Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1079, 1 March 2004

Mead Lover's Digest #1079 Mon 1 March 2004


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



Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1078, 28 February 2004 ()
Spring Water and Aging of Mead ("Kalliope")
Re: Tea Mead ("S and J")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1078, 28 February 2004 (
"show mead" help (Sue Bentley)
Re: History of Fortified Mead? (Marc Shapiro)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1078, 28 February 2004 (Marc Shapiro)
Tea in mead ("Dennis Key")
Summary of History of Fortified Mead Research (Cam Graham)


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Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1078, 28 February 2004
From: <>
Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2004 12:37:45 -0500

on 2/28/04 10:59 AM, at

> '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?

What you'd have is a metheglin, and I've been making them for about 5 years.
I've never made one simply out of green or black tea, but have included same
in some of my recipes.

I've never had any luck with sweet meade yeast, however and would never
recommend the stuff.

Good luck,

  • -zz

Subject: Spring Water and Aging of Mead
From: "Kalliope" <>
Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2004 12:51:27 -0600

I concur with Vince on his post about Spring Water. I believe
it is the best route to go, and wouldn't dream of using our
tap water for mead.

In Arkansas we are very lucky to have Mountain Valley Spring Water.
They have been bottling since 1881 and the EPA, starting in the
1970s, monitored their water output for contaminants. After 25 years
they gave up because they could not find any. The water is from
springs that are in excess of 145 degrees F. and from several
miles down. Supposedly the crystals in the area filter the water.
The great thing about MVSW is they come in 5 gallon glass
bottles, which you can use for carboys, for the price of a $7
deposit. (In fact, if you go to your local homebrew store, they
are the exact same product, at a savings of at least $13-$17
per carboy.)

There are other companies in the same area as MVSW
(Garland and Montgomery Counties in Ark.) but MVSW
is the most reliable and the only one I have found that
uses glass bottles.

Also, I called a water company about the term 'artesian'
They stated that it comes from a spring that has to rise from
the ground at the minumum height of 16". So I'm not sure
that anybody could just have an artesian spring in their

I made some mead last year, Orange Blossom, that I was
worried that I had not made correctly. I had tried it at 6
months and was more like syrup than mead. I just tried
some last night (took a bottle to a family reunion) and it
was fantastic! If it tastes like this at 1 year, it ought to be
Ambrosia next year. My family was very impressed that
I had made this and really like it. This spring I will be on
a quest for other varities of honey. Though right now I
have 60 lbs of Orange Blossom honey that I need to
make up this weekend. I was lucky enough to find a
source in Ark. The local honey supplier had bought
3,500 lbs. of Orange Blossom honey from a source
in Florida.


Subject: Re: Tea Mead
From: "S and J" <>
Date: Sun, 29 Feb 2004 08:36:24 -0500

In the past I've made meads with herb teas. They were all good. The

different herbal varieties of tea offer many choices. If I remember
right, I used 6-8 tea bags steeped in a gallon of cool water and added
to make a 5 Gallon batch at yeast pitching.

Now, I'm more into fruit and/or fresh herbs in Swimbo's meads. Also, a

gallon and a half of Welsch's grape juice, no preservstives, in a 5
gallon batch is killer with Wyeast sweet mead yeast. When using sweet
mead yeast you must give the carboy a shake everyday after the initial
fermentation has slowed down, usually after the first 5-6 days.

Happy Fermentations, Scott Ross


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1078, 28 February 2004
Date: Sun, 29 Feb 2004 12:36:46 EST


I am fairly new to mead brewing. As of yet I've only had one successful batch
of mead. And the fermenting time is taking at least 9 months. Every batch I
make has an off flavor to it. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. Could it be
the honey I'm using? My basic recipe is as follows; Honey, water, champagne
yeast, lemon juice, grape tannin or hops. Can the sediment be causing it?
Any idea what I can do?

Hope this posted correctly.

Subject: "show mead" help
From: Sue Bentley <>
Date: Sun, 29 Feb 2004 15:33:11 -0800

I have a 5 gallon batch of Show Mead that I started last December 1st. the
last SG reading on Feb 12th was 1.015.

Activity has slowed down and it is becoming clearer. I just re-racked it
today, maybe I should of just bottled it?

Also now I have a bit of airspace, should I add more honey?


Subject: Re: History of Fortified Mead?
From: Marc Shapiro <>
Date: Mon, 01 Mar 2004 13:34:54 -0500

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

The question of "Old World Roots" of fortified mead was brought up.

In the Encyclopaedia Britannica (Copyright 1966), in an article titled
"Alcoholic Beverages" on page 544, there is a chart showing the origin and
dates of distilled beverages. The chart includes approximate dates, country
of origin, raw materials, fermented liquour and the distillate. It shows mead
as having been distilled in Britain around 500 A.D.


Visit "The Meadery" at

Marc Shapiro "If you drink melomel every day you will live to be 150,

unless your wife shoots you first."

  • – Dr. Ferenc Androci

  • – (Winemaker, Little Hungary Farm Winery)


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1078, 28 February 2004
From: Marc Shapiro <>
Date: Mon, 01 Mar 2004 13:41:40 -0500

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


> … 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?

