Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1035, 13 August 2003

Mead Lover's Digest #1035 Wed 13 August 2003


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



Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1034, 12 August 2003, Olluyn Jo (
new to mead ("tugger")
RE:Maple Syrup ("Houseman, David L")
Re: Yeast starters for mead (Matt Gerbrandt)
yeast starters ("Micah Millspaw")
RE:Yeast starters for mead ("Matt Maples")
Strange fermentation? ("Murphy-Marsh, Leigh")
Re: Yeast starters for mead (Dick Dunn)
blueberry melomel experiment (MLD #1033) ("")
Other honey producing bees (Ken Schramm)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1034, 12 August 2003 (Ken Vale)
Mead Meeting and Cyser ("David Craft")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1034, 12 August 2003 ("jim book")
Syrup Question (Nathan Wallace-Gusakov)


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Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1034, 12 August 2003, Olluyn Jo
Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2003 13:37:31 EDT

You're right, Grade A Maple Syrup is very pricey stuff. You don't mention
what part of the world you live in, but it's pretty expensive here in the USA,
too. Last year, my wife bought a gallon of Grade A for $30.00 US, a very
favorable price, right at the sugarhouse, near Cabot, Vermont.
If I were planning to make an acerglyn I'd use a C or even D grade syrup,
for the reason that I'd be adding a whole lot of honey to the mead, thus
diluting the maple flavor……..and if you used all maple syrup and no honey at all,
it wouldn't be a mead. There's quite a bit of maple sugar candy around here
that's cheapened by the addition of cane sugar, and the difference between
that and the real stuff is extraordinary; I don't know what the blend of maple
and honey would be like.

Galen Davis, Southwick, Mass.

Subject: new to mead
From: "tugger" <>
Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2003 13:08:18 -0400

I recently made 3 gallons of a strawberry cyser with one
gallon of organic apple juice, 2 lbs of honey, a third of a
tube of White Labs Mead yeast per gallon container and
several handfuls of fresh organic strawberries. In two
months we opened it and when we began to bottle it, sampled
it, and I doubt that it will last more than a month or so.
Our friends who were there to help bottle our cider and the
cyser are almost obnoxious in wanting a bottle or two of
"that strawberry stuff you made". So I am about to make some
more. Unfortunately I did not keep great records and don't
recall if I boiled the juice and honey or not. Having tried
to look up recipes for cyser, mead and melomel I find that
some recipes call for boiling, warming or just shaking the
liquid with the honey. Is there an answer or reason to do
one and not the other?
I read something somewhere that the apple juice may provide
certain sugars needed to get the yeast going and if I were
to make a non juice based mead I might have to modify my
Mike Tomlinson

Subject: RE:Maple Syrup
From: "Houseman, David L" <>
Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2003 13:49:25 -0400


Yes, except in some areas, maple syrup is very expensive. I have found it
however in bulk containers at a local grocery store where they have a lower
grade of maple syrup for about $2.99/lb. You take a container and fill it
from the large vat. You might also find it in larger containers at BJs,
Costcos or Sams. The maple-mead (not really a mead, but I don't know if it
has a name?) that I make is equal parts by volume maple syrup and water with
yeast nutrient added. In fact, IMHO you want the cheaper grades of maple
syrup. They have more character than the higher grades. The character of
this beverage changes over time to be very sherry-like.

Dave Houseman

Subject: Re: Yeast starters for mead
From: Matt Gerbrandt <>
Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2003 11:57:27 -0700 (PDT)

If you don't want to add the malt/wort to your mead,
just decant off the liquid wort and pitch the yeast
cake at the bottom of your DME starter container. You
could rinse out the container with some sterilized
water to make sure you get all the yeast out of there.

Subject: yeast starters
From: "Micah Millspaw" <>
Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2003 14:26:57 -0500

>Subject: Yeast starters for mead

>I talked with my supplier and have e-mailed White Labs and they both
recommended making a >starter with DME. I'm not real comfortable adding
Malt to my mead, is there a better way to >make a good starter?

There is a better way to make the starter than DME. I've never felt
comfortable with using a malt based substrate for my mead yeast. I
generally use honey and a yeast nutrient (either Difco nitrogen bacto or
The Beverage Peoples yeast nutrient for mead). The water honey solution
is 8 to 10%. I keep the starter at 75 to 80F and agitate it frequently.
It seems to work well and only takes a few days to build up a lot of

Micah Millspaw – brewer at large

Subject: RE:Yeast starters for mead
From: "Matt Maples" <>
Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2003 13:37:14 -0700

Ok, I do not know about the WL yeast but I know for a fact the Wyeast
Sweet Mead is actually a highly flocculent ale yeast so I assume the WL
is also and that is why we was telling you to use DME. These strains
were developed to metabolize Maltose and not Fructose. I usually use
apple juice for a starter and it seems to work well enough even for the
Wyeast Sweet Mead (ale yeast). I have seen the Sweet Mead yeast drop out
way too soon for my taste. I've seen 1.025 to even 1.032. Make sure and
stir it up and keep the yeast from dropping out until you get close to
where you want your mead to be then let it drop out and or chill it down
to get it to drop fast.

