Mead Lover's Digest #0851 Fri 1 June 2001


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



sweetening dry mead ("Jason Foster")
Dates? (Angela Byrnes)
dark malt in braggot (Steven Sanders)
feeding yeast (Dick Dunn)
Re: Meadowsweet (
apricots! (Chuck)


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Subject: sweetening dry mead
From: "Jason Foster" <>
Date: Tue, 29 May 2001 09:11:42 -0600

I am a regular beer brewer who makes a batch of mead once a year for a
change of pace. I prefer a sweeter mead, and until this year had no
difficulty with that. This year however, my fermentation with my 3
gallons of melomel (I added apple juice) went WAY TOO FAR. The specific
gravity is .994, and the taste is way too dry for me. What is the best
way to resweeten it?

My theory is I need to kill the yeast off and then add an appropriate
amount of honey to sweeten the flavour. Will this work? Should I add the
honey, let if ferment a little, then kill the yeast? Any suggestions
would be helpful.


Jason Foster
Director of Policy Analysis
Alberta Federation of Labour

Subject: Dates?
From: Angela Byrnes <>
Date: Tue, 29 May 2001 09:00:51 -0700

Has anyone tried making a mead with dates, fresh or dried? I have been
reading a fictional book set in Old Testament times where there is mention
of honeyed dates as a delicacy and my mind wandered into a possible mead


Subject: dark malt in braggot
From: Steven Sanders <>
Date: Tue, 29 May 2001 09:00:16 -0700 (PDT)


Ive been experimenting with braggots lately, just
having made (and rapidly drunk) a green tea braggot
with wheat malt.. Im thinking about modifying a stout
recipe to make a chocolate braggot..(no hops) but I
am concerned that the dark malt (3.3 lbs to 6 lbs
darkish missouri autumn honey) would overwhelm the
honey characteristics… Does anyone know if the honey
would come through with the above ratio of malt/honey?


steven sanders

My moon based death ray
panics the people of earth.
Mock my theories now!

Subject: feeding yeast
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: Tue, 29 May 2001 14:57:32 -0600 (MDT)

Digest before last (849) Ken Schramm <> wrote:
> I am not a fan of the continuous feeding process, as it draws out the
> fermentation substantially, and,…

Ken – Could you elaborate on this? Let me explain: I think anyone who's
ever done the "feeding" process would be _quite_ happy not to do it…but
we believe or seem to have convinced ourselves that it's necessary for high
gravity/high-alcohol meads. Feeding is messy; there's the worry of oxida-
tion from a partly-empty fermenter (or the fuss of how to keep it topped
up); calculating the effective gravity and apparent alcohol is error-prone,
etc., etc.

>…I prefer to have a healthy, quick ferment with an amount of honey suited to
> the selected yeast's ETOH tolerance…

But some experience (and too much folklore, perhaps) has led us to think
that starting a mead with a must of too high SG will lead to a sluggish
start and the possibility that fermentation never really gets going strong
or eventually sticks.

Just for the sake of concrete examples: I use "a gallon of honey plus four
gallons of water" as a starting point for thinking about a recipe. That's
about 12 lb in 5 gallons, about 1.100 OG. Most yeasts handle that much with
no problem. OK, now that's 2.4 lb honey per gallon of must. I can go to
3 lb/gal with a strong yeast and it probably will start OK. But moving to
3.5 lb/gal, past experience tells me that the yeast probably won't even start
well if I baby it along and build up with starters…yet I can start at 2.5
lb/gal and feed up to the higher effective gravity.

So…are yeasts that much better nowadays? Do you think it's practical to
start with a must around (say) 1.130?

(I do understand that if you're putting in whopping amounts of honey and
aiming for a sweet mead, it's easier and faster to just ferment first and
sweeten later.)

Dick Dunn Hygiene, Colorado USA

…Simpler is better.

Subject: Re: Meadowsweet
Date: Tue, 29 May 2001 23:39:30 EDT

Stephan Buhner's Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers has two ale recipes for
Meadowsweet Ale. Both use 2 ounces of dry meadowsweet along with other herbs
in a couple of gallons of brew. One recipe uses agrimony and lavender with
the meadowsweet and the other Maude Grieve's variation blends dandelion and
agrimony with the meadowsweet. He says that in the 14th Century, it was
called Meadwort and was often put into wine and beer. It has a delightful
smell and invigorating quality much like sweetgrass.
I would suggest using twice as much fresh herb as dried. I normally
pasteurize my honey and simply steep my herbs in the hot must like making a
tea. I usually leave the herbs in the primary for the first week or two so
that the alcohol builds up with the fermentation and extracts the flavor and
medicinal properties from the herbs. Then I carefully rack away from the
herbs and allow it to age in a secondary. I would think that a nice local
wildflower honey would be a great combination for your native herb. Look for
a local beekeeper's club for a source of fresh honey.
Bob Grossman

I live in an area in Iceland where meadowsweet (Fillipendula Ulmaria) grows
in abundance. The Icelandic name for this herb is mjadurt which means
mead-herb. This is because the Vikings used it to flavor their mead. I
would like to try making a meadowsweet metheglyn this summer. Has anyone on
this list used meadowsweet in their meads? How much would you suggest I use
and what is the best way of extracting the flavor (put it in the primary,
boil it (make herb tea) or something else)? Also, what honey would you

Kristinn Eysteinsson

Subject: apricots!
From: Chuck <>
Date: Fri, 1 Jun 2001 07:47:56 -0500 (CDT)

A wonderful thing happened last night.
I stopped off after work at a (North-suburban
Chicago) produce store to pick up some fruit. This
store (Vali Produce) always has the freshest yet
least expensive fruits and vegetables of any place
I've seen.

They had first-of-the-season apricots at 99 cents
a pound. They were OK, but not blemishless (a few
nicks here and there). I asked the owner when the
season would start and the price would come down,
explaining that I made "wine" with them (most
people have not a clue when you say mead to them).

He must have had some cases in back that didn't
have blemishes because he offered to sell me 24
pounds off the shelf for $10. (Apricots come
in 24 pound cases.) How could I pass this up?

Once I got home it was short work to de-pit, food
process with a slicer and into the freezer. It
turns out that he actually gave me 25 pounds. :?>)
Anyone have any suggestions of spices that go well
with apricots?

The point of my rambling is this, fruits are
starting to come into season. Check out your local
roadside stands and truck farms for fresh produce at
low prices. Don't be afraid to ask for a lower price
for bulk purchases. Also, look around you. There are
lots of mulberry trees around where I live, and by
looking I've located a few more. There may be free
fruit where you're at just there for the picking.

One last thing. This year I started keeping bees.
It's only two hives, but it's an absolutely
fascinating hobby! The bees are incredibly gentle
and most times I'm working the hives I'm in shorts
and a t-shirt. (I do wear a veil 'cause if I'm gonna
get stung, I don't want it in the face.) I've been
stung once, trying to save a bee from drowning in a
pail of sugar syrup. And then there's the honey I'm
pretty sure I'll get this fall. Lots of pure,
unheated, untreated, and unfiltered honey. :?>)

Chuck Wettergreen
Geneva, IL

End of Mead Lover's Digest #851