Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1142, 27 November 2004

Mead Lover's Digest #1142 Sat 27 November 2004


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



Re: Sweet Mead (Randy Goldberg MD)
Re: MLD #1139 ?Honey flavours once fermented (Randy Goldberg MD)
Re: Honey flavours once fermented ("James P")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1141, 22 November 2004 ("Gary Yandle")
Mead sensory evaluation (
Looking for a sweeter Ginger/Cinnamon/Cloves Metheglin ("Michael Zahl")


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Subject: Re: Sweet Mead
From: Randy Goldberg MD <>
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2004 19:42:59 -0500

> To make a sweet mead what has worked
> for me is to use a good starter of Wyeast#1056 American. Thats right BEER
> yeast. It's crip and clean and does the trick, provided you pitch a little
> nutrient and aerate the hell out of it!

That will certainly work, but you'll only get 6 to 9% alcohol – that's why
it's sweet, because the yeast dies from alcohol poisoning before eating up
all the sugar.


Randy Goldberg MD
Random Tag: An object at rest will be in the wrong place.

Subject: Re: MLD #1139 ?Honey flavours once fermented
From: Randy Goldberg MD <>
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2004 19:46:55 -0500

>> UC Davis worked on a flavour wheel for describing wine. The mead/honey
>> industry doesn't have the clout or money to pay for the developing of a
>> similar resource for describing honey.


> It is not possible. There are too many variables in honey. Rain that
> year, fruits and blooms in that run of honey, where you bought it, Maine
> or ZCalifornia wildflowers are totally differnet etc.

Nonsense. Grapes vary just as much from season to season and even from slope
to slope. It's the same idea of "terroir" that the viniculturists use.
However, terroir doesn't prevent us from developing a uniform nomenclature
to *DESCRIBE* the flavor and smell of honey and mead. Just as oenophiles
generally understand "oak" and "plum" and "vanilla", and can often talk
about what factors create these sensations, there's no reason we can't do
the same with honey and mead. "Hm, that's got a sort of citrussy note to it,
must have used orange blossom honey," and thoughts of that nature. We do it
already when we taste and discuss – it's just a matter of codifying it.


Randy Goldberg MD
Random Tag: 2 ears, 1 mouth, use in that order and you'll do fine.

Subject: Re: Honey flavours once fermented
From: "James P" <>
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 2004 13:56:31 +1000

That's great info from Dan, Michael & Vicky.

If I can try and summarize:


The IMA is pursuing Industry and Research avenues – existing work as well as
pursuing new work. (Vicky)

"there are grant funds out there for researching applications of honey
in the food & beverage industries … using your own initiative and
native talent to get to where you want to go, using available resources"
(Dan RE Ken Schramm)

a huge number of flavor profiles – so there is even more variability than
with grapes. (Dan)
"There are too many variables in honey. Rain that year, fruits and blooms
in that run of honey, where you bought it, Maine or ZCalifornia wildflowers
are totally differnet etc" (Michael)

I'm mostly wondering about the relationship between "fruit" and vinosity,
how they interrelate, and whether the interrelation of honey character
and vinosity, as an analogy to that of wine, would differ in its own

way. (Dan)

Ken Schramm is also looking into the 'science of fermentation' as well.

One of our main tasks in the IMA Research group is to help develop a
medhology to give us our own set of descriptors and industry
characteristics, like the wine industry has.
The goal is to define mead-making, and the influence of the various honeys
and other ingredients to provide a surer guide for making a specific sort
of mead. (Vicky)

Hopefully, what will come out at the other end is an 'oenology' (Dan –
for mead. (Vicky)


While I agree with Michael that it is impossible (or extremely difficult),
I don't see this as a reason not try to develop some "aroma descriptors"
and some "flavour descriptors".

I note that with wine, the oenology is not at the level where they have
identified all the "chemicals" that make up an excellent wine, such that
a winemaker can purchase a bottle of extract that when added to a cheap
wine turns it into an expensive wine. Maybe that will happen one day,
but that is not what I was thinking of.

If I sniff a wine and say "that smells of blackcurrants", it is because
I know what blackcurrants smell like. I can't yet smell a honey or a
mead and describe ANY of the key floral influences in the honey/mead.
(except maybe "orange" or some well know fruit aromas/flavours)

The ability to have at my finger tips some bottles of essential oil
(or similar) to assist me to identify some of the KEY aromas would be
the long-term goal. I envision buying a kit containing the main "floral
essences" of Virginia, or containing little pots of the main honey flavour
types for the spring season in Idaho, or ….

