Mead Lover's Digest #0765 Fri 29 October 1999


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



Re: Looking for Good Cyser Recipe (Stephen Murphrey)
Re: polyclar and pear melomel (Stephen Murphrey)
Please read…recipes wanted (Gregg Stearns)
re: elderberry melomel ("Kurt Hoesly") (
Elderberrry Melomel ("Stevenson, Randall")
Acid levels (Gregg Stearns)
New honey source (
What is bee's wax ("William A. Millett")
Old Lithuanian Mead Recipes (Dan McFeeley)
juice melomel (Gregg Stearns)
Lalvin EC-1118 ("Carl Wilson")
Bottling Question (Jim Layton)
An obviously stuck fermentation, I think, but… (William Macher)


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Subject: Re: Looking for Good Cyser Recipe
From: Stephen Murphrey <>
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 1999 00:11:15 -0400

> From: "Carl Wilson" <>
> Date: Sat, 09 Oct 1999 22:20:51 -0500
> I'm looking for a good Cyser recipe. Something that will turn out only
> slightly sweet. The only mead that I ever tried that didn't turn out
> good was a Cyser. I don't want a repeat of that!

I used this simple recipe to produce one of my very best meads:

  • — 5 gallons of unpasteurized cider

  • — 3 quarts of honey

  • — Wyeast dry mead yeast

  • — yeast nutrient

It fermented very quickly, was crystal clear, and was delicious at bottling time
So I never found out what it was like after aging!

Stephen Murphrey

Subject: Re: polyclar and pear melomel
From: Stephen Murphrey <>
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 1999 00:22:22 -0400

Subject: polyclar and pear melomel
From: "Fred Ogline" <>
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 1999 09:58:36 -0400

The technique for clearing melomel depends on the source of the cloudiness. If
you sanitized your fruit with heat, you could have set the pectin. In
that case, you'll need to use pectic enzyme. I just racked a cloudy peach
melomel with a few drops of pectic enzyme, gently swirled the carboy to
mix it a little, and it cleared overnight.

Stephen Murphrey

Subject: Please wanted
From: Gregg Stearns <>
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 1999 23:41:11 -0500

I've posted this before…long ago.
I run a little website called Malcor's Homebrew HQ
( that has a few beer recipes
and a couple mead recipes (more coming). That's where I'd like your help.

Anyone who'd like to submit a recipe, please do so! Drop by the site, or
just e-mail me at
Give me a name, and i'll give you credit for your entry. I'd like to see
a lot of variety.

I'll also be posting my Raspberry Facade melomel on there soon (1.5 lbs
raspberry, and at final gravity i'll add enuf raspberry flavoring to make
it tastier (brewing flavoring that is))


Gregg Stearns | 237 South 70th | tel: +1.402.441.3292
Editor Vnews Insider | Suite 220 | fax: +1.402.483.5418 | Lincoln, NE 68510 | URL:

Subject: re:  elderberry melomel ("Kurt Hoesly")
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 1999 09:42:51 -0400 (EDT)

Kurt Hoesly wrote:

> What would be a reasonable amount of elderberries to use for either a 3- or
> 5-gallon batch? I'm kind of interested in doing a cyser with elderberries
> in it, too…any suggestions for the amount of cider to use?
> Any advice/suggestions are definitely welcome!

I made some Elderberry wine at the end of the summer which is in secondary
now (pretty much finished). Typical fruit requirement for the wine runs
around 3 or 4 lbs per gallon and this can be fairly tannic, requiring a
bit more aging than other fruits to soften the edges. I would suspect
that for a melomel, something around 1 to 2 lbs per gallon would be
enough but it wouldn't hurt to get a second opinion. The big problem when
working with Elderberries is the sap that they exude. Its yellowish/green
sticky, rubbery and stubbornly refuses to dissolve in any of the following:

water (soapy or not)
Lysol floor cleaner
(and probably a few others I can't remember)

This sap will cling like glue to any available surface and will create a
cleaning nightmare – especially with narrow-mouthed containers like
carboys. The only food-safe solvent I've discovered to date that will
clean this crap off is vegetable oil. I used canola but its likely that
other types will work as well. Still it takes a little scrubbing with an
oil soaked paper towel or brush to do it. My advice is to rack off into
wide-mouthed containers a few times until there is no longer any sap
being deposited on the sides before moving to a standard carboy. Also,
it would be wise to do your straining in a nylon stocking that can be
thrown out as the sap will be especially hard to clean out of a straining
bag. Cruise the flea markets for an old-fashioned 5 gallon pickel jar –
the kind with a 5 inch mouth and a carrying handle. I have one and I can
get my whole arm inside to clean it.

