Mead Lover's Digest #0926 Fri 3 May 2002


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



Re: Chocolate Mint ("Dan McFeeley")
Hydromel method ("P. D. Waltman")
Re: I think my mead may be infected (Ross Cohn) ("Ben Snyder")
Re: Houston, we have a problem (Mike Bennett)
King Midas; mead, beer & wine mixed. (Adam Funk)
rainwater for cherry blossom mead ("Charles Sroka")
Africa (Jeremiah Rose)
Re: Houston, we have a problem ("Kurt Shryack")
Re: Acidity ("Dave Burley")
Re: Northern Tipplers (dehydration) (Russ Riley)
pectinase and methanol (Dick Dunn)


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Subject: Re: Chocolate Mint 
From: "Dan McFeeley" <>
Date: Wed, 1 May 2002 14:26:33 -0500

On Wed, 01 May 2002, in MLD 925, Aaron asked:

>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.

This is the recipe for the Best of Show and 1st Place
in Metheglin for the Mazer Cup competition, 1994.
It appears in a booklet put out by the former American
Mead Association titled "1995 Winner's Chalice."

Unforunately the recipe doesn't have the amount of
chocolate mint extract that was used.


  • — Dan M.


Phil Fleming, Broomfield, CO
Stan's Stuff

20 lb.s medium dark CO alfalfa honey
chocolate mint extract
dry Lalvin EC-1118 yeast

Primary: 4 mo in glass at 63 F
Secondary: 2 mo in glass at 63 F
Tertiary: 3 weeks in glass at 29 F

OG: 1.130; FG: 1.035


Dan McFeeley

Subject: Hydromel method
From: "P. D. Waltman" <>
Date: Wed, 1 May 2002 12:34:12 -0700 (PDT)

Subject: hydromels, honeyjack?
From: fszak <>
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 2002 12:04:01 -0800

One could make a hydromel directly, but I also recall
that the name applies to a standard mead to which
water has been added.Perhaps one could make a standard
mead and then dilute to taste. Adding a bit more
honey (and/or corn sugar) and potentially yeast to the
diluted mead should allow it to carbonate in the
bottle. I would think that a buckwheat or eucalyptus
honey mead might be a good candidate for this as both
are very strong flavored honeys that would, I would
think, retain good flavors after dilution with water.

Dennis Waltman

Subject: Re: I think my mead may be infected (Ross Cohn)
From: "Ben Snyder" <>
Date: Wed, 1 May 2002 16:00:17 -0400

> ——————————

> 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.


> yeeesh,
> Ross

> >
> ——————————

I don't have any input on this, being a real newbie at brewing, but I do
have a question.

Can brewing mead produce dangerous nasties in your beverage? I know only of
small amounts of methanol production, which in un-distilled home brewed
beverages is supposedly safe. And of course vinegar which, though a
disappointment, will not kill you.

  • -ben

Subject: Re: Houston, we have a problem 
From: Mike Bennett <>
Date: Wed, 01 May 2002 14:20:50 -0700

Selkie wrote:
> <snip> I pushed the stopper down too far into the neck of the carboy.
> <snip> Anyone have any ideas how to get it out?

Get an steel rod that's *just* small enough to fit into the bored hole
in the stopper. Insert it through the stopper and then push the rod to
the side and down. Use the rod as a pry-bar and the stopper should pop
out with just a little bit of work.

Mike Bennett
Brewer for Hire
Recognized BJCP Beer Judge

….Give a man a beer, he'll waste an hour.
Teach a man to brew and he'll waste a lifetime….

Subject: King Midas; mead, beer & wine mixed.
From: Adam Funk <>
Date: Wed, 1 May 2002 22:24:10 +0100

I found a link to this article in Explorator, an archaeology-related

"The drink that was used to wash down the stew was a very unusual mixture of
wine made from grapes, beer made from barley, and what we call mead, made
from honey. We thought if it was good for Midas, it would be interesting for
the modern drinker to try. We had to make some assumptions of how it was
processed, whether you do each beverage separately and mix them together, or
do it in one fermentation, which is what we finally selected. The
professional tasters, who have tried it, said it is extremely aromatic and
delicious, unlike anything they had before," the professor said.

The URL for the newsletter (with only rare references to mead) is


  • — Adam


Subject: rainwater for cherry blossom mead
From: "Charles Sroka" <>
Date: Wed, 1 May 2002 18:53:25 -0500

I am getting ready to make some mead using cherry blossom honey..
I have heard it is one of the most delicate of honeys for mead making,
My question,,, I have collected some rain water and have boiled it
and am ready to use it for making mead… I would guess it would be a
very soft almost neutral water without any other minerals as in well
water and any scuzz from a water source as a lake or river or where ever,
leaving the mead to have no other outside minersals to affect the taste of
honey in the mead….
What do you think,,,,??????/


Subject: Africa
From: Jeremiah Rose <>
Date: Wed, 1 May 2002 22:35:25 -0400

>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?
I read this and suddenly had a brilliant idea:
it's based on things in old boy scouts handbooks about the "Native
American fishhook." Rather than using a bent piece of wire, tie a sturdy
string to the middle of a stout piece of metal. The metal can slip
sideways through the hole, but after it's through, gravity will pull the
"hook" into the shape of an upside-down T. This way, maybe you can use a
thicker piece of wire. I'm sure someone else has a much more sensible

And now for something completely different:

I was perusing my local wine shop, and came across an "Ethiopian honey
wine." I think that the meadmakers on this list tend to favor a more
Northern European recipe/approach. Is there anything different between
that and the African version? From the label, mead seems to be a common
beverage and very living tradition in Ethiopia.

