Mead Lover's Digest #0957 Tue 24 September 2002
Mead Lover's Digest #0957 Tue 24 September 2002
Forum for Discussion of Mead Making and Consuming
Dick Dunn, Digest Janitor
high gravity ferments (Tom Smit)
Distillation (Adam Funk)
Mazers (Michael Kaiser)
Reply about Mazers and more mead happenings ("Julia Herz")
Additions to Secondary Ferment Question ("David Beaver")
Wout's orange mead (Melinda Merkel Iyer)
Agave Mead ("David Craft")
Basics and Beginings ("Dan McFeeley")
RE: Mead Lover's Digest #956, 19 September 2002 ("Wout Klingens")
RE: Mead Lover's Digest #956, 19 September 2002 ("Dan McFeeley")
Melomel Recipes ("richard lee vargo")
Redstone Meadery (Dick Dunn)
distillation (various points) (Dick Dunn)
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Subject: high gravity ferments
From: Tom Smit <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 20 Sep 2002 09:14:16 +0800
I have an Apple Butter Cyser that dropped from about 1170 to 1065 and won't
drop down any further, despite rousing aerating warming and repitching etc
Someone mentioned that the pH drops with these high gravity ferments and
that I should add chalk to buffer the fermenting must?
From: Adam Funk <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 20 Sep 2002 11:44:00 +0100
> Subject: re: Distillation and clarity
> From: "Kurt Schilling" <email@example.com>
> Date: Wed, 18 Sep 2002 08:38:44 -0500
> The probability of any lobbying to allow home distillation licensing
> ever being successful is extremely low. Have you ever heard of any
> taxation laws being repealed? The taxation of the production of potable
> spirits is high and that (taxation) is the basis for the penalites WRT
> illegal distillation (ie the 'revenoors' busting moonshiners).
You're right that such lobbying would be a very difficult struggle. But I
read somewhere recently that homebrewing was illegal in the USA until the
1970s — a vestige of Prohibition.
> Enforcement of the US code as well as the State codes that pertain to
> illegal distillation on a personal level is low. However, be advised
> that the penalties IF you are busted can be quite severe depending of
> the prosecutor and the agency that catches the moonshiner.
I've never done any distillation and I don't live in the USA (although it is
illegal in the UK, where I live). But I believe it is fundamentally wrong
that people don't have the right to distill privately and I'm surprised
*no-one* is campaigning for it.
> From: Ben Snyder <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Date: Wed, 18 Sep 2002 11:49:30 -0400
> Specifically, I have heard that methanol levels in standard home brew
> wines and meads are safe for consumption, but distilling the wine or
> mead would produce a toxic product.
I think it would be safe if it were legal so that proper equipment and
instructions were widely available. Moonshine can be dangerous mainly
because moonshiners have to improvise equipment (e.g. car radiators) in such
a way that it can be hidden from the revenoors.
> From: Aaron Marshall <email@example.com>
> Date: Thu, 19 Sep 2002 14:17:19 +1200
> Down here in New Zealand distillation seems to be regarded the same way as
> home brewing is… In that if you only make it for your own consumption,
> then its perfectly legal. In fact, my local brewing shop has as much, if
> not more distilling equipment than brewing.
I'd like to know if this is generally considered safe in New Zealand. I'd
expect the legality to improve the safety and quality of the results.
- — Adam
From: Michael Kaiser <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 20 Sep 2002 08:51:07 -0700 (PDT)
Leonard Meuse wrote:
>From: "Leonard Meuse" <email@example.com>
>Date: Tue, 17 Sep 2002 16:45:05 -0700
>Ive been scouring the net looking for a nice mazer, maybe im going about
>it all wrong, i suppose. but would anyone just happen to know of a place
>where i could get one…im looking for a fairly simple maple bowl with
>silver highlights or something along those lines. i really NEED a proper
>vessel, ok, another one (I got my drinking horn) for my meads.
Two of the best sites that I have found for handmade mazers are:
This artist is in the United Kingdom (obviously) and has an excellent
selection of pre-made mazers, and also does custom work.
Bill is an exceptional metalsmith, and does custom work as well. Check out the
drinking horn on his page, makes ya drool, dont it?
