Mead Lover's Digest #0403 Mon 8 May 1995


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



Re: Mead Lover's Digest #402, 7 May 1995 ("Lee C. Bussy")
Irish moss (Matt Maples)
Chablis pyment (Anthony Quinn)
First Traditional Mead (Allen Harris)
First time mead fermentation question (
Re: Aging with wood (Joyce Miller)
Re: starters for meads (Gordon L. Olson)
clear bottles, cold fermentation (Gordon L. Olson)
Re: Yeast Starter (Joyce Miller)
Skunks, etc. (Russell Mast)
Re: Clear glass bottles (Michael L. Hall)


NOTE: Digest only appears when there is enough material to send one.
Send ONLY articles for the digest to
Use for [un]subscribe/admin requests. When

subscribing, please include name and email address in body of message.

Digest archives and FAQ are available for anonymous ftp at

in pub/clubs/homebrew/mead.


Subject:       Re: Mead Lover's Digest #402, 7 May 1995
From: "Lee C. Bussy" <>
Date: Sun, 7 May 1995 09:02:38 +0000

On 7 May 95, (Richard Walker ) said this about
Aging with wood:

> 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…

Richard, there was something in a recent issue of zymurgy about the
effect of different types of wood used in the fermentation process, I
think cherry was one that teh author experimented with.

If you don't get zymurgy let me know and I'll look for the article.


  • -Lee Bussy | Screaming on the Internet with | | Windows 95!!!! 32 Bit made simple! |
Wichita, Kansas | |


Subject: Irish moss
From: (Matt Maples)
Date: Sun, 7 May 1995 12:40:11 -0700


>From: (Matt Maples)
>Subject: Irish moss



>>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 had the same thing happen to me about two weeks ago. I was brewing a
batch of simple braggot and when I added the irish moss gelatinous globs
floated to the top. There wasn't a 1/2 cup of the stuff but I cerrtinly
skimmed the junk off. From the recipe I think we can find the trouble. This
braggot only consisted of 1 lb of malt extr., one lb of honey, and 3/4 tsp
citric acid per one gallon water. Now I have used honey in beer before and
never got this stuff, so my guess is that the citric acid reacted to the
irish moss. I would be inttrested in hearing others opinoins as I am only


Matt Maples


Subject: Chablis pyment
From: (Anthony Quinn)
Date: Sun, 7 May 95 20:46 PDT

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


>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?

> >

Well, as a matter of fact, I drank my first bottle today. It tasted like a
dry champagne with just a hint of something unidentifiable in the
background. It was perfectly clear and carbonated nicely – the only thing
is I don't really like dry champagne. I used the absolute lightest honey
that I could find and it didn't leave (IMHO) enough of a honey overtone for
my taste. I think that I'm going to try it again though, and this time I'm
going to use a slightly more flavorful honey. I also believe that I might
add just a little more grape concentrate than was called for in the recipe
(maybe +30% or so)

Good luck with yours
A. J. Quinn


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

Subject: First Traditional Mead
From: (Allen Harris)
Date: Mon, 08 May 95 00:16:06 EDT

I began my brewing experience by picking up Charlie P's NCJoHB. Made
a few kit beers and didn't like the results. Made the Spruce Beer in
the book and loved it, but here in Ontario there are so many great
micro-breweries producing interesting beers, that I felt I wanted to
try something different. Mead is it.

That was two years ago. Back in December of last year I found this
group of talented folk. I have read all the postings, all the web
pages and the Mead Chapter in Mr. P's book several times. I was
finally ready to make mead.

Toronto is home to Billy Bee Honey. They are probably the largest
packager of honey in Canada. This sounds bad, but it is good. You
can walk in off the street and buy two varieties of raw unprocessed
honey in large quantities. They have a light clover honey (Canada
Grade A) and a "amber" buckwheat honey (also Canada Grade A). They
sell in 3 kg. ($6.99 CDN), 5 kg ($12.00 CDN) and 15 kg (19.00 CDN).
All they do to this honey is strain it. I only found a little debris
in it.

