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Mead Lover's Digest #0499 Fri 20 September 1996

 

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

 

Contents:

Honey article in The Atlantic (Jonathan Corbet)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #498, 18 September 1996 (John R. Murray)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #498, 18 September 1996 ("Allen Dick")
Gravity of raspberries (Bob Tisdale)
Eucalyptus Autolysis (Russell Mast)
First mead, and some others (Mike Kidulich)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #498, 18 September 1996 (Shannon James Sullivan)
Yeast for a sweet mead ("Mark Buggy")
Syracuse, NY Competition, Nov 23 (fwd) ("Kieran O'Connor")
MCM recipes/autolysis (Daniel S. McConnell/DSMBook)
Re: autolysis (Spencer W Thomas)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #498, 18 September 1996 (Kurt Schilling)
saffron mead (ms-prod@oden.se)
here are two recipes (Daniel S. McConnell/DSMBook)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #497, 4 September 1996 (Charlie Moody)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #498, 18 September 1996 (K.E. Nyquist)
Wild Oats (Douglas Thomas)

 

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Subject: Honey article in The Atlantic
From: Jonathan Corbet <corbet@stout.atd.ucar.edu>
Date: Wed, 18 Sep 1996 08:46:15 -0600


For those who are interested, the current issue of The Atlantic has an
article about honey, with an emphasis on gourmet variants. No direct mead
relevance, I guess, except that honey is generally relevant to the topic…
Corbezzolo mead, anybody?

They have the article on the web as well:

http://www.theatlantic.com/atlantic/issues/96sep/honey/honey.htm

jon

Jonathan Corbet
National Center for Atmospheric Research, Atmospheric Technology Division
corbet@stout.atd.ucar.edu http://www.atd.ucar.edu/rdp/jmc.html


Subject: Re:  Mead Lover's Digest #498, 18 September 1996
From: murray@indigo2.scri.fsu.edu (John R. Murray)
Date: Wed, 18 Sep 1996 11:42:41 -0400


>From: lprescot@sover.net
>I've read in some older sources that a meadmaker should always
>get the fermented mead off its lees "as soon as it's done
>fermenting". I've read that a condition called "autolysis"
>occurs when this doesn't happen. As a result, I've often wound
>up racking meads just before they've finished, and wound up
>with longer fermentations in the long run.
>
>Can someone please tell me: How do I really know when it's time
>to rack in order to avoid autolysis, and how much of a danger
>is it really? What sorts of off-flavors am I risking?

Autolysis, if anyone is wondering, is a stage very late in the fermentation
process when the yeasties run out of food and start cannibalizing each other.
It doesn't affect the alcohol content (*hic* ๐Ÿ˜‰ but it's a problem if you
mind funky-tasting byproducts in your fermented beverage. But like all
fermentation byproducts, the question is not whether the byproducts are
present, it's whether they are present in sufficient quantities to affect the
flavor.

Now, I'm less knowledgeable about mead than beer (and I'm no beer PhD, either),
but I know from beer brewing and reading the Homebrew Digest (HBD) that you
don't necessarily want to rack off the trub *immediately* after fermentation
completes. Yes, you avoid autolysis, but the problem is that there are lots of
other byproducts produced during the main fermentation stage, and you want to
keep the yeast around for a while because they are the agent which reduces
many of these other byproducts. So, like many aspects of brewing, it becomes a
trade-off.

(However, I'm probably talking through my hat as far as mead is concerned,
because beer has a much wider variety of byproducts that must be managed
than mead, because of the wider variety of sugars. Still, if I'm not mistaken,
the yeast is involved in breaking down the higher alcohols – am I right in
thinking that it's the higher alcohols that give young {mead,beer,wine} its
harshness? If so, taking it off the yeast cake might lengthen the aging time)

Some time back, HBD'ers did some analysis of the chemical pathways involved
in alcohol production and reduction of various byproducts, which I found
enlightening because it explained some black-magic brewing practices for me.
Anyone know if this has been done for mead?

