Mead Lover's Digest #0772 Thu 9 December 1999


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



RE:yeast OD (Scott Murman)
Newbie Questions (Chris Barown)
Merry Meglathin (Leo Vitt)
Mead- Wedding history ("Brown, Thomson")
Use of Rose Hips ("Frank J. Russo")
Is it legal? (Ted McIrvine)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #769, 25 November 1999 (
Ginger in Mead (Nathan Kanous)
Braggot / Herbs (Nathan Kanous)


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Subject: RE:yeast OD
From: Scott Murman <>
Date: Sun, 5 Dec 1999 10:46:35 -0800 (PST)

Gregg Stearns wrote:
> Using a whole packet of yeast for a 1 gallon batch has pros and cons.
> Cons would be needing to rack it and let it settle for a bit, as you're
> going to have more dead yeasties in the bottom, proportionally, than a 5
> gallon batch.

This isn't accurate. The yeast will grow until there is some limiting
factor – sugar to eat, sterols needed to reproduce, etc. Basically,
you'll end up with the same amount of yeast either way – the
environment will regulate their growth. I imagine it would take quite
a few dry yeast packs/gallon to truly be overpitching.

I use a pack of yeast for 1 gal. batches all the time and think it
works really gee-whiz swell.

  • -SM-

Subject: Newbie Questions
From: Chris Barown <>
Date: Mon, 06 Dec 1999 10:18:00 -0500

I recently started my first attempt at a cyser.
The process went as follows:

5 gallons fresh cider (no potassium sorbate)
3 pounds honey
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups maple syrup
10 sticks cinnamon
3.5 Tbls cloves
1.5 Tbls fresh ground nutmeg
Juice from 3 lemons
Juice from 4 oranges
Zest from one lemon
1 inch of ginger root, ground.
Pectic Enzyme
Red Star Champagne Yeast.

I brought 1/2 a gallon of cider to just boiling
turned it off and added the honey, sugar and maple syrup.
The rest of the ingredients (other than yeast and enzyme)
were in spice bags, and were added to the cider. I
simmered this for about an hour. I then removed the spice
bags, and poured the cider into my primary fermenter,
and added the remainder of the 5 gallons. When the
temperature was about 74 degrees I measured the specific
gravity and it was 1.080. I added the pectic enzyme, and
pitched the yeast.

This fermented steadily for almost 4 weeks. It started at
4 bubbles a minutes, slowed at the end to about 3 bubbles
a minutes, then overnight just stopped. I waited another
couple days, and it never bubbled again. I measured the
specific gravity and ti was 1.000. Should I be concerned
that the fermentation just stopped?

I just moved it to the secondary and it is quite tasty. I want
a dry, carbonated cyser. I would like to prime with honey.
How much honey should i prime a 5 gallon batch with? I have
read in different books 3/4-1 cup of honey, but i would like
to confirm this.

Also, my gf really wants a sweater, still cyser. So i may take
half the batch and add potassium sorbate to stop the fermentation,
and then add honey to sweeten it. Is there anything specific that
I need to do to make sure that the fermentation has halted?

Thanks for your time.

Just trying to do it right the first time,
Chris Barown

Subject: Merry Meglathin
From: Leo Vitt <>
Date: Mon, 6 Dec 1999 10:18:07 -0600 (CST)

I want to comment on Randall Stevenson's post in MLD #771, not about the
dark honey,
but about the herbs/spices.

>The spices were boiled separately two or three times in one quart of water
>and the water strained onto the honey. Then the spices were added to the
>honey and the honey was pasteurized at 180 F for about 30 minutes. After
>the must cooled, I added an ale yeast. OG 1.103

I sounds like Randall has put the spiced water into the primary fermenter.
I frequenlty hear comments about putting fruit into the secondary fermenter
to retain more aroma – the active fermentation will drive aroma out of
the airlock.
I have been putting fruit into secondary or even later fermenters.
My suggestion is to put the spices (or water you boiled spices in) into
a secondary

I also suggest that Randall save some for next year. It may be fine
this year, but
next year it should be even better.

Leo Vitt (
Rochester, Minnesota (507)253-6903 t/l 553-6903

Subject: Mead- Wedding history
From: "Brown, Thomson" <umbrow24@cc.UManitoba.CA>
Date: Tue, 7 Dec 1999 22:46:45 -0600

Ron Raike wrote:

> I friend was recently married and i was going to give them a few bottles
> of some old stuff as a gift and wanted to include some historical
> expainations of why mead is/was used for weddings/honeymoons … does
> anyone have record of such info or a pointer to a web site (yes, i tried
> searching)

As I am getting married this spring and have a couple gallons of mead
brewing, I was intrigued by Ron's request!! Does anyone out there know any
other tid-bits. I posed this question to a friend of mine, who did find
some interesting stuff on the web:

Here are some things I found on the Internet. I couldn't find any books in
the library, or anything particularly in depth on the Net either. But I
learned a lot about mead! I think it sounds amazing! Do you know if
anybody's making mead in B.C.? That would be a really cool thing to
do…you'll just have to move back and start up!