Yea, my experience with mead is limited to a few batches I've made in
1-gallon plastic jugs, mostly in college; I've never happened upon brew
from a commercial meadery, so I think comparing my own stuff to this
Ethiopian refreshment on taste alone would not be very revealing.

Also, this thread on Vikings drinking too much mead to fight seems a bit
silly to me. Englishfolk and Germans (not to mention Americans, Aussies,
and just about everybody else) drink quite a lot of beer, wine, and
liquor, but drinking to drunkenness didn't prevent the horrors of war in
the twentieth century.

Jeremiah Rose

Subject: Re:  Houston, we have a problem
From: "Kurt Shryack" <>
Date: Wed, 01 May 2002 23:58:35 -0500

On Sat, 27 Apr 2002, MLD#925, Selkie wrote:

"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 …. 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?"

Try a corkscrew!

If that fails, take a stopper to the hardware store for size and get a
masonry anchor bolt small enough to fit in the hole of the stopper. This
type of fastener is threaded onto a metal and plastic anchor which expands
when the bolt is threaded into it. Fit the bolt and anchor into the hole of
the stuck stopper and tighten it enough to grip the stopper firmly, then
back the bolt off enough to grip the head with pliers.

I have not encountered this particular problem but I am sure this will work
fine. I am an old hand at removing corks from bottles 🙂

Three Pixies Meadery

Subject: Re: Acidity
From: "Dave Burley" <>
Date: Thu, 2 May 2002 10:44:08 -0400

Martin Smith's comment to use sodium bicarbonate or sodum hydroxide to
neutralize the acid generated during the fermentation ( not just the
original acid in the honey) and maintain a pH in the 4s is chemically OK,
but the result is a higher sodium ion content in the mead. Whether or not
this will result in a salty taste I can't say and likely depends on the
dosage. The possibility exists that too much will be added and due to the
solubility of sodium bicarbonate this can result in a salty taste.

The advantage of addng calcium carbonate is that it is realtively insoluble
in water and that, unlike sodium bicarbonate, mostly only that portion used
to neutralize the acid will dissolve. Calcium salts of organic acids are
also of a low solubility in most cases and will remain out of solution.
Although it should be avoided, excess additon should have little effect on
the taste due to the low solubility.

I recommend calcium carbonate to maintain the pH in the 4s during

Dave Burley

Subject: Re: Northern Tipplers (dehydration)
From: Russ Riley <>
Date: Thu, 2 May 2002 11:34:48 -0700 (PDT)

Thanks to Dan McFeeley for all the info and references
on Roger Morse! Finding and reading those articles
should keep me busy for a while. I have to say Dan,
you seem to have read a LOT about mead. Very cool.

I also wanted to respond to Dan's comment on Viking
and other historical people's alcohol consumption. I
don't really know a lot about this area of history,
and there's a question I've always wondered about:

Alcohol dehydrates the body, which is why you always
want to drink a fair amount of water while drinking
alcoholic beverages. How is it that past peoples drank
beer, wine and mead instead of water when the water
source was tainted? I would imagine they would wander
around on the verge of death all the time from lack of
water. Were their drinks of very low alcohol content,
so there was enough water present to more than
compensate for the effects of the alcohol?

Another thought I've had is that maybe past fermented
drinks contained more fermentation products than just
alcohol, such as various organic acids (kind of like a
sour lambic, for example). These could theoretically
have been nasty enough to pathogens as to render the
drink safe, but since the % alcohol was still fairly
low, it would still be a "hydrating" drink.

Any thoughts or (better yet) knowledge on this? I've
tried writing to Mr. Wizard at Brew Your Own magazine
and The Straight Dope, but never saw a response. I'm
curious what a group of knowledgable zymurgists such
as yourselves think.


Subject: pectinase and methanol
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: Thu, 2 May 2002 14:33:41 -0600 (MDT)

In MLD 924, 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
> methanol, something you definitely do not want…

I found this hard to accept, so I asked a food-chemist-kinda-guy (Andrew
Lea, whom some of you know from his postings on the Cider Digest). Appar-
ently this is a common misunderstanding. The essence of his response was:

* Yes, there is methanol produced, but the amounts are so tiny as to be
inconsequential, easily within the body's ability to de-toxify.
* The methanol is released as a part of the breakdown of pectin; it is
unrelated to the presence of ethanol.
* The same methanol production happens anyway as gut bacteria break down
pectins in our food. I.e., we're dealing with that level of methanol
in our bodies anyway.


So…not to worry on the point of methanol production. However, pectinase
_is_ inhibited by the presence of ethanol.

Dick Dunn Hygiene, Colorado USA

…Without love in the dream, it'll never come true.


End of Mead Lover's Digest #926