Mead Lover's Digest #0824 Wed 20 September 2000


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



aerating must ("Lane Gray, Czar Castic")
hydrogen sulide/sulfite aromas, elderberries (Dave Burley)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #823, 10 September 2000 (
Fruit Braggot (Nathan Kanous)
Re: Milk Fermentation (Steven Haag)
RE: hydrogen sulfide, mead-friendly newsgroups and (sigh) crystals, aga ("…)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #823, 10 September 2000 (
RE: Must Aeration ("David Wagner")
Re: Must Aeration, Crystals, & Treacle Stout (
Low Alcohol Mead and Must Oxygenation ("Pannicke, Glen A.")
Re: Elderberries (
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #823, 10 September 2000 (
Re: Organic Honey (
Oregonians? ("Eric Brown")
Making beer (
Re: Must Aeration, Crystals, & Treacle Stout (Dan McFeeley)
Rust ("Micah Millspaw")
How Much Priming for a Sparkling Mead ("Michael Winnie")
looking for recipes (Paul Hudert)
Re: hallucinogenic mead ("Steven W. Smith")
Help re vigorous fermentation. ()
blackberries ("jw&a")
rusty caps (Dick Dunn)


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Subject: aerating must
From: "Lane Gray, Czar Castic" <>
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2000 04:49:48 -0700

I usually use an Auto-Siphon running backwards to aerate the must before
pitching the yeast.
I remove the little racking tip (that keeps the Auto-siphon off the bottom
of the carboy in normal mode) and put my thumb over the end of it. Put the
discharge end into the carboy, then pump it about 7 or 8 times. I am
currently trying to find a large-size airstone to put on the end of it,
although that might pose sanitation problems. I suspect cheesecloth would
serve to reduce bubble size, but it only now occurred to me.

Lane Gray, dobroist(, mead
maker, steel picker, Dagorhirim, husband, soon-to-be-ex-procrastinator.
I want my jetpack! see
"Bother!" said Pooh, and set to field-dressing Piglet

Subject: hydrogen sulide/sulfite aromas, elderberries
From: Dave Burley <>
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2000 07:28:13 -0400

Glenn Pannicke, I'm not picking on you, by commenting on your submissions
two-in-a-row, but please be a little more careful in what you write about

Metabisulfite does not smell like rotten eggs. The rotten egg smell is due
to hydrogen sulfide gas. A solution of potassium or sodium metabisulfite in
an acid environment or the powder often smells like sulfur dioxide which is
a sharp "clean" smell sometimes smelled with sulfur matches or burning
sulfur. Some yeast do produce sulfites in the ppm range as a result of
their metabolism but this has no aroma as the sulfurous acid is soluble at
this level in the fermenting liquid. This is presumably a trait which does
away with their competition for foodstuffs, esp bacteria.

Hydrogen sulfide smell does occur in some cases when some yeasts grow and
metabolize in a low nutrient environment, like most meads, but the source
of sulfur is the sulfur containing amino acids in the must – not sulfite.
To cure this, use yeast nutrients in your mead.

Montrachet wine yeast is one which is famous for producing hydrogen
sulfide. H2S will dissipate in time or in severe cases, a less than ppm
treatment with copper sulfate ( please read the directions in a
professional book before trying) will instantaneously remove the smell by
forming copper sulfide as a very insoluble precipitate which is racked off.

On the subject of elderberries I believe I read that the stem and roots of
this plant are poisonous. Can anyone confirm this?

We used to strip elderberries from the stems with a fork for making pies.

Based on my pie eating and elderberry wine drinking experience, I can say
that eldeberries are not flavorless as the correspondent writes, but do
have a very fruity "berry" flavor and contribute more than color. Perhaps
the berries used were underripe? Like grapes, elderberries color very
early, but take a while to ripen. Acid drops, sugar rises and the berries
soften as signs of ripening.

Dave Burley

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #823, 10 September 2000
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2000 15:03:27 +0300

Hello All,
We are importers in Latvia and are looking for Mead Makers in UK to import
their products. Can you suggest someone?
Thanks in advance!
Maris Sejans

Premium Imports
Riga, Latvia
tel: (371) 9 423 052

Subject: Fruit Braggot
From: Nathan Kanous <>
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2000 07:46:22 -0500

Anybody got any experience making a braggot flavored with fruit? Just a
strange thought in my mind.
nathan in madison, wi

Subject: Re: Milk Fermentation
From: Steven Haag <>
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2000 09:57:45 -0700

