Mead Lover's Digest #0422 Mon 31 July 1995


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



Re: restarting a stuck fermentation (
sulfites (Gordon L. Olson)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #421, 26 July 1995 (JLAUKES@CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU)
Strawbs (Russell Mast)
Re: strawberries & brewers yeast (brewing chemist Mitch)
Mead: Watery Taste ("Craig Jones. 5099")
Oxidation? (Ralph Snel)
Stuck Fermentations/Sulphites/Apricots (fwd) ("JOHN A. JR. CARLSON ")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #421, 26 July 1995 (Robert Wenzlaff)
Re: brewer's yeast (Joyce Miller)


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Subject: Re: restarting a stuck fermentation
Date: Thu, 27 Jul 1995 07:28:39 -0400 (EDT)

> Subject: Re: restarting a stuck fermentation -- update
> From: Dieter Dworkin Muller <>
> Date: Fri, 21 Jul 1995 22:41:08 -0600


> I recently wrote:
> And, after a few days, the results are in. All three carboys are
> blowing off gas again.

I think you just confirmed an observation that I made with a batch a
month ago.

I am in the process of trying a new yeast in a large batch. For some odd
reason I decided to stir it every couple days in the primary. It
smelled incredible when I moved it into the secondary. All the aromatics
were there (I didn't tase though). I am starting another batch, didn't
stirr the primary to aerate and the character just isn't there.

I realize this is going against everything that everyone says, but has
anyone really looked into Dissolved Oxygen in must and the fact that it
may be a limiting factor in mead production?

> Dworkin

Brian Ehlert

Subject: sulfites
From: (Gordon L. Olson)
Date: Thu, 27 Jul 1995 07:59:23 -0600

John DeCarlo writes in MLD#420:


>How prevalent is the use of sulphites in mead making nowadays? From my
>reading and following this digest and making meads and talking to people, I
>sort of got the idea that the current view is to not use sulphites.


>On the negative side, you have to worry about anyone with an allergy to
>sulphites drinking your mead.


>On the positive side, sulphites do what? Slow down yeast?


>Whether you boil or not, heat to pasteurize or not, is there *any* good reason
>to use sulphites?


I do not use sulfites, and, when asked, do not recommend them.

Sulfites retard the growth of yeast, but do not kill them, even if you
have exactly the right pH. Sulfites do not sterilize anything.

Therefore, I pasteurize at 150 F for 15-20 minutes. This does kill
any yeast present. It is also not hot enough for a long enough time
to significantly affect the flavors and aromas of the honey, in my
opinion. Some studies have shown that killing the enzymes present
by heating the honey speeds up the fermentation process.

Continued good sanitation procedures after pasteurization is all
that is required. Too many people use sulfites "just in case". It
makes them feel better that they are doing "something" active to
lessen the possibility of contamination. Actually, it probably
just slows down the fermentation and the aging of their mead.

I do not like the sulfury aromas left by over use of sulfites.

I see no reason to use sulfites.

Other people will probably disagree with me. Many different methods
can be used to make excellant meads. Each of us must decide which
is best for him/her-self.


PS: This message was originally bounced and I finally retried after
the note from the "janitor". For all the work he does, we need to
think up a good long-winded title for him. Thanks, from me.

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #421, 26 July 1995
Date: Thu, 27 Jul 1995 08:08:44 -0700 (MST)

Reply to Joe Uknalis re: Strawberry Mead
I started by boiling 10 lbs. of citrus honey with 2 tsp. of yeast
energizer and 2 gal. of water then pitching 7 g. of champagne yeast into
the primary for three days. Then I brought 10 lbs. of
strawberries to 170 F for 15 minutes with 2 sticks of cinnamon and 1/2
tsp. of ground mace in 2 gallons of water which I cooled and added to the
The ferment continued for a week at which time I siphoned to a carboy.
It cleared nicely in six weeks when I bottled. It was tasty after about
2 months and now at five months it is a gentle mix of berries at the nose
over a subtle honey afterglow/taste. I'm trying to keep half the batch
for eight months of aging. With luck…….

Jim Laukes in Tucson

Subject: Strawbs
From: Russell Mast <>
Date: Thu, 27 Jul 1995 11:19:08 -0500

> anyone ever made a strawberry mead?

Twice. They both had a rather strong "perfume" flavor, which I attribute in
part to something leeching in from the seeds, but I honestly don't know for

> Any advice?

Double the amount of strawberries you're considering putting in. Don't make
it dry, make it a little sweet. Don't use any clarifying agent except for
patience. That's about it.

