Mead Lover's Digest #0784 Thu 20 January 2000


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



Re: Buying honey (Scott Gemmett)
Pineapple mead (Joe Fiorenza)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #783, 18 January 2000 (
RE: Vanilla extract? (Webster Homer)
Polyclar (Anne Trowbridge)
Carboys for the Po Boy ("Stephan Butcher")
Wedding Mead ("Stephan Butcher")
Mead Party! ("butcher")
sources for honey (CAM LAY)
Re: buying honey (
More Love of Mead ("Douglas Whynott")
What gravity determines sweet/semi-sweet/dry in mead? ("Stevenson, Randall")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #783, 18 January 2000 ("Jeff Spurlin")
Pomegranate mead (dennis key)
Holy sparkling mead Batman! (Gregg Stearns)
Re: Mead Aging (
BJCP Mead Scoresheet ("Michael L. Hall")
Re: Bitter meads ("Wout Klingens")


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Subject: Re: Buying honey
From: Scott Gemmett <>
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2000 15:54:01 -0800

I found a beekeeper who goes to the farmes markets around here. His
name is Ed Brinkman and he is a really nice guy.
Now how to find him you ask? I used to go to the Farmers Market at
Town and Country in San Jose (Winchester and Steven's Creek) but
the market got closed down and I don't know where/if it has been relocated.
It was Friday morning 9AM-1PM – if anyone knows where it went please
let me know.
The good news is that he sells Honey out of his house in San Jose and
you can call and let him know what you need. -1 day advance notice
is needed so he can bottle it up.
Phone (408)296-1562


Subject: Pineapple mead
From: Joe Fiorenza <>
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2000 19:20:50 -0600

First off, thanks to those of you who post informative,
topical, information to the MLD. I truly appreciate all of
your hard work.

As the subject line indicates – this post is about pineapple
mead. This is only my second mead, the first being a
cranberry mead that contrary to what i've read here on the
MLD had absolutely no problem fermenting. I believe the
culprit was thought to be benzoic acid? Regardless that
turned out fine.

After the first relative success I decided that I wanted to
get a little tropical. After several long and drawn out
discussions with another subscriber to the MLD about various
tropical combinations I decided that pineapple would be the
way to go.
(And I quote – bannanna mead would taste horrible!)

Here is the recipe:

2 fresh pineapples (at 4 bucks a pop I had to skimp a
2 cans pineapple (in its own juice – no *ose's)
7 46 ounces unsweetened pure pineapple juice (hyvee brand)
12 lbs Iowa Honey (produced on a farm in the middle of no
where from what I could tell)
1 pkg. Red Star Champagne Yeast

I prepared the must by addind about a quarter gallon of
water to the pot then adding the honey, the pureed
pineapple and one of the cans of pineapple juice. The must
was pasteurized, cooled and added to the carboy along with
the pineapple juice. Suggested retail alcohol content
should be about 12 percent.

This is where it got interesting.

I pitched and put the carboy in it's new home. Things
started off a little slow. Rapid fermentation took about 48
hours to get to a roll. When I say roll – I mean it. When
I woke up for work on Monday morning I was meet with a
carboy that was overflowing with pulp and gunk. The
ceiling was also decorated with an interesting pineapple
splatter pattern.

After seeking council re: how do I fix this from a friend –
the blow tube idea was implemented.

This leads me to my questions.

1) is there such a thing as a "surfactant" of sorts that
could or does minimize such "blowouts"

  • one of the problems that I noticed is that the pulp of

the fruit was sitting on top of the bubbles and rising to
the top.
2) I noticed that the pineapple juice had ascorbic acid as
one of the ingredients. What are the chemical and taste
implications of having this additive to the mix, if any?
3) Pureeing the pineapple seemed to incorporate a lot of air
into the mix. Although I pasteurized the puree does this
really have anything to do with the problem I had with

Thanks for any help you might be able to offer.