Subject: Milk Fermentation
Date: Sat, 2 Sep 2000 19:58:39 EDT

Several nomadic races fermented milk into an alcoholic beverage…

When I took dairy microbiology at Oregon State, we made kefir in one of
our labs. As I remember, it was attributed to the Tatars, and consisted
of milk from the market (I believe mare's milk was used in the original) a
little sugar and some Torula yeast, then we poured it into milk bottles,
wired in corks, and put it in the incubator (either 30 or 37C). After a
week, we drank the slightly fizzy, slightly lumpy result. It wasn't that
impressive, but I can't imagine mare's milk fermenting in a goat stomach
would come out much different. One of the graduate students in the
department had a Great Pyrenees dog named Kefir–he was rather more
pleasant than the fermented milk. Sorry for the sketchy details, but I
suspect that's the way it was done on the steppes–no measuring cups,
Campden tablets, or incubators capable of maintaining +/- 1 degree C. It
was one of the more interesting theoretical exercises we did, about on a
par with the FFA apple juice I fermented in my dorm room in a styrofoam
cooler with a light bulb.

Here are a couple of web sites I found on kefir.


Subject: RE: hydrogen sulfide, mead-friendly newsgroups and (sigh) crystals, aga
From: "Brian Lundeen" <>
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2000 11:00:02 -0500

Glen Pannicke writes:

> David Wagner writes of rotten eggs:
> >Has anyone had problems with hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg odor) when
> >using organic yeast nutrient (yeast extract), yeast hulls, and
> >potassium metabisulfite?
> The rotten egg smell is characteristic of metabisulfite, but should
> dissipate over time. I guess you're adding it to the must prior to
> fermentation, so the sulfur gas will be scrubbed out by the CO2 during
> fermentation. Yeast extract can be a bit stinky too, but not
> enough to
> adversley affect the finished product. I rarely use
> metabisulfite, but when
> I do, I keep an air lock on the vessel to allow the gas to escape.

Personally, I would characterize the smell of metabisulfite (in excess) as
more of an acrid burnt-match smell. However, you would not notice that in a
fermenting wine, just one that is finished. The rotten egg smell I would
associate with hydrogen sulfide (H2S) but the question is what is causing it
to form? In winemaking, using sulfur products on the grapes shortly before
harvest can be a major contributor to H2S formation. However, this would not
apply to a mead. Some yeasts (notably Montrachet for which I can think of no
good reason to ever use) will produce H2S, especially in the absence of
sufficient nutrients. This is a situation which I think is very common in
mead making. Yeast extract and yeast hulls are good, especially in the early
nutrient addition, although I would caution people to use a proven nutrient
from a reputable source such as The Wine Lab or Scott Labs. Poor quality
yeast extract, especially, can contribute to off aromas and flavours.
However, in addition to these items, I feel that DAP is also an important
nutrient, some in the first addition, and exclusively in the second
addition, a couple of days after fermentation has begun. (Some people will
split the second addition into two smaller ones, a few days apart). I have
had wines smelling of H2S early on that immediately lost that smell with the
DAP addition. I don't think a little H2S is any cause for panic during the
early stages. As brewers we see this commonly. However, I would look at some
form of treatment if the smell persists into the secondary. In grape wines,
H2S will eventually convert to mercaptans and disulfides, which are much
more difficult to treat. An aerative racking or immersion of some copper
(oxide layer removed) is often all that is needed to rid a wine of H2S, and
may also work for meads.

Shane Hultquist says of his desire to create an alt mead newsgroup:

> My rationale for doing it was the sometimes being flamed for
> posting about
> mead stuff there as they consider themselves to be either
> beer or wine only
> groups.

All I can suggest is stay away from alts, unless you're in Dusseldorf (it's
a beer joke, never mind). Do you have access to the rec newsgroups? I have
never seen anyone flamed for bringing up mead in rec.crafts.winemaking or
rec.crafts.brewing. It is an accepted part of the discussions there,
although as Dick has pointed out, the advice may not always be the best
since mead is not the primary focus of these people.

Keith from the UK writes:

> Particularly, I'd like to put this to "Brian Lundeen"
> <>
> who holds a physics degree.
> All biological systems emit some form of electrical (and
> hence magnetic)
> signal, even at rest. Crystals are formed from nearly perfect regular
> arrangements of atoms. So would it be a possible scenario
> that the regular
> structure of the crystal 'filters' the electrical signals
> received from
> biological organisms (possibly through resonance), and
> re-emits them, hence
> encouraging harmonious fields and so experiences?

