Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1078, 28 February 2004

Mead Lover's Digest #1078 Sat 28 February 2004


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



Re: Flavoring a chocolate mead ("john doerter")
Mead gallon batches ("Estel Schultis")
History of Fortified Mead? (Cam Graham)
Pruno! Prison Wine ("Dan McFeeley")
tea in a mead? ()
[Fwd: More on water] ("Vince Galet")


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Subject: Re: Flavoring a chocolate mead
From: "john doerter" <>
Date: Sun, 22 Feb 2004 14:08:53 -0600

> Subject: Re: Flavoring a chocolate mead
> From: Steven Sanders <>
> Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2004 09:17:51 -0800 (PST)


> > From: "Craig Sturdivant" <>
> > Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2004 19:49:29 +0000

> >

> > I have 2 1/2 gallons of a sweet chocolate mead going
> > through bulk carboy
> > aging. Later in the spring I will be bottling it,
> > and I have decided to
> > flavor it with raspberry (probably the raspberry
> > extract flavoring avaiable
> > at brew shops).


> Craig,

I added Rasberry flavoring from a brew shop at the secondary
stage in a recipe using cocoa powder. This was the first mead
I have ever made that had an off taste… one chairitable person
described it as being like a beef burgundy. I tried this mead after
only 9 months in the carboy and it could be partially a problem
with the oils from the cocoa powder not having broken down
yet. But I really advise caution going down this route.

> Subject: Chocolate and Raspberry flavoring in Mead.
> From: "David Craft" <>
> Date: Sun, 15 Feb 2004 09:08:44 -0500


> Have you thought about using liqueur instead like Frambroise for raspberry
> and Crème de Cacao for chocolate. You add some sugar and alcohol too. It
> has worked for me in the past. You need to add about a 1/2 cup of each and
> then taste and adjust from there………


This idea might work, but with the screwed up laws
of our land I believe it is technicly against the law in
the US to blend any distilled alchohol product with
homemade wine and bottle it. Even if you don't distill
the spirit yourself.
Not that the Jackbooted ATF is likely to break in on you,


Subject: Mead gallon batches
From: "Estel Schultis" <>
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2004 20:49:32 -0700

I am trying my first batch of mead and have used the 6 gallon fermenter
for a one gallon batch. Is the large size of the fermenter going to be a
problem or should I have used a smaller fermenter?
Estel Schultis

Subject: History of Fortified Mead?
From: Cam Graham <>
Date: Wed, 25 Feb 2004 09:18:36 -0800 (PST)


I hope this is the right place to post this – I am a
meadmaker currently setting up a commercial
meadery in British Columbia, Canada. The govt folks
here are currently establishing regulations that would
effectively prohibit me from offering a fortified mead
on the grounds that it is not a 'traditional' product,
defined by them as: "formulated, made and marketed in
a manner consistent with long established practices,
usually with historical Old World roots".

I'm of the (relatively uninformed) opinion that
fortified meads are indeed a traditional product, and
hope that there might be those among you who could
provide pointers to anecdotal or other evidence that
such is indeed the case. I've seen a description of
Lurgas Hall's Christmas Mead that says: "Over the
centuries, this delicious drink, made from fermented
honey has been produced in many forms unadulterated as
the ale of the poor or spiced and fortified as the
celebration liquor of kings." It makes perfect sense
to me that this is true, but appreciate the
opportunity to ask a knowledgeable community of mead
lovers such as yourselves..

I'd certainly appreciate any guidance you could offer
me in this matter, and many thanks to Dick Dunn for
maintaining this mailing list.

Cam Graham
Middle Mountain Mead
Hornby Island, BC

Subject: Pruno!  Prison Wine
From: "Dan McFeeley" <>
Date: Wed, 25 Feb 2004 12:22:41 -0600

Interesting recipe at this URL, winemaking as
practiced in prison.

It looks like nasty stuff, fermented fruit with
ketchup and sugar saved from packets to
boost the sugar levels.

You know, I had an evil thought — if the felons
would save honey packets from breakfast,
rather than sugar and ketchup packets, they
could make their own melomels. ;->


Dan McFeeley

Subject: tea in a mead?
From: <>
Date: Thu, 26 Feb 2004 02:53:47 -0800

I was enjoying a sumptuous dinner with ym girlfriend tonight when the
subject came around to fermented beverages. I told her my tale of a bottle
of iced tea I'd opened and then forgotten about, which had fermented. Quite
yummy it was, actually: only slightly astringent from the tannic acid,
sweet, and perhaps 8-10% alcohol. So I thought to myself, 'what would it be
like if I were to make a mead with tea?'

