Mead Lover's Digest #981 Wed 25 December 2002


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



RE: Grapes and which honey? (MLD 980) ("Arthur Torrey (no spam please!)")
online order for poly corks (LJ Vitt)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #980, 21 December 2002 ("Shaggyman")
RE: Mead Lover's Digest #980, 21 December 2002 ("Robert L Lewis")
Books ("Dan McFeeley")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #980, 21 December 2002 ("Maurice St. aude")
Books Again ("Dan McFeeley")
too sweet! (Charlie Moody)
Grape/Honey Pairings (Intres Richard)


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Subject: RE: Grapes and which honey? (MLD 980)
From: "Arthur Torrey (no spam please!)" <>
Date: Sat, 21 Dec 2002 18:48:21 -0500

> Subject: Grapes and which honey?
> From: "Kemp, Alson" <>
> Date: Fri, 20 Dec 2002 09:26:36 -0800

> Random question for those learned meadmakers: Which kind
> of honey should one pair with which grapes in a pyment
> … What honey/grape combinations have worked well for you?
> -Alson

I don't know how it will come out yet, as it is still in the carboy

after being racked once, but I have a batch that I made with a blend of
about 10lbs or so of wild grapes (presumably Concords considering I live
only about 2 towns away…) and one box (36lbs) of fresh Carignane grapes
from CA.

My local brew shop has an annual deal where they bring in several

truckloads of fresh grapes for all their wine making customers, I got
these as a result of a paperwork screwup that got them some extra boxes,
so I didn't have a choice of variety. For non grape experts, Carignanes
are red grapes with a fairly strong flavor used in making red wines.

My girlfriend and I smashed the grapes with an improvised mortar and

pestle, (one handful at a time in a saucepan with an empty beer bottle for
a pestle) and dumped them into a big fruit bag in the primary along with
some water, pectic enzyme, and sulfites. I stirred them around several
times, and let them soak overnight to try and get as much of the grape
sugar out as possible. I removed most of the stems, but did leave some on
to serve as a natural tannin source as suggested by one of my books.

I then measured the SG of the solution, and got 1.042, so figured I

needed to add 1.078 worth of honey to get my desired start SG of 1.120.
According to my honey chart I needed 3Q and 2C of honey to get this.
Turned out there was a problem in my numbers somewhere or I got more sugar
out of the grapes when I added the honey because I ended up with an actual
start SG of 1.130.

The honey I used was from my hive's Fall 2001 harvest, which is a wild

flower honey of a medium dark color and quite strong flavor with a touch
of bitterness to it.
(Wildflower honey is beekeeperese for 'I don't know what / where the bees
got the nectar from' and is probably the most common honey for backyard
beekeepers like myself to get. A named varietal honey like orange blossom
requires that you have a hive located such that you are almost certain the
bees wouldn't get nectar from anyplace else. You muat also put your empty
honey supers on just before the desired nectar flow, and harvest it
immediately after, so as to minimize the bee's chance to mix in nectars
from other sources.)


I used Lalvin 1118 champagne yeast, which took off quite strongly, and

fermented to 0.998 in a bit over two weeks. (This gives a calculated ABV
of 19%!!!) At racking the taste was OK but a bit strong. I'm hoping it
will mellow with age.


I found the grape pulp in the fruit bag kept making the primary back up

and blow fermenting grape juice out the fermentation lock all over the
kitchen floor. (suggestion, get a large canning pot or other vessel to
catch primary overflows, it will help your popularity with your S.O.)
Therefore I removed the bag after about 3 days. I was going to try making
some second run with the leftover pulp, but it molded on me so I had to
throw it away.


As a question for the group, I have this batch and one or two others

that are still in carboy which have fermented to be both extremely dry,
and extremely high alcohol content. I'm not a real fan of chemicals, but
will use them if I have to. What are my best options for both sweetening
these up and getting them back down into a normal wine strength range







Subject: online order for poly corks
From: LJ Vitt <>
Date: Sat, 21 Dec 2002 15:58:35 -0800 (PST)

St Partick's homebrew supply has the poly corks:

Leo Vitt
Rochester MN

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #980, 21 December 2002
From: "Shaggyman" <>
Date: Sun, 22 Dec 2002 10:41:26 -0600

> I have heard, and seen the plastic Corks, and Yet I do
> not know where to buy them. Last time I was in my
> local Brewshop they did not have them. Is there
> anyplace on the internet I can get these from?


> Kevin Porter

Have a look at SupremeCorque for info:
Wholesale only, try Scott Labs for supply:
(click on the "packaging" tab)
Many of the online brewshops, such as Bacchus & Barleycorn carry them
(Bacchus carries another brand: 'Guardian".
The best deal is to get together with your local club and do a combined
order to get up to the wholesale minimum.
We do this for bottles, as well, saving usually more than half. And while
yer at it, ye can buy yer plain ole honey direct from a beekeeper, and save
the shop's 100% markup. A little harder to get specialty honeys that way,

Lane O. Locke

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by

stupidity." –Hanlon's Razor


Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #980, 21 December 2002
From: "Robert L Lewis" <>
Date: Sun, 22 Dec 2002 12:8:17 -0500

Patrick asks:


> I experimented with something, and now I need advice
> on how to fix it. I made a 5 gallon batch: 15 lbs
> honey, 16lbs grape preserves. I wanted to see if the
> overload of sugars would produce an even stronger mead
> that was still very sweet. When it cleared, I racked
> it and although it tastes good and is very clear, it
> has the consistency of motor oil. Would simply adding
> water to dilute be the way to go, or should I also add
> fresh yeast and allow it to referment the obviously
> high level of sugars still present? Thanks, and happy
> holidays to all!


