Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1021, 18 June 2003

Mead Lover's Digest #1021 Wed 18 June 2003


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



Subject: re: Plum Melomel (Gary Zimmerman)
spruce ("Spencer W. Thomas")
Re: J & C Cameron ("Lane Gray, Czar Castic")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1020, 15 June 2003 ("Lane Gray, Czar Castic")
Re: MLD #1020, 15/6/03 Bottles, Honey amounts, hydrometer ("Arthur Torrey …)
mead at risk? ("phil")
Experimental Batch ("Naturally High (Rory J.)")
Mazer Cup Comments (Ken Schramm)
Cherry mead recipes (Grant Mullins)
Looking for a specific yeast… (Mark A Salowitz)


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Subject: Subject: re: Plum Melomel
From: Gary Zimmerman <>
Date: Sun, 15 Jun 2003 13:53:36 -0400

Never made a straight Plum Melomel, but I did make a pretty good Plum Cyser
a few years back. Here is a recipie for a 5 gallon batch. It was a bit
dry, so you may want to adjust the honey quantity if you want a sweeter one.

17 lbs Clover Honey
1-gallon apple cider
3 cans apple juice concentrate
8 lbs fresh plums
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
5 teaspoons of yeast nutrient
2 teaspoons of Gypsum
2 teaspoons pecitc enzyme powder
2 1/2 teaspoons acid blend
1/2 teaspoon Irish moss
1 package Lavlin 71B-1122 wine yeast

Bring enough water to boil to emulsify honey (about 2 gallons). Boil honey
for approximately 15 mins, skimming foam off surface as it rises. Add
cinnamon, yeast nutrient, gypsum, pectic enzyme, acid blend and Irish moss
to last few minutes of boil.

Add apple juice concentrate and bring back to boil. Remove from heat and add
chopped plums. Let steep for approximately 1/2 hour. Add hot wort to primary
fermentor and add gallon of cider. Top off to 5 gallons with water if
necessary. Pitch yeast when cooled below 80 degrees

Gary Zimmerman

Subject: spruce
From: "Spencer W. Thomas" <>
Date: Sun, 15 Jun 2003 14:19:28 -0400

I've not made a spruce mead, but the best spruce beer I've had resulted
from putting the spruce "tips" (and quite a bit of it, something like a
"grocery bag full") into the *mash*. It's possible that the low
temperature of the mash, as opposed to boiling, extracted a "more
gentle" spruce flavor. If so, you could reproduce the effect by
steeping your spruce tips at about 160F for an hour, then removing them.


Subject: Re: J & C Cameron
From: "Lane Gray, Czar Castic" <>
Date: Sun, 15 Jun 2003 18:51:54 -0700

Jim Cameron wrote:
> i made a mead a while ago and here is the feed back i dont on it,

> > Hi

> I just poured a glass what was the recipe? Very light (good clarity)
> color very pale a bit of alcohol in the background a touch of fruit in
> the back.
> If it were mine I would think it had to little character. Its certainly
> pleasant but doesn't seem to have much character. So your technique was
> good now the wine needs to say something if you follow my logic. What
> kind of honey did you use? and how much per gallon.
> I'm off to Lillie's tomorrow morning. So I will be gone the next 10
> days.
> Cheers,
> Can some one point the to some info on inproving character, or it this
> somthing that time and aging will help out?

It sure would have been nice if your friend had been more specific. It
sounded to me like he (assuming your friend is male) didn't know what was
missing, just that *something* was missing.
Perhaps next time make it a little sweeter and thicker, or use a stronger
flavored honey. Or get friends who know what they want and know how to
express it 😉

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1020, 15 June 2003
From: "Lane Gray, Czar Castic" <>
Date: Sun, 15 Jun 2003 18:56:51 -0700

Robert Elliot wrote:


> I have been reading your web literature on mead but it doesn't mention =
> how much honey should be dissolved in the quantity of water.


> Can you give me some figures to make a traditional mead?


I know you'll have a heck of a time getting most yeasts to survive with
initial amounts exceeding 3.5 pounds per gallon (assuming you're an
American-I'm guessing we're probably talking about 800-850 g/L if you're
not) without a good deal of fruits or yeast energizers or fertilizers. I
like a good sweet mead, and prefer about 4#/G, but have found that to get
them that sweet it works best to start with 3 or less, then add the rest at
racking time. If you're after a dry mead, then anything less than about 3
to 3.5 would probably be what you're after.

