Mead Lover's Digest #0402 Sun 7 May 1995


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



re: Mead Won't Fully Ferment! (Dick Dunn)
Re: Irish moss in mead (
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #401, 2 May 1995 (Leonard Meuse)
Sweet Mead Final Gravity Question (Tim Staiano)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #401, 2 May 1995 (MjodalfR)
Rhodomel (Anthony Quinn)
Prickly Pear Cactus Mead (Michael A Abraham)
Clear glass bottles, fermentation temps (
Yeast Starter (Bunning W Maj ACC/DOTE)
Aging with wood (Richard Walker)


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Subject: re: Mead Won't Fully Ferment!
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 2 May 95 00:33:20 MDT (Tue) (Steve Katapski) writes:

> I'm making a raspberry mead that refuses to fully ferment. I used
> approx. 5 lbs of honey per gallon of water, so I had a fairly high
> initial SG…


If this figure is correct, "fairly high" would be an understatement.

Just for reference and easy figuring, a common starting point is one gallon
of honey in a five-gallon batch–that is, 1 gal honey, 4 gal water. This
gives a starting gravity around 1.100. A gallon of honey is about 12 lb
(a tad under 1.5 SG). If you figure honey per gallon of water added, which
is what your terms suggest, "typical" is about 3 lb/gallon. [If you were
figuring honey per gallon of result, "typical" is 2.4 lb/gallon.]

Whatever the actual numbers, I think many of us would believe you were
lucky to get it to ferment at all! Yeast tend not to like to start in very
high gravity must. If you want to push it, start at 1.100 or so (not
higher than 1.120, preferably) and add honey later on after some of it has

>…However, after several months, and several additional
> doses of yeast, the SG refuses to drop below 60. The mead is still
> extremely sweet and not very alcoholic…

I can well imagine (with the current 1.060) that it's sweet! But are you
sure it's not very alcoholic??? I guess otherwise.

With some rough calcs (somebody else want to check me?) I figure your
starting SG was in the range of 1.140-1.145. That is a potential alcohol
of 19% v/v. If you're down to 1.060, that's a residual of 7-8%, which
gives you 11-12% effective v/v. Given the unfavorable conditions for the
yeast (very high starting gravity), that seems like a decent result.

Maybe you can clarify some numbers and we can take a closer look, but as
far as you've described it, it seems like you're up against nothing more
than the limits of the yeast. You can't get much above normal wine
strength with mead…and even approaching that takes some nursing, the
right yeast, and some luck.

Dick Dunn -or- raven!rcd Boulder, Colorado USA

…When did "ergonomic" become a synonym for "right-handed"?


Subject: Re: Irish moss in mead
Date: Tue, 02 May 1995 08:40:53 -0640

Glenn E Matthies writes:

I brewed a mead this weekend and used Irish Moss for the first time on
mead. With in thirty seconds of adding it, great gobs of coagulated
protien rose and floated on the surface. I must have removed 1/2 cup of
this brown mass (2 lbs. honey test batch). I have used Irish Moss in
beer and never have had this happen. Is this normal?


Fits with what I've seen. I've been using some carmelized honey given to
me by my brother-in-law. The bottles have ended up with a dark
precipitate under the normal yeast layer. I added Irish moss in hopes of
clearing out any of the dark components the carmelization might have
added. When the must started to boil, I added Irish moss and started to
skim as normal. Fifteen minutes later, I stopped spooning to see the
bottom of my pot through a crystal clear liquid. I'm hooked! Finings
are now on all my ingredient lists. I've been looking at gelatin for
fining. Any had any experience?

Neil Flatter Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Chemistry – Math (CMA) Department of Chemistry Stockroom Manager
Novell Supervisor 5500 Wabash Avenue 73
(812) 877 – 8316 Terre Haute, IN 47803-3999
FAX: 877 – 3198

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #401, 2 May 1995
From: Leonard Meuse <>
Date: Tue, 2 May 1995 11:33:04 -0700 (PDT)

> I'm making a raspberry mead that refuses to fully ferment. I used
> approx. 5 lbs of honey per gallon of water, so I had a fairly high
> initial SG. However, after several months, and several additional
> doses of yeast, the SG refuses to drop below 60. The mead is still
> extremely sweet and not very alcoholic. I've had several discussions
> with a local homebrew shop, but so far no one's been able to solve the
> problem. Anybody out there have any suggestions?
> Steve Katapski

