Mead Lover's Digest #0821 Mon 28 August 2000


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



crystal reply 1: rcd's submissions to the MLD (Dick Dunn)
Re: Mead Coloring Outside the Lines – Winging It (Terry Estrin)
Problems with blackberry mead? (darren hawkinson)
Brix info ("Mark Tumarkin")
Water Question & Stupid Brewer Trick, Related to pH Control ("Mark Nelson")
Crystals and yeast ("Pannicke, Glen A.")
low-alcohol mead / Non-alcoholic meadlike drinks ("Kenneth Irwin")
New Age of Mead (contains opinionizing that may not be suitable for sen ("…)
organic honey (Mark Taratoot)
RE: Buffering additives for mead ("David Wagner")
RE: Greetings and Mead De-stuckification (long) ("David Wagner")
Ridiculing the "New Age" ("Alan Meeker")
Re: Buffering additives for mead ("Alson Kemp")
Higher Temperature Fermentation Experiment ("David Wagner")
Organic Honey ("Denice L. Ingalls")
CaCO3 as a buffer (Gordon & Linda)


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Subject: crystal reply 1: rcd's submissions to the MLD
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 27 Aug 00 19:03:31 MDT (Sun)

Summary: I read the MLD and submit articles to it just like any other
subscriber. I expect the same rights–no more, no less.

I have been challenged (regarding my recent harsh reply on crystals and
mead) by folks who think that I "of all people" as digest moderator/
janitor, should be careful in the tone of my postings because I'm some-
how responsible for setting the tone of the digest. I reject that

I've made a point of separating my role as "digest janitor" (nee mead- from my personal subscription to the digest (as Yes, it's the same person, but I try very hard to
keep the two roles separate. As an individual, I read the digest when I
receive it; I don't "cut in line" or do anything special.

Maintaining the digest is easy. I've always claimed that. It's certainly
easy enough that I should claim no special privilege as a result of doing
so. BUT I am not only the digest janitor; I am a mead-maker with a lot of
experience and some strong opinions. I believe that, with seven years of
handling misdirected mail, broken mailers, bounced mail, and spam, I should
have earned the minimal privilege of contributing to the digest as an indi-
vidual, on an equal footing with the rest of you. Is that so much to ask?

Dick Dunn Hygiene, Colorado USA

…Simpler is better.

Subject: Re: Mead Coloring Outside the Lines - Winging It
From: Terry Estrin <>
Date: Sun, 27 Aug 2000 22:58:29 +0000


> I was just putting together a very spiced metheglyn
> recipe strongly flavored with raisins, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom,
> ginger, and allspice — what a coincidence that your email mentioned Chai.
> Very similar I imagine. I will probably use a darker honey (buckwheat?) for
> this one. Makes me think of a rich and magical medieval brew.

As I have mentioned in previous postings, "rich and magical" is not exactly
how I'd describe the taste of my buckwheat mead! Try Romulan ale. So, even
if you are a fan of buckwheat honey (as I am), you might want to consider
blending the buckwheat with something mild just to tone it down a bit.

(FYI – I have read that nutmeg at sufficient doses has
> hallucinagenic/narcotic type properties – but can also have other unpleasant
> side-effects. Anyone else find this to be true?)

When I was 14 (quite a while ago), my best friend and I read an article
describing how parrots like to eat lots of nutmeg and end up lolling on the
jungle floor. Inspired, we put a some ground nutmeg in a water pipe and
smoked it. Actually, we smoked quite a bit of it. Nothing much happened. We
came to the conclusion that if you want to experience the mind-altering
effects of nutmeg, you have to eat a LOT of it (or be a parrot).


P.S. Just a general note to everyone about the crystal issue: while I agree
that a person has the right to respond (in the public forum) if they feel
they've been insulted (in the public forum), it might be a good idea to
deliver all future outraged responses via private email, rather than using
up MLD bandwidth.

