Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1019, 13 June 2003

Mead Lover's Digest #1019 Fri 13 June 2003


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



new book: The Compleat Meadmaker (Mead Lovers Digest)
Rose Petal Mead ("Steve C.")
Plum melomel recipes ("Howard & Patty Curran")
spruce mead ("Micah Millspaw")
RE: ginger mead / must method ("Vince Galet")
rhodomel question (Linda Short)
Mazer Cup Results ("Thad Starr")
Natural Orange or Blackberry Melomel ("Naturally High")
Spruce tip mead ("Spencer Graham")


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Subject: new book: The Compleat Meadmaker
From: (Mead Lovers Digest)
Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2003 20:25:13 -0600 (MDT)

This comes under the category of "yes, it's commercial, but it's also very
important to the mead community," so it gets one good announcement.

A lot of us have been waiting for this book for a long time now…a
comprehensive mead book with up-to-date techniques and information.

by Ken Schramm
Home production of honey wine from your first batch to award-winning fruit
and herb variations.
ISBN 0-937381-82-9


Cover notes from the book:

As one of the most ancient of human beverages, mead arose in part because it
was easy to make. Today's hobbyists rediscover the simplicity of making mead
while reveling in the range of flavors that can result. In The Compleat
Meadmaker, veteran beverage hobbyist Ken Schramm introduces the novice to
the wonders of mead. With easy-to-follow procedures and simple recipes, he
shows how you can quickly and painlessly make your own mead at home. In
later chapters he introduces flavorful variations on the basic them that
lead to meads flavored with spice, fruits, grapes and even malt.

"It goes by the name of `mead' or simply `honey wine.' Some call it
`ambrosia,' others nectar of the gods. By whatever name, no beverage
serves as the focus for more myth and folklore than this romantic and
resplendent elixir." – Ken Schramm in The Compleat Meadmaker


Ken Schramm has been making and studying mead since 1988. He has won
numerous awards at national and regional competitions and has twice been
given the honor of preparing the commemorative mead for the American
Homebrewers Association national conference. For more than 10 years Ken has
judged mead competitions and he is the founding Competition Director of the
oldest American mead competition, the Mazer Cup. He also cultivates more
than 100 varieties of fruit in his home orchard, searching endlessly for the
perfect ingredients for mead.


The book is published by Brewers Publications, which is part of the
Association of Brewers. They're offering a discounted price of $13.95 on
the book now through July 15th. (Nominal list is $19.95.) I have no idea
what that will mean for non-US orders!

thanks, Ken!

Mead-Lover's Digest
Dick Dunn, Digest Janitor Boulder County, Colorado USA

Subject: Rose Petal Mead
From: "Steve C." <>
Date: Mon, 9 Jun 2003 19:46:04 -0400

OK, so I have honey from my hive & rose petals from my rose bush. I've
tried to find a definitive rose petal mead reciepe to no avail. Does
anyone have one they could pass on with some detail?



Subject: Plum melomel recipes
From: "Howard & Patty Curran" <>
Date: Mon, 9 Jun 2003 20:07:12 -0400

Plums will be available at the end of this month, and I would like to
make a six gallon batch of semi-sweet plum melomel. Does anyone have a
good recipe they would like to share? Is there any significant
difference between the black and the red plums? I have a choice of
goldenrod honey (that smells wonderful) and citrus honey that is very
clear and has little aroma (it was a bad spring in the groves). The
citrus and orange blossom honeys have worked well for my tropical fruit
melomels, but I am leaning toward the goldenrod for the plum melomel.
Any comments?

Howard Curran
Makin' Mead in the Sunshine State

Subject: spruce mead
From: "Micah Millspaw" <>
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003 06:50:04 -0500

I have tasted a number of spruce beers and meads over the years.
Some not to bad, others, eh… well.
My advice is to make a small amount. Unless you are a big fan of
Pinesol, it will take a long time to get rid of the spruce mead.
It could end up one of those things where one bottle is very
Interesting, but you don't really want to have a 6 pack.

Micah Millspaw

>Subject: Spruce Mead
>Date: Thu, 05 Jun 2003 08:50:36 -0400

>Anybody have experience, recipes, warnings
>about making a spruce tip mead?
>nathan in madison, wi

Subject: RE: ginger mead / must method
From: "Vince Galet" <>
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003 08:37:34 -0400 (EDT)

Answer to Warren: What works best for me is to ferment the mead for a
month or 2 then to put it on fruits to make melomel without losing too
much of the flavor. I don't wait until it's clear because it will get
cloudy again with the fruits + I consider that the remaining yeast will go
after the fruit sugars and fight/overwhelm wild yeasts (my personal
theory. Therefore I don't sulfite my fruits, they get in the last leg of
fermentation). In your case I would do the same. If not the yeast (it's
dropped), at least the alcohol (hopefully there is enough) should prevent
contamination from ginger-bound bad guys (but you still MUST sanitize
everything as much as you can as alcohol is not bleach).