I picked up 5 kg of the clover honey and 3 kg of the buckwheat. I
used a Dan Fink recipe as the base for this .

11 pounds clover honey
6.6 pounds buckwheat honey
25 ml of yeast nutrient
10 g Lalvin K1V-1116 Dry Yeast
water to make 6 US gallons of mead


I took 2.5 gallons of water, put it in the brew pot, added the yeast
nutrient and then the honey. While stirring I brought the temperature
up to 170 F. I held it there for 20 minutes to kill off any beasts.
I then racked it to a glass primary, topped it up with water, and put
it in an ice bath to cool to 80 F. I rehydrated the yeast and pitched
it at 80 F. The starting SG was 1.119.

I put the blow off hose on and waited. It only took a couple of hours
to see yeast activity and was blowing foam in about 12 hours. It has
now settled down to a steady bubbling. It has a vivid yellow colour.

Having made it this far with out mishap, I have two questions.

1. How long should I wait before racking to the secondary?

2. From the begining I have kept the blowoff hose under water
creating a fermentation lock. It is blowing three or four bubbles a
second from the 1/2 inch hose. Is there a good reason to switch to a
standard air-lock?

Thanks for the help. E-mail or post is fine.


Allen Harris

Toronto, Canada

Subject:        First time mead fermentation question
Date: Mon, 8 May 95 7:41 EDT

I've just made my first batch (3 gallon) of mead using the following



7.5lb crystalized honey
* yeast nutrient
* yeast hulls
* acid blend
Wyeast 3632 (Dry Mead)


* Don't have these number here at work but I used recommended amounts from

information given to me by the brew shop I frequent.


It's now after just a few days fermenting away.


Now for my question : At what rate is fermentation considered good? I'm

currently getting one gurgle every four seconds or so. It's been like this
for the last four days and still going strong.


Is it doing what it should be doing? And how long will this process



Thanks from a new Meader.


Subject: Re: Aging with wood
From: (Joyce Miller)
Date: Mon, 8 May 1995 09:22:11 -0400

>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?

>From my experience drinking friends' beer from oak barrels, I would say
that you should leave it on wood for about, oh… 45 minutes.

But seriously, I too have been considering something like this, and am
currently looking for a 3-gallon barrel. What's keeping me from looking
too hard is knowing how long I'm going to have to soak it to get the
tannins out. In fact, I'm probably going to have to brew a batch or two of
crap, just to aid in the seasoning of the barrel.

My advice is to go ahead & put it on wood, and taste it *every* day, and be
prepared to bottle it quick when it tastes as strong as you like. You've
been warned, those oak chips are *powerful*!


  • — Joyce


Subject: Re: starters for meads
From: (Gordon L. Olson)
Date: Mon, 8 May 1995 08:21:04 -0600

In the last two years I have converted to using slant cultures for
buying and storing my yeasts. Whether it is for a beer or a mead,
I always use dry malt extract for making starters. This way I don't
have to worry about nutrients or pH, the yeast has an optimum
growth medium with less work on my part. My basic recipe is 1/2 cup
of dry malt extract in two cups of water, ie., a 1:4 ratio. After
boiling it for 10 minutes, I let it cool down to fermentation
temperature. The dry malt is easy to measure and store. One bag
lasts me a couple years.

The amount of malt that ends up in a 3 or 5 gallon batch of mead
is so small that I don't consider it to adulturate the mead.

For those of you who have not yet tried starters, I highly
recommend them. A half pint or a full pint of actively fermenting
starter gets your mead off to a fast start. Also, areating your
must for 20-30 minutes (after it has cooled) with an aquarium
pump and air stone makes the yeast much more vigorous. Do not
areate after alcohol is present, you may change the alcohol into
vineger and other nasties.


Subject: clear bottles, cold fermentation
From: (Gordon L. Olson)
Date: Mon, 8 May 1995 08:01:38 -0600

Cam Lay asks:

>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.

I've never had problems with clear bottles and I prefer them for mead
because they present a mead's color so nicely. The only photo-sensitive
chemicals in beer that I am aware of, come from the humulones in the hops.
If you don't add hops to your mead, you should have no problem.

>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?

