #755 – Smart question, Meading people (William Millett)
More Raspberry Flavor? (


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Subject: Sage honey
From: (Kevin Mc Lean)
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 1999 10:57:37 +1000 (EST)

Stan Marshall wrote about:

>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

I've used drops of clary sage essential oil in replicating sage ale (a
medieval drink); however, there are cautions to be observed. The truth of
the matter is that the drink is probably quite healthy in the doses you'll
find sage in honey, but several medical sources concerning sage mention it
as an abortifacient (especially in oil form). Consequently, I wouldn't give
the mead to anyone who might be pregnant (wierd I know, but…). Sage ale
tastes sweet due to the essential oil – I don't know if this helps, but
well combined I think sage honey would make a nice mead.


Kevin Mc Lean.
STEPS Co-ordinator/
CLC Tutor.
Mackay Campus.
07 49407416.

Subject: All corked up
From: "Charles Hudak" <>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 18:14:36 -0700

I haven't been following the "cork thread" but I thought that I'd throw in
my 0.02. I routinely cork finish half of each batch in 750mL wine bottles
and have never had a problem with "compressed air" in the bottles. I use a
large hand corker that I am able to borrow from a local homebrew shop
(thanks Homebrew Mart!)

I fill the bottles so that once corked, there is only about 1-1.5 inches of
head space and it has always worked out fine. Of course you are going to
trap some air in the bottle and it will be slightly compressed. Where's the


Subject: acid level in finished mead
From: Jason Dobranic <yzjjd@TTACS.TTU.EDU>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 21:22:14 -0500

Hi all,

Being still very ignorant to all this mead making I have a question I need
to find out before I bottle my first batch. First of all it was a peach
melomel which has cleared up very nicely. Being a bit more familiar with
winemaking and people's comments on insipid meads, I need to know what type
of acid levels are adequate for both sweet and dry meads in the final
product. I used one of those standard type kits found in brew stores and my
mead comes out to .4% acid on their scale. They also say that white wines
should be ~.75, reds .65 and fruit wines .6. For some reason they don't have
meads on the list! I heard some discussion that acid level is very important
in the final quality so any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Subject: Self started Cider/Cyser
From: "Larry R. Sieting" <>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 22:25:23 -0400

Hello all. A while ago I posted about a 5 gallon carboy full of apple cider
that started to ferment on its own. Well, I tasted it, other than needing
to be racked off of its lees, it is promising to make a good product. I
didnt get sick or any kind of a bad feeling about it. It is dry in texture,
has a nice apple flavour and aroma. Now I know that it has finished its
(supposed) lambic fermentation. My question is this: If I add honey to it,
will it restart fermenting? If som its not a problem, but I dont want to
create a monster from this stuff. And I dont really like dry beverages.
Unfortunately, the only honey I have on hand is what the beekeeper I get it
from calls second grade honey.. dark thick and strong. It also has a fair
amount of apple in it so I would like to use this honey.

Any info about this next stage would be appreciated.

My regular meads and melomels are fine and come out the way I intend to
(usually 🙂 ). Its just this went off by its self and its a new thing.


Larry R. Sieting

Subject: Sage Mead Recipe 
From: Paul Gatza <>
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 1999 09:17:35 -0600

Stan asked for a first-time mead recipe with sage honey. Here are some
thoughts and a recipe. I have used sage honey in the past and it is very
mild in aroma and flavor compared to many honeys. To get the most
telling details out of that aroma and flavor, you are limited to a
traditional mead. I usually heat my meads to 150F for twenty minutes. If
you have a wort/must chiller you can use all of the water at once. I
know meadmakers who sulfite their meads so as not to lose some of the
honey character in the heating. I would also go with a still mead to
avoid losing any honey character volatilizing in the carbonation. You
also want to use a sufficient quantity of honey so that there is some
residual honey character for the flavor and aroma. Dry ones tend to lose
much of that. On the other side, sweet ones generally take longer to
come around. This is your first mead and you don't want to wait forever,
so I would recommend a medium, traditional mead for your first go round.
Here's a recipe:

for 5 gallons:

4 gallons water (spring water or carbon-filtered preferred)
15 lb sage honey
1 T extra light or light dry malt extract (as a nutrient)
15 gm of Lalvin D-47 dried yeast (feel free to substitute a different
ale or wine yeast) (rehydrated in water per package instructions)
1 or 2 t acid blend if needed, at bottling (taste at bottling time to
see if necessary)

Instructions: Heat 1 1/2 gallons water to 170 F. Take kettle off heat.
Dissolve in honey and DME. Heat at 150F for twenty minutes. Turn off
kettle. Add remaining water (gently to avoid splashing). Chill to 75F.
Taste. Transfer to fermenter. Aerate well. Pitch yeast. Ferment. When
fermentation slows, taste and transfer to 5-gallon carboy for secondary.
Let clear. Taste. Add acid if necessary for balance. Transfer to
bottling vessel. Bottle. Drink over time to see how the character of the
mead changes over time.

Good luck.

Paul Gatza
American Homebrewers Association (303) 447-0816 x 122
736 Pearl Street (303) 447-2825 — FAX
PO Box 1679 — E-MAIL
Boulder, CO 80306-1679 — AOB INFO
U.S.A. — WEB

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #755
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 1999 15:20:04 EDT

Stan says, about reducing air compression during corking:
"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."

Acton & Duncan recommend a length of plastic coated wire for this purpose. I
can vouch that a.) it appears to help relieve air pressure and b.)flimsier
materials can break when you try to remove them. It's a good idea to
sanitize the wire.

