Mead Lover's Digest #0859 Sun 15 July 2001


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



Another mead list (
Re: baffled barkshack bottler (Phil)
priming with corn sugar ("Stephen J. Van der Hoven")
Re: Using demi-johns (Phil)
More fun with "meli" ("Alan Meeker")
Chocolate Mead answers & questions ("Kemp, Alson")
Re: mead rookie (small mead) (Marc Shapiro)
Fermenting in 14 gal demi-john (LJ Vitt)
RE: mead rookie!! (Lars Hedbor)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #858, 11 July 2001 (Sid Washer)
Re: Meadowsweet (Kristinn Eysteinsson)
Fridge fermentation (
some thoughts on demijohns and other breakables…. (
Re: Big John Carboys (
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #857, 7 July 2001 (Spencer W Thomas)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #857, 11 July 2001 (Joshua Laff)
Mead-based drinks / Weird Thoughts (Daniel Morrison)


NOTE: Digest appears when there is enough material to send one.
Send ONLY articles for the digest to
Use for [un]subscribe/admin requests.
Digest archives and FAQ are available at There is
a searchable MLD archive at

Subject: Another mead list
Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2001 20:07:24 -0700 (PDT)

Due to some of the limitations of the MLD, I have spoken with Mr. Dunn, and
proposed an alternate list to complement the MLD. This is in no way meant
to be a competition, nor is the new list a result of any flaw in the MLD,
except those limitations which are inherent to a digest format. Mr. Dunn
has looked over the list charter, and graciously allowed me to post this
message regarding the new lists's availability. For those interest, please
see the list FAQ, which can be found at:

For any questions about the list, please contact me directly.

Joel Baker System Administrator –

Subject: Re: baffled barkshack bottler
From: Phil <>
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2001 06:18:29 -0700 (PDT)

> This recipe directs me to add 3/4 cup corn sugar
> when bottling. I worry about the corn sugar not
> being diffused properly if I just dump it into the
> carboy before bottling.
> Can someone suggest how they have successfully
> dissolved or otherwise evenly

Boil it up in a cup of water and pour it into the
bottling bucket. If you're going to bottle straight
from the carboy, let it cool off before adding it to
the batch. Otherwise, you may have a gusher.


visit the New York City Homebrewers Guild website:

Subject: priming with corn sugar
From: "Stephen J. Van der Hoven" <>
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2001 08:27:21 -0700


I rarely prime (add corn sugar) to meads, but the technique I use for
priming beer will work. Before I get into it, I have a question for
you. Do you want a finished product that is sparkling (like champagne) or
one that is still (like wine)? There is no need to exactly follow the
recipe. If you prime your mead, you will end up with sediment
(dead/dormant yeast) at the bottom of each bottle. When serving, it's
difficult not to kick up some of the sediment, resulting in a cloudy
mead. It doesn't usually affect the taste, it just looks better when it's
clear. If you don't prime, you'll usually end up with little or no
sediment, but it won't be bubbly.

So, if you choose the sparkling route, boil a few cups of water and
dissolve the corn sugar in it. Either pour the sugar water directly into
the carboy or rack the mead onto the sugar water. Gently stir the mead so
that the sugar is well mixed. I find stirring much easier in a plastic
bucket than a carboy. The sugar water is more dense than the mead and will
tend to sink to the bottom. If you don't stir, some of the bottles will
have way more sugar than others. This is bad and results in exploding
bottles (speaking from personal experience).

Which ever way you go, hope it turns out well.

Stephen J. Van der Hoven
Assistant Professor
Department of Geography-Geology
Illinois State University
Campus Box 4400
Normal, IL 67190-4400

Phone: 309/438-3493
Fax: 309/438-5310

Subject: Re: Using demi-johns
From: Phil <>
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2001 06:28:13 -0700 (PDT)

> If it were me, I'd make a full 14 gallons of must
> and reserve enough to give myself a good 4-6 inches
> of headspace. It also depends on what yeast you're
> using.

