Mead Lover's Digest #0910 Wed 6 March 2002


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



Re: Another absynthe question ("Geoffrey T. Falk")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #909, 3 March 2002 (
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #909, 3 March 2002 (
Absinthe (
Dutch Gold Honey and Bulk Purchases ("Jeff Woods")
RE: Dutch Gold Honey (Joe Kaufman)
cherry jello (
Re: Mead recipe ideas (
absinthe (tasted) (Dick Dunn)
Bill Pfeiffer Memorial Mazer Cup ("Jason Henning")
thujone (Bob and Winnie)
re: olive oil mead (Dick Dunn)
New Brew Questions!! (John Dowling)


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Subject: Re: Another absynthe question
From: "Geoffrey T. Falk" <>
Date: Sun, 3 Mar 2002 15:22:58 -0700 (MST)

"Norm Allen" <> asked:
> Has anyone on the list actually TRIED a commercial absynthe?

No, but I believe it is still legally available in Spain.
(I'd stay away from it, myself.)


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #909, 3 March 2002
Date: Sun, 3 Mar 2002 17:38:05 EST

Help!!! – I'm new to this whole thing and have only been subscribed for a
few weeks. I brewed my first batch a few months ago. The recipe is as
follows – found through an SCA guy – 15# honey (wild flower), 2 gallons apple
juice, a shot of lemon juice, enough water to fill the carboy (5 gal) and 1
packet of champagne yeast. I didn't boil the honey mixture during brew but
got it hot to dissolve the honey. The honey was heated in with the apple
juice. Here is the problem(s) – Weeks after ferment was over this stuff was
still very clowdy. The guy at the home brew shop recomended Sparkaliod to
get it to clear. Now I have layers of clowdy stuff. It looks like the
bottle the liposuction doc fills during a procedure. Should I try to filter
it? It has been sitting for a week, am I being impatient?
The other problem is it tastes very acidic. Will this mellow with time? If
so how long? Can add somthing to kill the acid taste? Thanks – Darin

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #909, 3 March 2002
Date: Sun, 3 Mar 2002 18:05:13 EST

Greetings Kinsman,
Being both a beekeeper and a mead maker of the naturalist sort (not boiler
sounds silly) I find your argument specious. They heat the honey to destroy
its ability to crystallize. This prevents them from getting a lot of jars of
honey back when the ignorant thought it had spoiled by crystallizing.
Last fall I bought a 150 lb. of honey for $10.00 because of this incorrect
but common notion. Its a great deal more like its proved its natural and the
moisture is below the 18.6 percent moisture level that prevents spoilage.
No boil works because of limiting natural yeast's from multiplying with SO2
then adding a large working culture of your chosen yeast.
At least thats how I understand it.
in Madison,Wi

Subject: Absinthe
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2002 01:48:27 +1300

> Has anyone on the list actually TRIED a commercial absynthe? If so,
> what brand/where at/how was it?? It's something I've been mildly
> interested in for quite a few years now but because of the inherent
> dangers, haven't really pursued too hotly.. Any/all relatively
> responsible/intelligent information is greatly appreciated!


I've tried one, and look forward to trying more 🙂
Most absinthes commercially available will have a thujone content of 10mg/kg
(though I have seen up to 100mg/kg). At these levels you are in more danger
from the alcohol than you are from the thujone.

Some links:

Absinthe sellers:
(including a comprehensive buyer's guide)

You might like to try
Absinthe Serpis 65%
Absinthe N.S. 55%
or French La Bleue

All pretty good ( from 2nd hand reports 🙂

Frankly though…It still can't beat a good glass of mead.

(a forum by and for absinthe lovers)

Subject: Dutch Gold Honey and Bulk Purchases
From: "Jeff Woods" <>
Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2002 13:01:25 -0500

Last fall I had occasion to do business with Dutch Gold Honey (no
affiliation yada yada…) and I would highly recommend them. Dutch Gold is
in the Lancaster, PA area and a short 25-30 mile drive from where I live.
I drove there one afternoon and bought a 60 pound 5 gallon pail of orange
blossom honey for $58, keep in mind I didn't have to ship. Less than $1
per pound is a pretty good deal. They said their orange blossom originated
in Florida, made sense. I'm using it for mead making and all purpose
brewing. I've made a large 5 gallon batch as well as several 1 gallon
experimental batches. Still have about half the pail left and am planning
the next mead or two.

Several of my brewing buds have laughed at having so much honey on hand but
the same scoffers keep coming around for samples and 2-3 pounds at a time.