Subject: Problems with blackberry mead?
From: darren hawkinson <>
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2000 00:51:48 -0700 (PDT)

Ok this is my second load of blackberry, one thing I
have already noticed about blackberry is that it takes
longer than other wines to age and be ready for

This time its age over a year and it tastes like
vinegar. So I was suggested to let it age a little
more or put those things (the name escapes me right
now) that are to help kill off contaminates and then
taste. My gut feeling from talking to people is that
the batch is toast and dump and go on. I dont know.
The previous batches of just straight blackberry wine
have come out great. Tasting like a full body red
wine. There have been batches of blackberry mead that
I have tried that have been sweet but lacking in the
alcohol, others that well quite frankly sucked!

Oh well I digress, the mead in question right now is
just going through the fermentor and will be ready for
bottling in six to nine months depending on the
ferminatation process.

My question is this, do you think I should let this
age another couple of months or just throw the stuff
out and start again? Or does anybody want some
blackberry flavoured vinegar?

Or is there something I have missed that I should try?


Subject: Brix info
From: "Mark Tumarkin" <>
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2000 07:22:53 -0400

hi y'all,

I'm planning on making a pyment. With that in mind I have purchased a gal of
orange blossom honey and a can of Alexander's Cabernet Sauvignon concentrate.
On the can is the following info – 48 fl oz, 4 lbs, 68 Brix. Also a recipe for
wine that calls for the use of two cans and 8 cups of sugar (as well as other
ingredients) in a 5 gal batch.

I believe that Brix is the same as Balling which is the same as(or similar
to ) Plato. However, I don't have any info on Brix, and the Balling scale on
my hydrometer doesn't go to 68 – I assume that the 68 is because this is a

I'd appreciate any info on Brix and figuring out the SG contribution of this
concentrate. Also any possible suggestions as to recipe – I'm thinking real
simple. Mainly concerned with relative amts of water, honey, grape juice

Mark Tumarkin
Gainesville, Fl

Subject: Water Question & Stupid Brewer Trick, Related to pH Control
From: "Mark Nelson" <>
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2000 09:16:34 -0400


Alson posted some good info on controlling pH. We here in Atlanta have soft
(Pilsen-like) water. An engineering friend also mentioned that it's
unbuffered. My water question is are these two related: being soft means
water is also unbuffered? Just curious on that.

Now for the stupid meadmaker trick. My current batch is a cherry mel, which
I sort of threw together casually. I figured for this batch, I would try to
add CaCO3 as a method for buffering for the pH drop that seems to have stuck
other meads. Well, when I thought I was adding several teaspoons of calcium
carbonate, I actually had gypsum in my hands. I added maybe 3 tsp's of
gypsum instead. IMMR – Is My Mead Ruined. What will the gypsum do to my
precious cherry mel?


Subject: Crystals and yeast
From: "Pannicke, Glen A." <>
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2000 09:51:38 -0400

Brian hits on a great point regarding crystals:

>I think you found a few more here, Joshua. However, I do have some magic
>crystals that will improve your fermentations. For only $50/ounce, I will
>share them with you. Oh, and when speaking to them, they like to be
>addressed as DAP.

While not really a crystal, I would also suggest PVPP or similar nylon
fining. It may look crystalline, but it will do a great job of clearing any
mead which won't settle on it's own. Plus, it doesn't add anything
unnatural to the mead as it is racked off.

As for the crystals of Elfboy's post, people of the New Age, wicca, occult,
ect… have had to put up with other's intolerance for quite some time. I
don't think Elfboy's skin is so thin that it would chase him away. As long
as Dick isn't preparing the fire for an auto-de-fay and Elfboy's crystals
aren't telling him to burn down the house, we'll all be fine. BTW, I
thought the New Age publishers made all they could off the fad and were
looking for something else to hype now 😉

Keith writes of yeasts:

>I also found out one of the reasons for heating, sometimes
>to boiling, a must before cooling and pitching. Yeast
>is an anaerobic fungus, it doesn't agree well with
>oxygen, and the boiling like when making clear ice
>cubes drives off must of the oxygen dissolved in the

