Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1114, 11 July 2004

Mead Lover's Digest #1114 Mon 11 July 2004


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



Adding yogurt (was: unfermentable sugars). (Adam Funk)
Non-Burning Question ("Paul Shouse")
Dissolving honey (Ken Schramm)
words (was "mead is a 4-letter word") (Dick Dunn)
Re: No Heat Method( MLD #1113, 4 July 2004) ("Lane O. Locke")
plum mel recipes (Adam McPadden)
Re: plum mel recipes? (MLD #1113, 2004-07-04) (Ross McKay)
RE:Question ("King, Derek")
meade? ("Spencer W. Thomas")
Sulfites (Scott Slezak)
Must treatment – what about fruit? (Michael Hetzel)
Looking to move up. (
Recipe help (
potassium sorbate and sodium bemzoate in MEADS? ("charles w jarvis III")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1113, 4 July 2004 (Linda Short)


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Subject: Adding yogurt (was: unfermentable sugars).
From: Adam Funk <>
Date: Sun, 4 Jul 2004 21:53:37 +0100

> Subject: Re: Unfermentable Sugars (Mead Lover's Digest #1110, 23 June
> 2004) From: Ken Vale <>

> > 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?

I hope no-one objects as this is going off the mead topic. I've tried the
following process a few times with beer but never with mead. I made
around 22 litres of beer and bottled most of it but set aside about 5
litres in a small glass fermenter, to which I added a few tablespoons of
live yogurt (bought, not home-made). I left that for a week or two,
primed it, bottled it, and labelled it slightly differently (probably
with a letter after the batch number). I did not use any lactose, nor
did I add anything to the funny sub-batch other than yogurt and priming
sugar (at the same rate as the main batch). After several weeks in the
bottles, the yogurt-beer tasted slightly sour (in the direction of the
sour Belgian beer styles, but I won't claim mine was that good). Over
several months it developed considerably more sourness. I liked it, but
it's not to everyone's taste.

Subject: Non-Burning Question
From: "Paul Shouse" <>
Date: Sun, 04 Jul 2004 21:07:33 +0900

Has anybody besides me experienced a mead that tasted far less alcoholic than
it really was? I have made meads in the 4-6 % range that tasted like fruit
juice with no hint of alcohol, yet packed quite a wallop. If so, can anybody
suggest a mechanism that would cause such an effect?

Subject: Dissolving honey
From: Ken Schramm <>
Date: Mon, 05 Jul 2004 07:45:23 -0400

Talon McCormick inquired about my method of dissolving honey into water
without heat. My method is good old elbow grease. I'm using a plastic
primary fermenter, which makes stirring an option. It can take a while,
and I have on occasion used an electric mixer, but most of the time I
use the same stainless steel ladle I use to get the honey out of the 5
gallon bucket. Often I'm using crystallized honey, even, but honey is
highly soluble, and I've got fifteen minutes to mess with it while the
yeast rehydrates.

I will be inquiring with Dr. Gavitt as to whether or not he used the
formol titration method to determine the FAN levels. Here are the
specific levels for each of the musts tested:

Florida Tupelo: FAN = 10 ppm OG – 1.110
Florida Orange Blossom: FAN = 5 ppm OG – 1.110
Kroger "Pure" Clover: FAN = 14 ppm OG – 1.110
Pres. Choice Buckwheat: FAN = 21 ppm OG – 1.106

I'm going to to be off line for a week or so. I'm going to do some fly
fishing, so if you respond to my post directly, you won't hear from me
until next week.

Ken Schramm
Troy, MI
Cherries are in the freezer, raspberries are next.

Subject: words (was "mead is a 4-letter word")
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: Mon, 5 Jul 2004 11:20:37 -0600 (MDT)

I wrote, a couple digests back:
> > Please, it's "mead", not "meade".

> >

> > Yeah, I know…fussy fussy fussy…
> > "Meade" is a trademarked name for a (mediocre) white wine…[etc]…

<> replied in the last digest:
> I've had this conversation a time or two, and I'll spell it how I wish,
> thank you.

And I'll complain if I like, thank you. I don't want to belabor it, and
I realize that "spelling flames" are declasse. But it bothers me that
you're promoting a commercial product that is -not- mead and that gives
mead a bad name. Words change over the centuries.

