Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1162, 21 February 2005

Mead Lover's Digest #1162 Mon 21 February 2005


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



Re: Cheap Honey (Mike Knauer)
Jamaica flower mead?? ("Alan & Ondina Colton")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1161, 18 February 2005 ("Lane O. Locke")
Re: Fermentation Temperature (Steven Sanders)
Re: MLD #1161, 18/2/05 – Cheap honey and processing ("Arthur Torrey (no sp…)
Re: orange mead and acidity (Dick Dunn)
Temperature Control ("Travis Miller")
Costco honey (Steve Ruch)


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Subject: Re: Cheap Honey
From: Mike Knauer <>
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2005 12:41:49 -0500

Dick wrote:
>The best price I have gotten for honey was $91.80 for 60 lbs
>from and pick it up at their plant in
>Lancaster, PA. Shipped to you it's about $124 for 60 lbs.
>If someone is selling it for under $10 for 6 lbs, I would be
>concerned about quality.


>I have yet to meet a local beekeeper who wants less than $30/12 lbs.

If you could pick stuff up at Dutch Gold then you are probably not too far
from Swarmbustin' Honey ( in Chester
County PA. He's a local beekeeper who sells 5 gallon buckets for $96 and
12 lbs for $24. Good stuff too, just not much variety.


  • Mike


Subject: Jamaica flower mead??
From: "Alan & Ondina Colton" <>
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2005 15:20:18 -0600

I tasted a " Flor de Jamaica" [Jamaica flower] drink in Mexico recently,
made by pouring boiling water over dried Jamaica flowers and adding sugar to
sweeten. It tastes somewhat similar to Tamarind juice and having made a
terrific tamarind melomel last year I am wondering if anyone has tried to
make a melomel using Jamaica flowers.
I tried to google it but only got Jamaican flower shops. Anybody got a

Alan Colton


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1161, 18 February 2005
From: "Lane O. Locke" <>
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2005 15:54:28 -0600

Ordering online is a good option.
This link is the local supplier I use:

Lane O

> Subject: Re: newbie info needed
> From: Jeremy Bergsman <>
> Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2005 20:42:22 -0500


> To be more specific, the things I think I need (but perhaps I don't) are
> acids and nutrients that one might use in mead but not in beer. Also, I
> didn't check carefully, but I don't believe they have a wide selection of
> non-beer yeast, so a source for that would be useful too.


> Thanks again.

> – —

> Jeremy Bergsman

Subject: Re: Fermentation Temperature
From: Steven Sanders <>
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2005 14:17:59 -0800 (PST)

> The only potential concern was, and I'll ask for the group's comments on
> this, whether or not I was positively or negatively affecting the
> fermentation by adding heat. Does a must that ferments faster/slower or at
> a higher/lower temperature have a "large or noticeable" affect on the final
> product?


> Curious…


> Michael Zahl


Temperature can have a significant effect on
fermentation. Whether it's positive or negative
depends on what you want. A slow, cold fermentation
can give you a crisp mead that is usually ready to
drink right out of the carboy. However, you can lose
complexity with this method. Hotter and faster
fermentations tend to make more complex meads that
frequently requre aging (sometimes prolonged). So its
a give and take. Ingredients are also a major factor
in the aging process, though. Most of my meads are
cold fermented, around 55 deg. F



Subject: Re: MLD #1161, 18/2/05 - Cheap honey and processing
From: "Arthur Torrey (no spam please!)" <>
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2005 18:22:45 -0500

> Subject: RE: Cheap Honey
> From: "Jones, Steve (eIS) - Eastman" <>
> Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2005 09:07:39 -0500

<heavy snipping on price and non processing details>
> If you can buy a 5 gallon bucket (60 lbs) then Dutch Gold honey is one
> place to go
> Their processing is pretty basic – flash pasteurization, diatomaceous earth,
> and filtering.

> Steve Jones, Johnson City, TN
> State of Franklin Homebrewers (


Well, not to sound overly 'earthy crunchy' Steve, but your description of

'basic processing' to me sounds like really heavy processing of a sort that
would destroy much of the alleged goodness of the honey. Flash pasteurizing
is even higher heat than normal pasteurizing, just for less time, but just as
damaging to the enzymes and such put in by the bees, and the filtering would
remove most of the pollen and other beneficial solids.


