Mead Lover's Digest #1371 Thu 27 March 2008

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

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Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1370, 18 March 2008
From: "Launce Haught" <>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2008 13:01:45 -0700

> > Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1369, 9 March 2008
> > From: "Dennis Key" <>
> > Date: Mon, 10 Mar 2008 09:13:43 -0600

> >

> >  Subject: Cider recipe
> > From:<>
> > Date: Wed, 5 Mar 2008 05:47:24 EST

> >

> > I would like to make a 3 or 5 batch of cider for my light lager drinking
> > friends using pasteurized apple juice. The target is 8 to 12% ABV
> > with an FG between 1.025 and 1.050. The apple juice will be either
> > Juicy Juice or Motts. Does anyone have a recipe they have used?

> >

> > What is the expected weight of a gallon of apple juice?
> > Which herbs and spices will enhance its flavor?
> > How long should it age?

> >

> > Best regards,

> >

> > Dick

I can't speak to the yeast (I don't make light ABV beverages generally) What
I can tell you is what I did for my "Christmas Fireworks" Cider.

Tree-top concentrate in bulk. Enough to produce 15g
15g pure organic apple juice (something the grocery store had)
Re-constituted the concentrate with apple juice (in essence giving it double
the sugars)
Pitched in distillers yeast, and stood back.
I mean literally, there is a packaged product named Turbo that is not
Gave it a stir, and like 10 minutes later it sounded like static off a bad
radio station. Constant roll.
2days later it slowed down (I couldn't get BPM off this the rocker cap never
settled, it would go up, hiss, drop for a second then repeat)
it eventually (at about 65h) came to a slow-down.
I took it out of my 15g primary, and settled it into a little bulk aging…
like a months worth (in one big demi)
After it was "kind of clear" I pushed half into primary, and bottled half at
it's *estimate* 32%abv (No, that is not a joke, literally my vinometer
capped at 27% and that was not high enough to read the ABV) I pushed half
back to primary, and added in 5g apple juice (Ok, for those that are
wondering, no, I did not do the math correctly) and then pushed directly
into Champagne bottles.

The name came from the fact that I can successfully launch plastic champagne
corks a good 80 feet, you lose half the bottle, but it's a ton of fun.
Alternatively if you have fast fingers, you can burp it out until it is down
around 2aam and then usually manage to pour without an explosion.

Oh, and for the record, anyone who wants to see the results, I still have a
case left ::grins::


  • –Launce

Subject: Braggot Recipe
From: "" <>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2008 22:12:29 GMT

Im looking for a good Braggot recipe. I've never made one before, or
beer, so I am excited about the opportunity. Is there something out there
commercial that would be worth using as a benchmark?

Subject: braggottry
From: John Hart <>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2008 20:11:36 -0400

I would like to open a (brewery) meadery I will be using malt in my brew
so it is techincally a beer according to the federal standards. I would
like to open it in NH and was wondering if anyone had any info as to what
kind of tax papers I would need to have in order to have a brewery in NH.

Subject: Re: Cider recipe
From: Dick Dunn <>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2008 19:10:00 -0600

In the last digest, Dennis Key gave some good advice to Dick Adams on
creating a cyser and "feeding" it up to the desired alcohol level.
Also a good point about getting better-quality juice from local growers
(although this is an awkward time for those of us in the Northern

Note that although Dennis's suppliers pasteurize juice, that's not actually
necessary for making (fermented) cider. It's just unfortunately almost
always the case because of regulations and paranoia about fresh juice.

There's one point in Dennis's note that moves the needle on the Bogo-Meter:
> >…The last batch [of juice] I got from the Manzano Mountain
(OK, I mean a point other than ManzanO rather than ManzanA:-)
> > Retreat orchard is so sweet, I can ferment it to a Champaign or Cuvee
> > yeast's tolerance (around 18-20%) without adding honey and it still has
> > a good residual sweetness and FG around 1.01-1.02.

