Mead Lover's Digest #1458 Thu 11 February 2010

Mead Discussion Forum


2010 Mazer Cup International Mead Competition (“Vicky Rowe”)
RE: Mead Lover's Digest #1457, 4 February 2010 (
An Early Finish (
Re: As to molasses.. a side note about Maple Syrup (
Re: Honey Prices Level Off In 2009 (
Re: Caramelizing Honey (
Shelf life – mead vs melomel vs cyser? (“Charles Scheffler”)
Calculating ABV% (Gerald Himmelreich)

NOTE: Digest appears whenever there is enough material to send one.
Send ONLY articles for the digest to
Use for [un]subscribe and admin requests.
Digest archives and FAQ are available at
A searchable archive is at
Digest Janitor: Dick Dunn

Subject: 2010 Mazer Cup International Mead Competition
From: "Vicky Rowe" <>
Date: Fri, 5 Feb 2010 00:06:05 -0500

We cordially invite you to enter your meads and judge in the 2010 Mazer Cup
International (MCI) home and commercial mead competitions!!

For almost two decades the most well known name in mead competitions has
been the Mazer Cup. Created by Ken Schramm (author of “The Compleat
Meadmaker”), Dan McConnell and Mike O`Brien, the annual event quickly became
the world's best recognized and most prestigious mead competition. Last year
with kind permission from Ken, Dan and Mike, the owners of Gotmead, the
internet's premier source for everything having to do with mead,
re-established the Mazer Cup as the largest commercial and home mead
competition in the country (and probably the world)

This year the competitions will be held the 26-27 of March, in Boulder,

All of the pertinent information including competition rules, entry forms,
and the online entry system can be found at the Mazer Cup International
website ( Entry cutoff will be 15 March 2010. Any
questions regarding the event can be directed to and will
be answered by one of our staff.

Judging for the home competition will be conducted in accordance with the
2008 Revision of the 2004 BJCP Style Guidelines. Judging will be conducted
by a prestigious pool of BJCP judges, professional mead makers, and Mead
luminaries from around the world. Those interested in Judging in either the
commercial or home competitions should contact Glenn Exline at or sign up on our volunteer page at

Vicky Rowe
Competition Director
Mazer Cup International 2010


Vicky Rowe
Owner & Webmistress,

Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #1457, 4 February 2010
Date: Thu, 04 Feb 2010 22:19:39 -0700

I have used molasses in lots of meads. just a little. I personally hate the
taste of molasses. In meads I have made with sherry yeast it adds that some
thing extra that astes more like real sherry. I have tried small amounts
in other meads but to me its just bitter and smells wrong. when I say a
little I am talking 1/2 cup in a 5 gallon batch.

Subject: An Early Finish
Date: Fri, 5 Feb 2010 05:09:02 EST

While judging Metheglins with a very competent judge,
there was a Mead with an unusual early finish. It
began with a pleasant sweetness followed by an
expression of honey and a hi-medium body. Then, both
the sweetness and the flavor of the honey disappeared.
The body seemed to decrease sharply All that was left
was the presence of a liquid waiting to be swallowed.

That is what I effectively wrote on the score sheet.
What neither of us knew was what advice we should give
the brewer. So I am asking “What would cause a Mead to
so finish early?”

“Mead is no more a honey wine than beer is a malt wine.”


Richard D. Adams, CPA
Ellicott City, MD

Subject: Re: As to molasses.. a side note about Maple Syrup
Date: Fri, 5 Feb 2010 07:13:09 EST

“Michael Zahl” _mzahl@cox.net_ ( wrote (in part):

> Maple syrup has that very woody taste, but its
> sweetness balances it nicely when you pour it on
> on your pancakes. But when you ferment out the
> sugar in it, you're left with a very harsh woody
> liquid. When my friend sampled some of the young
> batch, she referred to it as “drinking tree bark.”

I've been searching for words that appropriately
express the taste fermented Maple Syrup and
“Drinking tree bark” is right on target.

> But when I expanded the batch from 3 to 5 gallons
> by adding a gallon of honey and a gallon of water,
> the finished product at 1.039 was as smooth as silk.
> …
> Back sweetening has now become one of my standard
> practices, even though I prefer slightly drier meads.
> Most of my pagan friends who beg me for mead have
> sweeter palates, so I brew toward that.

I have found that adding the Maple Syrup to the secondary
is very effective. Given the amount of alcohol in the Mead
and the reduced amount of active yeast in the secondary,
the fermentation of the Maple Syrup is decreased and there
is a greater expression of a Maple taste in the Mead.