Let us know how it turns out.

  • -pete

Subject: Elderberrry Melomel
From: "Stevenson, Randall" <rstevenson@LDI.STATE.LA.US>
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 1999 09:57:43 -0500

In MLD # 764 "Kurt Hoesly" <> asked: "Has anyone on the
list ever made an elderberry melomel? "

I made some last year. I used a flor sherry yeast. When I sampled it when
fermentation stopped (around 6 weeks) I thought the batch was contaminated.
About 9 months later this substance tasted delicious. Some thought it was a
brandy. The elderberry flavor came through strong and the final product was
hot and sweet (due to the high sugar content of the initial must). As for a
recipe, I used about 1/3 elderberry juice and 2/3 regular mead must. If I
were to make another batch, I'd reduce the amount of elderberry juice to
about 1 part in 4 or 5 because of the strong elderberry flavor that
persists. I'd also add some apple juice to the must for balance, but that
is a matter of personal taste. And I'd also use a different yeast just for
the experience of it all.

Randall Stevenson

Subject: Acid levels
From: Gregg Stearns <>
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1999 11:58:32 -0500

Long ago someone posted info on suggested acid levels in various meads.

Can someone repost that, or tell me what issue it was so i can go dig for it?


Gregg Stearns |
Online Editor | The Daily Nebraskan

Subject: New honey source
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1999 15:06:32 -0500

I just found an inexpensive honey source for those
located in the East to Midwest, although, depending
on your local cost, it might be economical to ship
farther. Their prices plus shipping are comparable
with my local inter-beekeeper pail price.

It is Dutch Gold Honey Inc.

2220 Dutch Gold Drive
Lancaster, PA 17601-1997
800-338-0587 (ask for Beth)
MasterCard/Visa or mail them a check

They sell small amounts 1-3 pounds retail, but by
the pail (60 pounds) the savings are great. I asked
if they have interim sizes and they said no. I just
ordered a pail of buckwheat at U$0.86/lb. Their
commercial baker's honey (Dutch Gold) is U$0.69/lb.
They also have tupelo, blueberry, sage, avocado,
orange blossom and others. They ship UPS.

If you use lots of honey, or participate in a honey
buying co-op, this is the place for you. I have no
interest in this company other than as a customer,
yada, yada, yada.

Many belated thanks to J Brangan for telling me
about this company back in February. Unfortunately
I didn't search them out until now.

Geneva, IL

Subject: What is bee's wax
From: "William A. Millett" <>
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 99 19:17:42 PDT


Ken Mason < asked: What are the organic components of
bees wax? Fatty acids? A carbohydrate of some sort? I've always wanted to

Bees wax (according to The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Beekeeping – Roger
A. Morse & Ted Hooper) is composed of myricyl palmitate [C31H61.C16H31O2],
cerotic acid [CH3(CH2)24COOH] and its esters and straight chained, uneven
numbered, carbon high paraffins [C21 to C33]. This all means that it is
composed of long chained esters (combination of fatty acids and alcohols)
and long chained paraffins (hydrocarbons), as all waxes.

Glad to help.

William A. Millett

Subject: Old Lithuanian Mead Recipes
From: Dan McFeeley <>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 1999 09:23:48 -0500

One of my co-workers, Casmir "Chuck" Petkunis, recently passed on two
recipes for mead to me which he says have been circulating in the Lithuanian
side of his family for generations. The copies I have came from a collection
of Lithuanian recipes which he says was pubished around the 1950's, but
he's seen the same recipes in an older Lithuanian book published around the
1930's. The family name is Petkunas, a common name which Chuck tells me
means the same thing as Smith. The recipes in the books were gathered from
Lithuanian families in Chicago.

Although there certainly are some redactions to recipes added by more
recent generations, they may be quite old, coming from families in old
Lithuania. Anyone have any ideas, or recognize connections with older

The recipes are below, as they appear in the material Chuck gave me.
(note – "Midus" is the Lithuanian word for mead)

Dan McFeeley


1 handful juniper berries
2 nutmegs
1 handful hops
7 quarts honey
14 quarts water
1 oz yeast
1 tsp sugar

Break and crush berries and nutmeg. Tie with hops in cloth bag.