The Oregon Brew Crew did a yeast experiment last year for mead day and
the Sweet Mead yeast was one of them. We kept it roused and it kept
going until 1.000 and we got a little over 10% alcohol out of it. I
found that if you want any kind of consistency to the end product you
are better off fermenting dry then stabilizing and sweetening it back


Matt Maples

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

Subject: Strange fermentation?
From: "Murphy-Marsh, Leigh" <>
Date: Wed, 13 Aug 2003 04:34:43 +0800

Hello peoples.
I have just started brewing mead and have had a simple mead (honey,
black tea, lemon juice and champagne yeast) on for 4 – 5 months and it
has started doing something strange I haven't seen before. I have done
beers and stuff in the past.
The fermentation lock seems to be 'breathing'. The air goes out, then
the air goes in and so on. It's only a very slow process. About every 3

  • – 4 days it changes direction. It's in a 3 gallon plastic water bottle

with airlock and I have been very sterile when racking it out. The room
it is in is at a comfortable 26 degrees at all times (reverse cycle air
con). I haven't tasted it but would rather not rack it out again because
I've already racked it twice over the last few months and it looks like
it is starting to clear. It tasted alright at the last time it was
racked out. Has anyone ever seen this happen before?
In the words of mighty Spock, Live long and proffer.


Subject: Re: Yeast starters for mead
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2003 15:49:55 -0600 (MDT)

Mike Hobart <> wrote:

> I've made only one batch of mead which is about 6 months old now. I used
> White Labs WLP720 Sweet Mead Yeast making a starter using 1/2 cup honey
> boiled with 2 cups water. The starter never really took off but I went
> ahead and pitched it anyway.
> It took 2-3 days before I could notice any activity in the primary
> fermenter. I have tried samples of the finished product and it's very
> good.

1/2 C honey and 2 C water will give you around 1.100 SG, which is awfully
high for a "starter". At that you might as well just pitch directly into
the fermenter. In fact, White Labs recommends just that, unless you've got
old yeast or a high-gravity must. I've pitched WLP720 directly with good

Also, there's no nutrient value to speak of in a honey starter.

As to gravity for a starter, there are good arguments for a lower starting
gravity. Ken Schramm in _The_Complete_Meadmaker_ suggests 1040-1050 and
gives plausible reasoning.

> I talked with my supplier and have e-mailed White Labs and they both
> recommended making a starter with DME. I'm not real comfortable adding
> Malt to my mead, is there a better way to make a good starter?

What's the objection to malt? I wouldn't be at all surprised if the liquid
in the yeast vial contained malt.


Subject: blueberry melomel experiment (MLD #1033)
From: "" <>
Date: Sat, 12 Aug 1995 16:43:39 +1000

Michael Kiley writes

>Close mowing made for a great crop
>and with the thought of possible commercial products I've been trialing
>melomels with different ratios of honey and berries. Maine blueberries make
>an interesting wine but other than my own I've never had a blueberry


if you want to be pedantic, not only try different ratios of honey/berries,
but learn from the wine industry and try early pickled (high in acid, low in
body) and late picked (low in acid, high in sugars) berries. You can do this
with small batches (say 1 gallon).

When I say late and early, it is probably only a few days either side of
"ripe". You need to monitor the acidity/sweetness in the mead, and adjust to
what you think is the desired falvour profile.
This should assist you in knowing what the berries need to taste like to
produce your ideal mead.
Also if you happen to pick the berries too late/early (or the season is bad),
you will know what to expect the mead to tast like, and how to compensate for
the variation in the fruit.


Subject: Other honey producing bees
From: Ken Schramm <>
Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2003 19:53:37 -0400

There are several honey producing bees other than our beloved Apis
mellifera. Apis dorsata, A. cerana, A. florea and the meliponinae
strains all produce significant enough quantities of honey to have been
recognized and targeted for honey gathering and some even for
domestication. Most of the regions of the world have some native honey
producing bee that has been or is currently exploited. True enough, we
cannot readily obtain sufficient quantities of their honey for "mead"
making, but that is not to say that other cultures haven't pressed their
wares into service for that purpose. Balche, the Central American
"mead" that was in production when the first europeans arrived, was a
product of Melipona beechii.