First question: Did you use pectic Enzyme? If not, use it.

Second: are the preserves %100 fruit, or is sugar added.

Third: What kinda yeast did you use.

My 2 cents: Don't add water. If it don't taste good now,
it wont when diluted. You could add a couple cups of strong
tea and a bottle of grain alcohol; or take the slurry from a
batch you just racked, and rack your motor oil on top of the
slurry. If you don't have another batch going, take 1 cup
fructose, three cups water, and a bag of champagne yeast.
Mix, wait for bubbles, and add to your motor oil. your must
must have had a starting gravity of 1.2 that's a tall order
for a yeastie. If you want strong, try adding 3 lbs of honey/
fruit/sugar in increments, not all at the beginning.

Subject: Books
From: "Dan McFeeley" <>
Date: Sun, 22 Dec 2002 15:58:02 -0600

Bob asked:

>One more.. has anyone seen a book on the subject that has
>been published int he last few years, If not make this would
>be a good project for MLD to do.. a real do it yourself guy
>with photos of all the steps and equipment to the end result.
>thanks again for any help and replys

and Eric replied:

>Also there is a book coming out soon (Jan-March time-frame)
>that I hear will be the compleat mead makers guide.

The book is titled _The Compleat Meadmaker_ by Ken Schramm,
published by Brewers Publications. At Planet Buzz Ray Daniels
was talking about a prospective date of maybe April or May of
next year, hopefully the release will be close to that time. As far
as I know, Ken hasn't been planning to be the J.K. Rowling of
the mead community. 🙂

Ken and his mead partner Dan McConnell have written some
excellent articles for _Zymurgy_ which speaks well for the
book. Their web article "An Analysis of Mead, Mead Making
and the Role of its Primary Constituents" is a good read and
can be browsed at


Dan McFeeley

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #980, 21 December 2002
From: "Maurice St. aude" <>
Date: Sun, 22 Dec 2002 17:56:02 -0500


  • —– Original Message —–

From: <>

To: <>
Sent: Saturday, December 21, 2002 1:28 PM

Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #980, 21 December 2002



> Subject: Montrachet metadata
> From: <>
> Date: Fri, 20 Dec 2002 08:41:35 -0500 (EST)


> OK, here is more about my Montrachet experience:
> 1 batch was fermented around 72 degrees, the other one around 60-62. Both
> were pitched using a starter made with OJ and 1 tbsp of nutrient (Fermax)
> for a few hours. Both were successful (no LF)
> On the other hand I did a prickly pear melomel with Lalvin 1116 (only used
> it once). Same conditions (72 deg). I got a bad sulfury smell (the taste


> real good, the color is a fun neon pink, but the odor ruins everything).
> This is slowly disappearing with age. It did totally disappear in an open
> glass in my fridge in about 2 weeks (don't remember duration for sure). It
> does take longer in the carboy, though.
> Happy holidays!


> Vince Galet

Odd I have made about 10 batches using 1116 and never once had either a
sulphury smell, or any off flavours. That includes the Prickly Pear Melomel.
I generally ferment my batches at 22C in the primary and 20C in the
secondary. I rack at 1.020 or in 10 days then at 1.000 and again at 0.995 at
which point I bulk age for 6 weeks or stablize and sweeten and bulk age for
4 weeks then filter and bottle.
Happy Holidays!


Subject: Books Again
From: "Dan McFeeley" <>
Date: Sun, 22 Dec 2002 23:29:03 -0600

I just took a look at and saw
that Vickie has a link to Amazon set up for
ordering _The Compleat Meadmaker_ when it
comes out in March. The full title is: The
Compleat Meadmaker: Home Production of
Honey Wine from Your First Batch to Award-
winning Fruit and Herb Variations.


Dan McFeeley

Subject: too sweet!
From: Charlie Moody <>
Date: Mon, 23 Dec 2002 08:55:15 -0500

On Saturday, December 21, 2002, at 01:28 PM, Patrick Devaney wrote:

> I made a 5 gallon batch: 15 lbs honey, 16lbs grape preserves. I wanted
> to see if the
> overload of sugars would produce an even stronger mead that was still
> very sweet. When it cleared, I racked it and although it tastes good
> and is very clear, it has the consistency of motor oil. Would simply
> adding water to dilute be the way to go, or should I also add fresh
> yeast and allow it to referment the obviously high level of sugars
> still present?

You didn't mention what yeast you used; I doubt seriously that more of
the same yeast would accomplish anything, as the same type of yeast
would (likely) have a very similar alcohol tolerance.

You might however, try re-pitching w/ a higher-tolerance yeast, like
Premier Cuvee, Water of Life, or a distiller's yeast. I'd recommend
making up a substantial starter (ie, a couple of packets, & let them
get roaring before pitching).

Subject: Grape/Honey Pairings
From: Intres Richard <>
Date: Mon, 23 Dec 2002 09:20:36 -0500

Alison asked about grape honey pairings…here's my two bits.
I use a catagorization of honeys thats a bit more cumbersome. I first think
of honey as being spring-summer-fall and then worry about flower types. Now
when it comes to wine, take a lesson from our sommelier friends who instruct
chosing wine/food pairs that are either complimentary or contrasting. By
analogy grapes are a fall crop so thay are complimented by fall honey. My
favorite is zinfandel/ fall wildflower(goldenrod+aster)honey. A more
contrasting pair may be chardonnay/spring(apple+pear+cherry) honey.

Rick, still in Western Mass.

End of Mead Lover's Digest #981