Mead Lover's Digest #0904 Tue 19 February 2002

 

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

 

Contents:

Drinking Horns Web How-To's ("Dan McFeeley")
Mazer Cup! ("Charles wettergreen")
when to add fruit/when to bottle ("Stephen J. Van der Hoven")
RE: Apricot Ginger Mead (LJ Vitt)
Bottling (Russ_Hobaugh@erm.com)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #903, 18 February 2002 (Sid Washer)
Drinking Horns (Jerome Snyder)
fresh honey (NLSteve@aol.com)
Mead and Oak ("Kemp, Alson")
The Perils of Ginger ("Kevin Mc Lean")
Apricot Ginger Mead ("Kevin Mc Lean")
Contribution to Newsletter ("Martella, Paul C. (PCMartella)")
Contamination ("Norm Allen")
Is Absinthe a metheglin? (Belinda Messenger)
RE: Mead Lover's Digest #903, 18 February 2002 ("Bill & Ramona Kuhn")
Re: Red Raspberry Mead ("Ken Taborek")
Re: When to bottle? ("Ken Taborek")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #903, 18 February 2002 (Gardengate32@aol.com)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #903, 18 February 2002 (Gardengate32@aol.com)

 

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Subject: Drinking Horns Web How-To's
From: "Dan McFeeley" <mcfeeley@keynet.net>
Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 07:18:48 -0600

On Wed, 13 Feb 2002, in MLD 903, Joan Plane wrote:

>Hello,
> I have a horn, I know how it smells, I am having trouble thinking about
>using it for a drinking vessel. On top of that, I wonder how you CLEAN the
>horn between mead drinking days. I mean do you just not clean it, don't look
>down the hole, pinch your nose, ….how tough were the vikings? I have to
>hand it to them. Maybe the bacteria helped build up their resistance to flu
>bugs, …it sure did not appear to weaken them.

I did some browsing and came up with these URL's for crafting your own
drinking horn. There should be plenty of info there for any questions on
working with horn.

Hope this is helpful!

<><><><><><><><><><>
<><><><><><><><>

Dan McFeeley
mcfeeley@keynet.net

http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~marc-carlson/horn/hornhome.html

http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~marc-carlson/horn/dhorn.html

http://www.meridies.org/as/dmir/Bone&Horn/0403.html

http://www.armourarchive.org/essays/essay__drinkinghorn.shtml

http://haligwaerstow.ealdriht.org/horn.htm

http://holmes.acc.virginia.edu/~hlf/NEWSTUFF/VIKINGS/horn.cleaning.html


Subject: Mazer Cup!
From: "Charles wettergreen" <chuckwm@hotmail.com>
Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 07:33:40 -0600

Don't forget! You only have a couple of weeks.
Entries to the Bill Pfeiffer Memorial Mazer Cup contest must be received by
March 9, 2002. Entry forms, rules and information
are at: http://www.mazercup.org/

Good luck!


Subject: when to add fruit/when to bottle
From: "Stephen J. Van der Hoven" <sjvande2@ilstu.edu>
Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 07:44:25 -0800

Here's my 0.02$ worth on Tom's questions about when to add fruit to his red
raspberry melomel. My standard MO is to add a small amount of fruit (1 lb)
to the primary to add nutrients naturally. Once primary slows, I rack on
to the rest of the fruit for a second primary. This method has always
resulted in strong fermentations and lots of fruit aroma/flavor.

Tom also asked about when to bottle. If possible, I would recommend bulk
aging. Or at least wait until it clears. If you bottle it cloudy, it will
probably clear in the bottle but you'll have a thick layer of sediment at
the bottom of each bottle. There are a number of methods of trying to
clear your mead, with time being the best. Another reason to let it bulk
age. If it's a melomel, try pectin enzyme if you haven't already. If
you're going to be producing mead on a regular basis, I suggest investing
in multiple carboys.