I'll be using K1V-1116. Right now, I have a six
gallon batch in primary using this yeast. When I rack
it to secondary (in the next week or two), I figure
I'd add a gallon of starter must and pitch it into the
demi-john. I purchased an oxygenator just for the

> Once the fermentation settles down you can go
> ahead add the reserve back in.

Seems to be the way to go. I purchased a sixty pound
pail of tupelo for this. I figure I'll use 45 pounds
of the stuff in a 13.5 gallon batch (with a primary of
12 gallons or so).


visit the New York City Homebrewers Guild website:

Subject: More fun with "meli"
From: "Alan Meeker" <>
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2001 10:11:36 -0400

Interesting stuff on "meli," I didn't know this was the origin. I suppose
the sugar melibiose (a disaccharide composed of glucose and galactose) must
have been named accordingly, though I don't think it is a major component of
most honeys. There are others as well – melitriose, etc…

  • -Alan Meeker

Subject: Chocolate Mead answers & questions
From: "Kemp, Alson" <>
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2001 08:11:41 -0700


In my last post, I mentioned that I made a chocolate mead. I got a

number of e-mails asking for specifics. Here's a copy of that e-mail:

I saw the chocolate mead recipe here:

The recipe that I used was:
For 1 gallon of must:
3# sage honey
4oz Hershey's Cocoa powder pasteurized in some water
4g acid blend
4g DAP
4g yeast food
4g cream of tartar
1 packet of Lallemand K1V-1116 made into a starter
50ppm SO2
It fermented to dryness in 3 days and smelled absolutely HORRIBLE

(like I would imagine used diapers smell like… yes… that is NOT good).


To be honest, after 1 month the chocolate mead tastes truly

horrible. Recommendations: leave out the acid blend, use 2oz of cocoa
powder (perhaps better cocoa than Hershey's?), add cocoa after
fermentation?, reduce all nutrient amounts?


I think that I'm going to try to make the chocolate mead again.

Thoughts? Seen any other information on this stuff?


ALSO!, what results have other people had from making chocolate

mead? I'm very curious as to whether I screwed up (the mead is HORRIBLE!)
or whether chocolate meads are just horrible while young.


Alson Kemp
Sr. FAE, Cirrus Logic
P: 510-624-7184
F: 510-252-6020

Subject: Re: mead rookie (small mead)
From: Marc Shapiro <>
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2001 11:22:40 -0400

> Subject: mead rookie!!
> From: "Turner, Cliff" <>
> Date: Mon, 9 Jul 2001 18:01:32 -0500
> I don't know if this is the recipe you wanted Steve, but it looks so good that
> I decided to use it for my next batch. The _Cats Meow_ also has a couple of
> other Feinstein recipes, but they are for Framboise (a fruit flavored beer).
> I will probably modify the technique a bit and I'm not certain if the 1/4 cup
> of vodka would actually knock-out the little yeasty beasties, potassium sorbat
> looks like a better choice. Although, given the short fermentation schedule,
> a bit of added alchohol might be necessary.
> Basic Small Mead
> Author: Cher Feinstein (
> Digest: September 30, 1989, Issue #267
> Ingredients:
> 2-3 cloves
> 2 sticks cinnamon
> 2 thin slices ginger
> 2-4 teaspoons orange peel
> 2 pounds honey
> yeast
> 1/4 cup vodka or grain alcohol

I knew Cher many years ago (may she rest in peace) and also Richard
Field (from whom I believe this recipe originates. I took a class from
him on making his "Quick Mead." The mead was quite good, if a little
sweet, but I could never duplicate it, myself. Stopping an active
fermentation is something that I have never had much luck with. My
meads always want to ferment through until they are dry (or mostly so).
Note that sorbate will not stop an active fermentation. It will only
prevent a refermentaion after all activity has ceased for other reasons.

The general mix of spices in this mead are good for a basic, starter
mead. These are the spices that I usually use, and in fairly similar
proportions. They make a tasty mead. They also make for a tasty cyser
if you use apple juice instead of honey, which I frequently do.