Jeff Woods
Camp Hill, PA

Subject: RE: Dutch Gold Honey
From: Joe Kaufman <>
Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2002 15:23:23 -0800 (PST)

JazzboBob wrote:

>I looked at the Dutch Gold honey web site that was recently mentioned on
>the digest and asked them a question. I thought their response was quite
>interesting. Perhaps it explains why "non boilers" of honey can brew
>without infections. If other honey packers and suppliers use similar
>techniques, it appears that the honey would be quite free of wild things
>since it has been pasteurized at 185 degrees F. to liquidfy it for
>packaging and a stable shelf life. This is their response. I hope they
>don't mind me submitting to the digest.

<most of Dutch Gold letter snipped>
>I would estimate that 90% of our mead making customers are purchasing the
>processed honey.

I would be in the 10% of folks that buy their UNprocessed clover honey…
now that I know how much they process the processed stuff I will probably
stick with the unprocessed.

I have made 4 or 5 batches using the unprocessed honey, with no heating
whatsoever. I am beyond a "non-boiler"…I am at the "non-heat" stage —
just dump all ingredients into a plastic bucket for primary fermentation.
I have had no trouble with this at all…no infections or off-flavors thus


I think his 90% figure is a bit high. Sure, if you want flavored honeys,
Tupelo, etc. you will have to get the processed stuff, but I think a lot of
folks who buy bulk would start out with the unprocessed clover as a base.
Anyone who has been making mead for a while tends to notice the
least-processed honeys first, no?


Subject: cherry jello
Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2002 18:27:49 EST

i like to experiment with different sugars, fruits, juices, whatever, to see
how the yeasts react to them. i had some starter going in white grape juice
for a batch of mead. i noticed some cherry jello in the cupboard, and
thought, hmm, so i saved a little starter and dissolved the jello mix in some
water. i just filled to about a third of the way up a gallon jug, to give it
enough headspace. man. i have never seen anything erupt with such ferocity.
it is now in my bathtub and has been erupting non-stop for several days now.
some jellied bits are seen to be formed in the wildly frothing mixture. i
am quite sure that it will all turn to foam and work it's way down the drain
before it's all over, but it sure has been amusing to watch. they appear to
be having quite a party in there. brent

Subject: Re: Mead recipe ideas
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2002 00:33:19 EST

Nathan asked what's in the cellar? We had a tasting party last weekend so
there is a bit less in my cellar. We had 15 Champagne bottles of my
different meads open from various ages. Here's the list for you to use as
brewing ideas.

Maple syrup & wild cherry, Starthistle honey plain & with lime, Persimmon,
Sparkling dry ginger, Sweet spiced methyglin, Webb's spiced braggot, 4 year
old Elderberry, 2 year old Elderberry & raspberry blend, Mint mead, Lemon
balm mead, Barkshack cherry mead, Dry raspberry, Dark wildflower honey &
treacle, Prickly pear. I also presented 3 mini kegs of Barley wines aged 2,
3 , & 4 years; a strong Belgium special, a sage ale, and a pale ale. We
paced ourselves over the course of the entire evening with lots of food to
accompany the beverages. The last guests left after 4 AM.
Of course I'm planning ahead for next year's reunion with several new batches
that are currently aging in secondaries. They are recipes from Digbie.
Lot's of good ideas in his book.

Subject: MLD
From: Nathan Kanous <>
Date: Sun, 17 Feb 2002 21:57:31 -0800

What's in the cellar?


Our brew club put out 15 gallons of mead last spring. Somewhere in town we
5 gallons of demi-sec cherry
5 gallons of jasmine tea mead (may be demi-sec, I don't recall)
5 gallons of lime-ginger (Bruce has this and I don't know how it's doing)

I've got:
5 gallons of strawberry (approx 9% alc) waiting for some oak
5 gallons of..???….straight, dry mead adulterated with 1/2 gallon of
cider and waiting for the rose water and oak
5 gallons of "orange blossom"….same straight dry mead waiting for orange
peel (using juice makes mead I give away), orange blossom water (same
middle-eastern store as rose water) and some oak
10 gallons of plain straight dry mead (until I decide what I'm making with it)

I think that's all I have. I've got another 50 lbs of honey to do
something with. What else are people fermenting out there?
nathan in madison, wi

Subject: absinthe (tasted)
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2002 00:20:38 -0700 (MST)

Since it seems to be turning into a challenge…
OK, yeah, I've had absinthe, or at least something that was allegedly
absinthe, and by appearance, plausibly an excuse for same. Greenish liqueur,
brought back from Japan by a friend, some years ago.

Overall judgment: Big Hairy Deal. If there was anything to it other than a
stunning alcohol level, I couldn't perceive it. Give me Chartreuse any day;
VEP on Sunday.


