Mead Lover's Digest #0794 Thu 9 March 2000


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



orange peel answer (
Re: Subject: boiling aroma (Gregg Stearns)
Re: water (Gregg Stearns)
exploding sparkling mead bottles (
Re: boiling experiment (
Mead Lover's Digest #793, 3 March 2000 (Dave Burley)
forest mead (again) (Chris Barown)
Catnip mead (Nathan Kanous)
help!!!!!!!! (
Nottingham Ale Yeast (Angela Byrnes)
last forest mead question (Chris Barown)


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Subject: orange peel answer
Date: Fri, 3 Mar 100 12:07:20 -0600 (CST)

Paul writes–

|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

Actually, the bitterness from the pith (the
white part under the peel) wouldn't necessarily
create off flavors. However, it's essential
not to use it.

As those of us who have made marmalade know,
the pith is loaded with pectin. If one doesn't
wish to add a commercial pectin from unknown
sources to one's marmalade, no problem: just
boil the pith down with everything else. Tons
of pectin get into the confection, giving it a
good consistency for spreading on bread.

All of which is well and good, but we really
don't want to add extra pectin to our must.
I suspect that if you get some pith into your
must (or if you think the bitter and astringent
flavor of the pith would add character to your
melomel and intentionally add the pith), you'd
need to up the quantity of pectic enzyme pretty
heavily. I don't know what an appropriate
addition would be, but might suggest looking to
CJ Berry's _First Steps in Winemaking_ for his
quince wine recipe as a guideline. Quinces are
the highest pectin fruit that's semi-commonly
eaten (in fact, the word 'marmalade' comes from
the Portuguese word 'marmelo', meaing quince).

Because of the bitterness and astringency of the
pith, I would also probably cut back the amount of
tannin you add to the must.

The choice thus seems to be (a) try not to get the
pith into the must, or (b) throw the pith in and
be prepared to experiment with the amount of tannin
and pectic enzyme you need, dropping the former and
upping the latter. Choice (a) seems likely to have
an easier learning curve.

  • –Jack

Subject: Re: Subject: boiling aroma
From: Gregg Stearns <>
Date: Fri, 03 Mar 2000 12:16:11 -0600

Don't boil the honey. Get the water to boiling, add the honey, while
constantly stirring. Once it's all mixed in, bring it back up to a
simmer, and as white scum forms, skim it off (these are proteins, bits
of beeswax, etc…things that attribute to hangover)
If the scum is brown, you've got the heat too high, so reduce it a

Give it a good 10 minute simmer, and you'll lose less aroma that way.

Happy brewing

Gregg Stearns | "Do you feel the way you hate?
Editor | Do you hate the way you feel?" |
ICQ# 3190139 | BUSH: Greedy Fly(razorblade Suitcase)

Subject: Re: water
From: Gregg Stearns <>
Date: Fri, 03 Mar 2000 12:21:21 -0600

I have used city tap water (slightly chlorinated) and store bought
spring water. I did notice a difference in the brewing times (the
treated water was slow to ferment, while the spring was normal/fast
compared to what I've seen of others fermentation times)

As far as flavor, I am not sure. I personally didn't notice a
difference, but I only made two batches with tap water, the rest all
spring water.

Gregg Stearns | "Do you feel the way you hate?
Editor | Do you hate the way you feel?" |
ICQ# 3190139 | BUSH: Greedy Fly(razorblade Suitcase)

Subject: exploding sparkling mead bottles
Date: Fri, 3 Mar 2000 15:46:49 EST

Randall Stevenson asked about keeping bottles of sparkling mead from
exploding. Something else to consider is that champagne bottles are built
sturdier than beer bottles to handle high carbonation pressure. They are
therefore less likely to ever explode. They will accept a beer cap or a
plastic sparkling wine cork plus wire cage.
I did use the plastic sparkling wine corks once, and after about three years
the stuff was pretty oxidized. Not sure whether I can blame it on the
plastic or not. For long storage, careful handling and minimal headspace are
also important.

Subject: Re: boiling experiment
Date: Fri, 3 Mar 2000 15:59:15 EST

Leonard Meuse mentions that he is going to try an experiment involving three
one-gallon batches of macadamia honey mead, trying to find out if boiling
does indeed reduce ultimate mead aroma.
I have long wondered if we could use MLD to design and execute experiments of
this sort as a group — using enough of us that we could actually get some
statistically significant results. In this case, a bunch of us could sign up
to make two batches of mead identical except for treatment of the must of one
batch by boiling. We could then independently do some double-blind
tasting/smelling of the finished meads & compare. Grouping all of our
results together, we "could" actually get an answer to this subject of
debate, and to the question of whether failing to boil/pasteurize/sulfite
indeed increases the risk of a bad batch.
The experiment could remain "open" for some months or years, so that
additional meadmakers and additional batches could be plugged into the
results as time goes by, increasing the validity of the results. Perhaps
each experiment could have its own website, so people can join in with the
same methodology and their results could update the experiment's conclusions.
Likewise, we could address other issues of faith and anecdote, such as the
efficacy of adding acid before or after fermentation and how each method
might affect fermentation speed and final gravity. Or the question of
whether commonly used amounts of nutrients affect mead flavor.
Anybody else interested?
Any scientists out there think they could set up an experiment?
What other issues could we experiment on?
(Don't look at me to coordinate this — but I'd be happy to participate!)

Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #793, 3 March 2000
From: Dave Burley <>
Date: Sat, 4 Mar 2000 09:51:29 -0500

As far as a Braggot undergoing a malo-lactic fermentation, I doubt it,
since a mixture of honey and malt extract has little, if any, malic acid.

The spritzy carbonation likely came from a secondary fermentation of the
tri-saccharides in the malt by the yeast. It could possibly be a
Lactobacillus diastaticus infection which consumed some of the dextrins. If
the latter, be careful as the bottles will keep on carbonating until all
the malt dextrins are consumed or the bottle explodes.

Dave Burley

Subject: forest mead (again)
From: Chris Barown <>
Date: Mon, 06 Mar 2000 12:25:56 -0500

I have also considered using maple sap in
this recipe instead of water. Does anyone
have experience using sap instead of water,
and does it sound like something that might
work with the forest mead recipe?

Thanks for your time,

Subject: Catnip mead
From: Nathan Kanous <>
Date: Mon, 06 Mar 2000 15:04:39 -0600

Hi All,
Don't page-down just yet. My father-in-law was in town this weekend. It
seems that he took it upon himself to bless me with 60 lbs of clover
honey. Guess I need to make some mead. Ideas? Anyhow, what I'm really
writing about is catnip honey. He had placed some hives on some property
and found that the honey had a unique flavor he could only describe as
"mint-like". He's really interested in my making some mead with this
honey. Two problems. Only 2 pounds of the honey left. That's okay,
because he liked the honey so much he's going to set a few varietal hives
up this year, just to get this honey. I'll have plenty to work with in the
fall. The second is a recipe. Anybody got any recipes for a mead with
catnip honey? Mint? I know there've been mint threads for me to peruse in
the archives, but I don't recall any catnip threads. Any help would be
appreciated. Thanks.
nathan in madison, wi

Subject: help!!!!!!!!
Date: Tue, 7 Mar 2000 18:46:42 EST

I am very new to brewing. My husband wnet to a local supply store and
presented me with everything needed on Christmas. Well of course being a
good mead drinker I had to start right away. I made phone calls read the
books gave up and brewed soom apple cinnamon tea in apple juice and heated
water with the honey and skimmed. dumped it together and pitched in the
yeast nutrient solution (it was the champagne yeast that every one off the
digest says to use. Put it in the big plastic bucket for three days. I
tried to take a gravity reading but couldn't figure out the hydrometer.
After three days we siphoned it into a glass carboy. Boy did it bubble and
foam. after 3 weeks siphoned it into a different carboy. It bubbled and
danced for another two weeks. Now it is crystal clear, and a beautiful amber
color. But it tastes NASTY!!!!! It has a specific gravitity of 1.020 which
is lower than anything I can find. Here's my big question. What Now? Do I
bottle and hope? Do I add more honey? Juice? It's beautiful but looks so
dead after the beautiful show. I hate to dump it but I have no references at
all about the next step? HELP, Please!!


Subject: Nottingham Ale Yeast
From: Angela Byrnes <byrnesa@leland.Stanford.EDU>
Date: Wed, 08 Mar 2000 09:20:12 -0800

Just an update… when I went to the Homebrew store to get Edme yeast they
didn't have it, told me it would no longer be available and he gave me
Nottingham Ale yeast when I mentioned what I was trying to achieve (a
sweeter mead). Well, we just transferred the batch to a secondary and gave
it a taste…. very yummy and not at all like the rocket fuel that my first
batch turned out to be. I kind of copied someone's tropical fruit recipe:

12lb clover honey
1 med pineapple
2 lg mangos
2 med papayas
juice of 4 limes
juice of 3 "pineapple" oranges
Nottingham Ale yeast
water to make 5 gal

The only fruit flavor that really comes out is the pineapple – looks like
orange juice right now and is about 3 weeks old.

Subject: last forest mead question
From: Chris Barown <>
Date: Thu, 09 Mar 2000 11:54:58 -0500

Sorry to bother everyone with all my questions.
The recipe calls for 1/2 a cup of fresh juniper
berries ground up. I only have access to dried
juniper berries. How much of these should I use
and should I grind them up as well?

Thanks again,
Chris Barown

End of Mead Lover's Digest #794