Sadly, my Physics degree is of little use since I opted not to take Physics
200.17 "Biochemical Channeling of Energy Fields by Crystals" since I did not
have the Chemistry prerequisite. 😉

Alright, the smart-ass answer aside, what you are doing is exactly what I
was railing against in my posting, and that is the creation of fanciful
theories based solely on populist literature. I won't deny that sometimes,
somebody with a Really Big Brain (R) (thank you, Pat Babcock for coming up
with that one) comes along and through intuitive reasoning takes science in
directions previously undreamed of. However, real science still has to take
over at that point and show that proper experimental evidence supports, or
at least, does not falsify the theory. Now, maybe you are onto something. If
you think so, I suggest a major life change is in order for you. Drop your
current career/job, spend thousands of dollars and several years of your
life getting proper graduate training in physics and/or chemistry so that
you are in a position to conduct valid scientific research into this
proposed phenomenon.

In the meantime, I would suggest you, and the other posters here trying to
rationalize how crystals might have these amazing powers, visit the Skeptics
Society web site at Mind you, I'm a little skeptical
of some of their claims. 😉


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #823, 10 September 2000
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2000 12:41:56 EDT

In a message dated 9/11/0 1:50:40 AM, writes:

<< <

I had also heard of the hallucinogenic properties of Nutmeg.

Sufficient quantities are supposed to be a bring on a similar experience
to LSD. >>

UGH- don't do it! Been there , tried it…unless you want to have messie
undies for the next day or so, nutmeg is an emetic and will give you the
shits like you've never had if you eat more than an oz.
Try to extract Lysergic Acid amides from hawaian wood rose seeds or
heavenlyblue morning glory seeds, grind up the seeds, and boil with methanol,
reduce the continue to wash with the methanol and reduce. when you finally
get a gummy residue, you will be able to wash the residue with ether, and
vacume distill out the lysergic acid amides.. (hint even there you will have
to use a lot of seeds, about 12 ozs to get off)
Guess this is forbidden knowledge, was doing it in highschool way back in the

Subject: RE: Must Aeration
From: "David Wagner" <>
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2000 12:32:35 -0500

keithwwyse wondered…
>I wonder if anyone thinks it would be a reasonable idea to have a filtered
>air pump, say an aquarium pump, push air through the must to give it a high
>level of dissolved oxygen to begin with, before it is pitched? Would this
>result in more/healthier yeasts, and so a better/more rapid brew? Has anyone
>done experiments in this area?

I don't think aeration like this will give your yeast all that much
more oxygen. Oxygen does not dissolve in water very well; it will
hold far less than is available in plain fresh air. It would be much
simpler and more effective to use cold water and just shake the water
with a little air.

Though you can supersaturate your must on the outset in this manner,
the main factor to overcome is how fast multiplying yeast will use
what little oxygen is dissolved in the liquid, and how to continue to
add oxygen after fermentation starts. Wine makers use an open
fermenter and punch down the head frequently to aerate. In a closed
system you may provide provide headspace of about 1/20 of water
volume, or 1 qt air over 5 gal liquid to saturate. (See below.) But
the CO2 produced will push the air out of the headspace so you need to
get fresh air in there somehow during fermentation. Keep in mind,
however, the more you aerate the liquid the more volatiles and alcohol
will evaporate and the greater your chance of contamination.


There is a nice dissolved oxygen (DO) calculator at
.shtml. It gives the following results at sea level.

Oxygen in Water:

Temp (*C) DO (mg/l)
0 14
10 11
20 9
35 7

Oxygen in Air: 290 mg/l

Note, air density varies with temperature and humidity only over a
range of about 1.1 to 1.2, or about 10%. (See

Air contains over 20 times the oxygen as can dissolve in an equal part
of ice cold water, and over 30 times what water at room temperature
can hold.

  • -David

P.S. I'm counting on y'all to point out errors!

Subject: Re: Must Aeration, Crystals, & Treacle Stout
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2000 15:17:37 -0600

"keithwwyse" <> wrote:
: I wonder if anyone thinks it would be a reasonable idea to have a filtered
: air pump, say an aquarium pump, push air through the must to give it a high
: level of dissolved oxygen to begin with, before it is pitched? Would this
: result in more/healthier yeasts, and so a better/more rapid brew? Has anyone
: done experiments in this area?
: I realise that the air contains bugs and dust which could contaminate the
: must, so an elaborate set-up might be required for this, so it may only be

An easier solution is to rent an oxygen tank intended for medical
use. You get just the gas you want, it's clean, and there's no
pumping required. I've done this before, but it didn't really seem
worth the effort.


