Mead Lover's Digest #0365 Sat 19 November 1994


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



Re: slow ferments/champaign yeast, etc. (Kelvin Kapteyn)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #364,… (
liquid mead yeasts ("Harralson, Kirk")
Potassium Sorbate ? (David Moore)
Wanted: Fast-Fermenting, Beginner's Level Mead Recipe (Steven W. Schultz)
Yeasts and Clarity? (Geoffrey J. Schaller)
Phone Number Correction (Eric Cloninger)


Send ONLY articles for the digest to
Use for subscribe, unsubscribe, and admin

requests. When subscribing, please include your name and a good address
in the message body unless you're sure your mailer generates them.

There is an FTP archive of the digest on in pub/mead.

If you have email access but not ftp, it will accept "listserv" requests.
Send email with message "help" to


Subject: Re: slow ferments/champaign yeast, etc.
From: Kelvin Kapteyn <>
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 94 16:03:10 EST

Just to throw my $0.02 into the discussion, I have been experimenting with
a few things to get faster ferments. This is preliminary at this point, but
I thought I'd throw it out to the digest for discussion.

I have been aerating my meads/wines lately using an aquarium pump/air filter
combination. I started doing this when I realized that there probably isn't
a whole lot of dissolved O2 in the must. This is especially true if you boil,
or even pasturize the must before pitching. The heat will drive off all
dissolved O2. Aerating will also help give the yeast more strength to finish
and should reduce the chance of a stuck ferment, IMO. This seems to be helping,
as I have had some rather fast ferments lately. The last several batches
have been done in two to four weeks, but that is partly due to other factors
as well.

I also have been only adding part of the acid to the must before ferment.
This is based on the hypothesis that yeast are especially sensitive to low
ph values and the yeast produces some acid during the ferment. I start
with just enough to get it into what seems like a reasonable range, say
below 5.5. I then add the rest of the acid after fermentation is over.
Does anybody know any reasons why this is not a good idea? All of my
winemaking books recommend adding all of the acid at the beginning.
I have heard that Morse address the topic of ph in his book, but I don't
have a copy yet since it is totally unavailable in my area (Thanks Dick
for sending me a couple of mail order sources.)

Lastly, I have been building my starters up to a larger volume that what I
did previously. By using a honey/sugar based solution of known starting
gravity for the starter, I can just calculate the adjusted OG of the must
after taking into account the volume of the starter. 1/2 Gallon starters
for a 5 to 6 gallon batch are now my norm. I usually use liquid yeast, BTW.
My main supplier is Dan McConnell at the Yeast Culture Kit Co. I have also
made some good wines/meads with dry yeasts, so I'm not sure yet if it is
worth the extra cost and hassle.

I seem to be getting fast ferments with all of the yeasts I have tried,
including Pastuer Champaign. My record with that yeast was a small 1 1/2
gallon batch of cherry wine that was pitched with 1 package of red star
dry yeast (rehydrated). It went from 1.095 to 0.986 (estimated, it was
about 4 points off the scale on my hydrometer) in 1 1/2 to 2 weeks!
Fermentation temp was around 68F. This was one of the first in my current
series of experiments, and finished a bit drier than intended. I didn't
know it was possible to get that dry!

Two to four weeks seems to be the norm now. The sweet versions seem to go
fast at first, then slow down and chug along for awhile, while the dry ones
fly along for awhile, then stop cold when they run out of sugar.

I have Yeast labs M61 (Dry Mead) listed as Pasteur Champagne and M62 as
Steinberger Riesling.

Hope this helps.


  • Kelvin


Kelvin Kapteyn (

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #364,...
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 1994 22:11:30 -0500

>>Subject: Still Mead
>>From: "Luigi P. Bai" <lpb@Starbase.NeoSoft.COM>
>>Date: Mon, 14 Nov 1994 04:00:44 -0600 (CST)

>>….. Perhaps we are using yeast that is far too hardy – any >>suggested
"wimps" to use that will poison themselves fairly soon >>but leave few
alternate flavors?


Try Epernay 2….or Steinberger




Subject: liquid mead yeasts
From: "Harralson, Kirk" <>
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 94 11:11:06 EST

Dick Dunn ( writes:

>I'd like to think the liquid cultures offer something the dry yeasts
>don't–say, cleaner character, faster fermentation, or some such. So
>far with the Wyeast, I haven't found anything to justify the ~8x
>price differ- ence. Wyeast isn't even forthcoming (as far as I've
>been able to find) with any identification of the strains of yeast
>they're using; I've heard that Yeast Labs will provide some such
>info. [ALL the yeasts we use need better labeling!!!]

