Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1108, 15 June 2004

Mead Lover's Digest #1108 Tue 15 June 2004


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



Digest archives (Mead Lovers Digest Admin)
Re: Residual Sweetnes with bottle carbonation? ("W. Andrews")
New to Digest ("jason and candace")
Why Freeze the Blueberries? ("Ariel")
Mead in Zymurgy ("Mike Bennett")
Tulip Poplar Honey (chris herrington)
Re: pasteurize / cold mix [was: Misc.] ("Ken Taborek")
Kudzu honey ("Ethel R. Silva")
Mead and Beer Competitions ()
bee happy, bee nice (
Taste of Mead ("David Craft")
Cold water mixing ("Paul Shouse")
Residual Sweetnes with bottle carbonation? (Adam McPadden)
Re: low alcohol Mead Yeast (


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Subject: Digest archives
From: (Mead Lovers Digest Admin)
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 2004 08:53:01 -0600 (MDT)

The searchable archive of the Mead-Lover's Digest is in the process of
moving. I'll post another note when it is in its new home. In the
meantime, there is still an ordinary archive at

Mead-Lover's Digest
Dick Dunn, Digest Janitor Boulder County, Colorado USA

Subject: Re: Residual Sweetnes with bottle carbonation?
From: "W. Andrews" <>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 2004 11:56:43 -0500

> > > would like to produce a lower alcohol (say 6-10% or so) mead and
> > > have it bottle carbonate with maximum residual sweetness. Is this
> > > possible? What yeast might accomplish this?
> > > I made a kiwi/strawberry mel last year with ec-1118 bottle
> > > carbonated, it is
> > > too dry for my liking.

> >

> > But other than these two methods, I'm unaware of any safe means to
> > produce a bottle conditioned sweet mead. You'd have to have absolute
> > confidence in your yeast to halt fermetation after producing enough CO2
> > to carbonate, but before producing enough to be dangerous. There is
> > too much risk for injury to make a guess like this.


> One other possibility is to sweeten the mead with something that yeast
> can't ferment, such as lactose (a sugar that occurs naturally in milk) or
> artificial sweeteners. If you use lactose, pay close attention to
> sanitation as lactobacillus can turn it into lactic acid. I've used
> lactose successfully in winemaking a few times, but I haven't tried it in
> mead.


Coincidentally, I was reading up on artificial sweeteners in
rec.arts.winemaking the other day. It seems that given time, and especially
in an acidic medium, some of them break down into more basic sugars
that would serve as yeast food. Potential bottle bomb?

(Search rec.crafts.winemaking for a recent thread with subject "Low Carb".)

  • — WB

Subject: New to Digest
From: "jason and candace" <>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 2004 13:16:19 -0400

Greeting's and Wassail !! to everyone.My name is Jason and I am from the
syracuse area of New York.I am new to this digest but not that new to
mead..I have been trying my hand at making mead for a few years now and
been very happy with what I make,types have been
plain,cyser,wintergreen,kiwi,blueberry,and a few I will be putting
together this summer will be some sumac,pumpkin spice,strawberry and who
knows what I'll think of next…lol
But enough I can't wait to swap idea's with you all and was wondering if
there were any of you in my area?

And to put my 2 cent in I freeze my bluberries first….

Subject: Why Freeze the Blueberries?
From: "Ariel" <>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 2004 10:32:04 -0700

Every online recipe I've seen that calls for adding blueberries to mead
says to freeze them first. Why? Could you just buy frozen blueberries
instead? I'm planning on making a recipe called Blue Heaven that I found on
the Got Mead site. Looks like it's gonna be tasty. But once again it calls
for fresh blueberries to be purchased and then frozen. Is there a
difference between buying fresh and freezing and buying frozen? I mean as
long as you make sure they're not packed in sugar,syrup, or preservatives
before being frozen.

Subject: Mead in Zymurgy
From: "Mike Bennett" <>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 2004 11:24:03 -0700

Dan McFeeley wrote:

> It's good that the AHA promotes an annual meadmaking day,
> but it would be even better if publications like Zymurgy
> would put out articles from time to time to help inform
> the brewer who also enjoys making and consuming meads and
> ciders.

