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Mead Lovers Digest #0781

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Mead Lovers Digest
 · 9 Apr 2024

Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #781, 12 January 2000 

Mead Lover's Digest #781 12 January 2000

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

Mazers and 'name of group' (Yacko Warner Yacko)
All posts concerning Starting Gravity (Gregg Stearns)
Gravity probems ("Ken Schramm")
re: Starting Gravity Always Too Low ("DeCarlo,John A.")
Pushing Down the Cap ("Rich Bremer")
Passion Melomel ("Andy Wainwright")
Honeymoon's over! ("Andy Wainwright")
Mead Judging Sheet ("Michael L. Hall")
Mead Lover's Digest #780, 11 January 2000 (
Low Gravity ("Thaddaeus A. Vick")
Flavorless melomels (
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #780, 11 January 2000 (Vicky Rowe)
Contributions of Blackberries (Diana Schroeder)
Honey moon (Diana Schroeder)
Re: The Name of This Digest (Dan McFeeley)
Grating zest (Spencer W Thomas)
RE: Subject: The Name of This Digest ("Stephan Butcher")
Digest name and tone (Mead Lover's Digest)
negative review: _Making_Wild_Wines_&_Meads_ (Dick Dunn)

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Subject: Mazers and 'name of group'
From: Yacko Warner Yacko <>
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2000 14:03:07 -0500

Reply to cover two issues:

Rob asked for a source of 'authentic' mazers and Alan offered his wife's
pottery services (I almost phrased that wrong in the first draft -
neglecting the word pottery! ) to make him what he wanted.

As a question of semantics, isn't a mazer a maple bowl? As per it's word
origin, mazer actually means Maple. While I agree that some excellent
drinking vessels could be made of pottery and give much pleasure to the
drinking of a fine mead from a fine vessel, would it truly be able to be
called an 'authentic mazer'?

Just my wondering.... Suppose it depends on what Rob is really asking
for. :)

Point two:
On the 'mead lovers' thread and the enjoyment of mead in locations, I
believe that Vicky Rowe has an excellent resource on her pages
( listing commercial meaderies.
to be precise.

Perhaps we could impose upon Vicky to add another section, seeing as
there's some empty spots in the table she has at the top of that page :)
hehehe.... a listing of retaurants/bars that will actually serve mead! I
knew of one in Ft. Collins CO that supposedly had mead on tap, but never
confirmed it. At the least, Vicki has a great repository of info on her
pages for those seeking commercial mead.

Thanks for the time...

- --
Another war ... must it always be so? How many comrades have we lost
in this way? ... Obedience. Duty. Death, and more death ...
-- Romulan Commander, "Balance of Terror", stardate 1709.2


Subject: All posts concerning Starting Gravity
From: Gregg Stearns <>
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2000 13:55:34 -0600

One that that just came to mind when reading this, is HOW I add my

If I'm making 5 gallons of mead, I boil and skim all 15 lbs of honey,
and add to the fermenter. I'm not adding 5 gallons of water to the
If you're using a 7 gallon carboy to make 5 gallons of mead, and you've
added 15 lbs of honey, and a full 5 gallons of water, it's probably
going to be a little off from the Gravity specified in the original
recipe, which may have been done in a 5 gallon carboy, and therefore
only had maybe 4.25 gallons of water, which would raise the gravity

Happy brewing!
- --
Gregg Stearns | |
Online Editor | Daily Nebraskan Online |

"Do you feel the way you you hate the way you feel?
Always know that what you fear is what you'll find."


Subject: Gravity probems
From: "Ken Schramm" <>
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2000 14:58:55 -0500

Gravities under 1.080 for a 3 lb honey per gallon mead do seem to be off
the mark, and Dick Dunn and others have done a great job explaining the
possible sources of error. All I have to add is that most of the
variability in gravity contributions from honey will arise out of the
differences in moisture content in honeys, which can vary from 15% (I have
seen specs on samples that came in as low as 13!) at the lowest to over
20. Those over 20% water by weight cannot be graded as "Grade A" per the
USDA. Bees, in their wisdom, usually cap somewhere around 18%, but you
can see that the difference can be substantial. Honey generally weighs in
at 11 lbs 12 oz (11.75 lbs) the gallon, but can range from 11.5 to over
12. The variations are primarily nectar source related.

