Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1194, 26 June 2005

Mead Lover's Digest #1194 Sun 26 June 2005


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



Buckwheat Honey and Mead (Me)
vinegar from mead ("Chuck Jonus")
mead taxonomy / hydromel ("William")
New Method of Monitoring Specific Gravity ("William")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1193, 22 June 2005 (Randy Goldberg MD)
Hydromel (
Mead Moon – St. John's Eve ("OCurrans")


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Subject: Buckwheat Honey and Mead
From: Me <>
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 2005 12:31:37 -0700 (PDT)

> "Mike Castelluccio" <>
> asked:
"I was wondering if anyone has a suggestion for a Buckwheat honey, I would
think it is best suited for a braggot but I may be missing something."

To which Dick wrote, "I think it is best suited for letting my wife use
it in sauces."

Mike, if you are into the "wet dog" style of mead, knock yourself out
my friend. I am friends with two brewing families. one adopts your idea
of Buckwheat Braggots–and they are frigthening.

The other family used the buckwheat in a light, summery mead which
finished clear, good legs, and medium sweet. There was hardly any "wet
dog" character, so little that I only could place the flavor after they
told me which honey they used. it was not, I repeat not, unpleasant.

I vote go light, go easy, a little goes a long, long way! Woof!

Happy Brewing!

"So take your hat off, boy, when you're talking to me!
And be there when I feed the tree."

Subject: vinegar from mead
From: "Chuck Jonus" <>
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 2005 20:28:39 -0400

A local bee keeper has offered me a quantity of honey if I would make him
some mead that he would then make vinegar from. Neither of us know the
process, but he has obtained some starter. Any help would be appreciated.

Subject: mead taxonomy / hydromel
From: "William" <>
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 2005 21:34:46 -0300


What in a name?

Hidromel is the name that mead goes by in Portuguese. Hidromiel is the way
mead is called in Spanish. Hydromel is how the French ask for mead. And none
of these are specially dilute, light, watered down or weak beverages.
Hidromels can be light dry as well as very sweet potent beverages.

As a point of interest, in France hydromel goes by different names depending
on the region. In Britanny it is called chouchenn. In the Vendée, it is
ragouillet and in Normandy it can be known as bécheton or beuchet.

Thanks for the opportunity


Subject: New Method of Monitoring Specific Gravity
From: "William" <>
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 2005 21:55:56 -0300


your new method is quite interesting, but I think an important point has
been left out.

As we know, alcohol in mead is produced at the expense of the fermentable
sugars present in the honey must, with the simultaneous production of carbon

The reaction is C6 H12 O6 = 2CO2 + 2C2 H5 OH

For each pound of glucose, we get (theoretically) 0.49 lbs of carbon dioxide
and 0.51 lbs of alcohol. So we can see that the amount of carbon dioxide is
very close to the quantity of alcohol produced so the CO2 will have an
important influence on the final weight balance of the system.

In your must, 6 gallons @ 1,110 containing 14,5 lbs of fermentable sugars
(in round numbers), we will have after complete fermentation (assuming it
goes to the end and no other byproducts are formed) 7.4 lbs of alcohol and
7.1 lbs of carbon dioxide, of which most will be lost to the atmosphere,
slightly contributing to the world's temperature increase :-).

By not computing the weight loss of the system due to carbon dioxide, the
error in the final calculation of the specific gravity increases. The weight
variation due to the loss of carbon dioxide is considerable, as we saw that
the amount produced is nearly the same as the amount of alcohol, even if we
allow a certain quantity to remain dissolved in the fermented must.

There is also another aspect. The change in weight of the carboy is
basically due to the loss of carbon dioxide, because, as Lavoisier taught
us, matter is not created or destroyed, but changed. The water, sugars,
yeast, proteins and nutrients originally addded to the carboy constitute a
system out of which only CO2 escapes. If the CO2 could be trapped and
weighed together with the carboy containing the fermented must, one would
find that the full carboy's weight at the end of the fermentation is the
same as its weight at the beginning, notwithstanding the formation of lees
or fermentation byproducts such as higher alcohols or aromatic substances
(which, after all, are produced from all the constituents of the must).

