Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1305, 15 February 2007
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2007 10:30:24 -0700 (MST)

Mead Lover's Digest #1305 Thur 15 February 2007


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



RE: Mead Lover's Digest #1304, 10 February 2007 ("Bill Pierce")
Re: Honey Question… (Dick Adams)
Re: Honey Colors (Dick Adams)
Colonies of Bees dying (john emig)
high abv meads ("")


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Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #1304, 10 February 2007
From: "Bill Pierce" <>
Date: Sat, 10 Feb 2007 15:55:07 -0500

Dick Adams wrote:
>>> "Alcohol toxicity is inversely related to heat which means if
>>> you want to increase the alcohol toxicity threshold, you should
>>> decrease the temperature of the must."

"Bill Pierce" <> justifiably asked:
>> Dick, I certainly don't mean to be a pest, but this is
>> something I have not encountered in my readings and study.
>> For the sake of science and my ignorance, could you give a
>> source for your statement?

Dick Adams replied:
> You can start with:

I think it should be mentioned that this reference is for
distiller's yeast, which is typically fermented very warm (up to 100
F) in order to maximize rapid alcohol production. The
recommendation is to reduce the fermentation temperature (to more
like 90 F) in the case of very high levels of alcohol.

I'm not sure how much of this applies to meadmaking, winemaking or
brewing, where fermentation temperatures are much lower, seldom
above 80 F and typically cooler than that. Indeed very high
fermentation temperatures are known for the production of fusels and
higher alcohols, which are driven off during ethanol distillation.
I have difficulty thinking that the alcohol tolerance of the strains
we use is so temperature dependent at these much lower temperatures.

As I said, in my reading and study I have yet to encounter the
recommendation to lower the fermentation temperature for mead, wine
or beer in order to increase the alcohol tolerance.


  • — Bill Pierce

Cellar Door Homebrewery
Burlington, Ontario


Subject: Re: Honey Question...
From: (Dick Adams)
Date: Sun, 11 Feb 2007 06:08:41 -0500 (EST)

Dana Acker <> wrote:

> Greetings! If anyone can help me with a problem I seem to be facing,
> I'd be in your debt. Please bear with me for a second as I set this
> up. My question of the moment is about honey as opposed to mead.


> While formulating mead recipies at our winery, I began to experiment
> with sweetening one of our dry wines with honey. Normally we sweeten
> this wine to about 1% residual sweetness with cane sugar. In my
> sweetening trials, if I take one gram of cane sugar and add it to 100
> mL of wine, then I've sweetened the wine to 1% residual sweetness.
> Also I have formulas for sugar additions in pounds per thousand
> gallons to raise the sweetness by one degree Brix or it's equivalent
> percentage. Got that down.


> Here's the dilemma I presently face, and hence, my question. Does
> anyone know of a formula for how much honey to add to a liquid, lets
> say wine, to achieve sweetness levels that would equate to both degrees
> Brix and also by percent residual sugar? If I want to take a certain
> volume of wine to X% residual sweetness how much honey do I need to add
> without having to resort to time consuming trial and error tests?


> I realize that all honey is different, and not all honeys contain the
> same levels of sugar, which certainly adds to the complication factor.
> I also understand that sweetness in honey is often measured in moisture
> content as opposed to Brix, though I do neither know how to determine
> the said moisture content nor what it means if I could.

Honey is suppose to have a moisture content of 14 to 18%. Anything above
18% is susceptable to bacteria growth. I have gotten five lb containers
of honey from both a honey packer and a restaurant supply house. The
restaurant honey weighed less than 5 lbs. My presumption is that this
was due to high moisture content. Water weighs approximately 2/3rds the
weight of honey. Other other than knowing how to tell when there is
excess moisture. I too have no idea how to meaure it. But if you are
buying in bulk from a honey packer, they should be able to tell you its
moisture content and may even know the Brix of the honey – which would
solve your dilemna.

> One of my wine text books said that honey generally came in at an
> equivalence of 60-70++ degrees Brix. We do not have the lab
> facilities to do precise or definitive analytical sugar assessments
> and do not have a refractometer that will work for honey–can anyone
> recommend a good one, or is one necessary?

The Mead calculator at GotMead.Com uses 79.6 for the sugar content (Brix)
of honey and for a 1 gal batch with 1 gal of honey calculates and SG of


If you know the SG of a must and its water:honey ratio, you can back
into these numbers.


  • must = 4 gals of water and 1 gal of honey

  • SG.water = 1.000

  • SG.honey = ?

  • SG.must = 1.088



  • SG.honey = (((SG.solution – 1)) * 5 – ((SG.water -1) * 4)) + 1

  • SG.honey = ((.088 * 5) – 0) + 1

  • SG.honey = 1.44



  • Brix = 261.3 * ((1 – (1 / SG.honey))

  • Brix = 79.589


The differences between these calculations and those of GotMead's
Mead calculator can be explained as rounding errors.

Given a 0-100 Brix calculator costs more than any of would want
to pay, you can calculate both the SG of the honey and its Brix
with the ewuipment you have as follows:

  • Measure off 4 parts water and 1 part honey;

  • Take the SG of the water just to be on the safe side;

  • Mix the water and the honey into a must;

  • Take an SG of the must;

  • Calculate the SG of the honey; and

  • Calculate the Brix of the honey.



Subject: Re: Honey Colors
From: (Dick Adams)
Date: Sun, 11 Feb 2007 06:22:57 -0500 (EST)

Michael Fairbrother <> asked:

> I am wondering if anyone might have any reference images to the
> different color designations of honey (Water White, Extra White, White,
> Extra Light Amber, Light Amber, Amber, and Dark)? I am working on an
> article on a varietal honey mead experiment that I am conducting.
> Didn't think to take photos of the first batches of honey in the
> experiment.

I suggest you contact Jami Yanoski ( at the
National Honey Board.

For color descriptions, but no photos, see:

For photos of commercial vendor jars, see:


Subject: Colonies of Bees dying
From: john emig <>
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2007 06:58:35 -0800 (PST)

A mysterious illness is killing tens of thousands of honeybee colonies
across the country, threatening honey production, the livelihood of
beekeepers and possibly crops that need bees for pollination, according
to bee researchers at Penn State University. Researchers are scrambling
to find the cause of the ailment, called Colony Collapse Disorder. Reports
of unusual colony deaths have come from at least 22 states. Some affected
commercial beekeepers – who often keep thousands of colonies – have reported
losing more than 50 percent of their bees. Scientists at Penn State, the
University of Montana and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are among
researchers and industry officials trying to solve the mystery.

Subject: high abv meads
From: "" <>
Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2007 18:51:03 GMT

If you want it to go drier than K1V1116 will take it, You could always
do like Dick says and let it go as far as possible, THEN throw in some
higher gravity yeast (champagne, distillers…) in hopes the starting
yeast flavor profile will still dominate.


End of Mead Lover's Digest #1305