My recipe for a 5 gal batch is:

  • 16 lbs of Clover Honey

  • Lalvin 71B-1122

  • GoFerm and FermaidK

Expected S.G. = 1.116
Ferment to 1.01 or below
Expected ABV ~ 13%

  • Add 1 qt of maple to the secondary

Expected S.G. ~ 1.040

Alcohol toxicity should kill the active yeast between
14.5% and 15.5% ABV and result in a semi sweet Acer Mead.
If you want it sweeter just add more Honey or Maple Syrup.


  • “Mead is no more a honey wine than beer is a malt wine.”

Richard D. Adams, CPA (Retired)
Ellicott City, Maryland

Subject: Re: Honey Prices Level Off In 2009
Date: Fri, 05 Feb 2010 07:22:13 -0500

Erroll Ozgencil <> writes:

| There are rumblings that production fell enough to cause
| shortages – and price increases – this winter. I don't know if
| there's anything to this (and I haven't seen movement in the
| prices I track yet), but the USDA honey report will be out soon,
| and hopefully it will shed some light.

As a multi-decade beekeeper in New England, I have
never had a worse year than 2009. Production was at
25% of normal, and two other commercial beekeepers
came to me asking to buy honey to supply their regular
customers as they had had all but zero production.
I lost 20% of my hives as well. We also run a market
garden and it was way off in production. In both cases,
the eight weeks of continuous rain in the early growing
season are largely to blame — bad starts make for
bad finishes. And to your central point, I did raise
honey prices insofar as I sold almost all of my limited
production at retail, not wholesale.

  • –dan

Subject: Re: Caramelizing Honey
Date: Fri, 5 Feb 2010 08:36:18 EST

Can't say about the carmel question.

But I will add Moniack mead is supposedly made from caramelized heather
honey. The Sweet Desire mead is about the same color, but have no data on it.
It taste close to Moniack but slightly different.


I wish more mead makers would go for the caramelized honey mead. While the
SD is a great mead, it is very high priced. And the Moniack which is more
affordable is virtually unavailable in N. America.

Subject: Shelf life - mead vs melomel vs cyser?
From: "Charles Scheffler" <>
Date: Sat, 06 Feb 2010 16:19:04 -0500

Like finding buried treasure, was ecstatic when I came upon several bottles
of mead from 2- 3 years ago. Subsequently found a case of blueberry melomel
and cyser that I had brewed in 1993-1994 time frame.

I know the 2-3 yr old meads are quite drinkable, but I'm approaching the
melomel and cyser with a little more trepidation. The melomel finished at
~15% alcohol and when first tasted (in 93) could best be described as “hot”,
which I attributed to the high alcohol – wasn't all that drinkable at first,
was put away and forgotten. (As all homebrewers know, the good batches
seldom last for long!)

General question – I know it depends on many variables, but as a general
rule, assuming storage at basement temps (60-65F) with no exposure to
heat/light, can meads (and variants) be kept long term (10 – 20 yrs) and
still be drinkable? Does the addition of fruit in a melomel make for a
longer or shorter life. Do tannins – either from fruit or added separately –
act as a stabilizer to extend life?

Subject: Calculating ABV%
From: Gerald Himmelreich <>
Date: Tue, 9 Feb 2010 01:43:21 +0000

Hi all,

Hope this is the right email. I started a Peach-Ginger Spiced (various
spices) Melomel on December 31, 2009. No recipe, no “know how”, just
White Labs WLP720 Sweet Mead/Wine Yeast and the ingredients. I used 12
lbs. of honey, and 3 lbs. of frozen organic peaches, which had been peeled,
parboiled, and stored in mixture of 3 lbs. of organic sugar and enough
water to dissolve it (basically 1 lb. of sugar per 1 lb. of peaches).

After a week, the difference in gravity readings led to a calculation of
8.2%. I strained the peaches out of the primary fermentation bucket and
racked the mixture onto an additional 3 lbs. of honey with 1 more lb. of
frozen peaches added. After two more weeks of visibly active fermentation,
the result calculated to 11.4%.

First taste after 1 week very astringent. Second time, after a total of
3 weeks fermentation, much more mild and quite tasty. I racked off the
secondary fermentation and am now bulk aging in a (Better Bottle) carboy.
I will continue to rack/age every thirty days until mid-May when I plan
to take a final gravity reading and bottle to age/consume or consume/age.

Questions: In calculating a rough ABV when doing dual fermentation, do I add
my numbers? That is, am I looking at a 19.6% beverage after 3 weeks? Or is
it 11.4% and I need to worry about possible contamination from bacteria?

I haven't added any sulfites (sp?) and am curious to know whether I need
to consume in a hurry (oh darn!) or whether I can enjoy for months or a
few year to come.

I'm new to all this. If anyone wants more info, such as OG readings and
Gravity readings prior to and after secondary fermentation, etc, quantities
of spices, etc please let me know.


Gerry Himmelreich

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1458