My must method: I use spring water (bottled) so I consider it's sanitary
enough and I don't boil it. Maybe it's overkill to use spring water but I
believe in intangibles making a difference.
I heat it until 180-190F and I drop my honey in the water. The temp drops
around 160F pretty much immediately. I keep at 160 for 20 minutes and I
either dump the must in cold water or chill.

Honey season is coming up. Get your gear ready…

Subject: rhodomel question
From: Linda Short <>
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003 22:14:26 -0700 (PDT)

Actually, I have two questions.

I have a one gallon rhodomel. It just cleared
today. By tomorrow, it'll probably be clear
enough to read a newspaper through.

I don't have enough money to buy bottles right
now. How long can I let it sit in the secondary
fermenter, or would it help to rack it into a
tertiary carboy? There's a layer of lees about a
half inch thick on the bottom. I checked it on
the 6th or 7th and it was at one bubble per 17

Second question has to do with a hydrometer.
I had a hydrometer, it worked just fine until I
stepped on the tube and popped it. The
thermometer looking thing is fine, just the tube
it came in was popped. I bought a new tube the
other day and used it. There was alcohol in the
rhodomel, I could taste/smell it. However, the
hydrometer said there wasn't any. Could the fact
that the new tube is wider than the old one was
be effecting it's efficiancy?


  • -Linda-


A kind word need not cost much,

The price of praise can be cheap:
With half a loaf and an empty cup

I found myself a friend.

  • -Havamal


Subject: Mazer Cup Results
From: "Thad Starr" <>
Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2003 22:43:11 -0700

Fellow Meaders,
I was hoping someone could help me interpret the results I got back from the
Mazer Cup.
I wasn't really expecting to win, but was hoping to get some feedback that
would help improve the quality of my meads. I guess I was expecting more
than I should have. The results told me the flaws, but not what could have
caused them or how to correct them. That's where I'm hoping the Meaders
here can help.
I submitted 2 meads, a show and a melomel. The Marion berry Melomel entrant
I was very proud of, and thought would do very well, scored poorly. I don't
question the tasters remarks, because they were very consistent, just what
caused the flavors they detected.
A little background; I grew the Marion berries in my backyard. They never
saw any pesticides, or anything for that matter, but frequent watering. I'm
a beekeeper, so my bees made the honey used. I used the best stuff they
made. I don't even boil the must or use sulfites, just let time do the work
for me.
Both tasters remarks said the mead's AROMA was "a bit of a sharp note
(sulfite?) maybe a little like insecticide?" and "earthy, and something
sulfur like?" And FLAVOR "Insecticide like note is a problem" and
"something chemically that isn't pleasant". Then DRINKABILITY "Very nice
except for off -note – perhaps a result of an additive?" and "I can't get
past the sulfur/chemically characteristics"
This confuses me. I didn't use additives or treat the berries with
pesticides, so the flavors came from somewhere else, but where?
Is it just using the Marion berry? do they throw off some weird flavors?
Again, I don't question the judges remarks. I would just like to know how
to correct the flaws.

Subject: Natural Orange or Blackberry Melomel
From: "Naturally High" <>
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 2003 15:23:43 +0100

I'm very new to brewing so please excuse any mistakes and I've been
warned about making mead without lots of practice, but I'm confident to
make mead anyway. I have quite a few questions so ignore me if you don't
have the time but any help is appreciated.

I wanted to make a batch to party on my birthday with on 25th July but I
realise now that only gives it time to ferment but I want true flavour
as well so maybe something for christmas. Will that be enough time?

I want to make an orange melomel but their is quite a range of recipes
available. I'm looking for something that will turn out slightly thick,
tangy and high alcohol content. I'd also like to make blackberry melomel
but I was told it makes an odd flavour, is this true? Is their a recipe
that suits either of these?

I think I want to use Flor Sherry yeast because it handles stronger
alcohol content and adds flavour. If I make orange melomel with fresh
fruit juice will I need to add yeast nutrient?

I've heard flavour is lost in a fast bubbling must so would it help if I
added the fruit juice in stages as it ferments or even while racking?

Do I need to sulphite or add campden tablets at all, the thought of
adding chemicals to something so pure sounds quite revolting and the FAQ
recommends just heating it in hot water for beginners but that doesn't
sound like it would sterilise it. When bottling I'd also want to stop
fermentation (after a while, I like the sound of sparkling mead) without
unnatural chemicals, to me this also sounds very impossible unless
anyone knows of anything.

Thanks and wassail!

Subject: Spruce tip mead
From: "Spencer Graham" <>
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 2003 13:22:17 -0400

I made a Honey Spruce Dark Beer last year. Close to a stout base. I used
spruce essence at about an ounce per 5 gallons. Wouldn't want any more
spruce flavor than that, though. Taste is not for everybody, but I like
it occasionally as a change of pace. Spruce is a unique flavor… some
would say an acquired taste. I add this to merely let you know that
spruce is nice… but a little goes a long way.


Spencer W. Graham, II MBA
Producer / Director
West Virginia University Extended Learning
One Waterfront Place
1st Floor
P.O. Box 6877
Morgantown, West Virginia 26506

(304) 293-1305 Extension 3#

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1019