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Mead Lover's Digest #0540 Fri 21 February 1997


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



RE: (Brew)ing mead. (Robert Wenzlaff)
Re: aging and born on dating (Peter Miller)
Re:Some questions from a new mead maker (Peter Miller)
Daz Buoch von guter Spise ("Ted Major")
Re: Pyment recipes (Dave Polaschek)
vintning or brewing (Mark Taratoot)
What to call our craft anyway (raven1)
Hard Cider to a Mead ("Brander Roullett (Volt Computer)")
Crazy in the Kitchen Mead Update ("Brander Roullett (Volt Computer)")
Re: aging and born on dating (Jack Stafford)
re: Pyment recipes (
Changing specific gravity of first mead. (Ed, Quantum PE (508)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #539, 20 February 1997 (Charles Hudak)
RE: Mead Lover's Digest #539, 20 February 1997 (Eckard Witte)


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Subject: RE: (Brew)ing mead.
From: Robert Wenzlaff <>
Date: Thu, 20 Feb 1997 23:33:36 -0500 (EST)

People who brew are Brewers.
People who vint are vinters (Not Vintner who are the people who sell
I have heard people who make mead refered to as Maizers (eg, the Maizer's
Cup) so I would assume you Maize Mead, but I'm not sure if that's the
exact conjugation of the word.

Robert Wenzlaff
Proprietor, Soylent Green Biscuit Company

Maker of Science-Fiction and Techie Noveltywear (t-shirts)
Visit my Web page at


Subject: Re: aging and born on dating
From: Peter Miller <>
Date: Fri, 21 Feb 97 17:31:23 -0000

>From: PickleMan <>
>Date: Sun, 16 Feb 1997 13:06:50 -0800 (PST)
> I have a qestion concerning aging mead and cider. I, in the past,
>considered the age of a drink to be time since it was bottled. Is this
>correct? I ask because I has found wide variation in the time a mead or
>cider takes to ferment. I have had ciders take from 2 weeks to a little
>over a month. Mead usually goes for a month or two, but I just finished
>bottling one that took over 7 months. It seemed to go on vacation
>sometime around the 3rd month(still very sweet) and then restarted a
>couple months later. No sign of infection, and its almost dry now. So
>how old is that mead? I bottled it less than 3 weeks ago, but it was
>brewed last spring when the daylight savings time changed.

Personally, I date my meads from beginning of fermentation, but it is
only arbitrary for me. I figure that's when the process of turning the
raw stuff into the mead starts, and every moment from then on it's
aging… It makes sense in the case of your restarted bottle – it has to
be aging during some of the three months where it wasn't doing anything
else! Wines of course are dated from the vintage of the grape crop, so
you could possibly date from the time the honey was gathered if you were
a stickler for continuity!


Perpetual Ocean Music & Sound Design

Subject: Re:Some questions from a new mead maker
From: Peter Miller <>
Date: Fri, 21 Feb 97 17:31:20 -0000

>From: "Curtis,Dave [St. John's]" <Dave.Curtis@EC.GC.CA>
>Date: Mon, 17 Feb 1997 12:50:51 -0330

>Hello everyone,
>Being my first time writing (I honestly haven't been lurking but
>learning !!) I would like to say this is a great way to learn about this
>craft and I have truly enjoyed all the discussions so far (I started at
>#521). I have a number of questions and observations:
>1. I have read that mead is neither a beer nor wine, fair enough, but
>if a winery makes wine and a brewery makes beer, is it correct for me to
>use the term "Meadery" … to make a mead.?

Certainly. "Meadery" is an accepted and used term. Any mead maker would
know exactly what you were talking about and wouldn't snicker at you 😉

>2. Having just bought a house, my wife and I would like to develop a
>small section of the basement for such a "meadery". Does anyone know
>where there might be drawings or plans for designing such a special

Very briefly (and by no means definitively) you'll probably end up with
three main "components" to your meadery – a "kitcheny" type place for the
heating/pouring/measuring/squashing stuff, a warmish fermenting area for
your meads in progress, and a cooler even-temperature "cellar" where you
can leave your bottles undisturbed to age out. In my house, I use my
kitchen (predictably enough) for the preparation of the musts & yeasts
etc. I have a warm attic room for my fermenting and keep all my finished
bottles underneath the house where it is cool and they will not be
disturbed in the course of day to day living. Of course if you live in a
very cold place you need to be careful that you don't put the bottles
anywhere that they will freeze.

I would suggest that before you set out to build anything, you make a few
meads and get some idea of what you might find helpful, and what sort of
working space you need. There are no rules and everyone has their own
methods and requirements.