Bumble bees have been domesticated for their honey production (in what
are now Hungary and Romania) in the past, but production was not
comparable to A. mellifera.

Ken Schramm

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1034, 12 August 2003
From: Ken Vale <>
Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2003 21:23:52 -0400

>Subject: Maple Syrup
>From: "Olluyn Jo" <>
>Date: Fri, 8 Aug 2003 14:14:25 +0200


>Hi all,


>I've come across some recipes concerning maple syrup-based variants of
>mead. Most of them require about 8 pounds of maple syrup per 5 gallons
>of water.
>Now, where I live, quality maple syrup is not cheap. Not cheap at all.
>In fact, it goes at such staggering prices that it is often sold in
>small bottles, the size of small coke bottle.
>I guess good maple syrup would cost me about 20$ per liter. My buddy Ed
>claims it should cost more than 4-5$, which makes me assume that either
>maple syrup is a lot cheaper in the Americas or we use different
>qualities (I reckon A-grade is way cheaper than C-grade or the
>here-unobtainable dark D-grade).
>Comments anyone? Should I settle for cheaper A grade or not compromise
>on quality and go for C-grade? Wouold the volumes be the same? (I guess
>A is less sweet than C).



> >Jo

Hi Jo,

I'm from Ontario, Canada (Maple Syrup area) and while Maple Syrup

can be expensive three things determine cost: quantity, quality and
distance from the source. I buy mine from the source I pay $30
(Canadian, about $21US) for 4 litres (about 1 USGal), now as the size of
the container shrinks the price goes up ($20/litre, $15/half litre,
$12/quarter litre in a fancy bottle, $10/tenth of a litre in a really
fancy bottle) when you do the math ($400 for 4 litres if bought in small
really fancy bottles). Now the place I buy from doesn't charge different
prices for different grades of syrup (though I buy Medium Grade,
Dark/Medium/Light). Dark Grade has more sugar than Medium, Medium more
than Light; I saw a listing somewhere for Maple Syrup having a SG of
something like 1.37ish though which grade of syrup that was I have no
idea or where I saw it (nor am I positive that that is a correct number,
memory is all I have to go on). So if you can find a source that is
close by and/or willing to sell it to you in volume that should take the
sting out of the price a bit



Subject: Mead Meeting and Cyser
From: "David Craft" <>
Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2003 21:26:47 -0400


Our Club, Battleground Brewers Guild, Greensboro, NC, is going to make a
Cyser for Mead Month. We passed on the AHA recipe because a member made
the same Cherry Melomel about a year ago.

Our plan is a 6 gallon batch with 12 pounds of honey, 4 gallons of juice
and some frozen concentrate to bump things up to about 1.10. We will use
L-K1, Lavlin Montrachet wine yeast. Once primary is complete, we will split
the batch into 3 gallons of sparkling and 3 gallons of spiced (add a tea)
still mead.

Any thoughts or suggestions are appreciated.

David Craft
Battleground Brewers Guild
Greensboro, NC

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1034, 12 August 2003
From: "jim book" <>
Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2003 21:58:53 -0400

hi michael,

there is a generic additive called "yeast nutrient" there is another

called "DAP"(stands for chemical name that i don't have in front of me now).
both are common and available at almost any homebrew shop or online. hth
good luck, jim


Subject: Syrup Question
From: Nathan Wallace-Gusakov <>
Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2003 20:14:54 -0700 (PDT)

Olluyn Jo wrote:

>…Should I settle for cheaper A grade or not
>compromise on quality and go for C-grade? Wouold the
>volumes be the same? (I guess A is less sweet than


A Vermont sugarmaker's two bits: Here we have 4

grades: Grade A Fancy, Grade A Medium, Grade A Dark,
and Grade B. I assume these would correspond to the
A,B,C, and D you're talking about. All of these grades
are the same sugar content by volume (67%, mandated
and tested by State law). The differences in color and
taste are due to the darker syrups having been boiled
longer to get to the same sugar content, allowing more
of the sugar to caramelize. Personally, I think the
darker stuff has more flavor, and prefer it for eating
as well as brewing. One gallon of grade B here goes
for about $30, grade A would be closer to $40. I'd be
wary of anything that seems too cheap–quite possibly
imitation syrup with a corn syrup base and artificial
flavors. Hope this helps!


  • Nate Wallace-Gusakov

Craftsbury Common, VT


End of Mead Lover's Digest #1035