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #783, 18 January 2000
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2000 22:34:24 EST

In a message dated 1/18/00 6:36:18 PM Central Standard Time, writes:

<< Angela says:
"I'm wondering if you know of sources to purchase honey? I've searched our
local health food stores, grocery stores and even looked for beekeepers in
our area (SF Bay Area, CA – no luck). I've found clover, small quantities of
orange blossom and some wildflower at exorbitant prices" >>

I don't know if this issue has already been beat like a dead horse or not,
but I'll throw in my two cents. I searched far and wide – just knowing that
there MUST be a source of cheap varietal honey on the net somewhere – there
just HAD to be one. And I finally found it – They have
vareital honeys in 40# buckets for about $1 to $1.10 per pound (plus
shipping). I was so pleased with myself that I bragged about it the first
chance I got on another brewer's list and wouldn't you know it, someone
one-uped me. has honey in 5 gallon (60#) buckets
for between $.75 adn $.83 per pound (plus shipping.) Now Miller's doesn't
have as many varieties, but man, wouldn't you want orange blossom for
$.83/lb? 60# is alot of honey, but not if you've got friends who also brew.

As for variety, I have yet to find anyone who has a wider selection than You don't even want me to discuss prices
here, though. Be prepared with the paramedics at your door when you go into
cardiac arrest.

Hope this helps.

Brew On! Ox

Subject: RE: Vanilla extract?
From: Webster Homer <>
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2000 23:11:36 -0600

The amount of alcohol from extract is quite small when diluted into 5+
gallons of liquid so I doubt if it would have any effect upon the yeast.
However, I don't like vanilla extract. I made a great vanilla mead by
placing one vanilla bean into the primary fermenter, and I moved it into
the secondary when I siphoned it off.

The final result was a very pleasant mead with a distinct vanilla flavor
that was not over powering.

Subject: Polyclar
From: Anne Trowbridge <>
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2000 23:05:16 -0700

Polyclar attracts tannins, most particularly oxidized
tannins. Your polyclar may have stripped some of the
tannins in your mead. I've heard winemakers say that the
tannins are the backbone of wine; even a small change can
affect your perception. I once attempted to clear excessive
tannins from a loganberry wine with polyclar: while it did
seem to reduce the tannin level somewhat, age has done more
than the polyclar.

Subject: Carboys for the Po Boy
From: "Stephan Butcher" <>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2000 00:28:18 -0800


I have been brewing myself in to a corner and I only have 3 carboys! I have
shopped around for new (and used) carboys and the results are pretty
depressing. The best I could find was 14.00 (5 gallon). Being in Seattle,
the garage sales won't be starting for a while and there was nothing in the

What are some other options?
Can I use food grade plastic containers? Why not? What exactly are the
requirements for the container?

I can very likely get some of the new 5-gallon plastic water jugs they use
for coolers, is there anything bad about using them?

Adv thanks ance!


Subject: Wedding Mead
From: "Stephan Butcher" <>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2000 00:31:21 -0800


I am getting married in March and I just realized that the yeast I used for
the last 2 batches are going to be working right up until the event and
won't be ready. Are there any mead recipes that mature enough, quick enough
to have by the end of March?

What about zapping the yeast in their now and bottling now? Ho hum…I
sound so desparate.

Thanks anyway…


Subject: Mead Party!
From: "butcher" <>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2000 02:46:34 -0800


I am in the middle of planning a mead making party. I plan on about 15
people and would like all of them to make their own 5 gallon batch. What
are some of the guidelines and recommendations you would give. Here are
some that I have already.

* Quick mead – less than 6 months to drink
* Give guest a list of BAD ingredients (preservatives…)
* Give guest a list of GOOD ingredients
* Links to fun mead web sites
* Give guests mead – takes mead to make mead…
* Have guests bring their honey and extras
* Have carboys and equipment ready
* Music (any suggestions, BEEtles?)
* Label making area (computer)
* Indoor and outdoor boilers
* Handles for the carboys
* Payoff the police BEFORE the party
* More than one "expert" onsite

Specifically, does anyone have a great simple AND quick to mature mead
recipe? I was hoping to have the party on the summer solstice and then
drink on Halloween, or something like that.

All comments welcome and anyone in the Seattle area is of course invited!


Subject: sources for honey
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2000 09:16:22 -0500

Most likely the best cource for information on beekeepers and honey is your
state's land grant college or Cooperative Extension Service. Every county
has an office. In the phone book in the blue government pages, usually
under "agriculture."

Your tax dollars at work, folks. You may as well get something for 'em. 😉


Subject: Re: buying honey
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2000 10:07:01 EST

When I want something special, I order from Castlemark Honey in Virginia.
They have an obscenely large selection, the prices are reasonable, and the
owner has I believe made his own batches of mead. The web address is <A
The phone number is 1-888-335-6464 (I'd recommend checking the website for
the prices instead of calling :).