In any case, what I do is rack when I get around to it. ๐Ÿ™‚ I wouldn't want
to leave a mead on the yeast cake for a year or more, though. Typically I
rack within a few weeks after fermentation completes, but I don't know, that
might change somewhat, since I'm trying the MLD practices of pH management to
shorten the fermentation time. (thanks to MLD, I've got a high-alcohol sweet
mead, just racked for the first time, that I could drink right out of the
carboy ๐Ÿ™‚ For beer, I usually rack only once a few days before I bottle,
unless it's a long-aging beer like a barley-wine or something.

John R. Murray murray@indigo2.scri.fsu.edu http://www.scri.fsu.edu/~murray/
FSU Aikido Club/North Florida Aikikai home of Miko's Aikido MPEGs and the
Tallahassee, FL WWW Aikido online calendar of events


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #498, 18 September 1996
From: "Allen Dick" <allend@internode.net>
Date: Wed, 18 Sep 1996 09:51:11 -0600


I've been making mead for years now, using a simple recipe:

honey, water, nutrtient, acid, yeast

I've used gelatin for settling.

Recently I've been making mead from buckwheat honey (dark and
strong), it is truly excellent, and gets compliments on flavour,
etc., but I have had a problem getting it to clear.

On the last batch, I tried filtering about 3 months after I started
it (and a month or more after it finished). It is still a bit
murky and I am wondering if there are simple recommendations for
getting it perfectly clear?
Regards

Allen

W. Allen Dick, Beekeeper VE6CFK
RR#1, Swalwell, Alberta Canada T0M 1Y0
Internet:dicka@cuug.ab.ca & allend@internode.net
Honey. Bees, & Art <http://www.internode.net/~allend/>


Subject: Gravity of raspberries
From: rtisdale@entomology.msstate.edu (Bob Tisdale)
Date: Wed, 18 Sep 1996 13:01:12 -0500


I was thinking of making a raspberry melomel and was wondering how much one
pound of raspberries/gallon of water contributes to specific gravity.

Does anyone know?


Subject: Eucalyptus Autolysis
From: Russell Mast <rmast@fnbc.com>
Date: Wed, 18 Sep 1996 15:52:04 -0500

Woo, sounds like the title of a bad poem.

> Subject: article in Atlantic Monthly
> From: Jacob Galley <jgalley@tezcat.com>

> you. Has anyone made mead with any of these?

I think you were around when I made that Eucalytpus mead, right?
I know you and I split a bottle once.

I had a 5.5 gallon batch of some mead, I think clover honey with a
touch of lime juice, and I racked 5 gallons into a 5 gallon carboy,
and then the rest into a 1 gallon jug to which I added some water
mixed with 1 lb. of Eucalyptus honey.

Last tasted at about 18 months age. It was, in a word, yucky. I'm
going to try it again in a few years. It reminded me a bit of when
you're spraying yourself with "Deep Woods Off" mosquito repellant and
you accidentally get a squirt in your mouth, only not quite as strong.

> Subject: autolysis
> From: lprescot@sover.net

> Can someone please tell me: How do I really know when it's time
> to rack in order to avoid autolysis, and how much of a danger
> is it really? What sorts of off-flavors am I risking?

Autolysed flavors are described as "butterscotchy". I've never
had a problem with autolysis, and a straw poll taken a couple years
ago on the homebrew digest didn't turn up anyone else who had.

One reason that homecrafted fermentables may have less autolysis
is that our pitching rates are, by industry standards, abyssmally
low. I rack for clarity purposes, and never worry about autolysis.
I think the longest I had a mead on it's primary yeast was 7-8
months, and I didn't notice any off-flavors, though the final mead
had a "buttery" flavor, maybe that's what they meant. Whatever
it was, I loved it, so I don't care what it's from.