Zymurgy does do this. About every 2-3 years they focus an issue on
mead. I think they have a policy of trying to focus an issue on all
the major beer styles on a rotating basis. As such, they seem to do a
pretty good job in coming back to mead every few years. A lot of the
info in these issues tho' is on basic meadmaking for all the newer

But, they've also done some pretty technical articles in the past. I
have one issue (it's not handy right now or else I'd give you the
number/date) in which they tested about 8 different mead yeasts by
splitting a batch of must and fermenting each one with a different
yeast. They were then tested both quantitatively (%alcohol, degree of
attenuation, etc…) and sensorial (degree of honey expression, fusel
alcohols, fruitiness, etc…). This article made me re-look at my
technique and my choice of yeast strains.

In closing, let me say that I think the AHA does a good job of
covering something that's not even their main focus. To do more would
take the focus further away from their main goals. Maybe we should be
looking more towards the AMA (American Mead Association) for
information. What ever happened to them? Are they still around?

If not, we should be looking inward to ourselves to accomplish this.
If there are enough contributors and enough interest, I might try my
hand at publishing a quarterly Meadmaking 'Zine. I already know how
to do it, I'd just need to see enough interest.

Mike Bennett
Professional Brewer for Hire
ex E-i-C, current 'office monkey'
Crazed Imaginations Magazine


Subject: Tulip Poplar Honey
From: chris herrington <>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 2004 12:25:00 -0700 (PDT)

I just obtained a couple of gallons of tulip poplar
honey from Virginia. I wanted a dark honey. It has a
biting odor. It is very dark and has a very
distinctive taste. It has a good, lingering
aftertaste. I like this honey. Has anyone made a
straight varietal with this honey? My guess it would
be better semi-sweet. I'm also considering a braggot
with dark grain additions like Special B and chocolate
malt. Any suggestions?

Subject: Re: pasteurize / cold mix [was: Misc.]
From: "Ken Taborek" <>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 2004 15:25:18 -0400

> Must:
> I tried to mix honey with cold water. It's like mixing play doh in water.
> Pretty hard. Therefore I pasteurize (155 deg). I don't think the temp
> really damages the honey, but I don't think that the cold method would
> provide a bad (infected) fermentation either, especially with a good
> pitch. I would try it if I had a better way to mix the damn thing. How do
> you [cold mixers] do it?


> Mead on,
> Vince

Vince and all,

I used to pasteurize. Now I 'cold mix', but due to the issue you
illustrated with mixing honey in cold water I will fill the sink with hot
tap water and set the honey (in a plastic gallon water jug) into the sink to
warm up and flow easier. Do this at the start of a brewing session and the
honey will have absorbed enough heat to flow easily by the time you're ready
to pour it. My hot tap water comes out at ~115f, this temperature is not
sufficient to be considered pasteurizing but it does very much improve the
flow and mixing abilities of the honey. And given that the jugs are sealed
(though not airtight, these are re-filled spring water jugs), I don't
believe that much if any aromatics could be lost using this method.



Subject: Kudzu honey
From: "Ethel R. Silva" <>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 2004 15:40:47 -0400

I just purchased some Kudzu honey from a supplier in Williamson, GA. It has
the most wonderful flavor and aroma!


(for those of you who don't know what Kudzu is, here is a brief explanation
from <>
"Kudzu's History: Up and Down the Power Pole; Kudzu was introduced to the
United States in 1876 at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. Countries were invited to build exhibits to celebrate the
100th birthday of the U.S. The Japanese government constructed a beautiful
garden filled with plants from their country. The large leaves and
sweet-smelling blooms of kudzu captured the imagination of American
gardeners who used the plant for ornamental purposes.

Florida nursery operators, Charles and Lillie Pleas, discovered that animals
would eat the plant and promoted its use for forage in the 1920s. Their Glen
Arden Nursery in Chipley sold kudzu plants through the mail. A historical
marker there proudly proclaims "Kudzu Developed Here."

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Soil Conservation Service
promoted kudzu for erosion control. Hundreds of young men were given work
planting kudzu through the Civilian Conservation Corps. Farmers were paid as
much as eight dollars an acre as incentive to plant fields of the vines in
the 1940s.

Kudzu's most vocal advocate was Channing Cope of Covington, Georgia who
promoted use of the vine to control erosion. Cope wrote about kudzu in
articles for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and talked about its virtues
frequently on his daily WSB-AM radio program broadcast from his front porch.
During the 1940s, he traveled across the southeast starting Kudzu Clubs to
honor what he called "the miracle vine."

Cope was very disappointed when the U.S. government stopped advocating the
use of kudzu in 1953 The problem is that it just grows too well! The climate
of the Southeastern U.S. is perfect for kudzu. The vines grow as much as a
foot per day during summer months, climbing trees, power poles, and anything
else they contact. Under ideal conditions kudzu vines can grow sixty feet
each year."