>3. Continuing on with this room, is there an optimum temperature to
>keep the room at?

Which bit? Different meads & yeasts respond differently to different
temperatures, but for my own part I just work on the principal of "warm"
& "cool" – if it's warm most things ferment well in my experience. If it
gets hot they slow down, if it gets cold they slow down. Mead was being
made successfully well before anyone ever invented a thermometer…

For storage, just keep it as cool and even as possible (not cold).
Generally the biggest temperature-related problems in both the
fermentation and storage of meads or wines is if you have sudden big
temp. changes, so the best course of action is to try and prevent that
from happening.

>4. Does anyone have a design for recording the information pertinent
>for each batch they make? e.g. OG, pH, dates , rackings, additives etc.

I write everything down in a big red hard-covered book as I do it – all
the things you mentioned, plus more. The best way to think of it is as if
you are making a recipe – if you get a particularly good batch of
something, it is very probable that you will want to try to make it
again, and there is nothing more frustrating than finding out that you
forgot to write down what kind of honey you used, or what that special
herb was you added to your meth.

>My first in not intended to offend anyone but in trying to compile all
>the digests on the computer, I find myself astounded by the number of
>spelling errors. Please use your spell checker.

Hey – I'm prepared to trade off the spelling errors for the good advice
and friends I've made through the list. When the bomb drops, I'm hanging
out with the mead-makers, not the English teachers. (C'mon – it's really
not that important…)

>and secondly the best advise I can offer as a microbiologist is be
>careful and sanitize. No one would appreciate becoming ill after
>receiving a bottle as a gift.

I think you'd notice any bad hygiene problems long before you gave the
bottle away – it's very unlikely that your mead will poison someone else
without you knowing it first (at least, you _should_ if you're paying
attention). But your point is well taken – a little care with your
cleanliness will save you disappointment.

And by the way, you spelt "advice" wrong. Not that I care.



Perpetual Ocean Music & Sound Design

Subject: Daz Buoch von guter Spise
From: "Ted Major"<>
Date: Fri, 21 Feb 1997 08:19:55 -0400

I've been thinking of trying out the 14th C German mead recipe in _Daz
Buoch von guter Spise_ lately. Has anyone worked with this recipe (which I
guess is really a metheglin strictly speaking, since it calls for hops and
sage)? I haven't taken the time to translate the MHG source myself, but a
quick glance supports the translation that seems to instruct one to use 2
parts water to 1 part honey. I haven't done the math to figure the
gravity, but that works out to about 24 lbs of honey in 4 gallons of water,
which seems like it would yield an impossibly high OG. The 14th C English
recipe I've used calls for 1 gallon of honey to 4 gallons of water, which
gives an OG of about 1.090. Any experience with this recipe? I'm inclined
to go with the English honey/water ration and tinker around in SUDS to
figure a good hop amount to add to keep from overbittering. I'd appreciate
any success stories from those who've adapted this recipe, and I'll post my
results when I get them.

Ted Major

Subject: Re: Pyment recipes
From: Dave Polaschek <>
Date: Fri, 21 Feb 97 08:13:09 -0600

ejmoone@CCGATE.HAC.COM wrote:

> I am thinking about making a pyment using Welches Classic frozen
> concentrate…
> 1 can Welches Classic concentrate per gallon
> 2 lbs honey per gallon
> 1 tbsp Acid Blend or Citric Acid
> yeast nutrient
> Pasteur Champagne Yeast

That soudns fine to me, except you probably want to leave out the acid
blend. Many concentrates already have added citric acid. Even if the
particular concentrate you're using doesn't have added acid, you're
probably better leaving it out, and acidifying "to taste" after the
fermentation is complete.

For two other recipes in a similar vein, you could look at:
and <>

  • -DaveP

Dave Polaschek – or

Subject: vintning or brewing
From: Mark Taratoot <taratoot@PEAK.ORG>
Date: Fri, 21 Feb 1997 08:29:47 -0800 (PST)

In MLD 539, Jacob Galley writes:

> In response to Tom Lentz's query about whether it is proper and
> correct to say that we "brew" mead: I have read that the distinction
> between brewing (beer or sake) and vinting (wine) is that brewers must
> obtain fermentable sugars by converting starches, whereas vintners do
> not take this extra step, since the sugars already exist in
> fermentable form. By this definition, mead-makers are "vinting"
> mead. But that sounds totally wrong, doesn't it?

To add another question to this explanation, what term would you use for
making braggot? Further, does an extract only brewer vint beer?

Mark Taratoot "…though my problems are meaningless, that don't make them go away."

  • Neil Young

Subject: What to call our craft anyway
From: raven1 <>
Date: Fri, 21 Feb 1997 13:11:39 -0500

In response to Jacob Galley's letter in the last issue (are we "brewing"
or "vinting" mead), I feel it should be the former. In making beer, the
actual "brewing" consists of boiling the wort for a given period of time
in a brew kettle. The conversion of starch into sugar takes place before
the actual brewing, in a process known as "mashing". Since most
mead-makers either boil or at least heat the water to mix with the
honey, it seems to me that the procedure is far closer to brewing than
to vinting, which does not include a kettle stage of any kind. Of
course, does it really matter what we call it? Brewing or Vinting, make
that Mead & enjoy !

Joe Cogan

Subject: Hard Cider to a Mead
From: "Brander Roullett (Volt Computer)" <>
Date: Fri, 21 Feb 1997 10:35:05 -0800

I recently tasted my hard cider that i put in a while back. it tastes
AWFUL. not sure what went wrong, but its not very good. it does however
taste like it would make a great Cyser (i have made a cyser with this
juice before) my problem is that i have already fermented it out.
without buying yeast nutrient how can i add honey, and get fermentation
going again?

Subject: Crazy in the Kitchen Mead Update
From: "Brander Roullett (Volt Computer)" <>
Date: Fri, 21 Feb 1997 10:38:59 -0800

A while back i posted about a Mead that i made when i tired and getting
loopy. it was Frozen Oj, Frozen lemon ade, and hoeny (with a cinnamon
stick) at first taste it was not something even the most die hard
drinker would touch. so i added another 2 lbs. of honey and put hte
bubbler back on. after another month it now tastes great, in fact the
sample glass disapeared fast, and people were requesting more. 🙂 (it
was a 1 gallon recipe, if people are curious i can repost the recipe) I
guess its true that you can make a decent mead out of frzen OJ and


Subject: Re: aging and born on dating
From: (Jack Stafford)
Date: Fri, 21 Feb 97 10:53:25 PST

On Sun, 16 Feb 1997, PickleMan <> wrote:
> I have a qestion concerning aging mead and cider. I, in the past,
>considered the age of a drink to be time since it was bottled. Is this

Your quandry is a valid one regarding how old a mead is. Some may say that
it becomes mead as soon as the yeast is pitched. I'm a little curious what
the concensus is among the mead-lovers digest. I go by the bottling date.

The reason I go by the bottling date is that all my meads (so far) have been
sparkling. Adding that priming sugar is the final step in the mead making
process. Once that's done, it's on it's own and I can't do anything more to
effect the final product. Other than proper storage, of course.

Yeast of Eden Homebrewers
Costa Mesa, CA

Subject: re:  Pyment recipes
Date: Fri, 21 Feb 1997 14:13:35 -0500 (EST)

I have personally made such a drink using Welch's Grape Concentrate. Your
recipe sounds more like it – when I made mine I used two cans of concentrate
and it ended up too grapey. But, it did end up being 15% alcohol when
finished. One glass would do you for awhile 🙂

Good luck on your endeavor,


If you get a chance feel free to visit my homepage often as content will
update from time to time.

Subject: Changing specific gravity of first mead.
From: (Ed, Quantum PE (508) 770-2251)
Date: Fri, 21 Feb 1997 14:13:27 -0500

Derrick Pohl writes about adding honey to the secondary of his first mead
that started off with a lower than anticipated gravity.


>2) Is it actually necessary to heat the new honey to 180 deg F to sterilize
>it, or can I just heat it enough to dissolve it and then pour it in?

Well, I never heat my honey. I sanitize my equipment, dump,
stir and add a (very large) yeast starter. Incidentally, long
fermentation times are not a requirement for mead making.
With adequate nutrients and starter volume, I've had fermentations
finnish (from 1.120 to 1.010) typically in less than a month.
These meads have won ribbons in sanctioned competitions.

>And biggest question of all:

>4) How much honey should I add to raise the S.G. by 13 points – i.e. from
>1.042 to 1.055? Is there a formula for this? My batch size is 23 L (6
>U.S. gal., 5 Imp. gal.).

O.K, you want to up the gravity by 13 points per gallon. This
can be calculated a few ways:

Honey contributes aprox. 38 points per pound per gallon
(i.e. one pound of honey mixed with water to yield one gallon
would have a gravity of aprox. 1.038). You want to add 13 points
per gallon, 13/38=0.34 lbs of honey per gallon will do this.

You have six gallons of mead, you need 6 X 0.34 = 2.05 lbs of honey.

Honey weighs 12 lbs per gallon. You need 2.05/12 = 0.171 gallons
of honey.