As for the techniques used, remember, this is an OLD recipe. I took
that class from Richard probably 20-22 years ago and he had been using
this recipe for a while at that time. Airlocks and other equipment are
easier to find now than they were then and I strongly recommend a more
modern approach.

Marc Shapiro "If you drink melomel every day, you will live to be 150 years old,
Please visit "The Meadery" at: unless your wife shoots you." — Dr. Ferenc Androczi, winemaker,

Little Hungary Farm Winery

Subject: Fermenting in 14 gal demi-john
From: LJ Vitt <>
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2001 09:06:12 -0700 (PDT)

I do have 2 of the demi johns. I think the size is closer to 14.5 gal.
I originally thought they held 15 gal. I bought 2 so I can rack from one
to another.

I have used them for secondary fermentation with the fill level up to 3
inches below the rubber stopper.

I used it as primary fermenter with only 10 gal, and the rest in another

My suggestion is to stay at least a foot below the rubber stopper for primary
fermentation. You need to see one of these to understand why – they are
something like a tear drop. The neck is very long and about a 2.5 inch inside

Subject: RE: mead rookie!!
From: Lars Hedbor <>
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2001 10:17:42 -0700

>Subject: mead rookie!!
>From: "Turner, Cliff" <>
>Date: Mon, 9 Jul 2001 18:01:32 -0500
>I just started subscribing to the Mead Lovers Digest and have completly no
>experience in makin mead. This is an old recipe that I found in an old
>issue that looks pretty easy (I need easy to start since I have NO Mead
>making equipment) but I was wondering if anyone knew WHAT KIND of Yeast and
>HOW MUCH to use for this recipe??
>Thanks so much!
>Cliff Turner
>Ft. Lauderdale Florida

Welcome to mead, Cliff! This recipe is a personal favorite of mine — and
many of my friends', as well! I've used everything from Red Star baking
yeast to Montrachet, Pris de Mousse, and many others.

I've had really good results with the champagne yeasts, as they tend to
ferment this recipe down to a nicely sweet, but not syrupy, mead.

I do typically use the vodka, and not sorbate — it carbonates very nicely

  • — but be aware that many brewers think that I'm suicidal for making

sparkling mead. The bottles can (and do, on occasion) explode, in what's
known as a "glass grenade." If this happens when you're standing in front
of the bottle, the results could, indeed, be tragic — so use appropriate
caution in storing and handling them, if you go this route.

  • – Lars Hedbor

Oregon City, Oregon

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #858, 11 July 2001
From: Sid Washer <>
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2001 14:21:05 -0400

<<<Can someone suggest how they have successfully dissolved or otherwise
evenly distributed the corn sugar into the mead before bottling. Danke
Sehr! Hail! Wassail! JLeighR-PDX,OR.>>>

Hah! You have embarked on what was my prime objective in starting with
home brewing to begin with; CP's Ginger Barkshack. An answer to your
question would be to dissolve the corn sugar in something less than a
quart of boiling water, let it cool and then add that to the racking
container while you're transferring from the primary fermenter. That way
the sugar is nicely distributed by the process with no effort on your
part. That is what's recommended in the beer kits with which I have
worked. With. Which.

Wassail yerself an' all that jazz, bye, sid

Subject: Re: Meadowsweet
From: Kristinn Eysteinsson <>
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2001 20:35:49 +0000

A while back, I posted a question about meadowsweet (otherwise known as
meadwort, a more appropriate name perhaps). I would like to thank you
for your replies, both through the digest and privately through email.
Here's what I ended up doing.

For 5 litres (1.3 US gallons)
30 g (1 oz) Meadwort leaves (fresh)
15 g (0.5 oz) Meadwort flowers (unopened fresh)
1.5 kg (3 lb) Clover honey

I made a herb tea and added the honey and put everything (including
meadwort) into the primary. I racked into the secondary after a week and
topped up with meadwort tea. I racked again yesterday and topped up with
more meadwort tea. The SG was 1.018 (OG 1.100) and it tasted good but a
little too sweet. I'm using Lalvin 71B-1122 yeast. I hope it will be
able to ferment to about 1.010 before the yeast gives up.

