Mead Lover's Digest #0934 Wed 5 June 2002


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



Re: Mead Lover's Digest #933, 1 June 2002 ("Dany P. Wu")
Re: Adding Fruit (Dick Dunn)
Curing blandness in a mixed berry melomel (Tom Smit)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #933, 1 June 2002 (Mark Forrester)
Using temperature to clear and force-age mead (Melinda Merkel Iyer)
Trying to find someone in California (Laura Osanitch)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #933, 1 June 2002 (Christopher C Carpenter)
Pectic enzyme post fermentation ("Dave Burley")


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Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #933, 1 June 2002
From: "Dany P. Wu" <>
Date: Sun, 2 Jun 2002 11:33:09 +1200

> Subject: Pineapple Mead - ?
> From: Bamboo Bandit <>
> Date: Thu, 30 May 2002 18:37:49 -0400

<snipped recipe, which was quite similar to mine>

> What happened? This is the first and only mead that I have made that
> blew the top off of the carboy. Use caution. Use a blow tube. The
> pureed pineapple really caused some bubbles that didn't like to sit-down
> and act respectable. The blowout wasn't too bad but when I left the
> apartment that I made this batch in I had to clean the ceiling pretty
> well.

And how true that is! Mine certainly went berserk at the addition of pureed
pineapples. It didn't do the same with chopped pineapples though. I
certainly used lots of pineapples and now have a very full-bodied mead.

> 1st taste: "MMM, this tastes like crap – want some?"
> 2nd taste – (3 months later) "MMM, this tastes ok – want some?"
> 3rd taste – (6 months later) "MMM, this tastes like crap – why don't I
> pour you something else!" (read this – WOW this tastes GREAT!!!)


> Take your time with the pineapple. Cough syrup comes to mind when I
> remember how it tasted out of the carboy but it is currently one of the
> best meads that I have ever made. The pineapple has a wonderful, warm,
> mellow flavor that I love. It's wonderful.

Like most meads, time is definitely the essence. This is even more important
with pineapple mead IMHO. I didn't even get to do a taste test until months
and months later. My smell test was another matter!

1st smell: "MMMM, lovely and fresh! if somewhat a little yeasty (in
2nd smell: "MMMM, mellow pineapple aroma with light honey aroma (in
secondary after addition of pureed fruit)"
3rd smell: "YUCK!!! It was the most putrid smell I've ever had in any mead
or melomel! (at the time of racking off the secondary fruit)"
4th smell: "YUM!! Heavenly aroma and taste! will get better with age and
clarity, hopefully! (third racking, around 1 year later)"

But don't make the mistake of using strong flavoured honey, like I did. I
had to mellow it out by turning it into a larger batch and using a whole lot
of milder honey. Mine never tasted like cough syrup, but something else
altogether quite unwholesome…..never did figure out what it was. It
doesn't matter anymore, it tastes rather nice now :o)



Subject: Re: Adding Fruit
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: Sun, 2 Jun 2002 00:00:28 -0600 (MDT)

"Michael Yacht" <> wrote:

> Is there any danger from adding fruit purees (in a fruit mesh bag) to
> the must when it comes to bacterial contamination?


> I'm going to clean the strawberries, cut off the green stems, then
> puree. Will freezing them help?…

Bacterial contamination shouldn't be a problem. You're dealing with an
acid fruit and you should get enough alcohol before very long to keep
microbes under control.

I think if you pureed a bunch of strawberries and added them to the fer-
mentation, any possible contamination problems would pale against the
problem of dealing with the large amount of mush. Using a mesh bag to
contain the fruit is a big help in maintaining your sanity when it comes
time to remove the fruit about first-racking time, but it's still likely
to be a hassle just because the pulp will hold a lot of the must and you'll
have to figure a way to press it out.

Consider why you think you need a puree. Yes, you completely break down
the structure of the fruit; the fermentation can reach it all. But you
will have a problem getting the results out of the pulp. Even if you have
a fruit press, you've probably seen that you get better results with a
coarse, chunky pulp than with a uniform smooth mass.