When it comes to recipe formulation, a useful rule of thumb is that each
pound of honey will contribute .008 in Gravity to a five gallon batch.
One Gallon of honey (11.75 lbs) in a five gallon batch should be around
1.094. When Dan McConnell and I did the big mead session, we did 13
batches with that recipe, and had nearly all fall between 1.092 to 1.096,
and we used honeys from all across the country.

Thanking Apis mellifera for a ton of fun,
Ken Schramm
Troy, Michigan


Subject: re: Starting Gravity Always Too Low
From: "DeCarlo,John A." <>
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2000 16:37:15 -0500


Just a minor addition to this discussion.

I have taken to either mixing the must (or wort) with water in my hydrometer
sample jar as well as in the fermenter, or just taking a sample from the
brewpot, so it will cool down faster.

So, if you heat up 2 gallons of must and add to 3 gallons of water, put in
3 oz of water in your sample jar and then 2 oz of must (or whatever
volumes make sense - if you use a graduated cylinder it becomes very simple).

As a result, even if there is stratification in the fermenter, I still get
a good reading.

Of course this doesn't help when you take a reading a month down the road,
but I have found that temperature and stratification are usually less of a
problem then.

- --
John DeCarlo, My Views Are My Own


Subject: Pushing Down the Cap
From: "Rich Bremer" <>
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2000 15:55:28 -0800

I recently was reading some literature about winemaking techniques that
talked about the need to periodically push down the cap of fruit that
develops in the primary fermenter. I have noted this "cap" of fruit pulp in
my recent blueberry and blackberry melomels. Is it necesary or helpful to
push down the fruit, on a daily basis, while fermenting in the primary
stage? I read about screens being used in large winery operations. How long
should the fruit cap be held down beneath the liquid level of the must?

Richard Bremer
Eugene, Oregon


Subject: Passion Melomel
From: "Andy Wainwright" <>
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2000 17:54:00 -0600

Has anyone tried making a Passionfruit mead/melomel ?? I'm a passion fruit
addict, and can't help thinking that the combination would be divine! It is
hard to get hold of passionfruit, in addition to it being seasonal, but you
can get concentrate syrups is very popular in the caribbean, and
I know Puerto Rico is fond of it - they call it Parcha, and use the
concentrated syrup in lots of recipes.

I'd appreciate any thoughts.

Andy Wainwright


Subject: Honeymoon's over!
From: "Andy Wainwright" <>
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2000 17:53:10 -0600

I'm a newbie to mead making, and have been reading the ongoing debate about
the origins of Honeymoon. Thought I'd add my tuppence worth.....

To me, Mead is a wonderful brew, the stuff of legend......when tasting a
good one, you can close your eyes and almost see the great hall, trestle
tables filled with goodfolk amid much merriment, buxom wenches keeping a
careful lookout, ensuring every goblet is kept abrim, lest there be bellows
of "MORE MEAD"......mead to accompany the generous fare of roast boar, sawn
roughly from the carcass.....everyone their own bejewelled dagger....

Sorry - I digress. When I label my mead, I shall compose a paragraph of
interest for the back label....something like this "Mead is a drink from
bygone days, from whence, legend has it, the meaning of Honeymoon was
derived. The true origin of the term Honeymoon has been lost in the mists of
time.....however it has been said that if a newlywed couple were to drink
mead (honey) for a month (moon) blah blah blah" you get the picture.

As far as tracing the true meaning...who cares....I'm a mead romantic who
intends to cling to folklore. I would question a true 'meadlover' who would
go out of their way to dispel the myth and romanticism of a truly marvelous
beverage. Please let sleeping dogs lie!!!