Oh, and drink a bit of it young and cloudy, and save some for later. I decided
I liked the early samples better than the later bottles. I'm saving some for
a several-year test. Expect a full report by the end of the century.

  • -R

Subject: Re: strawberries & brewers yeast
From: (brewing chemist Mitch)
Date: Thu, 27 Jul 1995 14:40:28 -0500 (CDT)

Joe Uknalis <> writes:

> anyone ever made a strawberry mead? Any advice?

I have done one. Hand picked 30 pounds for a 10 gallon batch last summer, and
bottled it 4 months ago. I believe (notes are at home) we used 24 lbs of honey,
light clover. Wyeast mead yeast was used, given to me by a friend and at the
time had never been used by myself.

To get to the point, the mead finished up too dry for my liking (did not know
how attenuative the yeast was), but the important note to make was the
excessive tannic quality to it, due to all of the strawberry seeds. I cut off
the tops and quartered the berries (1/3 to primary, 2/3 to secondary as usual).
It is starting to mellow and blend, but I have not been overly thrilled with


Next time I will use only a small proportion of whole fruit (for nutrients)
and the majority of it will just be the juice.

My opinion: press the berries and use the juice, not the whole fruit.

Just a data point,



  • – Mitch Gelly — owner/brewmaster of the ManOwaR nano-Brewery

software QA specialist, unix systems administrator, Usenet admin,
zymurgist, BJCP beer judge, president of the Madison Homebrewers


Subject: Mead: Watery Taste
From: "Craig Jones. 5099" <>
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 1995 09:06:00 +1000


  • –Boundary (ID q3VvtfZMzTUNndGmq5q0Fw)




  • –Boundary (ID q3VvtfZMzTUNndGmq5q0Fw)

MIME-version: 1.0
Content-type: MESSAGE/RFC822


Date: Fri, 28 Jul 1995 08:59:00 +1000
From: "Craig Jones. 5099" <>
Subject: Mead: Watery Taste

MIME-version: 1.0
Posting-date: Fri, 28 Jul 1995 09:06:00 +1000
Importance: normal
A1-type: MAIL

I have had a mead bubbling away now for SIX weeks (about 1 Glub a minute). I
used 6kg of Yellow Box Eucalyptus Honey, 300ml of lime juice, a little tannin,
yeast nutrient and champaigne yeast and made this up to 15 liters.

Now here's the problem…The brew is almost 1.0sg, doesn't taste very alcoholic
and tastes watery (although the flavour is heavenly). I've made many other
meads and have never encountered this problem before, in fact most of my meads
end up too strong in flavour and robustness.

Any Idea what I am doing wrong?

Craig Jones.


  • –Boundary (ID q3VvtfZMzTUNndGmq5q0Fw)–


Subject: Oxidation?
From: Ralph Snel <>
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 95 5:56:46 METDST

A few years ago I made a lot of mead. I didn't have a cellar then, and
the only place I could store that much mead was on an attic. I drank some
of the mead and put a few gallons away for later reference. One of the
bottles had a rubber stopper, and during one summer it got really hot,
and the stopper popped off. So here I had this bottle with 5 liters of
mead, somewhere over 12% alcohol, standing on a warm attic with all the
oxygen it wanted. I found the bottle a few months later, with the stopper
lying next to it.
Oh well, vinegar, I thought. Nope. It actually tasted pretty ok. Different,
but definitely not bad. So I put the stopper on and let the bottle stand
for another few years. I recently got this bottle in my new 130 year
old cellar, and after it had been standing there for a few months
I got round to tasting it. It really was _amazingly_ delicious! Not at
all like a mead, more like some kind of old cognac, but sweet. I'm no
expert at wines, but I do know that mead is not supposed to taste like
this (especially compared to some of my other meads, that are very good
according to my friends).
This mead was very smooth, clearly oxidized, (but like a sherry), and had
a very distinct vanilla flavour. I didn't add any spices, nor did I age
it on wood.

Just thought I'd share it with you (the information that is, not the
mead 🙂

Now let's see how this one tastes after a few more years…


Ralph Snel

Subject: Stuck Fermentations/Sulphites/Apricots (fwd)
From: "JOHN A. JR. CARLSON " <>
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 1995 11:20:32 -0600 (MDT)

Dieter writes:


> So, we went ahead and bubbled seven liters of oxygen through each of
> the five gallon carboys (well, two fives and one 4 3/4, now). I'll
> send out another update in a week or two, once I know whether or not
> the yeast will be waking back up.

