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Mead Lover's Digest #0583 Fri 8 August 1997


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



Mead Ale (Rod McDonald)
Re: Metheglin and Molasses (Marc Shapiro)
Re: Mead Ale (Marc Shapiro)
Re: New to this craft (Marc Shapiro)
mead pH (Brett Beitzel)
Molasses (Matt Maples)
kiwi mead time (Matt Maples)
Sage honey (Francois Espourteille)
Is it stuck, or just finished? (Thaddaeus A Vick)


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Subject: Mead Ale
From: (Rod McDonald)
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 1997 15:47:43 +1000

I replied to this already but it appears that it fell off the back of the
mail truck. If you have already seen it I apologise.

>From MLD #581
Peter Miller wrote:

Rod McDonald <> and I made a mead ale from
Duncan & Acton many years ago. I have to say that from memory it was
rather insipid and uninspiring… (and bore _no_ resemblance to a
sparkling mead)

Care to comment Rod?

We made it when we were still rather novice brewers and I seem to recall (I
don't have the records with me) a comment about a scent reminiscent of viking
farts. We may have tried mulling it before composting it! My guess is that there
was an opportune infection from something undesirable. Haven't tried it since.


Subject: Re: Metheglin and Molasses
From: Marc Shapiro <>
Date: Thu, 07 Aug 1997 01:53:04 -0400


The spices you mention are exactly what I normally use when making
metheglin. I use 1 or 2 sticks of cinnamon, 5 to 7 cloves and 2 or 3
thin slices of fresh ginger root per gallon of metheglin. I put the
spices in a muslin, or cheesecloth bag and add them just after taking
the pot off the heat. I cover the pot and allow it to sit overnight.
By morning, the kitchen smells wonderful. I then reheat to about 160F.
When the must has cooled to proper temperatures, I remove the spice bag
and pitch the yeast.

Marc Shapiro

Visit 'The Meadery' at:

"If you drink melomel every day, you will live to be 150 years old,
unless your wife shoots you."

  • –Dr. Ferenc Androczi, Winemaker of the Little Hungary Winery

Subject: Re: Mead Ale
From: Marc Shapiro <>
Date: Thu, 07 Aug 1997 02:06:22 -0400

> Subject: Re: mead ale
> From: Robert Hook <>
> Date: Sun, 3 Aug 1997 10:45:19 +1000
> >Has anyone tried to make Mead Ale? I have a recipe from the "Making Mead" boo
> >that I just tried, in another week or so I'll get my first taste.
> >
> I don't know whether it's the honey I used, or a poor choice of malt, but
> all the braggots I've made based on the recipe in that book – which are
> basically the same as the Mead Ale recipe, without hops – have wound up
> incredibly tart. I'm not too sure that you wouldn't want to use a very dark
> malt and a lot more honey than the recipe suggests. I'll be curious to hear
> how it turns out for you, though.

Without looking back through previous issues of MLD, I am assuming that
the book in question is _Making Mead_ by Bryan Acton and Peter Duncan.
If so, the Ale Mead recipe in there contains no grain at all. It is
simply honey, water, hops and citric acid. The braggot recipe properly
contains malt. I have always made my braggot from grain (about 1 lb
pale ale and 4 to 8 oz crystal malt) and about 1 lb of honey per
gallon. I do use hops in mine, but only finishing hops, not during the
boil. I've never had any problems with tart tasts and I use whatever
honey I have available at the time. Just lucky, I guess.



Marc Shapiro

Visit 'The Meadery' at:

"If you drink melomel every day, you will live to be 150 years old,
unless your wife shoots you."

  • –Dr. Ferenc Androczi, Winemaker of the Little Hungary Winery

Subject: Re: New to this craft
From: Marc Shapiro <>
Date: Thu, 07 Aug 1997 02:26:34 -0400


Alexander, here. To answer your several questions:

1) A yeast starter is always a good idea. It helps insure that your
fermentation gets off to a fast, healthy start. After you have
rehydrated your yeast add an equal amount of your must and allow it to
sit until fermenting well (overnight is good). Then double the volume
again by adding must. Once this is rapidly fermenting you can add it to
the bulk of your must and know that you have viable, active yeast in
sufficient quantities to make your mead happy. It takes a little extra
time, but it's worth it.

2) Cool temperatures are always nice for fermentation, but, quite
frankly, I never worried about it when I was down there. I kept the
carboy out of the sun and let the yeasties do their thing.

