Mead Lover's Digest #0925 Wed 1 May 2002


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



Re – Acidity ("Martin Smith")
Houston, we have a problem (
Re: Roger Morse? ("Dan McFeeley")
A little more on Northern Tipplers ("Dan McFeeley")
Barley wines / wheat wines (Nathan Kanous)
Pectic Enzyme and Methanol? (Keith Looney)
E.T. Barnette Homebrew Competition (Scott & Cherie Stihler)
Chocolate Mint (Aaron)
I think my mead may be infected (Ross Cohn)


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Subject: Re - Acidity 
From: "Martin Smith" <>
Date: Sat, 27 Apr 2002 18:40:26 +0000

>Acidity: I have tried calcium carbonate to neutralize he acid in a mead,
>but by the time the acidity was quelled, I felt I could taste the CaCO3,
>and didn't really like the result. I have added honey to balance acidity to
>my own thresholds. That can yield a pretty sweet mead, but I prefer it to
>losing the batch. I may try the calcium carbonate thing again, just to make
>sure I didn't mess it up last time. It was a few years ago.

This is somewhat a strange result – as far as I know, honey is actually very
acidic (with a pH of between 3 and 4 making it more so that vinegar) and
would have the opposite effect. I have personally found that adding
bicarbonate of soda neutralises the acid without leaving too bad a taste
afterwards, but I don't know anything totally tasteless that is readily
available and safe. If you can lay your hands on any Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH)
then this should be suitable in small qyantities but it is highly caustic
and should be used with care. It's done the trick in getting some citric
meads to start and it appears to be harmless if not used in excess.

Martin Smith

Subject: Houston, we have a problem
Date: Sat, 27 Apr 2002 16:36:16 -0400

Hi all,

In an overzealous moment of trying to get a good airlock last fall, I pushed
the stopper down too far into the neck of the carboy. According to my brew
guy, he got a batch of carboys that had a neck "slightly" too large, and it
appears I bought one of them.

It's been fine until now, but eventually I'm going to have to get it out so
I can bottle it. I've tried sterilizing a coat hanger and pulling it out, but
it bends, and it won't budge. Anyone have any ideas how to get it out?

Nine blessings,

Subject: Re: Roger Morse?
From: "Dan McFeeley" <>
Date: Sun, 28 Apr 2002 06:41:45 -0500

On Fri, 26 Apr 2002, in MLD 924, Russ Riley wrote:

>Dan: Who is Roger Morse? I've probably come across
>some of his writing before, but I'm bad with names and
>I can't remember where or what he may have written.
>Books? Technical papers? Could you point me in the
>right direction? Also, is most of his writing on the
>technical aspects of meadmaking? Thanks!

No, most of Dr. Roger Morse's writings were on beekeeping,
however, beginning in the mid 1950's and through the mid
1960's, he also conducted ground breaking research into
honey fermentation and published the results. There aren't
very many articles, but they're important.

Morse was a long time professor at Cornell University in
New York and in fact completed all of his degree work
there, beginning with an undergraduate degree and all the
way to the Ph.D. He taught beekeeping courses and also
served as an Extension Apiculturist. Although he worked
briefly in Florida after completion of his graduate work at
Cornell, about two years, he returned to Cornell afterwards
and remained there until his death in May 2000 at the age
of 72.

Although most meadmakers may be familiar with Morse
through his book _Making Mead (Honey Wine)_
published in 1980 by Wicwas Press, very little of his
research was touched on in the book. I don't know why
he backed off on this, but the book is basically a very
general approach to meadmaking mentioning hardly anything
about the ideas he had explored with his fellow Cornell
professor Dr. Keith Steinkraus.

You can track down copies of Dr. Morse's technical papers
by visiting your local library and making use of the inter
library loan system. At a minimal charge and often for free,
you can get copies for your own perusal. I'll list the citations

For very quick access, try this. Most libraries keep holdings
of _Scientific American_, if not your public library then
definitely a college or university library. In the Sept. 1972
issue of _Scientific American_, in "The Amateur Scientist"
column on pg. 185, you'll find extensive quotes from Morse
summarizing his research on meadmaking. Photocopy that
article and you'll have the bulk of Roger Morse's 1960's
research on meadmaking. Another good source is the article
written by Dan McConnell and Ken Schramm in the Spring
1995 issue of _Zymurgy_ (vol. 18, no. 1) titled "Mead
Success: Ingredients, Processes and Techniques," pg.
33. This is a good article to read for what I will call a
"Morsian" perspective, as it is updated and has a critical
look at some of his ideas. Of course, this was written
about 7 years ago, so I'd suggest being careful with
holding Dan & Ken to ideas they expressed at that

With apologies to Chuck Wettergreen, whom I've bugged
to the point of exasperation in back channel conversations
on this subject 🙂 Morse's work has been influential enough
to the point where it could even be said to represent a paradigm
of meadmaking, in the sense of Thomas Kuhn's writings on
the subject. That's both a tribute to Morse, and a cause to be
careful with his work. The bulk of his research was carried
out from the 1950's on through the mid-60's. Although it
was groundbreaking, it is also quite dated. His ideas can be
helpful, but I'd strongly urge that they be read with a critical


Here are some citations (all articles by Morse except where noted):

Thesis: The Fermentation of Diluted Honey. Cornell University, 1953.


The Scientific American article I noted above, author C. L. Strong.


