Mead Lover's Digest #0914 Tue 19 March 2002


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



Whats in the cellar (Dan McLaughlin)
Whats in the cellar? (Intres Richard)
Re:Ginger ideas (
Update: Bill Pfeiffer Memorial Mazer Cup ("Jason Henning")
What's in the cellar? (Mark Taratoot)
clearing cyser ("Stephen J. Van der Hoven")
Notes from Clayton Cone's talk (long…) ("Kemp, Alson")


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Subject: Whats in the cellar
From: Dan McLaughlin <>
Date: Fri, 15 Mar 2002 09:25:09 +0000

Hmmm quite a few things in my cellar.

5 gallons of Vanilla Metheglin
5 gallons Blueberry Melomel
5 galons Lingonberry Melomel (made with wild local honey)
10 gallons porter/stout (not sure which it is yet)
10 gallons pale ale (brewed yesterday!)

Dan McLaughlin

Subject: Whats in the cellar?
From: Intres Richard <>
Date: Fri, 15 Mar 2002 09:47:41 -0500

What's in the cellar?

I have been enjoying the addition of honey to standard winemaking kits.

6 gal zinfandel. Calif. Grape juice with honey to push alcohol from 11% to


6 gal cabernet/merlot Chilean juice with honey to push alcohol fron 8.5%
to 14%.

The reason I started keeping bees here in Massachusetts was to increase
apple production with better pollination. Then…….

35 gal cyser = 30 gal cider + 20 lbs fall honey (mainly goldenrod &
aster). Half is being bottled in beer bottles for a sparkling summer drink
and the rest in wine bottles as still cyser.

10 gal pumpkin cyser. = 8 gal cider + 1 medium pumpkin (cubed and parboiled)
+ 5 lbs fall honey + 6 cinnamon sticks. All bottles as sparkling cyser.

Happy Brewing
In western Massachusetts

Subject: Re:Ginger ideas
Date: Sat, 16 Mar 2002 11:54:48 EST

I submitted this post to the beer history digest ( and
thought that there might be some mead brewers that would also like to see it

I have received several requests for recipes for ginger.
My first brewing experience came from Charlie Papazian's Barkshack Ginger
Mead. Please check his Joy of Brewing text for the recipe. I bet his recipe
has inspired more mead brewers then anything else out there. It's a
versatile recipe and suitable to a wide amount of experimenting. I use all
honey instead of corn sugar.
My other inspiration comes from a gold winning AHA mead recipe done in 1991
by Stephen Yuhas and Ed Gilles. This is in Zymurgy Vol. 14, No. 4 Special

I do a few types of Ginger Mead – Sparkling Dry, Sparkling Sweet, & Still
They all start from a similar recipe, but I alter the character with the
yeast selection and honey variety.

I use 14 to 15 # of honey and 5 to 6 ounces fresh ginger to brew a total
volume of 5.5 gallons in the primary. I like to add some yeast nutrient and
1 Tablespoon tartaric acid, but purists can follow their own practices. The
result is a 5 gallon secondary after racking.
Bring 4 gallons water to boil and add chopped and peeled ginger for 10
minutes. Turn off light and add honey to dissolve in water. Boiling types
can bring it back for a 5 minute boil to skim off impurities before cooling,
otherwise simply cool the must down to pitching temperature ASAP. I have a
good copper chiller. Strain the ginger out of the must on the way to the
fermentor. This is important because the natural preservative power of the
fresh ginger will inhibit the yeast from fermenting. I didn't strain one
brew and waited several frustrating days while it wouldn't ferment. I
finally strained it into a new fermentor and it took off overnight.
The yeast selection will make all the difference with this brew. Use an ale
yeast if you want it to be sweet and a wine or Champagne yeast if you want it
dry. British ale strains tend to end in the FG 20 to 30 range (Very sweet),
Wyeast American 1056 seems to drop to 10 or 15 FG for a medium sweet, and
wine yeasts go to O or below. You can prime this mead with 1/2 cup dextrose
to carbonate in the bottle or you can keg and force carbonate. This makes a
great summer drink out of a keg. The sweet version is ready to drink in as
short as 3 months while the dry takes 6 months to a year to properly mature.
The key is brewing from a relatively low starting gravity of 90. Be sure the
mead is finished fermenting before bottling. I use strong yeast starters,
forced medical grade OX prefermentation, and get vigorous fermentations that
usually finish in a few weeks. I can then age in a secondary till I'm ready
to bottle or keg.

