Mead Lover's Digest #0950 Mon 26 August 2002


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



Re: Mead Lover's Digest #949, 21 August 2002 (Christopher C Carpenter)
The Carbonation, Gravities ("Ken Schramm")
Re: honey tables – yeast – honey sources ("Dan McFeeley")
Agave ("Don Van Valkenburg")
mead fest (
Mead ???? ("Mark Tumarkin")
Planet Buzz — Mead Fest 2002! ("Dan McFeeley")
Where can I get heather honey? ("melissa emma")


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Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #949, 21 August 2002
From: Christopher C Carpenter <>
Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2002 22:33:19 -0500

Greetings unto the Meadhall

Hmmm….I would like to hear more about this Agave mead, do
you know which variety of Agave is being used? I have a
large Agave plant that has outgrown our house, and they are
MEAN plants. Perhaps is time to find another use for


Did you peel the leaves, or have another method of removing
the pulp for this purpose, and what would one call a mead
made from the pulp of a succulent plant?

I know Blue Agave is used to make Tequila, but I know not
what varieties are up here in the armpit of hell(North
Dakota) so it will be interesting to hear your answer.

Chris Carpenter


  • –On Wednesday, August 21, 2002 8:17 PM -0600 wrote:


> I also have a batch of Agave Mead (80% Agave and 20%
> Honey) fermenting SLOWLY! What a tease! Lynne O'Connor
> assures me it is fermenting. It does send up quite a few
> bubbles when I rouse it daily, but very little activity
> otherwise. Any other words of wisdom is working with
> Agave?

Subject: The Carbonation, Gravities
From: "Ken Schramm" <>
Date: Thu, 22 Aug 2002 08:57:15 -0400

Meads and other fermenting liquids can become "supersaturated" with CO2 as
they fement. The liquid absorbs more CO2 than is otherwise possible, and
as long as they are not disturbed, they are capable of retaining a more
than subtle amount of CO2. The CO2 is liberated when the must is agitated
or during a sudden change in conditions. That is why carboys will "fizz"
and develop a layer of foam when disturbed during or after fermentation,
and also why you will see a steady stream of bubbles in your racking hoses
during transfers.

The honey tables that one of the posters was seeking might have been the
ones culled from a USDA Tech Bulletin onm Honey for an article on mead Dan
and I had in Zymurgy a few years back. Drop me a lne if you are

Dan's figures on adding honey are about right. As a sidebar, for purposes
of recipe formulation, If you add X pounds of honey to 1 gallon of water,
you'll get more than a gallon of solution. If you are planning to mix
honey and water and dilute to a given volume, the gravity will be nearer
1.038 – 40/lb./gal. – or .008 of gravity for every pound diluted to five
gallons. Meaning one gallon of honey diluted to five gallons of must will
end up at about 1.092 – 1.096. The real determinant of differing yields
is the percentage of water in the honey. 18% is about average. If you buy
from an experienced beekeeper, he/she will be able to provide that info
for you.

Best f luck.

Ken Schramm
Troy, Michigan

Subject: Re: honey tables - yeast - honey sources
From: "Dan McFeeley" <>
Date: Thu, 22 Aug 2002 09:35:47 -0500

On Fri, 16 Aug 2002, in MLD 949, Vince Galet wrote:

>Thanks Dan for your reference to Zymurgy about yeasts and honeys.
>I was looking for something like that. How can you access old issues
>like May 2000, though?

You can try ordering a copy of the article through your local public
library, using the interlibrary loan system. It's easy, and often there
will be no charge for the article. Just fill out a request form using
the full citation:

Ken Schramm and Dan McConnell. "Mastering Mead Formulation:
The Art and Science of the Sacred Honey Brew." Zymurgy,
vol 23, no. 3, May/June 2000, pp. 26 – 29, 54 – 57.

If your local library can't track down another library with holdings for
Zymurgy, try ordering a back issue. The address for correspondence
is: PO Box 1679 Boulder CO 80302-5006, or call the office at
303-447-2825 and ask for further info.



