Mead Lover's Digest #0858 Wed 11 July 2001


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



Re: 14 Gallon Demi-John (David Sherfey)
Re: digest submission (Dan McFeeley)
Re: Using demi-johns (Jay Swartzfeger)
Re: Fermentation in the 'fridge (Jay Swartzfeger)
Re: Using demi-johns (
baffled barkshack bottler ("jessica rogers")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #857, 7 July 2001 (
RE: Mead Lover's Digest #857, 7 July 2001 ("Stevenson, Randall")
mead rookie!! ("Turner, Cliff")


NOTE: Digest appears when there is enough material to send one.
Send ONLY articles for the digest to
Use for [un]subscribe/admin requests.
Digest archives and FAQ are available at There is
a searchable MLD archive at

Subject: Re: 14 Gallon Demi-John
From: David Sherfey <>
Date: Sat, 07 Jul 2001 13:48:45 -0400

Phil asks how full he should ferment in his new D-J

I would say that it depends mostly on yeast selection and temperature of
fermentation. I'll suggest that you play it cautious your first time out
and watch what happens. Make the full volume, and then ferment 1 – 2
gallons of it on the side and use that to top the D-J with after most of
the fermentation is completed.

I am compelled to add a couple of Demi-John cautions;

1) Special handling is required, that is; NO handling when the DJ is full
or even half-full. Make sure that you have it in a place where you can
rack off from it when the fermentation is finished. I have seen what can
happen when things go wrong with a Demi-John in motion. They are
awkwardly large and can slosh and swing out too far and then…. A big
mess in the least of situations, and lots of shrapnel in the worst of
situations. There is a reason they are supplied with those basket wraps.

2) An active fermentation at DJ volume will generate more heat than a 5
gallon carboy, especially at most mead gravities, and so can require
additional cooling capacity to keep things from going out of control. I am
just finishing up a fermentation of 15 gallons of a 1.107 OG strong Belgian
ale. At the height of fermentation it required an ambient temperature
difference of 14 deg. F (52F) to hold the desired fermentation temperature
to 66F. This is more than twice what is usually required with 5 – 6 gallon

Hope this helps!

David Sherfey
Warwick, NY

Subject: Re: digest submission
From: Dan McFeeley <>
Date: Sat, 7 Jul 2001 13:15:35 -0500

On Mon, 02 Jul 2001, in MLD 857, Glen Pannicke wrote:

>Now here is someone who was perfectly named. Melissa – from ancient
>Greek meaning honey or bee.

Yes indeed, Melissa is a beautiful name, but it means much more than
'honey bee.' 'Meli' is the Greek word for honey; 'Melissa' is derived
from it and according to my old Greek – English lexicon of the New
Testament (a holdover from my days in another lifetime as a ministerial
student) means 'honey bee.' This is the Koine Greek of the New Testment
era, and perhaps by then the word had lost much of its older meanings.

To the ancient Greeks, 'Melissa' meant either a bee-nymph or a prophetess
of a bee-cult. Now that's much more interesting, but it gets even better.
An article by Adrienne Mayor in _Archaeology_ looks at instances of
poisonings from the toxic honey of the Black Sea area, discusses briefly
ancient texts that mention the bee-prophetesses of ancient Greece and
raises the fascinating speculation that the Delphic oracle may have
been inspired by mead spiked with Black Sea honey.

This is an area of ancient history and religion that I'm trying to learn
more about. From what I can tell so far, there may have been an older
cult centering around the honey bee imported into Greece from the north,
and very likely older than the gods and goddesses of the Homer sagas.
It may have been associated with what became the cult of Dionysus, but
I'm not sure on all this. Unfortunately it's not been well explored
in the study of ancient Mediterranean cultures. Ransom's _Sacred Bee_
gives some attention to it, and of course, there is Mayor's article.

Those of you who recall the American Mead Association might remember
the cover of the 1992 _Meadmaker's Journal_, featuring a lady carrying
only a ceremonial spear for adornment and pouring out a libation into
a drinking bowl held by a grinning Pan, with a cherubic looking young
satyr looking on wonderingly. I photocopied the picture and did a
little cut and paste work, ending up with the Greek bee-nymph pouring
mead into a large Greek vase and surrounded by buzzing bees. This
became a mead label with the caption "Melissa's Delphic Inspiration,"
which I later made into a t-shirt for my wife, also named Melissa.

