Mead Lover's Digest #984 Tue 7 January 2003


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



Re: Mead Lover's Digest #983, 4 January 2003 (Aodhan O'Dunlaigh)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #983, 4 January 2003 (John Dowling)
Re: Would it still be good? ("Asher Reed")
beginner needs yeast advice ("The McMillans")
RE: Mead Lover's Digest #983, 4 January 2003 (Gary Zimmerman)
1976 mead ("BAILEY.O")
Fwd: Honey source (Bill Taylor)
What is this yeast ? (Thad Starr)
montrachet ("Micah Millspaw")
Montrachet/real champagne ()
Sulfites question ("Munro, Tina HI0")
Re: Would it still be good? (Jane Beckman)
Am I Stuck? ("Steven M. Parrish")
Oxiclean as a sanitizer? ()
Fall Spice Mead ("Randy Goldberg MD")
Lemon-Ginger Mead ("Randy Goldberg MD")
Mint Metheglin ("Randy Goldberg MD")
Re: MY MEAD SHIMMERS ("Randy Goldberg MD")


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Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #983, 4 January 2003
From: Aodhan O'Dunlaigh <>
Date: Sat, 04 Jan 2003 13:31:10 -0500

One way to find out! 😉 Just have a fresh backup, in case.

>Subject: Would it still be good?
>From: "Craig Lee" <>
>Date: Wed, 1 Jan 2003 08:52:50 -0500


>hope your the right place to ask?


>i still have an unopened half liter bottle of mead i purchased from Lorna
>doone farm in 1976. the label says it was prepared from grape & apple juice
>fermented with honey, not less than 22% proof.


>since i have moved many times since i bought it – i has gone through a
>variety of environments and tempature changes.


>question then: if opened today – would it still be good?


>thank you for any assistance
>craig lee
>alexandria, va

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #983, 4 January 2003
From: John Dowling <>
Date: Sat, 04 Jan 2003 13:40:03 -0500

I just serve it out before (or after) a meal. "Would you like a drink? I
have something special." Or, if they know I brew and are suspicious, "I'm
pouring a nice honey/ fruit/light/semi-dry (whichever works for the people)
wine, would you like some?" THEN, after they drink it, "Oh, this is
nice. What is it?" IN for the kill. It's usually the EZ cappers or the
home bottles that put them off…in a wine glass, a mead glows like any
other wine. The next time they come I've served it out in wooden
goblets. 😉

>1 – how do you convince swill-sucking-siblings that
>homebrew will not kill them and that they should see
>the light? Other people must have had this problem.

Subject: Re: Would it still be good?
From: "Asher Reed" <>
Date: Sat, 04 Jan 2003 19:42:14 +0000

When you say "not less than 22% proof", do you mean that it is 11% alcohol
or 22% alcohol — If it has never been opened I would say crack it open and
drink it, it should be good — assuming that it was good 26 years ago… but
if it is not good, it won't kill you.

>>Subject: Would it still be good?
>>From: "Craig Lee" <>
>>Date: Wed, 1 Jan 2003 08:52:50 -0500

>>hope your the right place to ask?

>>i still have an unopened half liter bottle of mead i purchased from
>> >>Lorna
>>doone farm in 1976. the label says it was prepared from grape & apple
>> >>juice
>>fermented with honey, not less than 22% proof.

>>since i have moved many times since i bought it – i has gone through a
>>variety of environments and tempature changes.

>>question then: if opened today – would it still be good?

>>thank you for any assistance
>>craig lee
>>alexandria, va

Subject: beginner needs yeast advice
From: "The McMillans" <>
Date: Sat, 4 Jan 2003 11:46:36 -0800

Okay i am new to all of this and I am very glad I found you guys. My dad
has alot of goodies from making beer and says I can use them for mead. My
main concern is the yeast. Where do I get it. I have recipes that say you
need a sparkling wine yeast or champangne yeast. So I was wondering if
someone could steer me to a good online store to get tehm from becuase there
is no place locally I can. I can of course get regular bread making yeast
at teh grocery store but there is no home brewing places for anything here.
Dad got his stuff in the last place we lived. Or if anyone has an online
source for mead kits I would be very much appreciative. Thanks in advance.
Love and laughter

Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #983, 4 January 2003
From: Gary Zimmerman <>
Date: Sat, 04 Jan 2003 16:07:49 -0500

Date: Wed, 01 Jan 2003 21:58:37 -0500

Hi all
Got into brewing 2 years ago (beer and mead). My dad
and I liked the beer – but noone else in the family
would even open a bottle (I visit the bottles in my
brothers fridges when i go over). Frustrated I gave up
brewing but not before I had made a batch of mead….
Two years later I am cleaning out the basement and
decide to try the mead before I throw it out (basic
papazian – honey water yeast and irish moss – on the
lees the whole 2 years).

