Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1113, 4 July 2004

Mead Lover's Digest #1113 Mon 4 July 2004


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



Re: Unfermentable Sugars (Mead Lover's Digest #1110, 23 June 2004) (Ken Vale)
"Jeff Tollefson" <> (Talon McCormick)
What's the no-heat process? (Talon McCormick)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1112, 1 July 2004 ()
correction (MICAH MILLSPAW)
plum mel recipes? (Linda Short)
Re: spoilage? ("Dan McFeeley")
Re: Must treatment ("Dan McFeeley")
Re: Must treatment ("Dan McFeeley")


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Subject: Re: Unfermentable Sugars (Mead Lover's Digest #1110, 23 June 2004)
From: Ken Vale <>
Date: Thu, 01 Jul 2004 08:38:51 -0400 wrote:

>Subject: re: unfermentable sugars
>From: Adam Funk <>
>Date: Fri, 18 Jun 2004 23:15:52 +0100


>I'm aware of two types of things that I mentioned before: lactose and
>artificial sweeteners. Someone else in Digest #1109 mentions that
>NutraSweet can be metabolized by yeast and would therefore not work. I
>have never tried artificial sweeteners in brewing/wine/meadmaking since I
>think they taste funny in general. As I mentioned before, I have used
>lactose a few times in winemaking and it worked, but beware of
>lactobacillus which can convert sugars (including lactose and others)
>into lactic acid. (I have produced deliberately sour beer by adding live
>yogurt shortly before bottling).


You have sparked my curiosity. To obtain a sour flavour in mead

using yogurt would I have to have to add lactose as well? Any
particuliar type of bacterial culture? How much should be added per
gallon? How long before bottling?



Subject: "Jeff Tollefson" <>
From: Talon McCormick <>
Date: Thu, 1 Jul 2004 08:41:36 -0400 (GMT-04:00)

*****Original message********

Subject: Question
From: "Jeff Tollefson" <>
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 2004 16:26:27 -0700


I constantly see people boasting that their mead clears in a few weeks and
that it is ready to drink in a matter of 2 months or so. How are these
people able to do this? What is the secret? My hypothesis is that higher
temperature is the key to fast fermentation. But in any case, I would sure
like to know how this is done.

I myself have taken the necessary steps that I am aware of, such as adding
yeast nutrient/energiser and rehydrating the yeast.


I live in Florida and have difficulty keeping my meads below 80 degrees
for fermentation purposes. I normally don't let my house go higher than
78 degrees in the summer, which seems to go on all year long. I've not
had a mead clear very quickly unless it was in a 1 gallon batch and .
Mine usually take at least 3 months to clear depending on the recipe.
One took as little as 2 months, but that was because I accidentally let
the honey boil and it was my first batch. I've still got one bottle of it
saved for my anniversary in 2014. I have yet to have one clear anywhere
near that fast.

I've got a cinnamon recipe that says it's drinkable in less than a month
and completely clear. It's a gallon batch recipe and I was considering
an experiment of making 6 gallons of it broken into a 1 gallon and a 5
gallon batch just to see how differently it turns out.


Subject: What's the no-heat process?
From: Talon McCormick <>
Date: Thu, 1 Jul 2004 09:09:59 -0400 (GMT-04:00)

Mr. Schramm and any others that use the no-heat method,

Could you please detail what you do in your process prior to pitching yeast?
Obviously clean your utensils, fermentors, bottles, etc as best as possible
in non-laboratory conditions and using a good yeast starter. But what is
it that you do to get the honey and water to mix well?

There have been some in the pasturize/no pasturize discussions that say
they only warm their water so that they can mix the honey and I understand
that would make it easier. I'm of the mind-set to warm the honey and scum
all the stuff that comes to the top. From what I'm interpreting, and I
can possibly be completely wrong in my interpretation, is that you use
cold/room temperature water to mix your honey. Is there any specialized
equipment that you use to ensure proper mixing if this is the case?

I'm merely curious and am considering doing this process with one of
my next 4 planned batches that I'm going to make and would like a more
well defined process so that I'm certain of what I'm going to do and can
hopefully minimize contamination.


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1112, 1 July 2004
From: <>
Date: Thu, 01 Jul 2004 10:08:30 -0500

on 7/1/04 1:37 AM, at


> Mead Lover's Digest #1112 1 July 2004


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


> Contents:
> mead is a 4-letter word (Dick Dunn)
> RE: Heating. ("Murphy-Marsh, Leigh")
> heating (Jim Johnston)
> heat etc (Mike Faul)
> Question ("Jeff Tollefson")
> FYI: Pasteurizing .. in Milk (Mark Ottenberg)
> To heat or not to heat ("Paul Shouse")
> Must treatment (Ken Schramm)
> spoilage? (MICAH MILLSPAW)


> NOTE: Digest appears when there is enough material to send one.
> Send ONLY articles for the digest to
> Use for [un]subscribe/admin requests.
> Digest archives and FAQ are available at

> ———————————————————————- >

> Subject: mead is a 4-letter word
> From: (Dick Dunn)
> Date: Mon, 28 Jun 2004 10:33:53 -0600 (MDT)


> in the last digest…
>> …I make more than 400 gallons of meade a year…
>> …All my meades…
>> …meade still took silver…


> Please, it's "mead", not "meade".


> Yeah, I know…fussy fussy fussy…
> "Meade" is a trademarked name for a (mediocre) white wine containing
> a little bit of un-fermented honey. That's not what we're talking about
> here. We want mead.


> Dick


Well Dick,

I've had this conversation a time or two, and I'll spell it how I wish,
thank you.

The addition of the "e" is in agreement with the Olde English, which I
prefer. If you don't like it, don't drink it. It's your loss.

  • -zz

Subject: correction
Date: Thu, 1 Jul 2004 12:07:10 -0700 (PDT)

I made a typo
>71.7C(161F) for 15 min.

should read 'for 15 seconds'

And I too had said more than enough on this topic.


Subject: plum mel recipes?
From: Linda Short <>
Date: Fri, 2 Jul 2004 11:44:35 -0700 (PDT)

I just bought 10 lbs of plums a few minutes ago.
I'd really like to make a plum melomel for my
30th birthday in two years. Can anyone suggest a
sweet/semi-sweet recipe?

Plan A is that I will blanche the plums to remove
the skin, cut them open to remove the pit and the
red parts (I've been told it's bitter and should
be removed, were they wrong?) then start
brewing, using 25 lbs of honey (5 gallon batch)
and champagne yeast.

Can I use a mesh bag and let the plums dangle in
the must or should I dump the plums in? It seems
to me that dangling would be easier for cleanup.


  • -Linda Short-


Subject: Re: spoilage?
From: "Dan McFeeley" <>
Date: Sat, 3 Jul 2004 22:41:45 -0500

On Wed, 30 Jun 2004, in MLD 1112, Micah Millspaw wrote, in part:

>Now, my guess on the historical origin of boiling:
>back in the day, the water was not always very pure
>(hence it was safer to drink mead and beer) so
>boiling at least the water was much more necessary
>than nowadays.

Is this true? I do not know that mead musts have
traditionally been heated. Perhaps one of the mead
historians could answer this.

Boiling the must is an old technique, documented in Digby
and probably going back through the Medieval era. These
are old recipes, and the style back then was to be short on
both detail and reason. A lot of them read as a kind of short
hand setting down of the method, which was best understood
by people already familiar with making ales, wines and meads.
That makes it hard to figure out why a technique or method
was done.

Not everyone did this. The earliest mead recipe on record,
appearing in Pliny's Natural History (written during the first
century AD) recomends boiling the water *before* adding
the honey. Here's the recipe:

There is a wine made solely of honey and water. For this purpose it is
recommended that rain water should be kept for a period of five years. Those
who shew greater skill, content themselves with taking the water just after
it has fallen, and boiling it down one third, to which they then add one
third in quantity of old honey, and keep the mixture exposed to the rays of
a hot sun for forty days after the rising of the Dog-star; others, however,
rack it off in the course of ten days, and tightly cork the vessels in which
it is kept. The beverage is known as *hydromeli,* and with age acquires the
flavor of wine. It is nowhere more highly esteemed than in Phrygia.


Dan McFeeley

Subject: Re: Must treatment
From: "Dan McFeeley" <>
Date: Sun, 4 Jul 2004 01:10:15 -0500

Ken Schramm mentioned that I had been cautious about
the FAN analysis in his last MLD post (MLD 1112).

By way of clarification, I was asking him if the formol
titration process had been used in the FAN analysis of
his honey musts. This is an old method and has been
used in past analyses of honey, prior to the 1960's. The
problem with the formal titration method in honey is the
skewing of the figures by the ph dependent reaction of
glucolactone and gluconic acid. Avoiding lengthy
explanations as much as possible, it had long been
recognized that acid analysis of honey was difficult,
if not impossible, due to what was called an unstable
pH. Gluconlactone, a product formed by honeybees
during the process of ripening flower nectar into honey,
would interfere with any standard titration method.
A known base is added to an acidic solution in standard
titration methods, which allows analysts to calculate
the amount of acid the base reacts to. Gluconolactone,
present in all honey, reacts to the addition of any base
by changing into gluconic acid, thus changing the amount
of acid in the sample being measured. John W. White jr.
first identifed the source of the problem of acid analysis
in honey, i.e, the gluconolactone reaction, in an article
published in 1958. It has become a standard in the honey
industry since then. I was able to identify the persistence
of the gluconolactone reaction in mead in a series of
experiments that I published in Bee Culture magazine.

Anyway, the formal titration method uses standard titration
in the last states of the process, which makes it an inacurrate
method for honey, or honey must analysis. An alternate
method for anlyzing FAN level in honey has been developed,
but I haven't tracked that one down yet. There are other
methods of FAN analysis available and as Ken pointed out
in his MLD post, Dr. Gavitt was confident that this method
was accurate. From what I've read, and I'm certainly no
expert here, the formol titration method is suspect in the
analysis of FAN levels in wine since it includes proline,
an amino acid that yeasts are unable to use as a nitrogen
source. Dr. Gavitt is likely aware of this.

I'm really appreciative that Ken took the time and effort to
have his honey musts analyzed at the University of Cornell
in this way. Serious research into mead and honey fermentation
is not a strong focus of acedemic reseach, even more so since
the passing of Roger Morse and Robert Kime. I haven't done
an exhaustive search of the literature, but from what I've seen,
the bulk of serious reseach into honey fermentation has come
out of the University of Cornell in the USA, and that was
conducted by Morse and Kime. No one else, world wide,
is doing serious reseach on an academic level into honey
fermentation. The only ones left are amateur scientists, folk
like Ken Schramm and others, having day jobs while trying
to look seriously into the distinctions of mead making, i.e.,
its basic science, apart from wine making.


Dan McFeeley

Subject: Re: Must treatment
From: "Dan McFeeley" <>
Date: Sun, 4 Jul 2004 01:20:01 -0500

Oh yeah, I should have added that if the formol
titration method had been used in the analysis of
Ken's honey musts (and it probably wasn't), the
actual figure would have been *lower* than the
figures Ken reported.


Dan McFeeley

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1113