This is a good mead to experiment with honey varieties. Clover is the
lightest, Orange and Tupelo are a bit fuller, Wildflower can be interesting
but a bit stronger in taste. The lightest honey used will allow quicker

An excellent ginger ale can be made by using a cream ale recipe and adding a
few ounces of ginger near the end of the boil. Of course, ginger is used in
many historic recipes as part of the gruit formulation. It was also
traditionally added to taste in finished beer.

I also use my keg systems to make ginger soda.

Alaskan Brewing has a few desert recipes using ginger and beer.

Two books on ginger that I own are:

The Ginger Book by Stephen Fulder
Ginger East to West by Bruce Cost

Buhner's Sacred and Herbal Beers also has info on Ginger.

A great ginger tea can easily be made from this recipe. It's good hot or
2 inch piece fresh ginger root peeled & chopped
4 cups water
1 small stick cinnamon
4 cloves

Bring to a boil for 15 minutes and strain to serve. I like it straight, but
you can sweeten it with honey.

Ginger is said to alleviate inflammation of the throat from the common cold,
congestion, and sinus problems. It also aids in the cleansing of the
intestines and upset stomach. It's a general tonic for the system and a
natural stimulate.

Hope this gets you started,


Subject: Update: Bill Pfeiffer Memorial Mazer Cup
From: "Jason Henning" <>
Date: Sun, 17 Mar 2002 10:45:58 -0500

Wow! What a way to kick off the Bill Pfeiffer Memorial Mazer Cup judging. We
had 15 judges knock out 12 flights. We had planned on only a single session
but after the pizza break, 8 of the judges said they were ready for another
session. An organizers dream! We really had a solid group of judges and the
meads were fantastic too.

I think that we'll be able to maintain our schedule since we had such a
productive first day. We've got 5 flights and Melomels mini-bos scheduled
for weeknight sessions. That should leave us with just the Best of Show on
Saturday. I will, of course, post all the details then.

And the last thing I'll say is the quality of meads is just amazing. Great
job folks!

Jason Henning

Subject: What's in the cellar?
From: Mark Taratoot <>
Date: Sun, 17 Mar 2002 21:48:46 -0800 (PST)

What's in the cellar? Well let's see To save space, I'll just
type how much, what , when made, when bottled, original gravity,
final gravity, yeast, and any other comments.

And, just in case anyone wonders, my current "standard" procedure
is to boil some water, take it off the heat, then add about a
gallon (12 pounds) of honey. As long as the temperature of the
must is 140 degrees, I feel very safe from contamination. If I'm
using ginger or other spices, I let them simmer in the water for
a while before removing it from heat. Ginger I usually slice
thin and simmer a while. It is very common for me to add ten
whole black peppercorns to my mead. I can't say what it adds,
but it works. I usually use half the recommended dose of yeast
energizer (I think it's DAP) and yeast nutrient (biotin). For
vanilla, I add one to three beans, sliced longitudinally, to a
mostly finished mead and let it sit for several months. Fruit
goes in the primary in a mesh bag. A day or two before I rack, I
take out the bag and give it a gentle squeeze. The bag then goes
on a colander and drains enough for me to get a sample. Ginger
and other spices (including the peppercorns) go into the
primary, which lasts two to six weeks in a plastic bucket. Mead
goes to glass and sits two to six months, then is sometimes
racked again – or not. At some point, I often feed another few
pounds of honey. I do about half sparking and half still, and am
starting to use force carbonation instead of priming to reduce
the amount of bottle sediment. Sadly (or happily), a friend and
I polished off the last remaining bottle of my first mead, a
pyment, a couple weeks ago. It was just shy of ten years old. I
like my mead pretty dry, but don't mind an occasional sweet mead.
I find that the floral flavors make the mead seem sweeter than it
really is. To test this yourself, try a mead you think tastes
pretty darn sweet and taste it side by side with a riesling.