In short – until I hear otherwise from someone with a first-hand
horror story, I'm not going to even consider it as a real threat.

  • -R

Subject: First mead, and some others
From: Mike Kidulich <mjkid@ix.netcom.com>
Date: Wed, 18 Sep 1996 17:54:56 -0400


Hi,

I recently made my first mead (actually a melomel), with 10 lbs of
wildflower honey and 7 lbs of frozen blackberries (basically the
blackberry mead fron Papazians HB Companion). It fermented quite
quickly, from an OG of 1.113 to an FG of 0.996, in 13 days. I racked it
for the second time Saturday, and was quite pleased with the result. Had
a definite honey nose, and a lot of blackberry, like drinking a dry red
wine. It has dropped clear already. Should I let it age in bottles, or
in the carboy? It is in a three gallon carboy, with no headspace.

Also, a brew buddy and I made two melomels over Labor Day weekend, a
peach and a watermelon. For the watermelon, we juiced two medium melons,
getting about 1.75 gals of juice. We added enough honey and water to
make two gallons. For the peach, we mashed to pulp 10 lbs of peaches,
getting just under a gallon of peach nectar. Again, we added just enough
honey and water to make 2 gallons.

We racked them Saturday while brewing, and discovered that the peach had
absolutely no peach flavor at all! The watermelon definitely tasted like
watermelon. Has anyone made a peach melomel that actually *tasted* like
peaches? Can we repair this with fruit extract?

Mike Kidulich
mjkid@ix.netcom.com mjk@rfc.comm.harris.com
DNRC Minister of Home Brewing, Relaxation, and Really Cool Toys
Holder of Previous Knowledge O-


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #498, 18 September 1996
From: Shannon James Sullivan <walkso@morgan.ucs.mun.ca>
Date: Wed, 18 Sep 1996 20:01:52 -0230 (NDT)


Take me off the mailing list.


Subject: Yeast for a sweet mead
From: "Mark Buggy" <mark_buggy@celtrix.com>
Date: 18 Sep 1996 17:44:57 +0100


Hello, I have made two batches of mead, both turned out dry. I used pastuer
champagne yeast, so it makes sense. Any ideas on what yeast to use for a sweet
mead? Also, any ideas on making a mead that will be drinkable in 6 months?
Thanks, mkb


Subject: Syracuse, NY Competition, Nov 23 (fwd)
From: "Kieran O'Connor" <koconnor@syr.edu>
Date: Wed, 18 Sep 1996 12:11:45 -0400 (EDT)


Hi all

I'd like to announce the Salt City Brew Club's 11th annual competition.
The deadline for entries is Nov 8, competition is Nov 23.

We are accepting all styles of beer, mead and cider. Also please note the
following additional styles (or modifications)

1) Oatmeal stout is a style
2) Classic American Pilsner is a style
2) Robust and Brown porter and two separate styles

Further, we will accept any color, type or size of bottle. We will also
accept carbonators (they will be returned). **Only two bottles per entry**

Jugding sheets are available the day of the competition if you pick them
up, or you will receive them in one week.

Note: Best of show prize is a $200 gift certificate for a homebrew shop
(who will mail order).

Last year we had 270 entries, we should top 300 this year. We hope you'll
enter. If you'd like a packet, email me with the subject line "Packet
Request" and I'll send one your way. If you entered last year, one is
already on the way.

FInally, we are looking for judges: Syracuse is in the heart of NY State.
260 miles from NYC, 150 miles from Buffalo or Albany. Please contact me if
you are interested in judging. Beds for judges available.

Questions: email me, or call (315) 449-2844, eves.