Subject: Low Alcohol Mead and Must Oxygenation
From: "Pannicke, Glen A." <>
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2000 13:32:17 -0400

On the subject of low alcohol meads Dave Burley wrote:

>Glen Pannicke – Huh? Regarding your discussion of low Alcohol mead and S

>Dextrose IS glucose.

Damn. Dave found another boo-boo in my post that I need to correct. So
here's my second correction…

I wrote: "This strain of yeast makes low alcohol beer because glucose only
makes up somewhere around 6 or 9% (I don't remember which) of the available
carbohydrates in beer wort. Dextrose constitutes 70-something % (don't
quote me on exact numbers)."

It should read: "Maltose constitutes 70-something % (don't quote me on exact

I guess I have a thing against writing the word "Maltose". In addition to
spell check and grammar check, e-mail should also have idiot check , which
would catch these types of things. A foot-in-mouth check would also be
nice. I've needed that on occasion as well.

On the same note, thanks to Marc Shapiro who posted the sugar ratios from
'A Book of Honey'. If honey is about 32% glucose, then I guess my
suggestion to use S. ludwigii is not a viable option for making a low
alcohol mead.

On the subject of must aeration Keith wrote:

>I wonder if anyone thinks it would be a reasonable idea to have a filtered
>air pump, say an aquarium pump, push air through the must to give it a high
>level of dissolved oxygen to begin with, before it is pitched? Would this
>result in more/healthier yeasts, and so a better/more rapid brew? Has
>done experiments in this area?

There have been numerous experiments in brewing regarding this subject which
should also apply to fermenting mead. Dr. Fix, for one, has written of some
experiments which I know I, and number of other brewers, have found to be
helpful. To leave out most of the experimental data and put it in practical
terms (mainly because I don't remember specific numbers 😉 alow me to
provide a brief practical synosis.

The following are given:
A. As the amount of dissolved O2 increases, the lag time decreases and the
growth rate increases. There is an optimum level.
B. The more steps involved in a process increase the potential for exposure
to a greater number of environmental contaminants.
C. At a given optimum growth rate, yeasts will out compete most
D. The amount of aeration that may be achieved is limited and only a portion
of the dissolved gasses is O2.
E. The dissolved O2 level in the must may be driven higher by direct
injection of pure O2.
F. Very high levels of O2 are lethal to most organisms (but you don't have
to worry about that under normal conditions 😉
G. Yeast will use up the dissolved O2 over time.

Methods for dissolving O2 from lowest potential to the highest:

1. No aeration at all = Not suggested, low O2 content
2. Splashing cooled must on the way to the carboy = better than #1!
3. Shaking must vigorously in fermenter = very good
4. Direct injection of O2 with a diffusion stone = much better
5. Continuous addition of atmospheric O2 by diffusion stone over first 24
hours (not to exceed 24 hours) = best, but difficult to do right

Most people are best off with combining #2 + #3. It seems to balance all of
the factors with respect to the amount of O2, lag time, complexity, effort,
ability of yeast to out compete contaminants – not to mention COST. I've
only done two melomels, but using a combo of #2 + #3, the brunt of the
fermentation was complete within 2 weeks in both cases. Fully attenuated in
under 1 month. I also use the same process for my ales.

I have been using a combination of #2 + #4 on my lagers with much success
lately. However, #4 can be a pain in the buttocks to use due to
sanitization concerns. When used with a high pitching rate and an actively
fermenting starter, your primary fermentation can go as quicky as 36 – 48
hours. Only good in my book for lagers.

#5 can also be a sanitation problem. Some people suggest sanitizing the air
by bubbling through a 5% household bleach solution (yummy smell in your
mead!), 70% alcohol or other solution. Others have suggested dry sterile
cotton as a filter as well as alcohol-soaked sterile cotton. Sorry, neither
of these will work 100% but you will probably kill or filter a majority of
wild yeasts and molds. Your best bet is a 0.2 micron sterile filter in line
with your aeration hose. The advantage to #5 is that you can keep the must
around the optimal O2 concentration for yeast for a longer time. Aeration
beyond the first 24 hours results in a deteriorated product.

Sometimes the simplest solution is always the best. You might want to
peruse Analysis of Brewing Techniques by Dr. Fix. A lot of the material can
be applied to any fermented beverage, not just beer.

Carpe cerevisiae!

Glen Pannicke

Subject: Re: Elderberries
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2000 01:04:06 EDT

I have made three batches of Elderberry Mead from each of the past three
summers wild harvest. I've brewed each batch a bit differently. This last
one has been my favorite and you will find the recipe in the current Zymurgy
Vol 23 No 5 Sept/Oct 2000 since it won the first place gold award in the AHA
National contest.