WOW! IT SHIMMERS! And the taste was

awesome! Needless to say I am back to brewing 🙂


Now for my questions:
1 – how do you convince swill-sucking-siblings that
homebrew will not kill them and that they should see
the light? Other people must have had this problem.

2 – has anyone attempted a mead cognac? I am VERY
partial to cognacs and would love to make a mead that
tastes like DELAMAIN. Any suggestions/ recipes?

3 – I also make liquers and would like to make a mead-
liquer. Any recipes would be welcome!

4 – Are there any people on Long Island who make mead?
The local brew club only had one person in it who did.

5 – What is the latest on the meadery that was
supposed to open here on Long Island? Anybody know?

Sorry for the long post but I am making up for lost
time. 🙂


"not all who wander are lost" – tolkein



I know of quite a few mead brewers on Long Island, myself being one of them.
Me and 5 or 6 of my friends are all avid brewers, pumping out about a
hundred gallons of mead a year between us. We are all members of a Celtic
Reenactment group based in Mid-Suffolk County called Tuatha de Bhriain.
( The brewing of mead and beer is a large part
of what our group is into. Feel free to email me with any questions at or

Where are you from on the Island? I am currentlt living in Oakdale, while my
brewing buddies range from Farmingdale to Patchogue.

As for your swill-sucking-siblings, if they dont want to enjoy your
homebrews, that just means that there is more for you 🙂

Gary Zimmerman
aka Faellon of Tuatha de Bhriain

Subject: 1976 mead
From: "BAILEY.O" <>
Date: Sun, 5 Jan 2003 11:59:24 +1300

Hi Craig

No, DO NOT open the 1976 Mead you have. It would be TERRIBLE! Utterly,
utterly horrible.

In fact, being the nice guy I am, I will do you a favour…

Contact me personally and I'll give you an address to send it to me so
that I can dispose of it in a safe and (relatively) unmessy way. If
any of the other digest respondants try to talk you out of this most
reasonable course of action, don't listen to them – they're all

Mmmmmmm, 1976 mead!!!!



Doug Bailey
348 Heretaunga Street West,
Hastings, New Zealand

Subject: Fwd: Honey source
From: Bill Taylor <jazz@QNET.COM>
Date: Sat, 04 Jan 2003 22:15:05 -0800

In addition to and, I've been told
about by Rick Intres. He says this site is
particularly good for small producers.


Subject: What is this yeast ?
From: Thad Starr <>
Date: Sat, 04 Jan 2003 23:24:52 -0800

Hi Meaders. A question for the group. I placed an order a while back
for yeast from an online source. Among other types, I ordered a few
(12! making mead is fun!) Edme Ale. When the order arrived, there was
a note that explained that Edme won't be available until next spring.
They had substituted "Muntons Active Brewing Yeast" instead. My
question, what is it? I'm assuming an Ale yeast, since it seams a
logical substitution. Has anyone tried it? Any clues on attenuation,
potential achieved alcohol, etc.? I did my own experiment with it
today, splitting a 5 gal batch into 5 1 gallon carboys, and pitching 4
different yeast's, 2 of which was the "Muntons". I will say that I'm
impressed with it so far. One of the carboys received the "Muntons" in
a starter that I prepared last night The other "Muntons" was pitched
into the prepared must right out of the foil pack. Both took off like a
rocket, way faster than the other yeast's. Even the unprepared, pitch
it dry, "muntons" took off faster than the other pre prepared starters.
We'll see how it finishes…
Any other Meaders in the greater Eugene Or. area out there? This town
is an oddity, almost every other person I talk to is a beekeeper, or
knows one, but I haven't been able to find anyone that makes mead. I
guess the beekeepers here aren't fully aware of the (alcohol) potential
of the honey they make. Believe me, I talk to a bunch of people that
know beekeepers, I am one, so I notice it. I guess it's that
competitive thing :-).
Thanks for any help

Subject: montrachet
From: "Micah Millspaw" <>
Date: Mon, 06 Jan 2003 07:37:22 -0600

Sorry I am late getting my data in for this tread.
I had to dig way back in the notebooks. It seems
that in December of '89 I did some experimentation
with yeast and mead, just for flavour and finish.
The fermentation was done at outside ambient temps
in Northern CA. All of the yeast was Red Star – dry.
Diffco – nitrogen Bacto was the yeast nutrient. All of
the yeasts were rehydrated @103 F , 15 minutes
before pitching.
I made a must of 12P from sage honey (sage is very
delicate, no real flavour of its own) and split the must
into 3 gallon jugs
I pitched; Epernay, Montrachet and Pastuer. They
fermented 20 days at temps in the 50-60F range.
Then racked to secondaries for 2 weeks. There was
a warm spell ( into the 70's) during this time.
Racked into bottles – still. Sampled at 1 month.