There are 7 chapters of the AAW (American Association of Woodturners) located in
Washington state: http://www.woodturner.org/locals/aawlocal.cfm
You may want to contact someone local, considering your request. Beats calling
England long distance too 😉
Working on 3 drinking horns in between other fun stuff,
"Who loves not woman, wine and song remains a fool his whole life long."
- -Martin Luther
"An uair a theld an gohainn aer bhath 'se is dearr a bhi reidh ris."
When the Smith gets wildly excited 'tis best to agree with him.
- -Gaelic proverb
Subject: Reply about Mazers and more mead happenings
From: "Julia Herz" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 20 Sep 2002 12:18:50 -0600
Leonard check out http://www.robin-wood.co.uk/bowls.htm who make wooden
"stuff" including mazers. I have never purchased one but he seems like
an old English craftsman to me, which is promising!
On other happenings…it has been a long while since I posted to the
digest and would like to update everyone on some major mead news. After
all, I've been calling 2002 "The Year of Mead!"
If you haven't yet heard then it's time to get you in on it. "Planet
Buzz!" will be happening in Chicago November 7-9. This is the countries
first International Mead/Cider/Perry Commercial Competition and Public
Tasting. It's being organized by beer famous Ray Daniels (editor of
Zymurgy magazine, author of Designing Great Beers and organizer of the
awesome Real Ale Festival which is now in it's 6th year). I've been
helping Ray solicit entries from the commercial meaderies as with any
first year festival the success is dependent on how many different
beverages are actually at the event.
Planet Buzz! will also hold public tasting sessions and seminars along
with the private judging of the commercial entries. If you, as a mead
maker, would like to go I encourage you to enhance the visit by bringing
out some of your meads which will get you access into the Terra Fermenta
Lounge that has been set up to prompt the sharing and discussion of all
beverages brought there.
Visit www.meadfest.com for the complete run down on the festival.
Bottom line, this festival will do more for the recognition of mead in
the U.S. than any event to date so please spread the word. (Even U.S.
News & World Report is on the bandwagon and plan to publish something
about the festival!)
Additionally, I'd like to share that www.honeywine.com is finally
processing orders for meads! Visitors can orders over 20 different meads
from over 10 different meaderies/wineries which can be shipped to
individuals in over 17 different states.
The importance of this is that finally, finally there is a place people
can go to get individual bottles of meads from different meaderies.
Ideally, of course, more liquor stores and restaurants give weight to
the growing interest behind meads and begin to carry them. However, for
the beverage to grow and the bar of quality to be raised on the
commercial side we need to get people drinking mead. This is the
beginning of solving the problem that people just can't find it
Lastly, Redstone Meadery, where I work as Vice President of Sales &
Marketing, was covered by the FoodNetwork recently. We are very excited
about the show to air (November 12, 9:00 pm EST) which is Bobby Flay
Food Nation. Any national attention to mead is good attention so plan to
check it out if you are interested.
Owner – www.honeywine.com
VP Sales & Marketing – Redstone Meadery
BJCP Recognized Judge
Subject: Additions to Secondary Ferment Question
From: "David Beaver" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 21 Sep 2002 08:00:25 -0600
Can someone there advise me ?
I have read many pages of internet instructions and recipies on mead making.
I have not seen much info about adding anything to a secondary ferment (safely)
to help make up volumes lost due to racking (losses).
Is this a common practice ? How is low headspace maintained in the secondary
fermenters due to losses.
thanks for your time.
Subject: Wout's orange mead
From: Melinda Merkel Iyer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 21 Sep 2002 07:23:55 -0700
Wout, I went back and read your recipe in the archives, and it looks
wonderful. I am fortunate enough to live in an area where oranges
grow well, and in fact have a large orange tree in my backyard. I can
never seem to use them all up… although now I think I won't have
that problem <G> Thanks for the inspiration and for sharing your
Melinda Merkel Iyer
Subject: Agave Mead
From: "David Craft" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 21 Sep 2002 11:21:00 -0400
I have a batch of Agave Mead going now for a month, sloooooooooooowly. I
hear from different sources that it is slow. My question, is there any
harm in rousing the yeast every few weeks or so? I generally shake the
carboy for about 10 seconds and raise some of the yeast up.