The only "ingredient" and process that wasn't mentioned in the Zymurgy

recipe was the ceremony and blessing that was done to the brew by a local
Shaman. I had been reading the stories about sacred elderberries in Buhner's
Sacred and Healing Beers and thought that I'd like to do something special
with my stash of wild berries. Anyone care to discuss the ceremony and
possible effects to the brew? The ceremony sure raised the hairs on the back
of my neck.
I have had the most success with steeping frozen fruit to pasteurize it and
then fermenting on the pulp. I have a few wide mouth 5 gallon Pyrex carboys
that I use as fermentors. Some of the fruit sinks and some will remain
floating. I rack in a week or when I see the ferment slowing down. I put a
new sanitized SS scrubby ball on the end of my racking tube bottom to act as
a sieve screen when racking to the secondary to avoid having the fruit plug
up my siphon.
I've never had problems with Elderberry sap. They just ferment for me like
any other fruit.
They add a lot of color and flavor to my meads. I suspect that any weakness
in flavor would come from using unripe fruit or from weak plants. I also
made a Ebulum (old style historic elderberry ale).
They are a bit tedious to pick off of the stems. I use a fork to pluck them
off and let them drop into a bucket. I then freeze them in airtight plastic
bags till I find a chance for a brewing day.
Bob Grossman

In response to:

> Subject: Elderberries
> From: Spencer W Thomas <>
> Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2000 14:19:50 -0400

> The woman I bought them from described "juicing" them by boiling and
> straining. I could then add the juice to some mostly-fermented
> "traditional" mead to get an elderberry mel (with additional
> fermentation, presumably).

> Another option would be to crush them, and to throw them into the primary
> of a new batch.

> A third option would be to freeze them, and to throw them into the
> secondary (or primary) of a batch sometime later.

Elderberries have their good and bad points. While they're easy to harvest
by the sprig, its very time consuming to strip the berries off the stems.
Though they're lower in acid (if picked ripe enough) than blackberries
tend to be, they don't have a very noticable characteristic flavor –
almost bland. What they really do well is contribute color – a spectacular

The biggest bugaboo is the sap which is released by the
fermentation process. A pulp fermentation of up to a week is usually
needed to extract the flavor and color and after this time there will be a
thick deposit of sticky, rubbery, green sap in the fermentation vessel,
especially at the "waterline". Remember the bath tub ring when the "Cat in
the Hat" got out of the tub? Now picture what it would look like if it was
the Grinch! If you do this in a carboy, you will NEVER get it clean!

When I make elderberry wine, I freeze the berries first to maximize the
release of juice and use a pectic enzyme. (Boiling fruit in general is a
bad idea because it sets pectin and drives off desirable aromatic
After defrosting the berries, I run the primary in a 7 1/2 gallon plastic
bucket designed for the purpose (food grade plastic). The sap will NOT
respond to polar solvents (water, ethanol, methanol, isopropanol, ammonia,
acetone, detergent, glycerin etc.) – I know, I tried all of them!

It will respond to oily solvents – canola oil works nicely. Apply
liberally and scrub gently with a soft toothbrush and paper towels. Be
patient, it will come off. After a week, I strain and squeeze the pulp
and transfer the brew to a 5 gallon widemouth pickle jar (the old fashioned
kind). This offers less oxygen contact than the bucket but I can still get
my hand inside to clean it if necessary. It stays in that till I'm certain
that it won't evolve any more sap – then and only then do I rack into a

3 qts of berries is probably about 4 1/2 pounds – that's not too much –
don't expect a lot of flavor from it if you're making 5 gallons. This year,
I used 20 pounds of berries for 6 gallons starting volume – that's straight
elderberry wine, though, not melomel. YMMV!




Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #823, 10 September 2000
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2000 09:29:58 -0400 (EDT)

> Dan, I read your post to the Digest, the answer is no. There are two
> (main) types of alcohol: Ethanol and Methanol. Hmmm maybe thats spelled
> ethenol and methenol… Anyway, Methanol is the one that causes blindness
> and death. It is also called wood alcohol, de-natured alcohol, rubbing
> alcohol. It is made by the fermentation and distallation of cellulose ie
> wood. Grain alcohol is made by the distallation of sugars. The only way
> to get serious methanol contamination of your beer is to not strain the
> grain husks out of your wort (at all) in all-grain brewing when its put
> into the fermenter. The beer would be very nasty tasting to say the least.

No, This is largely misinformation.

