Mead Lover's Digest #0890 Thu 13 December 2001


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



Here's a small Christmas tip ….. ("Roel Toussaint")
Re: Northwest Mead-ing 2002 (Mick)
A Gathering (Russ Riley)
Hard Water (Dan McFeeley)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #889, 10 December 2001 ("Joel Baker")
Oatmeal Mead ("Steve Gaskin")
Introduction ("David Craft")


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: Here's a small Christmas tip .....
From: "Roel Toussaint" <>
Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2001 13:24:24 +0100

Hi all,

I just wanted to share some custom that I picked up considering mead! Hope I
don't tell you old news, but still …

It's been several years ago already, that I went to the lovely Easern Europe
country; Slovakia, for a practical trainee-ship at a wine(yard)-institute.

It was at that institute I learned how to make wines. At first just plain
old grape-wines, but in time and a bit more experimenting, I found out that
other fruits and herbs (from practically anything!) can make wine (and a lot
more kinds of beverages ;o)!!!)

It was that same period, at a Christmas-market in some town, that I got in
contact with my very first medovina (= mead)! My Slovak friends let me taste
this with the comments that it's a very ancient Slavian beverage, that a
beverage-technologist such as me should have to try! Ever since that moment
I'm hooked to it!

But there's a special way they drink mead during the cold wintermonths and
at those Christmas-markets. There the then serve warmed mead!!! Warmed mead
gets a more full aroma and nose, I really advise you to try it. The Slovaks
drink this as an appetizer before the Christmas-diner, and at the markets
then too, to stay warm. For me
it gives Christmas a nice completion …

Since planned to go to Slovakia again this Chirstmas, I'm already looking
forward to the goodies they have there such as their warmed meads!

Just to keep the conversation going, these meads come from several
commercial meaderies. As I said, meads have been around there for centuries!
Actually I don't really understand the fuss about the commercial meadery!
Most people here don't even understand what you mean when you talk about
mead. When you mention honey-wine they can better imagine what you're
talking about. So seen from a marketing perspective meadery is not a
tactical name! I would use the term honey-winery then ….

Have a merry Christmas all! I know I will …


Subject: Re: Northwest Mead-ing 2002
From: Mick <>
Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2001 04:45:41 -0800

Sounds great! I'm just down here on the Oregon Coast, and I'd love to
get together with some fellow NW mead-makers. I know of a few other
meadmakers in this area to whom I shall send word.

Got 5 gallons of blackberry mead going into the bottle this weekend, and
then I'll start a hop-mead, seems to be a local favorite around these
parts. Cheers!


Subject: A Gathering
From: Russ Riley <>
Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2001 06:26:54 -0800 (PST)

Dean from Easton, MA wrote:

How about doing regional gatherings?
For example I live in Masschusetts. A page of States and contact for
each could be posted. May be a little more do-able so to speak.

A date would be set by the host, a time, a place and a deadline to signup.

Probably the most workable idea. I'd be all for it,
although I'd be a paltry showing with only one mead of
my own. I'd probably have to bring a few commercial
ones just to earn my keep! If anyone is up for one
near Chicago, let me know!

Buffalo Grove, IL

Subject: Hard Water
From: Dan McFeeley <>
Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2001 10:58:31 -0500

On Sun Dec 9 2001, in MLD 889, Chuck Wettergreen wrote:

>Personally I prefer using my own very hard tap water (aerated to remove
>the gaseous chlorine). I believe (but have nothing to support my position
>other than hundreds of sucessful, rapid fermentations) that the yeast use
>the dissolved minerals to grow and thrive.

Just to add a little more to this — there is good support for Chuck's
belief that hard water is beneficial to mead fermentations. Acton &
Duncan's book, _Making Mead_, (published 1965) points out the importance
of sufficient mineral content. Apparently some English waters require a
pinch of Epsom salts else the fermentation stalls out. Distilled water is
not recommended for the same reasons. Clayton Cone, in his paper on Mead
Making (sorry, don't have the URL handy at the moment but you can find it
at the Lallemand web site) says that mineral content of the water is needed
to help stabilize the pH of the honey must.

This is apparently a contradiction to Brother Adam's advice that the best
water for mead is soft water, rain water if possible. Acton & Duncan,
however, are also English meadmakers, and their experience with English
water was that, depending on the source, some mineral hardness was necessary.

'Course, this may depend on how the rain water was gathered. Not so long
ago, someone on the Irish Beekeeping list posted how he made a prize winning
mead using rain water collected from a roof inhabited by pigeons! Now that's
a unique way to add nitrogen to a honey must!

There's an odd piece of advice in Pliny the Elder's notes on meadmaking
(written about 77 AD — you can find it in either Cindy Renfrow's book
_A Sip Through Time_ or if your local library has Pliny's _Natural
History_ in holding) that makes no sense at all unless you consider
mineral content. Rain water stored for five years is recommended but
then he says "some who are more expert use rain-water as soon as it
is fallen, boiling it down to a third of the quantity . . ." It's
quite possible that this was helping the fermentation by increasing
the mineral content.

Toga mead party, anyone? 🙂


Dan McFeeley

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #889, 10 December 2001
From: "Joel Baker" <>
Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2001 11:53:33 -0700

On Mon, Dec 10, 2001 at 11:14:58PM -0700, wrote:


> Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #888, 7 December 2001
> From: "Chuck Wettergreen" <>
> Date: Sun, 9 Dec 2001 07:51:12 -0600


> In MLD #888, "Kemp, Alson" <> replied to
> Frank about tap water:


> > >Read your reply to the stuck fermentation posting. Your
> > >first item said "you did not use tap water" then I said
> > >"uh oh" I'm new to mead/ making and did not read
> > >anything that said do not use tap water. Is boiled
> > >tap water OK? should I use bottled water?
> > >Boiled bottled water?