Second question, This carboy is in a basement that is about 70 now but will
drop to 60 in the winter. Should I move it upstairs for the winter, which
doesn't arrive here for some time, NC.
I realize this may take a year to ferment and I accept that. Believe me it
is tough for brewers to wait a year. A corney of homebrew lasts about a
month at my house!
Thanks for the advice.
David B. Craft
Battleground Brewers Homebrew Club
Crow Hill Brewery and Meadery
PS- Will be bottling our Club's Raspberry Ginger Mead from Mead Day soon!
I got a bunch of American style champagne bottles from a wedding. They
take standard crown caps!
Subject: Basics and Beginings
From: "Dan McFeeley" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 21 Sep 2002 11:30:26 -0500
On Mon, 16 Sep 2002, in MLD 956, an overly modest Wout Klingens wrote:
> I agree with Ken, that this orange mead really is a beginners mead, which
> is guaranteed to make everyone enthousiastic enough to try again. It just
> can't fail as long as you keep in mind the basics, such as working
> absolutely clean and use the detergents which are explicitely fit for
Since you responded to my private note with a go ahead, here goes. 🙂
What do you see as the dividing line between a beginner's mead, and
something more advanced, if not altogether advanced?
Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #956, 19 September 2002
From: "Wout Klingens" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 21 Sep 2002 20:50:52 +0200
In MLD 957 an overly careful Dan writes:
>On Mon, 16 Sep 2002, in MLD 956, an overly modest Wout Klingens wrote:
>Since you responded to my private note with a go ahead, here goes. 🙂
>What do you see as the dividing line between a beginner's mead, and
>something more advanced, if not altogether advanced?
A beginners mead is a mead which is a guaranteed succes even if basics are
overlooked. A mead which is nice to drink despite of some mistakes, easy to
make without the hassle and mess of expensive equipment like presses,
attracts compliments from friends, and which is easy to repeat. And most of
all, a recipe that doesn't need TA-kits or understanding of sweetness-acid
balance, light or dark honey fermentations, yeast strains which behave
differently on different OG's and other "difficult" factors.
The result will be that less people will be disappointed and so that it is
more likely that they continue a fine hobby.
Now, I think I quote one of the readers of the digest when I say, that you
really are a good meadmaker if you have made a good dry showmead…. Ever
tried one? After how many attempts did you succeed? 🙂
Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #956, 19 September 2002
From: "Dan McFeeley" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 21 Sep 2002 14:46:19 -0500
On Saturday, September 21, 2002, a laconic Wout Klingens writes:
> A beginners mead is a mead which is a guaranteed succes even if basics are
> overlooked. A mead which is nice to drink despite of some mistakes, easy
>to make without the hassle and mess of expensive equipment like presses,
> attracts compliments from friends, and which is easy to repeat. And most
> of all, a recipe that doesn't need TA-kits or understanding of
> sweetness-acid balance, light or dark honey fermentations, yeast strains
>which behave differently on different OG's and other "difficult" factors.
Ok, I think I get that part. How about this one — what would be the
difference between a basic show mead and a show mead with a more
"advanced" basis to it? Here I'm thinking of bare bones basic meadmaking,
yeast, honey, water, nothing else. No TA kits, etc., et. al. And how about
another one — do TA kits, sweetness/acid balance, light/dark honey
fermentations, yeast strains and so on mean the mead recipe is advanced?
Or maybe another way to put it, does technical control mean the difference
between a basic and an advanced mead recipe?