Meads in the cellar:
Quarter case cyser 1/93 – 6/96 1.082 – 1.007 probably Lalvin
A few bottles snowberry mead 5/93 – 9/93 1.112 – 1.006
K1V-1116 Yum.
Three fourth case Cherry Melomel 6/93 – 11/93 about 1.085 –
1.005 K1V-1116
Half case Pyment 10/93 – 7/94 1.101 – 1.000 Red Star Champagne.
Half case Cyser 12/94 – 3/95 1.100 – 1.002 Cotes de Blanc
Couple bottles Apple Wine 4/95 – 11/95 Montrachet (no gravity
recorded for this small batch).
Two quarts and 4 12-ounce bottles Show Mead 4/95 – 2/96 1.085 –
1.029 Red Star Cotes de Blanc.
Several bottles Spiced Braggot 2/96 – 6/96 1.108 – 1.027
Quarter case cyser 10/96 – 2/97 1.102- 1.000 Cotes de Blanc
Half case Small Mead 1/97 – 5/97 1.052 – 0.999 Wyeast 2206
lager yeast from starter obtained from local brewery (Oregon
Trader, Albany, Oregon). Surprisingly, the stuff is still good,
even with the low alcohol content.
Half case "Dark Mead" 5/97 – 5/98 1.094 – 1.005. K1V-1116. This
was from a honey described as "blueberry/blackberry." Meadowfoam
is great honey. This stuff was really dark, and the mead was
rather harsh for several years. It's surprisingly good now.
Half case "Traditional Mead" 6/97 – 10/97 1.085 – 1.002
One case Buckwheat Honey and Maple mead. 7/97 – 11/97 1.090 –
1.002 K1V-1116. Mellowing and getting smoother.
Quarter case hopped braggot 12/97 – 9/98 1.100 – 1.033 K1V-1116
Half case "Delicious Flower" mead 1/98 – 10/99 (22 months)
1.101 – 1.002 K1V-1116. Yes, it is delicious. This was made
from blackberry, marionberry, meadowfoam honey.
One case plus 2.5 gallons kegged Spearmint-sage metheglyn 7/98 –
2/00 1.124 – 1.011 K1V-1116. Yum! Wildflower honey with some
sage honey and a little spearmint. Oh, and ginger.
One case "Simple Mead" 5/98 – 10/98 1.087 – 1.004 K1V-1116


1.5 cases "Queen Bee" mead 2/00 – 1/01 1.086 – 1.032. Too
sweet, but really nice. A ginger mead made from a friend's
Just over a case of Huckleberry Honey mead 9/98 – 4/99 1.098 –
1.009 K1V-1116. Yum!
Five gallons (keg) Eucalyptus mead (Iron Bark Eucalyptus honey)
1/99 – 1/01 (24 months) 1.130 – 1.028. K1V-1116. Total of 17.8
pounds of honey. This is the one I keep meaning to write about.
Several bottles Vanilla Cranberry mead. 4/99 – 1/00 1.096 –
1.000 K1V-1116. Dry and yummy!
A few quarts Smoked Braggot 1/00 – 6/00 1.060 – 1.004 Ale yeast
(this was a kitchen sink batch using up ingredients won in a
2.5 gallons kegged Ginger Mead. 2/00 – 1/01 1.084 – 1.020
71B-1122. Pretty good stuff, still a bit sweet. The wine
bottles developed quite a pettilance. As such, I drank them
before they blew out all their corks.
Two cases "summer fruit" mead (plums and raspberries). 11/00 –
12/01 (that's two years). 1.090 – 1.003 71B-1122. Darn fine
mead, but the plums gave it a flavor reminiscent of Hawai'ian
Two cases Show mead 1/01 – 12/01 1.080 – 1.023!! 71B-1122.
Sweet; too sweet for my taste, but still quite good.
5 gallons (keg) "not a braggot" (less than one cup of dry malt
extract and frozen raspberries collected from the yard the
previous summer) 1/01 – 12/01 1.085 – 1.006 Edme ale yeast
One case of a still traditional mead I am storing for a friend
that I don't know the details; it's his first mead.
Some really OLD homebrew that I just keep hanging on to
Assorted random bottles of other stuff