As a comparison, this is how _I_ process my honey…
1. I take it off the hive, removing the bees with a combination of a triangle
escape board (lets the bees leave the honey super, but not get back in) and
then a leaf blower to get rid of the ones that didn't leave on their own.
(Note that while this probably traumatizes the heck out of the little
darlings, it doesn't cause them any lasting harm) As I remove each super I
wrap it in a towel to keep the bees out until I can get it onto my screened
back porch where I will do the extracting in a mostly bee-free space.

2. I cut the wax cappings off the honeycomb frames with an electric (hot)
decapping knife. The cappings and a certain amount of honey that comes off
with them get collected in my decapping tank where the honey is drained off
and passes through a couple layers of nylon filter material. (I will later
wash the cappings in water to get rid of the last of the honey, and use the
wash water in my next batch of mead…)

3. The decapped frames get put into my centrifugal extractor, and the honey
spun out of them. The bottom of the extractor has a big heatlamp under it
that warms the metal up to the point where it is warm, but not hot, to the

4. When I drain the honey from the extractor, it goes through a spaghetti
colander then a paint filter bag to remove any wax particles, dead bee bits,
etc. The cappings honey eventually gets put through the same paint filter
bag. From there it goes into five gallon buckets or other containers for

And that's it… No significant heating, and filtering only to get the big
stuff. It is all that is needed in reality, the other processing just serves
to keep the honey from 'going crystal' which doesn't hurt anything but makes
it less saleable.

Note that nothing will grow in non-diluted honey, and that the inside of a
beehive is at least as sterile as the average hospital operating room, so
there really isn't a reason to pasteurize. Pollen and the other solids removed
by filtering are not only harmless, but they can actually help with yeast
nutrition. I even add extra pollen as part of my standard mead recipes.



Subject: Re: orange mead and acidity
From: Dick Dunn <>
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2005 21:42:37 -0700

In the digest before last, "Wout Klingens" <> wrote
(inter alia)

> 5. You shoot for a must with a TA of about 8. It will lower after
> fermentation is done *if* MLF occurs.

That "8" is 8 grams/liter, which is equivalent to a TA of 0.8%. Acid-test
kits that Wout is familiar with might use the g/l notation, but what we
have in the US generally lead you through calculations that end up with
TA as a percentage.

TA will drop -if- MLF occurs -and- -if- there's malic acid present. MLF
would do a lot to a cyser, a little bit to a pyment…and to the topic
at hand, nothing in a citrus melomel.

0.8% is pretty zingy. Makes sense for a citrus mead I suppose, but I'd
rather be more around 0.5% for other melomels.

Wout also mentioned:
> 6. You do not want MLF in citric. It makes vinegar.

It can; it depends. Some types of lactic bacteria can turn citric acid
to vinegar, but not all. (This is one of the reasons that perry-making
is difficult, and that MLF is challenging but not impossible in a perry.)
I don't know, but now I'm curious, whether the commercial winemaking
ML bacteria can turn citric to acetic. But again, this is wide of the
topic of citrus meads, since there's no point in trying MLF in them.
Wout's right, no good will come of it, and quite possibly bad.

Dick Dunn Hygiene, Colorado USA

Subject: Temperature Control
From: "Travis Miller" <>
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2005 23:30:27 -0500

One method that is more on the expensive end but very effective…
Get a chest freezer and put a hair dryer inside turned up on high. Plug the
hairdryer and the freezer into temp controllers place the probes into the
freezer then put your carboy into the freezer. The temp gets below the
differential for the temp controller on the hairdryer it kicks on. When it
gets too hot the freezer kicks on and the hairdryer turns off. Most of the
time the temp inside the freezer will stay within a two or three degree
range and neither one will run very often. A good friend of mine does this
for the lagers that he sends to completions. Lagers have very specific and
complicated temperature issues that this works well with. It is probably
overkill for mead. An even more expensive approach would be to by a conical
fermenter from with the fancy heating and cooling system
for $$$$$$$.

Many homebrewers and home mead makers underestimate the importance of
temperature in making a good finished product. A must that is absolutely
perfect in terms of having everything it needs to make yeast happy can end
up being off flavored mead if it is fermented at a temp that is too high or
low. Try to match the yeast you are using to temperature range you can keep
your fermenting must at.


"Live life like your gonna die
Because your gonna" William Shatner

Subject: Costco honey
From: (Steve Ruch)
Date: Sat, 19 Feb 2005 12:28:07 -0800

Costco in Vancouver and Portland have had 6 pounds for around $10 for
It's good honey. I used 4 1/2 pounds in a pyment which turned out real
good. The rest is used for cooking.

"I'm a man, but I can change, if I have to. I guess," The mans prayer.
Red Green

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1162