That's pretty unlikely. Yes, you can ferment to 18+% with champagne-type
yeasts. Although that's a sort of "downhill-with-a-tailwind" number (very
favorable conditions) it can be achieved, and Dennis has worked with this,
e.g., with the "feeding" technique he mentioned.

But the trouble is that apples just don't get that sweet. Taking the
central values (18% w/1.02 FG or 20% w/1.01 FG) puts the OG at about
1.160. That's four times the sugar of normal table/culinary fruit; it's
more than twice what high-sugar cider varieties produce in an unusual
year. (The highest well-verified gravities I know of were in the 1090's.)

So what happened? Can't say for sure, but Dennis, did you just rely on
the apparent end of fermentation indicating that the yeast had reached
its alcohol tolerance? If so, that could be it: Cider can also stop
fermenting when the yeast runs out of nutrients. Cidermakers sometimes
do this deliberately–they can stop a fermentation at a few percent abv
with high residual sugar, by removing nutrients from the juice.

If you're sure of the OG or the eventual alcohol, I'd say almost certainly
sugar had been added to the juice to get it that sweet. (Or it could have
been artificially concentrated.)

Dick Dunn Hygiene, Colorado USA

Subject: Re: Cider Recipe
From: "Douglass Smith" <>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2008 23:31:09 -0400

> > Subject: Cider recipe
> > From:
> > Date: Wed, 5 Mar 2008 05:47:24 EST


> > What is the expected weight of a gallon of apple juice?
> > Which herbs and spices will enhance its flavor?
> > How long should it age?


This week I just tasted a cyser I started last summer. The apple juice I
used was unpasteurized cider from the farmer's market. They didn't have the
selection I wanted and I don't remember the brands I used, but I spiced it
with ginger, cloves, and cardamom. I went a bit heavy on the spices, but I
do like the results I got. I don't know if age will mellow the spice flavor,
but it does taste better than it did three months ago.


  • – Doug Smith –

Subject: Re: Aceromel?
Date: Wed, 19 Mar 2008 12:49:57 EDT

I have used about 5 gallons of Maple Syrup from Northeast
Maple Products in Derby Line, Vermont. As good as it is,
one of the things that I have learned is that fermentation
has a negative effect upon both its flavor and its aroma.
Thus, I suggest fermenting a Mead very dry and adding the
Maple Syrup to back sweeten before the third racking.

I have been told by three Sugar House operators in Vermont
and two in Quebec that decent Acer Wine is a rarity. So, of
course, I tried to prove them wrong. I stopped trying about
2 years ago.


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

Subject: Mead in the comics
From: Chuck <>
Date: Fri, 21 Mar 2008 19:20:09 -0700 (PDT)

This new comic "Ink Pen" has a Thor-like character, this week featuring mead.

Ink Pen by Phillip Dunlap: (From

"Ink Pen: the insider??s look at the seedy underbelly of cartoon character
employment. Find out what happened to loveable Bixby the Rat! Witness
the struggles of Ham Hock, the talking pig, as he tries to break into a
business that sees him as nothing more than a slab of meat. Meet (briefly)
the plucky sidekicks, thrust into danger by careless superheroes and the
villains they duel."

Today (3/21/2008) the character says:

panel1: Are you looking for a drink that will make you feel *smarter*
than eveyone else?

Panel2: Something *no one* has ever *heard* of before? Then try *mead!*

Panel3: You can say any kind of *cockamamie* thing you want and no one
will know you're *making it up* as you go!

Panel4: Mead… Strong enough to get you hammered, obscure enough to
make you cool!



Chuck Wettergreen

Subject: Re: Mead in the comics
From: "Dan McFeeley" <>
Date: Sat, 22 Mar 2008 10:01:55 -0500

On Friday, March 21, 2008, in MLD 1371, Chuck Wettergreen wrote:

> >This new comic "Ink Pen" has a Thor-like character, this week featuring
> >mead.

