Mead Lover's Digest #0808 Fri 9 June 2000


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



fermentation temps (
Stuck strawberry mel (
Should I Bother ("Patrick Schreiber")
Re: Pear Melomel (Mick)
Good Temperature Ranges? (
New e-commerce honey store & pasturization work around (Ken Mason)
Competition announcement ("Scott Stihler (AVO Analyst)")
Black Berry mead (Paul Hudert)
Irrecoverable screwup?? (Not me, but what I did!) ("kevinp")
Re: That strawberry mead ("Daniel S. McConnell")
rec.crafts.brewing and mead (Dick Dunn)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #806, 18 May 2000 (
RE: My strawberry melomel just stopped? (


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Subject: fermentation temps
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2000 02:20:24 EDT

Ryan Z. writes:

<< Our house is usually 78 degrees or so, and I thought that might be too
warm. I'd prefer to do it outside if possible, but I just can't think of a
cool enough spot. >>

You're probably best off staying in the house rather than one of the more
variable places you mentioned. Mead is more tolerant of that kind of
temperature and a few meadmakers even prefer it around the upper 70s. I'm a
little leery of it (production of fusel alcohols) & would try to bring the
temperature down a few degrees. One way is to set the carboy in a large pot
or pail with some water, put a T-shirt over the carboy into the water and
keep wetting down the T-shirt (it will wick up some water as well).
This is more of a necessity for me with beer, for which 78 degrees is a real

Subject: Stuck strawberry mel
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2000 02:36:28 EDT

W.W. McCormack writes of an apparently stuck melomel which used 3 lbs. of
honey with strawberry juice and water to make a gallon. No info on current
gravity was provided, but the O.G. given of 1.020 is clearly a typo — maybe
1.120, or higher?
If it has stuck, I would suspect either a too-high starting gravity due to
the honey + 4 lbs. strawberries added to a relatively small amount of water,
or a pH problem (2 tsp. citric acid addition) or a combination of the two.
If the melomel proves to be way too sweet and is stuck, I'd suggest diluting
it to two gallons and adding fresh yeast. Additional honey could be added as
desired for a final sweetness level. But add the honey in small doses, and
no more acid unless you think an addition is called for after fermentation.
I'm not sure about this part, but a teaspoon of gypsum might help buffer the
pH if I remember correctly. Somebody yell out if this is hooey.

Subject: Should I Bother
From: "Patrick Schreiber" <>
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2000 12:36:43 +0200

Hi there, I was hoping to get some advice.

I have recently decided to brew up some mead, I have read everything that I
could get hold of but my question hasn't been answered. My problem is that,
living in South Africa, winter is just starting. The temperature will vary
between 15 and 21 Degrees Centigrade here during the day, and it gets down
to about 8 – 10 Degrees at night, average room temperature will sit at about
15 degrees I suppose. I am worried that this will be too cold for the yeast
to survive and to work well. I don't want to waste all that honey if it
isn't going to work.

Is there any advice for brewing in cold conditions?
What do the experts think, should I bother?
Should I try an experimental batch, of say 5 litres, and what recipe should
I use?

Subject: Re: Pear Melomel
From: Mick <>
Date: Thu, 01 Jun 2000 04:38:00 -0700

Re Eric Bonney's question on pear melomel, I made a similar concoction a
few years ago. Delicious! I can't find any notes on the recipe, but I
seem to recall that I washed 10 pounds of pears, sliced and juiced them,
adding the juice after taking the brewpot off the heat. As for the
honey, I only use locally-produced raw, unprocessed honey, usually a
wildflower or foxglove honey.

I've used the same juicing technique for making apple honey. Equally

This weekend I'm making hop-mead, my roommate's (and my) favorite.
Cheers! Greetings from the Oregon Coast!

Subject: Good Temperature Ranges?
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2000 07:05:15 -0700

Hello everyone!

First let me tell everyone how much I truly enjoy the Mead Lovers

Digest. I look forward to reading it as a welcome distraction from my long
days of number crunching at my job!

My question is actually two part: What is the best temperature range

for fermenting mead? What would be the mediocre temperature range? And
what would be the unacceptable range?

The second part is: What is the best temperature range for aging

mead? What would be the mediocre temperature range? And what would be the
unacceptable range?

