Mead Lover's Digest #1366 Wed 13 February 2008


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



RE: Mead Lover's Digest #1353, 29 November 2007 ("Vicky Rowe")
RE: competition medals ("Vicky Rowe")
RE: Mead Lover's Digest #1365, 5 February 2008 (Robert Agnew)
Re: Solera mead? (
Re:Fermenter suggestions (
Re: competition medals (Tim)
Pouring Honey (
effect of UV light on mead (Michael Hetzel)


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Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #1353, 29 November 2007
From: "Vicky Rowe" <>
Date: Tue, 5 Feb 2008 17:06:47 -0500

Hi Dan

Sorry, must be a glitch. I've got a couple folks who have very nicely
offered to help me keep up the MLD's (there are over 1000, I got buried!!!
LOL), so we may be behind. I'll make sure it gets fixed.

Meanwhile, what were you searching for? Maybe I can help……


Vicky Rowe
The Gotmead Webwench

> >Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1353, 29 November 2007
> >From:
> >Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2008 23:03:45 -0500

> >

>> > > A searchable archive is at

> >

> >I've entered direct phrases, cut&paste, and asked for "exact
> >phrase" matching — so far, 10 of 10 for zero results. What
> >am I doing wrong?

> >

> >Looking at the site map at the above shows that the last mead
> >digest indexed there was in October 2006, unless the site map
> >is incorrect.

> >

> >What gives?

> > > >- –dan

Subject: RE: competition medals
From: "Vicky Rowe" <>
Date: Tue, 5 Feb 2008 17:31:34 -0500

Thanks Dick, you took the words right outta my mouth. My typing digits thank


Howard, just my .02 to add to Dick's very on-target comments: If sniping at
other competitions is how Meadllenium intends to go forward, please do not
associate or refer to Gotmead in any way in conjunction with Meadlenium,
mention my name, the name of my site or otherwise indicate in any way that I
or my site approves of such tactics for your competition. Because I do *not*
approve of bashing others to get ahead.

I (and I *am* believe that a person, event, competition or a
mead should be able to stand on his/her/its own merits. If it can't, it
isn't worth being involved with. Bashing others to raise up your event only
makes you look low and cheap.

Think on that going forward into next year. Because given your last
comments, I'm very much inclined at this point to *de*cline permission for
you to post or otherwise reference your competition/organization on GM, and
will clearly state my reasons (in depth and with cites) on Gotmead when
asked. Word travels fast in the mead community.

I imagine that my doing so wouldn't have a positive effect on entries.
That's ok though, they can enter the Upper Mississippi Mashout or the IHMMC,
both of which are great competitons that have much to offer, and give out
great awards and medals.

Reconsider how to market, Howard. Negative marketing only works in politics.
Here you just piss folks off.

Oh, and thanks for the invite to judge, but I think I'll pass. I don't want
people thinking I support your current marketing tactics.

Frankly, were I you, I'd swallow my pride and pony up an apology for your
comments, if only so that it won't come back to bite you next year….

Vicky Rowe
Founder & Owner

Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #1365, 5 February 2008
From: Robert Agnew <>
Date: Tue, 5 Feb 2008 16:38:56 -0600

In resonse to –

> > Subject: Solera mead?> From: stencil <>
> > Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2008 15:06:46 -0500

> > Has any one used the solera scheme
Check out Rabbit's Foot Meadery:

The method for a solara is based on vintages (in sherry) so, let's say
in 2000 you make a 5 gallon barrel (not carboy as evaporation, or the
angel's share, is key), by 2001, ~10% of your liquid would have evaporated.
You fill that void in your barrel with 2001 product (post fermentation)
plus you have an additonal barrel of 2001. In 2002, you top off 2000 with
2001 and top of 2001 with 2002 and add one more barrel of 2002. In 2003
you top off 2000 with your second barrel which now contains 2001 and 2002,
your second barrel with your third and so on. You see how this becomes a
very complex cascade of vintages making a consistant product. To make a
"5 year" every vintage in the barrel must be 5 years old. So, after you
have 5 vintages in the barrel, you would need to age it another 5 years.

Wikipeda has a decent article with some even better links:


Subject: Re: Solera mead?
Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2008 02:19:17 EST

stencil _stencil.sends@verizon.net_ (

> > Has any one used the solera scheme, in which a container of
> > aged mead gives up a portion of its contents for bottling,
> > and is then topped off from another container of younger
> > mead, and so back until the last container is filled with
> > freshly-fermented mead? Most of my carboys run around 6.5
> > gallons, say 25 liters, and a dozen 750ml bottles is barely
> > 2.5 gallons. My questions would be, …..

