Mead Lover's Digest #0944 2Tue 23 July 2002


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



Mead and contamination ("Kemp, Alson")
Re: search engine (Spencer W Thomas)
Re: Cranberry-Blueberry Mead (Vicky Rowe)
Honey and other such stuff ("Ken Schramm")
Yeast propogation ("Steve Gaskin")
"cyser" pronunciation ("Geoffrey T. Falk")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #943, 19 July 2002 (
Clearing Mead ("David Craft")
Half-batches of successful mead ("Kemp, Alson")


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Subject: Mead and contamination
From: "Kemp, Alson" <>
Date: Fri, 19 Jul 2002 09:15:55 -0700

>> Mead is not nearly as susceptible to contamination
>> as beer.
>It seems to me that the slower fermentation
>would make mead more susceptible: is it
>protected by the antimicrobial properties of honey?

Same as wine, the high sugar/alcohol levels probably do
most of the protecting. Beer only gets to 4-6% alcohol
(typically), whereas wines are 12-16%.
I think that the "anti-microbial" properties of honey are
due to an enzyme that creates small amounts of hydrogen peroxide
in the honey. When the honey is diluted in water (to make mead)
that enzyme stops functioning or too little peroxide is formed or
something. Upshot is: I don't think 25 brix honey water has an
antimicrobial properties. Hey!, yeast function in honey water
and they're microbes! (. . . aren't they?)


Subject: Re: search engine
From: Spencer W Thomas <>
Date: Fri, 19 Jul 2002 13:43:48 -0400

>> I just went to the archive to look for cherry mead recipes and
>> found the searchable archive:
>> to be missing.
>> It now resolves to JSTOR, a journal storage project housed at
>> the, but usually having its own URL
>> (


Well, here's what happened:

One day, my hard drive died. On the day (Tuesday) before I was
leaving for the 4th of July holiday, a technician came and resurrected
it. So I restarted everything and left.

Unfortunately, the web server configuration file was not the right
one, and it instead picked up the configuration file for a testing
server for JSTOR (which is where I work, and this IS my work
computer) instead. Now, the testing server is access-limited, so all
you could get from it is a "no access" error page.

When I got back on Monday, one of my co-workers came to me and asked
why folks were getting JSTOR when they wanted beer instead. Oops!

It's back in working order now, assuming the disk doesn't decided to
die again.

The search engine is going to have to move sometime in the next few
months, though, because we're installing an office firewall. I don't
know where it's moving to.

Sorry for the confusion.

=Spencer Thomas in Ann Arbor, MI (

Subject: Re: Cranberry-Blueberry Mead
From: Vicky Rowe <>
Date: Fri, 19 Jul 2002 14:24:29 -0400

At 09:11 AM 7/19/2002 -0600, you wrote:

>Subject: Cranberry-Blueberry Mead
>Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2002 14:40:51 EDT


> >

>A new acquaintance showed me your Digest, and it's interesting. I've been
>making wine since I was 14, (50 years) and beer since the Carter
>administration. Made my first batch of Mead, a Raspberry, last year. How
>about a Cranberry-Blueberry Melomel? Cranberry for tartness, blueberry for
>sweetness and body. If you can come up with a recipe I'll try it. Otherwise
>I'll experiment.

Can't help you there, but it sounds interesting. I've been playing with doing
a Strawberry-Rhubarb melomel. I'd been planning on doing two batches,
one Strawberry using the 2 gal. of berries I've got cleaned and frozen, and
one with the Rhubarb I've peeled, cleaned and frozen, then blending the
batches. The goal being trying for something resembling my grandmothers'
pie, which was always my favorite.

>Also looking for a recipe for Metheglyn, or Spiced Mead. Maybe a
>Cranberry-Clove-Nutmeg combo would do for a holiday mead.

I *do* have something good for that one. I entered my Spiced Methglyn
in the Mazer Cup this year, and while it didn't win, the judge comments
all said they thought it was a great mead, and would be awesome with
a bit more aging (I was a bit eager to enter, I guess).