Andy Wainwright


Subject: Mead Judging Sheet
From: "Michael L. Hall" <>
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2000 16:59:08 -0700

[I'm cross-posting this to the MLD and to JudgeNet because the
original question was asked in both places. Sorry for the slow
reply... ]

Bob Carbone <> writes:
> A new mead maker has requested that I analyze his latest batch. I seem to
> remember seeing an 'official' mead scoring sheet somewhere but I can't
> remember where. The score sheet was formatted just like the BJCP beer score
> sheet. It had the usual fifty point total score and also had flavor
> descriptors in a column on the left hand side appropriate for meads.
> Has anyone else seen this score sheet? Can any one direct me to a source for
> this score sheet or any other for that matter?

And then Lyle C. Brown <> replied:
> The judging sheet you are looking for is a BJCP sheet, and can be found
> on the BJCP web page at: <>

It certainly should be there, but if it is I can't find it. Several
years ago I was on a BJCP committee that re-did the mead scoresheet,
and IMO we came up with a very nice improvement. Unfortunately, I
didn't save the PDF file of the resultant scoresheet. Tom Fitz was
head of the committee, and he may still have a copy. (Are you
listening, Tom?) We should certainly get that version if we can.

In the mean time, I do have a scoresheet that I did myself. We used
it as a starting point for the committee's scoresheet. You are welcome
to use that one, which is located on the Atom Masher's Goodies Page

Look under Mike Hall's Goodies -- the second item is the scoresheet.
It's available in PostScript, PDF, and LaTeX. The PDF version may
look a little bad on your screen, but it usually prints out fine. The
PostScript version will probably print out better, if you can handle
that format.

- -Mike

Michael L. Hall, Ph.D. <>
President, Los Alamos Atom Mashers <>
Member, AHA Board of Advisors <>
Fill the goblet again; for I never before
Felt the glow which now gladdens my heart to its core.
Let us drink! Who could not?
Since life's varied round
In the goblet alone no deception is found.

Lord Byron


Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #780, 11 January 2000
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2000 19:51:19 EST

Response to Douglas Whynott

I noticed your e-mail address is, if that happens to be Cheshire
Ct. then you can buy mead locally. several package stores carry
Bunratty Mead from Ireland, A sweet pyment that is very good, about $18.00
Lurgashall Christmas Mead from England, A traditional, about $19.00
Lurgashall Traditional mead, only comes in a 375ml bottle, about $10.00

If they don't have it in stock have them order it. Valencia's in Meriden may
have it on the shelf. I've bought it there before.

Another source is Johnstons Winery, Calway NY (near Albany). They have a very
good McIntosh Mead, but stay away from their other fruit wines, they are just
cane sugar and fruit juice.

Also Bargetto Winery sells Chaucers mead over the internet. Shipping was out
of this world. It was sweet and very young. I still have a bottle going on1
1/2 years old. In another year or so I may drink it. The first bottle (opened
as soon as I got it) tasted like sulfer, the second bottle opened 9 months
later was much better.

Hope this helps


Subject: Low Gravity
From: "Thaddaeus A. Vick" <>
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2000 17:22:59 -0800 (PST)

> 3) Your must is too hot. Hotter liquids will give a lower gravity
> reading. If you don't have a handy-dandy correction chart, be sure to
> cool the must to 65 degrees F to get an accurate reading. That's the
> temp at which the numbers on hydrometers work.

Where might I find such a chart? I always have trouble with this
because I don't have a wort chiller, so I feel like I have to get the
must into the carboy before it cools down so it doesn't get infected,
and then it's hard to take measurements.

Thaddaeus A. Vick, Linguist to the Masses Email:
URL: ICQ: 21574495
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one
persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress
depends on the unreasonable man."
-><- George Bernard Shaw -><-


From: joel tracy <>
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2000 19:38:12 -0800 (PST)

In response to Doug Whynott's questions:

"So if us novices can't find it or buy it, could some
of you tell us about the qualities of the drink
itself? Why are you a mead lover? What does it taste
What's the effect of drinking it? Gayre, who in his
book comes as close as I've seen to communicating this
love of mead, says, among other things, that mead has
been thought of as an aphrodisiac. Is that true?"