A solera scheme appears to require continuous brewing
of the same Mead from which I infer an amateur homebrew
production line resulting in a two to three year aging process.
If my body was as young as I am and I was not planning to
relocate in the next year, it would be an attractive consideration.


  • – – What is the best aliquot to pull for bottling, and why?



  • – – Is it better to draw down incrementally, a bottle at a

time, or to wait until meading time, and draw several
bottles at once?



  • – – How deep should the stack be; that is, for how many years

will you have to make up not just what's been bottled, but a
fresh carboy's worth too?


Those three questions are dependent on the size of
your carboys, demis, and or barrels plus your brewing
schedule. In a 6.5 gallon (24+ liters) carboy scheme,
I would move 12 liters at a time.


  • – – Should you try to extract the lees from each container at

racking time, or just let them accumulate until they get to
crisis levels (whatever that might be?)


If you know what a crisis is, you should know how to
avoid one. When you rack, leave the lees behind and
let them rinse out – unless you want to reuse your yeast.


  • – – Will the tiding-over of the well-aged portion have

sufficient impact on flavor to justify the hassle?


I don't know, but I personally doubt it unless you are a
superior brewer with excellent controls to assure consistent
brewing. OTOH I am on my fourth replication of a superb
IPA Braggot and still haven't come close..


Richard D. Adams, CPA (retired)
Moderator: misc.taxes.moderated

Subject: Re:Fermenter suggestions 
Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2008 02:40:53 EST

Doug Thomas asked:

> > Some neighbors and I have planted a total of 150 grape vines
> > between us. That was about 4 years ago. We produced 45
> > gallons last year. It's time to move to a bigger primary and
> > storage, rather than the 9 carboys and 4 plastic primaries.

> >

> > One of the guys located a "chemical fermenter" new that is
> > medium density poly-propolene, with a welded stand. It
> > states that it is acid resistant and food grade. Tapered bottom.
> > Whole nine yards. I think the whole thing was 220 for a 65
> > gallon set-up.

> >

> > Should this type of item work?
Sounds like a US Plastics tank. My problem with large tanks
for homebrewing is the space required for cleaning, sanitizing,
etc. But I can't conjure up a single reason it should not work,

> > And for storage, stainless?
> > Don't want to do oak… I know that.

To say stainless is expensive is a gross understatement.
Take a look at Toledo Metal Spinning!


_ (

If this was my project, I'd buy more carboys for storage.


Subject: Re: competition medals
From: Tim <>
Date: Wed, 06 Feb 2008 16:34:57 -0600 (CST)

As the organizer of the Valhalla competition, I would like to comment on two
issues raised in this dialogue.

First on "making money from a competition." I spend approximately $400-$600
of my own money on the Valhalla competition each year. I have saved all
of the receipts for the past three competitions–here is an approximate
breakdown of what a single competition costs:

Supply costs:

Copying costs for score sheets: $80
Copying costs for mead guidelines: $75
Miscellaneous–(pencils, envelopes, etc): $30

Breakfast for judges: $55
Lunch for judges: $185

Ribbons for awards: $85
Awards for winners of competition: (2005–$350, 2006–$275, 2007–$325)
Postage for returning score sheets to entrants: $56

Total competition costs: $916.
If I receive 60 mead entries at $7 per entry–then I have recouped $420 dollars
for a loss of $496.

(Just a note–I spent quite a bit of money to create the Valhalla website
? with a nominal annual fee–and I also purchase thank you gifts for
the judges for each competition, since many travel quite a distance
to participate. I did not include those costs in this breakdown, since
these are items not necessarily considered as part of a competition's
expected costs).

Even if I stopped providing awards and only gave ribbons to the winners
(which would result in a total competition cost of $566), I would still
be contributing $146 of my own personal money to the competition.

Why do I contribute my own money to the competition? First, because I
really enjoy organizing the competition and feel that the event can support
mead-makers around the country by providing a forum where people can come
together to taste and provide feedback on their meads. It is a way I can
contribute to the hobby. I DO NOT host this competition to make money and
never expect to profit from the competition.

Second on "handing out medals.? Since I am actually contributing my own money
to host the competition, then I hold the competition to very high standards.