Keith this could not be farther from the truth. Yeast are facultative
anaerobes and will use oxygen whenever they can get it. It is actually a
requirement for their healthy growth in the early stages of the fermentative
process. Yeast require a certain sterol complement in their cell walls to
maintain their health. When a yeast cell divides, it also divides it's
sterol complement to the new cell. If the yeast cannot make their own
sterols, each successive cell division will result in halving the sterol
complement between cells until the yeast can no longer divide. This will
result in an abrupt end to the growth stage and possibly contribute to a
"stuck", if not sluggish fermentation. Dissolved oxygen provides yeast with
one of the essential building blocks to make sterols. Another source are
certain types of proteins, acids and fats which can be found more abundantly
in melomels from the addition of fruits.

Yeast will use up a lot, if not all, of the dissolved oxygen within the
first 12 – 36 hours, depending on the rate of your fermentation. At this
point additional oxygen is not desirable because the yeast have changed from
respiration to anaerobic fermentation due to the lack of oxygen. Adding
oxygen during active fermentation will interrupt the fermentation, changing
the byproducts of thier growth and therefore your mead.

Other reasons I can think of are that it will
>pasteurise the must and drive off certain unwanted flavours or
>chemicals. Can anyone think of others (ideally talking of a
>basic recipe, rather than boiling for a specific ingredient)

These are the real reasons. Pasteurization is #1. Extraction of flavor or
aroma components from certain spices, fruits or herbs may be another.
Boiling may drive off honey aromas. Personally, I raise my water to
boiling, turrn off the burner and add my honey. That drops the pot down to
about 180 F and it can sit like that covered for about 30 minutes to
pasteurize. I then crash cool the pot to room temp and aerate the crap out
of it by siphoning to the carboy with lots of splashing. I even shake the
carboy for 10 – 15 minutes to get as much oxygen into the mead.

Carpe cerevisiae!

Glen Pannicke

Subject: low-alcohol mead / Non-alcoholic meadlike drinks
From: "Kenneth Irwin" <>
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2000 10:14:42 -0400

Hi folks,

Does anyone have much experience making low- or non-alcholic meadlike
beverages? I've got several friends who like mead but who cannot/shouldnot
drink at all, or very much ("mm, yes, tasty. that's my sip for the night!"
While this approach makes a little mead go a long way, it'd be nice to have
some alternative).

I tend to make my mead fairly sweet, but finding some way to add a little
kick without the metabolic impact would be nice. (Hmm… adding soda-water?
I did know someone who made an incompletely-fermented mead drinkable by
mixing it wither Vernors). In the again-searchable archive, I found some
information on NA-beer at:
but the best solution there is mixing low-alcohol beer with O'Douls or
other commercial NA beer. I don't think that's an option on this one.

Any bright thoughts?

Ken Irwin
Reference/Electronic Resources Librarian (937) 327-7594
Thomas Library, Wittenberg University

Subject: New Age of Mead (contains opinionizing that may not be suitable for sen
From: "Brian Lundeen" <>
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2000 10:18:47 -0500

Joshua writes:

> Both of you claim the support of science, yet your attitude,
> and your claim,
> is extremely unscientific. Science can neither prove nor
> disprove such
> things, and science certainly does not attempt to say "things
> that are
> unprovable do not exist." Just because metaphysical
> occurrences are "not
> reproducibly detectable by any know [sic] physical method" (btw, an
> inaccurate statement) does not mean they *must* not exist.


> The point is, I don't claim to "know" for sure, any more than
> you can claim
> for sure to "know" these things don't exist. We can certainly question such
> experiences,
> perhaps even go so far as to disagree with them. Can we
> please do it without
> the ridicule?

Your right, Joshua, we should be able to discuss this without ridicule and
I'm sorry my first posting was in that vein. These are obviously strong
personal experiences that you are feeling, and if they make your life
better, good for you.