I first ran into mead at a the Maryland Renaissance
Festival. I grew up not liking alcohol too much
(having been introduced to it at a painfully young
age), and only using cordials to flavor cocoa and
such. However, mead was the one thing that actually
seemed to have a flavor that I didn't have to learn to
like. I've never achieved the palette to properly
appreciate fine wines (but I'm working on it), nor do
I enjoy much else than dark beers. Mead distinguished
itself as being very sweet (almost insipid in many
commercial varieties), and quite unlike the other
popular alcoholic choices. I've heard theories that
it is the oldest fermented beverage, and the fact that
it is probably produced more by individuals at home
than by commercial vintners/breweries gives it a kind
of guild-like allure. I have read on the Cider Digest
several people ask for what a homemade cider tastes
like, and have seen as few responses as there have
been for what mead tastes like. I'm afraid that
nothing much compares to tasting it. In my modest
attempt at making meads and ciders, I have stopped
trying to make Chaucer's and Woodchuck--it's just not
gonna happen. And that's great, actually.
So far as the effect of drinking it goes, they
say that mead hangovers are real bears. I have been
fortunate to never have gotten hungover (stayed drunk
all through the next day, but that's another story).
The headaches are supposed to be pretty severe. But
maybe that's not what you're asking. Mead can be
stronger in alcoholic content that wine, so one can
become out of it a little faster. I don't think
there's a finer sipping beverage.
Aphrodisiac? No more so than wine or beer. Like
the porter in Macbeth says, drink tends to make you
"stand to, and not stand to."
Hope you don't mind such a long and possibly
ambiguous response (not to mention the fact that I've
only just recently shaved off my novice peachfuzz in
hopes of a full, big Thor-type professional dabbler's
beard. I mean no disrespect to those who know so much
more than I).

de Maigne


Subject: Flavorless melomels
Date: 12 Jan 2000 10:21:11 -0500

I've been experimenting with different melomels over the years (orange,
strawberry/kiwi, blueberry, cherry/boisinberry, apricot/white raisin) and
I always have a problem making the finished mead taste like the fruit it
was made with. It doesn't seem to matter whether I use whole fruit, fresh
juices, zest, or concentrates, I always find the fruit flavor lacking. I
realize many aromas dissipate during primary fermentation but I often add
more flavoring agents as the mead ages. I just made a peach melomel with
over 10 lbs. of fresh peaches that has barely a hint of peach flavor or
aroma. Only a melomel/pyment made with Welch's Concord grape juice
actually tastes like grapes. Is this a problem for anyone else?



Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #780, 11 January 2000
From: Vicky Rowe <>
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2000 10:59:23 -0500

> Subject: The Name of This Digest
> From: "Douglas Whynott" <>
> Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2000 12:07:44 -0500
> <snippety do da day>
> Which gets me back to mead-lovers. I've written this post because there have
> been two recent posts, possibly by the same person, asking where he can find,
> buy and taste mead, and I don't think there's been an answer. Beer drinkers
> have great brewpubs galore to visit, but the mead drinker? Hmm. So if us
> novices can't find it or buy it, could some of you tell us about the qualities
> of the drink itself? Why are you a mead lover? What does it taste like?
> What's the effect of drinking it? Gayre, who in his book comes as close
> as I've seen to communicating this love of mead, says, among other things,
> that mead has been thought of as an aphrodisiac. Is that true? Is that
> what this love thing is about? Or is it something else of a higher (or
> possibly lower) nature?

As far as where to get it, I cleaned up the list of meaderies worldwide
that was provided here by <insert apology> a person whose name escapes
me at the moment, and added some new ones, and deleted some defunct
ones. I have it at my mead info site: at this
location: .
Fellow list members, I would very much like to put a public acknowledgement
up for the list, if someone would be so kind as to tell me the person's name.
I currently have it credited to the Digest in general.