I frequently use tea as a base in my wines and meads containing citrus juices.

Usually, I will use a mixture of ordinary black teas along with orange

flavored teas and then add citrus juice and either honey, or sugar, to make
the must. I have made wines and meads this way using oranges, sour oranges
and calomondins. All were well received by my friends, as well as judges.


Marc Shapiro "If you drink melomel every day you will live to be 150,

unless your wife shoots you first."

  • – Dr. Ferenc Androci

  • – (Winemaker, Little Hungary Farm Winery)


Subject: Tea in mead
From: "Dennis Key" <>
Date: Mon, 1 Mar 2004 16:37:01 -0700

I have made several batches using various teas with good results. I
used Celestial Seasons Caribbean Oasis in one batch. 18 tea bags with 6
English Breakfast teabags (for the tannin) steeped in my pasteurizing
honey overnight. Strained into the primary the next day, pitched
champaign yeast and jumped back. The amount of honey you use depends on
how sweet or dry you want your mead to be. I favor semisweet with a
final gravity around 1.01-1.015. In a six gallon primary, this is just
under two gallons of honey. I refer you to Duncan & Acton's Mead Making
for their technique of "feeding" the must until you get the sweetness
you want. To control the alcohol content, select a yeast with the
alcohol tolerance you want and feed it until it quits fermenting. After
a little practice and good record-keeping, you'll be able to get into
the ballpark up front and tweak it a bit at the end. I have also used
the same company's Mandarin Orange tea with cr=E8me de cocao cordial
flavoring to make an orange chocolate mead which came out well. Most
recently, I made a tasty chai mead using 18 chai teabags in six gallons
with a bit of extra clove added.

The possibilities are endless. I have read of meads made with Red
Zinger tea (Celestial Seasons again). I sometimes use 6-8 black teabags
in a batch that doesn't have much of a mouth feel to add tannin. Use
whatever strikes your fancy and experiment with one gallon batches if
you like. Keep us posted so we can be the avid copycats we all are!
Never Thirst, Dione Greywolfe

Subject: Summary of History of Fortified Mead Research
From: Cam Graham <>
Date: Mon, 1 Mar 2004 15:52:09 -0800 (PST)

I received many replies to my request for assistance
in researching whether or not meads were traditionally
fortified. As promised, I've compiled the pertinent
information below.

In brief, I am told there are historical references to
fortified meads dating as far back as the 1600's (if
we believe Pepys' description is of fortified mead),
and a common line of argument is that if winemakers of
long ago fortified grape and other fruit wines, it is
extremely unlikely that they did not also fortify
mead. A point not mentioned but that seems likely is
that since mead is commonly flavored with herbs and
spices, and alcohol is commonly used to extract
flavors and essential oils from herbs and spices, that
historically the alcohol with (or without) herbs and
spices was probably added directly to the mead after
sitting for a month of so. (A note regarding the
recipe book evidence: I believe it's most likely that
the recipe books compiled historical recipes rather
than present newly invented ones.)

An English meadmaker reports that Frances Beswick's
book, Traditional British Honey Drinks, (1992, ISBN 1
872883 27 3), includes the following recipe:?Scotch
Malmesey involves fermenting ale wort, sugar, honey
and yeast for a month. While this is in process, soak
raisins & almonds in whiskey. After the month, strain
the whiskey to the ferment, and bottle a month later.'
This is an actual recipe for a fortified mead, in
particular a braggot, if I'm not mistaken. [A note on
Malmsey – a fortified, white, sweet wine, originally
made in the Peloponnese of Greece. I consider it
likely that it originally may well have been a honey
wine, fortified to finish fermentation while the wine
was still sweet.]

A Polish meadmaker reports that the Polish Bible of
meadmaking ("Meadering(?) the art refashion honey and
fruits on drinks", by Dr. Teolfil Ciesielski, Lwów,
1925) states that distilled spirits are routinely
added to meads, in particular to ensure an early
finish to fermentation.

There is a description of metheglin (mead flavored
with herbs) in the diary of Samuel Pepys (which
covered the period 1659-1667) as being "strong in the
superlatif, if taken immoderately, doth stupifie more
than any other liquor and keeps a humming in the
brain". This is suggestive that it was fortified, and
taken with my suggestion that alcohol would have been
used to extract the essence of various herbs is quite
convincing that mead was indeed fortified.

A meadmeaker from Zaire reports that there is a common
cookbook, produced in the 1780's that has a recipe for
mead which incorporates a bottle of brandy for every
two gallons. He gave instructions for getting a copy
of the book, but I haven't yet succeeded. I've
emailed him to ask for more details if available.

Dan McFeeley, well-known mead historian, reports that
Clara Furness' book ?Honey Wines and Beers? (1972) has
a few recipes for fortified meads on p.30. She
doesn't give a source for the recipes but Dan suspects
they are old.

I hope this is of interest to you, and thanks again
for all the help I've received.

Cam Graham
Middle Mountain Mead
Hornby Island, BC

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1079