However, as someone who holds a physics degree, and is an atheist and a
skeptic, I feel that I must comment on your views of science, which
unfortunately, I find all too common. Science is not defined by its body of
knowledge, which of course is dynamic, but by its methodology. To start
with, science does not have to prove the negative, that is, that something
doesn't exist. That is a fundamental tenet. You must prove something DOES
exist, and you must do it through a rigorous methodology that will be
reproducible and withstand the scrutiny of others. Currently, science is
incapable of proving metaphysical phenomena, and in almost all instances,
can actively prove that there is nothing metaphysical happening. Maybe that
will someday change. But for now, it can't and any attempts to explain the
unexplained are pure guesswork. There is absolutely nothing to back them up.
It is human nature to try and explain things, and when science falls short,
we resort to make-believe. This is why we have gods, or in our predominantly
monotheistic cultures, God, by whatever name you wish to give It.
Invariably, you will then get people who claim to know the Will of God, and
that leads to dogma, and before you know it, people are killing each other.
Religion does a lot of people good, but it also does much harm, especially
when it interferes with the scientific process, and just makes a lot of
people undeservedly wealthy. New Age-ism may not have a God, per se, but it
falls into the same camp, and demonstrates a continuing weakness in us for
critical thinking.

Now what does this all have to do with mead? Recently in the HBD there was a
big brew-ha-ha (snicker) about the perception that homebrewers are drunks. I
think there is a similar perception that mead is associated with the middle
ages, and that only new-age and SCA types would have any interest in it. It
does mead a great disservice. I would like to be able to go down to my wine
store and be able to peruse a fine selection of meads, melomels, metheglyns,
etc instead of having to grab a bottle of Chaucer's on those rare occasions
it's available. That won't happen until mead is somehow popularized and a
decent market for the product exists. Somebody should get out there and
start promoting it as the drink of the 21st century. Have some yuppie types
throwing their cell phones in the lake as they sip on a fine pyment. Give it
silly names like the Bee's Knees, if that will help. Just do something to
get people drinking the stuff and I think a big part of that, will be
disassociating it from the "fringe" element. Everytime I hear from someone
who advocates using crystals, or fermenting under a full moon with eye of
newt in hand, I think it just sets back that cause. These people may have
been the ones to keep mead alive over the years, but it's time for a new

IMO. Rant mode off.


Subject: organic honey
From: Mark Taratoot <>
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2000 08:56:44 -0700 (PDT)


Our food co-op carries an organic honey. It is an "Iron Bark
Eucalyptus honey" from Australia, and it is the only honey they
have found that is certified as organic. In order for honey to
be certified organic — because of the range of bee flights —
there has to be no agricultural production that is NOT organic
within several miles of the hives. Apparently, the eucalypt
forests of Australia fit this bill.

As some of you may recall, I asked if anyone had experience with
eucalyptus honey in mead over a year ago. We have all read that
you shouldn't use eucalypt honey for mead because of strong
unpleasant flavors. This honey, when raw, tastes amazingly
like butter. I have not reported on the outcome of this mead as
it is still in a carboy. I'm waiting for my preferred filtrering
method (gravity) to finish working. In case you are interested,
this will be a fairly strong, hopefully dry, mead made with a
fairly standard recipe.

12 pounds eucalypt honey (the usual amount I use for ~1.085 SG)
added to water that had been boiled and removed from heat.
2t earl gray tea (added after honey)
2t each yeast energizer and nutriend (each added at half the
recdommended dose)
juice of 1 lime (just for fun; I usually don't do that).

For some reason, I added more honey:
5.8 pounds wildflower honey, for a total of 17.8
Pitched with yeast harvested from another mead (Lalvin K1V-1116)
SG 1.130 (this is a guess; it was off the scale).

I did all this early in January of 1999. It was racked on
1/24/99, 4,25,99, and 1/27/2000. At some point I added some
EC-1118 (S. bayanus) just for fun. It still sits. I'm in to

Someone recently e-mailed me to see how this mead was going. If
anyone else was curious; now you know. I'll send more
information when I bottle, then again six months after that.