Steve

_____________________________

Stephen J. Van der Hoven
Assistant Professor
Department of Geography-Geology
Illinois State University
Campus Box 4400
Normal, IL 67190-4400

Phone: 309/438-3493
Fax: 309/438-5310


Subject: RE: Apricot Ginger Mead
From: LJ Vitt <lvitt4@yahoo.com>
Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 07:07:15 -0800 (PST)

Stefan asked for opinions on a mead recipe…

Subject: RE: Apricot Ginger Mead
From: "Berggren, Stefan" <stefan_berggren@trekbike.com>
Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2002 11:01:33 -0600

Dear Mead Digest,

> I am taking the plunge and making mead this weekend (just a one gallon
> batch) and wanted to get some advice on the amount of fruit to add. My
> ingredient list was as follows:

>

> 1 gallon Distilled H20
> 3.0lbs Orange Blossom honey
> 21 oz Oregon Apricot fruit puree (1/2 a can)
> 1/2 oz ginger
> 1/4 tsp. Gypsum
> 1 tsp yeast energizer
> White Labs sweet mead yeast (starter made two days prior -16oz h20+1/2 cup
> honey+1/8tsp yeast energizer)

>

Why gypsum? I think of gypsum as something that help you mash grain.

I suggest using yeast nutrient and yeast energizer.

 

  • – Leo Vitt

Rochester, MN

 


Subject: Bottling
From: Russ_Hobaugh@erm.com
Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 11:17:07 -0500

Tom asks when to bottle. Don't go by looks, take some
readings with your hydrometer, and make sure the mead
is not going down any further. If you don't, you run the risk
of "bottle grenades". I had one batch do this just from
sweetening before bottling from the yeast in suspension,
Apart from a horrible waste of perfectly good mead
it can be dangerous when bottles start to explode!!!

My wife thinks I am bad, but Nathan has me beat! My current
batches include:

5 gallons Sack mead 19% alcohol soon to be bottled.
5 gallons Blackberry Melomel just racked for first time.
4.5 gallons Maple wine fermenting away.
And not to discriminate against beer:
5 gallons of CAP lagering in the fridge!

I have 15 lbs of honey for my next batch: Vanilla mead


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #903, 18 February 2002
From: Sid Washer <sw10@nyu.edu>
Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 11:41:28 -0500

Hi: In my snobbish yet erudite-manque opinion, the religious aspect is
fine for those to whom it is interesting and should be so, in the proper
venue; for the rest of us here, it degrades the signal to noise ratio. I
would respectfully suggest that this list be for the aestheto-technical
aspects of meadmaking and leave the religion out. Ma Deuce can still
beat out a broadsword at a mile range but good mead is better! bye,

sid.


Subject: Drinking Horns
From: Jerome Snyder <j_m_snyder@yahoo.com>
Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 08:47:57 -0800 (PST)

> << I have to admit I haven't done this, but I've drank
> meads from horns prepared this way, and didn't taste the
> horn, just the mead. >>

> I have a horn, I know how it smells, I am having
> trouble thinking about using it for a drinking vessel.
> On top of that, I wonder how you CLEAN the horn between
> mead drinking days. I mean do you just not clean it,
> don't look down the hole, pinch your nose, ….how tough
> were the vikings? I have to hand it to them. Maybe the
> bacteria helped build up their resistance to flu
> bugs, …it sure did not appear to weaken them.
> Love,
> Joan

> > ——————————
>

Drinking Horns

In the SCA I'm apprenticed to some folks that carve horn,
antler, and other assorted items.
Their method for cleaning horns is something along the
lines of filling it with bleach, let it sit for a while,
then rinsing with vinegar, then rinse with water. They
finish their drinking horns on the inside with an FDA
approved salad bowl finish available from woodcraft supply
and the outside is finished with a combination of bees wax
and oil.

I've drank beer, mead, and scotch, and not had any
noticeable horn taste or smell from their finished work.

If you want more info about it they have a web site.

http://www.shrewwood.com/

Jerome Snyder


Subject: fresh honey
From: NLSteve@aol.com
Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 14:22:25 EST

Melinda sez:

"I'm a novice meadmaker in Arizona. I wanted to use orange blossom honey for
my first attempt. Unfortunately, the orange trees around here don't start
blossoming for another month or so, drat them, and there's no fresh orange
blossom honey to be had."