I've talked with several of my friends who also make mead, and we have
all run across this very same problem at least once. We think it has to
do with the extremely high original gravity, and we overcame the problem
by starting with a lower OG and "feeding" with honey/must as the gravity
gets around 20-30. One friend of mine turned out what we affectionately
referred to as "jet fuel," it was around 22% alcohol when completed. As
for your dillema, I would suggest transferring off of the dead hulls,
throw in some yeast hulls to unstick it, and use a liquid culture on the
verge of explosion :)….If that dont cut it…maybe dilute it with water
to lower the SG.
Len Meuse

Subject: Sweet Mead Final Gravity Question
From: Tim Staiano <>
Date: Tue, 2 May 1995 16:55:28 -0400 (EDT)

Gretings and salutations!

Thanks to all of those who answered my previous query re:wedding mead.
It tasted pretty sweet and honey-ish when I racked to add fruit
(blueberries & raspberries: 3# of each, & 4# of strawberries). Now,
here's my next dilemma:

I used wyeast sweet mead yeast (can't remember the #) in a starter of
honey, lemon juice and nutrient (about 1.5L). Pitched into 2 approx.
6gal batches of sp.grav. 1.095 & 1.100 (more water added to one than the

After about 1 month, there was a good bit of yeast sediment on the bottom
of the bucket. I racked out, added fruit, and reracked. that was about
2 weeks ago. At racking, the gravities were only around the 1.050's.

Here's my question, what is the average finishing gravity of a sweet
mead/sweet melomel? I need to bottle by the beginning of july. If it's
going to take a long time, is it ok to repitch with a dry mead yeast? (as
i've seen posts about dry meads that seem to have a really short
fermentation period).

Private e-mail is ok, or post if everyone's interested.

Have a hoppy!

Tim Staiano

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #401, 2 May 1995
From: (MjodalfR)
Date: Tue, 2 May 95 17:43 MDT

>Subject: Mead Won't Fully Ferment!
>Date: Thu, 27 Apr 95 13:34:27 MST


> I'm making a raspberry mead that refuses to fully ferment. I used
> approx. 5 lbs of honey per gallon of water, so I had a fairly high
> initial SG. However, after several months, and several additional
> doses of yeast, the SG refuses to drop below 60. The mead is still
> extremely sweet and not very alcoholic. I've had several discussions
> with a local homebrew shop, but so far no one's been able to solve the
> problem. Anybody out there have any suggestions?
> Steve Katapski

Your yeast probably croaked due to osmotic pressure. 5lbs of honey

per gallon would indicate an approx. 1/2 gallon of honey, or a 50% starting
solution….. the yeast probably imploded !!!!


A good formula uses theoretical yield of ethanol conversion…

This is about 55%…


Chose ending alcohol level… assuming dry….
if you choose 12%, then the sugar content must be 21.8% BY VOL…

Honey weights about 12lbs/gal…..


Try diluting the mixture down… approx 2… ( if 1 gal, make 2

) Then start over… adding 1g yeast/gal..




Subject: Rhodomel
From: (Anthony Quinn)
Date: Wed, 3 May 95 06:52 PDT

Someone mentioned

>I would very much like to hear what results people get from roses. More
>than a few people have noted the similarity of fragrances of raspberry and
>rose…and raspberries, of course, make an outstanding melomel. Roses
>wouldn't offer the sugar and acid of raspberries, but I'd really like to
>know what they'd offer in the nose. (Although I can easily get enough
>raspberries for a melomel from a small patch, the weather is a bit unfor-
>giving here for copious production of roses. "They" say it should stop
>snowing in another week or so!)