Anyway, here's what I found (The Mead Maker's Page) (on the history of mead)
Mead, historically, was noted, as an aphrodisiac. A man and his maid would
be thoroughly dosed with it on their wedding night, and they knew that if
the mead was good, a son would be born to them within the year. The upper
class families would give the newlyweds a month long celebration after the
wedding. Quite often a month's supply of honey mead was available as well.
There you have the birth (pardon the pun) of the honeymoon. (Lindisfairne mead)
Mead has for centuries been renowned as an 'aphrodisiac' and the word
Honeymoon is derived from the ancient Norwegian custom of having newly-weds
drink mead for a whole moon (month) in order to increase their fertility and
therefore their chances of a happy and fulfilled marriage… World famous
Lindisfarne Mead is not only the connoisseur's choice but makes a supreme
drink for young and old alike whatever the season. To many it is regarded as
the 'nectar of the gods'. (First Knight mead)
The Honey Moon Drink, Mead has long been regarded throughout history as the
Nectar of the Gods. According to legend, aphrodite the Greek Goddess of Love
would ply her lovers with Mead, to enhance…..
well, we'll leave the rest to your imagination.

Mankinds oldest alcoholic drink, Mead has been associated from ancient times
with good health, festivity – and with fertility in marriage. In early Hindu
culture it was believed that if a bride drank Mead on her wedding night, she
would honour the family with a son. Today in our modern society, First
Knight Honey Mead is a sophisticated drink of celebration, vitalty and good

Jarrod Brown
Winnipeg, MB

Subject: Use of Rose Hips
From: "Frank J. Russo" <>
Date: Wed, 8 Dec 1999 10:58:22 -0500

I am very interested in making a Rose Hip Mead. I found plenty of
information and recipe guidelines.

What I need to know is what is the best time to pick Rose Hips? Is there a
bad time? Are Rose Hips usable after being bitten by frost? I have friends
in NH with rose bushes full of hips, but they have darkened due to cold
weather. Appreciate your help.

Frank Russo
"There is only one aim in life and that is to live it."

Subject: Is it legal?
From: Ted McIrvine <>
Date: Wed, 08 Dec 1999 19:28:00 -0800

I recently read an Email (I believe on Homebrew Digest several days ago)
from an official at the BATF regarding this. He said that freezing beer
and removing 1/2 of 1% of the fluid was legal, but more was against the
law, and that the BATF was quite concerned about enforcing this with
commercial breweries. He then followed with a wonderfully tactful
comment that the BATF's main concern for homebrewers was that
homebrewers do not sell their brews.

I would strongly discourage anyone from distilling. Not only is this
taken quite seriously by Uncle Sam (to the point where he'd like to own
your own home), home-distilled moonshine can be of poor quality and high
in toxins which can include a multitude of chemicals.

Cheers and sticking to the legal stuff that produces nothing worse than
mild dehydration and headache,

Ted in NYC

> From: Ken Mason <>
> Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 17:53:36 -0800 (PST)
> HEY! I just found out that it's illegal (in the U.S.)
> to distill your own alcohol. What about
> recrystalization? (repeatedly freezing mead and
> removing the water ice which crystallizes before the
> alcohol)

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #769, 25 November 1999
Date: Wed, 8 Dec 1999 14:33:21 -0800

>From: Dave Burley <>
>Date: Thu, 18 Nov 1999 13:57:14 -0500
>On the subject of cooking/food processing
>utensil definitions, both Dick and Spencer
>"corrected" me on the name of the instrument
>used to separate peels and pulp. Spencer
>did say "also called a Chinois".

Chinois is also a Wolfgang Puck Chinese restaurant located in Las Vegas
Caesar's. BTW, it's outstanding!

Subject: Ginger in Mead
From: Nathan Kanous <>
Date: Thu, 09 Dec 1999 09:00:07 -0600

Hi Everyone,
I'm heading back to Michigan in a couple of weeks and I'll be picking up
some honey from my father-in-law. I've also picked up some crystalized
ginger (ginger preserved with sugar). What experiences have people had
with using crystalized ginger? It smells better than ground / powdered
ginger and seems easier to use than whole. Should I even make a tea with
it, or just throw it into the fermenter? Primary vs. secondary? How much
should I use? I've used fresh ginger in a couple meads. How well does
ginger work in dry meads? Any help / experience would be appreciated.
nathan in madison, wi

Subject: Braggot / Herbs
From: Nathan Kanous <>
Date: Thu, 09 Dec 1999 09:03:21 -0600

Hi All,
Another strange thought going through my head. In an article on brewing
medieval english beers, Fred Hardy discusses using an interesting
concoction in his brew. Here's an excerpt:

"Reproducing Medieval beers is both fascinating and rewarding. I
particularly like my first running strong ale from pale and amber malts and
spiced with ginger, toasted rosemary and fennel. I also treat the second
running as Medieval brewers often did – I add honey to raise OG to over
1.070 and produce braggot. BTW, Wyeast No. 1728 (Scottish ale) works well
with both.Yield is about 3 gallons each of two very different beverages
from a single mash of 12 pounds of grain."

I'm kind of interested in making a braggot this winter and I'm interested
in the spicing that he mentions here (ginger, toasted rosemary, and
fennel). Has anybody used rosemary or fennel in a mead? How much did you
use? How much effect did it have on the final product?

Any information on the use of herbs (quantitites) in mead would be
appreciated. TIA.
nathan in madison, wi

End of Mead Lover's Digest #772