> >

> > Metro tap water has (at least) chlorine and fluoride in
> > it and is designed to stop bad things (bacteria, yeasts?) from
> > reproducing. Boiling the water may drive off the chlorine and
> > make the tap water brewable. Also, everyone's tap water is


> This is true, if your water company uses gaseous chlorine. If
> They use chloroamine, however, boiling won't remove it. Only
> filtering with activated charcoal with take this nasty stuff out.


> Personally I prefer using my own very hard tap water (aerated
> to remove the gaseous chlorine). I believe (but have nothing to
> support my position other than hundreds of sucessful, rapid
> fermentations) that the yeast use the dissolved minerals to grow
> and thrive.


> If I didn't have access to my own hard water, then I'd use
> store-bought
> "spring" water from the machine at the supermarket.

A trick from my other hobby: you can get chlorine test kits cheaply and
easily (dip-strips, crush pills, or liquid drops, whatever works for you)
from almost any pet store. Look in the "fish" section. However, I would
rather strongly suggest not contemplating the dechlor you will find next
to it; it will remove the chlorine, but usually by binding it up; the
results won't hurt fish, but wouldn't exactly be good for a mead.

Aerate the water (boil it for a while, let it sit for a week in an open
container, or use an airstone for a few hours if you happen to have one)
and test it afterwards; if it still shows chlorine, you have chloramines,
and you'd better find a cheap supplier of clean water. Or set up a triple
osmosis rig (if you think mead uses a lot of water, compare it to having
to change 50 gallons at a time on a large fishtank… and have it all at
a temperature with 1-2'F of your current tank water… etc)

Anyway. Just a thought. And don't feed the mead to the fish. 🙂


Joel Baker System Administrator –

Subject: Oatmeal Mead
From: "Steve Gaskin" <>
Date: Wed, 12 Dec 2001 10:37:42 +1030 writes

>So, has anyone ever put oatmeal into mead? What would happen? What
would it taste like? How would I have to treat the oatmeal? Is this too
bizarre to
even consider?<

Hi Wendy

The idea is a little bizarre, – but that is one of the hallmarks of

However I think that you will find that the drink you could make, will
taste a lot different to the idea that you have in your mind.

I have experimented with beers and Meads a bit, and also made Sake – the
drink that is so well known and loved in Japan.

I have also considered trying a Sake/Mead or a Mead/Sake which is what
you are talking of in essence. Your version would be based on Oatmeal,
rather than the rice that is traditionally used.

The starches in the oatmeal first need to be converted to fermentable
sugars. In Sake making this is done with the help of a mould called
Aspergillus Oryzae. This little guy requires a suitable temperature to
carry out the conversion, and does so effectively. You can also buy
commercial enzymes (amylase) that convert starches to fermentable

Then its just a matter of adding the wine or mead yeast, and some extra
honey (if desired) Fermentation is usually quite fast, due to the wide
variety of nutrients available.

The problem is that Sake tastes quite strong.

Mine tasted like Methylated spirits! It might improve with age, but it
is generally held that Sake does not keep well. (not sure why not, the
alcohol level is usually high enough)

Lots of cultures ferment cereals to make alcoholic beverages.You could
give it a shot! It would be an experiment though!


  • – definitely no mystical comments after this name! 🙂


Subject: Introduction
From: "David Craft" <>
Date: Wed, 12 Dec 2001 12:32:52 -0600


I have just joined this list and have been on the Homebrew Digest for some
time. I have been brewing for about 3 years. I have made three batches of
Mead during this time.

The first was a straight Mead , made with a Sweet Mead yeast. After tasting
(too sweet)I repitched with a Champaigne Yeast, which dried the Mead out
considerably. Too dry, but still very aromatic and alcoholic. Not bad, just
not good.

I did not have a good understanding of the the yeast choices back then.

My second batch I used a Dry Mead yeast on the famed Prickly Pear Cactus
recipe of Papazian. This batch is one year old and coming into its own just


My most recent batch is 4 months olds, Blackberry Mead (dry). It tasted a
little like medicine when I bottled, but one year from now it should be
good. I primed with a little sugar to make it sparkle a bit. The sugar
seems to have settle on the bottom of the bottles, I can't tell if there is
enough yeast to actually make this sparkle. It has cleared nicely, with a
nice reddish-blue color and seems well balanced. All of the acid in the
berries took care of that. We have been in a drought for several years, so
the berries never fully sweetened.

In a week or so, it is time for Plum Orange Mead, flavored with 6-1 lb cans
of plums and a one lb jar of orange marmalade. Twelve lbs of honey in this
five gallon batch should make a nice dry mead. Any thoughts?
I know don't boil the fruit or marmalade…………………

I still enjoy brewing and LOVE beer. I like the time it takes to make Mead,
much less! Though we do have to wait much longer to drink. My goal is to
build a nice reserve of various Meads and enjoy them and give them away for
many years to come.

Thanks for your time,

David B. Craft
Battleground Brewers HomeBrew Club
Crow Hill Brewery
Greensboro, NC

End of Mead Lover's Digest #890