Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1040, 30 August 2003

Mead Lover's Digest #1040 Sat 30 August 2003


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



Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1038, 23 August 2003 ("john doerter")
Re: Dirty Sugar ("Dan SCHULTZ")
container names (Dick Dunn)
Ancient Fermentations ("Denice Ingalls")
Sugar ("Spencer W. Thomas")
RE: Mead Lover's Digest #1039, 26 August 2003 Sleeping Agave ("Jim Barnhart")
RE: Mead Lover's Digest #1039, 26 August 2003 ("Jim Barnhart")
starters made from honey (
Diet sugar replacements ("Murphy-Marsh, Leigh")
International Mead Festival – Honey Wines of the World ("Julia Herz")
First Melomel, suggestions? (
When to bottle ("Jen Breese")
Vinegar ("Bob Garrett")


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Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1038, 23 August 2003
From: "john doerter" <>
Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2003 10:08:26 -0500

> Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1037, 21 August 2003
> From:
> Date: Fri, 22 Aug 2003 14:58:28 EDT


> But you also said, "I racked it into a clean Damme Jeanne" and that peaked my
> curiosity. What is a "Damme Jeanne"? Sounds interesting.


> Jay Ankeney

I wasn't sure either. My best guesses are
1) the french call it some thing differnt?
2) Feminist alternative for the "sexist" Demi-John

Other theories welcome, given the position on
refined sugar, I'm leaning toward option 2.


Subject: Re: Dirty Sugar
From: "Dan SCHULTZ" <>
Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2003 09:03:04 -0700

Vuarra, sucrose is crystalline. Think of rock candy. Here's a link:

I apologize for the misunderstanding on the comment "First, many solid
organic compounds are white
powders" as it was intended to target "ground" organic compounds as that
is what we were discussing (that's why I noted the word POWDERS). You
were correct to note that salt, sugar and many of the organic compounds
I noted are actually water clear. It's the light scattering from the
ground crystals that make them appear white. And, I'm ready to drop the
thread when the information is correct as I believe it is now. :^)

  • -Dan

Subject: container names
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2003 10:24:08 -0600 (MDT)

Not to beat this too far into the ground, but…

What we in the US call a "carboy" is likely to be called a "demi-john" in
the UK.

The catch is that in the US, a "demi-john" usually means something
different. Whereas we'd call a 5-6 gallon bottle a "carboy", if we came
across a "demi-john" it would more likely be around 15 gallons, onion-
shaped, and in a sort of wicker-basket carrier. (Imagine the bottle for a
cheap Italian wine, grown way out of proportion.)

Fortunately the US concept of demi-john is rarely seen in wine/brew shops
any more. I say it's fortunate because they were absurdly heavy, fragile,
and dangerous. Just putting an unvented stopper into a demi-john and
cooling it a bit could make it implode.


Subject: Ancient Fermentations
From: "Denice Ingalls" <>
Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2003 09:38:43 -0700

Dan – There is one point that I believe strengthens the intuitive
argument for Honey being at least a leading source of our discovery of
fermentation – and that is the absense of alcohol among the native North
Americans. There were indigenous grape, grain and tree fruits on this
continent, but honey bees did not exsist here until the settlers brought
them. It seems to me that the Native Americans developed technology in
much the same manner as the Europeans, Asians, Slavs, etc. prior to the
iron age. It would seem logical then that if europeans discovered
fermentation from a source available to the Native Americans, then they
would have had it as well. Although, perhaps I've misspoken. does
tequila, in the south, predate the arrival of the europeans?

Denice L. Ingalls
Sky River Mead

Subject: Sugar
From: "Spencer W. Thomas" <>
Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2003 12:46:39 -0400

Tom Smit writes:

>Personally I only use unrefined sugars like the Billingtons range–light
>& dark muscovado etc–these sugars have flavor color etc

> >

I guess that would depend on whether you WANT that particular flavor in
your mead.

Of course, I don't know why anyone would put sugar in a mead. What's
wrong with honey? 🙂


Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #1039, 26 August 2003 Sleeping Agave
From: "Jim Barnhart" <>
Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2003 09:55:31 -0700

Regarding my Slow Agave Fermentation:

Thank you for all the great suggestions and help.

One of the suggestions I was given was to dilute my agave to get it down to
about OG of 1.072 (Unfortunately I can not remember who suggested this, so
sorry, but I am really grateful for the suggestion)

I think I want to try this.

This batch is 6.5 gallons with 24 pounds of Agave and an OG of 1.100

I was wondering if anyone had any ideas of how much Water I might need to
dilute this down to about 1.072-75

Jim Barnhart

Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #1039, 26 August 2003
From: "Jim Barnhart" <>
Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2003 10:14:16 -0700

Ok. ok. ok.

So I am a Newby to this List…..
I kept waiting around for a the secret to be revealed, alas
you all work hard to keep it is a secret….

So here I go….
Who is this "HE", "Him", and what is "His Book", "the Book", "that book"
that everyone keeps talking about
It seems that you all Seem to worship him and his book, I think I need to
get to know the both of them 😉

Jim Barnhart

PS. ok, before submitting this email, I think I have answered my question…
is the Him, and his book "Ken Schramm in The Complete

If this is our bible, I must locate it quickly 😉


  • -Primarily two uses for Vodka in mead making. Some people

  • -use it in their Airlocks to prevent nasties growing.



  • -the main use (IMO) is to extract Flavors from spices etc…

  • -some people will soak said spice in a small amount of vodka

  • -while the primary fermentation is going on then add it to the

  • -secondary/bulk aging.

