Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1004, 29 March 2003

Mead Lover's Digest #1004 Sat 29 March 2003


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



RE: Breathing ("Kemp, Alson")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1001, 17 March 2003 (Charles Sifers)
Re: MLD #1003, 24/3/03 More Barstops; Non clearing Cyser; Breathing mea ("…)
Re: Cyser not Clearing ("Ken Taborek")
Plumeria Mead ?? (Mark Banschbach)
Re: port-like mead yeast (
Re:Closures – Barstop (Aaron Marshall)
5 Gal Pear Mead Recipe (Adam McPadden)
Spreading the word about mead Yahoo style. ("Matt Maples")
Re: port-like mead yeast??? ("Kevin Morgan")
Shipping, Port-type meads (Ken Schramm)
2nd Annual Dinner & Homemade Winetasting. (Greg Fischer)


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Subject: RE: Breathing
From: "Kemp, Alson" <>
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2003 16:16:41 -0800

Subject: Breathing mead

I started a 3 gallon batch of spiced cyser back
in January [snip]
… the thing that seems odd is the fact that it
seems to be breathing…my airlock is pushing air
out one day then sucking air in the next…is this

This would be normal if you did a 3G batch in a 5G carboy
(leaving 2G of headspace) and subjected the carboy to fluctuating
temperatures: warm -> headspace air expands and pushes bubble
out, cold -> headspace air contracts and pulls bubble in.

With a lot of headspace and/or a large temp swing, you
might actually see bubbles out and bubbles in. Not a good thing
since you're aerating the wine…


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1001, 17 March 2003
From: Charles Sifers <>
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2003 19:41:06 -0600

on 3/17/03 5:28 PM, at


> Subject: RE: dandelion mead
> From: "Houseman, David L" <>
> Date: Thu, 13 Mar 2003 11:28:45 -0500


> Micah responses:

>> Subject: 
>> From: "Aaron Ardle" <>
>> Date: Sat, 1 Mar 2003 20:31:27 -0500

>> also,
>> what would a dandelion mead be called?
>> aaron



> I would call it yummy. Or a metheglin. I would think that
> dandelions are a herb.

> >

> I don't know whether dandelion is in fact an herb but the point of having a
> dandelion mead classified as a metheglin would seem to be correct. I was
> recently asked about where to enter a rhodamel in competition. Same thing,
> as a metheglin, even if rose petals aren't technically an herb or spice. I
> think the differentiation is that when using herbs, spices and other plant
> material to flavor a mead and not provide fermentables, then the metheglin
> is the right category. Fruit when added not only provide flavoring but also
> fermentables and thus should be categorized separately.


> My question: were only the dandelion flower used? How many? Any
> particular process? Spring will bring many dandelions to my yard so perhaps
> I should do more than mow them down or try to kill them.


> Dave Houseman

> > ——————————

Dandelions are, indeed, an herb. Technically, any plant material that is
not a fruit or tuber is considered an "herb", this includes rose petals.

Traditionally, dandelion wine is made exclusively from the flowers of the
plant, and as much of the green "hull" is removed as possiblew to give the
best color and flavor. I have also made a medicinal meade from the root of
the dandelion, as well, but it is quite bitter. Although, it makes a great

Charles Sifers

Subject: Re: MLD #1003, 24/3/03 More Barstops; Non clearing Cyser; Breathing mea
From: "Arthur Torrey (no spam please!)" <>
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2003 22:34:26 -0500

On 2003.03.24 18:58 wrote:

> ——————————

> Subject: barstops
> From: "phil" <>
> Date: Thu, 20 Mar 2003 20:00:01 -0800


> Sounds like a great idea. Even if there is some difference between the
> diameters of the corks, it still may work well given the shrinkrap.
> Lots of low alcahol things like sherry and port are often corked the
> same way. If you try it, please let us know the result. If you don't,
> I will when I run out of regular corks.


> Phil W.

I have some more data that may be of interest. You may recall from my

previous post that I speculated on possible differences in bottle neck ID's
and Cork OD's as to how barstops might work, but that I hadn't actually done
any measuring.

I just dug out my digital caliper, and corrected that somewhat by measuring

all the bottles I have sitting in my waiting to be cleaned and delabeled
pile. I also measured a few corks, but don't consider those measurments as
good. All measurments that follow are in inches. I estimate that my margin
of error would be on the order of .005" maximum on the bottles, twice that on
the corks.


First the bottles – I had 3 Harvey's Bristol Cream (TM) bottles, 2 750ml,

and one 1000ml. These bottles are sold with 'barstop' style corks.


The 750's measured .778" and .742", the 1000 measured .768"


The wine bottles were as follows all are 750ml, and conventional necks (no



five assorted brands of German Reisling, which ranged from .725" to .733"
an Oregon Reisling .742
seven delabled bottles of unknown origin, .718" to .735"


All but two of the wine bottles were between .725" and .735", most were

between .727" and .732".


Thus I feel safe in saying that most wine bottles are about .730", with

fairly tight tolerances. The limited sample of barstop bottles showed they
were more variable, but larger, about .760" A .030" difference is definitely
significant in terms of sealing, and suggests that corking barstop bottles
with regular corks is a bit marginal.


I also measured a far smaller sample of corks, giving me more tentative



I had two USED barstop corks, one from the .778" bottle mentioned above

measured about .785" at its largest dimension. The other measured about .780"
on the part that wasn't in the bottle I use for cooking mead.


I also had a used plastic cork that measured about .784" on the part in the

bottle, and .817 on the part that wasn't.


A new, unused natural cork cork measured about .920"


A new, unused, 'Guardian Resin' cork (plastic) was a bit uneven, but ran

between about .812" and .820"


I'm not sure it's fair to compare new corks to used, but it looks like the

barstop corks might be a bit smaller.


This is something I've been wondering about for a while, thanks for giving

me the incentive to get up and actually do some checking… I actually have
a slightly different problem, namely that I store my bottled meads in a wine
rack, and I noticed that some of the last batch I did seemed to have a very
slow leakage problem (a few drops over several months) and / or a tendency to
push the corks out against the neck seals. This was a batch that I had done
experimenting with the 'Guardian Resin' plastic corks. MOST of the problem
bottles appear to be Harvey's Bristol Cream type, so it may be a case of the
larger neck not giving a tight enough fit…


Given the above information, I might try turning a go / no-go guage in the

lathe to check the bottles with.


Another thing I've been wondering about is my corker – I use an Italian

floor corker, which works nicely, but really squishes the corks alot. When
you pull the handle it has two overlapping v-blocks that mash the cork down to
an estimated 3/8" square shape, then drives it through the blocks and into the
bottle with a pushing rod. This doesn't seem to bother the natural corks at
all, but I was wondering if the resin corks might not recover as completely.


> ——————————

> Subject: Cyser not Clearing
> From: "Mark Higinbotham" <>
> Date: Sat, 22 Mar 2003 08:53:04 -0500


> This is my first ever popsting…great site…well done.


> I have a cyser that I made this past August (ingredient sources not really
> pertinent, but the apple cider was clear before I started). It got very
> strong and very clear in a short period of time, but after about 2 months in
> primary (3 gallons worth) I transferred to a secondary glass carboy and
> added 2 gallons of 'flash-pasteurized' fresh cider (cloudy) to bring total
> to 5 gallons. The brew produced bubbles like carbonation for about two
> weeks, then went still. I thought the cloudiness would settle out; but, now
> it has been sitting for several months in the secondary and is not showing
> any signs of clearing.


> This was a lesson learned to leave well enough alone, but I think we all
> make mistakes in our experiments and remember them. Any suggestions would be
> welcome…hopefully if one of you out there has had this problem. I don't
> want to guess what to do and possibly create more damage…refer to
> paragraph #1 to see where this experimentation got me.


