Mead Lover's Digest #0836 Tue 30 January 2001


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



Wedding meads (Bill Murray)
Re: Letting mead "breathe" ("Todd Cady")
Re: spontaneous ferment mead (Dan McFeeley)
RE: Mead Lover's Digest #835, 21 January 2001 ("keithwwyse")
How does it work out that you need to add acid to mead? (
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #835, 21 January 2001 (Phil)
Re: Open Bottles (Dave Polaschek)
Re: question (Dave Polaschek)


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Subject: Wedding meads
From: Bill Murray <>
Date: Sun, 21 Jan 2001 19:27:09 -0600

Hello list,

I am best man at a friend's wedding in August, and since I just found out
two days ago I am wondering if I have time to pull off a quick mead to be
given at the wedding… or maybe I'll drag a whole case to Boston! Every
mead I have made has taken quite a while to be ready to bottle, and even
then, at least six months to infinity to drink and enjoy. With these kind of
time lines working against me, I personally am at a loss as to what I might
be able to create SOON that will be able to be bottled and yummy to drink by
the wedding. Any thoughts/hints/recipes that anyone would like to share?


Subject: Re: Letting mead "breathe"
From: "Todd Cady" <>
Date: Sun, 21 Jan 2001 21:26:49 -0800

<Subject: Letting mead "breathe"
<From: John Metzner <>
<Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2001 17:07:46 -0900
<I've had a couple of meads lately, a hazelnut and a cyser, which
<display two very different flavor profiles when tasted immediately after
<pouring versus letting it sit in the glass for 5 minutes or so. There
<to be a certain astringency or harshness overlaying the other flavors when
<sampled right after pouring. After it rests in the glass for a bit, this
<harshness goes away (evaporates?), the mead seems to mellow and the apple,
<hazelnut and honey flavors come through.

  • –In my limited experience with grape wine, I have found that this is also

true. When preparing a dinner, and wine for that dinner, I decant the reds
an hour or two before dinner. Whites will take less time, about a half an
hour. You can turn a $6.00 bottle of Cab or Merlot into a $15-$20 bottle by
just letting the 'evil off'. An old minister told me to let the wine breathe
while you pray… he of course prayed longer than I.

  • — My hard cider acts in the same way. Pouring it back and forth between

glasses seems to help.
A wine connoisseur I sip with told me: "Let your child (the Hard Cider)
breathe, it's been holding it's breath for a long time, hoping you'll like it."
It is nice to see someone else experiencing what I do.

  • –Before I forget! Try different wine glasses with the same

mead/cider/wine. Range it from Champagne flute, to Chardonnay, to
Cab/Merlot, to Brandy Snifter. We call that 'Dressing the wine'.

Enjoy. Drink to be well. Be at peace.


Subject: Re: spontaneous ferment mead
From: Dan McFeeley <>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2001 11:24:40 -0600

On Wed, 17 Jan 2001, in MLD 835, Chuck Wettergreen wrote, in part:

>But, historically speaking, I have wondered just how did
>they do it back there in the mists of time? Where did they
>get their yeast? Did their mead spontaneously ferment, like
>a lambic? so I did a couple of experiments.

[….] Interesting experiment on spontaneous fermentation from apple

pommace deleted for brevity's sake

I think Chuck's musings are not only accurate, but show an interesting
reflection of the archaelogical record. Artifacts showing meadmaking
activity in ancient times are extremely rare, but invariably show a
makeup of various herbs and grains along with the honey. This is true
from Neolithic times right on through the Bronze age. What we would
now call a show mead, i.e., honey, water, and yeast, seems to have
been unknown in the earliest beginnings of meadmaking. Fine meads,
aged and clarified, were known during the Classical period of Greco-Roman
history and celebrated in Irish and Norse mythological cycles, but
these seem to have come much later.

Dan McFeeley

Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #835, 21 January 2001
From: "keithwwyse" <>
Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2001 00:34:14 -0000

Hi all!
I have a little question regarding the bottles I use to store my mead. These
were originally 650ml (1.144 UK pints) lager bottles, and are the type with
the ceramic plug on a lever, which have a rubber ring to seal. I was
wondering, if I store my mead (say just a plain one) in these bottles (say
for about a year, maybe two), will there be any taste from the rubber? Are
there any added ingredients I should be wary of, which might increase the
rubber taste or degrade the rubber? Would using a natural petroleum jelly
(beeswax and olive oil) help prevent this?
I chose these bottles as I am a fan of re-using materials like this. Of
course I wash them out in hot sterilised water and rinse well. I wonder if
the plug arrangement would provide a safety valve idea? Is the bottle more
likely to explode?
I do have crimp tops and bottles to work with, but I prefer the re-usability
built into these bottles.