So yes, for all folk on this list named "Melissa," there is a wealth
of ancient traditions behind the name!

Dan McFeeley

Subject: Re: Using demi-johns
From: Jay Swartzfeger <>
Date: Sat, 7 Jul 2001 12:24:14 -0700

On Saturday, July 7, 2001, at 08:06 AM, wrote:

> Subject: Using demi-johns
> From: Phil <>
> Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2001 06:19:35 -0700 (PDT)
> I recently purchased a 14 gallon demi-john, which I'll
> be using to make a large batch of traditional mead. I
> plan on using 45-50 pounds of Tupelo honey. How close
> to the top can I top it off without risk of it
> bubbling up through the airlock?
> Phil


I have no experience with batches that large, but I would guess you can
get pretty close to the top if you're doing a traditional. I've had
violent/vigorous ferments with melomels, but my traditional meads have
been pretty tame. I'd say take it as close as you feel comfortable.

Subject: Re: Fermentation in the 'fridge 
From: Jay Swartzfeger <>
Date: Sat, 7 Jul 2001 12:31:30 -0700

On Saturday, July 7, 2001, at 08:06 AM, wrote:

> Subject: Fermentation in the 'fridge
> From: "Kemp, Alson" <>
> Date: Mon, 2 Jul 2001 11:28:52 -0700
> All,
> My last mead (a chocolate mead) fermented in 3 days. For some
> reason, a 3 day ferment makes me uncomfortable. That just seems too
> fast.
> As such, for my next mead, I'm going to TRY to ferment it in the
> refridgerator. Two questions:
> 1) What yeast will be able to work in the 'fridge? I'm testing
> K1V-1116 in apple juice in the fridge. It's fermenting very, very
> slowly.
> I noticed on the Lallemand site that ICQ D-47 was "rated" down to 10C
> which
> is 5C lower than K1V-1116.
> 2) What effect on the taste will fermentation in the 'fridge have?
> -Alson Kemp

Here's a weird suggestion– why not try a lager yeast? I know lager
yeasts operate at much cooler temps than ale or wine yeasts. The only
question I would have is if a lager yeast would have a deleterious
effect on the mead's flavor.

Jay Swartzfeger
Scottsdale, AZ

Subject: Re: Using demi-johns
Date: Sat, 7 Jul 2001 15:33:05 EDT

In a message dated 7/7/01 8:27:37 AM Pacific Daylight Time, writes:

> I recently purchased a 14 gallon demi-john, which I'll
> be using to make a large batch of traditional mead. I
> plan on using 45-50 pounds of Tupelo honey. How close
> to the top can I top it off without risk of it
> bubbling up through the airlock?


I'm suffering from fermenter-envy … size *does* matter. 🙂 If it were me,
I'd make a full 14 gallons of must and reserve enough to give myself a good
4-6 inches of headspace. It also depends on what yeast you're using … the
more aggressive the yeast the more headspace you'll want initially. Once the
fermentation settles down you can go ahead add the reserve back in.

Warm Regards,

Subject: baffled barkshack bottler
From: "jessica rogers" <>
Date: Sat, 07 Jul 2001 20:28:09 -0700

I am over-due bottling my first-ever batch of mead. I used Charlie Papazian's
recipe for Barkshack Gingermead, in his book The New Complete Joy of
Homebrewing, 1984/1991.
This recipe directs me to add 3/4 cup corn sugar when bottling. I worry about
the corn sugar not being diffused properly if I just dump it into the carboy
before bottling.
Can someone suggest how they have successfully dissolved or otherwise evenly
distributed the corn sugar into the mead before bottling. Danke Sehr! Hail!

