Mead Lover's Digest #0331 Fri 22 July 1994


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



Mead Makers in DC area (
Red Star champagne yeast (Eric C. Garrison)
Name for chile pepper mead (
(chile) pepper mead (
Off-flavors & more yeast info (Joyce Miller)
yeast data ("Daniel F McConnell")
Re: yeasts for mead (MLD #330) (Brian Smithey)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #330,… (
Mazer Cup ("Daniel F McConnell")
About yeast nutrients (Roderick Campbell)
oxygenating before fermenting, and other stuff (Sam Shank)


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Subject: Mead Makers in DC area
Date: Tue, 19 Jul 94 6:05:40 MDT

I have just moved to Virginia and would be interested
in talking/drinking with other mead makers. I'm in
Fairfax. My number is (703) 273-7388


Subject: Red Star champagne yeast
From: (Eric C. Garrison)
Date: Tue, 19 Jul 1994 07:45:15 -0500 (EST)

Dave Polaschek <> writes:
> The other thing that I've found is that I seem to be somewhat alone in
> routinely using Red Star Champagne yeast for my honey-brews. I've heard
> repeated rumors about this being a wildly variable yeast, and having a
> strong tendency to produce off flavors, but I've never had any such
> problems.

Red Star Champagne is a staple in mead-making for me. I have produced
some really nice meads with it. It tends to have a quick fermenting
time, a very high tolerence for alcohol, and seems to not add any
offensive off-flavors. The biggest problem I've had with it is
probably due to my own lack of patience: it seems to be hard to get it
to all fall out of solution without fining. Sure, fermentation's over
in three or four weeks, but even a couple of months after that, if it
isn't still cloudy, there's enough in suspension to produce sediment
in the bottle later. Still, since I've started using bentonite, this
is not a problem either.

> The other yeast that I end up using quite a bit is the Edme
> (dry) Ale Yeast. I usually pitch the yeast dry, too. It takes a day or
> so to get started and then goes like crazy. When it stops bubbling, I
> let it sit until I get spare time (usually a week or two), then bottle
> or keg and as soon as it's carbonated and clear, I start drinking it.

I love Edme ale yeast for beer brewing, but I tried it in a cider and
it had some odd side tastes I didn't care for in that sort of


Subject: Name for chile pepper mead
Date: Tue, 19 Jul 1994 09:47:03 -0400

How about capsimel for a mead flavored with capsicum peppers?



Subject: (chile) pepper mead
Date: Tue, 19 Jul 94 09:56:43 EDT

Ok, since Dick has put in his $0.02, I'll have to disagree. Chiles
have a schizoid function in cooking: sometimes they're vegetables
(even though botanically speaking they're fruits), and sometimes
they're spices. After all, herbs can be considered vegetables
when they're fresh, but we don't normally think of them as such.
(There are exceptions, such as salad with lots of fresh basil leaves,
and the classic tabbouleh, which is at least 50% parsley.)

When chiles are used in a mead or beer, I would view that as a
spice-like use, not a vegetable-like use. They're not contributing
any fermentables to speak of, but they are contributing a spicy

Also, speaking as a sometime mead judge, I really wouldn't want to run
into a chile mead in the middle of the melomel category. My mouth
just wouldn't be ready for it.

=Spencer in Ann Arbor, MI.

Subject: Off-flavors & more yeast info
From: (Joyce Miller)
Date: Tue, 19 Jul 94 10:08:38 -0400

After a bunch of batches of mead (I forget how many, but I must be up
around the 100-gallon mark), I'm starting to form some opinions on what
makes a batch "bad":

1: Too much ginger, or ginger (or citrus peel) that's been boiled. Go easy
on the fresh ginger; 3 tablespoons of fresh sliced is my maximum in
2: Fermentation at too high temperatures. Yea, I know, all the books say
that mead can withstand higher temperatures, but they're all beer-makers,
and they also say that mead has to age for years. All I know is that the
meads I made last summer were quite bitter/phenolic, and needed to age, and
the meads I made over this past winter were drinkable immediately. In
fact, I made a pear melomel in January that was just *heaven*. I re-made
the same recipe in June, and it was horribly phenolic. The only difference
was the fermentation temp (85+F, vs. 70-75F).

Another yeast note: I've been using Red Star Ale yeast for the last 6
months, with great results until last month, when I made the aforementioned
pear mead. I know that beer brewers are especially careful about not
fermenting ale yeasts too warm, because they produce off-flavors, so why
should mead be any different?

I made a peach melomel a couple of weeks ago (with the Red Star Ale), and
it's fermenting in my boyfriend's Hunter-Airstat-controlled lagering fridge
(65F). I'll let you know!


  • -Joyce


P.S. I was just kidding about putting the chile mead under "Melomel" in the
Bee's Lees. As Spencer Thomas said, "Well, if I was judging melomels and I
ran into this stuff, I'd probably be annoyed. I think the flavor profile
would fit with "spiced" better than with "fruit"." Although I'm a botanist
by training, I'd have to agree. 🙂

Subject: yeast data
From: "Daniel F McConnell" <>
Date: 19 Jul 1994 14:15:20 -0400

Subject:  yeast data

Here is some terminal gravity data collected a recent mead
yeast experiment. This may be useful in yeast selection. I will
post taste evaluations later.