Subject: Bill Pfeiffer Memorial Mazer Cup
From: "Jason Henning" <>
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2002 09:26:06 -0500

We're getting close to the deadline for entries, March 9th. Be sure to check
our web site for details,

Here's the number of entries from last time:
Show Mead (39 Entries)
Traditional (6 Entries)
Melomel (48 Entries)
Cyser (11 Entries)
Pyment (14 Entries)
Open/Mixed (6 entries)
Metheglin (9 Entries)
Braggot (4 Entries)

I'd like to see more folks competing in the Traditional, Open/Mixed,
Metheglin, and Braggot categories. It's to easy to win in these categories
with so few entries, a little more competition is in order!

Good Luck!

Jason Henning

Subject: thujone
From: Bob and Winnie <>
Date: Tue, 05 Mar 2002 19:14:29 -0700


You're right, thujone is not a controlled substance. You caought me

P.S. I wouldn't have thought that sage oil was 50% thujone. Are you sure
about the figure?

Bob Sorenson

> Subject: absinthe and thujone legality in the U.S.
> From:
> Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2002 13:27:36 -0500 (EST)


> > Subject: Absynthe
> > From: Bob and Winnie

> > Having warned about the dangers, I would like to say that the pursuit of
> > knowledge about the active ingredients in any plant is an individual
> > decision and for some people can be highly rewarding. Thujone is a
> > controlled substance and is illegal to posess or consume in most
> > countries.


> Is the U.S. one of them? I ask because thujone isn't in the 1997
> schedule of controlled substances, and I haven't heard the news of its
> being scheduled since then. Chemical-supply companies offer it
> without comment.


> The FDA restricts it as a food additive. According to an NIH report,
> "wormwood […] may be used in food under the condition that the
> finished food is thujone-free." There is a limit of 0.5 ppm on
> thujone content in "final products ready for consumption".


> On the other hand, sage is freely available, though oil of sage (from
> /Salvia officinalis/) is about 50 percent thujone. I guess more than
> a few parts of sage per million parts chicken makes illegal sage
> chicken.


Subject: re: olive oil mead
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: Wed, 6 Mar 2002 15:04:44 -0700 (MST)

Mathieu Bouville <> wrote in MLD 909:
> Two of my batches turned into olive oil while I was out of the country for
> christmas. When I came back, after 2 weeks, they were green. They were
> not viscuous but their color was the same as olive oil. They did not smell
> or taste funny. I added Sparkolloid and racked and they are not green
> anymore. I have not tasted them again but there is no obvious problem of
> flavor. Does somebody have a clue?

What was in these batches, other than the usual water/yeast/honey? I'm
assuming you'd have mentioned if you were making a kiwi-fruit melomel or a
basil metheglin…or if you have a prankster friend who could have added
green food coloring.

One long-shot that comes to mind is that cider will turn an ugly dark-green
if it comes in contact with iron, and it will turn a pale green on contact
with copper. I don't know whether either of these reactions would occur
with mead. (The iron reaction in particular is _not_ just a reaction due
to the acidity of cider.)

Dick Dunn Hygiene, Colorado USA

…Mr. Natural says, "Get the right tool for the job."


Subject: New Brew Questions!!
From: John Dowling <>
Date: Wed, 06 Mar 2002 16:12:05 -0500

Hi! Any comments appreciated!!

I have two 5 gallon carboys going of my first Meads.

One is a Cyser: Apple cider, 15lbs honey up to 5 gallons
The other is a Strawberry Mel, 15lbs honey, H20. 5 lbs Strawberries up
to 5 gallons

My S.G. at start and currently:

Cyser OG 1.132 @ 84 degrees FG 1.04 @ 72 degrees

Mel OG 1.11 @ 82 degrees FG 1.02 @ 72 degrees

Okay. My questions:

They have both fallen completely clear at 4 months – there is no more
visible activity, though the airlock appears to move, at a glacial pace –
like a bubble an hour, maybe. Maybe. I can't tell if the airlock is
acting as a barometer or is actually blooping, it's that slow. They are
both still pretty harsh on the palate – the cyser is a little strange
tasting – like an "off" apple cider – so they still definitely need to age.

With my SG readings, are these about right? I'm having difficulty
calculating these into alcohol contents: any pointers?

Can I continue to age these in the carboys? I'd like to have a better
handle on final flavor, so I can tweak before bottling.
Or: Should I bottle now? I desire to carbonate in the bottle and was
going to add bottling sugar, but with my FG still showing above 1. I was
wondering if I would get any carbonation.
Are my yeast lively enough to carbonate in the bottle, now, or even if I wait?

Any thoughts appreciated!

End of Mead Lover's Digest #910