"Factors Influencing the Fermentation of Honey in Mead Production."
Keith Steinkraus & Roger Morse. Journal of Apicultural Research,
vol. 5, no. 1, 1966. pp. 17-26.


An Annotated Bibliography on Honey Wine (Mead). Bibliography No. 13,


Cornell University.


In Eva Crane, editor. Honey: A Comprehensive Survey. (New York:
Crane, Russak & Company, Inc., 1975.) chapter 16 by Morse titled
"Wines from the Fermentation of Honey." pp. 392 – 407.


"Chemical Analysis of Honey Wines." Journal of Apicultural Research,
vol. 12, no. 3, 191-195. 1973. Keith Steinkraus & Roger Morse.



Dan McFeeley

Subject: A little more on Northern Tipplers
From: "Dan McFeeley" <>
Date: Mon, 29 Apr 2002 03:26:23 -0500

Maybe to clarify a little on my last post, I didn't want to leave
readers with the impression that Celts & Germanic folk were
by and large sober people. Alcoholic beverages of all kinds
played an important role in these cultures, and there was
frequent drinking. What I wanted to point out is that there
were warnings against flat out alcoholic drunkenness, and
for good reasons. Alcohol content would have varied.
In medieval times there were small meads and great meads,
the small meads having a low alcohol content and as a
result were meant to be consumed quickly, before they
were spoiled. The same may have existed in Celtic or
Germanic societies.

In other words, be careful of the stereotype of the drunken
berserker Viking or Celt. The role of alcoholic beverages in
these cultures was complex and ranged from use in sacramental
gatherings such as the Symbel, seasonal celebrations, or simply
for home use. Health reasons would have been part of it since
water sources were sometimes tainted. Greco-Roman descriptions
of barbarian drinking have to be read carefully since the writers
were often trying to put their Northern enemies in as poor a light
as possible.

A good source that takes a look at the sacramental purpose of
alcoholic beverages in Anglo-Saxon culture is:

_Lady with a Mead Cup_, Michael J. Enright, Portland
OR: Four Courts Press, 1996.


Enright analyzes the Beowulf story, taking a close look at the role
of women in Germanic society as suggested in the great hall scene,
where Wealhtheow serves Beowulf with the ritual cup of mead.


Dan McFeeley

Subject: Barley wines / wheat wines
From: Nathan Kanous <>
Date: Mon, 29 Apr 2002 08:16:00 -0500

Good Morning,
I've seen recipes in a few different places about "barley wine" and / or
"wheat wine" made with unmalted barley or wheat. Does anyone on the list
have experience with these types of beverage? Tried and true
recipes? Recipes that you've used successfully, not just found in books? TIA.
nathan in madison, wi
PS now what category would you enter these in for competition? ;^)

Subject: Pectic Enzyme and Methanol?
From: Keith Looney <>
Date: Mon, 29 Apr 2002 10:51:49 -0400

Bruce Brode wrote:

"Pectinaze, or pectic enzyme, is best used before fermentation. The danger
with using it during or after fermentation is the potential for creating

Can you provide references which describe the reactions which produce
methanol as an end product? In a very quick web search, I found methanol
mentioned, but in more of an intermediate context rather than as an end
product. I am concerned since I have used pectic enzyme to clarify a cyser
after fermentation.

Keith Looney

Subject: E.T. Barnette Homebrew Competition
From: Scott & Cherie Stihler <>
Date: Mon, 29 Apr 2002 07:13:33 -0800

Announcing the E.T. Barnette Homebrew Competition!

This is an AHA sanctioned competition.

The grand prize for Best of Show is $500!!!

Six Classes will judged: Dark Ale, Light Ale, Dark Lager,
Light Lager, Specialty/Mixed style, and Mead.

Great prizes and custom medals will be awarded to the 1st,
2nd and 3rd place winners in each of the six judged Classes.

Entries will be accepted: June 24 – July 10, 2002

Entry fees: Submit three 12-16 oz brown or green crown capped
bottles and a check or money order for $5.00 in U.S. funds.

Judging: The first round of judging will take place on July 13th.
The date and time of the final, Best of Show round of judging
is to be arranged once we know how many entries and judges we have.

Location: Fox, Alaska (~10 miles north of Fairbanks)

More information as well as Entry and Bottle ID forms may be found
at the following URL:

Should you have any questions or are interesting in judging contact
Scott Stihler at (907) 474-2138 or

Please forward this message to anybody you know that might be interested
in either entering this competition or helping out with the judging.


Scott Stihler
Fairbanks, Alaska

Subject: Chocolate Mint
From: Aaron <>
Date: Wed, 01 May 2002 10:59:52 +1200

Has anyone out there made a mead from chocolate mint?
I remember that there was some discussion about it a while ago, but I can't
recall seeing a recipe.


Subject: I think my mead may be infected
From: Ross Cohn <>
Date: Wed, 1 May 2002 06:12:54 -0700 (PDT)

Hi all,
So I have been fermenting this mead for a year now and
recently I noticed something on the surface and some
particles on the sides at the water level. It doesn't
look fuzzy, but it's not bubbles, and the particles on
the side are like little bits and pieces.

Could this be yeast culture that has risen with the
temperature change in NJ or is this some kind of
infection? Is there some way I can test to see what
it is? I am tempted to try and "taste test" but that
whole "dying from botchulism" thing really doiesn't
appeal to me.



End of Mead Lover's Digest #925