30 gallons of traditional were made and split 6 ways. The
goal was not to produce the best possible mead, but to accentuate
the yeast character, ie. brewing naked. 2.5 lbs of honey/gal, some
yeast nutrient, some acids and 500ml cultures of the indicated
yeasts. All yeasts were pure cultures, either subcultured from a
dry packet or obtained on slant. All were fermented together in the
same place for the same length of time and all were given the same
post fermentation treatments.


Clover Prisse de Mousse 1.094 0.992
Clover YeastLab-dry 1.094 1.000
Clover Riesling 1.094 1.007
Clover YeastLab-sweet 1.094 1.009
Clover Epernay 1.094 1.011
Clover Tokay 1.094 1.015


Subject: Re: yeasts for mead (MLD #330)
From: (Brian Smithey)
Date: Tue, 19 Jul 1994 13:48:31 -0600

In Mead Lover's Digest #330, (Dick Dunn) writes:

> Lalvin 1118 is consistently fast and highly attenuative, but I've gotten
> some of the "Listerine" character (I don't know what other folks call it).
> The off-taste is not that bad, and does age out, but it annoys me because I
> don't think it should be necessary.

> I'm annoyed that yeast producers are so unwilling to part with any useful
> information about their products. For example, it was only with some con-
> siderable poking around that I got the (tenuous!) connection between Red
> Star's "Prise de Mousse" and "Premier Cuvee". I've heard claims that
> Lalvin's K1V-1116 is a Prise de Mousse, and other claims that it's a
> Montrachet. Whom to believe? I dunno!

I bought some "Prise de Mousse" dry yeast from Great Fermentations of
Santa Rosa ("The Beverage People", Byron Burch's shop) a couple of years
ago and I believe it was at this time that I first saw the name Prise de
Mousse associated with the yeast Saccharomyces bayanus. Note that Lalvin's
EC-1118 yeast says S. bayanus right on the packages, so I've always assumed
that this is Lalvin's "Prise de Mousse" yeast (Lalvin's 1116 and 1122 yeasts
are both labeled S. cerevisiae). I did a 1.111 OG plain mead with the
GFoSR yeast, and it did have a bit of a "hot" flavor when young that I
associated with higher alcohol production; it does seem to have aged out.
Perhaps this is Dick's "Listerine" character?

I did a ginger/coriander/orange-peel metheglin a while back with EC-1118
and also find it to be a bit "biting", but I thought that it was due to
a heavy hand with the coriander. Maybe now I can blame it a bit on the
yeast too. 🙂 This mead has been in the bottle for about 6 mos. now,
so I'll try to remember to sample a bottle in the next day or two and
report back if there's anything of interest. The mead did finish very
dry, don't remember any gravity readings off hand but I'd agree with
Dick that it is attenuative. However, for quick, strong fermentation,
I've never seen anything like the batch that I have going right now with
K1V-1116. A couple of friends are using this yeast, too, and are seeing
similar vigorous activity.

Somebody did mention a while back on this digest (sorry, don't remember
who) that Lalvin's 71B-1122 yeast says "Narbonne" on the package, and
I've noticed since then the that K1V-1116 says "Montpelier" on the package
(haven't looked at the 1118 since then). Do these names mean anything to
the wine-savvy of you out there?


Brian Smithey / Sun Microsystems / Colorado Springs, CO

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #330,...
Date: Tue, 19 Jul 94 19:53:01 EDT

Subject: yeasts for mead
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 18 Jul 94 22:32:30 MDT (Mon)

>> Red Star "Prise de Mousse"–which has apparently been renamed >> "Premier
Cuvee" (and I've had results consistent between the two)

Prisse De Mousse and Cuvee are bred for their alcohol tolerance, and

ability to ferment in low nutrient mediums, as their are bred for a secondary
fermentation process …. i.e Champagne.( hence the name cuvee' ) As typical
of most champagne yeasts, they tend to produce complex flavors, and retain
the "yeast nose" trait noted in champagne.


>>Lalvin 1118 is consistently fast and highly attenuative, but I've >>gotten
some of the "Listerine" character (I don't know what other >> folks call
it).The off-taste is not that bad, and does age out, but it >> annoys me
because I don't think it should be necessary.

This listerine character is indicative of high phenol / fusel oil /

volatile acid content in the mead. This is totally dependant upon your
fermentation !!! PERIOD.


>>Red Star Montrachet I've only used twice, and each time I've >>gotten an
extreme medicinal character that takes forever to go >>away. This is the
basis for my earlier statement that I'd never use >>a "Montrachet" named
yeast again.

Montrachet is a very difficult yeast to use. Under certain circumstances,

it is very likely you can produce more H2S than ethanol at the onset of
fermentation. It is a rapid fermentor, but a little sensitive to its


>> I've heard claims that Lalvin's K1V-1116 is a Prise de Mousse, >>and
other claims that it's a Montrachet. Whom to believe? I >> dunno!


typo there…. it is K1 and V-116. It is from killer strains. It is not a
Prisse De Mousse. EC-1118 is a Prisse de Mousse ( from lavlin).. the name
is derived from the locality where the strain was developed in france (
Prisse de Mousse ).