Yes, cool primary fermentation will lengthen the time before the primary
phase is over. How much depends on the yeast strain used. However, some
people argue that cool fermentations reduce the amount of higher alcohols
produced, and it is these higher alcohols that are the slowest to age
and melow out. So a longer primary fermentation _may_ lead to a shorter
secondary aging time. Let us know how this mead turns out.


Subject: Re: Yeast Starter
From: (Joyce Miller)
Date: Mon, 8 May 1995 09:14:35 -0400

>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

Bill —

Well, not to blow my own horn or anything, but there is my mead yeast
starter recipe in the back of the Bee's Lees. I put it in there because it
actually does work, and it seems to serve well in acclimating the yeast to
the honey environment, and it also works in "stepping up" the yeast to a
high-gravity must.

Mead Yeast Starter

Source: Joyce Miller <

Ingredients (makes 1/2 gallon):

1 cup honey
1 cup cane sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp yeast nutrient (or however much your directions call for)
6-2/3 cups water


Bring all of the ingredients to a boil, then shut off & let sit (covered)
20-30 minutes to pasteurize. Force cool in a cold water bath, if you wish.
Pour dry yeast into a sanitized 1/2-gallon container. When the starter
solution has cooled to below 80F (27C), pour it on top of the dry yeast.
Shake & swirl to dissolve the yeast. Attach an airlock. When the airlock
shows regular activity, it's time to brew. Anywhere from 2-4 cups of
active starter can be added to 5 gallons of mead must. Swirl the starter
before "inoculating" your mead must so as to get the yeast into suspension.


I have used this recipe for starting beer, wine, and champagne yeasts, and
it seems to be very good for acclimating the yeast to the "mead

A half gallon is quite a bit of starter, so it might be a good idea to cut
the recipe in half. I only make the full amount when I plan to brew
several batches of mead. Since yeast ferments honey relatively slowly,
you can easily use up a batch of the starter on several batches made across
2-3 weeks. The starter will just keep on bubbling in between your brewing
sessions! If you want to keep it going even longer, you can pour off half
the starter, and add a few cups of fresh must for the yeast to chew on.

Subject: Skunks, etc.
From: Russell Mast <>
Date: Mon, 8 May 1995 11:04:40 -0500

> From:

> 1) Did I read that mead will be perfectly OK stored in clear glass bottles?

You may have read that. I'm not sure if it's true for most meads. The main
devil in lightstruck beer is a compound from _hops_ which reacts in the light
to form some kind of mercaptan (or mercaptone, I forget). Anyway, this stuff
is mighty foul. I would imagine that SOME kind of non-beneficial reaction
might occur in meads, but it's not as serious as in beer.

Of course, having started as a homebrewer, I usually use some hops in my
meads, both to provide resistance to infection and a little bitterness to
balance the sweetness. I've been told that this is a traditional Swedish
way to make meads, but the Swedes I know are decidedly non-traditional, so
I can't verify that.

So, basically, if you use hops in your mead, which you should at least
experiment with a couple times, keep it dark. Otherwise, well, I'd play it
safe, but wouldn't worry too much about it.

> 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?

Yes. In my limited experience, your mead will take a little longer to
ferment, but less time to mature. Most yeasts behave better around 60F
and produce fewer undesirable chemicals and more desiarable ones. Not all
yeasts, and some chemicals desirable for some styles aren't for others.

Has anyone fermented a mead with lager yeast at lager temps? I'd be
interested to know if there was a noticable 'lager smoothness' to the
mead, and if it went well with it.

  • -R

Subject: Re: Clear glass bottles
From: (Michael L. Hall)
Date: Mon, 8 May 95 15:36:12 MDT

Cam Lay ( writes:

> 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.

Yes, the mead will be fine, as long as there are no hops in it. The
"skunking" chemical reaction requires some of the chemicals present in
hops, and light to catalyze it. I routinely use clear bottles with my
meads to show off the color (Sam Smith's bottles look elegant, I think)
and I have no problems.

Mike Hall
Los Alamos Atom Mashers

End of Mead Lover's Digest #403

%d bloggers like this: