Meads created by Bob Slanzi

9-12-17 We are continuing our ‘Making Modern Mead’ series on Gotmead Live, led by Ryan Carlson. Tonight we’re doing Yeast, Part 2.

So as most everybody realizes at some point in learning the process of making mead. The yeast do the work and we are relegated to being their caretakers. I jokingly call myself from time to time a yeast cowboy.

In essence, what we are learning to do is to provide a safe environment, and all the miscellaneous materials to our little friends, so they can do their job as well and efficient as possible. If we do this they can make wondrous things from the materials we provide them. It’s when we fail to understand what they require,and force them to make building blocks from a substandard shopping list, that causes them to stress out. And when they stress out, they then make less than desirable mead . Which in turn requires long term ageing to reduce those things they create while being stressed out. And many time, maybe even most times the mead gets better but you still end up with a shadow of the issues you tried to age away left in your mead regardless of time spent in a dark and lonely basement somewhere.
 So bottom line. What we really need to grasp is what yeast need to do their job. How much, and at what time. It’s not really any harder to make great mead than it is to make a really poor mead once we understand the basic things yeast need to keep them happy.
We have talked briefly how to choose a strain based on certain parameters. We looked at how to determine the quantity needed to get the job done nicely. So now we begin, for the very first time, imparting our influence on this process. So often I read of people’s troubles. Batches that never take off, or take forever to get off. Batches that start and then stop sometime down the road long before they finish. And batches that pull up short once the finish line become visible.
Almost inevitably, these things are caused by human error one way or another.
So tonight we will look at how to get our yeast off to a good start. There are lots of ways that work. Some work better than others. And many actually harm the yeast from the very beginning. And worse yet. Some of them cripple and kill your yeast long before you even pitch them into the vessel.
So grab a chair and a pen and paper and let’s get started looking at ways to make better meads with better science.

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Vicky Rowe
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