This plant 'literally covers anything in the South that doesn't move!"! Ok,
enough Kudzu history….bottom line, if you can get some of this Wonderful
honey, by all means buy it. I am going to make a semi sweet still mead with
this honey, and I think it should turn out 'Pretty Good" ;).


Subject: Mead and Beer Competitions
From: <>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 2004 19:50:22 -0000

'A brewer-meadmaker from around here (a
double-agent like me) won the club mead-only competition (yes, partially
using icinoclast beer judges. Nothing's perfect) with a superb cyser (I
had an opportunity to taste it) fermented with ale yeast. I assume he
didn't have to adjust much at the end, given the type of yeast.'

Thanks Vince, glad you enjoyed the cyser but it took a 3rd place in that

..anyway, and I am not entering this debate on either side of the fence, but
for the mead brewers/lovers out there, there are a number of competitions
held around the country, that are mead only competitions. While I do enter
the local beer competitions, for the most part it is to support the homebrew
clubs running them. I know full well that my cyser is going to be judged
along with every other type of mead/cider entered in one grouping. Big

For me, the true test of my product is the mead only competitions, such as
the Mazer Cup and Meadllennium, to name just two. In those competitions my
cyser is judged against other cysers not against any other variation. The
feedback is pretty much right on target and worth the price of admission and
for that I must thank the likes of Jeff Renner, Ron Bach and Ken Schram for
their efforts. (I still have your scoresheets, gentlemen). All beer judges, I
might add.

Mead uses the same equipment for the most part as making beer, is easy to
make and seems to be a valid offshoot of brewing. Unlike Sake, whose brewing
methods and tastes were maybe too foreign for American tastes, interest waned
over time to the point of dropping it entirely from the BJCP ranks. Not that
there are not any Sake brewers still out there. Just not enough.

Yeah, I guess I have taken a stand. Mead makers are not going to go
away…and if you want your mead judged try entering them in a competition
specific to mead. The people involved with these competitions seem devoted
to this aspect of our hobby and I applaude their efforts to promote mead as

Double-agent Al Hazan signing off.

Subject: bee happy, bee nice
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 2004 16:44:19 -0400


  • -snip-

<<<<And yes, you can "brew" mead. For example, one definition of "brew" is
<<<<"drink prepared by steeping and boiling and fermenting rather than
<<<<Sounds like the way many of us make mead.


im not certain those who wrote the online dictionary you refer to

have ever brewed anything. for all practical purposes, when we, in the
wonderful world of fermentation refer to brewing, it is always about beer,
ale, ect. ect. you wouldn't call someone who makes wine a brewer would you?
but i digress. thats petty stuff and we dont need to dwell on it.


now what i do need to dwell on is the following:


  • -snip-

<<<<<Don't let one curmudgeon spoil your day or drive you way. I don't know
<<<<<what got under Steven Butcher's skin, but his response was way over the



a curmudgeon, i am not. and you obviously did not read the rest of my

post. i would appreciate if you did before you resulted in name calling.
that is precisely what provoked me to write my original post to begin with.
the audacity of someone to call someone else a cheater or to insinuate that
their methods are flawed because they choose to use a different means to
achieve the same goal is, at best, elitist…at worst, snobbery. we are
home meadmakers…mazers…not professionals. this is an information forum.
i have a similar mead making philosophy to phil, but would never knock
another member of this forum because they choose to pasteurize, sulfite or
use yeast energizer. i embrace what anyone has to say in this forum and use
what i will and leave what i will based on my own experiences and habits. i
just wont criticize them for it. now, as of this posting this
misunderstanding has been cleared up with paul.


now…to paul…i apologize if my my post was combative. as i read in

you previous post i can see there is no hard feelings. it seems as we both
misunderstood the other in most respects. a glass of newly bottled spiced
cyster to you, my friend!(although it should be much better about 6 months
from now)all this talk about ume japanese plums has sparked my interest in
making some sort of sake/mead hybrid. hmmmmmmmm. any thoughts on that? has
anyone out there every tried this? i have a few sake recipes but ive never
made sake and never heard of anyone combining the two.




Subject: Taste of Mead
From: "David Craft" <>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 2004 18:04:01 -0400


My wife doesn't like my mead, any of it.

She says that it reminds her of Creomulsion Cough Syrup. Granted cough
syrup flavor in a young mead is not unusual. But these are well aged
examples that many people love.

I don't remember what Creomulsion tasted like, but many meads have a flavor
similar to Teaberry Gum? Any one on the same page with me, my wife?