As regards to the rest of the questions, here's my personal take:

I'm a mead lover for a number of reasons. It's easy to brew, has a wonderful
and rich history, and just tastes good! How does it taste? Gods, the taste of
mead can vary so much it's hard to describe. My favorites always seem to
have a modicom of residual sweetness, and a nice honey character. I'm
partial to melomels, especially blueberry and raspberry. The effects? Well
I've noticed that mead hangovers are pretty vicious (lol). But I love the 'glow'
that I get from drinking it an aphrodisiac? Dunno.

> I realize that this gets beyond the fact-realm and into subjective response,
> but again, the name of this site seems to open up such inquiry. Any
> information would be appreciated.
> Doug Whynott

Welcome to the group, Doug!

Vicky Rowe
batches in progress: blueberry, cherry, black cherry, spice, orange blossom.
batches being pitched soon: raspberry, blackberry, plum, melon


Subject: Contributions of Blackberries
From: Diana Schroeder <>
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2000 09:02:36 -0800 (PST)

From: Shannon & Angela Menkveld

I was wondering if anyone on the list had any data about the
contribution of blackberries to specific gravity and color. I am
making a blackberry melomel, and want the info for my ingredient
database. My software uses pts/lb/gal, for both S.G. and color (SRM).
Any feedback will be appreciated.

I made a blackberry melomel a few years ago. I don't
have my notes to hand, but I'll tell you what I
remember. I mashed the berries in water, and then
added honey to the gravity that I wanted. The color
was a deep red, purplish like port wine, and the color
didn't change during aging. I used probably a quart of
berries in a gallon of water. When young, it tasted
very much like port, melowing to a tannic, red wine
taste as the SG dropped. It was very nice... good luck
to you if you try this. If you have any more
questions, I'll hunt down my notes.

- --Diana


Subject: Honey moon
From: Diana Schroeder <>
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2000 09:08:23 -0800 (PST)

Some more anecdotal "information". ;) There are
folkloric names for all the moons in a year, in
England, which are supposed to possibly predate
Christianity. The full moon in June, according the
system I've seen most often, was the Honey Moon. Put
that together with the idea of the June bride ("Marry
in May, Rue the day. Marry in June, happiness soon.)
and this makes poetic sense at least, if not
academically proveable. Another tidbit that might be
interesting in this context is that St. Bride
(inheritress of much lore about the goddess Bride or
Brighid of the British Isles) was said to have changed
water to mead, upon the unexpected visit of an

- --Diana


Subject: Re: The Name of This Digest
From: Dan McFeeley <>
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2000 11:34:45 -0600

On Tue, 11 Jan 2000, in MLD 780, Douglas Whynott wrote, in part:

>So if us novices can't find it or buy it, could some of you tell us about
>the qualities of the drink itself? Why are you a mead lover? What does it
>taste like? What's the effect of drinking it? Gayre, who in his book comes
>as close as I've seen to communicating this love of mead, says, among other
>things, that mead has been thought of as an aphrodisiac. Is that true? Is
>that what this love thing is about? Or is it something else of a higher
>(or possibly lower) nature?

Eros, like beauty, is in the eyes of the partakers. The same idea applies
to mead's reputation as an aphrodisiac. An excellant glass of mead served
at the end of a meal for two, medium bodied and bursting with honey character,
can do much to stoke the romantic fires, especially if the romantic is also
the meadmaker. Romance? Lots of ways to look at it. Romance is the myth
that one person above all is unique among others. The mystery in any good
myth is finding the larger than life truth wrapped up in the fairytale.
Hormones provide the impetus, but romance is the true enhancer and foundation
of any aphrodisiac. Alex Comfort, in his book _The Joy of Sex_ has written
"Nine tenths of this book is unnecessary for the tender hearted." Words to
dwell on. ;-)

>Which gets me back to mead-lovers. I've written this post because there
>have been two recent posts, possibly by the same person, asking where he
>can find, buy and taste mead, and I don't think there's been an answer.
>Beer drinkers have great brewpubs galore to visit, but the mead drinker?

