Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1056, 17 November 2003

Mead Lover's Digest #1056 Mon 17 November 2003


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



Bottles for mead (
Source of good cheap honey (
Bottles for competitions ("Vince Galet")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1055, 5 November 2003 (Phil)
1st try at a Cyser (adam girard)
RE: Mead Lover's Digest #1055, 5 November 2003: leatherwood mead ("GREEN P…)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1055, 5 November 2003 (
Oz honey. (Ken Hopkins)
Re: Australian honey ("Dan McFeeley")
amazing the things you find…. (
Bottle labelling? ("Mark A. Salowitz")
Chocolate mead revisited ("Steven Haag")


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Subject: Bottles for mead
Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2003 15:05:39 EST

In response the to bottles question. I go to the Alameda County Fair every
year, but yet to enter. So, I've not seen the rules, but every mead I've seen
entered is in a clear, uncolored, tall, chardonnay style bottle. They only
accept 750 ml, from the looks of it, and splits are only acceptable if it is
fortified (which is a whole different class, I think then a liqueur). The only
colored glass entries I've seen for mead, was for a blackberry mead that was
fermented on the skins and leaves, like a red wine. This was to keep it from
getting sun-struck. Don't ask me why the entries are all this way. I feel that
any mead can get sunstruck.
By the way, for any in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Alameda County Fair
has been one of the longest running home-brew competitions going on annually.
Wine, beer, mead, liqueur, and I think an open category.
Doug Thomas

Subject: Source of good cheap honey
Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2003 15:11:51 EST

Recently, a WinCo opened here in Sacramento Delta Area. Now, hear me out.
Yes, it is a bulk, cheapy, gigantimungous store. But, when investigating it, I
found that they had bulk honeys, $1.50 – $2.10/lb, that was still living, if
you know what I mean. The Central Valley is a huge honey producing area, so
it might be different elsewhere, but you could hear the bees. Really.
Hummmmmmmmmm. Signs all over ask "Warning, do not touch hive, live bees inside.
" I
don't know if this is just to get us all thinking it's really fresh, or if,
sitting on the honey dispensers, there are true, honest to god, hives. One way
or the other, I tried all three honeys (blackberry, orange and clover) and all
were excellent, moderately separated (still some small flecks and such) with
good, distinctive flavors.
Doug Thomas

Subject: Bottles for competitions
From: "Vince Galet" <>
Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2003 15:51:39 -0500 (EST)

Most competitions comply with AHA/BJCP standards and have the same
requirements. Some may let you go with non standard bottles but if they
strictly apply the rules, they won't. Check the AHA web site: for more info about entries, forms and other rules


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1055, 5 November 2003
From: Phil <>
Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2003 13:12:59 -0800 (PST)

> I once bottled a beer for a contest and couldn't
> enter because I had used Fuller's ESB bottles, and
> the markings on the glass were "distinctive".


> So… I'm wondering what the typical rules are for
> the physical containers in a mead competition.
> Size of bottles, color, type, cork, labels, all
> that.

'The rules' say that entries should be placed in 12
ounce bottles without any distinctive markings (ie:
raised lettering). Not all competition organizers are
strict on this rule as not to limit thte number of
entries. In the past, I've entered beers and meads in
swing cap bottles and clear glass splits. And then
there's uniques shaped brown glass bottles that a lot
of Belgian beers come in.

Your best best is to use plain 12 ounce brown glass
bottles. Or you can ask the competition coordinators
how strict they are following this rule.


Subject: 1st try at a Cyser
From: adam girard <>
Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2003 13:25:46 -0800 (PST)

Hi all.

I've never done this before, but I started a batch of
cyser the other day and I had a couple of questions,
I'll try to give some background first…

I started with 4 1/2 gallons of sweet cider from a
local orchard. Just apples, nothing else. It had not
been pasturized. I added a large package of Wyeast
sweet mead yeast. I added several pounds of honey.
Arround 9-10 pounds I think. I based my calculation on
something I read. 3 ounces of honey will raise the SG
of one gallon of honey about 5 points (If I remember
that correctly off the top of my head). Anyhow I
figured that I was starting with a potential alchohol
content of about 11% and a OG of about 1.090 I think.
I did not have a hydrometer yet. I waited. The yeast
seemed to do well. I got a froth on top of the juice
and bubbles through the airlock every 2 seconds or so.
I bought a hydrometer and observed that I was losing
close to a point per day as far as gravity! Then I let
it get too cold. Fermentation slowed to a crawl. I
figured it out and brought the room temp up to 70 F.
The cider again looks good, but the gravity has been
at the same place (1.070) for close to a week. How
long should I wait before I do something about it?
What are my options? I already tried stirring it.



Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #1055, 5 November 2003: leatherwood mead
From: "GREEN Peter" <>
Date: Thu, 6 Nov 2003 08:31:26 +1100

Hi all
I have been making meads including melomels and metheglins with
Australian and in particular Tasmanian Honey for a number of years.
Here too the price of honey has risen to all time highs. Leatherwood is
unusually very light colour this year due to seasonal conditions. The
flavour is not as strong as well.
My 2002 Leatherwood Mead ( sweet) won a medal at the Tasmanian Fruit
Wine show held in Tasmania in January, 2003. Leatherwood mead has a
strong nose, wonderful mouth feel and a long lingering aftertaste. This
may not suit everyone's palate. I made a dry Leatherwood in 2001 with
similar flavours.

I find no difficulty using local bush honeys as I have won quite a
number of medals with my melomels. I have had no experience with
mainland Australian honeys though.