> The addition of the "e" is in agreement with the Olde English,…

"Olde English"?!? WHEEEE!!! You sure you didn't mean "ye Olde Englyshe"?
To explain, "olde" is a bogus spelling, an affectation, which came into
use in the 20th century, to deride mock-antiquity spellings. It's not an
old form of "old". See the OED.

Actually, going again to the OED, "meade" -was- a spelling used during some
part of the 16th century. It was apparently a minor variant because the
OED notes the use but gives no example illustrating it. There are some 16
(!) spellings for mead listed. No particular spelling could be regarded as
"in agreement with (Old) English" if we're going back to, say, the 17th
century or before, because that predates spelling orthography in English.
But if you really wanted to use an older form, you could choose one of the
dominant forms (mede, meath,…), unless you -want- to promote Bunratty's

Still, I grant that "meade" was used at some point in the past. But
perhaps your argument is just as you state it, and I've failed to take
"Olde English" as intended? Did you mean it -just-so-, that your spelling
"meade" is consistent with the style of affecting antiquity in spelling?

> …If you don't like it, don't drink it. It's your loss.

Don't drink which? Are you talking about "mead" or "Meade"(TM)? I'll keep
drinking mead, but I'll give a miss to Meade, and that's no loss, believe


Dick Dunn Hygiene, Colorado USA

Subject: Re: No Heat Method( MLD #1113, 4 July 2004)
From: "Lane O. Locke" <>
Date: Mon, 5 Jul 2004 15:22:47 -0500

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

In about six steps: All steps assume cleaned equipment.

Weigh or otherwise measure honey into an empty six gallon fermenting bucket

In a five or six gallon bucket, run about two gallons of hot water (130 to
140 F)
and aerate the hot water with a squirrel-cage paint mixer and an electric
drill at high speed for at least one full minute.

Add the hot water to the honey and mix with the drill on low speed (So as
not to create a great deal of foaming) until thoroughly dissolved.

Add two or three gallons cold water to the bucket used for the hot water and
aerate as before.

Add the cold water to the warm must until desired starting gravity is
reached, mixing at low speed after each addition of cold water.

Check temperature (It will most likely be just about right, but follow the
guidelines for the strain of yeast you are using) and pitch yeast starter.

Easy, effective, and no stovetop to clean up after your inattention resulted
in a boilover, thus incurring the wrath of She Who Must Be Obeyed.

Lane O
Got Mead?

Subject: plum mel recipes
From: Adam McPadden <>
Date: Mon, 05 Jul 2004 17:06:27 -0400


In your 'Plan A' you mention using 25lbs
of honey in 5gal batch with champagne yeast.
Wow, thats a lot of honey. I've used 17lbs in a
cyser with Lalvin 1118 and that was both high octane
and still very sweet. If you really like very
sweet mead's go for it. But if your not sure,
I'd suggest starting with 15lbs of honey and fermenting
that with the champagne yeast until it is done.

Rack into secondary and add the fruit at that time, and
taste the sweetness. Add more honey then if you want
it sweeter.


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: plum mel recipes? (MLD #1113, 2004-07-04)
From: Ross McKay <>
Date: Tue, 06 Jul 2004 10:49:01 +1000

Linda Short wrote:

>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?

Hi Linda,

I put this together at the end of last year. It's still in a carboy
aging, and I haven't tasted it for a little while, but it was nicely
strong on the plum flavour and not quite dry last time I checked. Also
pretty strong on the alcohol, maybe too much honey 🙂

6kg small plums, stoned and mashed
3.5kg clover honey
5g nutrient
5g DAP
Lalvin RC-212 yeast
Water to 15 litres (inclusive of honey and plums)

I washed the plums, then my wife and I cut them in two and removed the
stones. I then mashed the plums before adding them to the fermenter. I
heated some water and mixed in the honey, and poured it over the plums.
The topped up to 15 litres.

Twice each day, I pushed the floating fruit back into the must to ensure
it was wet. After about a week, I racked 10 litres of it into a carboy,
and reserved a couple of small bottles for tasting – very nice!
Temperature during fermentation was around the 26?C mark, being summer
here in Oz in December.

>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.