> I guess what I'm asking is, what is the risk of adding fruit to the
> must, and what's the best way to add it?

I don't see much risk. Use sound fruit and wash it first.

I've done strawberry melomels a few times (a couple just strawberries, one
I called "fruit salad", and a couple more called "rhuberry" and "straw-
barb"). In all cases I had cut the strawberries into chunks or slices and
frozen them…which is really more than enough to break down the berries
enough to release the flavor.

My usual procedure for a berry melomel is this: bring the water to a boil.
Take it off the heat and add the honey (the honey is not boiled). Stir
to dissolve all the honey and let it cool a little bit. Dump this over the
frozen or partly-defrosted fruit in a plastic-pail primary fermenter–which
will further cool the must and at the same time heat the fruit (the
surface, anyway).

Now, my theory here involves enough hand-waving to generate a pleasant
breeze, but it goes like this: heat the honey enough to kill off any-
thing that is plausibly present that might cause spoilage, but don't heat
it enough to damage it. Heat the fruit to a point high enough to kill off
wild yeasts but not high enough to set pectins; also it's enough to break
down the fruit some (which the freezing also does) but not enough to make a
pulpy mess nor to give a cooked taste.

And although I realize that anecdotal successes don't prove anything (they
only mean the inherent possibilities for failure haven't nailed me yet!), I
have been doing it this way for about 15 years with good results.


Dick Dunn Hygiene, Colorado USA

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


Subject: Curing blandness in a mixed berry melomel
From: Tom Smit <>
Date: Sun, 02 Jun 2002 17:28:16 +0930


I did send this question in before, but haven't seen it or an answer so
must have incorrectly addressed it, so here goes:

I have a mixed-berry melomel in secondary. It is fine, lots of alcohol to be
mellowed by bulk ageing. It does have a nice fruit taste, no particular
berry taste predominating, but the taste is a trifle bland.

Now, how would I go livening the taste up a bit at the end of the bulk
ageing, say about Dec this year. Citric acid to give a tad of acid? Dash
of straight berry juice after sorbating to kill the yeast? Of course, come
December it may be wonderful 🙂

I used whole berries, stems and seeds etc were in the must for one or two
weeks so enough tannin I guess.


To Dan McFeeley: this kangaroo will be in LA in early Aug and the end of
Aug. Love to hand you personally some wonderfully fragrant Leatherwood
honey. Email me.

Tom Smit

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #933, 1 June 2002
From: Mark Forrester <>
Date: Sun, 02 Jun 2002 07:06:07 +0700

Below is my best-guess response to Michael
on his question concerning the use of fruit.

My adsvise on the mesh bag is that it's okay to use on the primary
fermentation and that soaking the bag in Star San or some other
sanitiser before adding the puree is a good precaution, yet I've never
had a contamination when using canned purees.

About the use of strawberries. First, I'd clean and de-stem as
described, cutting away any bad spots in particular.
Next, I'd crush up come
campden and let it soak in the strawberry pulp for 24 hours, then
add to the must. Quite honestly, I use some of my fruit on the
primary fermentation, yet my melomels turn out with more
fruit character if I wait until the primary has attenuated-out,
racking the mead into a secondary fermenter with the
bulk of the fruit
already in the bottom, perhaps add a little corn sugar in the mix
(1 cup per 5 gallons) just to help roust the yeast. Note: Take a gravity
reading of the attenuated mead, then again when fully incorporated
in the secondary, adding points to your original OG.

The secondary should play out in 5 to 10 days. Rack into a tertiary
and let settle out. Rack again. Bulk age about a year.

I recently (April) took Best Mead in Show at the Bluff City Brewers
ale, mead and cider competition(Memphis, TN). It was a plum
melomel that was treated as described above. Real viscous,
semi-sweet and heart-warming(in more ways than one!).