OK, you would need to identify key floral components across states,
countries, the world, etc.

I don't even know if it is possible to extract the essential oils such that
they would help to identify primary aromas in a honey, but hey, I can wish
for this, can't I? 😉


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1141, 22 November 2004
From: "Gary Yandle" <>
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 2004 06:06:58 -0700

Hello Tim and welcome to MLD.

I am very interested in making a sweet mead. My wife has an incurable sweet
tooth. 🙂 I have tried with no success to make a sweet mead so your post
here has sparked my interest. A couple of questions. How much and what
kind of nutrient did you use? What was the resulting abv? Could you
possibly post the recipe you used?



> —————————— >

> Subject: Sweet Mead
> From: Timothy Harris <>
> Date: Thu, 18 Nov 2004 18:00:08 -0800 (PST)


> Hello all! This is my first post and just wanted to comment on how to
> get sweet meads. I have been making mead for about ten years now and
> have learned much from my mistakes. To make a sweet mead what has worked
> for me is to use a good starter of Wyeast#1056 American. Thats right BEER
> yeast. It's crip and clean and does the trick, provided you pitch a little
> nutrient and aerate the hell out of it!
> Cheers-Tim


Subject: Mead sensory evaluation
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 2004 10:31:02 -0500 (EST)

While I agree with Mike that it is prety much impossible to link a type of
honey with a type of flavor or aroma due to a great variability of the raw
product, I believe it is still possible to define a common language to
describe the finished product. Some chemical analysis would be useful and
provide supportive data, but after all nothing can replace a palate and we
may want to focus on the latter, which would greatly decrease research
costs while giving us what we need (descriptors).
I would like to compare the issue with the work conducted by Meilgaard on
beer evaluation: a lot of different compounds were identified and linked
to some type of flavors or aromas, but at the end of the day, what is more
important: that you can tell that your fermentation produced isoamyl
acetate or that you detect a banana flavor? That you have XYZ esters or
that it has a blossom aroma? Ist is certainly useful to understand where
the character comes from (especially for troubleshooting) but there are so
many compounds in the mix that chemistry has its limitations. It is more
important to be able to describe what you taste or smell when evaluating a
sample. Eventually, the tool that ended up being used by the European
Brewery Convention (EBC), the American Society of Brewing Chemists (ASBC),
and the Master Brewers Association of the Americas (MBAA) is Meilgaard's
flavor wheel that desribes just that: the flavors (OK, and aromas). See for actual wheel.
My point is that developing a mead flavor wheel may not require an
outrageous amount of resources or technology, but if we had a few good
noses and palates, we could make a lot of progress already.
My suggestion to all mead lovers out there: every time you taste mead, as
an early unfinished product or as a final result, take notes on what you
taste or smell. (Be imaginative, go for anything you feel, including
descriptions that may feel silly or far fetched, candid descriptions are
usually the best – anything goes). Then post the few terms you came up
with (or send them to me) and we will collate them together to create at
least a starting point for a list -or maybe even a wheel if we can.
One more reason to drink mead…

Subject: Looking for a sweeter Ginger/Cinnamon/Cloves Metheglin
From: "Michael Zahl" <>
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2004 13:27:55 -0500

Hello everyone, I've been lurking here for a while, and have had great
success using tips for the members here, and I wanted to first and foremost
thank you all for your on going tidbits of information. Here's how I kicked
off year two of my mead making adventure!

This weekend I bought 120 pounds of honey and started several mead batches.
36 pounds of it is a pumpkin flower honey. Great stuff and I highly
recommend it if you can find any pumpkin farmers out there! It is a rich,
thicker, darker honey and just great for just about any metheglin out there!
My apiary pollinates two 100 acre pumpkin patches, and has a great supply!
The rest of his honey is a beautiful dark amber wildflower honey, another
"to die for blend." Email me privately if you want his contact information.

Anyways, here's what I've started so far: A 15 gallon plain mead batch (in
the new Demijohn), a 6 gallon Blueberry, a 6 gallon Raspberry, and a 6
gallon vanilla (using the pumpkin honey).

So I have 12 pounds of pumpkin honey left… I want to do my first clove,
ginger and/or cinnamon metheglin, but I've not yet found a suitable recipe.

Any and all successful recipes from the group would be greatly appreciated!

Now, back to cleaning up my kitchen, basement, back porch and all those damn

Happy Thanksgiving!

Michael Zahl

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1142