Mead Lover's Digest #0897 Sat 19 January 2002


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



Re: When to transfer mead to a secondary? (Jay Swartzfeger)
mead drinking vessels ("Lindi Edens")
Tamarindo Mead (
finings ("Mark Tumarkin")
artesian well water (
Subject: Bottle Carbonation ("Mitch Rice")
Drinking Vessels ("Matt_lists")
Mead, Meade, and ATF ("Matt_lists")
Response to "Jadwiga by Matt" ("Julia Herz")
Subject: Bunratty, again ("Meade" is NOT mead) (Adam Funk)
Orange-Cinnamon Mead Advice ("Jeff Woods")
A Very Pleasant Smell (Rod Heil)
RE: Dry, sparkling meads in Cincinnati… ("Brian Morgan")


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Subject: Re: When to transfer mead to a secondary?
From: Jay Swartzfeger <>
Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2002 23:26:11 -0700

On Friday, January 11, 2002, at 10:46 PM, mead- wrote:

> Subject: When to transfer mead to a secondary?
> From: Rob Busenbark <>
> Date: Mon, 7 Jan 2002 07:33:07 -0500


> I'm new to the making of mead. How long can the mead stay in the primary
> before raking? I am working on my first batch and it is still bubbling
> strong after 3 weeks.


> I know if you leave it on the yeast cake too long that some off flavors will
> be created.

Meads can sit in primary for a *long* time… you can certainly
leave it in primary as long as your mead is still chugging along.
I've personally left meads in primary for up to 2 months with no
hint of autolysis. Some mead making friends of mine have left their
meads in primary 6+ months with no wonky off-flavors. IIRC, some
styles like champagne even encourage a little bit of autolysis.

Maybe some mead veterans could step in with some definitive
autolysis info. Typical mead primary mead fermentation times (a few
weeks to up to a few months) shouldn't cause any problems.

Jay Swartzfeger
Scottsdale, AZ

Subject: mead drinking vessels
From: "Lindi Edens" <>
Date: Sat, 12 Jan 2002 01:05:43 -0600

"Subject: Mead Drinking Vessels
From: "Joseph Dillon" <>
Date: Mon, 7 Jan 2002 07:18:45 -0500

I realize that in years past, there have been any number of containers used
to drink mead. Are there any specific mead drinking vessels today recognized
as "mead glassware" or "mead drinking vessels"?"

Yes, although they are not modern, and that may be what you are asking.
Although I drink my mead in a pewter mug, many meaderies and renaissance
stores sell a "mead glass". It's an interesting looking thing. It's shaped
like a cone, and you have to put it in a holder to set it down. The idea
behind it, is that if you can't sit your glass down, nobody can slip any
poison into it and kill you. Offhand, I know that Pirtle's Winery in
Weston, MO sells them, but others do as well.

Subject: Tamarindo Mead
Date: Sat, 12 Jan 2002 08:58:45 -0500 (EST)

2 cans Tamarindo -46 fl oz each-(Tamarind juice) from
recent trip to Puerto Rico

15 lb Clover Honey

20 min @ 170F

Lalvin k1-v1116 yeast

brewed on 7/29/01
out of Tertiary, and into bottles on 1/09/02

tasted very good…


Subject: finings
From: "Mark Tumarkin" <>
Date: Sat, 12 Jan 2002 08:58:18 -0500

Scott wrote:
"Someone recommended Sparkeloid. I did THREE racking and applications of
it. All ended up like you said, in layers. I just racked it again last
week, this time I used bentonite, it cleared within 3 days! I don't think
I'll be using sparkeloid any more. I'm a bentonite user now…"

I'm not a 'science guy' and I don't use finings – so I may muck this up but…

There are a number of different things that can cause cloudiness or
haziness in a mead (or beer). The way finings work is that they have
either a positive or a negative charge (depending on which fining you're
using). This charge causes them to be attracted to particles of the
opposite charge. This causes the particles to clump together; forming
larger and heavier groups that then settle out, hopefully leaving a
clear mead. So depending on what is causing the cloudiness, you'd want
to use the appropriate fining. If the sparkeloid has the same charge as
the particles causing the haziness, you can use it multiple times
without clearing the mead. The same for bentonite. And finings won't
help a pectin haze at all (though pectic enzyme will).