  • -m

Mark Taratoot

Subject: RE: Buffering additives for mead
From: "David Wagner" <>
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2000 11:53:07 -0500

Alson Kemp noted:
>1) CaCO3 had added a chalky taste, 2) it never
>really cleared. Thoughts?

I have two suggestions for your pH problem. First, use hard water.
The tap water here in San Antonio, Texas comes from a limestone
formation and is very hard so I feel I don't need to worry about pH
because the water is already so strongly buffered with calcium
carbonate and other minerals. If you prefer using deionized water,
may I suggest putting rocks in your mead?

Since you wrote you added no acid, I suspect only the vigorous
fermentation of well-fed yeast caused the pH to drop, and as you
observed, distilled water has no capacity to buffer even the acid made
by dissolving carbon dioxide in water. See
for a thorough discussion. I think the acidity of your solution will
dissolve the calcium carbonate it needs from a few calcite crystals or
a chunk of limestone when your mead is fermenting most vigorously.
Since there is no powder involved, you should not get a chalky taste
nor difficulty clearing.

Sanitize your rocks by pasteurizing, boiling, or soaking in grain
alcohol; using other chemical sanitizers is probably a bad idea.
(Both sulfites and chlorine will react with calcium carbonate,
probably negating their efficacy as disinfectants.) I suppose there
is the possibility of dissolving too much calcium carbonate. Yeast
prefer an acidic environment; a pH of 3 to 5 is normal for the initial
ferment. Calcite crystals or marble should have a milder effect than
limestone, and I would carefully research the impurities found in a
natural material before using it. Use food-grade calcite if you're
concerned. However, check out this statement from, "A calcite system uses
crushed and screened white marble limestone which is dissolved in the
water to neutralize acidic water." Hey, rocks in your water! Let
your pH paper be your guide, and if your mead helps prevent
osteoporosis, so much the better!

  • –David

Subject: RE: Greetings and Mead De-stuckification (long)
From: "David Wagner" <>
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2000 11:53:06 -0500

Greetings from another nebie. I may have little experience, but I
have done a lot of reading and research, and on first racking my first
mead, made with natural yeast cultured from the grapes in my back
yard, is already quite drinkable. I can't say how good it is since
it's the first mead I've tried.

Alson Kemp asserted:
>that I've never had mead and I don't really know what it tastes like. But
>it's so much harder to make than beer and I'm in it for the challenge.

Interestingly I started my first batch of mead about a month ago for
exactly the opposite reason: how easy it is.

A friend told me many years ago how mead is dead simple to make.
1. Mix honey and water.
2. Let it sit.
3. Drink the clear part.

This is about as straightforward as basic wine.
1. Squash the juice out of grapes, apples, or other fruit.
2. Let the juice sit.
3. Drink the clear part.

Then there is beer. (I think this is the basic idea; I'm waiting for
winter to try it.)
1. Put malt in water.
2. Break down the carbohydrates into sugars by carefully controlling
the temperature.
3. Boil the liquid part with hops. Reserve some liquid.
4. Filter out the solids.
5. Add yeast after it cools somewhat.
6. Let it sit. It must be kept cool (by South Texas standards).
7. Put the clear part and reserved liquid into bottles or a keg.
8. Let it sit again.
9. Drink it.

Now, to make good mead quickly and consistently, there are many
amendments you may make to the basic procedure. The most common is to
use commercial yeast, perhaps after killing the wild yeasts in your
honey in some manner. Many mead makers add yeast nutrients, acids,
buffers, or other aids to fermentation. Most siphon the liquid off
the gunk at the bottom one or more times into new containers. Some
use various means to clarify their meads quicker. You may prime and
bottle if you want a sparkle. You may add honey as fermentation slows
to build a mead up to over twenty percent alcohol. You may age your
mead. And, of course, you may add fruit, herbs, tea, extracts,
spices, wood, rocks, other chemicals, or whatever your heart desires
to the beverage. However, I still think mead is pretty easy.

