Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1046, 29 September 2003

Mead Lover's Digest #1046 Wed 29 September 2003


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



Re: Pollen (
Re: bland mead and cyser question (Robert Sandefer)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1045, 23 September 2003 – apples/juice for cys ("…)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1045, 23 September 2003 – Cyser apples ("Stephen …)
Prickly Pear ("Jim Johnston")


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Subject: Re: Pollen
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2003 10:18:30 -0400

> From:

> I do have concern over possible
> allergic
> reactions to bee pollen. I am highly allergic to bee stings and
> somewhat
> allergic to bee pollen. Fortunately, I am fine with honey, royal jelly
> and mead
> but I wouldn't want to experiment with a dose of pollen in a mead. There
> may
> be others with my affliction.

If you consime honey purchased from a local beekeeper, you are

consuming a lot of pollen. Pollen is only removed by the larger
packing companies which use heated honey and pressurrized
microfilters to remove all pollen. Of course this also removes much
of the value of the honey….


A lot of folks have been told they are allergic to bee stings after

an event which provoked a systemic reaction. There are problems
with such advice from emergency room doctors, who want to cover
their own behinds. One is that the stinging insect is rarely identified.
Most human stings are from yellow jackets, yet they are referred to
as "bees." They are not bees, and their venom is quite different.


Also a lot of the reactions may be like one I had once when I was

taking a pain killer drug. I had a serious systemic reaction to a
single sting, which greatly frightened me. But once the drug was
clear of my system, I had no further problem, and as a beekeeper
(now retired) I commonly got stung a dozen times a day or more.


Rather than just be frightened, it's a good idea to have a

competent allergist (not an emergency room doctor) do a thorough
evaluation. If you are really allergic to bee stings, or more
commonly to yellow jacket stings, it would be well worth it to go
through the desensitisation program. Why be afraid every time you
leave the house? And even the house may not be safe. I once was
stung on the foot by a yellow jacket as I pulled on my shoe in the
moring. I have no idea where it came from, but my foot swelled so
much I had to go shoeless for a few hours.


Dave Green SC USA

Subject: Re: bland mead and cyser question
From: Robert Sandefer <>
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2003 14:45:50 -0400

First, Mike Evans asks what went wrong with his mead.

Given the description of your process, I'd say nothing went wrong.

There is certainly variability in mead making and especially from honey.
Perhaps the honey you used was not up to the challenge. This is not meant
as a condemnation of you or the beekeeper. Grapes vary from year to year.
Why can't honey?

It is also possible that your mead is just waiting to age into perfection.

Personally, I'd bottle it now, wait a couple of months, and taste again. If
my former explanation is more accurate, you could always serve it with food
or use it in punches. If the latter appeals to you more, then wait to see
how it changes over the next year.

Dave Sherohman asks:

> Am I correct to infer from this that you don't need to worry about
> pectin if you use unpasteurized apple juice? (I'm just about to
> start in on my first batch of cyser tonight or tomorrow, you see…)

You'll probably have a problem with pectin IMO.

In my very first apple wine, I used sulfite instead of heat. It stayed
cloudy/hazy for well over a year. I was convinced that since I didn't heat
the juice the pectin should not be causing the haze. One night I got tired
of waiting and added a teaspoon of pectic enzyme. A day later it was
perfectly clear.

Robert Sandefer

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1045, 23 September 2003 - apples/juice for cys
From: "Stephen Murphrey" <>
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2003 22:00:05 -0400

> On Wed, Sep 17, 2003 at 09:51:08AM -0600, wrote:
> > If you *do* pasteurize, you're going to have a pectin problem–and most
> > apples have a LOT of pectin,


> Am I correct to infer from this that you don't need to worry about
> pectin if you use unpasteurized apple juice? (I'm just about to
> start in on my first batch of cyser tonight or tomorrow, you see…)

I made my only Cyser out of unpasteurized apple cider. It cleared very
quickly and very completely (you could read a newspaper through the carboy),
with no pectic enzyme added. A friend did a similar batch that did not
clear in several months, and he later added pectic enzyme (which cleared it
in 1 day). We have no explanation…the cider was from different parts of
North Carolina.

Steve Murphrey

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1045, 23 September 2003 - Cyser apples
From: "Stephen Murphrey" <>
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2003 22:10:06 -0400

> I want to do a cyser this fall, but I don't want to
> waste my time and money if the end result is going to
> be mediocre. I don't know of a good local source of
> true cider apples (my trees are going in next spring).
> If I use locally produced cider made from more
> "normal" apples, am I going to end up with an end
> product as bland and boring as the hard cider I buy
> from the store?


> Thanks,
> Scott Slezak

Please, do try a Cyser. Mine was wonderful, and was ready earlier than any
of my other meads. We drank it all very quickly. I got my cider at the
local farmer's market (before the law requiring pasteurization came about).
Recipe (from memory) something like this:

5 Gallons unpasteurized cider
5 quarts honey
Yeast nutrient & energizer
Wyeast sweet mead yeast

Steve Murphrey

Subject: Prickly Pear
From: "Jim Johnston" <>
Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2003 11:32:02 -0500

I made a mesquite – prickly pear melomel a couple of years back. No ill
effects and rave reviews from the homebrew club as I recall in my notes.
This is for a 3 gallon batch.
6 lb. Dark amber mesquite honey (I don't remember the source)
3 lb. Prickly pears, peeled and cut up into large pieces
Yeast nutrient, pectic enzyme
Wyeast Sweet mead yeast, 1 gallon starter.

OG: 1.076, FG: 0.996

I brought the water to a boil for a few minutes, then turned the gas off.
Added honey, placed the fruit into a bag and steeped at about 160 for 20
minutes to pasteurize. I removed the fruit and crash chilled. Pectic
enzyme and yeast nutrient added with yeast. This was about 1 week in the
primary, then racked to secondary and aged about 9 months. I saved about 1
liter as a still mead and kegged the rest. The result was a deep golden
color with just a reddish tinge, very clear. It was light and somewhat dry,
but had wonderful aroma.

As for the sweet mead yeast, 3184, I don't know if there is a dry
equivalent. I don't use this strain anymore as it was always a bit
unpredictable. I also prefer my meads to be a bit drier. If I want one to
finish a little sweeter, I use an ale yeast.

Jim Johnston,
Contemplating the mysteries of man and mead…

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1046