I don't know whether removing the skin is such a good idea. I figured
that, like grape wines, the skins add tannin and colour to the wine. So
I left the skins on my plums and have a nicely coloured mel with
definite tannin. Time will tell if this is a good idea 🙂 but I'd guess
that removing the skins will reduce the colour and give no tannin to
your mel. Also, I used very small plums (from a local roadside stall),
which increased the ratio of skin to flesh. Larger plums will give less
colour and tannin.

I picked RC-212 because it has a reputation for extracting and
preserving the colour of the fruit. Certainly, the mel has kept a nice
pink colour, but I have no data points to say whether using another
yeast would have been any different.

Certainly using a champagne yeast will more likely give you a dry mel,
not a sweet / semi-sweet one as you are asking for. And although I added
nutrient, plums will add quite a bit of nutrient to the must so the
champagne yeast will have plenty to keep it going to the end of the
sugars. [I added nutrient because RC-212 requires lots of nitrogen or it
will produce H2S.]

>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.

I'd probably recommend using a mesh bag, as I probably could have
recovered more of the mel if I had done so. Just be sure to keep
punching the bag back under the surface of the must.


"Whether Haliburton or Enron or anyone,
Greed is a Weapon of Mass Destruction" – Faithless

Subject: RE:Question
From: "King, Derek" <>
Date: Mon, 5 Jul 2004 22:15:42 -0400

*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.
"Jeff Tollefson"*

I know what you're saying Jeff, I've got the same problem here in Florida
too. At first I tried using a few clarifying agents, and some do work with
varying degrees of success. Irish Moss works to a certaint extent, depending
on if you plan on boiling your must (I never recommend that). But one of the
quicker clarifying agents I've found is kieselsol. If used properly it can
clarify the whole batch within a week or so.

But the truth be told, I've found that "time" is the best clarifier when it
comes to meads. Simply put, if you're doing a 5 gallon batch expect the
first few months to be cloudy.

I've gotten to the point of not worrying about the cloudiness of the mead,
and to just let it sit….

Just let the mead do the work for you.

Derek King
Vinegar Brewer, Extrordinaire

Subject: meade?
From: "Spencer W. Thomas" <>
Date: Tue, 06 Jul 2004 09:44:04 -0400

The OED (Oxford English Dictionary) lists the following variant (other
than 'mead', in other words) historical spellings for "mead." The OED
is created by looking at the original source material, and is generally
considered the authority on word history and origins in the English

I've clarified some of their abbreviations and reformatted for
readability. "Meade" appears as one16th century spelling in Middle
English. I have used '(th)' to indicate the letter 'thorn' (one of the
"th" letters that we have lost from our alphabet, it looks sort of like
a lower-case 'p' with the line extended up.)


Old English medo, medu, (Anglian) meodo, meodu,
Late Old English (West Saxon, inflected form) medew-,
Middle English med, meode, meyde,
ME-1500s meed,
ME-1600s mede, mead, 1500s meade;
Scottish pre-1700s med, mede, meid, meide.


ME meeth, me(th), me(th)e, meth,
ME-1600s methe, 1500s meedth, 1500-1600s meathe, 1500-1700s meath;
(Modern) English regional (west.) 1800s to present maethe, meath,
meathe, meeath, meth.

Of the (b) list, it says "probably partly from early Scandinavian and
partly from Welsh medd." (Note that "dd" in Welsh is pronounced sort of
like "th" in English.)

And, interestingly, "also see the etymologically unrelated loan from

I also know that before sometime in the middle of the 19th century,
which is when dictionaries became common, spelling was quite flexible.


Subject: Sulfites
From: Scott Slezak <>
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 2004 09:44:45 -0700 (PDT)

The heat vs no heat debate has sparked a question in
my mind, something I've been mulling over for awhile.
That question is: is sulfiting really necessary to
protect mead during long aging? I'm not really
interested in theory, I want to hear from people who
have had 5 year old unsulfited mead, for example. How
did it stand up to the test of time? How is it
bottled? I've had several commercial meads that have
been basically ruined by overuse of sulfites, in my
opinion. I'm trying to determine if meads are
generally sulfited because it is truly necessary, or
simply because grape wineries do it so we should too.