  • –David

Subject: Ridiculing the "New Age" 
From: "Alan Meeker" <>
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2000 13:15:05 -0400

Well, I guess I can't resist chiming in here on Dick's recent post and some
of the response it has drawn. I for one support Dick's humorous response.
Unfortunately, it seems that there are at least a few individuals on the MLD
with thin-skins. To them I say – lighten up!

As far as science goes – remember that science can never prove a theory,
only disprove it. The best scientific theories make specific _predictions_
that are _testable_ Science is without a doubt the most powerful method we
have for understanding how the universe works. Yes, science is now beginning
to be applied to traditionally peripheral disciplines such as ancient
healing practices and the like, but the jury is still out on the vast
majority of these. Most of these techniques are in fact amenable to
controlled scientific testing. Time will tell…

  • -Alan

Subject: Re: Buffering additives for mead
From: "Alson Kemp" <>
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2000 11:11:23 -0700


The whole acidity/buffering thing is very interesting to me. My mead was

prepared with distilled water and nutrients. Fermentation stopped. PH was
2.5 or so when I tested it. I added CaCO3 to raise the PH to 3.5 and
fermentation is going strong once again.

> I think the acidity of your solution will dissolve the calcium carbonate
> it needs from a few calcite crystals or
> a chunk of limestone when your mead is fermenting most vigorously.

The rocks in the mead thing sounds reasonable. Certainly no less

reasonable than adding very finely ground rock (CaCO3)… I don't know
anything about rock chemistry and I don't know much about chemistry in
general (I'm an engineer, so I know enough to be dangerous). Is there any
additive that could be added to the mead that would hold the PH at
approximately 4? So that I could just an arbitrary amount of the additive
and it would dissolve only until the PH increased to 4? Is that a
possibility with certain types of rock? You touched on that briefly in your
post, but I'm looking for a better idea. I guess the real way to find out
would be to try it and report back my results.

Maybe someone has already done this: could someone give a list of

buffering agents and their characteristics (taste, clarification problems,

CaCO3 may lend a slightly chalky taste to the final product.
KaCO3 gives what flavor?

  • Alson Kemp

Senior Applications Engineer
Tripath Technology

Subject: Higher Temperature Fermentation Experiment
From: "David Wagner" <>
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2000 13:22:56 -0500

I am doing an experiment to determine the best yeast to use for the
fermentation conditions I have available here in South Texas (daily
highs near 100F), and would like as many suggestions as I can solicit.
Mainly, I have seen and heard many references to the undesirable
effects of fermenting at higher temperatures such as the production of
phenols, methanol, alcohols of higher molecular weight, and fusel
oils, and wish to avoid these nasty things. However, since yeast
makes ethanol, I cannot figure out how these other chemicals come
about so it has been difficult to develop a strategy to reduce them.
As near as I can tell there are four factors, the most often cited
being temperature over which I have little control; I'm an
environmental nut and refuse to spend over US$500 every month to chill
the air when I'm not even home most of the day. The other three are
fermentation speed ('flash' fermentation is undesirable), the health
of the yeast, and the yeast strain used. There seems to be consensus
on healthy yeast making better mead, so I plan to give my beasties
plenty of yeast hulls and yeast extract to munch. I'll use San
Antonio tap water with all its buffering minerals, so I expect acidity
will not be a problem. However, a healthy ferment is often a fast
ferment, and I can think of no way to slow it without lowering the
temperature or making it unhealthy. Any ideas here? This leaves the
strain of yeast as the only variable, so I plan an experiment to find
the best ones: five one-gallon ferments from the same must using
different yeasts.

12.5 lbs inexpensive local honey

(I will probably use huajillo since it has a nice citrusy flavor

base, while mesquite is rather syrupy.)
water to make 5 gal
3 Tablespoons yeast hulls (Ghostex)
3 Tablespoons yeast extract (Organic Yeast Nutrient)

5 kinds of yeast (local wild culture, three Lalvin brands, and WYeast

1. Start the yeasts each in a separate gallon jug.
2. Mix the must and dispense it into each jug.
3. Take copious notes on what happens next.

