Mead Lover's Digest #0906 Sat 23 February 2002


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



RE: Mead Lover's Digest #905, 21 February 2002 ("Schlosser, Matt D.")
BYO and "vigor" of ferment (Nathan Kanous)
Mail order sources for honey (Bruce Carpenter)
sweet high proof mead ("tcromer")
RE: First Racking and the taste ! ("Kemp, Alson")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #905, 21 February 2002 (
a question (Jeremiah Rose)
Re: Question from a newbie [Sulphur] ("Geoffrey T. Falk")
re: when to add fruit ("Curt Speaker")
RE: Mead Lover's Digest #905, 21 February 2002 (Intres Richard)
Absinthe A No-No! ("Tony Ficarra")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #904, 19 February 2002 (
Mazer Cup – Anyone There? ("Christopher Hadden")
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Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #905, 21 February 2002
From: "Schlosser, Matt D." <>
Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2002 16:43:27 -0600

To add my three cents, check out where you get
a solid ingredients list (as well as the option to purchase them).

> Subject: Absynthe
> From: David Chubb <>
> Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 11:49:23 -0500


> >Subject: Is Absinthe a metheglin?
> >From: Belinda Messenger <>
> >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


> The Traditional method to making Absinthe is to make a
> tincture of of the
> herb with as high a proof alchol as you can get (The friend
> of mine who
> makes it uses Everclear (Grain alcohol)). Then mix 1 part
> tincture, 1 part
> Corn syrup (Absinthe is VERY bitter), and 1 part water.


> However, Absinthe is a very potent drug and in large doses
> can be harmful.
> The chemical that makes up the drug also does not get flushed
> from the body
> very quickly and can buildup to toxic levels in a person's body.


> I am not sure what fermenting the herb would do. I would ber
> VERY careful
> doing this.


> – –WyrdOne


Subject: BYO and "vigor" of ferment
From: Nathan Kanous <>
Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2002 17:09:31 -0600

Russ asked about the BYO article and paraphrases it's content on "vigor of
fermentation". No, I didn't read it. However, since you've asked for my
opinion I'll offer it. ;^)

I like my mead to ferment slowly for two reasons (not facts, opinions).
1. preservation of subtle aromatics in the honey (it just seems that
the more you smell out of the airlock the more you've lost to the atmosphere).
2. lower production of higher alcohols and esters and such (it's
pretty clear that higher temps in beer leads to more esters…'s been
my experience that the most vigorous and warmest ferments lead to far more
higher alcohols which I dislike).

A vigorous fermentation from nutrients in fruit is a bit different than a
vigorous fermentation from high temps. Fruit = good, temp = higher alcohols).

I also think that the references you read that talk about mead tasting like
"rocket fuel" and needing "years to mature" are because of improper
attention to fermentation characteristics. Higher alcohols will give me a
headache when I drink a mead or beer that is strongly laden with them
(while I'm still drinking it). No, not at 3AM after drinking the stuff for
10 hours….while I'm drinking a glass. I think that if more people were
more careful with their fermentations we'd see much less reference to
"rocket fuel" and "years to mature."

Mind you this is all anecdotal and subject to disproof through scientific
research. Problem is, I'm happy with how it comes out and don't care to
make 5 gallons of "rocket fuel" to test my theory.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
nathan in madison, wi

Subject: Mail order sources for honey
From: Bruce Carpenter <>
Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2002 17:18:36 -0600


In my experience as a homebrewer (mostly beer), I have found a couple of
great sources for mail order honey.

First choice is Beer, Beer & More Beer ( ). Prices
are pretty good and shipping is free with orders of $40.00 or more. Good
service, fine people.

Second choice is St. Pats in Austin, TX ( ). More
flavor choices but you pay for shipping.

Bruce Carpenter

Subject: sweet high proof mead
From: "tcromer" <>
Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2002 18:27:03 -0600

ok, i got gung-ho, about making mead, and started buying supplies before
i read enough to know exactly what i want. i have everything i need
except the honey, which im ordering next week.
i went for wyatt champagne yeast, for the high alcohol level. but i
dont care to much for dry wines, whats the best way to raise the
sweetness, and keep the high levels of alcohol? i dont mind a bubbly
drink, but the sweetness i am looking for, would probably over-carbonate
it. i dont want the "glass grenades"
any ideas would be appreciated!

