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Mead Lover's Digest #10 Wed 07 October 1992

Forum for Discussion of Mead Brewing and Consuming
John Dilley, Digest Coordinator

Contents:

Re: Acid-blend & Yeast Nutrient (wegeng.henr801c)
Article on Mead Making in Zyumurgy Magazine (wegeng.henr801c)
A couple of questions (what else?) (Lewis R. Jansen)
A good plum melomel recipe (Roger Locniskar)
when to bottle (Mike Tanksley)
Acid Blend (Tom McCollough)

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Date:   Tue, 6 Oct 1992 06:52:58 PDT
From: wegeng.henr801c@xerox.com
Subject: Re: Acid-blend & Yeast Nutrient

Acid-blend is added primarily for taste. Most people seem to prefer wine-like
beverages that are somewhat acidic. You don`t have to use acid-blend to
accomplish this – some mead makers add the juice from one or two lemons. I
also suspect that wine yeasts prefer acidic environments, but I`m not sure
about this last point.

As for yeast nutrient, yes, there`s a difference between generic yeast nutrient
and mead yeast nutrient. Most of the the yeasts that we use to make mead have
historically been used to ferment grapes, not honey. These yeasts require
nutrients that (usually) occur naturally in grapes, but do not occur in the
same quantities in honey. Do you absolutely have to use a nutrient blend that
is formulated specifically for mead? No, but you may get better results if you
do.

/Don
wegeng.henr801c@xerox.com


Date:   Tue, 6 Oct 1992 06:57:04 PDT
From: wegeng.henr801c@xerox.com
Subject: Article on Mead Making in Zyumurgy Magazine

I dunno if this has already been mentioned, but there`s a pretty good
introductory article on mead making in the Fall `92 issue of Zymurgy (published
by ther American Homebrewers Association). It discusses boiling, yeasts, water
pH, etc. – many of the topics that we have been discussing here. There`s also
a very good list of reference books at the end of the article. Highly
recommended.

/Don
wegeng.henr801c@xerox.com


Date: Tue, 6 Oct 92 11:21:18 EDT
From: lrj@helios.TN.CORNELL.EDU (Lewis R. Jansen)
Subject: A couple of questions (what else?)

In a week or two I hope to embark upon my first mead,
probably sweet, and most likely still. I'm an "intermediate"
homebrewer (beer), with far too many empty carboys right now.
So, a handful of questions:

How much of a difference does it make in the final product
whether one chooses Processed-To-Death commercial honey vs.
honey from a farmer's market or other "natural" source?

Are chlorophenols or other chlorine products a problem?
Specifically, do people feel they need to pre-boil the water
used in order to remove the chlorine?

To what extent does mead foam while fermenting? I'd prefer
not to tie up a six or seven gallon carboy for this amount of
time; I'd rather have it sit in a five gallon. How much
headspace would be needed?

Thanks!

> — Lew Jansen,
lrj@helios.tn.cornell.edu


Date: Tue, 6 Oct 92 15:54:24 EDT
From: loc@bostech.com
Subject: A good plum melomel recipe

>>Anyone have a good plum melomel recipe? Also a guess on quantities of
>>plum, skins/no skins, etc. I will probably use about 15 lbs of light
>>clover honey as the base, and it will be a 5 gallon batch.
>>Are plums a good idea ? Any experience with them ?

Plums are a great idea. I would use 5lbs of fruit and 3lbs of honey
per gallon of melomel for a very sweet end product. I prefer my meads
on the drier side so I would use only 1 to 2lbs of honey per gallon.
Make sure to adjust the acid to about .55 after the fermentation as just
about reached 1.000 (the fermentation process can cause the acid to
increase from the time the ferment starts to the time it ends.)
Do not boil them or the pectin will haze up. Also add a package of pectic
ensyme to the start of the ferment this will pull the color out and help
prevent pectin haze from occuring.

If you are interested in my specific process steps email me directly
and I can share them.

Roger Locniskar
loc@bostech.com


Date: Tue, 6 Oct 92 17:30:43 -0400
From: Mike Tanksley <mtnksly@sci.ccny.cuny.edu>
Subject: when to bottle

>
From: Alan Mayman <maymanal@scvoting.fvo.osd.mil>
>
>I corked the doomed batch
>of mead prematurely after it had been sitting quietly for about 5 months.
>Though it had not cleared when bottled, I assumed that fermentation had
>ceased and that I was into the "conditioning" period . . .
>. . . roughly half of the bottles blew their corks and spewed mead all
>over my closet. Does clearing indicate an end to fermentation and
>therefore a safe time to bottle?
>

I've noticed in all my meads and maple wines a tendency to ferment rather
actively for a month or two, with bubbles on the surface of the liquid
and large amounts of yeast in suspension, and then very quietly for several
months after that. I should perhaps mention here that I don't use nutrients.
Once, I thought a mead was done because there had been no action in the
airlock for two months and it had cleared. Then, for fun, I dripped sealing
wax all over the stopper and the neck of the carboy. (Actually, Brother Adam
strongly recommends that one do this anyway.) By evening, I was getting a
bubble every five to ten minutes, and it continued bubbling for another month.
The moral of the story is nothing more than "be careful, this stuff is tricky".

Mike Tanksley


Date: Tue, 6 Oct 92 17:03:23 -0600
From: lager!wtm@hellgate.utah.edu (Tom McCollough)
Subject: Acid Blend

In MLD #9, Mark N. Davis asks about acid blend.

Acid blend is a blend of several different sources of acidity, usually
malic, citric and tartaric acid. It is generally available at local
homebrew stores and is often used to perk up a wine or cider. The
typical acid level of a must is between 0.55 and 0.65 percent acid.
Less than that can yield a drink that is flabby. Not every must will
have an acid level in that range, so acid blend is used to increase the
acidity. Your local homebrew store can sell you an acid testing kit
for around $7.

Acid measurements in cider and winemaking are given "as tartaric".
This means that the amount of acid is reported as if it were all
tartaric acid. "0.6 percent acid" is more properly stated as "0.6
percent acid as tartaric".

Some wine and cider recipes simply call for a measured amount of acid
blend. Some of the posted mead recipes have done this. But in making
wine acid testing is always a good idea because different fruits
contain different amounts of acid. And even different varieties of the
same fruit can yield musts of widely varying acidity.

I have never made a mead, but judging from the recent posts it seems
that acid blend is put to use in mead making. Is there a generally
accepted range of acidity for meads?

Tom



End of Mead Lover's Digest