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1055, 5 November 2003
Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2003 17:31:49 EST

In a message dated 11/5/03 12:22:33 PM, writes:

<< So… I'm wondering what the typical rules are for
the physical containers in a mead competition.
Size of bottles, color, type, cork, labels, all that. >>


I think you will find that most homebrew competitions will let you enter your
mead in 9 oz to 12 oz bottles. The bottles cannot be embossed because that
makes them identifiable. You can see the logic of not wanting judges to know
whose mead they are tasting. At our competitions here in So Cal, we are
recognizing that it is becoming harder to find good brown bottles devoid of all
embossing. So some bottles with small raised letters are being allowed, such
as those from Sierra Nevada. As long as they cannot be identified from a
neighboring table, the bottles are acceptable.

Jay Ankeney
220 39th St.
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
(310) 545-3983

Subject: Oz honey.
From: Ken Hopkins <>
Date: Thu, 06 Nov 2003 18:59:05 +0800

One Australian honey that makes really good traditional mead is that made
from the plant Salvation Jane, also known as Patterson's Curse. It is a
species introduced to Australia that has been declared a noxious weed. Bees
love its deep purple inflorescences. The honey is a light amber colour, and
the mead from it has a superb colour not unlike a lager beer. The taste is
light but complex.

Another rather expensive one is that from the Silver Gimlet tree,
moderately rare even here in its home range in Western Australia.

Ken Hopkins
Western Australia

Subject: Re: Australian honey
From: "Dan McFeeley" <>
Date: Sun, 9 Nov 2003 05:54:03 -0600

On Fri, 31 Oct 2003, in MLD 1054, Ross McKay wrote from Down Under:

>In some of the older mead making books, the use of Australian honey
>is a Bad Thing ™. It seems that the folk who wrote this didn't get out
>much and probably didn't come across many Australian honeys, because
>there are at least some that are pretty good for mead making (and making
>other fermented beverages).

Yes, that was Acton & Duncan's 1965 publication, _Making Mead_.
Although the authors said that many Australian honeys were good for
meadmaking, they warned about "Eucalyptus blossum honey," saying it
was poor, and had a bitter flavor. Unfortunately, this may have gotten
cross referenced and cross referenced to the point that the tag may
have come to apply to *all* Australian honeys. Can't understand that
one — honey is honey. Take a look at the different types of honey
that can be found in Australia and you'll see a fascinating and likely
unexplored area in meadmaking.

The problem is that there is no such thing as *a* Eucalyptus honey.
Eucalyptus isn't a single species — it's a category, much like "pine" is
a category of a wide range of evergreen trees. This is something lost
on many folk outside of the Antipodes. Eucalyptus honeys vary
widely, according to the individual type of plant.

>The subject came up again down here in Oz on one of the beer
>brewing lists, and I thought that maybe it was an opportune time to
>find out from fellow Aussies just what the go is.

Scotty Morgan hangs out on this list — he's mentioned having made
excellent meads with light honey, very likely yellowbox. Tom Smit
has done well with leatherwood honey, no mention at all of medicinal

My impression is that reports of medicinal or other off flavors are
more likely due to the meadmaking process, not necessarily the
varietal honey. Some honeys are excellent for mead, others may
have flavors that are less palatable. Be careful with this one. In
the U.S., for example, many people will say that Buckwheat honey
is much too strong for meadmaking. Buckwheat varies according
to the region, however, with western buckwheat being lighter and
better suited for meadmaking and eastern buckwheat having an
almost molasses consistency.

Here are some URL's on Australian honeys:

Looks like the center of research for Australian honeys is in, yes,
Queensland. Dr. Bruce D'Arcy is the director. It's not NQL, but
nonetheless the Guru should be pleased. Interestingly, Australian
Jellybush honey has been found to have antibacterial properties
similar to the famed New Zealand Manuka honey.

Check the honey research unit at the University of Queensland,
Brisbane for more information than you probably want to know
about Australian honeys:

Other URL's of interest:


Dan McFeeley

Subject: amazing the things you find....
Date: Sun, 16 Nov 2003 11:01:27 -0500

….on the net when you're looking for something else! Here's a stupid little
flash game about mead. Enjoy!

Subject: Bottle labelling?
From: "Mark A. Salowitz" <>
Date: Sun, 16 Nov 2003 15:07:33 -0500

I was kind of curious if anyone has any recommendations for a decent,
low price wine labelling software… preferrably one where I can use my
own graphics/jpg's etc.. and a decent source for blank labels?

My "Isabel Melomel" (Named after the hurricane I pitched during…) is
getting relatively close to bottling and I'd like to print up some nice
labels for it.

It seems quite tasty, was made with 8 lbs of blueberries, but still
nowhere near drinkable yet… but darned tasty all the same…



Subject: Chocolate mead revisited
From: "Steven Haag" <>
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 2003 06:33:45 -0600

There was a discussion on the Digest a while ago of chocolate meads and,
being a chocolate lover, I started a variation on Alson Kemp's recipe. In
spite of two rackings and two years in the carboy it didn't clear until I
found out about kieselsol. Then it took two days to clear. Anyway, the

199 oz honey
20 oz. SACO ?blend of natural and dutched cocoa?
1 tsp Fermaid
2? tsp DAP
2 packages Lalvin D47
water to 5 gallons

A day later I added:
56 oz honey
1 ? tsp ground cinnamon
10 oz SACO cocoa
water to 6 gallons

Two years later I sweetened it to a specific gravity of 1.040, added malic
acid to taste, added the kieselsol, and bottled it. It's really nice,
especially with the touch of cinnamon. Final alcohol (I have a friend with
a gas chromatograph) is 11.6 volume % ethanol.

Steve Haag

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1056