Subject: RE: First Racking and the taste !
From: "Kemp, Alson" <>
Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2002 15:31:53 -0800

>I added 1/2 the pack of yeast to 1.25G of mead
>1.25 gallons of h20
>3.00lbs clover honey
Hmm… So did you have 1.5G of mead (1.25G of H20 +
0.25G of honey) or did you have 1.25G of mead (0.25G of honey and
H20 to make 1.25G of meat)?

>I am wondering if this medicine taste will
>change as the mead ages (bulk and botteling)?
Yes! I made a raspberry melomel and it tasted >just
like< cough medicine. Ick. I was disappointed and, worse!, I
was mocked by my meadmaking partner. But 3-4 months later, the
cough medicine smell disappeared and the melomel smelled much
better. (Then I put a cork in the carboy and didn't notice that
the cork popped out 'till it was too late.)

-Alson Kemp

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #905, 21 February 2002
Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2002 18:57:43 EST

In a message dated 2/21/02 2:17:43 PM Pacific Standard Time, writes:

<< I used about 3 oz of oak chips in 5 gallons. I boiled it briefly and
decanted the liquid, adding the oak to the aging carboy for about 2
weeks. I added the oak and tasted the mead a week later….then a week
later….tasted okay…..bottle it! >>


You just told of my secret tea. Oak bark tea, is GREAT for your skin.

Acorns are great for the heart. I bet the combination would be PREMIUM. I
mean the TEA alone is scrumptous. I can only try to imagine mead combined
with those flavors. YOU GOTTA TRY IT.


Subject: a question
From: Jeremiah Rose <>
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002 00:18:43 -0500

Here's a question:
last year I started making my second batch of mead ever. I set it to
ferment it and racked it once, but due to various circumstances, I
shoudl have bottled it about two months ago and never did. Fermentation
definitely ended quite a while ago. I checked it, and it tastes all
right, a beit weak, but not like it's gone bad. My question: is there
any way to rescue this batch? I'd really like to bottle it, at least, if
there's any hope at all for it.


Subject: Re: Question from a newbie [Sulphur]
From: "Geoffrey T. Falk" <>
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002 01:26:17 -0700 (MST)

Ron Oates wrote
>12 lbs honey
>5 gallons of water
>1 package of wyeast sweet mead liquid yeast
>The only thing that has me worried is that it seems to be giving off
>a strange odor (sort of a honey with a very very light sulferish smell
>to it) and I wanted to know if this was normal?

I'd say this is just from the yeast working on sulphur compounds in the
honey. I haven't used the Wyeast, but made essentially your recipe
using Lalvin D-47, and I noticed this smell during the first week or so.
Different yeasts are known to produce different amounts of H2S. It is
very volatile, and should blow off before too long. (You'll be
fermenting for at least 6 months, anyways.)


Subject: re: when to add fruit
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002 09:03:42 -0500


I have not done a side-by-side comparision, but I have used the
same recipe and tried adding the fruit at the beginning and, in a
separate batch, adding it to the secondary fermenter. Some fruits,
especially rasberries and strawberries, and a bitter component to
their flavor (which I assume comes from the small seeds?). When I
used these in the primary fermenter, much of the sweet, aromatic
character of the fruit is lost, and the bitter flavors become much
more pronounced. When I made the same meads and added the
fruit to the secondary, I got much better expression of fruit aroma
and flavor, with the bitter character much more subdued.

Just one data point…


Curt Speaker
Biosafety Officer
Penn State University
Environmental Health and Safety

^…^ (O_O)

Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #905, 21 February 2002
From: Intres Richard <>
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002 11:34:51 -0500

Those looking for sources of honey may like to take a look at the National
Honey Board site which offers a list of suppliers.

Happy Brewing,

Churchill Hollow Apiary

Subject: Absinthe A No-No!
From: "Tony Ficarra" <>
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002 14:08:59 -0500


I would like to add my couple of pennies to Ms. Messenger's questions,
and Mr. Chubb's response, on the subject of Absinthe.