If I seem to take part in politics, it is only because politics
encircles us today like the coil of a snake from which one
cannot get out, no matter how much one tries. I wish
therefore to wrestle with the snake.
–Mahatma Gandhi

Subject: Using temperature to clear and force-age mead
From: Melinda Merkel Iyer <>
Date: Sun, 2 Jun 2002 08:18:01 -0700

I stumbled on something really great this week and, as I haven't seen
this effect mentioned in anything I've read, I thought I'd share it.

After fermentation had stopped, although it was still cloudy, I
racked my mesquite mead to get it off the initial lees. I separated
it into two containers, put one in the refrigerator and left one at
room temperature.

The one at room temp hasn't shown much change. But within a week, the
one in the fridge dropped completely clear and its flavor changed
dramatically. It's now smooth with a full mouthfeel, not at all harsh
(even though it's 14.5%). It tastes much more like mead than honey or
jet fuel and definitely is ready to drink.

This might be great for those who don't want to use bentonite or
sparkalloid or some other artificial fining agent. Of course, it's
also good for those like me who don't want to wait months for nature
to take its course 🙂


Melinda Merkel Iyer

Subject: Trying to find someone in California
From: Laura Osanitch <>
Date: Sun, 2 Jun 2002 13:15:36 -0700 (PDT)

A wonderful man who makes meads in California was very helpful in giving me
mead-making advice. I was dopey enough to not bother saving his email address,
and now I'm regretting it. All I can tell anyone to lend a hint, is that he
has a site which advertises his blackberry and pear meads as his big upcoming
releases over the next couple of years. I know it's not a lot to go on, but
if this sounds familiar to anyone at all, I'd love to know how to contact
him again. I cannot even remember the name of his meadery.

Laura –

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #933, 1 June 2002
From: Christopher C Carpenter <>
Date: Mon, 03 Jun 2002 18:09:45 -0500


  • –On Saturday, June 01, 2002 4:20 PM -0600 wrote:


> got me thinking
> about my oak experiment last night. I've been reading
> about oak and the chemical effect that various levels of
> toasting have on the finished wine. So last night I took
> some untoasted American oak chips,

Greetings unto the Meadhall, its always nice to read your

This becons me back to a question I asked earlier.. What
kind of oak is used. The answer was American oak, which I
found rather confusing, because I have had advanced hort
classes, and never came across such a beast. Does ANYBODY
have a clue, I suspect its Quercus Alba (White Oak), but
even in surfing the web I could not find an American (could
it be Quercus Virginiana, or what)

On to other inquiries, I have made Lilac Mead, but have no
solid recipe, I use them as guidelines for what I make, and
don't care to start the Vernacular Method arguement again.
Use a good regular mead recipe for a milder honey and add
half as much loose Lilac petals as fluid (2.5 gal. of
petals to 5 gallons of mead). This seems the best
proportion I have used to date. Good luck, and if you get
a fairly bitter start, don't let that set you off, it will
go away as the mead clears and ages. It will taste just
like Lilacs smell…mmmmmmmmm

Chris Carpenter

Subject: Pectic enzyme post fermentation
From: "Dave Burley" <>
Date: Tue, 4 Jun 2002 12:15:54 -0400


Pectic enzyme can be used after the fermentation, but it may be impaired by
the alcohol, so it is usually recommended to be used before fermentation. I
have used it successfully both ways.

Once when I was living in Wales a fellow winemaker had made some parsnip
wine (don't ask) that sat on his counter for a year as a cloudy liquid. I
put in some pectic enzyme one evening and he was at my door in the morning
all excited because the wine had gone crystal clear with a precipitate at
the bottom of the jug. So, pectic enzyme will work after fermentation. I
would always try it if your mead or wine are not clear, as there is no real

Sometimes protein content, especially with fruit meads can be a problem but
can be easily cured with a treatment of Bentonite after fermentation.

And don't forget chill proofing (cooling to near freezing) as a way to
remove some stubborn hazes.

Try Williams Brewing in CA. I seem to recall they have Prickly Pear juice or
maybe Lynn Connor (for some reason at the moment, I can't recall her company
in TX – some help) they might know who does.

Dave Burley

End of Mead Lover's Digest #934