And some commercial stuff:
Half case 1997 Bigfoot
Three fourths case 1999 Bigfoot
Half case 2000 Celebration
A few random bottles of other years of Celebration
Two bottles each 1989 & 1990 Thomas Hardy Ale
A couple 1993 Old Knuckleheads
Four each Lindeman's Kriek and Geuze from at least five years


A few random bottles from places scattered all over.
For beer, I keep one or two five-gallon kegs in the fridge with
beer from my local brewery, Oregon Trail. Sometimes I go to
Albany and get a tank of Oregon Trader for a change.

And upstairs in carboys:
Five gallons Chardonnay
Five gallons Marechal Foch
Five gallons pyment (using one gallon of top-off wine from above
two, and I'm calling it affectionately "Leftover Pi"). Pitched
with Lalvin EC-1118 (Champagne) on 12/01 with effective SG of
1.098, racked a couple months ago at 1.055
Five gallons raspberry mead (frozen raspberries collected from
the yard last summer). Pitched in January at 1.081, racked a few
weeks later at 1.038. Edme ale yeast, just for fun.
Five gallons ginger mead pitched in January at 1.085. Racked
last month at 1.060. I will feed this one again next time I rack
to bring effective SG up to 1.102

Now you know why I am so set on finding a house with a basement
to buy.

And what's in my glass? Well, it's pretty good, I can tell you
that much!

Mark Taratoot

Subject: clearing cyser
From: "Stephen J. Van der Hoven" <>
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2002 07:52:27 -0800


I started a cyser on Halloween that is beginning to clear. It's still
fermenting because I added some more honey in early January. I would
recommend two things to get yours to clear; pectin enzyme and time. Pectin
from the apples can cause a haze and the enzyme will help break it
down. The best time to add pectin enzyme is in the beginning, but it will
still work now. You can get it in the powdered or liquid form from you
local brew shop or any on line retailer. After pectin enzyme, time is the
best clarifying agent. Your cyser is still young. Let it sit in the
carboy and the haze will eventually drop out. Once it starts to clear,
you'll know if it's in a carboy. You'll be able to see completely through
the glass.



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: Notes from Clayton Cone's talk (long...)
From: "Kemp, Alson" <>
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2002 14:55:48 -0800

Clayton Cone of Lallemand/Lalvin was pulled out of
retirement and forced to speak to the Bay Area Winemakers
Association. Clayton was wonderful, but the scheduling was
horrible: Clayton only had about 30-45 minutes to talk. He could
have talked for 1.5 hours (he had 45+ slides).

Rummaging through my memory:
– Yeast will multiply if alcohol<~5%. After that, the
don't multiply. Therefore, don't add nutrients or oxygen after
5% alcohol: yeast won't use it.

– Yeast will multiply to about 150 million cells per

– The ONLY disadvantage to pitching lots and lots of
yeast is COST. It's a waste money (but it's safer!).

