Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1131, 23 September 2004

Mead Lover's Digest #1131 Fri 23 September 2004


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



sparkeling mead (Talon McCormick)
Re: Subject: sparkeling mead (Don Dibble)
Yet Another Yeast Experiment ("Daryl Fox")
Re: Isolated Australian ("Dan McFeeley")
Plastic carboys (was Strange Bubbles) (Randy Goldberg MD)
Acid levels ("Greg Osenbach")
Results of Blueberry Melomel (chris herrington)
Branching out – good canned/frozen ingredients. ("Richard T. Perry")
Re: MLD #1129, 16/9/04 Bucket comments… ("Arthur Torrey (no spam please!)")
Fall's Bounty Cyser from the Compleat Meadmaker ("David Jones")
Re: Isolated Australian (MLD #1130, 2004-09-21) (Ross McKay)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1130, 21 September 2004 ("Gary Yandle")
funny bubbles (Steve Thomas)


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Subject: sparkeling mead
From: Talon McCormick <>
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 2004 10:12:19 -0400 (GMT-04:00)


The method that I've used in the past that I had rather pleasant results wi=
th was to use dextrose (corn sugar) as a priming agent in the bottle direct=
ly. I used a half teaspoon per 750ml champagne bottle and let them sit 6 m=
onths. There was a touch of sediment due to renewed fermentation, but that=
was expected as I understood how it work. =20

The only truly safe method to be certain that you don't have potential bott=
le bombs is to use a CO2 system and keg or beer bottle it…

As for your floor corker, I'm not sure it will work as it normally compress=
es the usual cork in such a way that they then expand once again. As the c=
hampagne corks are plastic, this is not an option. What I used was a small=
rubber mallet to genty tap the cork into place once I'd positioned it. Th=
is allowed me to keep my hands from bruising. There is supposedly a specia=
lized machine, but as I've not the cash for one, I never even researched it=


Hope this helps,

Subject: Re: Subject: sparkeling mead 
From: Don Dibble <>
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 2004 07:43:02 -0700 (PDT)

My SOP for a bottle carbonated mead is to ferment completely. Then add
sugar (I use 3/4c corn sugar/5 gal)and bottle. If you have bulk aged for a
while you may have to add yeast at bottling.

For sparkling mead you want to use champagne or beer bottles to avoid
?glass grenades.? Standard wine bottles are not designed to hold pressure.
Plastic champagne corks are a good option because they don't require a
corker. If using beer bottles hand cappers can be pretty cheap ($15). You
can also use grolsch bottles though I haven?t used them for long term


> Subject: sparkeling mead 
> From:
> Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2004 11:25:53 EDT


> hi all IM thinking of making a sparkling mead any thoughts / suggestions i
> believe i have the process down i em looking for the corks for the final
> stoppers as well as wire hoods ect but i shouldn't need any of that for
> several months. also will my Italian floor corker be able to insert the
> Champaign corks
> correctly it has a nut to allow a depth stop. or will i need a special
> corker


> chris anderson

Subject: Yet Another Yeast Experiment
From: "Daryl Fox" <>
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 2004 07:54:15 -0700

Hello all,

Recently a friend and I bottled the results of our yeast experiment. The
experiment consisted of 12 1-gallon batches from the same must with (you
guessed it) 12 different yeasts. We are planning a tasting in a week or so,
probably the first of next month. If anyone is interested, I could post the

The purpose of this message is to offer one or two brave souls in or around
Sunnyvale, CA (USA) a seat at the tasting. Okay, that makes it sound way to
formal. More likely, we'll grab a conference room at work after hours. 🙂
We probably only have room for a few people but if you are interested, drop
me a line.


  • -Daryl


PS. I'd actually post the results so far, but my notes aren't around here
and I wanted to get the offer out there today.

Subject: Re: Isolated Australian
From: "Dan McFeeley" <>
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 2004 11:12:02 -0500

On Fri, 17 Sep 2004, in MLD 1130, Mark Evered asked:

>I live in regional Australia (Armidale, NSW to be precise) and have
>been making mead for about two years. I am still experimenting
>with small batches to find out what I like.

[….] stuff deleted for brevity's sake

>On another (but also Australian) topic: what do you know about
>the presence of pyrrolizidine alkaloids in Salvation Jane / Paterson's
>Curse mead?