Here's the recipe:

1 gal honey (I used a local NC honey)
1 tbsp dried lemon peel
5 tbsp lemon juice
60 whole cloves
6 tsp fresh nutmeg
15 bay leaves (I used CA bay leaves)
5 inches bruised ginger root
5 tbsp orange peel
35 allspice berries, crushed
1 handful of black tea (I used Christmas tea)
1 pkg Red Star Montrachet yeast
4 tsp mead yeast nutrient

Heat 1 gal. of water to 160 and add the honey. Simmer at 160, stirring for
15 minutes until all honey is dissolved. Add spice tea (see below) Put 3
gal room temperature water in pail. Add hot must to bucket and let cool to
below 80. Pitch yeast starter into pail, agitate vigorously and seal pail
with top and airlock. Rack after a month. Rack again at 3 months, and again
until most sediment is left behind, or until hydrometer reading approaches
1.00. Taste test periodically, and if necessary, make another spice tea,
let cool and add in next racking. Allow the mead to sit until it drops
clear. Age in carboy if you can for at least 6 months (but a year is
better, this takes a while to age out). Rack once more and bottle.
This mead will end up a slightly sweet, very spicy Christmas mead. It is
simply fabulous warm or chilled, and
the folks I've shared it with all love it. The downside is that it takes
about a year for it to age into the mellow,
spicy flavor, and for all the various spices to properly combine. Just my
opinion, but in both the batches I've
made it was worth the wait.

For spice tea: Boil 3-4 cups water and pour over spices in teapot or glass
pan. Steep for 30 minutes, covered. Discard spices and add to must.

When racking, top off must with 4-6 cups water with 1-2 cups honey
dissolved into it. Use the same method to pasteurize. Add to must using
siphon to avoid aeration

>Ever heard of "Mauby"? It is the bark of a tree in the Caribbean area, and
>looks like stick cinnamon. The people in Dominica (not the Republic, down
>East from there, by Guadelupe) boil it in water as you would tea, then
>sweeten and dilute to taste. It's flavor is reminiscent of Moxie soda. I'd
>like to try Mauby in either a beer or mead; any suggestions?

No, I hadn't heard of that, but it sounds interesting. Wonder if my favorite
spice vendor, Penzey's, has it?

Good luck in your quest, and I hope the recipe above works out. When
you work out the recipes for the other ones, let us know? We're always
interested in new recipes here…….


Vicky Rowe
Makin' mead? Drinkin' mead? Find all the info and links here!
Check out

Subject: Honey and other such stuff
From: "Ken Schramm" <>
Date: Fri, 19 Jul 2002 16:16:04 -0400

Adam Funk sez…
>It seems to me that the slower fermentation would make mead more
susceptible: is it protected by the antimicrobial properties of honey?<

That woud appear to be the case. The hydrogen peroxide seems to suppress
bacterial activity. Osmotic pressure takes care of the bacteria in honey
while it is in its undiluted form.

Jason Marshall queries…
>I have attempted 5 batches of mead now, with varying levels of success,
and one thing I've noticed is that my must usually does not evoke the
heavy fermentation described in the literature during the first 72 hours.

I expect that the fruit was the key difference between the batches,
however, most recipes I've found for mead included some number of
lemons. I would think these would provide enough food variety to cover
whatever the yeast nutrient doesn't contain, but my experience doesn't
bear that notion out.

Is there some standard trick for preventing a 'late bloomer'?<

I think the problem you are dealing with is a combination of low nutrient
levels _and_ too low a pH. Adding that much lemon juice will probably
crash the pH down to a level below that which the yeast really appreciates.

Stick with diammonium phosphate (2 tsp/5 gal.) and some yeast hulls (2

tsp.) for the nutrients at the start, and add the lemon juice after
fermentation if you think it's really what you are after. That should
get you going like a rocket.


Best of luck.


Troy, MI

Subject: Yeast propogation
From: "Steve Gaskin" <>
Date: Sun, 21 Jul 2002 13:33:36 +0930

Hi David,

There's an excellent resource on handling and storing yeast at an Aussie
home brewing site. Check it out at:

Steve Gaskin

Subject: Storing Yeast cultures.
From: David Chubb <>
Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2002 09:56:08 -0400

I have come to a quandry.

