Mead Lover's Digest #1368 Fri 29 February 2008


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



two of Dan's "three questions" (Dick Dunn)
ABV calculation (
Low Gravity Meads (Luke Kostu)
Re: Dan, Three Questions (Vuarra)
pH meters and (
Milk mead (
2008 National Homebrew Competition ("Janis Gross")


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Subject: two of Dan's "three questions"
From: Dick Dunn <>
Date: Sat, 23 Feb 2008 16:12:19 -0700

In the last digest, Dan Geer asked:
> > [2] Do judged scores tend to reflect a preference for bottle
> > aging versus carboy aging? All of my entries were bottled
> > just prior to shipment and it occurs to me that this is a
> > variable that can be adjusted/managed. I said as much at
> > entry, but one judge's comments asked if it was young in the
> > bottle.

This may be two separate questions: one about total aging time since the
nominal end of fermentation, the other about time in bottle.

There is a much-discussed phenomenon in wine-making called "bottle shock",
referring to the effect of a wine seeming "off", or more likely "dumb"
(lack of bouquet and character) for some time ranging from weeks to even
months after bottling. The phenomenon is much-discussed because it is
little-understood! There are some obvious reasons: bottling will release
dissolved CO2 and aromatics; then the wine will have to come back to some
sort of new equilibrium. But that doesn't explain it all.

Anyway, bottle shock applies to mead as well. If I were to enter meads
in a competition, I'd have them in bottle at least a couple months before
the competition.

> > [3] What does one do to evaluate acid levels if one is
> > color blind? (Phenolphthalein titration is a non-starter.)
> > Can this be merely recipe driven? I gather not and far
> > from it.

First, a side question: why would titration be a non-starter because of
color-blindness? The change during titration is from clear, or whatever
color the must is, to reddish, so you'd perceive it as a darkening. OTOH
trying to do the NaOH-phenolphthalein titration on a red must (pyment or
berry melomel, for example) is almost as hopeless for those of us with
good color vision.

But to the point: What is it you're trying to learn or control? Just
for one thought, pH will tell you something about acidity. They're not
the same, but they correlate well within samples of similar makeup. pH
can be measured with a meter with a digital display. And for example if
you wanted to know about effectiveness of sulfiting, it is pH rather than
TA that you're after anyway.

Acidity in traditional meads (honey + water) is an iffy concept anyway,
for reasons that other folks have written. In a melomel it's a lot easier
to pin down.

Dick Dunn Hygiene, Colorado USA

Subject: ABV calculation
Date: Sat, 23 Feb 2008 20:42:38 -0500

Three methods of calculating ABV — which is favored
for contest entry? In increasing order of complexity,
we have:

(1) 1.29*(OG-FG)

(2) Brew by the Numbers: Add Up What's in Your Beer

(Zymurgy, Summer 1995, vol. 18, no. 2).






or, if you prefer reading Javascript, see page source for


For my entries, and for my own records, I have been
calculating all three and averaging the result.

Which leads me to ask if any of you are submitting
samples to White Labs for official assays?

  • –dan

Subject: Low Gravity Meads
From: Luke Kostu <>
Date: Sat, 23 Feb 2008 21:02:54 -0800 (PST)

Last night I made my first in a series of experiments in low gravity meads.
BJCP guidelines say a hydromel's gravity may be as low as 1030. Using just
one pound of honey in five quarts of water, I hope not to exceed a ABV
of 4%. I am looking to produce an easy drinking mead in a short amount
of time. Has anyone out there produced a similar product? Will it be
lacking in honey profile and what time frame may one expect to maturity?
If the results of this test batch are agreeable I will certainly invest
in a five gallon batch of "lawnmower" mead for summer indulgence.

Subject: Re: Dan, Three Questions
From: Vuarra <>
Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2008 03:49:52 -0800 (PST)

Never having sent a mead for competition, I'm not sure I'm the best person
to answer this.

At a competition, a judge will give his/her opinion of the mead. I would
say that the mead probably has to age more than what is has. But…. do
*you* like it? If so, consider what the judge has said as advice, and
thank him for such. If not, and you are making the mead for yourself,
make one the way you want.

I've found that sometimes people are too interested in pleasing others, and
not interested in pleasing themselves. <Big Grin>

If you want my views of history, then there's something you should know,
The three men I admire most are Curly, Larry, Moe.

(Jim Steinman, "Everything Louder Than Everything Else")

Subject: pH meters and
Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2008 18:02:16 -0500

Do digital pH meters, such as [1], produce results
that can be relied upon at face value or do they,
like phenophthalein titration, fall victim to the
dual confabulation of lactone and acid?


  • –dan

Subject: Milk mead
Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2008 22:31:15 -0800 (PST)

About a year ago, there was some communication here about meads made with milk
(lactomel?). It's been a year, so I was hoping for an update. Did anyone
make a batch? How did it turn out?


Peter Ashford

Subject: 2008 National Homebrew Competition
From: "Janis Gross" <>
Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2008 14:45:55 -0700

Hi everyone,
I hope you have all been making some awesome mead to enter
in the 2008 National Homebrew Competition (NHC)!

All of the entry details and the Rules & Regulations (PDF file) and are posted
on the Entry Information page on Beertown:

Entry to the 2008 NHC is by online entry only. You also now have the option
of paying for your entries and/or AHA membership online.

The online entry link <> is now

The entry deadline is March 31 through April 11 at the regional receiving
sites listed on the Entry Information page on Beertown and shown on the map
on page 22 of the March/April 2008 issue of Zymurgy (Volume 31, Number 2).

NOTE: This year, entrants in the Northwest Region from Idaho, Montana, Oregon,
Washington, and Wyoming can ship/drop-off their entries at Pyramid Brewery in
Seattle between March 10 and March 21, or they can ship entries directly to
Anchorage during the regular competition entry deadline, March 31 through
April 11. Entries sent to the Seattle location between March 10 and March
21 will be palletized and shipped on a barge to Anchorage at no additional
cost to the entrant.

NOTE: California entrants are again split between two regions. The dividing
line is set by the entrant's Zip code; Zip codes lower than 93600 enter in the
Southwest Region (San Diego, CA), and greater than 93600 enter in the
West Region (Concord, CA).

Good luck in the competition, and please volunteer to judge or steward if
you can!

Janis Gross
NHC Director
AHA Project Coordinator
303-447-0816 x134

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1368