If you bothered to add oxygen, why did'nt you add some more yeast?
I had six gallons of traditional (Lalvin D-47) that stopped on me after
dropping about 70 points. It was still way too sweet (1.090) so I built
up a starter with an additional 20 grams D-47 and added it to the
carboy. It now appears that fermentation has restarted, hopefully any
off flavors will be minimal or below threshold.

> One other thing we did was add about a teaspoon of yeast nutrient to
> each carboy. Couldn't hurt, and will probably help.


The nutrient may help, but I tend to stay away from it due to the vitamin
taste it imparts to the mead. This will mellow over time.

John DeCarlo writes:

> How prevalent is the use of sulphites in mead making nowadays? From my
> reading and following this digest and making meads and talking to people, I
> sort of got the idea that the current view is to not use sulphites.


I never use them and feel they are unnecessary to make mead.
I heat my honey and then pitch a healthy yeast starter.

Meads can cause enough headaches on their own, so why increase the risk
for those alergic to sulphites.

> On the positive side, sulphites do what? Slow down yeast? >
> Whether you boil or not, heat to pasteurize or not, is there *any* good reason
> to use sulphites?

I have considered using sulphites in those batches of mead that refuse to
die so as to stop the fermentation at the desired time. But to date I have
not tried this.

Kevin Schutz writes:

> When selecting apricots for meads, is it better to go for sweetness or tartnes


> in the flavor? This morning, I sampled all sources available to me at the
> Farmer's Market and the two most interesting sources were either very sweet
> or very tart. Both had what I would call good flavor and were of the approx.
> same maturity, just different varieties.

I would go 50% 50% and see what happens. I have used Apricots several
times and have differing results. I have a Apricot-Ginger mead in the
carboy that is almost ready for bottling and shows some real complexity.

> Also, what about the fruit's firmness of flesh? I believe someone (Dick Dunn?


> posted earlier that apricots were generally messy anyway. Does the initial
> firmness really matter much? I generally freeze my fruits before using them
> anyway.

I found it best to process the apricot when they were really soft and
flavorful. I put the apricot in boiling water for one minute and the
skin just falls off. Then remove the seed and put the mush and juice
into a container and freeze until you are ready to make mead.

I have a question regarding the appropriate PH level one should look for
in a finished mead. Some of the feedback I got from the Mazer said I
should increase the acid balance. I had made an effort to concentrate on
more honey character and maybe went too far on the sweet side of things.
I have not tested for PH in the past but am thinking of doing so in the
future. Any ideas? Are folks just using PH paper or the fancy digital
PH meters? Are their any magic PH numbers to try and hit for that
perfect sweet-sour balance or does it all depend on the individual batch
in question. Any thoughts would be welcome re how much acid is good and
how much is bad.


John Carlson

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #421, 26 July 1995
From: Robert Wenzlaff <>
Date: Sun, 30 Jul 1995 12:23:08 -0400 (EDT)

On 26 Jul 1995 wrote:

> From: Joe Uknalis <>
> Date: Tue, 25 Jul 1995 10:17:27 -0400 (EDT)


> I feed my cats "brewers yeast" (debittered) occasionally, would this be a good

> substitue for wine yeast nutrient (which is reported to leave a metallic
> taste)?
> Are what rate per gallon?


'Yeast Ghosts' are an excellent nuitrient. Adding health store brewer's
yeast will probably provide some nuitrient value, but the "Yeast Hulls"
that can be purchased (or ordered) from your local brew store are much
better. They are ultrasonicly shattered into pieces small enough for
other yeasts to eat.

Seeing that cats and humans are, in scientific

terms, BIGGER than yeasts, I doubt the same has been
done to our yeast ghosts.


Rate isn't overly important since execss will settle and be

left behind after racking. Start with 2-3 tsp. per gallon, and add
if the fermentation gets stuck.


Robert Wenzlaff


"But lucky for us, science is full of crackpots willing
to pick up on the mistakes of others. . . "

  • James Burke, Connections 2.


Subject: Re: brewer's yeast
From: (Joyce Miller)
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 1995 12:47:16 -0400

>I feed my cats "brewers yeast" (debittered) occasionally, would this be a good
>substitue for wine yeast nutrient (which is reported to leave a metallic
>Are what rate per gallon?

2 tablespoons per gallon. Just toss it in the boil/pasteurization. I use
powedered yeast extract from the local health food store.


  • — Joyce


End of Mead Lover's Digest #422