There are 128 fl oz. (U.S.) in a gallon. You need
0.171 X 128 = 21.89 fl oz. of honey.

Answere: Mixing 22 fl oz of honey in the wine should raise
the specific gravity by 0.013.

As a check, another way to calculate this is to use the
formula to compute target starting gravity, located in the
appendix of The Bee's Lees.

V x (Gs-1)
h = —————-
(Gh – 1)

h = Total volume of honey required to achieve the
desired starting gravity.

V = Total final volume (gallons)

Gs = Desired starting gravity.

Gh = Specific gravity of sweetener (1.445 is used for honey).

6 x (1.013 – 1)
So: h = —————- = 0.175 gallons of honey.
(1.445 – 1)

0.175 X 128 = 22.4 fl oz. honey



Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #539, 20 February 1997
From: Charles Hudak <>
Date: Fri, 21 Feb 1997 12:53:10 -0800

In response to Derrick's queries:

> It's been in the secondary fermenter now for about 3 weeks, and I was going
> to add more honey when I rack it again. My plan is to take out some of the
> partly fermented must when racking – maybe a litre or so – heat it to
> sterilizing temperature, about 180 deg F, and dissolve the honey in that,
> then cool it and add it to the rest of the racked must. My questions are:
> 1) Is there any reason why I shouldn't do this?
> 2) Is it actually necessary to heat the new honey to 180 deg F to sterilize
> it, or can I just heat it enough to dissolve it and then pour it in?

A couple of things to consider. Boiling partially fermented must is
similar to pastuerization although the temperature you propose is
somewhat higher (ca. 162 vs. 180).
The usual probs arise when you heat fermented anything i.e. lose of
volatiles, "cooked" tastes and oxidation. It will "work" but may not be
the best solution.

Another idea is just adding the honey to the fermenter and mixing it in
well (avoid splashing). I've done this to boost the gravity on several
meads that I made which finished too dry. Never had a problem, all
turned out excellent. If it makes you feel better, just gently heat the
honey to ~140F for 15 min. or so and cool back down before adding it to
the fermenter. This will mildly pastuerize the honey and is not greatly
injurious to it (most apiaries do heat their honey to this temperature
during "processing", I checked with mine). MAKE SURE you cool it before
adding to the fermenter; don't want to cook your yeasties!

> And biggest question of all:
> 4) How much honey should I add to raise the S.G. by 13 points – i.e. from
> 1.042 to 1.055? Is there a formula for this? My batch size is 23 L (6
> U.S. gal., 5 Imp. gal.).

As far as gravity goes, well it's always an educated guess unless you
want to do a little experimentation. You can safely figure ~1.036
pts/lb/G: adding one pound of honey to six gallons will give you ~6
additional points. You would want to add just over twice this to add 13
pts. You can more accurately determine what YOUR honey will do by
adding a small amount into some water and measuring the resulting
gravity. By back calculating the quantities, you can figure out it's
gravity contribution exactly.

Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #539, 20 February 1997
From: (Eckard Witte)
Date: Sat, 22 Feb 97 00:31 +0100


PickleMan asked about aging mead nand cider. When you buy a wine the year
written on the label is always the year they picked the grapes, not the year it
was bottled. That's what I do. Sometimes I mix the Wine of different years, then
I put the latest year on the label. I've got an oak wooden barrel containing 200
liters. In 1994 I made 50 liters of mead and 50 liters of fruit wine made by
hips (is it that what you name cider?). Fermentation finished in 1995, and I put
it in the barrel where it is resting since. This spring I will bottle some 20
liters (tastes like sherry), and I will label them 1994. After that I will add
the 50 liters of hip wine I made last year and which is still on the carboy.
When I bottle next time I will call it a wine made 1996.

Dave Curtis asked about temerature for a "Meadery". I start fermentation at room
temperature (20 C). When fermantation is finished I rack the mead to a carboy
in my cellar (got an old house with an old cellar, about 5 C). Clearing seems
to be easier when it's rather cold. That's the way I do it, and I've got good

Derrick Pohl asked about yeast nutrient. I make fruit wine and mead since about
20 years, and I only use:
for apple wine – apples and yeast
for other fruit wines (f.e. red currant, rhubarb, raspberry, strawberry,
gooseberry, cherry, plum, hip, sloe) – fruit, water, sugar, yeast
for mead – honey, water, 1 Tablespoon of white flour (as you use for baking) on
each 10 liters, citron juice, yeast, sometimes black tea.
I never had any problems with fermentation, clearing, colour or taste.


End of Mead Lover's Digest #540

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