Mead Lover's Digest #0793 Fri 3 March 2000


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



orange Peel answer (Paul & Lisa)
Keeping sparkling mead bottles from exploding. ("Stevenson, Randall")
boiling aroma (Leonard Meuse)
becoming a commercial meadmaker (
Beekeeping (
Braggot (
Bill Pfeiffer ("Ken Schramm")
Lars' – Really Silly Question – MLD#792 ("Denice L. Ingalls")
Bee pollen, royal jelly, and propolis ("Nathan Harris")
Water (
Ancient Pyment (Dan McFeeley)
Two questions ("Houseman, David L")
forest mead (Chris Barown)


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Subject: orange Peel answer
From: Paul & Lisa <>
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 22:55:18 -0500

Although I have not tried it myself yet,
The recipes I have that include citrus peels
all say not to use the white part of the peel.
Only use the very outside.
Apparently it throws off the flavor.

  • -Paul

Subject: Keeping sparkling mead bottles from exploding.
From: "Stevenson, Randall" <rstevenson@LDI.STATE.LA.US>
Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 09:42:38 -0600

Eric Bonney asked, "Could I move the case outside to my storage closet since
it is still cool here in OH? What would the temp. swings from around 10 –
20 degrees F at night to 60 – 70 degrees during the day do to the flavor at
this point?"

First, storing the bottles where they may freeze creates a good chance that
the bottles will freeze and burst. I would not recommend storing them below
30 degrees F. Second, if you used the EZ cap bottles that cap like Grolsch
bottles, here is something I have done to reduce the carbonation. I just
slightly opened the bottles enough to bleed off the excess carbonation and
resealed them. It worked like a charm. Several of my capped bottles in the
batch exploded, but I lost none of the EZ cap bottles. I've also found that
the EZ cap bottles are more sturdy than most beer bottles (of the Budweiser
variety). This means it is less likely that they will go grenade on you,
but it also means that if they do go grenade, tehn they will be much more


Planning is the substitution of error for chaos.

Subject: boiling aroma
From: Leonard Meuse <>
Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 10:35:52 -0800

I'm not terribly interested in starting to boil my honey but I thought I'd
throw this into the pot. I never boil, never sulphite, only just started
mixing the honey with warm water just to get it mixed better, and have NOT
YET had a rancid result. What I have noticed however is some of my stronger
charactered honeys (macadamia, mesquite, sourwood) have incredibly strong
aromas, some of my friends think there is too much aroma and cant get past
it. I dissagree with them but I think an interesting experiment which I
WILL try this weekend with 3 1 gallon batches of macadamia mead (because it
has a strong aroma and that should make differences easier to detect),
noheat vs heat-without-boil vs boil.
Heres drinking to you!
Len Meuse

Subject: becoming a commercial meadmaker
Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 14:41:40 EST

In a message dated 2/24/00 8:20:25 PM Pacific Standard Time, writes:

<< After a particularly horrid experience last night with a mead whose
will remain unnamed, I was forced to wonder… why doesn't anyone bottle a
decent commercial mead? How hard is it to navigate the regulatory maze?

So, my Really Silly Question is this: Has anyone on the list tried going
this route? Do any of you commercially produce meads? Am I crazy for even
fiddling with the concept, with probably fewer than ten batches of mead
(figuratively… ) under my belt? >>

I haven't tried it. I do recommend a look at the chapter on this subject in
Pamela Spence's "Mad About Mead" for a bracing overview of the process
involved. It's not something to be done without full-bore commitment. But
no, you're not crazy!!

Subject: Beekeeping
Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 14:42:51 EST

Regarding VIZECKY's request for books on beekeeping:
Consider, also, courses offered by your local university and/or its extension.

Subject: Braggot
Date: Sat, 26 Feb 100 09:51:56 -0600 (CST)

We made a braggot that we started in mid-November, all extract, lightly
hopped. After two months, it was ready to bottle, at around 7.4% abv.
And I have to tell you, it's amazing. Nice fruit ester boquet without
being overwhelming, lightly sparkling from a malolactic fermentation.
Extremely clean taste. We served it to friends who brew a lot of mead,
and were told that ours was better than the braggot they'd gotten from a
commercial meadary (the only other one they'd had). We also gave it to
friends from Kazakhstan, who took an immediate liking to it. Beer-drinking
friends and wine-drinkers who don't like beer much both gave it the thumbs
up. The only people who didn't seem to like it were those who'd expected
it to be more beer-like than it was, or more strongly alcoholic than it was.
(In other words, our French neighbors didn't seem to like it as much as their
cheap French table wine that they made us drink. But that could have been
for nationalistic reasons.)