> Now, I think I quote one of the readers of the digest when I say, that you
> really are a good meadmaker if you have made a good dry showmead…. Ever
> tried one? After how many attempts did you succeed? 🙂
I stopped making dry meads because my spouse doesn't like them. Have to
keep the bee-nymphs happy. 🙂 Although, she doesn't like my capsimels
at all — the most I can entice her into is just a sip, after which she
gasps and splutters and accuses me of poisoning her. 🙂
Subject: Melomel Recipes
From: "richard lee vargo" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 21 Sep 2002 22:07:31 -0500
Where can I locate melomel recipies? I bought some from a gentleman
several years ago and would like to make some.
email address—— firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Redstone Meadery
From: email@example.com (Dick Dunn)
Date: Mon, 23 Sep 2002 11:02:46 -0600 (MDT)
back in MLD 951, Lindi Edens asked:
> Hello all. Just wondering if anyone had any updates on the trademarked
> Meadery case in Colorado…
That was Rocky Mountain Meadery challenging Redstone Meadery (demanding
that Redstone not use the word "meadery" in their name). I haven't heard
any more news about the conflict, and Redstone is still using "meadery" in
their name, so at least the matter doesn't appear to have gone any further.
In fact, Redstone appears to be doing very well. They've added a plum
melomel (not sure what their "brand name" is for it) and I believe a drier
version of their black raspberry. They have had a semi-sweet (might be
better to say "off-dry" as it's not really sweet) traditional mead for a
while, and they had a dry traditional more recently. I think there's more
than that; I haven't quite been able to keep up with them.
They've gotten into a handful of restaurants/bars and a few liquor stores.
One of their best moves for promoting awareness of mead was serving it at
several outdoor music festivals this summer (RockyGrass, Folks Festival,
and a Mabon event–all at the same place, Planet Bluegrass in Lyons, CO,
but three very different styles of event with different crowds).
I think they've also got a good idea with their "Nectar" products, which
are young, moderately-sweet, sparkling melomels. If someone's not quite
sure what to think of mead, those will catch interest esepcially on a hot
day. However, I don't know how successful it will be to try to pull people
from the "nectar" to more "serious" meads (drier and/or traditional mead).
From: "jps" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 23 Sep 2002 16:50:10 -0400
I recently came across a multitude of wild elderberries. In looking for
jelly recipes both books I looked in pointed out that they are poisionous,
but that heat destroys the poision. I have also frozen a bag full to do a
mead with, per recommendations that it help break them up to get more juice.
My question for the group is should they be cooked before adding them to a
mead? None of the wine or mead recipes I've seen say anything about cooking
them, and I don't recall ever hearing about anyone being poisioned by
elderberry wine, but obviously I don't want to make up bottles of poision.
Subject: distillation (various points)
From: email@example.com (Dick Dunn)
Date: Mon, 23 Sep 2002 16:29:55 -0600 (MDT)
About home-distilling in the US:
* No, you will not be able to get the necessary permits and licenses to
distill at home. It is so far from possible it's not even worth con-
* No, it is not one of those "look the other way" offenses. There is
substantial tax revenue involved in hard liquor, and you *know* how
our government reacts to lost revenue!
* Yes, you can buy home distillation equipment. They will tell you that
you can make your own perfumes and essential oils, but there's an
obvious "nudge-nudge wink-wink" about other uses. However, the folks
who sell these outfits will NOT help defend you after you've been
As to methanol and health danger of a distilled product: No, that's not
the problem. Fermentation produces a small amount of methanol, and yes it
would be concentrated by distillation just as the ethanol is, but at worst
you'd probably end up with the same proportions of the two. A real
distiller knows how to separate out more of the hangover-helper and produce
a better distilled result, but that's not the issue.
Regarding Adam Funk's questions about legalizing home distilling:
> Is anyone lobbying for this to be changed? It's no-one's business what
> people produce for personal consumption and some home-fermenting
> organizations ought to demand the right to distill too.
I'd say Adam has fallen into the dangerous trap of thinking that the law
should be just, fair, or reasonable.
Kurt Schilling mentioned one problem in legalizing home distilling in the
US, namely a loss of tax revenue. But beyond that:
* It would be political suicide for any lawmaker to introduce a bill to
legalize distilling, because it would pull in all of the US moral
unease about distilled spirits, plus somebody would surely find a way
to oppose it "for the children" because there would be some perceived
possible harm to children.
* It would light a fire under "temperance" groups, who are already
getting more active in recent years anyway. (Realize that in the US,
"temperance" really means "prohibition".)
* The entire alcoholic beverage industry would oppose it. They don't
want the potential for lost business, and just as much as that they
don't want to disturb the way they currently do business.
End of Mead Lover's Digest #957