Lane Gray

Subject: Re: MLD #1020, 15/6/03 Bottles, Honey amounts, hydrometer
From: "Arthur Torrey (no spam please!)" <>
Date: Mon, 16 Jun 2003 16:36:26 -0400

On 2003.06.15 10:54 wrote:

> Subject: re: rhodomel question
> From: "Kristopher Barrett" <>
> Date: Fri, 13 Jun 2003 19:08:32 -0400 (EDT)


> > 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.


> Rack it to another carboy, airlock it and forget about it. Once the
> initial lees are all off, it can age indefinately. The longer, the better.
> Really Old Meade is the drink of the gods.


> A fraction of an inch of lees is no big deal.

> > – —

> Regards,
> Kristopher Barrett

Agreed, just make sure there isn't to much head space (if there is, add

marbles or other objects to fill it). and remember to check it periodically to
make sure the airlock hasn't dried out. Either can lead to oxidation problems.


As to the bottles, why BUY them? There is no reason (other than possibly

aesthetic) that you can't recycle used bottles. It's a bit more work, but not
that much. I've found that simply asking all your friends and neighbors to
save their bottles for you will get you more bottles than you can use in very
short order. (In fact I find it is almost harder to stop them once you have
enough….) If you go to parties, snagging the empty bottles is usually
something the host won't mind your doing at all – it's that much less trash
for them to get rid of!


Cost for any of these methods isn't going to be more than sharing your

output ;-}


I've never had to do it, but I've heard that many folks have had good luck

approaching local restaraunts or bars and asking them to save bottles for
you. Italian places or greek places are supposedly better, but almost any
place with a licquor license will generate some bottles every day. The only
two cautions are that you will need to pick up what they've saved every day or
two, and don't be a nusiance. Cost is that you might have to give the manager
one of his bottles back after you've refilled it. You should also give the
place some business as they will feel more inclined to help their customers.


Once you have the bottles, you should wash them out (which you should be

doing with new bottles anyways) I reccomend the 'Double Blast' bottle washers
with the hose that lets the washer sit on the bottom of your sink. You might
want to remove the old neck seals and labels. For this soaking in soapy
water will remove most labels fairly easily, although some of them are put on
with waterproof glue that I find responds best to a razor scraper. One book
I've seen suggests getting a spare trash can, filling it with a mix of soapy
water and bleach. Just put the bottles to be cleaned in as you get them, by
the time you have filled the can, the labels will mostly be fallen off, and
the bottles will be sanitary. Neck seals need to be cut and or peeled off,
which is very easy and takes just a few seconds a bottle.


FWIW, I've never had to buy a bottle other than my carboys.


> ——————————

> Subject: Honey quantities
> From: "Robert Elliott" <>
> Date: Sat, 14 Jun 2003 22:20:29 +1000

> Hi,

> I have been reading your web literature on mead but it doesn't mention =
> how much honey should be dissolved in the quantity of water.


> Can you give me some figures to make a traditional mead?


> Cheers,

Hmmm…. thats a tough question as there are alot of variables involved,

such as what kind of mead you're making, the honey your using, variety of
yeast you'll be using, etc.


For any given strain of yeast, if you have more honey you get either sweeter

or higher alchohol content, less honey gives drier and/or lower alcohol, so
what your desired taste is can also make a difference.


However as a very rough rule of thumb, it works fairly well to use 2-3

pounds of honey per gallon of must, or about 12-15 lbs. for 5 gallons. Honey
weighs about 12 lbs to the gallon, so a good starter formula is on the order
of 4 gallons of water to 1 gallon of honey plus a pint extra. Use a medium
wine yeast, and don't forget to add an appropriate amount of yeast nutrients
and acid blend.


> ——————————

> Subject: rhodomel question
> From: "Randy Goldberg MD" <>
> Date: Sat, 14 Jun 2003 09:56:33 -0400


> > 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?


> I routinely just drop my hydrometer into my bucket-sized primary fermenter,
> so that's not it. Maybe you cracked the hydrometer?


> Randy


I'm guessing here, but I'm willing to bet part of the problem is 'user

error' and a need for lessons on how the hydrometer works for figuring alcohol.


1. Just to do a quick and dirty check on the calibration, see what a tube of
room temperature water weighs – it should be just about 1.000 on the specific
gravity scale. If you want to be really fussy, get out the chart that should
have come with the hydrometer, and make the temperature adjustment it
specifies, that should get you to 1.000 almost exactly.

