Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1154, 23 January 2005

Mead Lover's Digest #1154 Sun 23 January 2005


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



Caveman Mead (Randy Goldberg MD)
pH and acidity (Randy Goldberg MD)
Caveman Mead (Vuarra)
descriptors ("phil wojdak")
International Mead Shipping ("Daryl Fox")
Hello (David Lane)
Introduction… (Susan Bondurant)
Songs with Mead Themes ("Dan McFeeley")


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: Caveman Mead
From: Randy Goldberg MD <>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2005 20:01:53 -0500

> This sort of reminds me of some of the formula's I've seen for jailhouse
> 'Pruno' Wine, or the 'Rubber Wine' I made back in my college days (1 can
> Welch's grape juice concentrate, 4 cups sugar, Fleishmann's yeast, water
> to a gallon jug, tie a large balloon over the top – If the balloon blows
> off replace it. Wait 21 days or until the balloon goes flat) It contained
> alcohol, and was cheap, but those were about the only virtues.

I did something similar to this (1 gallon of 100% Concord grape juice and a
packet of ale yeast), but it was undrinkable – absolutely sulfurous and
totally vile.

> 2. Bread yeast is not generally reccomended for brewing, it tends to give
> off bad flavors which aren't a problem in bread, but can make brews taste
> funky.

In fact, some of those flavors are what make bread taste bread-y.


Randy Goldberg MD
Random Tag: Friend: Anyone who has the same enemies you have.

Subject: pH and acidity
From: Randy Goldberg MD <>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2005 20:13:42 -0500

> More on Eric's pH question: with respect to taste, Total Acidity will
> have a much greater impact on taste than pH. Acids present as sour or
> tart. pH represents the ratio of acids to alkaline (or buffering)
> compounds in a solution, but since pH is dynamic, you can have a solution
> with a lot of both. In that case, the pH will not appear to be acidic,
> but the sour/tart character may be profound. TA represents the amount of
> acid in your solution as a percentage. As such, it correlates to taste
> far more accurately than pH.

To explaln this a bit more scientifically, pH is a shorthand way of
describing the concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution. It doesn't have
much to do with the buffering power of a solution, however.

As you add hydrogen ions to a sample of pure water (in the form of a
crystalline acid, for instance), the pH drops in linear relation to the
amount of acid you add. Buffers are compound which can both absorb and
release hydrogen ions. Bicarbonate ions are a good example; they can absorb
a hydrogen ion to become a molecule of carbonic acid, or release one to
become a carbonate ion. When a buffering substance is present, the graph
takes on a characteristic S-like shape. The pH shifts very little when the
buffer far exceeds the amount of acid; the buffer simply soaks it up and the
concentration of free hydrogen ions doesn't change much. It also doesn't
change much when the amount of hydrogen ion far exceeds the amount of
buffer; the solution is more-or-less saturated with hydrogen ions, and the
buffer has absorbed all it can hold. As the pH approaches the "acid
equilibrium constant" (pKa) of the buffer (the balance point), the pH drops
dramatically with only a small addition of acid.

Sourness is a direct expression of hydrogen ion concentration. However,
saliva contains a variety of buffers with differing pKa's. This means that
the experience of sourness relates more to the total number of hydrogen ions
that COULD be released (that is, the TA) than it does to the number of FREE
hydrogen ions (that is, the pH).


Randy Goldberg MD
Random Tag: File not found. You want I should make something up? (Y/N)

Subject: Caveman Mead
From: Vuarra <>
Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2005 14:38:12 -0800 (PST)

Just wanted Micah Henry to know that I have done one
of those Caveman-type meads, and while it was
acceptable (even after a couple of years), it is no
match for a larger 5 gallon (6 gallon US) batch. If
you're looking for a cheap mead, I got a "used" glass
carboy from a brew shop (buddy didn't want to clean
it, so I took it dirty for a tenth of the normal
cost), got one packet of Lalvin EC-1118 for 75 cents. The
most expensive part was getting 15# of honey, but it
was cheaper going to an apiary than getting even 5#
from a bulk store or grocery store. Even if you just
have one carboy, the mead will be better sitting sur
lees than the Caveman style. I guarantee it.


Quid quid latine dictum sit altum videtur.
(That which is said in Latin sounds profound.)

Subject: descriptors
From: "phil wojdak" <>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2005 16:50:29 -0800

Hi All,

I am excited about distinguishing and naming the flavors and overtones
in meads. I learned to distinguish wine characteristics when I lived
near the Napa Valley in the 1980's. I started making mead when I
discovered I could make a wine from honey with subtlety and complexity.
I have tasted complex meads full of subtle characteristics. It's so
rewarding to make something so good. We can add so much art to it.

I propose putting out some descriptors and discuss whether any of them
describe a common perception. And, if so, whether distinguishing the
characteristic (common perception), among other flavors is useful.

I request that any willing person publish your descriptors so we can
move this conversation forward. Creating agreements about words for
flavor characteristics could be moved forward by having an open
discussion about such descriptors in a forum like the MLD. I am willing
to throw some ideas out for discussion, but that would be like
re-inventing the wheel compared to the knowledge possessed by others
with more experience than me in talking about mead.

There is a large brain trust of articulate and experienced mead makers
on this digest. Imagine what the quality of the posts and discussions
could become as we become more discerning and sophisticated in our
speaking! this could facilitate more in-depth discussions of the meads
MLD members are making. We may learn more about creating more
complexity in "traditional" or what I call "varietal" meads. e.g.
Tupelo mead.