Sorry I don't recall which finings are appropriate for which problem
substances. As I said, I don't use finings. Time usually seems to do the
job. I try not to be in a hurry with my meads. If you're interested in
finding out more about finings (or other topics for that matter), you
can try searching the past archives at
This site (thanks, Spencer!) also allows you to search the HBD,
Judgenet, and Lambic Digest, as well as the Mead Lovers Digest.

Mark Tumarkin
Gainesville, FL

Subject: artesian well water
Date: Sat, 12 Jan 2002 10:21:40 EST

hello all,

i've been reading the archives for the last week or so. very

impressed!! i have read in one of them about using artesian well water. i
have such a well close by, so i thought i would try it. i got a large
stainless steel pot and boiled three gallons of water. i noticed thin black
whisps in the water as it got hot. i strained these out. there seemed to be a
small amount of a film as the water heated. after a ten minute boil, i let
the water sit. when i looked in at it, there was about 1/8" of white sediment
on the bottom. is this calcium?? if not, then what? should i not use this
water, or could i just rack it off the sediment. also, i have well water
which is very hard. i have heard that this is ok, but there is a lot of iron
in it. what about it. i have been using bottled water for the first four
batches. is there any problem with this? thank you so much to all who have
been a part of this group. i have learned so much from you all. thanks
again, jim book


Subject: Subject: Bottle Carbonation
From: "Mitch Rice" <>
Date: Sat, 12 Jan 2002 12:13:59 -0500

"P. D. Waltman" formed the electrons to say:

>I'm not really setup to force carbonate my meads; so I'm thinking about
>bottle carbonating my pyment (alfalfa honey to which grapeskins used
>once for wine making, and had been taken off the cap of the wine cap,
>or so I understand on the second use of them). I use corn sugar on my
>beers, is it acceptable to use corn sugar on the mean, or is honey,
>even processed clover honey, a better bet?

Any honey is better, this is the point of mead. Corn sugar has no
appreciable character or taste, and is added only to raise the alcohol
content. Corn sugar is usually from genetically altered corn, and is closer
to being a chemical than natural product. (On this list I would guess that
a majority of meadmakers value of its historical/religious significance as
well as its aesthetic and alcoholic values. The older the recipe the better,
and sugar just does not enter the picture as an ingrediant in any of the
recipes I have seen.) True, traditional mead is honey, water and yeast,
just like true beer is malt, hops, yeast and water. The unmistakable taste
of Budweiser (thin and watery) is due to its use of cheaper corn sugar
rather than true malt. I buy honey for $15/gallon. With 5 gallons of water I
get 6 gallons of 8-10% beer or champagne like mead (depending on fruits
or herbs added) that beats both hands down, and cheaper than standard
homebrewed beer or wine.
There are subcategories of mead, depending on the ingredients added to
the honey, yeast and water. The addition of herbs and spices turns mead
into Metheglin; add fruits and you have Melomel. Some melomels have
specific names: apple/cyser, grape/pyment, and if you mix malt with the
honey, it is bracket, also known as braggot. Fruits of all types have been
tried by members of this list, see for a great list of recipes.
The best part of adding fruit of almost any kind to the primary
fermentation is not only the flavor and color added, but the micronutients
that allow the yeast to grow and flourish. Traditional mead is often hard to
start and keep going, but melomels (at least all of mine) bubble vigoursly
from the get-go. I like to collect wild foods, and so far (this is my first
year with mead) the best has been my persimmon melomel, it turns the
mead ugly brown through the fermentation process, then suddenly clears
completely, leaving a light clear mead.
I try to carbonate a portion of each batch, sometimes I thin down to
produce a 6-8% beer like product (like Belgian beer), or I bottle a 10-14%
Champagne-like mead, both I prefer to bottle in "Grolsch" style quart
Forget the sugar, mead means honey!
Meadmaster Mitch
Mitch Rice
Bloomington, Indiana

Subject: Drinking Vessels
From: "Matt_lists" <>
Date: Sat, 12 Jan 2002 11:26:53 -0800

Subject: Mead Drinking Vessels
From: "Joseph Dillon" <>
Date: Mon, 7 Jan 2002 07:18:45 -0500

I realize that in years past, there have been any number of containers used
to drink mead. Are there any specific mead drinking vessels today recognized
as "mead glassware" or "mead drinking vessels"?