First, our awards are based on blind scoring by judges and then on the
ranking of those scores within the appropriate mead category. Winners of
each category are ranked 1, 2, 3 based on the scores. Best of show includes
the number one ranked mead in each category. By the way–a sweet melomel
hasn't won best of show at Valhalla yet.
Second, even though all of the judges at Valhalla must have experience in
judging meads from prior competitions (judges new to meads are paired with
two other experienced judges) to assure quality and consistent judging,
we provide a brief refresher training on tasting and judging meads the
morning of the competition. This training is provided by one of the
Grand Master judges in the area. Third, the judging is blind (meaning
that none of the identifying information about the entrant is provided to
the judges), but all the information provided to me by the entrants on
their particular meads is given to the judges. All of the mead entries
are documented in a binder so that if judges have questions, I can refer
back to the documentation provided by the entrant. This documentation is
archived so that I can refer to it later should questions arise. Fourth,
I review the score sheets before they are sent back to the entrants
for completeness. Fifth, the mead flights are kept small (approximately
7-8 entries) so that judges do not loose their palate during a flight.
This means I need more judges and a longer competition time (which is
why the care and feeding of judges is very important). Sixth, BOS judges
are selected based on the most experienced in the group–and many of my
experienced judges travel quite a distance to be part of the competition. I
do defer to the judges and their expertise on the scoring and ranking of
the meads they taste. However, when a flight has particularly good set
of entries we discuss having honorable mentions, or if a flight has fewer
good entries, we suggest reducing the number of winners.
I must say that I am dismayed at this level of conversation on the
Mead Digest and the implied insults to those of us that organize these
competitions. For all the work and amount of money that organizers spend
on competitions, we rarely ever get any positive feedback in public
forums and listservs. Regardless of the negativity, we still host
competitions and I am still committed to organizing Valhalla to provide
as high quality a competition as I can for mead makers. Suzanne McMurphy
( ? Organizer of Valhalla.

Subject: Pouring Honey
Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2008 18:28:53 EST

This may be overkill and you may have read it somewhere else,
but please bear with me as this is important to me.

My honey comes in 5-gallon pails with or without an EZ-Pour spout.
After a pail is empty, lids with EZ-Pours get cleaned and saved for
use on a pail without an EZ-Pour.

My initial problem was the slow flow rate from the pail to the fermenter.
So I drilled a hole 180 degrees above the EZ-Pour and installed a
bottling bucket spigot – turned outward with about 6" of plastic tubing
over the end of the spigot. Once the pour starts the spigot is opened
and the honey flows at a much faster rate. I'd estimate that without the
spigot opened it takes about 8 minutes to pour 15 lbs of honey where as
with the spigot opened it takes about 2 minutes.

The new problem is the flow rate slowly decreases upon closing the
spigot. My work-around solution is to close the spigot about 20 seconds
into the pour.

My thought is to make a large spigot to use with a regular lid. One first
thought it would require a threaded stainless steel tube 1-1/4" diameter,
two stainless steel nuts (one inside & one outside), a sheet of food grade
material that can be used to cut out washers, a stainless steel faucet with
a thread spout and a stainless steel cap to cover the spout when it is

I went to Home Depot and to a plumbing supply store. They understood
what I want to do. They just did not have the parts (other that the faucet).

I'm not looking for another way to pour honey, just a way to improve the
way I currently pour.

Any ideas,


Richard D. Adams, CPA (retired)
Moderator: misc.taxes.moderated

Subject: effect of UV light on mead
From: Michael Hetzel <>
Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2008 07:25:43 -0800 (PST)

I have two meads currently aging uncovered in clear glass carboys.. and the
thought occurred to me that exposure to UV light may damage the flavor. I
always cover my beers up (the old paper bag over the top works great)
because I'm well aware of the photochemical reactions to hop compounds –
but I wonder about mead. I did a quick search on gotmead and found some
posts about UV sterilization where it was mentioned in passing that 'of
course we know that uv is bad to mead'.. well I didn't know that!

Since I prefer to do things for a reason, let me ask the collective – what
exactly happens to mead in UV light, and why is it bad? Does it darken
mead too (I'm thinking yes, but if so, how)? I've not covered some of my
previous meads and I've generally been pleased with them, but maybe this
is what keeps them from being superior.

BTW I really liked the posts on oxidation in mead. Perhaps a food chemist
or microbiologist could chime in on this too? Of course general experience
and anecdotes are welcome too!

Off subject – someone in the last post mentioned that the MLD archives in
Gotmead end in Oct 06. I found the same thing, and it seems the coverage
is spotty (1 post for 2005 for example) – is there another archive elsewhere?

Mike Hetzel

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1366