  • Joshua

Subject: More Love of Mead
From: "Douglas Whynott" <>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2000 10:11:31 -0500

What in the world could have been said to offend the electronic censors?
Could someone have said…honeypot? Or perhaps it was Stephan Butcher's =
of the word…tart? Clean up your pallettes!

Thanks to all those who answered my post asking about the love of mead. What
a drink it is, when you think of it=97how biological! A flower produces a sweet
fluid to attract a highly social insect, which forages that flower, sucks up
the nectar and in the process transfers pollen, insuring reproduction. The
bee flies home, passes the nectar, processes it with salival fluids, caps it
with wax, and then, along comes the big guy who takes and spins out the honey.
One big guy sells it another big guy or gal, who in turn heats it and adds
fruits that have (possibly) been pollinated by the bees that made the honey.
The big guy then adds a fungus to the insect-manipulated juice, and that
fungus proliferates to a population of 50 million cells per teaspoon (yikes!),
and man, it gets really gassy! The big guy watches, and hopes, and looks
forward to that time, two years down the road, maybe, when he or she holds up
a glass of that yellow fluid, smiles sweetly at a loved one, and says,
=93Cheers,=94 to which the partner answers, =93Wassail!=94 To which they both
(knowingly) smile, being pretty highly social themselves. Ah, for the love of

Thanks also for the addresses of mead makers. I=92ll try to visit the ones near
where I live (southwestern New Hampshire) and will report back.

Subject: What gravity determines sweet/semi-sweet/dry in mead?
From: "Stevenson, Randall" <rstevenson@LDI.STATE.LA.US>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2000 11:26:34 -0600

I've used the Lalvin EC 1118 yeast several times and it is so attenuative
that I always get a dry (too dry for me) mead. (I lucked out with one batch
an produced a sparkling apricot melomel that tasted just like a good dry
champagne.) In an attempt to make an orange mel following Wout's recipe (but
using local organicly grown navel oranges instead), my IG was 1.08 and I
added enough honey, teasing the mead, that the adjusted IG would have been
1.14. I was hoping for a sweet mead and added the zest at SG 1.014 to kill
the yeast and obtain a FG of about 1.01. Is this right? or am I going to
still have a dry mead? Can I add more honey after the fermentation has
stopped to produce a sweet mead? What gravities distinguish sweet from
semi-sweet from dry?

Randall Stevenson

  • — Planning is the substitution of error for chaos.

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #783, 18 January 2000
From: "Jeff Spurlin" <>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2000 16:20:17 -0500

>: Braveheart — bad history, good storytelling
> Your highschool history text — good history, bad storytelling

I'm not sure what high school history book YOU are talking about,
but most are filled with minor inaccuracies! 🙂


Subject: Pomegranate mead
From: dennis key <>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2000 15:14:40 -0700 (MST)

I have made three batches of what I call Persephone's Passion. The name
is not original with me. I think I got it from the Bee's Lees or one of
the other websites.

Basically, I used two gallons of Knudsen's pomagranate juice and a gallon
of honey for a three gallon batch. A little less honey and it can be
sparkled with some corn sugar. I mainly use it for Samhain ritual (Pagan
New Year's, coincides with Halloween), but it seems to disappear
throughout the year at various festivals.

Never Thirst,


Subject: Holy sparkling mead Batman!
From: Gregg Stearns <>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2000 20:19:51 -0600

Much to my amazement, I found a whole case of unlabeled alcohol just a
few minutes ago.

Curious, I grabbed a bottle and opened it still warm. No heavy fizz, so
I thought it was some old honey wheat.
It didn't smell like honey wheat…nor like beer, but like MEAD!

I poured it out, and amazingly a crystal clear mead poured out,
carbonated to a champaigne consistancy.

So I took a sip, and wow! Fizzy, sweet, very tasty. I checked my
recipe book, and realized it is a metheglin from a year ago. Actually
bottled about 11 months ago, forgot to label the beer bottles, but
remembered to label the wine bottles, cuz they were x-mas presents,
though not carbonated at all.