  • -I haven't read his book (YET) so I can't answer as to what

  • -use he is stating.


  • -HTH,


  • -john


Subject: starters made from honey
Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2003 10:43:45 PDT

Ken Schramm writes:

Nutrient availability is also
critical, and I would never use plain honey to establish a starter
population. as it is woefully bereft of nitrogen, biotin and other


Yes, but…. I have been making starters using honey for some time without
difficulty. The key is that I add a good chunk of pollen-comb into the
starter to increase the nutrient level. I have no idea if it really helps,
but the starters have generally krausened in 3-4 days with no added yeast
(ie, a wild yeast starter). I also use lots of bubbles.


Subject: Diet sugar replacements
From: "Murphy-Marsh, Leigh" <>
Date: Wed, 27 Aug 2003 07:37:32 +0800

In reply to Jo Olluyns question about sugar replacements being used such
as aspartame, then your brew would fail to realise it's full potential
(and probably taste awful). Yeast is not too fussy, with a few
exceptions such as lactose, about which sugar forms it gets as it can
adjust to the situation in most circumstances and break down the
different forms of sugar to the basic molecules it needs but the
chemical forms of artificial sweetners contain pretty much no sugar for
the yeast to work with. As such it can't work with it. Some sweetners
may also hinder or weaken the yeast with the chemicals used. I've never
heard of aspartame before so can't specifically comment but 'nutrisweet'
over here is useless (and would be expensive as well) to use as a
brewing sugar replacement.


"A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth has had a =
chance to pull its pants on."

Subject: International Mead Festival - Honey Wines of the World
From: "Julia Herz" <>
Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2003 18:28:40 -0600

We're proud to announce the second annual International Mead Festival
Honey Wines of the World, formerly Planet Buzz, to be held in Boulder,
Colorado October 24 and 25. Visit for tickets,
commercial styles to be judged and served, etc.

Please consider attending to taste over 50 commercial meads (the largest
gathering of commercial meads, ever, we think), talk with fellow mead
makers, meet Ken Schramm, author of The Compleat Mead Maker and more.=20

Confirmed sponsors include Redstone Meadery (Host),
(Co-organizer), Association of Brewers, National Honey Board, Mountain
Meadows Meadery and Sky River Brewery.

If you are a commercial brewery or meadery or winery enter your meads!
Email me,, for an entry form. Come on breweries we
know you have a braggot that you would love to have medal. Deadline for
commercial entries is September 15, 2003. Also email me for
Sponsor/Vendor and Advertising information.

See you all at the GABF and hope to see you at the Mead Festival!

Julia Herz
Redstone Meadery – Vice President Marketing=A0& Promotions
Owner –


Subject: First Melomel, suggestions?
Date: Wed, 27 Aug 2003 16:52:41 +0000

Hi everyone. This is my first post to the Mead digest, just joined ealier this
week. A brief brewing background – I live in North Bend Washington, a small
town about 30 miles east of Seattle. I've been brewing mostly beer for a few
years now, probably a few dozen batches total. Some of you from the HBD will
recognize my name. I've made one batch of wine, a few ciders and a couple of
cysers (one of which is happily bubbling along in the carboy as I type). I
wanted to make something a little more meadlike and thought y'all could help
with suggestions or a little guidance. My plan is to start with a little one
gallon batch (only one carboy as yet, don't want to tie that up for several
months). My recipe is:

5 lbs clover honey
.75 lbs blueberries
1 packet dry champagne yeast (forget which brand I have right now)

I thought I would start with about a 1/2 gallon of tap water (ours is pretty
well balanced), boil it, then let it cool to about 170, add roughly 2/3 of the
honey, stabilize at 160, then add blueberries. Bring it back to 160, then let
it stay there for about 15 minutes. After rapid cooling put the whole mess in
the fermenter, and pitch yeast. After a week or so, when it slows down a bit,
I planned on dissolving the remaining honey in a couple of cups of hot water,
adding it to a new gallon jug and racking the remainder on top of it.

Good plan? Will it work or is it simply too much honey? I'm hoping for a
reasonably, if not totally, dry finish with a fairly significant blueberry

All suggestions are appreciated.

North Bend, WA

"Always remember that I have taken more out of alcohol than
alcohol has taken out of me." – Winston Churchill

Subject: When to bottle
From: "Jen Breese" <>
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2003 14:50:55 -0700

Hi all

I'm new at making mead and was wondering how to tell when to bottle. I have
a gal of maple mead. It has been going for one month and when I racked it
the last time, it was extremely tasty. The mead is really clear and the
bubbling has slowed way down. I have a 5 gal for comparison that was started
a month prior and it is going much faster then the gal one. Should I rack,
taste and bottle? What chances would I be taking on bottle bombs? I like the
sparkling meads best and was hoping to leave it bubbly.


Subject: Vinegar
From: "Bob Garrett" <>
Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2003 15:59:30 -0400

I know this is a little off topic, but I'm guessing some of you folks have
made vinegar and may be able to advise me. I'm a beekeeper and want to make
some vinegar from my homemade raspberry and mulberry mead. My first attempt
with store-bought wine failed, or at least I think it did, because it began
to grow a very fuzzy green fungus on top of the just-forming acetobacter mat
floating on top of the wine/mother of vinegar. Is that an indication that I
should punt and start over, trying to be more careful? I did that already,
so I hope so. I think it went bad because my cover was only a thin cotton
towel. And, how does one cover the container to best preserve sanitary
conditions while allowing exchange of air? Or is sanitation even important?
Any help or guidance much appreciated.


End of Mead Lover's Digest #1040