Kieran

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Kieran O'Connor

koconnor@syr.edu
Syracuse, N.Y. USA

In vino veritas; in cervesio felicitas.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Subject: MCM recipes/autolysis
From: danmcc@umich.edu (Daniel S. McConnell/DSMBook)
Date: Thu, 19 Sep 1996 09:22:10 -0500

From: Phoebe Wilson <pawi@GNV.IFAS.UFL.EDU>

>Are any of the recipes from recent competitions such as the Mazer Cup going
>to be posted on Mead Lover's Digest? I have a friend who is particularly
>interested in braggot recipes, and I am curious about some of the show meads
>and the best of show recipe. Thanks!

I am hoping that some of the meadmakers that did well will respond to your
plea. I have the recipes and can post them, but my hope is that Steve and
Fred (BoS and Braggot) will enlighten us to their recipes (the real deal,
not just the data on the forms) and methods.

=-=-==-==

From: David Prescott lprescot@sover.net

>I've read in some older sources that a meadmaker should always
>get the fermented mead off its lees "as soon as it's done
>fermenting". I've read that a condition called "autolysis"
>occurs when this doesn't happen. As a result, I've often wound
>up racking meads just before they've finished, and wound up
>with longer fermentations in the long run

>Can someone please tell me: How do I really know when it's time
>to rack in order to avoid autolysis, and how much of a danger
>is it really? What sorts of off-flavors am I risking?

I don't think that you need to avoid autolysis like the plague. Some
autolysis can be desirable. Fine Champagne, for instance, gets its toasty,
woody notes from autolysis during long bottle aging. Other white wines may
benefit as well. "Sur lie" refers to wine that is left on the lees. It
adds complexity. I know a pro winemaker that stirs the lees in his
Chardonnay barrels DAILY for MONTHS. I have been known to let mead sit in
primary for a year or more….but I like complexity and toast.

IMHO any treatment that has been standard operating procedure for wine
makers (such as Sur lie aging, barrel fermenting, barrel aging or
malolactic fermentation) is fair game in making wine from honey.

Now, having said that, if you want a squeeky clean mead, rack as soon as
the fermentation is done. You should not get appreciable flavor
contributions from autolysis until after a few months unless your
temperature is fairly high (>75F).

DanMcC


Subject: Re: autolysis 
From: Spencer W Thomas <spencer@engin.umich.edu>
Date: Thu, 19 Sep 1996 13:36:03 -0400


Relax, don't worry, let your yeast autolyse.

Have you ever tasted vintage champagne? It often has a kind of nutty,
bready flavor, right? This comes from leaving the wine on the lees
(i.e., yeast sediment) for *years*.

=Spencer Thomas in Ann Arbor, MI (spencer@umich.edu)


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #498, 18 September 1996
From: Kurt Schilling <kurt@pop.iquest.net>
Date: Thu, 19 Sep 96 13:46 EST


In MLD 498, Tim McManus asked: Is it done yet?

>I have been fermenting a 5-gallon batch of Melomel (first one) since
>around March. The darn thing hasn't done anything in about 1-1/2
>months. I keep on racking it every 5 weeks or so. I used yeast
>nutrients to speed the process up. It is crystal clear, and I have two
>concerns:
>
>1) Has all of the yeast settled out of the Melomel?
When it's done it's done. In all likelyhood, you have gotten rid of
virtually all of the yeasts withteh repeated rackings.

>(yes, I would like 50% to be sparkling); i.e. amount of sugar, things >to
watch out for, etc.?
Tim, If you want to make a half batch up as a sparkling mead, you can add a
small dosage of yeast to the melomel and prime with about 2 oz sugar. You
might wish to use a champagne yeast for this, as they are more alcohol
tolerant than other yeast species. Be sure that you use a bottle that will
contain the added pressure that the yeasts can generate, i..e… champange
or beer (returnables) bottles.

>2) How long should I wait (minimum amount of time) for a *really* good
>flavor to be present? Right now it's a bit warm and "scotch-like" on
>the way down. Is 8-12 months too short?
8-12 months sounds about right, but it may take longer. Last weekend, my
brother and I opened a 1992 Delaware Pymet that had been put away for three
years. WHen it was young, less than a year, it was wretched. It is now quite
smooth and mellow. I wish that I had more of it, but alas there were only a
few bottles originally.