Okay, so here's the recipe:

For the starter:

1/2 lb. / 2/3 c. / 225 g. Pale liquid malt extract
1/4 lb. / 1/3 c. / 115 g. Honey
1 package American ale yeast (Wyeast)
3.5 c. / 825 ml. Water (filtered if your local tap water is chlorinated)

Boil the water with the malt extract and honey for 10 minutes. Cover, and
let sit for 30 minutes. Cool in a water bath until the temperature drops
below 80=B0 F (27=B0 C). Add the yeast.

Split the starter into two 750-ml bottles and top with a rubber stopper and
fermentation lock. Save one of the bottles for another use.

Wait overnight, 12-24 hours.

For the braggot:

2 1/2 lbs. / 3 1/3 c. / 1 3 kg. Pale liquid malt extract
3 1/2 lbs. / 4 2/3 c. / 1.6 kg. Honey
3 US gallons / 11.35 l. Water (filtered if chlorinated)
1 tsp. acid blend
1/4 tsp. Vegemite (autolysed yeast extract)
1 oz. / 28.3 g. Fuggles hops
1 bottle of the starter

Dissolve the malt extract in the water. Add the acid, Vegemite, and hops,
and bring to a boil. Boil for 45 minutes. Let the mixture cool to 145=B0F
(63=B0 C) and add the honey. Cover and maintain the temperature, being careful
not to let it drop below 140=B0 F or rise above 150=B0 F (60-66=B0 C). The must
will have a specific gravity of approximately 1.087.

Strain the solution into a sanitized food-grade plastic bucket. Add the
starter, and cover loosely.

After two days, the fermentation will have been real atomic. Tons of kraeusen
to skim off. Skim and rack.

The next day, fermentation will be real atomic, and there will be a largish
amount of trub. Rack the braggot again.

Wait two weeks. Then rack the braggot again. Top off with filtered water.
When we did this racking, we needed to add 10 c. (2.35 liters) of water.

Wait one week. If there is a lot of sediment, rack again. We needed to add
1 c. (235 ml) of water to top off the braggot.

Wait three weeks. Rack again, and discard the sediment. Top off with water.
We added 1 c. (235 ml).

Wait 10 more days. If the braggot is completely clear, take a gravity reading.
Four days later, take another gravity reading. If the gravity readings don't
change over four days, bottle.

Your readings may vary, but ours were as follow:

Final original gravity (accounting for dilutions): 1.064.
Final gravity: 1.008
Approximate alcohol by volume: 7.35%.

The braggot was drinkable immediately and improved greatly after aging three
weeks in the bottle. We're told it gets better if it ages for six months,
but we're not quite sure we'll ever be patient enough to find out if that's

  • –Jack and Kira in St. Paul

Subject: Bill Pfeiffer
From: "Ken Schramm" <>
Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2000 10:07:18 -0500

This weekend was at the same time a very trying and very
satisfying weekend for the Ann Arbor Brewers Guild. In
preparing for the AHA Y2K conference in June, Bill Pfeiffer
offered to craft the Commemorative Mead. Between his
commitment and the mead making session, Bill was
diagnosed with cancer, which had spread throughout his
body before being diagnosed. He has been enduring
chemo-therapy and holding out hope to make the conference,
to see his son graduate, and to pursue all of his life's many

We bottled the mead this past Saturday. Bill is at home now.
He has had enough of the hospitals and chemo-therapy,
and is making the most of his remaining days with the help of
Hospice. He is very short on time (he outlived his doctors
short prognosis by making it to Saturday), and getting the mead
bottled was a major concern. We had frogged around trying to
find bottles until Jason Henning reached Rob Moline (Jethro
Gump), who arranged a donation of the needed bottles from
Abita Brewing Co. Through Jason's and Rob's work and
determination, the bottles arrived in the nick of time. Steve
Klump (AABG, formerly of Stroh's and now a long distance
member of the group) came through with caps, Phil Wilcox
prepared a dazzling and appropriately commemorative label,
and the club rallied a large group to complete the bottling.
We were truly running on borrowed time, and I am very proud
of and grateful to those who kicked in to make this happen.

Rob, Paul Gatza, and the AHA Board of Advisors made the day
even more satisfying and emotional by awarding Bill its first
ever Lifetime Achievement Award, which I presented to Bill on Saturday.