I found some references to Salvation Jane/Paterson's Curse honey
in a May 2003 publication on Commercial Beekeeping in Australia:

Here they are, cut and snipped:

Many of Australia's principal honey producing areas are in, or adjacent
to, agricultural and grazing country. In these areas weeds of pastures,
roadside weeds and weeds of cultivation commanly enhance spring
build-up and every now and then provide a valuable windfall crop in
late summer. And some, such as Paterson's Curse, or Salvation Jane,
Erchium plantagineum are major sources of honey.


The biggest threat to the physical resource from biological control is
the program to reduce the incidence of Paterson's Curse. In the 1997
analysis of major honey deliveries from suppliers living in New South
Wales to Capilano Honey Limited, Paterson's Curse accounted for
the most honey received, closely followed by the combined Ironbark


Some info on the toxins found in Paterson's Curse can be found at these
URL's below. Apparently this is a cumlative poison that can eventually
cause liver damage in livestock. Generally animals will avoid it so long
as there is other good grazing material available.

Some info on pyrrolizidine alkaloids can be found at:

Here's some more info on honey:

It does look like something to be cautious about, but I don't want to
sound alarmist here. Paterson's Curse seems to be a well known
and important resource for beekeepers in Australia. No point in
causing a scare that could do unnecessary damage to the beekeeping
industry by overreacting to some of the material in the more
technical articles. There doesn't seem to be any specific info on
amounts of pyrrolizidine alkaloids in Paterson's Curse honey, or
what effects the specific pyrrolizidine alkaloids in the plant may or
may not have on humans.

Take a look at the web site for the Australian Honey Research Unit,
located at the School of Land and Food Sciences, The University
of Queensland in Brisbane:

There is information on how to contact Dr. Bruce DArcy
and his staff, either by phone or by e-mail. They're helpful
people who can probably give you more thorough info on
this subject.

Sorry, some of those URL's are pretty long. If they don't
work on your web browser, try cutting and splicing small
sections into the address section.


Dan McFeeley

Subject: Plastic carboys (was Strange Bubbles)
From: Randy Goldberg MD <>
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 2004 13:04:51 -0400

> Another note, I am using plastic Culligan water
> ?carboys? for it. The kind that go on water coolers
> that you can get from Home Depot. After they are
> drained I wash them and sanitize them as I would
> plastic bucket. Could this be a problem?

Short-term, no; long-term, yes. These carboys are not 100% oxygen
impermeable, so in long-term aging, you run the risk of developing oxidized
flavors in your brew. If you are leaving your brew in the carboy more than
4-6 weeks, you really should be using glass. There are some companies
(Better Bottle comes to mind) who claim to be using oxygen-impermeable PET
plastic for their carboys, but I'm reasonably certain your average
water-cooler bottle is not made with this type of PET.


Randy Goldberg MD
Random Tag: Help me quick! Someone must have turned reality back on.

Subject: Acid levels
From: "Greg Osenbach" <>
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 2004 10:13:01 -0700

Hello, I am working on my first batch of apple mead. I used 15# of
honey, 2 gallons of juice and 6 gal of water to fill a 7.5 gal bucket.
Fermentation started within a day or so and stopped fermenting after a
little under 1 month. I racked into a 6 gal carby after it had been
stopped for a few days. The original sg was about 1.089 (going from
memory) and ended at about 1.0. I checked the acid level with a test
kit and measured it to be 0.5%

Is this what I should expect from such a mixture? Is the acid level too
high? Too low?


Subject: Results of Blueberry Melomel
From: chris herrington <>
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 2004 13:55:57 -0700 (PDT)

The blueberry melomel made last June came out very
good. I made two batches. One batch was made with 15
Lbs. of pureed blueberries. The other batch was made
with 10 Lbs. of pureed blueberries. The pureed berries
were added to a pre-made 4.5 to 5 gallon orange
blossom mead and pitched with a rolling starter. One
was Lalvin D-47 and the other was Lalvin Bourgovin
RC-212. The blueberry aroma and flavor is quite
intense in both. There seems to be no off-flavors in
the D-47 and is perfectly ready to drink but the yeast
dried the melomel out to a cracklin. Everything is
excellent except for the dryness. To drink it I add a
little honey to a glass and stir it to the desired
sweetness. Everyone has enjoyed it even the nay-sayers
for the traditional mead. Now, the melomel made with
the Bourgovin RC-212 has a great blueberry flavor and
aroma BUT there is a lingering sulphur note that
accompanies. Does anyone know if this will age out?
Will oak compliment these meads?