Anyone have good tips on how to get a sparkling mead without bursting
bottles? (on purpose instead of accident)

By the way, this recipe used Wyeast sweet mead yeast, which I hear often
goes dormant, then ferments a little more after it's stirred up (i.e.
bottled or racked)

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

Subject: Re: Mead Aging
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2000 21:17:04 -0800

>Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #782, 17 January 2000
>From: "Thaddaeus A. Vick" <>
>Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2000 07:06:59 -0800 (PST)
>> Interesting question, one I never considered before now. In my personal
>> opinion, which is in no way a official answer. Mead is either drink you
>> love or don't love. I know several how enjoy drinking it, but making
>> it?? It takes longer to make and age than wine, so it's also labor of
>> love.
> It does? Perhaps I'm confused about how long wine takes, but I've
>tasted and made several meads that were thoroughly ready to drink inside
>a year. This past weekend, I and several friends disposed of two bottles
>of a mead that was brewed last March and bottled only a couple of weeks
>ago, and it was quite good.
I made a huckleberry mead in 1989 that I still don't care for, however I
have friends who insisted drinking it on New Year's Eve in lieu of
champagne. They compare it to a rare sherry….. Think they're shining
me on so they'll get more of the truly good stuff? The OG was tremendous
as I recall and it fermented completely out; my guess is 14% alcohol.
Hoo Baby….

Subject: BJCP Mead Scoresheet
From: "Michael L. Hall" <>
Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 09:41:50 -0700

I've put the BJCP Mead Scoresheet on the Atom Mashers Goodies page at:

It's the third bullet after my name.

Thanks to Bob Carbone, who forwarded me the scoresheet from Ken
Schramm. While we're thanking people, let's also mention the members
of the BJCP committee who put this scoresheet together:

Tom Fitzpatrick
Steve Dempsey
Michael Hall
Dan McConnell
Ken Schramm

Those addresses are circa 1996, so they may be defunct.

  • -Mike

Michael L. Hall, Ph.D. <>
President, Los Alamos Atom Mashers <>
Member, AHA Board of Advisors <>

Marge, beer me! Don't toy with me, woman. — Homer Simpson

Subject: Re: Bitter meads
From: "Wout Klingens" <>
Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 17:52:58 +0100

"William Arthur Millett" writes:

> Has anyone experienced bitterness in meads? I have a few lots that are

Yes, I have.

> I have read that bitterness may be due to the type of honey used. Has anyone

Possible. But not likely.
If the honey isn't bitter, the mead shouldn't be. But bitter in honey is
extremely difficult to detect because sweet is the opposite to bitter, so
I've heard.

> same lot. It has been a disapointment to know that an otherwise perfect mead
> is spoiled by this bitterness. I know it develops as the meads age, because

Tell me about it 🙁

> Can anyone help me out on this one?

I hope others can. When I put this question before the readers some years
ago I didn't get any reaction.
So I found a solution for myself. I hope it works for you as well.
First off I had bitterness in the carboy, so a lot sooner than you do.
So I stopped using CaCO3, a possible cause of bitterness if you use too
I noticed that adding acid (tartaric) helped. So I started that, whenever I
noticed bitterness.
At the same time I started adding tannin to help to clear up the mead.
After every racking I blanketed with CO2.
After that I never had any bitter batch ever.
I don't add acid anymore.
My guess is, that the tannin helped preventing oxydation, which could have
been the cause of bitterness. Also tannin has some bacteriostatic
properties, which I like because I don't like to use sulfites.
When to add tannins? I feel it's not wise to add at the beginning of the
fermentation, because yeast needs oxygen to grow. And because lots of oxygen
is present due to stirring, mixing and what not, the tannin dose would be
wasted for anti-oxidation purposes. So I feel you could best add it a few
days after pitching or later, when fermentation is well on the way.
About CO2: if you don't use Corneys and don't have a big canister, you could
have a look in a bycicle store. They usually have small gadgets to fill the
tires quickly. Very cheap indeed. It contains CO2, at least mine does, I
asked the manufacturer. A warning though. This CO2 is *not* food grade. So
before bottling you have to make sure, that your mead isn't carbonated. I
don't know exactly, but from what I understand, consuming non-foodgrade CO2
is hazardous in some way.
I've been there. You have the drink of the gods in your hands, it tastes
great but it's bitter. This should really help! Good luck.

Any other thoughts on this?


End of Mead Lover's Digest #784