Might depend on what country you're in. I hear that meaderies are as common
in France as microbreweries in Colorado. Wout Klingens passed on a good tip
to me -- call the tourist office of the country you're going to visit and ask
for a list of available meaderies.

Below is a listing of meaderies and mead producing wineries in the U.S.
(I'm assuming you're posting from a U.S. address) where mead can be ordered,
bought and tasted. Sorry, no meadpubs that I know of, with the possible
exception of the Wynkoop brewpub in Denver Colorado. I think they've served
mead in the past, but I'm not sure.

(Note to meadery owners subscribed to this digest -- if you don't see your
name on the list, please e-mail me privately and I'll tack it on.)

Dan McFeeley


Anderson's Orchard & Winery Bell Arbre Winery
430 E. US Hwy Ken Buckner
Valpariso, IN 46383 3204 116th Ave NE
(219) 464-4936 Bellevue, WA 98004
(800) 313-2794
(206) 827-7689

White Winter Winery Linganore Winecellars
402 South George St 13601 Glissens Mill Rd
PO Box 636 Mt. Airy, MD 21771-8595
Iron River, WI 54847 (310) 831-5889
Toll Free: 800-697-2006 (410) 795-6432
(715) 372-5656

Spurgeon Vineyards & Winery Camas Winery
Rt 1 110 S. Main St.
Box 201 Highland, WI 53543 Moscow, ID 83843
(608) 929-7692

Labeille Honey Winery Chatham Winery
638 So. Main St. Rt 28
Stowe, VT 05672 The Cornfield
(802) 253-2929 Chatham, MA 02633
email: (508) 945-0300

ADK Productions, Inc. Alaskan Mead Co.
Daniel Kassa David Snow/James Jensen
5645Q General Washington Drive 5915 Lake Otis Pkwy
Alexandria, VA 22312 Anchorage, AK 99507
703-750-1056 (Did not respond to mail;
800-967-9957 not listed in phone book.)

"As You Like It" Meadery Bargetto Winery
362-370 Main St Paul Woffard, Winemaker
Fitchburg, MA 01420 3535 N. Main St.
(508) 345-6407 Soquel, CA 95073
(408) 475-2258

Berrywine Plantation Betterbee Meadery
Lucille Aellen Wayne Thygesen
13601 Glissan's Mill Rd Bob Stevens
Mt. Airy, MD 21771-8599 RR 4 Box 4070, Meader Rd
301-831-5889 Greenwich, NY 12834

Earle Estates Meadery Coventree Meadery
John & Esther Earle John Zeron
3586 Rt. 14 29 Askirk Pl
Himrod, New York Newark, DE 19702-6000
14842 302-832-0437
Web-address: email:

Fred's Mead Company Honeymoon Meadery
Fred Buhl Patti Williams & Thomas Swetland
3009 SW Archer Rd #E8 43 Conistown Rd #2
Gainesville, FL 32608-1875 Roslindale, MA 02131
(352) 377-3376 (617)769-7607

HoneyRun Honey Co Inn Wines
John & Amy Hasle Dick Phaneuf
Box 3172 4 Elm St
Chico, CA, 95928 Hatfield, MA 01038-9708
916-345-6405 (413) 247-5175

Lakewood Vineyards Life Force Honey & Winery
Christopher Stamp 1193 Saddle Ridge Rd
4024 SR 14 Moscow, ID 83843
Watkins Glen, NY 14891 208-882-9158
607-535-9252 800-497-8258

Little Hungary Farm Winery Mountain Meadows Mead
Frank Androczi Ron Lunder
Rt 6, POB 323 12 Third Street
Buckhannon, WV 26201 Westwood, CA 96137
304-472-6634 916-256-3233

Oliver Winery Pirtle's Weston Vineyards
Bill & Kathleen Oliver Elbert & Trisha Pirtle
8024 Hwy 37 502 Spring St, PO Box 247
Bloomington, IN Weston, MO 64098
812-876-5800 816-640-5728 email:

Rocky Mountain Meadery Volcano Winery
Fred & Connie Strothman PO Box 843
3701 G Rd Volcano, HI 96785
Palisade, CO 81526 808-967-7479

Cuthills Vineyards Bartlett Maine Estate Winery
Ed Swanson RR1, Box 598
RR2, Box 210 Gouldsboro,ME 04607
Pierce, NE 68767 (207) 546-2408
(402) 329-6774

Cask & Hive Winery La Buena Vida Vineyards
PO Box 275 416 E College Street
155 Norris Hill Rd. Grapevine, TX
Monmouth, ME 04259 (817) 481-9463
(207) 933-WINE

Abrosia by Kristy Meadery Heidrun Meadery
4921 85th Ave West 55 Ericson Court, Suite 4
University Place, WA 98467 Arcata, CA 95521
(253) 307-5156 (707) 825-8748 fax (707) 825-8739


Subject: Grating zest
From: Spencer W Thomas <>
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2000 13:09:02 -0500

There's a new grater on the market that appears to be ideal for
"zesting" citrus. I've seen these in the local "kitchen gadget"
store, and lusted after them. Some day I'll buy one. :=)

A news story from the web talks about the "invention:"

Some excerpts:

With its rows of small plane sharp teeth set on a frame of about
30 centimetres by 2.5 centimetres, Grey discovered that it grated
hard cheese, garlic, ginger and even nutmeg in a flash.


There are two versions of the Microplane -- one for fine grating
which is ideal for zesting citrus fruit (Grey says Clementines are
a good example), mincing garlic, shredding ginger or grating
Parmesan cheese.

The only negative I've noted in playing with them in the store is that
it would be really easy to grate some of your skin, too. A normal
grater (at least the one's I've got) is not sharp enough to take much
skin. The Microplane grater definitely is.

=Spencer Thomas in Ann Arbor, MI (


Subject: RE: Subject: The Name of This Digest
From: "Stephan Butcher" <>
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2000 13:32:18 -0800

Hey Honeys!

I too am new to the group, the lovers group, and share many of Whynotts
views. While I have made many many gallons of mead, I feel alone. I just
made a mead friend locally, and hope to have a mead making party this spring
but I would love to be able to try other peoples meads! Am I a tart to say
so? Perhaps a clearing house of meads is in order? Where people send 5
bottles of a brew and recieve 5 bottles from 5 different people, and so on
and so on...

Mead promiscuity is not wrong, it just can't be!



Subject: Digest name and tone
From: (Mead Lover's Digest)
Date: 12 Jan 00 21:38:02 MST (Wed)

Doug Whynott asks: Why is it called the Mead-LOVER's Digest? Well, as
Tevye says in Fiddler, "I'll tell you: I don't know! But it's a
tradition." That's what it was called right from the very start. The
"-lovers-" used to be part of the email addresses; I dropped that for the
sake of keeping an address that must be byte-for-byte correct as short as
practical...but kept it in the title of the digest...after polling the
readership. And, well, why not? I think there's a little bit of history
in wanting the digest to be for almost anyone interested in mead, not just

As to the tone of the digest being different from the Homebrew Digest
(HBD): Yes, it is, and it always has been relatively mellow here. It
would be nice to think that we're all just such kind, wonderful folks that
we could hardly help but get along, but I don't put too much stock in
that. Realize that the HBD subscribership is about 4x the size of the MLD
(last time I checked, anyway). The HBD used to be a lot mellower when it
was the size of the current MLD (around 1000). The one other factor that
comes to mind is that the process of making mead is much slower; it might
be that this attracts a different kind of person. (Or this might be just a
dumb conjecture.)
- ---
Mead-Lover's Digest
Dick Dunn, Digest Janitor Boulder County, Colorado USA


Subject: negative review: _Making_Wild_Wines_&_Meads_
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 12 Jan 00 23:21:40 MST (Wed)

A new book showed up in the home brew/wine world recently:
Pattie Vargas & Rich Gulling
Storey Books
ISBN 1-58017-182-6

I decided it was worth's rare to find a new book that even
has recipes for mead, let alone mentioning mead in the title. It has a
reasonable section on ingredients and the process, and about 30 recipes.