Subject: Must treatment - what about fruit?
From: Michael Hetzel <>
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 2004 10:17:34 -0700 (PDT)

As Ken Schramm mentioned in his post regarding an analysis of his
rasberry melomel:

>>Bad (?) news: adding unsanitized fruit can introduce bacterial
populations. The question of whether or not they will spoil your
product is up for discussion. And the prospects for really dandy
fermentations without nutrient or some other form of adjunct seem (to
me) really grim. <<

As someone who seems to only make melomels (I just love harvesting), I
wonder what the group's preferred method of adding fruit is. In the
past, I've added the fruit after heating (yes I heat it, but lets not
go there) and let it steep briefly. It's only recently that I've
decided to add the fruit after the initial fermentation (ie, I haven't
tried it yet), and to me it now seems to be the best method for these
1. delicate aromas/flavors are not scrubbed out by the CO2
2. As Ken pointed out, adding unsanitized fruit can introduce bacteria,
and a high alcohol content will deter them.

To those that follow the post fermentation addition of fruit regime,
please give me your advice on this proposed method for my next batch of
blueberry melomel:
Siphon the mead from my carboy into a plastic fermenter, and add the
thawed, previously frozen fruit. Let sit for a week or so, punching the
cap every day or so. Is there anything else I should do, such as
re-pitch or add nutrient?

And to Ken: when did you add the fruit for your rasberry melomel?


Subject: Looking to move up.
Date: Tue, 06 Jul 2004 19:03:41 -0400

I'm currently working strictly on a homebrew scale. I'm looking to possably
get some larger equipment together so that i can work towards going small
scale commercial. Anyone know where I can get the equipment?

Subject: Recipe help
Date: Wed, 7 Jul 2004 22:30:54 EDT

Hi all!
A fellow brewer thought I ought to give the MLD a shot at this question; it
would be good to hear from someone who's actually more knowledgable. Here
goes, a friend gave me a recipe but I'm having a hard time understanding it.
The paper is really old and this is how it reads:
White mead wine, seventeen gallons of cold soft water, six quarts currants,
mix thirty pounds honey, three ounces white tartar in fine powder
add balm and sweetbriar two handful each, one gallon brandy
This will make 18 gallons
MacKenzie's 5,000 recipes 1829
What is a balm? The only sweetbriar I know of is an old fashion rose also
called an eglantine. I did try to correct some of the spelling. What do you
think? Who puts brandy in mead? (that wasn't to criticize) and it doesn't say
anything about yeast. Thanks for any and all help.

Subject: potassium sorbate and sodium bemzoate in MEADS?
From: "charles w jarvis III" <>
Date: Thu, 8 Jul 2004 16:09:45 -0500

Hi folks. just a quick question for the experts here. Im experimenting
with a Cyser with cherry cider in it using D47 yeast. two questions
one: I just noticed that the apple cider and cherry ciders I used have
either potassium sorbate or sodium benzoate in them for "freshness". Is
this going to hurt/hinder my Mead?
two: what are the characteristics of D47? my brother told me it is a
slow staring yeast…well, its been three days now….no bubbles? (id
say that was slow starting)
and yes… I did make up a yeast starter a few hours earlier with yeast
"food". I didn't have any reg. sugar so I used pure/raw sugar cane and a
splash of honey. boy the yeast loved that mix, foamed up pretty quickly!
I used the cold mix (warming enough to allow mixing) and made sure
everything was clean before starting. sure goes faster when you don't
have to sit watching/stirring it for 15 to 30 minutes!
Thanks for any advise.

P.S.. my second try mead/cyser has been racked and sitting in secondary
for two weeks now….any ideas before its drinkable? primary took 3
months. (only 3 gallons: 3/4 gal honey,1 gallon cider, and water to
make 3 gallons..used a generic red wine yeast on that)
thanks again!

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1113, 4 July 2004
From: Linda Short <>
Date: Fri, 9 Jul 2004 14:31:16 -0700 (PDT)

> plum mel recipes? (Linda Short)

Never mind, I guess I don't need it after all.

I had a catastrophic freezer failure and the
plums got tossed (along with half of everything
else in there).

I still want to brew something for my 30th
birthday in two years. I will have to visit the
fruit vendor again.


  • -Linda-


End of Mead Lover's Digest #1114