Epernay was fruity but clean FG 1.2P
Montrachet was dry and very sulfury w/after taste
FG 0.8P
Pastuer was dry and clean/ neutral taste FG 0.8P

Hope this helps in the search for the truth about

Micah Millspaw


Subject: Montrachet/real champagne
From: <>
Date: Mon, 6 Jan 2003 10:58:24 -0500 (EST)

Hi all

Last piece of my previous messges on Montrachet: I replied so fast I forgot
to mention it was Red Star brand. Update on my braggot: a little sweet,
still tasting awesome. I just bottled it with some corn sugar (despite a
gravity lingering around 1.02), hoping to get enough bubbles eventually.

I just visited some champagne wineries and I learned a couple of
interesting facts:
1) the fermentation is done in bottles for about 3 years, with good old
crown caps (for all qualiries, even the best). So the crown caps seem to be
kind of multipurpose.
2) some of the best champagne called "blanc de blancs" is made with 100%
Chardonnay (instead of a blend of 3 grapes). This made me think about
pitching champagne yeast in a batch of chardonnay juice and make champagne.
Did anyone ever try this? Tempting, isn't it?
3) addl. details for those who may want to try include that some champagnes
have a secondary malolactic fermentation and at the end of the
fermentation, and they add some "liquor" that seems to be a solution of
corn sugar (or close to it at least) just before putting the final cork.
I think I'll give it a try (but if I respect usual fermentation time, I may
not report the results until 2 or 3 years from now…)

Happy new year
Vince Galet

Subject: Sulfites question
From: "Munro, Tina HI0" <>
Date: Mon, 6 Jan 2003 10:54:40 -0600

I've brewed mead on an irregular basis for over 12 years and have recently
been interested in improving my brewing skills. I've been reading a lot
people talk about sulfites.

However, more than one member of my family is highly allergic to sulfer and
related products which is why I've never used sulfites (assuming sulfites
are sulfer related).

What are my alternatives to using sulfites? I've always tried to maintain
high cleanliness and sterilization proceedures, but am interested in
anti-oxidation and prolonging the life of my mead.
Any suggestions?

Tina Munro

Subject: Re: Would it still be good?
From: Jane Beckman <>
Date: Mon, 6 Jan 2003 12:28:05 -0800 (PST)

1976 cyser-mead… wow, that's scary…

I think the answer is
1.) how high is the sugar content?
2.) what do you consider drinkable?

I had a 15-year-old bottle of Chaucer's mead that I
opened and consumed. Chaucer's has a high sugar
content, so it keeps better than drier meads. It
was…interesting. Kind of reminiscent of sherry, not
like mead at all. A few weird side flavors, but not

But I don't know about 25-year-old brew with unknown
sugar content. If the sugar is too low, it might be
just vile. But who knows? If you have the nerve, you
can check. I just wouldn't expect too much.


Subject: Am I Stuck?
From: "Steven M. Parrish" <>
Date: Tue, 07 Jan 2003 15:19:23 -0500

Hello all,

Started my 1st batch of mead on 12/27. This is just a traditional mead.

12lb clover honey
5tsp yeast nutrient
wyeast #3184 for sweet mead
water to make 5 gallons.

Started with an IG of 1.092
After 11 days SG is down to 1.070.

Fermentation never really went crazy like I've heard described. Just been
pretty slow and steady at 1 to 2 burps per minute in the airlock. Am I
being paranoid and just need to give it time or what. The must smells
heavenly btw.



Never be afraid to try something new.
Remember one amateur built the ark,
and a group of professionals built the Titanic.

Subject: Oxiclean as a sanitizer?
From: <>
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2003 15:29:03 -0500 (EST)

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: Because of legal liability I cannot recommend to
anyone the use of any product. The information below should not be used for
decision making. Please read MSDS and other literature, and decide for
yourself based on the facts described in the official materials available
to the public.