Geoffrey Schaller asked about bottle capsules
>While at my old local Homebrew store, I purchased
>some covers fro Wine bottles that are a plastic / rubber material. the
>person who ran the store said I could cover the bottles with them after
>corrking them, and then place the tops of the bottles (with the caps) in
>boiling water to shrink-wrap the caps on.

>

>I gave this a shot with my most recent mead (a Peach melomel), but they do
>not appear to be shrink-wrapping.

>

>Has anyone seen these things before, and know how to use them? Will other
>forms of heat work, such as a Hair Dryer? I don't want to crack the
>bottles by sticking the necks in hot water.
Geoff: it sounds to me like you have a batch of the PVC capsules. If they
are pretty thick, it's doubtful that they will "shrink wrap". In that case,
just slip them over the mouth and neck of the bottle and leave in place.
They may be pretty darn tight. If they are thinner, less that 1 mm, they
are heatable, either in boiling water or with a hairdryer. If they look and
feel like a metalic foil, use a hair drier on High to shrink 'em. I you
don't mind wirnkles, you can also use a butane lighter or propane torch (be
careful, they do melt).



>Subject: autolysis from David Prescott, Shaftsbury, Vermont:


>I've read in some older sources that a meadmaker should always
>get the fermented mead off its lees "as soon as it's done
>fermenting". I've read that a condition called "autolysis"
>occurs when this doesn't happen. As a result, I've often wound
>up racking meads just before they've finished, and wound up
>with longer fermentations in the long run.

>Can someone please tell me: How do I really know when it's time
>to rack in order to avoid autolysis, and how much of a danger
>is it really? What sorts of off-flavors am I risking?
>
>I'd really appreciate feedback on this. Thanks in advance
>
The old adage about removing a mead from the lees does have it's merits.
THis would be especaiil true in the case that you were fementing your mead
at relatively high temperatures (i.e. >72 F). Yeasts, when kept in the lees
at temperatures higher than about 70 F, will tend to decompose or autolyse
(self destruct). In doing so, the yeast decomposition can release a number
of constituents back into the mead which can produce off flavors.

Some yeast strains are more prone to autolysing and contributing to off
flavor production. One such strain is the ubiquitous Montrachet strain,
which is "famous" for leaveing a sulphury taste and smell behind. If you use
that one, rack off the lees asap. Other yeasts, such as the Champagne
yeasts, do not readily autolyse or contribute to off flavors.

I frequently use a Champagne strain in making my meads and hard ciders,
leaving them on the lees for months at a time. I have not found any
problems with the Lalvin EC-1118 or the Lalvin 71B-1122. I have not used the
Lalvin D-47 as yet, but plan to use this yeast this fall/winter.

As to when to rack, that is really a matter of personal experience. If you
are fermenting cool (<70F), you might want to rack to 2ndry when the primary
fermnet has subsided. I have a batch of Robust Cyser in the cellar that has
fermented at about 66-68F since 1 June. I racked to the 2ndry on 3 July, and
have left the carboy alone since then. It finally quit working about a week
ago. I'll rack to a tertiary carboy soon and stablise and sweeten. The cyser
was fermented with an EC-1118 variant that is extremely alcohol tolerant.
Other folks would suggest racking to 2ndry when the gravity of the must has
fallen to less than 1.040. This follows much winemaking tradition, and is
what I'd do if I were using Montrachet yeast. Then I'd rack again at 1.010
and when the ferment was completly finished.

Hope that this rambling post is of some use, tis just me 2 cents worth.

Kurt Schilling, Anderson IN


Subject: saffron mead
From: ms-prod@oden.se
Date: Thu, 19 Sep 1996 21:26:04 -0700


Hi!

Has anyone out there ever tried a saffron mead?