I'm limiting my comments to Chapter 4, the meads/melomels/metheglins
chapter, since that's the part of the book that interests us here.

Unfortunately, I wouldn't recommend it. There are some good parts--the
initial material on mead is pretty good; the list of suggested herbs/
spices for metheglin is good and might set even experienced mead-makers
to thinking of things they haven't tried before. The list of suggested
quantities of herbs is very rough and might produce some surprising (!)
results. And the recipes, which are the bulk of the chapter, are entirely
* The recipes are all for 1-gallon batches. I find this troubling because
someone who gets started this way is likely to decide that mead is too
much work, if they get only four or five bottles from a batch, esp.
with the long ingredient lists.
* The preferred technique is a 10-20 minute boil (although they do
describe brief-heating and sulfiting). I wish we could get beyond
this boiling approach. It's actually a bit worse, since they add an
optional sulfiting step even with boiling...a sort of belt-and-braces
approach, perhaps, but shouldn't caution be tempered with kindness to
the honey?
* Every recipe calls for a yeast starter made with 1_1/2 cups of orange
juice! And yes, they say to add the whole starter. Remember, this is
for 1-gallon imagine the taste effect, for the more typical
5-gallon batch, imagine putting in almost half a gallon of orange
juice. Everything they make is an orange melomel at heart.
* In spite of the heavy dose of orange juice in the starter, almost all
the recipes also call for either acid blend or the juice of a lemon.
The raspberry melomel, for example, calls for 2 pounds of raspberries
for a gallon batch, which is a nice quantity, but also calls for 1
*tablespoon* (sic) of acid blend per gallon (plus the 12 fl oz of
orange juice for the starter). When I got to this recipe I stopped
wondering if their tastes were unusual and started wondering whether
they had tested their recipes. Try this: Put 1/4 teaspoon of acid
blend in a glass of water and taste's tart! And that's what
they're adding, *beyond* a serious amount of raspberry.
* There's some serious carelessness in ingredients. For example, the
cherry melomel calls for "dark or sour cherries". Well, dark cherries
are sweet and relatively mild compared to sour (i.e., pie) cherries--
compare a Bing to a Montmorency. It's inconceivable that you could
substitute one for the other, pound for pound. Or take the mint
metheglin: 1/2 cup fresh, chopped mint leaves...well, what *kind* of
mint?!? Oh, read the footnote and use process of elimination to see
that they meant peppermint. Or, think about 3 lb blackberries per
gallon but 2 lb raspberries per gallon. My experience tells me that
the blackberry is going to be over the top (and overly tannic), but
even without the experience, knowledge of the fruit could tell you
* All of the recipes, not just melomels, call for pectic enzyme. Unless
pectic enzyme has some other property I'm not aware of, it's not going
to help clear a mead unless there's something in the mead that has
* All of the recipes call for yeast nutrient (1 tsp/gallon, which is a
lot), even the melomels which mostly don't need it.
* Many of the recipes call for grape-tannin, even some surprising ones
like a cranberry melomel.

Aside from the needless additions and the dubious proportions, the ongoing
litany of additives gives a depressingly apothecary style to the recipes.
It overcomplicates what should be a simple-but-wonderful drink, and I'd
hate to have the new mead-maker bewildered at all these odd little bits of
powder that seem to be required for a millennia-old beverage.

This is my second pan of a recent mead book's recipes (the previous being
somewhat lesser but still substantial consternation over Pamela Spence's
_Mad_About_Mead!_, esp. but not only the teaspoon-per-gallon of nutrient).

- ---
Dick Dunn Hygiene, Colorado USA
...If you plant ice, you're gonna harvest wind.


End of Mead Lover's Digest #781

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