1) There are as many types of alcohol as there are ways of sticking an OH

radical onto a hydrocarbon chain, though the smallest three happen to
be the most useful and familiar. ex: Glycerin is actually an alcohol.

2) Ethanol, Methanol and Isopropanol are the correct spellings.

3) Methanol is wood alcohol, however, denatured alcohol is usually ethanol

with a toxic additive that renders it unfit to drink. Also, rubbing
alcohol is isopropanol NOT methanol. Isopropanol, while more toxic
than ethanol is considerably less toxic than methanol.

4) Methanol (wood alcohol) is usually commercially made by heating wood

well past its ignition temperature in an oxygen-free environment. The
methanol is liberated as a gas and recondensed. The other main product
of this process is charcoal. Fermentation/distillation is way too
inefficient for industrial production of methanol.

"Kitty, get out of the Aqua-Velva!" . . . "Shut up, Mike!"



Subject: Re: Organic Honey
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2000 11:05:03 EDT

I have enjoyed a certified organic honey from a company called "Really Raw
Honey." It's sold in health food stores on the East coast. At least I've
seen it for sale from Washington to New York. It a very rich, thick, and
chewy honey with wonderful healing properties. It's a bit expensive, but I
find it very useful whenever I have a sore throat or cold. The guy was
frustrated because he wanted a totally organic honey source for his son that
has epilepsy and follows a natural diet. He tracked down some isolated
sources and beekeepers to bottle his own. It became popular with friends and
he wound up starting a business selling it.
Sometimes it is darker or lighter depending upon the time of year. It's
packed by hand right in the field and crystallizes in the jar. The propolis
and wax floats on the top of the jar and looks quite raunchy. However, all
those bits and pieces are quite tasty! I have a phone number of
410-659-7233. If that doesn't work, I can check at my local store and see
how they could ship it to you.
I also have purchased organic honey products from Y.S. Royal Jelly & Honey
Farm in Sheridan, IL 60551. They claim to be certified organic too. They
harvest honey from remote mountaintop locations. They also sell royal jelly,
bee pollen, and propolis. I don't have a phone number, but they are carried
by health food stores.
Good hunting,
Bob Grossman
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: Oregonians?
From: "Eric Brown" <>
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2000 04:02:53 GMT

Does anyone on this list live near Portland? I live about an hour east of
Portland in Hood River, but I'm moving back home to North Carolina on
September 25. I have two five-gallon batches of what I hope to be very nice
snowberry mead that I started less than a month ago, but I don't see any way
of taking them with me at this point. I'm hoping to work out a deal with
someone, give a portion of the mead and perhaps the carboys to someone who
can bottle the mead off when it's finished and cellar it for me until I can
come back and get it. Please e-mail me asap if you're interested: Eric

Subject: Making beer
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2000 19:30:27 EDT

Where can I get the Lager Yeast's? And the Acid and Lalva klv
I cannot find it and do not know where to get it. All I can find
Is cooking yeast. Can you help me? Thank you from Jim Meads

Subject: Re: Must Aeration, Crystals, & Treacle Stout
From: Dan McFeeley <>
Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2000 10:45:28 -0500

On Fri, 8 Sep 2000, in MLD 823, Keith wrote, in part:

>I'd like to throw in a little on the debate over crystals and mead, but
>don't want to be flamed for it. It is just some hypothetical reasoning.
>Particularly, I'd like to put this to "Brian Lundeen" <>
>who holds a physics degree.
>All biological systems emit some form of electrical (and hence magnetic)
>signal, even at rest. Crystals are formed from nearly perfect regular
>arrangements of atoms. So would it be a possible scenario that the regular
>structure of the crystal 'filters' the electrical signals received from
>biological organisms (possibly through resonance), and re-emits them, hence
>encouraging harmonious fields and so experiences? In this way the different
>structural characteristics of different crystals would produce different
>experiences in the user.

Resonance is probably a good jumping off point for discussion — it occurs
when the properties of a substance, mechanical, electrical or otherwise, are
such that certain frequencies are attenuated while others within a specific
band are passed. Mechanical resonance is something I remember well while
living in a cheaply built apartment building not far from a Colorado Army
base. A lot of the military people, all young folk in their early 20's,
also stayed in the apartment, usually blasting their stereos when at home.
The wood, plaster, et. al. of the building would resonate at the lower
frequencies of the music but attenuate the higher frequencies, so all we
would hear was the muffled beat of the percussion. This was the 1970's,
so what we were hearing through the walls was the driving beat of disco.
Augh! Enough to drive a body crazy!