The specific gravity can be calculated based on your reasoning by removing a
known volume from the carboy and weighing it. The value you get is
sufficiently near to the measured specific gravity for most purposes.
Take note of the temperature or cool the liquid to as near to 60F as
possible so that you can compare the calculated value with the published

I use a large (50mL) syringe to remove the fixed volume of must and weigh
it. The syringe is weighed before, so by subtracting it from the weight of
the full syringe I knew the weight of the liquid. Dividing it by the volume
(fixed at 50 mL) I got the specific gravity of the liquid. This way the
weighing method is not skewed by the liberation of CO2 or by lees. The
balance for this must be sufficiently sensitive. Kitchen scales obviously
will not do. Smaller volumes can be treated this way, but then the
sensitivity of the balance must be higher.

Hope I helped,


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1193, 22 June 2005
From: Randy Goldberg MD <>
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 07:12:25 -0400

>=A0Subject: Re: mead taxonomy
>=A0From: (Dick Adams)
>=A0Date: Wed, 22 Jun 2005 00:54:10 -0400 (EDT)


>=A0Try "Light Mead"

Except "light" already has a controlled definition in the Federal rules when
applied to alcoholic beverages.


Randy Goldberg MD
RandomTag: A loaf of bread, a jug of wine and <occupant>.

Subject: Hydromel
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 10:31:51 -0400 (EDT)

Thanks to Dick and Dan for clarifying the hydromel myth and supporting not
using this name. (This always irked me). The fact that "people use it"
does not make it right, otherwise we would be using "irregardless" and
many other funny creations. (I would actually venture that it is mostly
used in writing as I don't know many small mead producers). Mike pointed
out that it may be used by the IMA. Well, this is wrong too. The IMA
should be (or become) a reference in the matter and I think we should
suggest this change to the group.


Subject: Mead Moon - St. John's Eve
From: "OCurrans" <>
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 18:05:25 -0400

Centuries ago, Eastern and Northern Europeans would celebrate the summer
solstice with mystical pagan customs intended to produce healing, fertility
and prosperity. During Midsummer Eve, the night before the longest day of
the year in the Northern Hemisphere (usually June 21st), and people would
light huge bonfires to symbolize light triumphing over darkness and life
over death. Shakespeare captured this night of supernatural wonder in his
play A Midsummer Night's Dream when humans and other-world fairies mingled
on a night when love and mischief was definitely in the air.
In time, those areas where Christianity came to dominate, the Church
replaced summer solstice celebrations with the Feast of St. John, held on
June 24th. Today, people in East Europe still mark Midsummer's Eve with
festivals or dances and bonfires that light up the night sky.
The Feast of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptizer (24 June), aka St.
John's Day, is one of the quarter days, four Catholic holidays at the
beginning of each season of the year, which were communally celebrated. The
other quarter days are Christmas, Lady Day (Annunciation) and Michaelmas
(Sept 29).
Celebration of St. John's Day traditionally began the night before. St.
John's Eve, (June 23), (today) was sometimes known as Bonfire Night in
Ireland. Up to the mid-20th century, Irish Catholics lit large communal
bonfires at sunset on this day, or small family fires outside their houses.
The communal bonfires were traditionally piled very high with wood, sticks,
dry brambles, etc. Each household would contribute fuel for the fire. At
dusk the whole town would gather around the pile, and an elderly man in the
community would light the bonfire while saying a prayer:
After the prayers, the merriment would begin: dancing, singing shouting,
blowing horns, storytelling, instrumental solos, etc. The bonfire was
tended until long after midnight

Saint John is known as the Patron Saint of Beekeepers. Two other saints are
known as patron saints of Beekeepers. St. Ambrose Born: 339; Born: 339
Feast: December 7th and St. John Bernard of Clairvaux, Born: 1090; Died:
1153 Feast: August 20th.

The full moon closest to the summer solstice is known as the mead moon. This
happened yesterday (June 22). I have also seen the full moon of July called
the "Mead Moon".

All of this "History Lesson" is to let you all to know that, tonight, you
should raise a glass of mead to the full moon and say a prayer to St. John
(for you Christians) or howl at it (for you pagans). And, for those that
believe the "Mead Moon" is in July, wait a month. As for me, I think I will
drink a mead to the moon, and St. John, tonight AND next month.

Howard Oviedo, FL

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1194