I look forward to everyone's responses as I am trying to locate the

best place in my home for these two steps in the mead making process. I
thank everyone in advance for all there help.


  • -John

Subject: New e-commerce honey store & pasturization work around
From: Ken Mason <>
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2000 09:13:41 -0700 (PDT)

Dutch Gold Honey just went live with their e-commerce
store, With 1, 5 and 60 pound containers of honey

Their are 13 Flower specific varities including harder
to find ones like blueberry, buckwheat, avacado and
Tupelo (60 pounds of Tupelo! WooHoo!)

The only catch is that they filter and pasturize their


Since it's hard for me to get raw, unfiltered honey in
bulk amounts, I've been adding a pinch of fresh bee
pollen (health food store) for every pound of filtered
and pasturized honey I use. It seems to work well.
It's my guess that some of the enzymes that denature
in pasturization are persent in sufficiant amounts in
bee pollen to give the mead a "hive to the carboy"

Subject: Competition announcement
From: "Scott Stihler (AVO Analyst)" <>
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2000 09:25:49 -0800 (AKDT)

Announcing the E.T. Barnette Homebrew Competition!

This is an AHA sanctioned competition.

The grand prize for Best of Show is $500!!!

Great prizes will also be awarded for the first, second
and third place entries for each of the five Classes judged.

The five Classes that will judged are: Dark Ale, Light Ale,
Dark Lager, Light Lager, and Specialty/Mixed style.

Mead entries are welcome.

Meads should be entered in the Specialty/Mixed style Class.

Although there is not a specific Class for meads at present,
should there be sufficient entries a separate Class for meads
may be formed. This was the case last year and a wonderful
raspberry melomel came in third place overall.

Location: Fairbanks, Alaska

Entries will be accepted: July 6-12, 2000

Entry fees: Submit three 12-16 oz brown or green crown capped
bottles and a check or money order for $5.00 in U.S. funds.

Judging: The first round of judging will take place on July 15th.
The final, Best of Show round of judging will take place on July 19.

More information as well as Entry and Bottle ID forms may be found
at the following URL:

Should you have any questions or will be in the area and would like to help
judge contact Scott Stihler at or (907) 474-2138.

Subject: Black Berry mead
From: Paul Hudert <>
Date: Thu, 01 Jun 2000 20:20:48 -0400

Thanks to everyone who replied to me about the strawberry mead..
now for my Blackberry:

I started this mead April 12.. with 3# of honey and 6 oz of heavy black
berry syrup (One gallon recipe) (yeah, I'm experimenting!)
and 2# of black berries. 2/3 of a package of Montrachet yeast.

it bubbled like crazy for a good while.. took the berries out 9 days later..
bubbling just fine..

now, it has stopped. It's been dead for a week. it's only been a month
and a half and the S.G is now 1.004 (I didn't get an original reading
because of the berries.). I tasted it, and it tasted like Night Train.. ,
but that's to be expected from the age.
it's still mirky, but there is no action inside the jug.

well, the question:

should I wait for it to clear completely on its own?
Can I Bentonite it? is this a bad idea?

it seems like a silly question, but it's just so short a time, I've never
had a recipe stop fermenting that quickly!

thanks everyone


Subject: Irrecoverable screwup??  (Not me, but what I did!)
From: "kevinp" <>
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2000 21:50:42 -0400

Hey folks!!

I did something really dumb, and I need some opinions as to whether or not I
can recover from it. I've been brewing a 5 gallon carboy of sack mead (from
"Mad About Mead) for the last couple of months. My O.G. was 1.120 when I
started it on 3/9/00, and when I checked it yesterday morning, it was 1.065.
It looked like there was no fermentation going on, but I figured that it
might because it wasn't warm enough. So I, in my infinite wisdom, put the
carboy on a heating pad set to "low", and let it go.

Here's where the fun begins. I looked in on it this afternoon, and the
airlock was full of mead and many, many bubbles were rising from the depths.
AND the carboy was hot to the touch. Some of the must had forced itself out
between the airlock and stopper as well. I took it off the heating pad and
replaced the airlock and stopper. I had to dump some of my brew out of the
carboy as it had risen to almost the top of the neck!! Is it possible that
all I did was fry the s&$t out of my yeasties, and I can recover by pitching
a new starter, or should I start completely over again?? My wife's
skeptical enough about my mead-making endeavors, so this isn't helping my
status in this regard 😉

Any help, suggestions, condolences, etc. would be greatly appreciated!!