Just transferring a yummy Orange Blossom Mead, that has that wonderful
Teaberry flavor……………. and brewing a Rye Beer and Barleywine, if
the rain will hold off.

David B. Craft
Club Secretary
Battleground Brewers Guild
Crow Hill Brewery and Meadery
Greensboro, NC

PS- Is the HBD being distributed yet?

Subject: Cold water mixing
From: "Paul Shouse" <>
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 2004 07:53:21 +0900

>I tried to mix honey with cold water. It's like mixing play doh in water.
>Pretty hard. Therefore I pasteurize (155 deg). I don't think the temp
>really damages the honey, but I don't think that the cold method would
>provide a bad (infected) fermentation either, especially with a good
>pitch. I would try it if I had a better way to mix the damn thing. How do
>you [cold mixers] do it?


>Mead on,

I just smile and think of it as an upper body workout. You don't need to use
ice water either, as long as the water is not hot you won't affect the honey
all that much. An easier way would be to go to the hardware store and get a
paint mixing attachment for your electric drill. Don't use it in glass though,
use a large plastic bucket for the mixing then transfer it to your fermenter.
Your must will be well oxygenated and ready for the yeast as well.


  • -Paul


Subject: Residual Sweetnes with bottle carbonation?
From: Adam McPadden <>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 2004 19:50:15 -0400


Regarding your question about residual sweetness, it has generated
a lot of responses, but I haven't seen the method I use. So here it is.

Primary ferment to dry at whatever alcohol level you want, but not to the
level that the yeast die, we still need to use residual yeast at bottling
time to carbonate. Rack, let clear. When ready to bottle, rack again,
add enough honey/fruit juice to get the level of sweetness/flavor dialed in.

Bottle most in wire top champagne bottles, but also bottle 1 six pack in
12oz crown cap beer bottles. In the Champagne bottles, leave a little
more air space than usual. Then wait.

After a week, open up a 12oz bottle, check for level of carbonation. The
12oz bottles are sacrificial lambs here. I usually open one per week until
the level of carbonation is right.

Then I heat up a big pot of water to boiling, and submerge the champagne
bottles for about 20min. This pasteurization stops any further fermentation.
The extra air space comes into play here. The first time I did this, I left
the usual minimum air space, and when pasteurizing, the mead expanded and
blew some of the tops off, in spite of the wire wraps. My wife particularly
loves that episode…the image of me tip toeing around the kitchen with
leather gloves, barbecue tongs and goggles keeps her smiling…

Thats it. If you keg, its less work to artificially carbonate, or if
you bottle its also less work to use a non-fermentable sugar to get the
additional sweetness at bottling, then just enough honey to add some
carbonation (like bottling beer).

Its purely a matter of personal perference, I try to limit my ingredients to
honey, fruits and yeast if possible. If not, no big deal….I'll drink just
about anything in the end. If your smiling when you brew, and smiling when
you consume….what else can you ask for?

Good luck
Underhill, Vermont

Subject: Re: low alcohol Mead Yeast
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 2004 00:32:23 EDT

Over the years, I've made several low alcohol meads with a sweet finish by
using ale yeast instead of my usual wine & Champagne strains. I prefer using
Wyeast liquid cultures but assume that a good quality dry ale yeast will also
work. I've tried different British strains with various results. My guess is
that some are more adaptable to fermenting honey then others. But I always
get good consistent clean results with Wyeast "Chico" 1056 strain. This
strain seems to make a nicely balanced mead. I start with 12# honey in four
gallons of water to make a starting volume of five gallons. The OG is usually
around 1.085 to 1.090. The "Chico" 1056 strain usually stops around 1.020 but
may go down to 1.010 with some encouragement by the addition of yeast nutrient
or fruit. Other ale yeasts sometimes quit at 1.030 leaving a very sweet
mead. I'll blend the too sweet meads with a dry mead to get a better balance.
The only sure way to create a safe sparkling mead is with a keg system and a
CO2 tank. I'll sometimes blend a bit of a sweet mead into a dry mead and let
things run their course over time to create a gentle sparkling mead in a
bottle. I can drink the mead semi-sweet when freshly bottled and find that
it'll gradually dry up and take on carbonation over time. I've never had a
bottle explode but I blend conservatively. I usually go through a summer season
and wait at least one complete year before bottling to be certain the meads
are stable. I'm fortunate to have a big basement and an assortment of carboys
sitting and maturing.

cheers, Bob

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1108