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Mead Lover's Digest #0494 Mon 19 August 1996


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



thanks,starters,show mead (Chuck Wettergreen)
Quick fermentations – re:did I dream this? (
Hawaii Meaderies (
Going commercial (
Failure mead (
Pineapple? (Duff Hickman)


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Subject: thanks,starters,show mead
From: (Chuck Wettergreen )
Date: Thu, 15 Aug 96 08:46 CDT


Thanks to all who wrote giving me copies of Ken Schramm's original post,
or addresses pointing to its location. Also thanks to Ken for following
up with further info. Since reading the original post I have been
adjusting my mead's Ph with calcium carbonate and have noticed an
appreciable decrease in fermentation times. I also think that my meads
seem to have more honey flavor at a Ph above 4.0. Maybe it's that the
acidity doesn't detract so much, but they seem to less wine-like and more

I'm curious as to what others are using to grow starters. I have been using
high gravity canned wort (with oxygen) to grow both beer and mead starters,
but I've noticed that some yeasts (notably Wyeast sweet mead) don't seem to
like wort very much. Yes, I guess I *could* use honey, but I'm curious as
to what others use. (Of course I also re-pitch on the dregs of previous

I am puzzled about the difference between SHOW and TRADITIONAL mead.
Re-reading the Mazer Cup entry requirements, SHOW mead says "Honey, Water
and Yeast ONLY", but the instructions later say "Addition of water
treatments and acidification permitted." Does this mean no additions of yeast
nutrients? How about calcium carbonate for Ph control? The TRADITIONAL mead
category says, "Other flavoring additives may be added for complexity…"
What kind of additives would this include, that would add complexity but not
flavor/aroma? Puzzlement reigns supreme…

Geneva, IL

* RM 1.3 00946 *

Subject: Quick fermentations - re:did I dream this?
Date: Thu, 15 Aug 1996 09:56:57 -0400

>>The article discussed the speed of mead fermentation, and stated that
>>as long as the mead Ph was kept above 4.0, the mead would ferment rapidly.
>>In fact, the article talked about fermentations regularly taking no longer
>>than two (that's 2!) weeks.

RE: Did I dream this?

No. You did not. I saw what you were refering to on The Mead Maker's Page
( I checked with local
brewing suppliers and they could not get these ingredients. I would like to
know if anyone has had any success with quick fermentations (using whatever
methods) and does anyone sell these formulas? My fermention times have been
6 months (Wyeast Sweet Mead) and and 8 months and counting (Red Star
Champagen). These meads were made with 15lbs. of Sam's honey, approximatley
2 oz of fresh ginger, and 2 tsp. yeast nutrient. o.g. 110X.

An Analysis of Mead, Mead Making and the Role of its Primary Constituents , a
paper by Daniel
S. McConnell and Kenneth D. Schramm

The single most significant factor effecting the rate of mead fermentation is
yeast health. This may
be ensured by providing adequate nutrients in the form of yeast energizer and
yeast nutrients well
as careful monitoring of the pH throughout the fermentation. Most of the
required nutrients are
available in the commercial preparations, but other additional nutrients that
may be helpful such as
biotin, pyridoxine and peptone. Morse[17] found that the most rapid
fermentations were
achieved when a balanced salt, buffer and nutrient additive was used. They
report fermentations
to 12% alcohol in less then 2 weeks by using 6.75 g/L of formula 1 and 0.25
g/L of formula 2 as
shown below on Table 3.
Table 3. Nutrient Mixtures for Mead Fermentations.
Formula 1Formula 2
Component Weight/gr.ComponentWeight/mg
ammonium sulfate1.0biotin0.05
NaHSO40.05Calcium pantothenate10.0
citric acid2.53thiamin20.00
sodium citrate2.47peptone100.0
ammonium sulfate861.45
The pH of honey is naturally low and since it is poorly buffered, upon
fermentation the pH may
drop to a point at which the yeast is unable to ferment efficiently. The
addition of a basic buffer
helps greatly by holding the pH to 3.7-4.0 throughout the course of the
fermentation. The authors
have had success fermenting a mead to completion in 2 weeks simply by
providing adequate
nutrition (yeast energizer), oxygen saturation of the cooled must and the
addition of calcium
carbonate to hold the pH above 3.7. Other salts that may be used include
potassium carbonate
and potassium carbonate.[18] Care must be exercised because all of these
salts can add a
bitter/salty flavor if overused and therefore minimum use of these compounds
is recommended.