I haven't used mesquite honey, but understand it's quite good. Consider,
though, that it's not important to use "fresh" honey for mead — the stuff
lasts just about indefinitely, so last year's crop will do just fine. Also,
when using any varietal honey you're unsure of, keep in mind that a sweet
mead may help balance any "off" flavors of the variety, which may come
through more strongly with a dry mead. The only mead I've heard advice
against is eucalyptus honey mead — although by mentioning that, I may
accidentally start something here. Happy brewing. — Steve


Subject: Mead and Oak
From: "Kemp, Alson" <alson@corp.cirrus.com>
Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 13:04:10 -0800

Nathan Kanous fermented thusly:
>5 gallons of strawberry waiting for some oak
>5 gallons of dry mead waiting for […] oak
>5 gallons of "orange blossom" … some oak

You seem to have a thing with mead and oak. I had a 5
gallon new oak barrel around the house and dumped my 5 gallons of
Orange Blossom mead into it. The barrel was used to store Syrah
wine for 5 months before turning into a mead aging device, so I
might get some coloration and wine flavor from the barrel.
Questions:
1) How long do you leave the mead in the oak? To taste?
2) How old are the barrels that you're using? Old
without much oakiness? Or young and oaky?
3) Which kinds of meads do you think benefit from the
oak? I've also got 5 gallons of strawberry mead in my closet and
I'm musing putting that into the oak barrel.

Although I've directed this e-mail sorta towards Nathan,
I'd appreciate comments from anyone!

-Alson Kemp


Subject: The Perils of Ginger
From: "Kevin Mc Lean" <mcleank@brampton.cqu.edu.au>
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 08:10:14 +1000

Hi All,

the ginger apricot mead sounds like a nice combination. Be careful with

the ginger though – on no account throw it through a blender or juice
extractor. If you do it will be unbelievably hot and add a haze to the
finished brew. Personally, I just mash the ginger reasonably well in a
mortar and pestle, add it to the brew and fish it out in a few days to a
week (otherwise you get elements of the ginger flavour that I consider
'undesirable'). Anyway, just my two cents worth.

 

Regards,

Kevin.


Subject: Apricot Ginger Mead
From: "Kevin Mc Lean" <mcleank@brampton.cqu.edu.au>
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 08:51:15 +1000

Hi Stefan,

in addition to the comment about ginger, re: the apricot ginger mead, I

almost forgot to mention – add a pinch of pectinase as you'll probably get a
pectin haze using apricots and, as boiling of the fruit puree will almost
certainly create a lot of pectin and intensify that haze, limit the boiling
or, if you must boil, 1) boil up the honey water mixture and gypsum, and
2)put it in the fermentation container and then add the puree and other
stuff when it's cooler (around 28 degrees Celcius).

 

A few people may disagree about the boiling the honey and argue for

sulphiting or no treatment. It all depends on how delicate the honey is,
whether you've had any problems with wild yeasts with previous unboiled
batches etc. Ultimately, it's one of many calls you'll make which will add
to the character (or lack thereof) of a mead. In theory, boiling the honey
reduces hangovers and makes a clearer batch, but it can reduce the flavour
and natural goodness of your honey. Sulphiting is a nice compromise, but a
tiny minority people are allergic to it. Also, I've seen many good meads
made with no boiling or sulphiting, but they can lack consistency, spoil
more quickly (rare, but true) and sooner or later you brew a bad batch. Part
of the charm of the natural way really… Sometimes, with the natural
method, you get a great mead and unique mead as well. Certainly, always make
sure your equipment is scrupulously clean regardless of procedure.

 

Anyway, my five cents. Good luck and remember to keep a log book so your

work will improve.

 

Regards,

Kevin.


Subject: Contribution to Newsletter
From: "Martella, Paul C. (PCMartella)" <PCMartella@chevrontexaco.com>
Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 16:26:59 -0800

Greetings,

In response to how long to let the secondary fermenter stand: You prefer not
to use addidtives or chemicals which I also avoid. The cost is patience.
Some of my meads will be let to stand in their secondary fermentor to clear
for months (3 to 6 usually) until I am prepared to age them. I then
generally age my meads in an oak keg almost a year before they are bottled.
(I age first time keg batch using a sherry yeast mead for about 6 months to
mellow the oaking effect on following meads to be aged) I bottle in wine
bottles using cork as this is inexpensive and readily available in my area.
I usually make melomels. I use fresh cactus fruit and a touch of bell pepper
which means that August is brewing time annually for that mead (I pick the
cactus myself from a favorite local farmer's grove. She planted this cactus
grove herself over 50 years ago!). This works out well as my local apiary is
harvesting at that time also. I have several other meads that I consistantly
make at other times in the year so the effect is a staggered production. The
only rule I use is that the fruit be fresh, the local honey be fresh and
raw, and the water be bottled from a local spring. Additionally, I mix the
various yeast strains to bias the character derived from each to my personal
preference. I have experimented with mixing previous years mead into the
next during keging. This is done to top off due to volume shortage in the
keg as a result of decanting and later in the year due to evaporation. The
net result is that from primary to bottle is about two years. I prefer to
let stand in the bottle two or three more years before considering that mead
ready for the table. Of course, I sample this all along the way just to be
sure.
One holiday favorite I am still crafting is cranberry mead. Unfortunately I
must use fresh store bought whole cranberry as we do not have this growing
my area. Most people that have not tasted mead before like this best as I
let it naturally carbonate which makes it taste like a wine cooler.