I mixed up a 2 different rhodomels last year and was pleasently surprised by
them. I went to both extremes – the first used a very pungent buckwheat
honey, and the second the lightest honey that I could find – an orange
blossom, I believe. I only make gallon batches by the way. I used a quart
of firmly packed red rose petals for each gallon of must. Didn't boil, just
"pasteurized" the honey and then added the rose petals to the must just
before it went into the primary fermenter. It took about four days for all
of the color to be leeched from the rose petals. I then racked the must off
the rose petals and discarded them. I made periodic additions of
pasteurized honey to the must during the fermentation and somehow managed to
pick the right moment to bottle (i.e. while there was enough fermentation
going on to carbonate, but not enough to detonate, the bottles)

The results were very interesting. The buckwheat based concoction had a
dark redish-tan color, was well carbonated, and was exceptionally sweet
(almost like a port/fortified desert wine). The flavor/aroma of the roses
is there but is not identifiable unless one is forewarned – most think it is
some type of berry initially. The honey somewhat overpowers the rose
essence. Still it came in second in a local competition. The orange
blossom mixture was even better – it had the color of a blush wine – was
clear as a bell, nicely carbonated, was moderately sweet (not quite as sweet
as a port – closer to a sweet sherry) and most importantly, was clearly
identifiable as rose flavored/scented. I believe the scent was
improved/enhanced by the carbonation. This one came in first in a local
competion, beating my other one by several points. Obviously there were a
few happy accidents in this process (the carbonation particularly) but I
don't think that I've ever had a more delightful drink. I've recently mixed
up a batch of Byron Burches annointing oil lime melomel and noted that he
used a lime oil in his preparation. I was thinking that maybe I could
enhance the rhodomel by using both rose petals and a commercial rose flower
water used in baking. I'll let you know. I also look forward to hearing
other's experiences.

A. J. Quinn


Any opinions offered are my own and
I have my wife's permission to say so.

Subject: Prickly Pear Cactus Mead
From: Michael A Abraham <>
Date: Wed, 3 May 1995 14:24:10 -0400 (EDT)

Gregory Owens asked about the recipe for Prickly Pear Cactus Mead.
The recipe is in Papazian's book "complete homebrewer's guide".
I probably don't have the title exact, but you should be able to find


BTW I am about to make my first batch of mead from a recipe in that
book called Waileale Chablis Mead. Anyone out there tried it?

Subject: Clear glass bottles, fermentation temps
Date: Thu, 04 May 1995 08:49:24 -0500 (EST)

1) Did I read that mead will be perfectly OK stored in clear glass bottles?
(As opposed to beer, which can get light-struck.) Inquiring minds with 4 cases
of Corona bottles (don't ask) want to know.

2) I have a batch of "Barkshack Gingermead" with a few modifications (12 lbs
honey, no extra sugar) going in the fridge with Wyeast "Dry mead yeast" from
a liquid culture pack. Things are going along just fine, lots of little
bubbles for a couple of weeks (at least). I'm keeping is at 60F because it's
cohabiting with some California Lager yeast working in the next carboy. IS
this gonna be a problem? Will it finish out at these temps? Has anyone
else had a similar experience? Will the cooler fermentation temp have any
impact on the time it takews this batch to age to reasonable drinkability?


Cam Lay

Subject: Yeast Starter
From: Bunning W Maj ACC/DOTE <>
Date: Thu, 04 May 95 12:06:00 +6

I am preparing to make my first batch of mead and have a question regarding
preparation of a starter. I slant my own yeast and will be using Pasteur
champagne yeast. The initial 10 ml starter will be beer wort obtained
commercially (notice no advertising). What kind of ingredients should I use
in my step ups? I usually step up to 50-75 ml and then to 500 ml when
making beer. Should I make a honey starter? How much honey for 50 ml? How
much for 500 ml? How much yeast nutrient and acid should I add? Someone
please help me with this situation.

Awaiting my first "nectar of the gods" session.

Bill Bunning


Member of the mile high brewers club


Subject: Aging with wood
From: (Richard Walker)
Date: Sat, 6 May 1995 16:35:12 +0900

I have 3 traditional meads made from, in order of flavor strength,
lotus-blossom, chestnut, and buckwheat honeys that I am thinking about
aging with granulated oak for a simulated barrel-aged flavor. Has anyone
ever done this with a mead? Did it work? How much wood would you recommend
putting in a five-gallon carboy? How long should it stay there?

Also, I have some cherry wood sitting around and was wondering how that
would work as a flavor-enhancer. Again, any experience would be helpful:
How should the wood be prepared? How much? How long? Is it worth it?
Anything to beware of (toxic side-effects or bad flavors)? Cherry strikes
my fancy because it's available, aromatic, and highly sought-after for
smoking meats, so it *ought* to work, but…

Many thanks,

Richard Walker
Yokohama, Japan

Of course my opinions reflect those of the company.
I AM the company.

End of Mead Lover's Digest #402