Well, folks, what do you think? My idea is to brew up a five gallon batch
of more or less average tea, add twelve pounds of tummy local honey and a
couple yeast nutrient tabs, and let her fly with some Wyeast sweet mead
smackpack yeast. Ideas/suggestions?

Thanks a bunch!


Subject: [Fwd: More on water]
From: "Vince Galet" <>
Date: Fri, 27 Feb 2004 16:33:25 -0500 (EST)

In one of the last digests, Mark Taratoot points out that city water is
regulated by EPA and a report is available.
I looked at my annual report from PA Water company (available at This is a partial disclosure of the full analysis
reporting on the most important contaminants (those that are regulated and
having mandatory disclosure) . The water company is kind enough to
indicate most likely sources of contamination. I found the following:

Trichloroethylene: 5ppb – source: discharge from metal degreasing sites
and other factories
Di (2-ethylhexyl) phtalate: 6ppb – source: discharge from rubber and
chemical factories
1,2,3 trichloropropane: 0.2 ppb – source: discharge from industrial sites

For by-products from water chlorination (in addition to residual chlorine)
Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) 80ppb
Haloacetic Acids 60ppb

Nitrates are also undesirable and commonly found in tap water (including
mine). They usually come from fertilizers. Granted, they are also present
sometimes in spring water.

As I mentioned in my last posting, these are acceptable levels per the
regulation but the normal level is (you shouldn't have any
trichloroethylene or other crap in *normal* water).
Now, the report also mentions that there are "unregulated contaminants for
which EPA has not established drinking water standards".
Any of these products + the undisclosed others are undesirable. The very
small amounts make the water "pass the test" and OK to drink (or brew
with) but this is not optimal.

Mark also pointed out that your plumbing system may also affect the water.
I would add that faucets are very prone to the culture of any kind of
germs (nooks, crannies and deposits of various kinds – check the inside of
your faucet you may be surprised). When sampling remote water, water
companies used to torch the faucet (to sterilize) and let the water run
for a while before sampling as a standard procedure. I don't know if they
still do that but the point is that after your own piping and faucet, who
knows what you eventually get in your glass (or kettle).

Mark mentions that some bottled water is tap water. That's true. Some
people found a great idea to make money and since consumers are not very
discriminative, the bottled water industry is making a fortune with a
"legal scam" (look at the exponential growth of Dasani). Most–probably
all water that is not called SPRING water is tap water with a minor
purification step (like filtration). If this is to buy that kind of water,
drink your tap water and save money. "Artesian water" is well water also
implicitly presented as superior but it's just another scam (gee, I'll dig

a hole in my backyard and sell the water that comes out of it)

Mark implies that the FDA regulations regarding water are lose. I beg to
differ. The FDA regulates water like a food and holds manufacturer to
quality standards and testing just like EPA, if not more. For more
information on FDA and water, see .
You will have FAQ and CFR references and even the following statement: "It
is worth noting that bottled water is one of the few foods for which FDA
has developed specific CGMP regulations or such a detailed standard of

Now, for those who want the best and purest water, chose SPRING water.
Note that there are also qualities in spring water. It depends on the
spring location. Check the spring: some are located in plains and not too
far from civilization, these are not the best because there is less
natural filtration and more possible contamination (esp with nitrates).
Usually when the spring is remote and in a mountain area (the mountain
acting as a giant filter) you get the best water, also with a well
balanced mineral and oligo-element content (and this one is even more
expensive due to transportation costs). Coincidentally, when you live in
that kind of area, your tap water is also pretty good as the water co.
taps it from the surroundings (well, some may take it from the sewer – you
may want to check), so you are drinking spring water with a little

One issue remains: are pthalates leaching from the bottles into the water?
I'd like to know more about that point. Mark, do you have any data to
support this? (in the meantime I noticed that my PAWC tap water contains 6
ppb of phtalates).

My conclusion (pending the phtalate question): it depends on how picky you
are: tap water is drinkable and won't kill you, it won't (usually) give a
bad taste to your mead/beer/whatever, and for many people that's good
enough (selection criteria: no bad taste = acceptable).
For the other folks with any of the following features:
a)sensitive palate able to detect subtle variations in taste
b)zero tolerance for contaminants
c)wanting only the best
d)believing that many little things you can't even identify make a
difference in the bottom line
e)don't want to let the water run a minute or two in the morning before
taking a drink and don't want to use filters
f)have an extra 4-5 bucks to invest in a 5 gal batch,
go for spring water (not *any* bottled water) and pay for it–or move to
the mountains ? and if you buy water jugs, please recycle 🙂


End of Mead Lover's Digest #1078