Paul Martella
Byron, California


Subject: Contamination
From: "Norm Allen" <nwallen@hotmail.com>
Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 22:10:37 -0500

Can someone PLEASE help me remove the religion from my mead? It's really
starting to make me ill…


Subject: Is Absinthe a metheglin?
From: Belinda Messenger <davispigeon@yahoo.com>
Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 20:44:20 -0800 (PST)

Hi MeadLovers,
I came across a recipe from a *completely*
disreputable source for "absinthe" using honey as the
fermentable sugar…it sounds like a metheglin to me.
The ingredients are as follows:
"4 large handfulls(sic) of Absynthian (I'm assuming he
means Artemesia absinthium)…1/2 pound of honey, 1
tbls of yeast…" in 1/2 gallon of water.
My questions: is this really how the famed "Absinthe"
is made and if so, isn't this stuff poisonous or
something? I've searched through all of my herbal
books to find out and have come up with nothing
negative about this herb.
I have a friend just dying (haha) to drink this stuff,
but I have my doubts about its safety. Anyone?
Thanks,
Bella


Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #903, 18 February 2002
From: "Bill & Ramona Kuhn" <kuhn@lobo.net>
Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 21:59:22 -0700


>Subject: mesquite mead?
>From: Melinda Merkel Iyer <melinda@iyerfamily.net>

>Have any of you made a mead using mesquite honey? What were the
resultant
>flavors? It tastes pretty good on the spoon, but I have no idea how
>that'll translate to a finished beverage.

I have made at least 5 batches of mead using local New Mexico light
mesquite honey, and the consensus is that it makes very good melomel…
Bill Kuhn


Subject: Re: Red Raspberry Mead
From: "Ken Taborek" <Ken.Taborek@Verizon.net>
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 00:46:08 -0500


> Subject: Red Raspberry Mead
> From: <freyason@yahoo.com>
> Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2002 18:55:59 -0800 (PST)

[snipped]

> In two weeks I am planning on brewing a red raspberry mead. I have 3
> lbs of pureed red raspberries, 12 lbs of honey, and some sweet mead
> yeast from Wyeast.

>

> I have a question about the making of it. I know some brewers throw
> the whole lot in at once in the beginning, (honey, water, fruit and
> yeast) and the yeast have a complete field day on the fruit. However, a
> lot of the flavor of the fruit gets lost, and the alcoholic content
> gets very very high.

>

> Would it be a good thing to let just the honey, water and yeast
> ferment for about a month, rack that off, then add the fruit? I would
> imagine it would start another fementing frenzy, but would possibly
> lend the brew a bit more of the fruit flavor.

Tom,

Your thinking is correct on almost all counts. The addition of more
fermentables and nutrients will cause a renewed vigor in the fermentation.
I typically add fruits after the initial fermentation has slowed, but still
has a ways to go (rather exact of me, eh? :). A hydrometer can be used to
determine this, or the activity in your airlock. And the addition of the
fruit later will help the mead retain more of the color, and possibly more
of the flavor of the fruit.

The (minor) downside to this is that a straight mead (which is what you'll
be making while you wait to add the fruit) will need nutrients and acid to
make the must a more friendly environment for fermentation. Adding a yeast
nutrient and some acid blend can solve that issue.

You might also consider that your alcohol content will be the same no matter
when you add the fruit, as the amount of sugars you are adding will be the
same in both cases. But it will be harder to determine your potential
alcohol, since you won't be able to get a true SG with all of the sugars
present at one time.