Subject: Branching out - good canned/frozen ingredients.
From: "Richard T. Perry" <>
Date: Wed, 22 Sep 2004 09:22:06 +1200

First, to explain the rest of this post, a bit of explanation about where I

I work (as a civilian) for the US Army on Kwajalein Atoll, in the Marshall
Islands. As such, getting fresh anything is difficult and pricy out here. We
get one to three cargo/mail/provisioning flights a week (depending on
how the war's going) and fresh green vegetables, fruit, herbs and spices
are kinda hit and miss, and pricy when they exist (usually 50-150% higher
than the US mainland). However, basic canned and frozen stuff (which can
be brought in by sea, rather than air) is fairly plentiful, as long as
you're not looking for pickled octopus suckers or the like.

Ok, now, I've been making beer and mead off and on for about three years
out here. I've made a few fairly tasty basic honey, yeast and water
meads (and a few bombs, but that's part of the process, too!) I get all
my ingredients mailed in (even occasionally yeast smack packs, although I
use mostly dry yeast and proof it in a beaker for a few days before pitching)

I would like to branch out into other types of meads – melomels,
specifically, but just try some experimentation in general. What I've read
here and other places implies that the quality of ingredients
(unsurprisingly) makes a big difference in the quality of the finished
product. However, since I can't get fresh ingredients….it's either got to
be available in the equivalent of a small Mid-Western grocery store, or able
to be mailed to me.

So, folks, what works well out of a can/freezer case? F'rinstince – We get
those freezer case bags of bluberries…are they worth my time to try? What
about the canned fruit extract(s) I've seen on the market? Pie fillings?
Canned/frozen/bottled fruit juices? What about quantities – same as fresh?
More? Less?

Can anyone suggest a good recipe or book with these constraints?

What I've been planning is to get a whole bunch of 1-gallon containers and
try adding a few things to a split-up basic batch (I started a dry still
5-gal batch about six weeks ago now). The problem is that with the lead time
that mead requires, if I find something that works well, it will be 6 months
to a year before I can recreate another (larger!) batch…so before I start,
I figured I would ask. Also, I know that fruits interact differently when
they're added at different times (yeast and available sugars) so what I'm
doing, while interesting, might not be the whole story.

Anyway, I'd love to hear the collective opinion on this.

Regards –

Richard T Perry

Subject: Re: MLD #1129, 16/9/04 Bucket comments...
From: "Arthur Torrey (no spam please!)" <>
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2004 14:39:57 -0400

I would second the comments that one should NOT use buckets that held toxic
things (like lye) for brewing or any other food related purpose.

I would suggest as a source for food grade buckets, check with LARGE
restaurants or other institutional kitchens (schools, college cafeterias,
etc.) They will often get food or condiments in this type of bucket, and often
are delighted to get rid of them.

A minor caution however is that I have found that bucket lids are NOT 100%
interchangeable! There are several different manufacturers of buckets / lids,
and there are very slight differences in each company's bucket design. The
maker of the bucket usually molds the name into the lid and the bottom of the
bucket. Buckets and lids from the same company will interchange fine, but if
you try mixing them from different companies I have often found the fit to be
only fair to marginal… It is best to get matching lids and buckets, but if
you can't you will probably need to do some experimenting to find what
combinations work acceptably.



> Subject: Re: Fermentation bucket blues
> From: "Ken Taborek" <>
> Date: Mon, 13 Sep 2004 14:56:26 -0400


> > Subject: Fermentation bucket blues
> > From: hillsofg <>
> > Date: Tue, 07 Sep 2004 20:42:14 +0300

> [snipped]


> > It occurs to me that I do
> > have some large buckets, old lye containers. Their lids are very tight.
> > But how does one hack a hole to fit a bung and airlock into a sturdy
> > plastic lid?