2. Judging from what is being said, I bet you're reading the 'percent alcohol'
scale – this will get you exactly the opposite answer from what you're looking
for. I'm assuming you have a common 'triple scale' hydrometer. The only two
scales that should be read directly are the ones marked 'Specific Gravity'
(probably ranging from 0.090 to 1.170) and 'Percent Sugar (Balling)' (range
from -3 to about 40) Of these two, you really only need to pay attention to
the specific gravity scale, as I very seldom see any reference to the Balling

The Potential Alcohol scale is a reference ONLY to the amount of alcohol

that would be produced if the only ingredients in the must were fermentable
sugars and water, AND all of the sugars fermented completely. Any single
reading of this scale is nearly meaningless and potentially confusing as a
glass of pure water and a fully fermented mead (with a very high actual
alcohol) will have almost the same reading, of 0%. In either case it's true,
since there are no fermentable sugars to change into alcohol, but the actual
alcohol will be very different.


To determine the actual alcohol requires at least TWO readings, one taken at

the beginning of fermentation (before pitching the yeast) to determine the
potential alcohol of the must, and one taken after fermentation is finished to
determine what potential amount remains that did not get converted. You
subtract the second reading from the first, and the remainder is the actual


Example: Starting SG = 1.110 = 15% POTENTIAL Alcohol
Finish SG = 1.006 = 1% Potential Alcohol


15% – 1% = 14% ACTUAL Alcohol

Note that if one feeds additional honey into the brew during fermentation,

then one needs to adjust the starting SG to make it reflect the total amount
of fermentables that were added. I'm not going to go into this here in order
to keep the message shorter.


Hope this helped,



Subject: mead at risk?
From: "phil" <>
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 00:10:06 -0700

Hi All,

Is my promising mead at risk?

Since March the a. g. of my "traditional" orange blossom mead has only
gone from 1.098 to 1.060. I added yeast energizer and nutrient and 2
more packages of yeast, aerated it, finally racked it, and I am out of
ideas. My current plan is to leave it and hope it keeps slowly
fermenting. Any other ideas? Here is a summary of my notes.

March 15, 03, made a starter with Lalvin D47 yeast, 1.5 oz beverage
people yeast nutrient, a little honey and water. Pitched it into a 5
gal carboy with 15 lbs orange blossom honey.

o. g 1.098.

Stayed quiet for four days. On March 19, I pitched 2 more packages of


Things Started going well the next day.

But by April 3, things were down to one bubble about every 4 secs.

April 13 a.g 1.079, I aerated.

May 17, a. g. 1.068, I added 1 tsp energizer

June 14, a. g. 1.060, first racking. It has great orange and floral
flavors. Any thoughts on whether the slow fermentation will help
preserve them? Since I racked, the thing has gotten even quieter-no
signs of movement.

Phil W.

Subject: Experimental Batch
From: "Naturally High (Rory J.)" <>
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 23:41:47 +0100

I'm going to try a batch of Blackberry melomel for christmas because of =
all the recommendations I've had about Orange problems. I'll make enough =
to drink some and then let it mature to my next birthday. I'm also going =
to try an odd experimental idea for a batch of spruce, mint metheglyn – =
I wonder, has anyone ever tried this before? I haven't heard of it and =
after lots of searching I found nothing with them together… I hope =
no-one minds me asking more but I'm not sure what proportions to make it =
in. Should I just make it like a straight mead using spruce honey with a =
drop of mint extract or mint leaf? I live in a spruce forest with some =
wild mint so I know I love their smell.

Again thanks for any help!

Subject: Mazer Cup Comments
From: Ken Schramm <>
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 23:20:38 -0400


Sorry I haven't been more responsive. I've been running full tilt
trying to get ready for a presentation at the AHA NHC in Chicago this

I'd like more info. Can you please drop me a line off the list, and
I'll do some reflecting on this? I'll get back to you when I get back
from Chicago.



Subject: Cherry mead recipes
From: <>
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2003 11:17:09 -0600

I know some of you have probably had great success out there brewing
cherry mead and was wondering if someone could be so kind as to share a
recipe. I have about 12 pounds of cherries right now and probably twice
that left to be picked. Thanks for you help.


Subject: Looking for a specific yeast...
From: Mark A Salowitz <>
Date: Sun, 15 Jun 2003 11:38:24 -0400

Morning, hope y'all can help…

I'm looking for a supplier for maury yeast, and having a devil of a time
finding one on the net… and I'd like to use it for an old, old recipe

Continental US best, East coast better, and Washington DC area would be

Seems I cna find about 5 references to using it, and none at all for
where to find it…


Mark Salowitz

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1021