Cheers,

Ken


Subject: Re: When to bottle?
From: "Ken Taborek" <Ken.Taborek@Verizon.net>
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 00:52:31 -0500


> Subject: When to bottle?
> From: <freyason@yahoo.com>
> Date: Sat, 16 Feb 2002 09:19:42 -0800 (PST)

>

> Hi all,

>

> I have a question. When do I move my mead out from its secondary
> fermenter to bottles to age? My first batch of mead, a dry mead, was
> started in the middle of November. In January I racked it off to a
> secondary fermenter. The mead still looks kinda cloudy, and there's
> very little sediment in this one (as compared to the old primary). How
> long should I wait, or what signs should I look for to start bottling
> the mead away?

>

> Thanks!

>

> Tom

Tom,

It's largely up to you, and you can bottle it safely at any point after
fermentation is completed.
If aesthetics are important to you, you can wait for it to clear before
bottling. I let my meads sit in the secondary (or tertiary if it throws
enough lees to warrant another racking) fermenter until it clears, and then
give it from 2 to 6 months in the carboy to age before bottling.

Cheers,

Ken


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #903, 18 February 2002
From: Gardengate32@aol.com
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 01:18:03 EST

In a message dated 2/18/2002 3:57:33 AM Eastern Standard Time,
mead-request@talisman.com writes:

> Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #902, 13 February 2002
> From: Jplane1@aol.com
> Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2002 12:20:04 EST

>

> In a message dated 2/13/02 8:31:45 AM Pacific Standard Time,
> mead-request@talisman.com writes:

>

> << I have to admit I haven't done this, but I've drank meads from horns
> prepared this way, and didn't taste the horn, just the mead. >>
> Hello,
> I have a horn, I know how it smells, I am having trouble thinking
> about
> using it for a drinking vessel. On top of that, I wonder how you CLEAN the

>

> horn between mead drinking days. I mean do you just not clean it, don't
> look
> down the hole, pinch your nose, ….how tough were the vikings? I have to

>

> hand it to them. Maybe the bacteria helped build up their resistance to
> flu
> bugs, …it sure did not appear to weaken them.
> Love,
> Joan

> >

hey joan, some time in the early '90's, i stopped to ask directions at some
trailer in the country and espied a roughly broken off horn lying beside the
block steps. the core was already gone. after i asked directions, i said,
"hey is that your horn". the guy said, " i don't know where that thing came
from, the dogs drag all kinds of things in". i asked if i could have it and
he said sure, so i was really paranoid about the sanitation factor. i
trimmed it off flat and sanded it some, but did not want to pour beeswax in
it, so as i remember, i gave it a good bleaching, and then sat with a teapot
and poured boiling water in it over and over and over, until it did not smell
so strong. once i started drinking my cyser out of it for a while, it just
stopped smelling at all. honey is a natural antiseptic, or so i believe, and
of course, alcohol kills germs, so i don't sweat it. i'm not dead yet. take
care, brent


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #903, 18 February 2002
From: Gardengate32@aol.com
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 01:25:18 EST

> Subject: Red Raspberry Mead
> From: <freyason@yahoo.com>
> Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2002 18:55:59 -0800 (PST)

>

> Hi all,

>

> I'm about to embark on my 2nd mead adventure. The first batch is
> happily sitting in its secondary fermenter, I'm not sure when I am
> going to bottle it. It's been 3 months now and no signs of clearing.
> (It's a dry mead.)

>

> In two weeks I am planning on brewing a red raspberry mead. I have 3
> lbs of pureed red raspberries, 12 lbs of honey, and some sweet mead
> yeast from Wyeast.

>

> I have a question about the making of it. I know some brewers throw
> the whole lot in at once in the beginning, (honey, water, fruit and
> yeast) and the yeast have a complete field day on the fruit. However, a
> lot of the flavor of the fruit gets lost, and the alcoholic content
> gets very very high.

>

> Would it be a good thing to let just the honey, water and yeast
> ferment for about a month, rack that off, then add the fruit? I would
> imagine it would start another fementing frenzy, but would possibly
> lend the brew a bit more of the fruit flavor.

>

> Any suggestions and comments would be very welcome!

>

> Thanks and a big Hail Aegir to the heathens on the list. 🙂

>

> Tom
> http://www.vingolf.org

> >

hey tom, i usually do half and half, since a lot of the essence of the fruit
exits with the co2. they get really active, then exhaust the fruit, then i
throw it to them again, and they seem very happy with this arrangement.
rasberry melomel is wonderful:). brent


End of Mead Lover's Digest #904