Kevin Palm
Grafton, OH

Subject: Re: That strawberry mead
From: "Daniel S. McConnell" <>
Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 12:23:06 -0400

>Anyhow, I picked Micah's brain a little bit and his recipe seemed a little
>unorthodox when compared to the other suggestions posted regarding this
>style of mead. Two suggestions he's made are 1) use ale yeast and 2) use 1
>Tbs vanilla per gallon.

>From what I have seen almost all of Micah's recipes are unorthodox.
>From what I have seen almost all of Micah's meads are fantastic.
Is there a relation? Probably…


Subject: rec.crafts.brewing and mead
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 2 Jun 00 22:57:40 MDT (Fri)

I used to be an avid USENET ("net news") reader and contributor. I
retreated when the onslaught of address-harvesting and spam became too much
to bear. However, I still have a small news feed and I still occasionally
dig through rec.crafts.brewing. There's a bit of mead discussion in it.

But when I dig in and start reading, I'm often appalled by the lack of
knowledge and experience apparent in some of the postings from people who
put on airs of being experts. The real stumbling-about leads to stuff like
some folks writing that it is pointless to expect a mead to be any good
before it is at least two years old…while others assert that meads are
well on the downhill slope before two years! I know from experience–my
own and that of many other mead-makers–that neither of these are
accurate: A decent mead should be ready well within a year, and should
last for quite a few years. That's just one example…so it goes with any
advice on mead, be it yeast or fermentation temperature or … whatever.

Well, then, one reaction is that the folks on r.c.b have become a bunch of
Philistines and should best be ignored. But that's myopic at best–the
newsgroup has wide circulation, and every potential mead-maker who is
turned off to mead by the folks on r.c.b or the experiences he has as a
result is a loss to our community.

What, if anything, can mead-makers do to address the r.c.b crowd?

Dick Dunn Hygiene, Colorado USA

…Simpler is better.

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #806, 18 May 2000
Date: Tue, 6 Jun 2000 15:48:28 EDT

I had one airlock that that was dry in the morning after a late night brewing
session while all my others stayed filled. At first I thought that I might
have forgotten to fill it so I added some more Vodka to it. But then it was
empty the next day and I realized that something else was wrong. I noticed
that the airlock had a hairline crack in the base of the tube and the liquid
was able to leak out. I threw it away and put a new lock on without any more
Perhaps your lock has a small crack in it. Once your mead is a room
temperature there is no reason for a vacuum to form.
I have recently noticed that some of my "S" type airlocks have mead that has
expanded into them do to the warmer temperature of summer because I had my
carboys filled to the top in the winter. I'll take the airlocks off, clean
them, and lower the fill level with a wine thief. The levels will shrink in
the fall, but only air filtered thru the airlock's Vodka will get in.
Sometimes I've put a small amount of cotton on the top of the airlock when I
know that a reverse vacuum due to temperature changes will be happening and
air will be sucked back in. But the backward pull is weak and should bubble
thru the lock and not suck in any sanitizer.
Bob Grossman

<< Warren says:

<< I realized that the fault lies with
my airlock. I have the standard 3-piece airlock (dancing hat) and fill it
with sanitizer. The sanitizer dissapates in a few days leaveing plain
water (I guess). Well, when the temperature drops in my house, a vaccuum
is created and the liquid in the airlock is sucked into the carbouy. >> >>

Subject: RE: My strawberry melomel just stopped?
Date: Wed, 07 Jun 2000 10:41:44 -0400 (EDT)

W. W. McCormack asked about a possibly stuck strawberry melomel:

You say that the O.G. was 1.020, I assume that was just the strawberries before
the honey was added. What was the S.G. after adding the honey, and what is it
now? I have had strawberry mels and wines ferment to completion in just two to
three weeks. Fermentation may have been just about done by the time you racked
to the secondary.



Marc Shapiro

Visit 'The Meadery' at:

"If you drink melomel every day, you will live to be 150 years old,
unless your wife shoots you."

  • — Dr. Ferenc Androczi, Winemaker of the Little Hungary Farm Winery

End of Mead Lover's Digest #808