Mead Lover's Digest #1474 Wed 9 June 2010


Mead Discussion Forum



RE: need a quick to drink mead (bill keiser)
Re: filtering mead (bill keiser)
Re: need a quick to drink mead (mail-box)
Re: cyser ingredients (mail-box)
Re: need a quick to drink mead (
Re: need a quick to drink mead ("Louis LeBlanc")
re: need a quick to drink mead (Martin Pare)
Re: Ouick Mead Drink (Randy Wallis)


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Subject: RE: need a quick to drink mead
From: bill keiser <>
Date: Thu, 03 Jun 2010 17:15:40 -0400

I've been making mead that is ready to drink in three to six months.

It is with the "Joe's Ancient Orange" recipe. It is easy to do, bottles
straight from the primary and is very drinkable, although it turns out
fairly sweet, but not syrupy. To counter the sweetness, I changed from
oranges to red raspberries, up the spices and add a bit of cayenne pepper.

It may be a simple recipe, but I took third place with it in

Meadlennium a couple years ago. And my wife prefers it to most
commercial meads (they tend to be syrupy).
bill keiser

Subject: Re: filtering mead
From: bill keiser <>
Date: Thu, 03 Jun 2010 17:19:16 -0400

Why filter? I've never done so with mead, wine or beer. If your mead

is cloudy, let it sit longer, rack once or twice, and if that fails, use
fining agents. Patience always works, and is free.

As for your water, I used to use RO water, but it tends to remove too

many of the minerals and fermentation is retarded. Now I use an inline
charcoal filter to remove the chlorine.
bill keiser

> > Practical: (my definition) affordable, effective, and not so much trouble
> > you won't want to use it.
> >
> > An Ultrafiltration system could be mighty pricey compared to a couple
> > hundred bucks for a Flow-Jet.
> > Especially if the cartridges aren't cleanable for reuse.
> >
> > If there's an affordable system out there anywhere I'd love to try it, even
> > if I only used it for my water….
> >
> > Lane O

Subject: Re: need a quick to drink mead
From: mail-box <>
Date: Thu, 03 Jun 2010 22:18:24 -0400 wrote:
> > Subject: need a quick to drink mead
> > From: Matthew Graham Clark <>
> > Date: Fri, 28 May 2010 14:58:03 -0400
> >
> > Hello all,
> >
> > I am new to this forum, and to mead in general. [snipped]

For a first mead, especially if you are looking for one which is does
not require a lot of aging, I recommend a cyser. You can make one with
a very simple recipe of ~10 lbs honey and 4 gallons apple cider from the
road side stand or fresh pressed if you can find it at one of your local
fruit producers. The only thing to worry about is preservatives, as the
most common preservative in apple cider is a propagation inhibitor for
yeast, which will keep your yeast from multiplying. Sorbate is the word
to look for in the ingredients.

This will make a fast fermenting mead due to the nutrients in the
cider. And even if you're not concerned about clarity, most ciders drop
clear without any fuss after a few weeks, especially if you can store
the carboy in a cool, dark place. Since your cellar isn't built yet,
keep the carboy in a closet, away from direct sunlight, and try not to
disturb it for a few weeks after fermentation stops.

Cyser is great for mulling, giving you the best of all worlds with a
sort-of metheglyn, even if it is post fermentation. And it ages nicely
and easily, being ready to drink before most traditional meads. And
even though you say clarity is secondary, it does have an appreciable
impact upon perception. Just look how popular straw colored beers are,
even those with very little flavor.

Best of luck,

Subject: Re: cyser ingredients
From: mail-box <>
Date: Thu, 03 Jun 2010 22:20:13 -0400 wrote:
> > Subject: Re: cyser ingredients
> > From: "Patrick St. Jean" <>
> > Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2010 21:31:13 -0500
> >
> >
>> >> Subject: Re: mead complexity
>> >> From: mail-box <>
>> >> Date: Tue, 06 Apr 2010 22:51:38 -0400
>> >>
>> >> If the competition uses BJCP standards, a Cyser
>> >> in most categories can only be apple juice and sugar (and not even
>> >> honey!).
>> >>
> >
> > Ken,
> > I checked the BJCP standards for a Cyser (category 25A) and it does not
> > say anything about that.