Cross-contamination: Some of the yeasts have 'Killing Factor' and if
any get into the other jugs, especially during starting, may take them

Yeast in the Honey: There is no guarantee the added yeast will
overwhelm those occurring naturally in the honey. I could pasteurize
or sulfite the must, but I am trying to develop the simplest means of
making mead, and feel if the yeast isn't strong enough to take over,
I'd rather not use it.

Heat Dissipation and Scaling Up: The results of this experiment may
not apply to larger containers. Keep in mind even in a cooler
environment (60F) the heat of fermentation can raise the temperature
past 90F, and one-gallon jugs will dissipate this generated heat much
better than five-gallon carboys.

Texas Weather: It's nearing the end of summer already and who knows?
There may be a fall season this year. It's happened before.

These should all ferment at different rates and reach different final
specific gravities. They should clear at different times.

I expect to find different characteristics in each mead, and hope to
find at least one ferments cleanly and completely and one leaves some
residual sugar and plenty of esters and other good flavor. I hope the
Lalvin EC-1118 does not become evil since I have a plan to build a
praline liqueur with it. (I know it's nuts, the question is should I
pasteurize or sulfite the pecans? I'm leaning toward carmelizing some
or all of the honey with the pecans already mixed in, then adding
water and such when all is cool and building it up with more honey to
over twenty percent alcohol. Is it OK to use milk and butter in

Thanks in adavance for your help.

  • –David

Subject: Organic Honey
From: "Denice L. Ingalls" <>
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2000 12:55:40 -0700

Tim – I've worked with honey and mead for years, my family for decades, and
the answer to your inquiries are all resolute yes's. Everything that a bee
comes into contact with is also imparted, at some level, to both the honey
and the comb. Remeber, boiling honey for mead is intended to remove the
pollens/yeasts/dirt/etc that the bees track in from their foraging. If
something can get on your hand (bug spray) it can get on a bees legs. Honey
produced among GMO crops is affected by the pollen source, and honey that is
produced while using various drugs used to keep the bees healthy is
contaminated to some degree. Generally the comb is worse as it can be
reused and chemical levels compound. Organic standards allow for medicating
of bees at very controlled times, and does not allow for them to be exposed
to treated/sprayed crops. The problem with this is that the fly range of a
bee is quite large, and therefore hard to control. My understanding is that
QAI does not take this into account and allows honey that is produced next
door to GMO crops, etc, to be called organic. Oregon Tilth (OTCO) regulates
this much more strenuously (10-15 mile organic bee pasture radius). QAI has
certified some honey out of Canada and maybe Mexico, Oregon Tilth has
certified some honey out of Argentina. Not much in the US is certifiably
organic, due to the problems of commercial crops and pesticides that you
mentioned. I have no practical knowledge of any other certifying agencies.
When national standards are agreed upon all of this may change and become
more uniform.

Good luck in all, Denice

Subject: Organic Honey
Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2000 14:54:16 EDT

Can anyone tell me if any of the pesticides used in beekeeping filter into
the honey? Is there really such a thing as organic honey?

Does anyone know of a source of honey that is largely away from
commercially grown agricultural crops? Is this even possible?

Thanks, Tim

Subject: CaCO3 as a buffer
From: Gordon & Linda <>
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2000 22:02:42 -0600

Alson writes:

>I told the proprietor about my possible PH problem and how I was
>going to buffer the mead using the CaCO3. He said that he had done the same
>with mead or wine, but that 1) CaCO3 had added a chalky taste, 2) it never
>really cleared. Thoughts?

Alson, I've used CaCO3 many times and have not had a clarity problem.
I've also not had a noticable on the flavor. In a very acidic cherry
mead I ended up adding quite a bit of CaCO3 with no problem.


End of Mead Lover's Digest #821