>> While I understand the interest in proprietary yeast strains,
>> cautious labeling, and an attempt to distinguish brand-name >>products,
when it comes to the point that customers can't tell
>>what they're buying or what it will do for them, we're on the wrong >>side
of the sanity-boundary.

A lot of yeast / wine distributors, namely Scott Labs, Vinquiry, has

enologists available to recommend yeast strains for the applicable
fermentation rate / temp and flavor / aroma characteristics you are looking



It depends upon your style and how you want the mead to taste.


a list of yeasts and effects….

Assmanshausen – Slow fermenter, low enzyme producer ( won't bleach the color
out of melomels )…. Enhances spicyness and fruit aroma

71B – Beaujolais isolate, high ester production… i.e produces "young" style
mead…. WILL metabolize 1/3 of malic acid present to produce that
"chardonnay style…. i.e buttery flavor…

Wadenswil – for whites…COLD tolerant… Don't expect fast fermentation and
don't ferment at elevated temps. low foamer.

Steinberg – a good mead yeast… but a slow fermenter. Cold tolerant ( slow
fermentation ) enhance fruity aromas.

M1 – high ester producer… good for enhancement low intensity white styles.
Sugar and alcohol tolerant.

Epernay – fruity / ester aromas.. moderate fermenter…. temperature
sensitive…. don't have wide variations in ferm. temp. Tends to stop before
dry (leaves residual sugar )

Subject: Mazer Cup
From: "Daniel F McConnell" <>
Date: 20 Jul 1994 11:11:13 -0400

Subject:  Mazer Cup

Just a reminder.

We are now accepting entries for the 1994 Mazer Cup Mead Competition.
I've seen the prizes. They are once again hand thrown by Pewabic Pottery
and look terrific. If you saw the 1993 and 1994 AHA Meadmaker of the year
Mazer, you have seen Pewabic's work.

Once again, email to me gets you all of the information.


Subject: About yeast nutrients
From: Roderick Campbell <>
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 1994 19:12:23 -0700 (PDT)

In response to Richard Fugate who had a question about the Ammonium

Phosphate yeast nutrients I thought I might reply with some information about
yeast and yeast nutrients. I am a microbiologist who researches the fungus
Ustilago maydis ie. corn smut.


Firstly while Ammonium Phosphate is sometimes referred to as yeast

nutrient it is really a source of Nitrogen for the yeast. While preparing
media to grow fungi in the lab it is important to include three elements in
the media;


1) A source of carbon (Glucose or another sugar)
2) A source of Nitrogen (Ammonium Phosphate or Ammonium
3) A source for other various biologically important compounds


In reality yeasts can grow with just the Nitrogen source and the carbon

Source. It may take a lot longer and there is a probability that the yeast
may just go dormant sooner than otherwise. Ammonium Phosphate will allow the
yeast to happily ferment until it runs out of sugar or some other important


Honey is of course loaded with sugar but lacks other nutrients the way

to add nutrients to the honey is to add the extract from another culture of
yeast in which you have burst the cells. To do this you first burst the cells
probably by gentle heating (60 degrees celsius is a guess). If you remove the
gunk that sinks to the bottom then evaporate the water slowly you are left with
yeast extract which contains all the water soluble goodies the yeast need to


Adding just Ammonium Phosphate may result in the yeast stopping

fermentation before the Ammonium Phosphate is utilized and you will have
strange smells and tastes. The brown powdery yeast nutrients that are
available are yeast extracts and some of these also contain Ammonium Phosphate.
These are the nutrients to use.



P.S. I use Andovin Super Nutrients when I make mead

Subject: oxygenating before fermenting, and other stuff
From: sammy@biochemistry.BIOC.CWRU.Edu (Sam Shank)
Date: Thu, 21 Jul 1994 08:50:26 -0600

I recently started my first batch of mead, after 3 beers. I used #16 clove
honey, 4 good sized lemons (see below), acid blend, and I believe (NH4)2SO4
yeast nutrient. (I forget the ammounts of the acid blend and nutrient off
of the top of my head.)

The lemons were put through a juice-man. All of the juice was added, as
well as the ground-up rhind. The gasses gives a very interresting smell,
very similar to some wine coolers I have tried. (Must be the citrus.)

I was going to take the water and shake well in cleaned 1 gal milk jugs
before adding to the fermenter, but I forgot. I got to thinking, why can't
I just bubble a little O2 from a tank through there? That should work
better than just shaking with air. O2 dissolves well in water. Would this

I did not do this, and just let it go. It had vigorous activity for the
first 3-4 days, slowed to 1/2 the rate for 3-4 more days, and now after 3
weeks, I get a bubble every 4-5 seconds through the airlock. I have a yeast
cake of a good size on the bottom as well.

Should I rack it, or should I wait?

Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.


Sam Shank Member of PETA (People for the Eating of Tasty Animals)

End of Mead Lover's Digest #331