I am far from any sort of expert on the subject of Absinthe (hell, I'm
still trying to get my mead the way I like it), but I did pick up a bit
of history on the subject during some time spent in New Orleans, where
Absinthe was apparently a very popular libation at one time. In fact,
there is a great little tavern called the Absinthe Bar, which once was a
purveyor of the drink.

I must strongly support Mr. Chubb's warning against getting involved in
*any* consumables prepared with Artemesia absinthium or derivatives.
Absinthe was a popular drink in the US in the 18th and 19th centuries,
but finally was (and still is) prohibited by Federal law when it became
clear that absinthe (unlike other alcoholic beverages) was contributing
to an unnaturally high death rate. A single night of bingeing on
absinthe could kill a person while they slept it off. Kind of an ugly,
ultimate hangover at the least! I, too, understand the toxins in the
herb to be potent, very slow to metabolize and cumulative, and they
remain a serious health hazard.

With so many other wonderful flavors to experiment with in meads, I
think it generally safest to steer well-clear and find an alternative.
Since the essential flavor of the Absinthe herb can be found in other
sources like licorice, fennel and Sambuca nigra, maybe you could
redirect your experiments to safer sources of the flavor you're looking


May the yeastie-beasties be good to you all! TF

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #904, 19 February 2002
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002 19:58:16 EST

> Subject: Is Absinthe a metheglin?
> From: Belinda Messenger <>
> 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

> >

hey bella. absinthe was a concoction of wormwood, anise, marjoram,
elecampane, and some other herbs, i'm not sure exactly… the principle
intoxicant was the oil of wormwood, which contains thujone, which is similar
to codeine. thujone is listed as a narcotic analgesic, as per the fda.
there is some thujone in vermouth. that is what gives martinis their
reputation for making one horny. it takes a high proof liquor to really
extract a good deal of thujone. if you let the wormwood soak for a couple of
days in pure grain, then run it through a distillation assembly of some form,
you will end up with sufficient concentrations of thujone to get you high.
wormwood tastes really nasty, thus the addition of the other spices. i don't
think you could get enough thujone even out of a sack mead, using a high
alcohol tolerant yeast like premier curvee, and adding yeast ghosts or yeast
energiser to keep them kicking as long as yeastly possible. if i was going
to try to make something like this, i might add the other spices to the
latter part of the fermentation, soak the wormwood in pure grain for a long
time, and then use the resulting green stuff to fortify the mead and thus
stop the fermentation when you are ready. you might even think about
evaporation distillation to further concentrate the strange green elixer,
prior to using it to fortify the methelglen with the other spices in it.
that is when you pour the pure grain/ wormwood mix in a wide pot, weight down
a cup in the middle, cover the mess with secured plastic sheeting, and put a
small weight, like a marble or rock, in the middle so as the mix evaporates,
it drips in a more purified form into the cup, although i have never tried
this with grain alcohol. i do not recommend trying to make absinthe, but i
have given it some thought, and most likely eventually will, just to see…
if you should, however, happen to try this and survive, i would be really
interrested in the results. luck in battle. brent

Subject: Mazer Cup - Anyone There?
From: "Christopher Hadden" <>
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002 22:19:17 -0600

Has anyone heard from the folks running the Mazer Cup? Over the past few
months, I've e-mailed them several times about judging but I never got a
response (I sent it to the address listed on the site – perhaps someone
knows who I should directly contact?). Time is running out to enter this
competition by the way. More info is available at .

Christopher Hadden

See pics of my mead cellar at

Subject: MLD content
Date: Sat, 23 Feb 2002 06:05:28 +1100

On 21 Feb 2002, at 15:14, wrote:

> I

> actually enjoy some the stories and religious information and would like
> to see this venue remain open to all sorts of comments regarding mead,
> not only the aestheto-technical aspects, but also the historical,
> mythological, personal experiences, etc.
I would like to add my support to the above view point. Variety is a
important spice in the MLD cauldron.
Cheers Steve

End of Mead Lover's Digest #906