Mark says:
"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?"

I wouldn't worry about the headspace during active fermentation, but I would
avoid storage with that much headspace. Consider the 3-gallon carboy —
you'll find it comes in handy a long time. Or make 5 gallons. Or get
several used 1-gallon apple juice jugs or multi-litre wine bottles (free if
you are industrious or thirsty), and buy airlocks and buy and stoppers to
fit. For small headspace problems (smaller than what you've got), you can
buy glass marbles winemakers use to sanitize and put in a carboy to take up

Subject: 3 gallon batch/corking
Date: Sat, 21 Aug 1999 02:00:50 EDT

All I can do is speak from experience. I have made two batches that were
less than 5 gallons in a 5 gallon carboy, both of which turned out well. I
was just careful not to introduce too much air into the process while
siphoning (I put a plastic bag over the the opening with a hole cut for the
tube). One actually was my strawberry tawny port I posted over 3 years ago
on the cats meow, which seems to be a very popular wine. I have received a
few compliments on it. By the way, if anybody out there has made this, it is
great right now.
About corking, I found the line didn't create a space significant enough to
let the air out, so I took a large sized paper clip and bent it into a "J"
shape. Thus it fits right over the lip without falling in. This works
great, and it steralizes easily by boiling it with the corks!
And for anyone out there that needs a pH meter, the old style dial ones are
showing up all over now that the digital ones are getting cheaper. Buy one!
They are fully adjustable and correctable by setting to neutral testing
sollution available mail order or through a chem supply shop. Work great
too, most are accurate to the 1/10 I've seen some that go to the 1/50th
Doug Thomas

Subject: racking
From: Leni Pleau <>
Date: Sat, 21 Aug 1999 08:25:05 -0700 (PDT)

As someone with limited free time, I never get around to racking my meads
before they are finished fermenting. They always taste great anyway.

What difference does racking off the lees during fermentation make to the
final flavor?


Subject: MLDigest #755 - Smart question, Meading people
From: William Millett <>
Date: Sat, 21 Aug 1999 23:36:58 -0300

Hi everybody,

*Mark Warner posts a smart 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?"

That is how I lost my very first mead. The honey I had was insufficient to
make 1 gallon of must at the proper concentration, so I had to make do
(there are decisions and decisions…) with 1-gallon carboy 3/4 full. The
mead-to-be was tasting and looking well, protected by the carbon dioxide
blanket, until I racked the first time. A few days after the still
fermenting mead started to darken and have a sherry like aroma. In the
following weeks things went from bad to worse, the mead looked like port
wine and tasted awful. All the time the gallon carboy had airlocks, except
when during racking, of course.

I bottled it counting on the action of time to improve it which never
happened. That was about 5 years ago. The mead (?) still tastes like old
oxidised mead, instead of new oxidised mead.

Answering the question – you might (caveat emptor!) get away having lots of
headspace until the first racking. Then you will have to use carboys with
proper volume. Remember that you lose volume every time you rack. Looking
back at what happened to me, I would definitely go and get a carboy with the
right volume (or purchase more honey).

*Heartburn From Mead Drinking? Imho, could it be that the mead is too
alcoholic and sweet? I don't think the honey is the problem, nor the yeast.

*Brittany mead tour – now that is what I call a vacation. As to yeast
types, I read in various French books (two recent – Hydromels et Derives by
Andre Regard and Les Hidromels Familiax by Henri Bougeret and others, on
beekeeping, dating to the 1890s) that yeasts are to be used according to the
type of mead desired – in general Chablis for the secs (dry), Sauternes for
the sweet and Champagne for the drier (tres secs).

Someone once said about France that it was impossible to govern a country
with so many types of cheeses (or words to that effect). That is diversity.
If you get lots of people making lots of mead (or, in our case, hydromel and
chouchenn) for a long time, you are bound to have quite a variety of types,
opinions and methods.

I wonder if anybody has done a similar tour around Canada. I have the
impression from web navigating that the Quebec area may have numerous
hydromelleries. Just a suggestion.

This is my penn'orth of thoughts.

Good luck and wassail to all.

Subject: More Raspberry Flavor?
Date: Sun, 22 Aug 1999 13:11:29 EDT

I've been a lurker in this forum for quite a while, but seldom post. I'm an
advanced homebrewer (more than 110 batches) and occasional meadmaker. Among
the meads are three batches of dry, sparkling raspberry melomel, one of them
good enough to win a blue ribbon at the Iowa State Fair.

I'm pleased with it myself, as are my friends. It has a beautiful light ruby
color and the aroma of fresh raspberries. However, the raspberry flavor is
much less pronounced than the aroma. It's as if you think you are going to
be biting into a ripe raspberry, only to find a hint of that taste.

My recipe is for 12 lbs. of clover honey in 5 gallons, fermented with Wyeast
Dry Mead yeast. When I rack to secondary I add six pounds of raspberry puree
and then another 4 oz. of natural raspberry flavoring just before bottling.

Should I be adding more raspberry puree (9 lbs., 12, even 15)? Should I wait
to add it until later in the process (when I add the raspberries it's been in
primary fermentation for a month and the specific gravity is about 1.000)?
Would more raspberry flavoring at bottling help?

Perhaps I really need to make raspberry wine rather than melomel. But I like
the dryness of the honey and its flowery notes. I'm just looking for a more
pronounced raspberry flavor.

End of Mead Lover's Digest #756