3) The numbers are refering to starting and ending specific gravity
(usually abbreviated 'SG'). Yes, it does refer to the sugar content, as
sugar is the main item in the must which affect the SG other than
water. Do you NEED to worry about it? No. Is having a hydrometer and
checking these items a good idea? Yes! Knowing your starting and
ending SG will allow you to determine fairly accurately what your
alcohol content is. Otherwise, the only ways to determine the alcohol
content after the fact are either expensive, or not very accurate.
Knowing what your SG is also will help you reproduce your mead if you
make one that you like, or avoid duplicating your errors if you make one
that no one likes. These figures will also help us on the digest to
answer any questions which you might have about a specific batch. They
act as guideposts to let us know more about the must that you started
with and the mead that you end up with.

Say "Hi!" to Farflung for me.



Marc Shapiro

THL Alexander Mareschal Canton of Kappellenberg

Barony of Windmasters' Hill
Kingdom of Atlantia

Visit 'The Meadery' at:

"If you drink melomel every day, you will live to be 150 years old,
unless your wife shoots you."

  • –Dr. Ferenc Androczi, Winemaker of the Little Hungary Winery

Subject: mead pH
From: (Brett Beitzel)
Date: Wed, 6 Aug 1997 23:46:27 -0700

I just started a batch of mead about 2 weeks ago. I racked after the first
week, and then again after the 2nd. During the 2nd racking, I tried some
of the mead, and it was quite acidic (I think I went a bit overboard adding
citric acid.) Is there any way to raise the pH, and if so, what is the
optimum pH? I had some pH paper that went down to 4, and by how quickly it
turned the "pH 4" colors, I would assume that my batch of mead is quite a
bit lower than pH 4.

Thanks for any info,
Brett Beitzel

Subject: Molasses
From: Matt Maples <>
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 1997 12:23:10 -0700

I know this is a little off topic but…… I am working from a recipe
from 1850 for common beer (The ingredients are hops ginger molasses and
1.5 LB of toast, that's it) I was wondering if anyone knows the gravity
of molasses???? I need to know so I can figure out which hops to use.

Subject: kiwi mead time
From: Matt Maples <>
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 1997 12:17:23 -0700

Once again it is that time of year. The time when Price Costco has 5 lb
bags of kiwis for about $7. I make sure and grab two bag each year, one
ofr a sweet batch and one for a dry batch. The recipe is simple 1 gallon
respberry honey 5 lb kiwi pealed and prueed and a good health yeast
starter of red star cot de blanch. The kiwis have enough acid in them so
you don't need to add any.One batch I let go dry and prime it for a
sparkaling. The other I let ferment out use some potassium sorbate and
sweeten to taste. I highly recommend you give it a try.

Subject: Sage honey
From: Francois Espourteille <>
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 1997 23:25:40 -0400 (EDT)

I have been interested by the post on sage honey. I have never used sage
honey, but have made a couple of batches with rosemary honey (European
import) and some of the observations are similar.

>Sage Honey is very, very delicate. It can be used to make very light meads.
>Fermented out it can be almost as light as water in colour. It does not taste
>like the spice sage.
>micah millspaw – brewer at large

Rosemary honey is also very delicate, making a light almost ethereal
beverage. Similarly, the color is between very pale straw and water and the
typical rosemary spice flavor is totally absent from the honey. The
resulting mead has an unusual fruitiness in the flavor that throws most
people off. I have entered it in a couple of competitions with very
competent mead judges (either people whose skills I trust or commercial mead
makers) and the comments were peculiar: "Very pronounced grape aroma";
"very sweet and grape like", others alluded to a grapefruit note; few judges
made the connection between the fruity flavor and the honey, some going as
far as stating that the mead lacked honey flavor while questioning the
fruitiness. Being that the fruitiness was the main component of the flavor
profile, I was a bit surprised. But again, that honey is virtually unkown
in the US, which probably explains the comments. If you enter your sage mead
in competition, let me know what the results are. I would be very curious.



Subject: Is it stuck, or just finished?
From: (Thaddaeus A Vick)
Date: Fri, 8 Aug 1997 01:50:33 -0400

I have a blueberry mel that is doing nothing. It's a gallon batch,

so I expected faster
fermentation time, but I'm new at this and I'm not sure if it's really
stopped. It started
out at about 1.090, and I racked at one week to get the fruit out, and at
two weeks to get
more fruit out, and at the second racking it was down to 1.010. Since
then there is no
sign of fermentation. Any advice that you have would be welcome.

Thaddaeus A. Vick –or–

End of Mead Lover's Digest #583

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