I've recently started a basic mead with only honey and water

,using the method of adding a little honey at a time to get a faster
ferment and a stronger mead. It's working perfectly (if I hadn't run out
of honey a couple of days ago, it would have been ready for secondary by
now), and now I want to add something for flavour, so why not saffron. I
think I read something about it in a digest from -92, but I can't
remember what It said.

If any of you people know anything about using saffron in meads: recipes,
negative/positive experiences, and especially how mush to use (saffron
IS quite expensive), please share your knowledge with me.

Johan Hedlund

ms-prod@oden.se


Subject: here are two recipes
From: danmcc@umich.edu (Daniel S. McConnell/DSMBook)
Date: Thu, 19 Sep 1996 20:09:08 -0500


Steve Dempsey's Show Mead-Best of Show, 1996 MCM
Name: Batch #58
Ingredients: 12# wildflower, 3# clover honey/5 gallons
Other: 1.5 tsp generic vitamin nutrient
Must Treatment: Heated
Yeast: Vierka Mead (dry yeast)
OG: 1.126
Primary Fermentation: 3 weeks @ 68-72F/glass
Secondary Fermentation: ?/glass
Carbonation method: Bottled too early
Bottled: 1993?

Fred Hardy's Braggot-First Place Braggot, 1996 MCM
Name: King Arthur's Own
Ingredients: 6# wildflower honey/6 gallons, 7.5# mild malt, 1# amber malt,

1# vienna malt [mashed 130F 20 min, 155F 60 min]

Other: none
Must Treatment: 60 min boil of wort, adding honey last 15 min
Yeast: WY 1728
OG: 1.080
TG: 1.012
Primary Fermentation: 30 days @ 65F/glass
Secondary fermentation: 130 days @ 65F/glass
Carbonation method: 0.5 c sucrose
Bottled: 1/9/96

These are taken directly from the entry forms. As you can see (especially
in the show example) some of these recipes are not much help if you are
trying to recreate the mead. I hope that the meadmakers can enlighten us.

DanMcC


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #497, 4 September 1996
From: Charlie Moody <chmood@photobooks.com>
Date: Thu, 19 Sep 1996 20:43:26 +0500


On 19-Sep-96, Spencer W Thomas wrote:
>The mead lover's digests at the Stanford FTP site ARE compressed.

Pardon my ignorance: I just did 'mget *' from ftp, and was never the wiser
as far as their compression was concerned.

>Spencer Thomas in Ann Arbor, MI (spencer@umich.edu)


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #498, 18 September 1996
From: kirk.nyquist@aecd.gov.ab.ca (K.E. Nyquist)
Date: Fri, 20 Sep 1996 08:54:04 -0700


>Subject: Wine Bottle Covers?

>While at my old local Homebrew store (I've moved since then), I purchased
>some covers fro Wine bottles that are a plastic / rubber material. the
>person who ran the store said I could cover the bottles with them after
>corrking them, and then place the tops of the bottles (with the caps) in
>boiling water to shrink-wrap the caps on.

Try Steam. Get the old tea kettle out and but it on to boil. Place the
bottle neck (shrink tops) over the spout and watch them shrink. "What are
you going to call these shrink caps…"


Subject: Wild Oats
From: Douglas Thomas <thomasd@uchastings.edu>
Date: Fri, 20 Sep 1996 14:10:15 -0700 (PDT)


This is a posting, naturally, about honey.
Recently, I explored the natural food stores around the area (Berkeley).
It turns out the one called Wild Oats carries bulk honey that is
filtered, but unrefined. So no pasteurizing here. Well, the prices are
pretty damn good too, ranging from 1.20# for "wild flower" to 1.80# for
"Citrus" honey. Now, it turns out that there are more than just one of
these, and are planning on expanding througout CA and possibly into
neighboring states. So, just posting to let y'all know to watch out for
them. All of their honies were really nice.
Doug Thomas



End of Mead Lover's Digest #499


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