Here is what I found:
The main ingredient of both Oxyclean (OC) and One Step (OS) is sodium
percarbonate, which is also called sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate. This
product decomposes with water into (transiently hydrogen peroxide), water,
oxygen (bleaching agent) and sodium carbonate, thus the decomposition
products are pretty safe. It is used in laundry products and (according to
solvay interox) "in some personal care formulations, denture cleaners and
certain food bleaching applications". The difference between OC and OS is
that the percarbonate is diluted with sodium carbonate instead of sodium
One point to notice is that the solution is quite alkaline (in both cases).
One Step is given for pH 10.5 at 1%, Oxiclean's MSDS says pH~11 (no
concentration specified). The small difference could be because the added
carbonate is more alkaline than the sulfate, yet the percarbonate releases
sodium carbonate upon decomposition so there is some in the solution
I would recommend to drain and drip carboys (and other tools) well to avoid
introduction of too much alkalinity in the batch when using this type of
product (but that goes without saying that you don't leave the sanitizer in
your precious brew). Also, keep in mind that this type of product is
moisture sensitive (will decompose), so I wouldn't buy 10lb at a time if
it's to use 3tbs once in a while.
For those interested, you may find a MSDS and technical data sheet on, one of the big manufacturers of percarbonate. Other web
sites have different MSDS for the same product (depending on manufacturer,
but more or less with the same information), and I obtained more MSDS's
courtesy of Robert Goulding (thanks Robert for starting this).
Well, the products are similar enough for me to try Oxiclean.
Note on the dose: assuming the MSDS are mentioning % by weight (not by
volume), and assuming that OS contain 50% percarbonate and OC 60% (MSDS's
don't give a precise %, they give 40-60% for OS and 50-70% for OC), the
concentration in percarbonate is roughly the same (0.25-0.3% by weight when
1 tbsp is diluted in 1 gallon). This will vary with the actual
concentration of each product (20% variability per manufacturer) and the
size of the tablespoons (should be a standard 15 mL but you know…).
There is no need for an equivalency table.
Last but not least, Robert pointed out that there is "Oxiclean"
and "Oxyclean", containing different ingredients. There is also a whole
bunch of products derived from the original thing. The one we are talking
about is the one containing percarbonate only, not chlorine or other
bleaches and it should spell "oxiclean multipurpose", in tubs, manufactured
by Orangeglo intl.

Happy sanitation
Vince Galet

Subject: Fall Spice Mead
From: "Randy Goldberg MD" <>
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2003 17:56:52 -0500

Fall Spice Mead
Based on a recipe for a "Fall Spice Cordial" in one of my modern cordial
making books.

5 pounds honey — about 7 cups
1/3 cup tea leaves — Celestial Seasonings Nutcracker Sweet
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
5 twists fresh ground black pepper
5 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried orange peel
1 lemon — zested and juiced
2 tablets yeast nutrient — crushed
2 gallons spring water

Add spices to 4 cups of spring water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a
simmer for 30 minutes. Strain off solids.
Heat honey and 1 gallon spring water to 160F for 30 minutes. Skim off scum.
Add spice tea. Cool to 80F with ice and water. Total volume should be about
3 gallons. When cool, pitch yeast.

Started 11/29/02. White Labs Sweet Mead Yeast. OG about 1.066. Sweet, spice
notes subtle but tasty.
12/1/02 Day 2 no noticeable fermentation. Pitched Red Star Cotes des Blanc.
12/4/02 Day 5 SG 1.030 (ABV 4.7%) Pleasant, tastes like a mulled beverage
ought to.
12/10/02 Day 12 SG 0.999 (ABV 8.8%) Cinnamon predominates. Should I add more
honey? Wait and see. Fermentation still active.
12/16/02 Day 18 SG 0.992 (ABV 9.7%) No bubbles. Racked to secondary.
12/18/02 Day 20 FG 0.992 (ABV 9.7%) Tastes good. Cinnamon predominates, but
other spices noticeable. Would like it sweeter. Suspect it will start
fermenting again if I add honey without stabilizing.
12/27/02 Day 29 FG <0.990 (ABV est 11%). Bottled 4L, added 2 cups honey and
1tsp KSorb dissolved in 2 cups hot water. FG now 1.016. YUMMY!
1/7/03 Day 40 FG 1.014 (est 11.5%) Very nice. Spice notes are subtle.
Bottled the rest.