You are quite right. Our faithful janitor pointed this out via personal
correspondence, and I agreed with him about my error and told him I
would post a retraction. Unfortunately the sudden death of an aunt took
me out of town for a week, and once back I wasn't in the right mood for
a while. But I hate to leave a promise unfulfilled, or to post
incorrect information in a forum intended to support the hobby including
newcomers, and so here is my exchange with Dick from April:

Dick Dunn wrote:
> > Ken – you wrote in the most recent MLD:
> >
> >
>> >> Complexity is very subjective, but you can help along the judging by
>> >> using a few ingredients which may help them come to the conclusion that
>> >> your mead is complex. If the competition uses BJCP standards, a Cyser
>> >> in most categories can only be apple juice and sugar (and not even
>> >> honey!)…
>> >>
> >
> > What were you thinking?!?
> > Cyser is -defined- by the combination of apple juice and honey…if there
> > is no honey it is not a cyser.
> > You must have slipped up somewhere.
> >
Yes, my mistake indeed. I went looking for the cyser guidelines and
wound up reading the cider guidelines by mistake.

"Note that honey is not a "sugar" for this purpose; a cider made with
added honey must be entered either as a Specialty cider or as a Cyser
under the appropriate mead sub-category."
>> >> …This leaves little options for complexity other than a careful
>> >> selection of your apples. Selecting those meant for cider rather than
>> >> table apples is your best bet. These typically have a stronger acid
>> >> component…
>> >>
> >
> > Overall that's not true either.
> >
Here you'll have to argue with Annie Proulx. She writes "[…] and
though a dessert apple tastes much sweeter to us than a cooking apple or
a tart wild apple, it's not because the dessert apple contains more
sugar, but because higher levels of malic acid in "sour" apples mask
their sweetness. A good rule of thumb is that a sweet tasting apple is
low in malic acid."

I'll admit that I have no real concept of what kind of researcher Ms.
Proulx is. I do have a high regard for her short treatise on cider,
though. Even if you have sources which disagree with her science, she
gives excellent advice on how to make a good cider.

But thanks for the catch on sugar/cyser. I remember going "Huh, those
crazy BJCP guys!" when I read that bit about no honey, but again the
fault was with me for not reading more carefully. The entry I quoted
above even referred specifically to Cyser, and I _still_ didn't read it

I'll post your email and at least portions of my reply in the digest by
way of correcting the mis-information I posted in error.

Thanks again for hosting the digest. It's been very slow for a number
of years, but it's still a good thing you're doing to provide additional
resources for mead makers.


Subject: Re: need a quick to drink mead
Date: Fri, 4 Jun 2010 02:35:59 EDT

Graham Clark <> asked:
> > … However, I need to turn my better half on to mead so
> > I write to all of you for a request of a simple mead
> > recipe which tastes good early without much ageing.
> > … I should note that I have read a few books, but I have
> > yet to produce anything myself (like a true academic);
> > however, I am willing to make anything that may turn
> > her onto mead (Traditional, Melomel, or Metheglin are
> > all welcome but minimalist approach to additives is desired).
> > Taste is key, clarity and color are seconds for now. has a treasure trove of mead recipes. For a
time tested winner, try Joe's Ancient Orange. The recipe
is at _ ( . Be
careful not to overdue
the cinnamon or the clove – a little too much is way too much!
The book to read is Ken Schramm's 'The Compleat Meadmaker'.

After you read it through at least twice, you'll be prepared
to read expanded topics at

Dick – "Mead is no more a honey wine than beer is a malt wine."

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

Subject: Re: need a quick to drink mead
From: "Louis LeBlanc" <>
Date: Fri, 4 Jun 2010 13:38:51 -0400

Hello Matthew,

First off, I think you should understand that age is only rarely *not*
recommended, and I strongly suspect I am not the only one that will suggest
that those who claim their mead is better young have either not perfected
their bottling process (as in sanitation) or they've simply never bothered to
age it and just don't know how much better it would have been had it been
aged. Personally, I have yet to let one get any further than about 16 or 18
months from pitch, but the improvement as time went on was about as subtle as
a Mack truck.