Joe Dillon

No not really. I've been looking for some that kind of reflects the old
drinking bowls but in glass or ceramic; that is something with a wide
shallow bowl but has a short foot. There is a guy who turns wood that
sells drinking bowls but I wanted
something a little more spill proof.

I have resigned myself to drinking them out of a big red wine glass for
the sweet meads but I am still a sucker for a flute for the sparkling

Matt Maples

Liquid Solutions
12162 SW Scholls Ferry Rd
Tigard, OR 97223
503-524-9722 (web site) (mailing list)

Subject: Mead, Meade, and ATF
From: "Matt_lists" <>
Date: Sat, 12 Jan 2002 17:10:26 -0800

In the US, the BATF (federal agency that regulates alcoholic beverages,
among other things) has a history or at least a reputation of being strict
about labeling. I wonder why Bunratty "Meade" hasn't come under scrutiny
for its deceptive label. (Maybe it's because the people who understand the
issue and are bothered by it are all like me–sit around complaining but
don't do anything?:-)


Dick is right on both counts. ATF is sticklers about labels and the only
way things will change is if we get off our collective butts.

Now I have looked at the ATF Beverage manual concerning labeling and
type classification and it says that you MUST include a type and under
the heading of "wine from other agricultural products" (chapter 5 )
it states that wine made from honey must be labeled mead OR honey wine.
The key word there is OR. I don't know if this has changed recently but
I have heard that some three years ago a meadery up here tried to use
the term MEAD and it was rejected. So either meaderies haven't tried to
submit a label with just "mead" on it recently or ATF isn't following
there own guidelines.

Anyone know of a mead out there that is labeled just "Mead" without the
term honey wine on the label??? Of the one I have seen all of them
include the term honey wine (by choice or force I don't know).

As for the whole Bunratty Meade, labeling law states that "A name that
describes the age, origin, identity or other characteristics of the wine
is prohibited UNLESS the name , whether standing alone or in combination
with other printed or graphic material:
Accurately describes the wine


conveys no erroneous impression about the wine.


Is qualified with the word "Brand" "

Well the product name of meade does convey an erroneous impression as it
implies it is a mead which is defined as a " Wine (other than grape
wine, citrus wine or fruit wine) produced by the normal alcoholic
fermentation of sound fermentable agricultural products….." which in
meads case the agricultural product is honey, by their definition. From
what people are saying it looks like they do not ferment the honey so as
I see it the only reason they put the term Meade on the label was to
mislead people into thinking that it is mead. BUT they obviously get
around it by placing the word brand after the Meade name so technically
they are within ATF labeling laws but is obviously trying to deceive.

Matt Maples

Liquid Solutions
12162 SW Scholls Ferry Rd
Tigard, OR 97223
503-524-9722 (web site) (mailing list)

Subject: Response to "Jadwiga by Matt"
From: "Julia Herz" <>
Date: Sun, 13 Jan 2002 21:56:37 -0700

<Has anyone tried Jadwiga mead from Poland?? There is an ad for it in
this months Zymurgy. They say it is a "Poltorak" mead which is a class
of mead that is made with 3/4 honey and 1/4 water aged at least 10
years. It sounds really cool and I want to try and convince a
distributor to bring it in. If anyone has any info about it I would
appreciate it. Sorry about the rather commercial bent of the post but
there really isn't any other place to turn to get unbiased info on mead.
The only other place I could contact is the importer but they are just
going to tell me it is the best thing since sliced bread.>


I have tried it and a review is posted on The Jadwiga, and two other
meads I was sent by the Importer to review and post information on, are
amazing. Advertising in Zymurgy was a wise decision because it is one
of the prime places to reach mead lovers like all of us who read the

Text below is directly from the importer in their description of the

"Description: Jadwiga is a Poltorak Miod Pitny, or comprised of 75%
honey and 25% water. It is aged for approximately 25 years in a
combination of oak and bottle. It is the richest mead the importer has
ever tried with incredible intensity, aroma, depth of flavor, balance,
length and sweetness. It is most definitely for dessert or by itself.
The bottle is wicker with ribbons, and a metallic medallion inlay on a
wax seal. Really incredible stuff. And who has time to age their mead
for 25 years?"