> >

> >Ink Pen by Phillip Dunlap: (From

> >

> >Today (3/21/2008) the character says:
> >panel1: Are you looking for a drink that will make you feel *smarter* than
> >eveyone else?
> >Panel2: Something *no one* has ever *heard* of before? Then try *mead!*
> >Panel3: You can say any kind of *cockamamie* thing you want and no
> >one will know you're *making it up* as you go!
> >Panel4: Mead… Strong enough to get you hammered, obscure enough to
> >make you cool!

Pretty good stuff — we've been talking about this one over on the GotMead
forums — here's some background info on it.

We're guessing that none other than Ken Schramm was the one who sparked
the Ink Pen series. Just recently there was a half informed article on
Slate titled "Is Mead Poised for a Comeback?"

It got a few replies including myself and Ken Schramm. Ken's piece was
titled "Mead and Food," and was an interesting reply. Read it here (you'll
have to scroll down for Ken's reply):

Here's the relevant paragraph:

These truths about mead are becoming well known to some in the wine
world. There are plenty of us laying our favorite meads in next to our
everyday bottles of Clos Roche Blanche, our '03 Montrose and our
favorite bottles of Mongeard Mugneret. The folks at the lead of this
comeback are not wearing horned helmets on their heads, they are
seeking to craft meads that can satisfy even the most discerning wine
or beer snob. Nicholas, I invite you to sample my Cherry mead with
the Roquefort of your choice, in my home if you are willing. Then you
will be know how well a great mead can compliment a great food.

Take a look at the Tuesday Ink Pen:

and you'll see one of the characters talking about mead and roquefort.

I'd say Phil Dunlap, the guy who pens Ink Pen, was having a "post ironic"
response to Ken's words about "folks at the lead of this comeback are not
wearing horned helmets on their heads" (see the Saturday 3/22/08 Ink
Pen 🙂

There's some food for thought in Friday's Ink Pen — Tyr says that mead is
so obscure that "you can say any cockamamie thing you want and no one
will know you're making it up as you go along."

That's actually very true — what kind of standards, general agreement,
collective wisdom, ect., are there in the mead community that allows
us to tell the not so well informed from the true mead connoisseurs?
Drop a few lines about somebody serving a Cabernet Sauvignon with
fish and you can almost feel the shudders among people who follow
wine. If you enjoy wine, this kind of info quickly becomes common
knowledge. Garrett Oliver's book, "The Brewmaster's Table" has gotten
a lot of attention, and it draws from already accepted pairings of beer
and cuisine around the world. Where does mead fit in? I'm assuming
that there are similar standards in places such as Brittany France, but
how well known are they?

Not long after the Slate article came out I sent an e-mail to Bill Daley,
who writes the Drink! column for the Chicago Tribune, pointing out that
he had covered a number of different drinks but to the best of my knowledge,
had never looked at mead. I sent him a few links including the meadery
directory here on GotMead and also your response to the Slate article,
since it covered mead and food pairings. I haven't heard back from him,
but I'm hoping he feels intriqued enough to do a future column.


Dan McFeeley

"Meon an phobail a thogail trid an chultur"
(The people's spirit is raised through culture)

Subject: Weighing honey
Date: Sun, 23 Mar 2008 22:57:44 EDT

My rule of thumb is a gallon of honey weighs 12 lbs.

* Is that true for all honeys?
* At what percentage of moisture is that true?
* More importantly, what resources are available for me to
read on this subject?

A friend of mine is in the food distribution. He occasionally
gives me overstock and obsolete inventory. Late last year
he gave me a half gallon jug of Clover honey. It weighed
less that 6 lbs in the original packaging. Afterwards it was
determined the container did hold 64 oz by volume. I wish
I knew how to calculate water content.


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

Subject: Sour Ale Braggott
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2008 22:40:05 EDT

I'd like to brew a Straight Lambic. My local sour ale guy will help, but
he wants me to come up with a recipe. If anyone has one, it will be

If not, maybe I'll try 8 lbs of Raspberry Blossom honey.


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

Subject: Ground Cloves
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2008 17:27:39 EDT

How many oz of ground cloves equals one clove?


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

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1371