That said, the one mead I've made that still tastes fairly good early on (as
in 4 months from pitch) is the chamomile mead. I think the only way you'll
get a traditional mead to taste good early is with a very clean varietal honey
and absolutely militant temp controls tailored to the specific yeast you are
pitching at a high rate and racking off the instant fermentation stops.
Primary fermentation on a stir plate is said to improve a mead too, but I
wouldn't now firsthand. In general, most folks will tell you that a bad
traditional mead can make a very good melomel or metheglyn, particularly if
you can find the right additive for the taste of the mead you're "fixing".

So, my chamomile mead was made with 20 Celestial Seasonings tea bags, 15 lb.
light wildflower honey, and needed some watching (it blew the vapor lock off
twice). Boil 2 gallons of water and steep the bags for 10 minutes or so then
discard them. You won't need to add tannins, as the tea will provide plenty.
Cool below 90 degrees (which is the typical temp in a healthy beehive) and
dissolve your honey, then bring the gravity down to 1.120 or less by adding
good cold, clean water (should come to around 5 gallons). I try to pitch this
one around 75 degrees, but your yeast may have other ideas. I used Lalvin D47
for this.

You'll want to add acid blend after fermentation to fix the soapy feel, and if
it's as dry as mine was (0.097!), you'll want to back sweeten with up to 3 lbs
more of honey once you stabilize it.

Note that I was dead set against this one initially. My sister pestered me
for 6 months before I finally agreed to do it. Right up until about 4 days
after adding the acid blend and extra honey, I actually didn't like it one
bit. Then it was amazing. Of course, a year later it's nothing short of
sublime. Too bad I'm down to my last bottle.

FYI, never add oak or any wood character of any kind (as in using maple syrup)
to a mead you don't mean to age. I have an acerglyn I made with a 50/50
balance of maple syrup and honey that is very good, but on the back end it's
like chewing on a hunk of maple. That was pitched at the end of September and
bottled at the end of January, and even today it's still a little woody.
Around Christmas it will start hitting it's sweet spot though, and the wait
will start showing its dividends.

And remember, you can't make mead without water, honey, and yeast, but you can
almost never make *great* mead without adding time to the mix. I'd suggest
sticking with 5 gallon batches so you can taste it every month or so. If you
stick to opening one bottle every 2 months, you'll have it for 4 years. If
you always have 6 or 7 kinds of mead on hand, you'll find that much easier to

Good luck.

Subject: re: need a quick to drink mead
From: Martin Pare <>
Date: Sun, 6 Jun 2010 14:18:16 -0700 (PDT)


was in a similar situation were time in the cellar was time "wasted"

What area are you in ?

First thing first, Get some good local mead for a tasting

Then Get a quality honey, Fall flowers )eastern canada / vermont type),
a good fermenter like a chmapagne yeast or D47, use good nutrition ( see
Scotts labs tbles or Petter Bennell's presentation), 15-20C fermeting temp.
aim for 12 pct alcohol and make sure you do a bentonite fining on the must
prior to pitching yeast. fermentation should go happily for 3-4 weeks,and
bottling at 4 months. drinkable at 5-6 months

martin in quebec

Subject: Re: Ouick Mead Drink
From: Randy Wallis <>
Date: Mon, 7 Jun 2010 20:11:48 -0400 (GMT-04:00)

See Mead and quick should never be used in the same sentence because they
contradict each other. However, I do share your pain because I had the same
problem several years back. If you want something quick I would say do a
Cyser or Traditional. Cyser would be my first choice but since it is summer
the availability of good cider may be limited and what is out there may
be packed with preservative, so if you go that route check labels closely.
I always feel safer waiting until fall and visiting local orchards. Cyser
sometimes does take a while to fall clear but you can always use a clearing
agent (Bentonite seems to work good on Cyser). In general Metheglins take
a lot of aging and Melomel's can be a bit tricky. I have had a couple
Melomels that could be drank young but all those were light fruit (Plum,
Peach) anything dark (Blackberry, Currents) seems to take a long time
aging. Also, if you're going to shoot for quick drinkability shoot for
the low end of the alcohol curve. High alcohol normally needs more aging.
Make sure even if it is drinkable early you do hold a few bottles back for
aging, if it is good early it will be great with age. This is my 2 cents
and I am sure others will give you good feedback too.

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1474