In The Complete Meadmaker, Ken Schramm says that sourwood honey makes
among the very best meads. What does it have that tupelo doesn't? Or,
even more interesting, what flavor components do they share? Do
different yeasts bring them out better?

The more there is to notice and articulate about the flavors in meads,
the more art there is in making good ones.

Subject: International Mead Shipping
From: "Daryl Fox" <>
Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2005 22:28:28 -0800

Every so often the question of shipping mead shows up here. However, it all
seems to be related to shipping mead from one state to another in the USA.
I'd like to send some (belated) Christmas mead to some friends in Canada.
I'm in California and the mead would be going to Alberta and Saskatchewan.

What are the regulations on this? What would I declare it as on the customs
forms? Is it even legal?


  • -Daryl


PS. For what it's worth, it seems really odd to be shipping Saskatoon Berry
Melomel to Saskatoon!

Subject: Hello
From: David Lane <>
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2005 20:09:33 -0700

Hello all! I am a newbie mead maker and have recently found
this list. I love reading about this wonderful kitchen witchery.

My carboys now include a riesling-sweet blueberry mead
using WYeast Sweet Mead yeast, a medium-sweet chai braggot
using Nottngham Ale yeast, and a cordial-sweet cranberry mead
using White Labs Merlot yeast.

Has anyone made a nice mead using either White Labs'
Steinberg Geisenheim or WYeast Rudesheimer?



Subject: Introduction...
From: Susan Bondurant <>
Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2005 11:39:32 -0800 (PST)

Hello all,

I have just joined the list. I came across mead

in the SCA and I am starting a mead brewing group in
my area — the Olympic Peninsula, Washington State,



IN a few hours, some folk are coming over to rack

some previous brew and make some perry, which I have
never done. I am using the basic mead — er — melomel
recipe, and throwing in pears and spices.

Anyway, I'm glad to have found this list.


"Vinum scriptori reddatur de meliori"

save the best wine for the scribe


Subject: Songs with Mead Themes
From: "Dan McFeeley" <>
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2005 09:18:13 -0600

These were being swapped around on the
GotMead forums:

The Pagan Polka

I live way out in Kansas where the prairie is so pretty
I found myself at Gaea which is down near Kansas City
Some folks were singing round a fire, and man, it made me mad
'Cause every time they sang a song, it sounded awful sad.

So I found this little problem in my personality.
I lay too much emotion on what's mere modality.
But, I've got a question. Someone please explain to me –
Why must pagan music always be in a minor key?

So I sing..

Let's do the PAGAN POLKA
It's gonna win you over!
Dance from dusk 'til dawn
Or 'til the mead's all gone.

First you take your clothes off, get as naked as you dare.
Prance around the fire, throw your arms up in the air!
Do the PAGAN POLKA 'til you see the rising sun.
Happy pagans (PAGAN POLKA-happy) having fun!


This crazy polka beat will give you happy feet
Dance 'til the break of day – dance all your cares away!

Now, we do the PAGAN POLKA down upon the farm
The cows and chickens watch us as we dance and wave our arms.
The neighbors think we're crazy, and our children think they're right!
But we still do the PAGAN POLKA every single night!

This crazy polka beat will give you happy feet
Dance 'til the break of dawn – dance 'til you can't go on!

Now, we do the PAGAN POLKA down upon the farm.
The cows and chickens watch us as we dance an wave our arms.
The neighbors think we're crazy and, by George, they may be right,
But we still do the PAGAN POLKA every single night!


And the mead's still going strong!

A Paean to a Mead
(aka, "Fairy Dew")
by Joe Credit

G Dm6

CH: Fairy Dew, Fairy Dew

The noblest thing a honey bee can do
G G7 C Cm7
the sweetness flows from the flower to the bee
G (tacit…) G (Lick)* G Edim(ii)


D#dim(i) G

from the honey in the bottle, from the bottle to me


G Ddim D7

1. When the summer sun is a-ridin' low

G Edim D7

I know what I want & I know where to go

G G7 C Cm7

I go to my cooler where I find what I need

G (Lick) * G Edim(ii) D#dim(i) G

I open up a bottle of Fairy Dew Mead



2. When it's festival and my friends are in town
I'm the most popular guy around
They moan and they beg, they cajole and they plead
They say, "Pass around a bottle of Fairy Dew Mead" (CH)

3. I like wine, I like it any old time
I will suck the fruit of almost any vine
But give me a choice and I have to concede
I'd rather have a bottle of Fairy Dew Mead (CH)

4. Now when I die, don't you bury me
In a dirty old plot in the cemetery
Take my bones, grind them up if you please
and put 'em in a bottle of Fairy Dew Mead (CH)

Bzzzzzzz Gulp, gulp, gulp!

*Lick: B-d-e-g B-g-f-d g-b-e-f#-g


D6 Edim(ii) D#dim(i) Ddim Cm7

X00 0 XX XX XX0 0 X

|||||X |||||| ||X|X| |||X|X ||||||
|||X|| ||X|X| ||x|X |||||| ||||||
|||||| |||X|X |||||| |||||| |X|X|X
|||||| |||||| |||||| |||||| ||||X|
|||||| |||||| |||||| |||||| ||X|||



Dan McFeeley

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1154