> Miriam,


> I have made fermenters out of 5 gallon buckets which I received with honey
> shipments. The buckets are almost exactly like the plastic fermentation
> buckets sold by home brewing shops, save that they are exactly 5 gallons in
> volume rather than 7 gallons. The lids are interchangeable, but came
> undrilled. I was able to fit these for an airlock by carefully cutting a
> circle for an airlock grommet using an exacto knife. Cut conservatively, as
> you can always widen the opening. Use good cutting practice, cutting away
> from you always and using a sharp blade.


> This should give you the airlock opening you'll need, but please be certain
> that your lye buckets are made of a food grade plastic and do not have a lye
> residue.


> Cheers,
> Ken

Subject: Fall's Bounty Cyser from the Compleat Meadmaker
From: "David Jones" <>
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 2004 20:03:02 -0500

> Ed Broemmer wrote ….


> I would like to make a nice cyser this fall and would like a good tried
> and true recipe. Anyone made the Fall's Bounty Cyser
> from the Compleat Meadmaker?

Sure did, Ed. Very nice Cyser. I started it on 10-18-03. It had an O.G.
of 1.110 and within 15 days it dropped to 1.020 and by 30 days it was to
1.004. It creates lots of lees. It finished very, very clear with a F.G.
of 1.000 and I bottled it at the 5 month mark. Tried a bottle last week (6
months in the bottle – couldn't wait), and although a little harsh it's
going to be a fantastic cyser. At this point you can taste the dates and
really see where this is going.

I am going to make another batch and try the spice suggestion Ken gives in
the book.

Dave in Indiana

Subject: Re: Isolated Australian (MLD #1130, 2004-09-21)
From: Ross McKay <>
Date: Wed, 22 Sep 2004 23:47:26 +1000

Mark Evered wrote:

>I live in regional Australia (Armidale, NSW to be precise) and have
>been making mead for about two years. I am still experimenting with
>small batches to find out what I like. My first question is directed to
>my fellow Australian mead makers: what yeasts do you use and where
>do you get them from?

Lalvin D-47, K1V-1116, EC-1118, RC-212. I get them either from a local
homebrew shop in Mayfield, Newcastle (a bit of a drive for you!) or from
Grain and Grape:

Don't go by what's listed on the website, email them and ask. That's
where I got the K1V-1116 from. One of the brewers on the OzCraftbrewing
list put me onto them.


"There is more to life than simply increasing its speed." – Mahatma Gandhi

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1130, 21 September 2004
From: "Gary Yandle" <>
Date: Wed, 22 Sep 2004 23:59:50 -0600


I currently have a 1 gallon experimental batch of Falls Bounty Cyser going
right now. It's only 2 months old, but so far I'm very impressed by the
flavor. (Disclaimer: I've never tasted cyser). Good apple/cinnamon flavor
up front with a honey note in the finish. I'm told you might want to make
the cinnamon a bit strong at first as this flavor will wane as it ages. It
is just beginning to clear nicely right now and has a beautiful golden color
to it. I think that if it tastes good now even with a bit of a yeast bite
to it, it is going to taste like ambrosia in about 12 months.


> Subject: good cyser recipes
> From: "e.broemmer" <>
> Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2004 21:33:22 -0500


> I have enjoyed reading the MLD for many years and have never asked a
> question. I would like to make a nice cyser this fall and would like a
> good tried and true recipe. Anyone made the Fall's Bounty Cyser from the
> Compleat Meadmaker? Thanks very much for the help.


> Ed Broemmer



Subject: funny bubbles
From: Steve Thomas <>
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 2004 19:54:51 -0400


It sounds like your fermentation has been beset by an organism I have

some familiarity with. I suspect it is a film forming yeast liike
sherry flor or mycoderma vini in wines. It likes warm and slightly
aerobic conditions, and forms thin floating waxy flakes that stabilise

Unfortunately, it also produces an off character, an aroma most

apparemt on exhaling after the swallow. It seems to be a dissolved gas
that driven off at body temperature.

Prevemtoin: keep your stuff cool, avoid opening it in summer, and

flush the headspace with CO2 if opening is unavoidable.

Possible cures: warm to 100 degrees for a day, or saturate with CO2

and then vent it off.

Some is bearable, but it's a persistant nuisance. It's the reason I

do no brewing or beer handling in the summer anymore.

  • -Steve


End of Mead Lover's Digest #1131