> Thanks ahead of time.
> – -Shiggy
> Winchester, Virginia, USA (Self-proclaimed Apple Capital of the World)

I'm assuming from your comments that you didn't use any pectic enzyme. I

would certainly start working on your problem mead by adding some now, as it
sounds like you have a pectin problem. I don't know how effective it will be
since PE works better when the alchohol content is low, but it couldn't hurt.
After giving the PE a few weeks to work, I would try using a clarifying agent
of your choice. I've used both bentonite and Kielsol (on different batches)
with decent results. You may need to repeat this a few times.


If you can do so (getting a carboy into the fridge can be a bear) chilling

might also help make things settle.


Lastly, while it may be ugly, the haze is harmless – if it tastes good drink

it! (if the haze bothers you, serve it in colored glasses so it doesn't


> ——————————

> Subject: Breathing mead
> From:
> Date: Sat, 22 Mar 2003 16:26:58 EST


> I started a 3 gallon batch of spiced cyser back in January (3 gallons cider 1
> can each frozen orange juice and lemonade 9 lbs honey cinnimon allspice and
> clove) fermentation was great i siphoned it off the lees twice have about an
> inch of lees again and its still cloudy seems to very slowly be
> clearing…the thing that seems odd is the fact that it seems to be
> breathing…my airlock is pushing air out one day then sucking air in the
> next…is this normal? I've never seen anyone mention this before and seeing
> as how this is my first mead i'm not sure if its norm it tastes excellent i'm

Maybe you can teach it to make obscene phone calls and save you the

trouble… ;-}
(couldn't resist)


Seriously though, I haven't observed this myself, and am speculating a bit,

but I would guess that you might have a fairly large headspace in your
fermenter? (Which isn't good, but that is a different subject) I would not be
surprised if what you have done is created a sort of crude barometer – as the
outside air pressure changes (which it tends to do alot in the spring) the
difference between that and the pressure of the gas in the closed carboy would
tend to push the water in the lock back and forth. If the headspace is small,
you don't have enough volume to be changing so you won't notice the water
movement. If you have a large headspace, then the volume change would be
significant enough to give you lots of water movement.


Another thing, definitely NOT good, which could be causing what you

describe, is if you have significant temperature swings in the space where the
fermenter is at (and note if you have it in a sunny window, solar power would
do this) then the expansion and contraction of the headspace gas could also
give you movement. Temperature changes are also not good for the mead
quality. Any changes should be small and gradual to avoid negative impacts.


In either of the above cases, if there was active fermentation, the gas from

that would completely mask it. However it sounds like your brew has reached
the point where fermentation is either stopped or very slow, so the other
effects become more of an issue.


Are you actually pulling bubbles through the lock? Or are you just pushing

the water back and forth? Either way, I would look at trying to reduce the
headspace, and stabilize the environment on general principles. However if
you are just moving the water level I wouldn't panic about it that much.
OTOH, if you're pulling bubbles through the lock, you are facing a much bigger
problem. Each time you pull bubbles into the fermenter, you are introducing
oxygen, which will damage the mead, so you should take steps to prevent this.


I would reduce headspace by either racking to a smaller carboy, or by adding

an inert filler to the bottle (Lots of folks use glass marbles for this)


Temperature swings I can't suggest to much about, beyond commenting that it

is best to keep fermenters and such out of the sun, both because of
temperature concerns and because light damages the mead (which is why most
wine etc. comes in colored glass bottles) I would also note that small
batches are much more subject to temperature swings – a 5 gallon batch has
much more thermal inertia (so to speak) so it will maintain a far more stable
temperature than a small batch.


Another thing one can do is change the fermentation lock. Replace the

standard lock on top of the cork with a peice of tubing running down into a
bottle of water on the floor. This doesn't change the way things work, but it
does mean the pressure change has to be a lot greater before it will be able
to suck any bubbles into the fermenter.


Subject: Re: Cyser not Clearing
From: "Ken Taborek" <>
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2003 22:58:59 -0500

> From: "Mark Higinbotham" <>
> Date: Sat, 22 Mar 2003 08:53:04 -0500


> This is my first ever popsting…great site…well done.