Our local brewing supplies stores (there are two in town and I usually
frequent only one since they carry the Wyeast line) sometime have problems
getting in yeasts on a regular basis.

I prefer the Sweat and Dry Mead Yeasts or the Cider Yeasts. However, they
regularly run out of these and don't get more in for over a month sometimes.

So my questions come down to this: What is the shelf life of a sealed liquid
yeast (in the fridge)? What are some good wine yeast alternatives for a
sweet mead (or semi dry)? I have tried Zinfandel and Merlot yeasts but they
sometimes produce an "Off flavor".

I once even tried a beer yeast (not sure which one though) but that batch
turned out horrible (another batch made the same day using champagne yeast
turned out great…and 6 months later made a wonderful sparkling mead).

Our local Brewers supply doesn't carry many wine yeasts but will do a
special order if I ask them (and wait the several weeks for it to come in).
Most of the local brewers seem to be "Bheer Nuts" and they cater to
supplying them more (which I can understand since they need to make their
$$$) (They at least have a good wine selection and even some commercial

So should I try and keep a stock (more than a month in the fridge wrapped in

Or, use alternative yeasts?


  • – –David


Subject: "cyser" pronunciation
From: "Geoffrey T. Falk" <>
Date: Tue, 23 Jul 2002 01:19:25 -0600 (MDT)

I just put together a gallon of cyser (1 kg honey; 1 (US) gal unfiltered
organic apple "cider"; LV 1118).

Anyways, how do you pronounce "cyser"? Is it "Sizer," "Caesar", or
"Kaiser" (akin to Celt -> "selt" or "kelt" ?) Please advise.


**In other news: We have had a spell of very hot weather here in
S. Alberta. I popped open a bottle of my (barely 1 y.o.) cranberry,
started last Fall and just bottled 2 weeks ago. I was worried that it
had picked up "too warm" esters (noticeable at bottling); but despite
having some spoilage aromas at bottling time, now seems acceptable.
Amazing what a few weeks at cellar temp. will do.

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #943, 19 July 2002
Date: Tue, 23 Jul 2002 10:28:08 EDT

> Mead is racked into the funnel through the
> strainer and continues to the bottom where it fills the demijohn from
> the bottom up. There is probably still oxidasion but I figured it was
> better than just pouring the mead in from the top.


What a great idea. I've been having similar problems. Thanks. Dr. Jim

Subject: Clearing Mead
From: "David Craft" <>
Date: Tue, 23 Jul 2002 18:11:55 -0400


I am on my 6th or 7 th batch of mead. The first was traditional and boiled
so long it cleared quickly. I learned I also boiled off most of the aroma
and flavor. The remaining batches have been boiled less and less or not at
all and included various fruits. These too cleared quickly with the help
of some pectin enzyme.

I made a no boil batch of traditional mead in January. I did heat it to 160
for 10 minutes. It fermented quickly and has mostly cleared. I can see a
flashlight through but not to the detail of past meads. I consider those
to have cleared "bright" in that you can see the flashlight detail through
the mead. This one is not "bright". I have added Bentonite to it and it
cleared considerably, but not bright. Should I bottle or wait? We are
coming up on seven months.


David B. Craft
Battleground Brewers Homebrew Club
Crow Hill Brewery and Meadery
Greensboro, NC

Subject: Half-batches of successful mead
From: "Kemp, Alson" <>
Date: Tue, 23 Jul 2002 15:38:20 -0700

>From Jason Marshall:
>…exception was a batch of pear melomel…
>…looking like it will be my only completely
>…successful batch (too bad it was only a

I don't know anyone who has actually made a successful
full-batch of mead. My theory is that mead can only be made in
half-batches. My method: fool the Gods by "planning" to make 10
gallons, then realize that you only have a 5 gallon carboy!
You'll then be able to make a 5 gallon half-batch.
You can try for larger half-batches, but you'll have to
plan carefully to gather the precisely incorrect ingredients and
the wrong size container. You'll have to act more surprised when
you find out that you have the wrong ingredients and wrong
container, too.

– Alson

End of Mead Lover's Digest #944