– Yeast rehydration: rehydrate using tap water, chlorine
is not a problem. WHAT?! So I said "Rehydrate using mineral
water?" No, rehydrate in tap water. The harder the water, the
better the water. Add a pinch of Fermaid-K to the rehydration

– Rehydrate for 15 minutes or so in 104F tap water. To
acclimatize the yeast to the must, slowly (over the course of 15
min) add must to the rehydrated yeast. Then combine the starter
and must.

– Yeast Lag: my explanation (correct?): when the yeast
are first added to the must, they are freshly rehydrated from
being completely dried out. They need time to gather
sugar/energy and acclimatize to the solution before they are
ready to begin budding/multiplying. Lag takes around 6-12 hours
after the yeast is added to the must.

– Lalvin yeast comes with 5% lipids (5% of volume?,
weight?). Lipids are required to maintain elasticity in the cell
wall and allow budding/multiplying. Lipids<0.7% discourage
budding. When the cell divides, each cell gets half the lipids.
Oxygen is used to form lipids in the cell wall. Add a little
oxygen (leave air lock off, splash surface, whatever) during the
first 4 days of fermentation. My understanding: yeast will
preferentially use oxygen for lipid formation over aerobic
fermentation, so added oxygen will first be used to form lipids.

– SO2 doesn't inhibit many wild yeasts. My
interpretation: SO2 is most effective at high alcohol when most
yeast/bacteria has been killed off by alcohol. Remaining
bacteria/yeast is sensitive to SO2.

– My experience: SO2 added during fermentation will shock
yeast and stop fermentation.

– Nutrients and wild critters: Scenario with grape wine:
crush grapes into fermenter, add SO2, add nutrients, wait for a
day (SO2). The SO2 will inhibit, but not stop, baddies, so the
baddies will begin to multiply and will use oxygen and nutrients.
Now you add your culture into the now nutrient and oxygen
deficient must -> sulfides and poor fermentation. So, better to
create a starter culture and put the must onto the starter, SO…

– My new preferred fermentation method: create starter
culture (20% percent of volume to be fermented, I'll never do
1)Start starter culter.
2)Wait a day.
3)Pour starter culture into fermentation vessel.
4)Pour/crush must onto starter culter. No SO2 in must.
Yeast in starter culture will be past lag phase and will
be fermenting/multiplying strongly. The yeast will instantly
attack any must, outpacing/outcompeting any wild yeast/bacteria,
alcohol will reach 2-3% preventing most wild critters.

– Yeast starters should use the full quantity of yeast.

– DAP (nitrogen) prevents sulfides from forming during
fermentation. Yeast use DAP in their energy cycle (get sugar,
expel alcohol) and they use free nitrogen (DAP) most easily.
Lalvin's Fermaid-K ($$$) contains enough DAP/nitrogen for the
first day of fermentation. Then DAP ($) should be added each day
until alcohol is 5%. Clayton had a chart that showed nitrogen
concentration and sulfide concentration. As soon as free
nitrogen dropped to zero, sulfide concentration started rising.

– Lesson from above: figure out how much DAP you want to
add to the solution. Add 25% of total at start of fermentation,
25% the second day, 25% the third day and 25% the fourth day.
The best way to add DAP would be to check the must's free
nitrogen each day and add DAP accordingly, but none of us can do
that. DAP is critical for mead because mead probably has little
to no free nitrogen.

– Dry yeast/liquid yeast: Lallemand contracts with yeast
owners (UCDavis, ICV, etc) to produce the yeast owner's yeast.
Lallemand agrees to produce the yeast only if Lallemand can
produce an equal or better quality yeast than the yeast owner can
produce. They test the dry yeast against liquid yeast cultures.
Upshot: dry yeast is just fine.

– 71B will convert up to 40% of the malic acid in the
must into ALCOHOL. If you have a must that is very high in malic
acid, 71B can be used to reduce the malic acid content without
introducing lactic acid (as in an ML fermentation).

– Alson Kemp

End of Mead Lover's Digest #914