> I have a cyser that I made this past August […]

> now
> it has been sitting for several months in the secondary and is
> not showing
> any signs of clearing.

> Thanks ahead of time.
> – -Shiggy
> Winchester, Virginia, USA (Self-proclaimed Apple Capital of the World)


A little pectic enzyme will go a long way towards clearing your mead. Add
10 drops or so of liquid enzyme, wait a week, and your mead should show
signs of clearing.



Not too far from Winchester, in South Riding, VA

Subject: Plumeria Mead ??
From: Mark Banschbach <>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 04:28:14 -0800 (PST)

Greetings again fellow meaders..

I was curious if anyone on the list has attempted to

make a mead or wine for that matter out of Plumeria
blossoms ? Plumeria is my favorite flower.. and tends
only to grow in warmer climates.. It is one of the
flowers that Lei's are made of..


These flowers are fragrant but I wondered how well

that would translate in a mead..


Thanks for the input..


Subject: Re: port-like mead yeast
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 08:24:27 -0800

I'm not certain about the characteristics your looking for, but I know of two
high alcohol tolerance yeasts out there that may be suitable. The first is
made by Wyeast and its called 'Eau de Vie' from what I've read it ferments to a
very clean dry profile. Doing a search on google I found multiple brew shops
online that offer it. The second is made by white labs and is called 'High
Gravity Ale yeast. Its one of their 'seasonal' varieties and may be hard to
find. From what I've ready, the higher the alcohol level as you ferment, the
more the wine character it seems to give you. Hope this helps.

Josh Stender


> Howdy all,


> I'm always looking for the right yeast for my mead. I
> really haven't landed on a favorite yet. I've tried
> several champagne yeasts and I haven't liked the
> results. I want to make a mead with port-like
> qualities. Thick, rich, strong. Something you don't
> drink by the pint. Does anybody know of a good yeast
> that doesn't have the strong flavors that I got from
> my champagne experiments? I'd like a tough little
> yeast that will produce good alcohol level without
> much extra flavor. ???


> Thanks much,
> E Rorem


Subject: Re:Closures - Barstop
From: Aaron Marshall <>
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2003 09:16:09 +1200

Mark asked about barstop corks for closures. here is my experience with them.

I have used the bar stop corks that you describe in my Maple Mead and have
had a couple of problems with them. I have had a couple of bottles re-start
fermentation and blow the corks out (only two bottles out of nine???), but
as they pop out easier, they are a bit more inclined to blow. My maple mead
has Port characters to it, so a little bit of oxidation to it isn't all bad.
I would also watch storage temperature. I had some bottles leak, after I
bottled, I procrastinated and it was a couple of days until I got around to
putting them away. Anyway, in this time we had a really hot day, and with
liquid expansion and all that, I lost a bit of mead through leakage ( I had
the bottles laying down to keep the corks wet).
I'm at the point now that I probably wont use them again, but I'll use what
I have just to get rid of them.


Subject: 5 Gal Pear Mead Recipe
From: Adam McPadden <>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 18:16:55 -0500

I'm looking for a good 5Gal pear mead recipe. Uncarbonated, strong ABV
and fairly sweet with strong pear smell/flavor. Either reply in MLD or
send recipes directly to

The last Cyser I made was excellent, but a bit sweet (17lbs
Strong though….:)


Subject: Spreading the word about mead Yahoo style.
From: "Matt Maples" <>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 17:02:07 -0800

Being the mead freak that I am both in my professional and personal
life, it warms my heart to see mead getting the spotlight now and again.

Vicky Rowe runs the website and her site was picked by Yahoo
as their pick of the day ( ) for March
23rd. Kudos out to Vicky and if you have not seen her site please check
it out as there is a lot of good info to be had.

Matt Maples

Liquid Solutions
12162 SW Scholls Ferry Rd
Tigard, OR 97223
503-579-6493 (fax)

Over 450 beers and 25 meads online, shipping available.
May mead regain its place as the beverage of gods and kings.

Subject: Re: port-like mead yeast???
From: "Kevin Morgan" <>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 20:57:24 -0500

Eric Rorem said

>>I want to make a mead with port-like
>>qualities. Thick, rich, strong. Something you don't
>>drink by the pint. Does anybody know of a good yeast
>>that doesn't have the strong flavors that I got from
>>my champagne experiments? I'd like a tough little
>>yeast that will produce good alcohol level without
>>much extra flavor. ???

I don't know what you mean by "good alcohol level" but,
I've had good luck with several different Ale Yeasts,
including Muntons Gold and Danstar Nottingham dry yeasts.
Both of these should be good to about 14% or so. I've also
tryed Redstar Rapidrise bread yeast with good results, altho
I have no idea what the alcohol tolerance is for this yeast.

brewing and meading in south Jersey

Subject: Shipping, Port-type meads 
From: Ken Schramm <>
Date: Fri, 28 Mar 2003 20:08:59 -0500

I am suspecting that folks shipping anything are getting much more
scrutiny at the Post Office, UPS and FedEX as a result of world affairs.
I have also been made aware that UPS has an agreement with the Michigan
LCBO to not ship alcohol into Michigan due to tax concerns. The most
unfortunate part of this is that a few years back State Senator Chris
Dingell passed legislation (House Bill 4850/Senate Bill 505, signed into
law by then Governor John Engler on December 2, 1997) making it
expressly legal to transport homebrew in Michigan, with competitions and
entrants being among the potential beneficiaries. There is little or no
chance that anyone from UPS or the Post Office who is not an amateur
home beverage enthusiast will have any knowledge of this law, which
makes it functionally just a bunch of words. Darn shame, that.

I will make an effort to make both UPS and the counsel for the Michigan
LCBO aware of this legislation, and also aware of the fact that shipping
beverages for the purpose of amateur competition does not have any
adverse affect on tax revenue collection. That will be of small
consolation to anyone who had difficulty shipping to the Mazer Cup. Be
aware that you are not breaking any tax laws, and that if you do get a
chance to ship your homemade fruit juices for analysis and evaluation
only to the MCMC, you will have a grace period extending right up to the
judging on April 12. Even fruit juices or preserves shipped early this
week will have a decent rest period before the judging. In light of
global events, there will be no deadline DQ's. Forms from me via Email
or at:

Thanks for your support.

Eric Rorem, try Flor Sherry yeast or Lalvin 71B and about 18 lbs of
honey for 5 gallons.

Ken Schramm
Competition Director
Mazer Cup Mead Competition

Subject: 2nd Annual Dinner & Homemade Winetasting.
From: Greg Fischer <>
Date: Sat, 29 Mar 2003 00:15:52 -0600

2nd Annual BEV-ART

Amateur Winemaker's classic

Sun. April 27, 2003 6-10 PM
Palermo's Restaurant
4849 W. 95th St. Oak Lawn, IL


wines will be sampled & judged by everyone present with awards given
for Best Red, Best White, Best red blends, Best white Blends, Best
Fruit, Best Dessert, Best Mead, Best specialty and Best Sparkling
wines. As usual, Palermo's will provide excellent full course Italian
feast.(included in ticket price)

Admission is $ 30.00 per person if you bring wine(we suggest 3 bottles),
$ 40.00 if you don't bring wine or don't have a contributing Homewinemaker

of tickets will be available at the door. Wines might be accepted at


Wine Categories

Red Varietals: Any wine made from at least 72% of a single
Red grape variety e.g. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Zinfandel


Red Blend: any wine made from two or more red varietals.

White Varietals: Any wine made from at least 72% of a single white
grape varietal e.g. Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc

White Blend: Any wine made from two or more white varietals.

Fruit wine: Any wine made from fruit other than grapes.

Dessert wine: Any sweet wine suitable for the end of the meal. May be
fortified e.g. Sherry, Port, Marsala

Sparkling wine: Any wine that is carbonated.

Mead: Any wine made from honey.

Specialty wine: Any wine made from vegetables, spices, herbs or flowers.

Best wine Label: The most original and creative wine label.

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1004

Vicky Rowe
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