Mead Lover's Digest #0849 Sat 19 May 2001


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



searchable archive (Mead Lovers Digest)
Mead Lover's Digest #848, 9 May 2001 (Dave Burley)
Re: oak chips and archives (Dan McFeeley)
Mazer Cup, Mead judging, Mead URL's and MLD archives ("Christopher Hadden")
A few answers to Q's from the last digest. ("Ken Schramm")
what happened to my alcohol? ("Roel Toussaint")
Looking to buy mead abroad ("Matt_lists")
at the start of fermentation ("Caroline Helmeczi")


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Subject: searchable archive
From: (Mead Lovers Digest)
Date: Thu, 10 May 2001 00:44:59 -0600 (MDT)

Regarding a note in MLD 848,
> Also, is there a searchable archive, or just the tar files?…

The MLD always has a note at the top about one or two known-good archives,
>…There is
> a searchable MLD archive at

It would not hurt to have another, particularly as different folks find
different sorts of search-engines useful, but there IS a useful+searchable
archive already.

Mead-Lover's Digest
Dick Dunn, Digest Janitor Boulder County, Colorado USA

Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #848, 9 May 2001
From: Dave Burley <>
Date: Thu, 10 May 2001 08:50:05 -0400


If you've had a mead that is fermenting for a year and a half (or even
more than a few weeks), chances are good it has a very low pH. A much more
reliable way to stop the fermentation is to raise the pH with some calcium
carbonate (chalk) – check the archives – so the yeast can finish it off.
Adding more fresh yeast will help. Bandaids like sorbate are useful for
preventing refermentation under many conditions, but not useful for
stopping a fermentation.

Dave Burley

Subject: Re: oak chips and archives
From: Dan McFeeley <>
Date: Thu, 10 May 2001 10:37:36 -0500

On Sun, 6 May 2001, in MLD 848, Ken wrote, in part:

>Also, is there a searchable archive, or just the tar files? I'd be
>interested in creating a publicly searchable archive if there isn't
>one already. I thought there was one, but it doesn't seem to be
>linked from the list info page:

There are two searchable archives I know of — URL's are:

I just checked and both are up and running. The first only browses through
1997 – 2001, the second will give searches through the complete list of
MLD digests.

Dan McFeeley

"You learn something old every day." Mr. McFeeley, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood

Subject: Mazer Cup, Mead judging, Mead URL's and MLD archives
From: "Christopher Hadden" <>
Date: Thu, 10 May 2001 11:50:47 -0500

>From Ken Schramm re: The Mazer Cup:

> The Mazer Cup is slated for return, now under the new moniker
> "the Bill Pfeiffer Memorial Mazer Cup."
> Judges are welcome from whence-ever they originate. Beds will
> be made available. I truly believe that there is no better chance to
> taste and evaluate this broad a variety of meads – in one place
> at one time – in this country. One cannot help but educate
> the palate.

Great news! What a great opportunity to judge mead and meet other mead
makers as well. Sign me up to judge.

>From Mike Kidulich re: Mead judging:

> First, the rant: I like judging
> meads, but I *hate* it when the brewer (meadster?) doesn't follow
> instructions, and fails to indicate the style of mead, i.e., dry, semi-
> sweet, or sweet, and sparkling or still or in one case, a metheglin
> that didn't specify the Herb/Spice that was used!

It's an educational issue and your bringing it up here will help increase
awareness. This should also be posted to rec.crafts.meadmaking. I've seen
the same thing when judging beer for that matter. On the judging sheets,
mention to the mead maker that they need to be specific about how they
categorize their entries.

> Do you try to make an assumption as to style, and
> judge according to your best guess on the style? Also, when you
> have a varietal mead made from a honey you've never tasted, how
> do you judge that?

It sounds like the competition organizer could have done a better job of
communicating up front how to submit mead entries. In these type of
situations, you can only do your best to make objective observations about
the mead and then recommend how it should have been categorized. Be nice
about it – they put a lot of effort into their meads and would appreciate
any advice and information. As far as not having experience with honey
varities, I suspect this is a difficult issue for most judges. Again, just
do your best to describe the mead from an objective and subjective point of

>From Dan McFeeley re: More Mead URL's

> Timothy Smith, a student in Switzerland, was gracious enough to send
> these links for mead and meadmaking. As you can see at a causal
> glance, these are German links, which, sadly for me, I can't read.
> Hope they are of interest to MLD readers.

Vielen Dank, Dan! Diese Links sind ausgezeichnet!

>From Ken Irwin re: oak chips and archives

> Also, is there a searchable archive, or just the tar files? I'd
> be interested in creating a publicly searchable archive if
> there isn't one already. I thought there was one, but it
> doesn't seem to be linked from the list info page:

I made a searchable copy of the MLD archives at using the Atomz search
engine. You can only search back to 1997 but this is still a substantial
amount of information (over 978,000 words are indexed). I have some
powerful search options too. There is another searchable copy of the MLD
archives at .

Christopher Hadden

Subject: A few answers to Q's from the last digest.
From: "Ken Schramm" <>
Date: Fri, 11 May 2001 09:55:03 -0400

Ratio: That is generally expressed in pounds of honey to gallons of
finished must. Three pounds will probably overwhelm 1116 ahead of
finished dryness.

I am not a fan of the continuous feeding process, as it draws out the
fermentation substantially, and, I believe, artificially selects for yeast
cells in the fermentation that do not really perform like the bulk of the
culture. My experience has been that you can end up with meads that do
not finish true to the advance billing of the yeast culture's profile. I
prefer to have a healthy, quick ferment with an amount of honey suited to
the selected yeast's ETOH tolerance. If you desire a different sweetness
profile that that yields, adjust acids and/or sweetness with the potassium
sorbate and additional honey method.