Subject: Lemon-Ginger Mead
From: "Randy Goldberg MD" <>
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2003 17:58:50 -0500

Lemon Ginger Mead

>From a recipe by the Brewers of the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands

7 cups honey
3 lemon — zested and juiced
6 ounces ginger root — grated (I got lazy and tossed the whole thing, peel
and all, into my food processor)
1 package yeast
2 gallons water
2 tablets yeast nutrient — crushed
1/2 teaspoon acid blend

Start the yeast as directed. Zest, then juice the lemons. Put the ginger and
lemon zest into 1/2 gallon of water and simmer. Add the honey to the rest of
the water in another pot and simmer at 190F for 15-30 minutes. Add the lemon
juice for the last 5-10 minutes. Combine the two pots and put into your
fermenter. Add the yeast nutrient and acid blend. Bring volume up to 3
gallons. Cool to 80F and pitch the yeast. Rack in about a week, when
fermentation has subsided.

11/26/02 Red Star Montrachet Yeast OG 1.084 – lemon and ginger notes very
12/4/02 SG 1.012 (ABV 9.4%) Harsh, a little bitter
12/10/02 Day 15 SG 1.000 (ABV 11%) Very lemony, not sweet. Fermentation
still fairly active.
12/16/02 Day 21 No bubbles. Racked to secondary.
12/18/02 Day 23 FG 1.000 (ABV 11%) Deliciously tart, not too bitter. Ginger
is mild/pleasant. I'd like it a bit sweeter, but others may like it as is.
12/27/02 Day 32 FG 0.995 (ABV 11.6%) Bottled 4L, added 1 cup honey and 1 tsp
KSorb dissolved in 3 cups hot water. FG 1.014
1/7/03 Day 43 FG 1.012 (11.9%) Very nice, should be fined, but I'll call it
"period" and skip it. Finished bottling.

Subject: Mint Metheglin
From: "Randy Goldberg MD" <>
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2003 18:01:48 -0500

Mint Metheglin

3 bunches fresh mint — torn roughly
8 mint herbal tea bags (I used Bigelow Mint Medley, which is a blend of
peppermint and spearmint)
2 tablets yeast nutrient — crushed
3/4 teaspoon acid blend
7 pints honey — 9.75 lb
water — to 3 gallons

Steep 8 tea bags and 3 large bunches of mint in 1 gallon of water. Add honey
and pasteruize at 160F for 15 minutes. Add 2 tbsp sugar, 1/4 tsp acid blend
and a pinch of yeast nutrient to 2 cups warm water (105F). Add yeast and let
stand 15 minutes. Transfer pasteurized must to primary fermenter and add 1
gallon cold water. Cool to 80F. (I used a couple of pounds of store-bought
ice.) Add another 1/2 tsp of acid blend and 2 yeast nutrient tablets,
crushed, along with the yeast.

Started 11/23/02 Lalvin K1-V1116 yeast. OG 1.104
11/25/02 Day 2 SG 1.082 (ABV 2.9%) Very sweet, mint more noticeable, lightly
alcoholic – yummy!
11/29/02 Day 7 SG 1.062 (ABV 5.5%) Less sweet, more tart, mint still very
subtle, more alcoholic in taste, but yummy good.
12/4/02 Day 11 SG 1.040 (ABV 8.4%) Pleasant, mint still too subtle – will
defintely add mint tea when racking to secondary.
12/10/02 Day 16 SG 1.020 (ABV 11%) Mint still barely noticeable. Fermenation
very slowed. Not too sweet.
12/16/02 Day 22 SG 1.006 (12.8%) No bubbles. Racked to seconday. Another 8
mint teabags, steeped in 1 qt water, added.
12/18 Day 24 FG 1.006 (12.8%) Still not terribly minty, even with the
addition. Somewhat tart. Definitely needs more sweetener for my taste.
12/27 Day 33 FG 1.006 (12.8%) Bottled 4L, added 1 cup honey and 1 tsp KSorb
dissolved in 3 cups water. FG 1.025 – too sweet.
1/7 Day 44 FG 1.014 (14.2%) Delicious. Bottled the rest.

From: "Randy Goldberg MD" <>
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2003 21:52:59 -0500

> 2 – has anyone attempted a mead cognac? I am VERY
> partial to cognacs and would love to make a mead that
> tastes like DELAMAIN. Any suggestions/ recipes?

Cognac is a type of brandy, is therefore, by definition, distilled.
Distillation is illegal in the United States without special licenses from
ATF (now part of Homeland Security).

> 4 – Are there any people on Long Island who make mead?
> The local brew club only had one person in it who did.

Lots, mostly involved with the local chapter of the SCA (Society for
Creative Anachronism). I can think of four SCA mead-makers on Long Island
right off, one of whom is the current Queen of the East Kingdom.

> 5 – What is the latest on the meadery that was
> supposed to open here on Long Island? Anybody know?

Mired in paperwork, and all but abandoned.



RandomTag: Note taped to condom machine: "This gum tastes funny."

End of Mead Lover's Digest #984