Bill has contributed immensely to the AHA, to the BJCP (he is
a founding member who helped chart the course for beer judging and
competition), and to the world of brewing and mead making. He is like an
early rock-and-roller:
He has been an influence on people who don't even know
who he is or what he has accomplished. You can pass along regards at

Please keep him in your prayers.


Ken Schramm
Troy, MI

Subject: Lars' - Really Silly Question - MLD#792
From: "Denice L. Ingalls" <>
Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2000 09:35:56 -0800

Yes – there are those of us out here that do make mead commercially, and yes
the beauracracy is a nightmare, and yes making mead commercially is very
different than making small batches for yourself. Everything changes when
you change your volumes, and your equiptment…not to mention having to get
federal and state approval for every nuance on your label and your
recipe….And as a grape winemaker once told me – If you want to make a
small fortune in the wine business, start with a large one. We've had fun
trying to teach the public at large about mead, but it's slow going, and
there are as many opinions on what we should be doing, as there are people
out there. In fact at one wine show/judging event I asked one judge for
feedback and she simply said, "grow grapes". I don't think she was a real
mead fan. As for us, we just make mead that we like to drink. It is dryer
than most mead makers generally make, but hey, if your going to work this
hard, you deserve to make yourself happy, right? If it's your passion, it's
worth looking into…as for the payoffs?…I enjoy my work right now, but
we're living on my husbands paycheck. And last but not least, I really hope
that it wasn't our mead that you tried. Good luck.

Sky River Meadery

Subject: Bee pollen, royal jelly, and propolis
From: "Nathan Harris" <>
Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2000 16:48:55 PST

I was recently reading the section on mead in the book: Sacred and Herbal
Healing Beers : The Secrets of Ancient Fermentation
by Stephen Harrod Buhner. In the book they talk about bee pollen, royal
jelly, and propolis. They make quite a few amazing health claims about
these products. I was wondering if anyone had ever used any of them in
their meads? If so, what is the effect on fermentation? Taste? How much
of each should be added to a five gallon batch?

Thank you,
Nathan Harris
Homer Alaska

Subject: Water
Date: Tue, 29 Feb 2000 14:31:27 +0200

Hi –

I'm curious as to what water everyone uses when brewing. Who filters, who
uses only spring water, etc.

/Kate Collins

Subject: Ancient Pyment
From: Dan McFeeley <>
Date: Wed, 1 Mar 2000 09:48:35 -0600

The recent issue of _Archaeology_ had a brief report on excavations by Ian
Meadows and Tony Brown showing that wine making had been practiced 1,600
years ago in the British Isles, during the Roman era, in Northamptonshire's
Nene Valley. According to Meadows and Brown, the grapes would have been
harvested around late September, before they had fully ripened. They were
then pressed and honey was added to add sweetness and help raise the alcohol

The report was on Roman style wine making in the British Isles, but this
is actually a pyment! It would be interesting to know if Classical authors
such as Pliny the Elder touched on the use of honey in making pyment, or
how long it had been made in this way.

Dan McFeeley

Mr. Mead says "Oooh, it's so good!"

Subject: Two questions
From: "Houseman, David L" <>
Date: Thu, 2 Mar 2000 08:56:21 -0500

Although a brewer for years, I've just begun meads and have two questions
about one that I have in the carboy. First, after 4 months from start and
racking to the secondary I used sparleloid to clear it. After 3 weeks, the
top 6-8 inches are perfectly clear. However the remainer of the carboy is
as hazy/cloudy as ever and just lies there like a blob or inversion layer
underneath the clear mead. I've put the carboy in the fridg in hopes of it
dropping clear. Other suggestions: Another shot of sparleloid? Gelatin?
The second question is one of balancing the flavor (medium sweet) with acid;
is there a preferred process? No acid was added so far but I was thinking
of acidifying one ounce a drop at at time with an acid blend solution and
then scaling this up to the entire carboy. Does this sound reasonable or is
there a better approach, just as target pH per degree plato?

David Houseman

Subject: forest mead
From: Chris Barown <>
Date: Thu, 02 Mar 2000 20:16:39 -0500

I am thinking of trying the 'Forest Mead' recipe
found in the Cat's Meow. Has anyone tried this
recipe? How much is a 'pot of tea'? I drink
Pu-erh regularly, but I am unsure of how much
to make for this mead. Any help would be


End of Mead Lover's Digest #793