Place in honey and water, boll about 1/2 hour, skimming off foam.
Cool to lukewarm (about 100 degrees F.) Pour into a 5 gallon bottle.
Do not overfill, allow about 4 inches space from surface to top of
bottle. Cream yeast with sugar and 1/2 cup of honey-water liquid,
set in warm spot for 10 – 15 minutes until it begins to bubble.
Slowly pour into liquid in bottle. Stopper bottle with cork into
which a glass tube (thistle tube or medicene dropper with bulb
removed) has been set (to allow fermentation gases to escape).
Allow to ferment at temperatures of 60 degrees no less than 6
months. At end of that period, filter off with rubber pipette
or siphon, pour into botles, cork. Ready to drink a month after

N.B. — aging improves mead. It is at its best 2 – 3 years after


Ancient Recipe

2 quarts honey
5 gallons water
1/2 lb. hops
1 slice bread

Measure and pour exactly half of the honey and water into a large

kettle. Using a stick, mark on the stick the distance from the top
of the kettle to the surface of the contents. Pour in remaining
honey and water. Bring to boil. Tie hops in clean cloth, place in
kettle. Boil until one-half of the liquid remains (ascertain by
using the marked measuring stick). Cool. Strain through several
thicknesses of cloth into a barrel or crock. Spread enough yeast
on bread to cover thickly. Place bread in liquid. Mead will begin
to ferment in 3 days. Strain again, pour into bottles, set in cool
spot. Mead can also be stored and aged in barrels (oaken preferably).

Subject: juice melomel
From: Gregg Stearns <>
Date: Thu, 28 Oct 1999 23:03:52 -0500

anyone had good luck with a juice (instead of fruit) melomel?
I made one long ago with cran grape that was tasty
Ocean spray brand juice

anyhow, let me know any suggestions you might have. I'd like to make this soon.

Gregg Stearns | 237 South 70th | tel: +1.402.441.3292
Editor Vnews Insider | Suite 220 | fax: +1.402.483.5418 | Lincoln, NE 68510 | URL:

Subject: Lalvin EC-1118
From: "Carl Wilson" <>
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 1999 00:53:41 -0500

Just wondering if anyone has tried Lalvin EC-1118 for making mead? If
so, please let me know how well it worked.

Subject: Bottling Question
From: Jim Layton <>
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 1999 10:14:36 -0500

I am an inexperienced mead maker and need a bit of advice regarding
bottling technique. I bottled a still mead this summer, putting roughly
half of the batch into crown capped bottles and the other half into
corked wine bottles. The crown capped bottles are fine, no carbonation
has developed and the mead tastes OK. My problem is with the corked
bottles – they leak. The procedure I followed for corking the bottles
was taken from a rather small booklet on home wine making: soaked the
corks in a bisulfite solution for a couple of hours, insert corks (this
step seemed to go well), let bottles sit upright for 2-3 days, then lay
bottles on their side.

Everything looked fine for several days following laying the bottles
down, but a couple of weeks later I looked again. Sticky goop around the
corks and ants everywhere. I cleaned up the goop with a wet cloth and
stood the bottles up, so far no more ants. That was a couple of months
ago. Now I'd like to know what my options are. Should I leave them
standing? Pull the corks and recork? Seal with wax, maybe? Drink them
before these leaky corks allow oxidation/evaporation?

Advice regarding how to deal with the current situation and how to avoid
it in the future would be much appreciated.

Jim Layton

Subject: An obviously stuck fermentation, I think, but...
From: William Macher <>
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 1999 20:13:29 -0700

Hello everyone,

Last November I started my third mead, which I intended to be a sweet mead
and which was fermented on the yeast from a batch of belgian style beer.

I have made two two mead prior to this one. Both had final gravities of
less than 1.000. My intention with this one was to make a sweet mead. I
have taken a look at the archives, and have concluded that my current mead,
which I last evening transfered to a new carboy, is stuck. The starting
gravity was 1.200. Last evening the meads gravity was 1.050.

What should I expect this mead to finish at if I am shooting for a sweet mead?

Loosing my cool for a moment, I opened three packs of dry champange yeast
and dumped them in the carboy on top of the 1.050 must…no activity yet…

I guess I will let it sit for another year…it did taste interesting, but
really too sweet…very honey like…but this novice mead taster does not
know much anyway…

Any advice would be appreciated…

Bill in Pittsburgh, Pa, USA

End of Mead Lover's Digest #765