As I understand it this is the oldest existing recipe to still be
produced today. I believe they told me it has been produced in Poland
for approximately 800 years!

To order this mead (and this is a must for any one who is into meads)
and many of their others you need to contact the importer (773-278-4848
/ E-Mail Address: /
Web Site: and find out
what company is in charge of distributing it into the state you live in.
Then have your local wine/spirits retailer order it for you from that

Cheers to the magic of mead!
Julia Herz
Redstone MeaderyT

Subject: Subject: Bunratty, again ("Meade" is NOT mead)
From: Adam Funk <>
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2002 19:44:01 +0000

> Subject: Bunratty, again ("Meade" is NOT mead)
> From: (Dick Dunn)
> Date: Mon, 7 Jan 2002 15:24:00 -0700 (MST)

> In the US, the BATF (federal agency that regulates alcoholic beverages,
> among other things) has a history or at least a reputation of being strict
> about labeling. I wonder why Bunratty "Meade" hasn't come under scrutiny
> for its deceptive label. (Maybe it's because the people who understand
> the issue and are bothered by it are all like me–sit around complaining
> but don't do anything?:-)

I agree with you about the mislabelling of this product (based on the facts
that have been given in the digest — I've never personally seen the stuff).
But I wouldn't expect ATF or the state regulators to impose any sensible
labelling — they may be strict but "they" (I'm not sure which, i.e.
Virginia or federal law) come up with some ridiculous requirements of their
own, such as required strong beers (European, I think) to be labelled "malt


  • — Adam


Subject: Orange-Cinnamon Mead Advice
From: "Jeff Woods" <>
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2002 10:41:03 -0500

This is a great forum with lots of expertise so thanks to all that
contribute. I'd like some advice on an Orange-Cinnamon mead made last
October. Ingredients for the 5 gallon batch were 15 lbs orange blossom
honey, 2 tablespoons of cinnamon, the juice of 2 squeezed oranges, and
Lalvin EC-1118 wine yeast. Starting gravity was 1.118 and dropped crystal
clear at .996. It was a little too dry and heavy cinnamon taste so I added
honey to sweeten to 1.003 a few weeks ago along with potassium sorbate to
prevent fermentation. The recipe I followed called for 5 tbsps of cinnamon
so I'm glad I cut it back to 2. Anyway, the cinnamon dominates the flavor
too much for my tastes and it has an alcohol burn making it somewhat harsh.

Any recommendations ? I could sweeten it a little more or do nothing. The
batch sits in a secondary carboy aging and awaiting any other actions.
Will the cinnamon flavor mellow out in time ?

Jeff Woods
Camp Hill, PA

Subject: A Very Pleasant Smell
From: Rod Heil <>
Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2002 19:32:23 -0800 (PST)

I've got a batch of braggot brewing. It's a recipe of my own devising,
consisting of a 1.4 lb. can of Alexander's Sun Country pale malt
extract kicker, and 2 1/4 lbs. cheap clover honey in one gallon of
water, and fermented with Lalvin 71B.

I have no idea what the end product is going to taste like, but the
fragrance coming off the airlock ranks among the top five odors ever to
slip past my moustache. I think even if the braggot ends up tasting
repulsive, I'll still make this brew quite frequently, for the pleasure
of sniffing the airlock!

(For whatever it's worth, one of the other top five is the smell of
sage brush being singed by a hot muffler as you baja across the Red
Desert of Wyoming.)


Rod Heil

Subject: RE:  Dry, sparkling meads in Cincinnati...
From: "Brian Morgan" <>
Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2002 08:01:00 -0500 writes:
"Brian, I to am favoring dry and sparkling meads. I have made a marvelous
sand cherry sparkling, Raspberry Sparkling and a Pele's Pale which is made
from Lahua Honey from Hawaii and is really fine. What have you been using?"

I kind of do it on the cheap. I use 7# of honey from Sams' Club – usually
from Michigan, I think. Do a 15 minute boil, then steep 1.5 pounds fruit –
usually cranberries or raspberries. Add water to about 6 gallons, pitch
champagne yeast. After primary, rack to carboy until pretty clear (~ 1
month), then keg it. Was a big hit at our Christmas party.

Brian Morgan
Cincinnati, OH


End of Mead Lover's Digest #897