Mead Lover's Digest #1427 Sat 13 June 2009

Mead Discussion Forum


Re: Raspberry melomel (mail-box)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1426, 6 June 2009 (Marc Shapiro)

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Subject: Re: Raspberry melomel
From: mail-box <>
Date: Sat, 06 Jun 2009 16:27:27 -0400

> > Subject: Raspberry melomel
> > From:
> > Date: Sat, 30 May 2009 16:53:56 -0400
> >
> > Joe Kuhl asked about his raspberry melomel.
> >
> > Your raspberries are already frozen – often a good first step.
> > My suggestion would be to do the fermentation in two stages – first the honey
> > and then the raspberries. This will give more of a raspberry flavor to the
> > mead instead of a "fermented raspberry" flavor. For even more raspberry
> > flavor, after the honey has stopped fermenting, add potasium sorbate to
> > stop additional fermentation and then add the raspberries for flavor.
> >
[remainder sniped]
Carl gives good overall advice. I'd just like to add a word of caution
about his last sentence. Sorbate will not prevent fermentation from
restarting if you add more fermentable sugars to your mead. All it does
is prevent yeast from reproducing, but even after racking you are very
likely to have living yeast well able to ferment. And fermentation in
the presence of sorbate produces an off aroma of geranium which will
effectively ruin your mead. To be safe, always use sulfite in
combination with sorbate.

Ken Taborek

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1426, 6 June 2009
From: Marc Shapiro <>
Date: Sat, 06 Jun 2009 21:13:47 -0700

Louis LeBlanc <> wrote:
> > Date: Fri, 5 Jun 2009 13:50:25 -0400 (EDT)
> >
>> >> Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1421, 2 May 2009
>> >> From: Chuck <>
>> >> Date: Tue, 12 May 2009 04:54:50 -0700 (PDT)
>> >>
>> >> Sighhhhhhhhh…
>> >>
>> >> In MLD #1422, once again some one said that freeze concentrating mead to
>> >> make it stronger is illegal in the US…
> >
> > Good memory to pull that out for that far back Chuck, but I couldn't find
> > Dennis' article – if you find that link, please forward it.
> >
> > I did, however find some definitive info on the issue. I recently started
> > brewing beer (partly because I like beer too, partly because I'm dying to try
> > a braggot), and in my online search for useful info, I found James Spencers
> > "Basic Brewing Radio" podcast. ( In his 1-15-09
> > episode, he says that it is illegal, since it's a form of distillation.
> >
> > In his next episode (1-22-09) James read an email where a listener from Maine
> > challenged him on this, saying that it is *not* distillation, but
> > concentration, and as such is *not* illegal. Since James couldn't stand not
> > to know for sure, he addressed it by calling the ATF. They sent him to the
> > TTB, where he got in touch with someone by the name of Art Resnick.
> >
> > Mr. Resnick stated that their regulations are strictly for purposes of tax
> > classification, and do NOT apply to home brewers, and that the making of
> > eisbock *is* legal. He also provided the USC citation: 26 USC 5053E.
> >
> > So, in the words of James: "Ice away. Let us know how it goes."

While it is still possible that fractional crystalization *may* be
legal, that particular reference does not say so. I looked that up at and all that it refers to is
that beer can be made for personal and family use (not for sale) to the
extent of 100 gallons per year for a single adult, or 200 gallons per
year for a household of more than one adult. The relevant section is:

(e) Beer for personal or family use Subject to regulation prescribed by
the Secretary, any adult may, without payment of tax, produce beer for
personal or family use and not for sale. The aggregate amount of beer
exempt from tax under this subsection with respect to any household
shall not exceed – (1) 200 gallons per calendar year if there are 2 or
more adults in such household, or (2) 100 gallons per calendar year if
there is only 1 adult in such household.

For purposes of this subsection, the term ''adult'' means an individual
who has attained 18 years of age, or the minimum age (if any)
established by law applicable in the locality in which the household is
situated at which beer may be sold to individuals, whichever is greater.

There is nothing in that citation about distillation, or concentration,
so it is not a definitive answer to the question at hand. I don't think
that anyone is arguing that we can't make beer (or wine, or mead) for
personal consumption within the quantity limits stated. I would love to
see a definitive answer, in print, showing that we can use fractional
crystalization to concentrate the alcohol in our mead, but this is not
it and I have not seen it elsewhere, either. Since I, too, contacted
the BATF and got the opposing answer I will stand behind my comments
until I see otherwise, in print. My conversation, however, was 20+
years ago and I do not recall the name of the person that I talked to.
It is also possible that the interpretation of the regulations has
changed since then, but I have seen no definitive proof of that.


Marc Shapiro

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1427