Potassium sorbate: use one half teaspoon per gallon at least a few days
to a week before bottling/kegging, stirred in gently to avoid oxygenation.
You can add honey to adjust sweetness anticipating a raising of OG of
approximately 7 to 8 gravity points per pound of honey added per five
galloms. I have had no subsequent refermentation following these
guidelines, although everything has been kept at cellar temps of 64F or

Permit me to give an example. If you want a mead of 12% alcohol, you
would use enough honey to make a mead with a gravity of 1.096 (each .008
is going to roughly equal one percent ETOH by volume). That would be
about 12 lbs in a five gallon batch. Then use a mead yeast with appropriate
attenuative power (Lalvin d-47, for example) and a healthy (correct)
dose of yeast nutrients and food (check out Morse and Steinkraus on this
subject, from Dan's McF's bib or by way of the paper I wrote with
McConnell) . If you hope to have the mead end up sweet, kill they yeast
(after the fermentation stops) with the sorbate, and add back honey (and
acid, if needed) to get the profile you set out to hit. For those with
concerns about using chemicals, there are other methods of arresting yeast
activity without them in the archives.

Judging: At the Mazer Cup, we have tried in the past to provide as
germane much info to the judges as possible, including all provided
gravity info, ingredients and honey varieties. It probably wouldn't be
inappropriate to add yeast variety to the list; it is certainly pertinent
to the finished profile. If the meadster doesn't take their job as an
entrant seriously, it makes it far more difficult, as you mentioned, but
that is dealing with the public, and humans don't always do things like we
want. Some are lazy, some indignant, and others well intentioned and
bright people who make mistakes. I hope if I forgive the faults and
mistakes of others, others will be similarly patient with me.

On varietals: Given the vast number of varietal honeys available nationally,
not to mention globally, it is inevitable that you will eventually end
up with a mead to judge made with a variety with which you are not
familiar. If the mead has obvious acid balance or fermentation flaws, you
may be spared the anguish of trying to evaluate it on being true to
variety or within other style parameters. But if not, make your best
judgments on its overall appeal, its level of conditioning, and the match
of the fermention characteristics of the yeast with the honey profile. Do
not be embarassed about saying you aren't familiar with the variety. On
the other hand, don't let that mean your comments will be brief or without
conviction. You are after all, a judge, and your subjective views on
whether it is really darn tasty or not are perfectly appropriate. Also,
give the entrant as much info as possible on your perceptions: which
floral or fruit notes you get in the nose, on the tongue and in the
aftertaste. break down the swallow into your fist impressions on the sip,
what it feels like as you swallow, and afterwards. As a judge, one of the
most valuable services you can provide is to let the entrant know how the
mead hit you, and whether your impressions and evaluations matched what
they set out to achieve. If what they set out to make was "dry, spring
floral wih a hint of anise and cherry blossom, builds in volume with plum
and apricot notes, finishing mildly acid with big aftertaste and aromatics
in the nose and sinuses: great with fish or light cheese," then they'll be
glad with your comments, prize or no.

Above all else, I would implore that those who just plain dislike dry
meads should refrain from judging those meads. It isn't fair to the
meadster who crafts a dynamic and balanced dry product to fall prey to a
judge with an aversion to dryness and a love of sweetness.


Subject: what happened to my alcohol?
From: "Roel Toussaint" <>
Date: Tue, 15 May 2001 19:40:45 +0200

Finally I have organised an alcoholmeter! But when I went to measure the
alcoholcontents in a pair of mead batches that are over a year old, the
meter indicated that there was no alcohol in it at all. To make sure I took
a sample to school and checked it there and end up with the same results!
The mead batches … correction honey-solutions look, smell and taste like
mead, but then without alcohol of course.
Now is my question "what happened to the alcohol in my meads?".
If you have a possible answer for me please let me know, thanks in
Greetings Roel

Subject: Looking to buy mead abroad
From: "Matt_lists" <>
Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 13:24:35 -0700

A good friend of mine is going abroad to London, Dublin, Edinburgh, and =
Amsterdam and is willing to pick up some mead for me if I can get him an =
address of where to get it. Does anyone here on the MLD live in these =
areas and or know of specific shops in these areas that you can buy =
mead?? I have yet to try mead from another country and am excited to get =
some. Please help.

Please respond to my personal address.

Matt Maples

Liquid Solutions
12162 SW Scholls Ferry Rd
Tigard, OR 97223

May mead regain its rightful place as the beverage of gods and kings.

Subject: at the start of fermentation
From: "Caroline Helmeczi" <>
Date: Thu, 17 May 2001 16:31:27 -0700


I started my first batch of mead a week ago, mostly following the basic
procedure in Mad About Mead by Pamela Spence. I'm using an open fermenter
as suggested in the text. According to the book, I'm supposed to skim the
surface foam daily "until the vigorous activity slows and the foam begins to
recede, usually after the fifth day (more or less)," then siphon into a
glass secondary fermenter.

Here's my problem: there is no foam and no vigorous activity. I have no
idea if it's doing what it should be doing. There are bubbles and I can
smell alcohol when I peek at it.

I have the bucket next to a hot-water radiator in my kitchen, and a
mead-making staff member at the wine-making shop where I bought my equipment
said that was a good idea. My must is wildflower honey, spring water, yeast
nutrient, acid blend, and two tablespoons strong black tea, sterilized with
Campden tablets. It's a small batch, 1 gallon. I used a champagne yeast
started in a small amount of apple juice in a sterile bottle.

I hope that is enough information for someone on the list to be able to
either give me some advice on what to do, or reassure me that everything is
ok! Thank you!


End of Mead Lover's Digest #849