I don't understand why Wyeast (and others) gives such good information
about their beer yeasts but relatively nothing on their mead yeasts.
I have been trying to find more information about wine/mead yeasts for
some time, but have come up with nothing. I have made a few of the
"28 day wine kits" (sorry, I don't have the brand name with me at
work), and the liquid yeast sold with these is VERY good. The wines I
have made with these kits is drinkable in 28 days, as advertised.
Meads and wines I make with the locally available dry yeasts need to
age at least 9 months (and most times, much longer) to get rid of the
obnoxious yeast flavor and odor. If anyone knows what yeast is used
in these kits — please let me know. I nothing else, I will probably
propogate it on my next kit….

In my last mead, I used Wyeast 1056 liquid ale yeast to get around
this problem as suggested in the MLD a month or so ago. There were
several very good reasons cited for using ale yeast in the post (can't
remember the digest number – sorry.) I posted a follow-up question
about adjusting acidity in mead recipes to use ale yeasts, but never
got a reply. I kept the acid addition the same, and the ale yeast
started fine. I just hope it doesn't poop out halfway through.

Kirk Harralson


Subject: Potassium Sorbate ?
From: David Moore <>
Date: 17 Nov 94 20:12:31 EST

I'm planning on bottling my first mead soon. I intend putting half into
champagne bottles and half into small 375 ml wine bottles.

The champagne bottles are no problem, but I'm concerned about residual
fermentation in the wine bottles. I was thinking about adding some potassium
sorbate to the part going into the wine bottles.

Does potassium sorbate impart any flavor effects? Is there any reason why I
might not want to do this?

Subject:  Wanted:  Fast-Fermenting, Beginner's Level Mead Recipe
From: Steven W. Schultz <>
Date: Fri, 18 Nov 94 11:03:20 EST

I'm a beer homebrewer, and often add a pound or two of honey to each

batch, but have yet to attempt mead-making. There is NO WAY I could stand
to wait a year or more for my first batch.


Anyone in possession of a simple mead recipe that results in

drinkable mead within a few weeks, please send to me by private e-mail.


Thanks in advance.


Steven W. Schultz <>

(Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland)

Subject: Yeasts and Clarity?
From: (Geoffrey J. Schaller)
Date: Fri, 18 Nov 1994 12:00:03 -0500

I recently began brewing mead, after a friend introduced me to his own
home-brew. I found the WWW Page and got the info fomr there, but I have a
few questions I was hopiong you could answer for me.

1) There are a LOT of Yeasts out there – anyone have a good list of them,
what they do, alcohol potentials, advantages / disadvantages, etc?

2) Some people say DON'T use Ale Yeast, some do. What's the advantage /
disadvantages of Ale Yeast?

3) I've never had an "active" bubbling from my must – I never hear it or
see it doing anyhting. I'm using an Ale Yeast and Champaige Yeast, with
yeat nutirnets and about 3-4 pounds of honey per gallon. I boil the must
to prepare it. I'm getting fermentation, but it's not bubbling visibly,
like I have heard it's supposed to do.

4) How long does it take for something to clear up, and what factors affect
this? Neither my Ale yeast (6+ weeks) or my Champaigne yeast (3+ weeks,
2ndary) show signs of clearing up. I've heard of something called
Sparkloid – what does it do?

Thanks for your help!


  • Geoffrey "Laugh and the world laughs with you,
Big Red Band Show Comittiee Weep, and you weep alone.
Phi Kappa Tau, Cornell U. For the Sad Old Earth,
106 the Knoll Must borrow its Mirth
Ithaca, NY But has troubles enough of its own."
(607) 257-2158

Subject: Phone Number Correction
From: (Eric Cloninger)
Date: Fri, 18 Nov 1994 19:46:48 -0800 (PST)

The mead.faq on dated June 1994 has an incorrect
phone number for the Rocky Mountion MIDI Systems BBS. The number
listed, 303/287-5274 is a private residence, and the owner is quite
annoyed with computer users as I discovered this evening. I can't
find a listing in the business white pages for Rocky Mountain MIDI


  • Eric


End of Mead Lover's Digest #365