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Mead Lover's Digest #0452 Thu 18 January 1996

 

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

 

Contents:

sad news – Susanne Price d. 1996 (Mead Lover's Digest)
Any ideas on Chocolate mead? ("Geoffrey J. Schaller")
Re: Mead Flavors, commercial meads (Robert Alexander)
Bad News (Michael L. Hall)
trad. mead w/reisling yeast pooped ("Frank J. Leers")
article submitted to the club newsletter (Richard Webb)
More strawberry flavor (Ted Major)
What would YOU do? (Jacob Galley)
Hops in Braggot (Fred Hardy)
Peach Melomel Recipe (ssoisson@mail.erols.com)
Alcohol Tolerance in Yeast (Murphy, Jennie)
Tx. Commercial Meads (Sylverre Polhemus)
yeast reincarnation (the yeast within…) (lprescot@sover.net)
Acidity & Sweetness (David martin)
lemon melomel recipe? fermentation timing? ("Robin S. Martinez")
Stopping fermentation (ED IACIOFANO)

 

Folks: Sorry for the delay in this issue…I was hoping to have something
more to add for the first article.

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Subject: sad news - Susanne Price d. 1996
From: mead@raven.eklektix.com (Mead Lover's Digest)
Date: 10 Jan 96 11:01:38 MST (Wed)


We have some sad news: Susanne Price was killed in a car accident in New
Mexico in the first week of 1996.

Susanne took over leadership of the American Mead Association from Pamela
Spence around 1993 and was responsible for most of the recent rejuvenation
and building-up of the AMA into an active organization for meadmakers. She
continued as editor of the AMA journal _Inside_Mead_. It's fair to say
that without Susanne's work over the past several years, the AMA would
still be relatively unknown, and we'd all be a lot poorer for it. She was
a seemingly tireless promoter of mead in the US in any way she could find.

Dick Dunn, Digest Janitor Boulder, Colorado USA
Mead-Lover's Digest mead-request@talisman.com


Subject: Any ideas on Chocolate mead?
From: "Geoffrey J. Schaller" <drake@philadelphia.libertynet.org>
Date: Sat, 06 Jan 1996 20:41:19 -0500


I had just finished starting a Melomel, and was in a snacking frame of mind.
Once I set the primary in a safe place, I went to the kitchen and got a
chocolate bar from the candy jar. Then it hit me…

Anyone have any idea on how to make a Chocolate mead? Or if it would be any
good? (I know tastes vary, but I wanted to run the idea past some more
experienced people first :). The biggest question would be how to get the
Coco flavor in – I assume you don't add Hershey bars to the carboy! 🙂
Beans, powder, extract?

Oh – the Melomel I started, for the record…

Geoff's Berry Melomel (5 gallon batch)

10 lbs Clover Honey (2 lbs. per Gal. total)
7 lbs Acme Sliced Frozen Strawberries WITH SUGAR ADDED
3 lbs Frozen Blueberries (for 2 lbs. per Gal. total)
Juice of 2.5 Lemons (From Minute Maid Lemon Juice Concentrate: 5 Tbs (.5 per
Gal. total)
Wyeast Liquid Sweet Mead yeast
1 Tbs Yeast Nutrient
5 Yeast Energizer tablets

Boil 3 Gal. tap water. Put Honey in primary bucket. Put frozen fruit in a
BrewBag, put in bucket with Honey. Add boiling Water on top – add water to
make 5 Gal. (Adjusting for friut). Let cool, pitch yeast.

My theory for the Lemon Juice was two-fold: 1) Acid, and 2) My mom used to
use Lemon Juice on fruit to preserve the freshness – apple slices would not
brown if left out, etc. I loved the taste! So a bit of juice should give
it some zip.

I used frozen fruit because it is supposed to release the juices easier. I
dind't notice the Strawberries had extra sugar until I opened them – I
dind't read the package close enough. I think it is for the better – my
past experience with Wyeast Sweet Mead was that it devoured 10 lbs. honey in
a 5 gallon batch leaving a dry mead, but I wanted something sweeter.

Initial Gravity of this batch was approx 1.080, but that may not accout for
the sugars in the fruit.

I don't like boiling honey (after it boiled over one time, and it was a
MESS!), so I add it to the Homey, and let it cool naturally. That should
kill off any bad stuff in the ingredients, and doesn't involve boiling the
honey directly.

I just racked it to the Secondary (5 Gal. glass carboy)after 2 weeks in the
Primary – if nothing else, it looks pretty. Smells nice, too. I HIGHLY
RECOMMEND A BREW BAG – 2 week old fruit is a MESS when you try and rack! 🙁

Happy New Year!

Geoffrey "Gofe" Schaller "Laugh, and the world laughs with you
drake@libertynet.org Weep, and you weep alone.
1831 Canterbury Road For the sad old Earth
Abington, PA 19001 Must borrow its mirth
(215) 886-7999 But has troubles enough of its own."
http://www.libertynet.org/~drake/


Subject: Re: Mead Flavors, commercial meads
From: ra@ftn.net (Robert Alexander)
Date: Sun, 7 Jan 1996 16:45:17 -0500


In the last digest, #451, tnickel@connectnet.com (Tom Nickel) talked about
flavour standards for mead, and asked:

>If anyone has or would like to
>forward info and comments on commercial meads, these would also be helpful.