It's important to understand that resonance isn't amplification. An object
that resonates at certain frequencies is vibrating *with* the source of the
vibrations, and at a lower amplitude. It takes other system components to
make use of resonance. The piezoelectric effect in quartz crystals, for
instance, is used in electronic systems to help tune and transmit electric
signals but useless without the rest of the components of the system,
something like expecting a microphone to the work of an entire stereo unit.

It's well known that organisms can respond to electrical impulse, however,
in order to process the information carried by an electrical signal, a
structured system of organic components such as the lateral line in fish
is required. Small organisms such as yeast might respond in some degree
to electrical fields and impulses but certainly not to the degree of fish
or other species, and likely no more than effects such as the flocculation
caused by the electrically charged particles of fining agents. Another
thing to consider is that the yeast are immersed in a large amount of water,
which is also surrounded by a glass carboy, an insulating dialectric.

The human body is a natural antenna (antennas, by the way, work by the
principle of electrical resonnance), something easily observed when we
walk near an FM radio set to a station too far away to hear clearly, or
touch the antenna of a tv that isn't working well. A fun game we used
to play in high school electronics was to hook the horizontal plates of
an osciloscope to a variable frequency generator set at multiples of 60
cycles per second, and then touch the vertical input leads. The human
body easily picks up the 60 cycle impulses from power lines and when
sufficiently amplified by a sensitive scope, would make different whirling
patterns. An input of 60 cycles on the vertical plates of a 'scope
balanced by 60 cycles on the horizontal plates pulls the beam into a
circle, 120 cycles, which is twice the frequency on the vertical plates,
makes a pattern with two loops to it, and so on. Fun stuff! It's
obvious that we're not affected to any large degree by electrical fields,
as are fish or other species. They evolved lateral lines and other
organic systems to process and respond to electrical fields; we didn't.

Brian Lundeen and others with more background than I have can probably give
a more sophisticated response — my feeling is that crystals don't function
strongly as electrical resonators in mead and even if they did, yeasts aren't
able to respond to a high degree. If anything, the extraneous electrical
noise from our high tech world would have a stronger effect! As far as
homo sapiens, well, I think we're quite "tone deaf" in comparision to fish,
sharks, and others.

That's still not saying there isn't a place for myth, tradition, symbol,
and so on in the history of meadmaking. Mead is to paganism as wine is
to Christianity, lots of room for imaginative speculation here!

Dan McFeeley

Subject:  Rust
From: "Micah Millspaw" <>
Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2000 10:45:27 -0500

>Now, at the risk of everyone hating me and not answering my
>mead related question, I have one. Does anyone elses crown
>caps on their mead bottles go rusty ? I use 750ml bottles
>from beer) and cap them, because the mead ages for so much
>longer than beer, some go rusty. Any Ideas ? I dont think
>I'm hip to corks.


First, hopefully you are not boiling the crowns or soaking them
in bleach or anysuch thing, since these will cause rust.

To combat rusty crowns on bottles that I plan to keep for a while (I
have stuff at least 15 years old) I have taken to dipping the
crowned bottles into molten wax. I dip and repeat (the wax) until a
nice layer has formed over the crown and about =BD inch down the
neck of the bottle.
This seems to work quite well at preventing rust and looks nice too.

Micah Millspaw – brewer at large

Subject: How Much Priming for a Sparkling Mead
From: "Michael Winnie" <>
Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2000 11:33:50 -0400

To date, I've only made still meads. I want to try a sparkling sweet mead.
What are the guidelines for priming when bottling for a sparkling sweet
mead? I'm aware that I must use a heavier bottle and either cap or wire the
cork. I don't know if it best to bottle before it ferments all the way down
or add some honey or sugar like I would do for beer. Perhaps I should keg
it and artificially carbonate. Has anyone done that?

Subject: looking for recipes
From: Paul Hudert <>
Date: Sun, 17 Sep 2000 21:58:20 -0400

Hello all!

just got back from a series of business trips, now i'm in town for a while and I
managed to score several gallons of various honey on my trips.

among my honey I have tupelo, mint, tulip poplar, and raspberry. I have
never made a mead with these honeys and wanted to get recipies from people
who have actually made meads with them.

I've been looking for a chocolate mead recipe, but haven't seen it yet.. still
looking though. I was wondering if the mint would make a good chocolate

if anyone has recipies for these meads I would love to get them, you can
email me directly



Subject: Re: hallucinogenic mead
From: "Steven W. Smith" <>
Date: Mon, 18 Sep 2000 09:32:32 -0700 (MST)

Only another 200 messages to read and I'll be caught up… by way of

explaining why I've jumped in a couple of weeks late.