Kristinn Eysteinsson

Quid quid latine dictum sit altum videtur.
(That which is said in Latin sounds profound.)

Subject: Fridge fermentation
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2001 19:12:48 EDT

Alson Kemp writes:

"My last mead (a chocolate mead) fermented in 3 days. For some
reason, a 3 day ferment makes me uncomfortable. That just seems too
fast. As such, for my next mead, I'm going to TRY to ferment it in the
refridgerator. Two questions:
1) What yeast will be able to work in the 'fridge?"

I missed the original post, but am having trouble picturing any mead
fermentation being completely over in three days. Hmmm. You sure? Because
the bubbling stopped or the gravity fell all the way & stopped? What was the
basic recipe?
Anyways, I wanted to mention that you have some "in between" options for
lowering the temperature as well. You can use something like the old water
bath method, setting the carboy in a large tub of water and putting a towel
over it, draping into the water, and keeping the towel damp. Or if you're
fortunate enough to be able to dedicate a refrigerator or spare freezer to
use as a "cellar," you can buy a specialized temperature controller from a
homebrewing shop for about $50, and use it to set your refrigerator
temperature at, for example, 55 degrees F. Visit the web pages for the yeast
manufacturers & check out the appropriate temperature ranges before settling
on a fermentation temperature.

Subject: some thoughts on demijohns and other breakables....
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2001 22:12:23 EDT

I had a demijohn once upon a time.
I made wonderfull big batches of beer, wine and mead.
But alas, I was a slob and and dropped it.
if you really wanna play with a demi-john,
be forewarned, sooner or later you will break it.
Issues of cooling your ferment are very true, I overcooked a batch of wine
with a ferment that roared thru from 1100 to 0096 in just three days…the
result was a wonderfull aircraft solvent…a 13 gallon ferment will need more
If you get a demi-john you will need a pump.
Trying to siphon from a 14 g demi is the pits.
my advice use a 6.5 or 7 g carboy…
it's more managable for home usage.

Subject: Re: Big John Carboys
Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2001 01:37:52 EDT

Fermenting in Big Carboys:

I heartily agree with this recommendation based upon my experiences with
large fermentors. I haven't used a large glass DJ, but I do ferment in a 25
gallon SS pot. Fermenting large volumes will create a much higher thermal
mass that will cause a big temp rise in the liquid which will stimulate even
more vigorous fermentation that will cause the yeast to go even crazier. I
once had 12 gallons of OG 120 Barley Wine start at 60 degrees and reach 75
degrees by the next day and rise to the brim of my 25 gallon fermentor. My
ambient basement temp was 55 degrees while this took place. The ferment
dropped to a FG of 30 in 2 days! Even though meads don't create as much
krausen head as a beer, I would be cautious about filling that DJ too high.
I wrap my fermentor in wet towels and keep a fan blowing on it to allow the
heat to dissipate and keep the fermentation temperature reasonable.
Bob Grossman

> 2) An active fermentation at DJ volume will generate more heat than a 5
> gallon carboy, especially at most mead gravities, and so can require
> additional cooling capacity to keep things from going out of control. I am
> just finishing up a fermentation of 15 gallons of a 1.107 OG strong Belgian
> ale. At the height of fermentation it required an ambient temperature
> difference of 14 deg. F (52F) to hold the desired fermentation temperature
> to 66F. This is more than twice what is usually required with 5 – 6 gallon
> carboys.

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #857, 7 July 2001 
From: Spencer W Thomas <>
Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2001 13:34:08 -0400

>>>>> "nutwood" == nutwood <> writes:

nutwood> Do you really think that government
nutwood> heavies are going to sledge hammer through your meadery
nutwood> door because you dared to freeze some mead.

