Mead Lover's Digest #0326 Sun 10 July 1994


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



Re: Mead mistakes? (Rick Miller)
Problem with my quick-mead (Alex Tewes)
rhubarb mead / use of nutrients ("Robert C. Santore")


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Subject: Re: Mead mistakes?
From: (Rick Miller)
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 1994 06:26:35 -0500 (CDT) (Kirk Harralson, KWH) wrote that he boiled his must
for 45 minutes, then socked it with campden tablets, then added the yeast
right away after cooling… Somehow, enough yeast managed to survive to
bring about noticeable fermentation.

First, honey doesn't like to be boiled. It's only done to pasteurize
(which really only requires 170F for 20 min.) the must. The skum is
skimmed because it does nasty things to the mead if you leave it in.

(Frankly, I didn't know that one ever *could* skim *all* the skum off.
You may wind up with a palatable product yet. That depends upon what
your skimming left behind.)

Second, the *ONLY* reason you'd add campden tablets is to sanitize.
Since that's already been done by the boil, why did you do it?

Third, you didn't wait long enough after the tablets, and you've killed
off most of your yeast. You should've had a vigorous start within the
first 12 hours. Pitch more yeast… now.

Best wishes,
Rick Miller

Subject: Problem with my quick-mead
From: (Alex Tewes)
Date: Sun, 10 Jul 1994 14:06:40 +1000

G'day all!

I am a beginner-brewer and have struck trouble with my fourth batch of
orange and honey quick mead (melomel?)

The basics are 3kg of bush honey to make up 20 lts. 1/2 doz oranges and
some strong EarlGrey Tea for the tannin and the Bergamot flavour. I use a
generic champagne yeast and brew in 1 gallon glass bottles.

The problem I've struck is that at the 12th day of brewing, the thing just
stopped. Bubbling went from one per second to nearly nothing; and the brew
went from somewhat turbid to a clear golden colour. At first I thought
that everything had gone as planned so I bottled one of the containers.
After chilling overnight, I tried one, and found it to be completely flat,
extremely watery taste and horribly bitter. Previous attempts, using same
ingredients and procedure yielded very bubbly reasonably sweet drinks that
were quite pleasurable. What could have gone wrong? (the flatness is not
due to badly capped bottles). Can I do anything to save/restore the brew
in the other containers yet to be bottled?

As I said above I am a beginner, so any comments or advice are welcome


Alex Tewes

Institute of Antarctic and Southern Ocean Studies (IASOS)
University of Tasmania (Australia)

phone: +61 02 20 2940

+61 02 39 1427


Subject: rhubarb mead / use of nutrients
From: "Robert C. Santore" <>
Date: Sun, 10 Jul 1994 15:54:51 -0400 (EDT)

Subject:  Rhubarb Mead

Some time ago Roger Grow wrote:
> I'm also interested in a rhubarb wine or melomel recipe.
> So if anybody has one, post it here (vs private) so we
> can all enjoy.

I just bottled this and it looks very promising:

Rhubarb Mead


for 1.5 gallons
1 gallon water
1 tsp yeast nutrient (ammonium phosphate)
3.5 cups wildflower honey (between 2.5 and 3 lbs)
7 cups chopped fresh rhubarb
sweet mead yeast


Water was boiled to drive off chlorine, then nutrient and honey
added to dissolve, brought back to just boil then heat turned off
and rhubarb added. Allowed to cool covered in pan overnight. Next
day the mixture was poured back and forth between pan and plastic
fermenter to aerate. Then the yeast sediment from a 1 qt starter of
yeast was pitched. SG of honey mixture (before fruit) 1.092.
Racked to secondary after about 1 month, bottled when still with
priming sugar.


Comments: I like fruited meads to have dominate fruit flavor but I

don't think that 7 cups rhubarb per gallon was at all excessive. At
bottling this was sour with some sweetness, hot alcohol flavor typical of
young mead. Overall very nice. I am looking forward to tasting this in
the future.


Subject:  Use of yeast nutrient

I know that not every one uses yeast nutrient, but I was curious about
what procedures people use when they do use nutrient. I notice that when
the ammonium phosphate salt type of nutrient is boiled in water a strong
ammonia aroma results. I see no need to boil this except for
sterilization, so prolonged boils are not necessary. I am also reluctant
to boil nutrient with other ingredients because of the possibility of off
flavors developing from chemical reactions. Usually I boil the nutrient
briefly in a separate pan with water only and then add to the main must.
I also have an organic yeast nutrient that I suspect is hydrolyzed soy or
some such thing. What do you all think about nutrient use? What types do
you use? How do you use them? Does prolonged boiling of nutrient drive
off most of the nitrogen as ammonia? Does anyone have any experience with
off flavors that resulted from nutrient use? Any comments appreciated.

Bob Santore Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering Syracuse University

End of Mead Lover's Digest #326