Dan McFeeley

Subject: Agave
From: "Don Van Valkenburg" <>
Date: Thu, 22 Aug 2002 08:50:42 -0700

I (think I) was the person who first introduced agave to the homebrewing
/meedmaking market through my shop Stein Fillers in Long Beach. Let me
tell you what I have learned about agave.

I found the product being imported by a large honey importer in S.
Calif. and immediately became attracted to the idea to experiment with
making different, beer, mead and a straight agave wine. They carried a
dark and light or clear agave. Just some simple taste test with the
two told me I wanted to only stock the dark as the clear didn't have
much more of a flavor difference from corn syrup. I love the initial
results which fermented well and had a nice flavor. Then after a few
years building customers who were using it, the supply started becoming
very sporadic which played hell with trying to satisfy customers who
were getting use to using the product and liked the results. =20

Then I noticed another thing with agave. It didn't always ferment and
behave the same way each time I used it. Finally when I talked with the
importer about problems with supply and fermentation problems things
started coming out. First he admitted suspicions that the Mexicans
processor was cutting it with sucrose (corn sugar), but he said he could
not prove it and cited some lab analysis that he said could not tell the
difference between corn sugar and sugar from the agave plant. But the
second revelation by the importer explains why I was having problems
fermenting later batches. He said he suspected that the processor was
also using preservatives. Well, as most of you may know food
preservatives also kill yeast.

With knowledge that it may be cut with sucrose, and may have
preservatives I immediately stopped supplying it to the disappointment
of many customers.

I will have to say that I don't know where all the supply is coming from
and I don't want to disparage another source, but buyer beware.

Don Van Valkenburg

Subject: mead fest
Date: Fri, 23 Aug 2002 19:21:08 EDT

Time is Ripe to Focus on Mead
Planet Buzz <>: A Celebration of
Mead, Cider and Perry will take place November 8-9 in Chicago. Event
organizer Ray Daniels says, "Modern craftspeople are increasing making mead
and cider in the U.S., much as their forefathers did long ago." The event
will include judging of commercial meads and ciders, speakers, meetings for
amateurs and guided tastings. Details of the event can be found (beginning
September 1) at <>.

Subject: Mead ????
From: "Mark Tumarkin" <>
Date: Sat, 24 Aug 2002 22:29:06 -0400

Now, I know it's illegal to distill, and you all know I'd never do something
like that. But just thinking hypothetically, if one were to distill a mead,
what would you call the product? Mead brandy just doesn't seem right, though I
guess it works. Is there a better name for this?

Mark Tumarkin
Hogtown Brewers
Gainesville, FL

Subject: Planet Buzz -- Mead Fest 2002!
From: "Dan McFeeley" <>
Date: Mon, 26 Aug 2002 14:11:23 -0500

Folk on MLD might be interested to know that this coming November, the
8th and 9th, there will be a conference, Planet Buzz!, celebrating mead,
cider and perry in Chicago. There will be a judging of commercially
produced meads and ciders for the International Mead Competition and
International Cider Competition, along with other scheduled events.

This first time event is being organized by Ray Daniels along the same
general guidelines used in producing the Real Ale Festival, a
successful Chicago event over the last 6 years. Ray, along with
the Chicago Beer Society, have done well with the Real Ale Festival
(see Currently it draws 2500 attendees a year
from more than 30 states and four countries. Ray and co. are hoping
to have similar success with Planet Buzz!

There is a preliminary web site at which is still
under construction. A flyer announcement and information for
participating meadmakers are available as pdf files. After Sept. 1
the site should have more detailed info available.


Dan McFeeley

Subject: Where can I get heather honey? 
From: "melissa emma" <>
Date: Mon, 26 Aug 2002 19:45:56 -0700

I was reading Stephen Buhners book "Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers"
where he mentioned the use of heather honey in mead making. I was wondering
if anyone knew where I could purchase some.
Thank you,
Melissa Emma
Providence, RI

melissa emma – email
(617) 598-1046 x1890 – voicemail/fax

End of Mead Lover's Digest #950