Well… Probably not. But…

Some of you may remember the episode of the TV show "Cops" that aired
a few years back. They raided the home of a homebrewer, and decided
that his brewing equipment was really a still (that copper coil was
"obviously" a condenser). The guy got on national TV, but not in a
way you'd ever want to. And presumably got off, but at some expense
in lawyer bills, etc.

More recently, a fellow reported to the "home coffee roasters" list
that his home was raided by the local drug squad because one of his
neighbors reported "strange smells" emanating from his garage. Well,
those "strange smells" were merely the "fumes" from his coffee

So, while it may not happen, it can. All it takes is a disgruntled
neighbor to call the cops, unfortunately.

Now, does that stop me from maybe freezing some mead or beer every now
and then? What do you think? 🙂

=Spencer in Ann Arbor, MI
(who gets along just fine with his neighbors)

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #857, 11 July 2001
From: Joshua Laff <>
Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2001 09:13:21 -0700

Steve Wright wrote:
>Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #857, 7 July 2001
>mead. Compare the debate on this issue with that over the crystals
>in mead discussion. A few patronizing postings killed the crystal
>issue dead. Although I'm a total sceptic on crystal related matters I

Oh, don't be so sure. It's simply that crystal related matters haven't come
up again. If something relevant comes up, you can expect that at least
myself will be posting. As for the original thread that occurred, it died
simply because there weren't any responses that continued it. As long as
it's relating to mead, I'd still be happy to discuss crystals, astrology,
or any other metaphysical related topic on this list.

  • – Joshua

Subject: Mead-based drinks / Weird Thoughts
From: Daniel Morrison <>
Date: Sun, 15 Jul 2001 22:28:48 +0100 (BST)

Hello MLD.

I've been quietly reading the back issues of this digest for the

last 2-3 weeks and enjoying the collected info (and strongly held
opinions). I'm up to digest #531 (only 300-ish to go). Just thought I'd
tell you about some mead-based drinks I read about on a Danish mead site.

Mead Beer: 2 parts normal beer (I suspect a Danish Lager like Tuborg or
Carlsberg) and 1 part mead.

Punch: 4 parts mead, 2 parts bitter lemon and a splash of Angustora
Bitters, served with crushed ice and a slice of lemon. (Bitter lemon will
be familiar to UK readers. I haven't seen it in my experiences in North
America (Canada mostly). It's a very bitter and sour sparkling soft drink.
Not very sweet at all, just enough to balance the sour/bitter.)

Liquer to have with your coffee: 2 parts mead, 1 part Cognac.
(Alongside your coffee that is, not in.)

(Mead Glgg): Glgg is a traditional mulled red wine drink in Scandinavia.
Just add 2 cl. (20ml) per glass to add a certain fullness to it.

I am guessing these are with plain meads, but I have also seen that most
Danish recipes for meads are spiced (including hops very often).

Another question that I was wondering about: How does the amount of CaCO3
added to keep pH at about 4.0 affect taste? From various posts it seems
that 4-5 Tbsp is not unusual. Seems like a lot. It's like using
Burton-on-Trent brewing water almost. (As I said, I have only read up to
#531 so this question may have been answered after that. If so please
direct me to the appropriate place.)

Also here is a strange thought I had: Yeast + sugars = alcohol + CO2,
right? CO2 is a well-known greenhouse gas. Well how much are we brewers
(homebrewers & Commercial brewers & Vintners) responsible for global
warming? I suspect, just off-hand, that we're not really responsible for
all that much, but a little nonetheless. What would you guess, 1%, 0.1%,
0.01%, less? Just a strange sideline.

One last question to stir up the hornets nest: What would a mead with
BOTH apple juice AND grape juice be called?? Pyser? Cyment? heh heh.
Anyone ever make one?

Daniel Morrison

Daniel Morrison
University College London
Department of Chemistry


End of Mead Lover's Digest #859

Vicky Rowe
Follow me