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #857, 7 July 2001
Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2001 02:19:08 +1000

Hi. I have to agree with cynical Adam. Distillation laws are much
more related to government revenue than they are to reality.
I must confess to being a bit disappointed with MLD of late. Do you
really think that government heavies are going to sledge hammer
through your meadery door because you dared to freeze some
mead. Compare the debate on this issue with that over the crystals
in mead discussion. A few patronizing postings killed the crystal
issue dead. Although I'm a total sceptic on crystal related matters I
am most interested in hearing of other's experiences. If someone
can consistently brew a better mead by starting it in a pyramid
whilst the moon is full; good luck to them. Perhaps they've got hold
of the edge of something quite important. A bit like flying a kite in a
thunderstorm??!! Anyway I don't think it is the role of posters to
MLD to shoot down such debate.
Cheers Steve Wright

Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #857, 7 July 2001
From: "Stevenson, Randall" <>
Date: Mon, 9 Jul 2001 14:14:44 -0500

In response to Alson Kemp's questions:

1) What yeast will be able to work in the 'fridge? I'm testing
K1V-1116 in apple juice in the fridge. It's fermenting very, very
slowly. I noticed on the Lallemand site that ICQ D-47 was "rated" down
to 10C which is 5C lower than K1V-1116.

  • – Any lager yeast should do well. Fermentation should necessarily be

slower in the fridge than at room temperature.

2) What effect on the taste will fermentation in the 'fridge have?

  • – Cold fermentation of beer produces a very different beer than room

temperature fermentation. Try an ale (room temp fermented beer) and a
lager (cold fermented beer) or a steam ale (a room temperature fermented
beer using lager yeast). I suspect the mead will be at least
interesting. I would love to know how it turns out.

  • – One word of caution — we've had a major explosion resulting from

bottling cold fermented beer too soon (i.e. before the fermentation was
actually finished). Mead cana have the same results, so I'd watch the
SG really closely and be sure that I did not leave too much sugar in the
brew before bottling.

Randall Stevenson

  • — "If it weren't for women, mead would be man's best friend."

Subject: mead rookie!!
From: "Turner, Cliff" <>
Date: Mon, 9 Jul 2001 18:01:32 -0500

I just started subscribing to the Mead Lovers Digest and have completly no
experience in makin mead. This is an old recipe that I found in an old
issue that looks pretty easy (I need easy to start since I have NO Mead
making equipment) but I was wondering if anyone knew WHAT KIND of Yeast and
HOW MUCH to use for this recipe??
Thanks so much!
Cliff Turner
Ft. Lauderdale Florida

I don't know if this is the recipe you wanted Steve, but it looks so good that
I decided to use it for my next batch. The _Cats Meow_ also has a couple of
other Feinstein recipes, but they are for Framboise (a fruit flavored beer).

I will probably modify the technique a bit and I'm not certain if the 1/4 cup
of vodka would actually knock-out the little yeasty beasties, potassium sorbate
looks like a better choice. Although, given the short fermentation schedule,
a bit of added alchohol might be necessary.

Basic Small Mead

Author: Cher Feinstein (
Digest: September 30, 1989, Issue #267


2-3 cloves
2 sticks cinnamon
2 thin slices ginger
2-4 teaspoons orange peel
2 pounds honey
1/4 cup vodka or grain alcohol


In a 1-gallon pot, simmer cloves (lightly cracked), cinnamon (broken),
and ginger. Add orange peel. The amount of orange peel will vary
depending on type of honey used. Use less orange peel with orange
blossom honey, for example. Simmer.

Add water to bring volume to 3 quarts. Return to simmer. Add honey,
stirring constantly. Do not boil! Skim off any white scum. If scum
is yellow, reduce heat. When no more scum forms, remove from heat,
cover pot, and leave overnight. The next day, strain to remove as
much spice particles as possible. Pitch yeast. Replace pot cover.

Twelve hours later, rack mead to 1-gallon jug, leaving dregs of yeast.
Top off jug, bringing to base of neck. Take a piece of clean paper
towel, fold into quarters, and put over mouth of jug. Seal with rub-
ber band. Ferment for 36 hours, replacing paper towel whenever it
becomes fouled. Refrigerate 8-12 hours. Rack to new jug and put back
in refrigerator for 12 hours. Add 1/4 cup vodka to kill yeast. Rack
to fresh jug. Refrigerate 3-4 days. Bottle.


This is a quickie mead, drinkable in 2 weeks, however, it does improve
with age. Aging at least a couple months is recommended. This mead is
excellent chilled.

Method: N/A
Original Gravity: N/A
Final Gravity: N/A
Primary Ferment: 2 days
Secondary Ferment: 2 weeks


Robert Emery (

End of Mead Lover's Digest #858