17 Morse, R.& Steinkraus, K.H., Wines from the Fermentation of Honey, In:

18 Moorhead, D., The Relationship of pH and Acidity in Wine, In: The Complete
Handbook of Winemaking, G.K.Kent, Ann Arbor, MI, 1993.

Subject: Hawaii Meaderies
Date: Thu, 15 Aug 1996 11:07:36 -0400

I am going to Hawaii and would like to get others thought on the Meaderies
there. Has anyone been and do you have any suggestions on what to taste or
bringing back? Please post or reply to me directly.


Wyndell Dykes (

Subject: Going commercial
Date: Thu, 15 Aug 96 16:06:43 EST

I've investigated the process of going commercial myself, as Pancraft
Meadery has considered it in the past. Actually, ATF doesn't actually do
the enforcement when it comes to winemaking–they have turned that over
the IRS, of all people. If you contact the right person at your regional
IRS office, he/she will send you all sorts of materials, including the
legal details you will need. Good luck!

Subject: Failure mead
Date: Fri, 16 Aug 1996 12:55:49 -0700

Hallo all you mead-makers out there!

I started my mead-making career a year ago, but have until now not taken=20
it that seriously. I've only put together a batch now and then to have=20
when going to parties. Now however I'm trying to really get into this by=20
reading as many issues of the mead-lovers digest as I can to get ideas=20
and basic tips on successful mead-making.

This has resluted in A LOT of questions, and I hope that some of them can=
be answered here.

When reading the digest I've come across the word " gravity ". What is=20
the gravity of a mead, and how does it affect the mead? What kind of=20
instruments do you use to check it, and how do you do something about it?=
Do I need to worry about this, or can I just let the mead ferment on as=20
it wants?

How does the PH affect the mead's fermenting process and taste. Do you=20
measure it with an ordinary indicator used in chemistry, and what do you=20
do if the mead is too acidic?

A week ago I finished a batch of strawberry melomel. It has cleared=20
nicely, and the colour is nice, but something is seriously wrong with it.=
It has no smell of strawberries, but instead one of staleness and=20
alcohol, and it tastes just about the same. It is also very acidic. The=20
only way to make it drinkable is to add A LOT of sugar.

The recipe is as follows:

Ingredients: ( 1,5 gallon / 6 l. )

3 lbs ( 1,4 kg. ) Clover Honey
2 lb. ( 900 g. ) frozen strawberries
acid blend (dosage as per the package's instructions)
grape tannin
1 Campden tablet
pectic enzyme

What can have gone wrong? Is the recipe strange or is it something I have=
done? I made a 20 litre batch in a plastic fermenter. Could the size of=20
the batch or the plastic fermenter have affected the taste? It's now been=
a month since it stopped fermenting. Do I have to let it age more?

I'd be enormously thankful if someone please gave me some=20


Johan Sj=F6nvall Hedlund

Subject: Pineapple?
From: (Duff Hickman)
Date: Sun, 18 Aug 1996 10:58:10 +0200

I am new to this digest so I appologise if this has been asked in the
recent past. Has anyone tried using pineapple as a fruit (as opposed to an
extract) in melomels? I really like pineapple but, since the taste isn't
that strong, I didn't know if it would take barrels of the stuff to get a
good aroma and taste in the finished product. Has anyone tried it? I've
seen wine made from practically every kind of fruit or herb but I've never
heard of "pineapple wine". There might be a good reason for this, I don't

  • -Duff

End of Mead Lover's Digest #494

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