Mentioning olives above – has anyone made an olive mead? Were they black or
green olives, under, just or over ripe? Possibly the black olives would have
a great liquorice flavour and give a deep dark intriguing mead.


Subject: How does it work out that you need to add acid to mead?
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2001 22:21:53 EST

Greetings Friends,
It's very confusing to me that with a high PH (acid) material like honey and
water (neutral) you end up a base and you have to add acid to to mellow out
and be pleasant to the tounge? Case in point my first batch of mead (we won't
count the college days stuff I made with bread yeast) was just bottled it
just would not clear (this was put up in october) even with two shots of
bentonite( I now think I didn't stir it in enough) it finally cleared with
sparkleoid ?sp. I had heard of meads often neading to its acid balanced with
lemon juice so following a friends advice I drew off a wine glass full and
started adding drops of lemon juice to it. It had started out harsh abrasive
is not to far off and at 12 drops it mellowed out to a very pleasant frutty
semi-dry! HUH! I did the obvious and added 3 cups of lemon juice and bottled
it . Yes your right I blew it I should have waited to let it clear first. Or
done the clearing after the balance. but I did say this was my first batch (
and it come out pretty good if you ignore the light cloudy from the lemon
juice, which I have hope will end up settleing out)
I'm going in the near future make an experimental batch and throw in a PH
probe with a chart recorder to make a curve of it. Obviously I'm a techno
geek but whats up Oh great all knowledgeable demi gods of mead?
Tounge firmly in cheek,
But I really am curious,
Dutch Carpender

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #835, 21 January 2001
From: Phil <>
Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2001 13:18:47 -0800 (PST)

> I think I may have potential bottle grenades on my
> hands. I bottled a fairly sweet still mead a few
> months ago (OG=1.110, FG=1.024) which, as recent as
> two weeks ago, was still non-carbonated. Last night, I
> opened a bottle and SURPRISE — carbonated! It still
> has a ways to go before it gets to the point of beer
> or even champagne, but because of the rather high
> final gravity (lots of sugar left) I want to try to
> stop the carbonation from building high enough to blow
> up my bottles.
> The only solution I can think of is to pasteurise the
> bottles, killing the yeast. Does anyone have any other
> ideas?

If you're concerned about the bottles exploding, you
can simply uncap and recap them. I wouldn't worry
about infection or pasteurization or anything. Your
mead is over 9% alcohol. Anything that can live in
that, you should worry about it robbing your house
while you're at work.


visit the New York City Homebrewers Guild website:

Subject: Re: Open Bottles
From: Dave Polaschek <>
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2001 03:44:35 -0600

"Andrew Schlein" <> wrote:

>I want to give bottles as gifts and I've been asked how long an open
>bottle of mead will last – recorked and in the fridge? And, what
>happens after "too long?" Certainly, it doesn't become vinegar like

Actually, it will. Acetobacter are just as happy to turn the ethanol from
wine into vinegar as they are the ethanol from mead.

As for length of storage, oxygen is probably the biggest danger (both
from giving the acetobacter something to work with, as well as
oxidation), and wine and mead behave similarly in that context, from what
I've seen:

Next day, noticeable degradation to a "wine snob";

Three days, noticeable to even a drinker of American Lagers;

A week, it's time to use it for cooking.

  • -DaveP

Dave Polaschek – Polaschek Computing, Inc. –
PGP key and other spiffy things at <>
Homer: "Moe, what do you recommend for severe depression?"
Moe: "Booze, booze and more booze."
Lenny: "There's nothing like a depressant to cure depression."

  • The Simpsons (episode 5f04)

Subject: Re: question
From: Dave Polaschek <>
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2001 03:55:07 -0600

Jim Bona <> wrote:

>how long will honey hold for?….i have a bucket-full that is a couple
>of years old and i am wondering if it will still be okay to use to
>make a batch of mead

Honey will keep for longer than humans will. There are examples of honey
that are hundreds of years old, if not thousands.

Your honey is still good. Don't worry. Brew happy.

  • -DaveP

Dave Polaschek – Polaschek Computing, Inc. –
PGP key and other spiffy things at <>
Homer: "Moe, what do you recommend for severe depression?"
Moe: "Booze, booze and more booze."
Lenny: "There's nothing like a depressant to cure depression."

  • The Simpsons (episode 5f04)

End of Mead Lover's Digest #836