I suspect banana peels in mead is a recipe for an icky-tasting placebo

(the best kind or placebo?). If you're hell-bent on twisting your mind,
"hawaiian wood rose" seeds *do* contain LSD-like substances, as do
morning glory. They also contain some rather "unpleasant" alkaloids.

My one experience in high school was enough to put me off the "so unpleasant

they haven't bothered to ban it" category of intoxicants. Yes, I tripped.
Unfortunately, the trip was highlighted by several hours of hanging out in the
bathroom talking to ralph (what an *interesting* pattern that linoleum had…)

I didn't bother to try known neurotoxins such as nutmeg and datura inoxia.

Surely there are better ways to die.

On an up note, I opened some approximately 10-year-old blueberry metheglyn

for Y2k. Awesome. FWIW, I like to use screw-top or plastic-corked brandy
bottles to hide things away for long-term storage.

Guess I'll go lurk for a few more years 😉 Heck, since I'm only posting

every 5 years or so: Best argument for *not* boiling/pasteurizing your must –
smell the wonderful aromas escaping with the steam. Later,


Subject: Help re vigorous fermentation.
From: <>
Date: Tue, Sep 19 2000 12:48:59 GMT-0400

Hi folks. I'm an extract beer brewer, a novice with mead.

I brewed my first batch, a melomel, last Sunday.

3 gal. batch:

8 lb. 12 oz. Madhava clover honey
6 lb. tangelos
Held at 170 F for 30 min.
4 oz. ginger steeped during cooldown.
Strained into 3 gal. carboy.

Yeast was 5 grams dry Red Star champagne, started
8 hours prior to pitching in 12 oz. Kern's apple nectar.

Pitched at 88 F, as low as my immersion cooler would
bring the must. Temp in basement is 72-74 F.

I left about 4" of headspace in the carboy, but the
fermentation is so active it's filled the airlock with foam
4 times in the last two days.

I though mead was a s-l-o-w fermenting beverage?
What can I do to avoid this bubblefest next time?
Lowering the temp in the basement isn't an option.
Should I avoid using a starter culture, or buy another
huge carboy and leave half of it as headspace?

I guess I should count my blessings and be glad I'm
not dealing with a stuck fermentation… 🙂

Thanks in advance!


Subject: blackberries
From: "jw&a" <>
Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2000 15:25:42 -0400

i've been enjoying the the blackberry posts in the last few digests. i made
a blackberry beverage about two years ago. i used 5 1-gallon ziplock bags of
frozen berries. for some dumb reason i blended the berries, and then
strained off the juice, which i put in a fermenter with 4 or 5 quarts of
honey and enough water to get 5 gallons at 10% potential alc.

heated to 180, and cooled. i used some dry yeast no doubt with some sort of
starter (maybe from a batch of wine kit?).

after fermentation, i racked it to a 5 gallon beer keg, and aged it about a
year. after bottling, it aged about another year. the end product was very
nice to drink, rather like a dry red wine, but "thick", due to the blended
fruit particles. it would have settled over time, but it didn't stay around.

i have about the same quantity of berries in the freezer now, but i have
also acquired a fruit press, i have some cider fermenting currently, and i
think i'm going to do another batch on top of that one. i think i might go
for 12% potential alc. this time.

two questions, then, is it ok to put the honey and fruit juice on top of the
yeast from the cider? and, after i press the berries, should the leftover
pulp go into the fermenter, or just the juice?

bob rogers,
south carolina

Subject: rusty caps
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 19 Sep 00 22:03:20 MDT (Tue)

"Glen Hendry" <> asked:
> …Does anyone elses crown
> caps on their mead bottles go rusty ? I use 750ml bottles
> (from beer) and cap them, because the mead ages for so much
> longer than beer, some go rusty…

Glen – how long it takes is going to vary with the quality of the cap,
maybe the strength of the mead, and such. I've seen it happen, but only
in meads of mine that were over 10 years old.

One possible cause: Do you store your bottles upright or on their sides?
And do the bottles get jostled around where they might occasionally splash
mead up onto the liner of the cap? Any hostile crystals nearby?

Store corked bottles on their sides.
Store capped bottles upright.
Corked, you want the liquid in contact with the cork, else the cork will
dry out and shrink, and the bottle will leak.
Capped, you _don't_ want the liquid in contact with the plastic seal, else
it will eventually deteriorate the seal and go after the metal.
(No idea what the rule is for a cork-lined cap, but it's been decades since
I've seen one.:-)

Dick Dunn Hygiene, Colorado USA

…Simpler is better.

End of Mead Lover's Digest #824