Here in Ontario there are three commercially made meads available, that I
know of.

_Moniack Mead_ made by Highland Wineries at Moniack Castle, Inverness,
Scotland. This is listed at the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario)
under number 987263, $12.65, 750ml, 14.6% alc.

This is, IMHO, a simply spectacular mead; and my favourite sweet

mead. This nectar is more like a liqueur than a wine. Full-, almost
heavy-bodied, a deep amber-brown colour, with a very pronounced and
luscious nose; not only a strong honey aroma, but you can sense past that
to the flowers themselves that the industrious bees used to make the honey.
(What does 'bouquet' mean after all. <G> ) Often I serve this mead where I
would otherwise serve a sherry, port, or liqueur. The usual response from
friends on first tasting this mead is 'Wow!' I'd rate this mead in the
90's. This one establishes the standard that I aspire to in my sweet meads.

Don't know specifically how it's made, but I suspect they use

heather honey and age in oak. Even though my distant family background is
Scottish, my main reason for wanting to go to Scotland would be to take a
tour at Moniack Castle. 🙂

_Chaucer's Mead_ is made by Bargetto Winery in Soquel, California. LCBO
#703843, $12.80, 750ml, 11% alc.

Chaucer's is very different from Moniack, but still a very good

mead. Very pale in colour, lighter than a chardonnay. Sweet, but not quite
as much as the Moniack. In colour, nose, taste, and overall presentation it
is very much like an Icewine. (At a fraction of the price!) It even has a
bit of muskiness in the nose that's very similar to botrytis.

We get quite a few Icewines here–the Southern-Ontario/Niagara

Peninsula area being one of the few places (with Alsace and Germany) with
just the right climate for their production. If you've never tasted an
Icewine, you really should. They can be fabulous. Rich, complex, intensly
flavourful. Because of the incredibly labour-intensive process required to
make them, they tend to be quite expensive; in the range of $40-$50 per
split (375ml bottle).

Anyway, Chaucer's compares favourably to an Icewine. I'd give it an

85. If you like good German wines (Auslesen, Beerenauslesen), you'll like
this.

_Ancient Mead_ by London Winery Limited, London, Ontario. LCBO #333484,
$15.75, 375ml, 15.5% alc.

Hmm, costs more than the others, and for a half bottle at that.

Must be a better mead… Don't be fooled, it's all packaging and marketing.
Here's a little story: London's Ancient Mead was the first mead I ever
tasted, back in the mid 80s. A friend of mine, for a laugh, brought over a
bottle to go along with a medaeval fantasy game we were playing. At that
time it was packaged in a 750ml flat PLASTIC bottle, and cost about $5. (I
_think_ we can see the market it was aimed at. <G> ) Needless to say, it
was nothing special. When I started making mead a few years back, I looked
to see if it was still on the shelves. I couldn't find it and was told that
London no longer made it. In the mean time, Ontario Icewines (and, by
extension, other sweet wines) had experienced a rapid increase in
popularity. Producers still can't meet demand–a successful Icewine is a
combination of skill, effort, and luck–and a year's production tends to be
sold out before it hits the stores. Lo and behold, Ancient Mead hits the
stands again, tarted up in a sexy new half bottle that looks like an
Icewine, and with a relatively high price. Unfortunately, sigh, it's still
the same old plonk. I don't think they've changed the recipe at all. To be
avoided, except as an example of how poor a mead can be and still sell. I'd
give it a 50. BTW, my first homemade mead was better, IMO.

I don't know of any commercial melomels or metheglins, but if anyone does,
I'd love to hear about them.

Happy meading! Best,
Robert Alexander

"The Centauri learned this lesson once.
We will teach it to them again.
Though it take a thousand years.
We will be free."

  • G'Kar, leader of the Narns, last of the Ka'Rri. <*>


Subject: Bad News
From: hall@galt.c3.lanl.gov (Michael L. Hall)
Date: Sun, 7 Jan 96 21:32:41 MST


I am deeply sorry to report the news that Susanne Price is dead. She was in
an automobile accident in New Mexico sometime during the last couple of days
(today is 1/7/96). Funeral services are to be held in the Chicago area, in
a day or so.

Susanne was the editor of _Inside Mead_ and _The Meadmaker's Journal_, which
are publications of the American Mead Association. As far as I know, Susanne
practically *was* the American Mead Association (although I know she got a lot
of help from Julian Strekal and probably others). The mead community has lost
a great supporter, and those who knew her have lost a great friend.

I got the above information third-hand from the judging organizer for the
Ambrosia Adventure, which is to be held this Saturday in Denver. There will
be a memorial service of some kind for Susanne on Sunday, details at the
judging on Saturday. This is all the information that I know.

  • -Mike

Subject: trad. mead w/reisling yeast pooped
From: "Frank J. Leers" <dpcfjl@mainruis.sannet.gov>
Date: Mon, 08 Jan 1996 14:05:39 -0800


I made a traditional mead back in september with an og of right
around 1.145, on the high side I know. Used buckwheat honey and
just breifly pasturized honey w/ water. Used about 50 ml
slurry of a reisling yeast strain in starter form. The reisling
yeast has pooped out at about 1.076 – is still feebly producing
co2, but no drop in gravity for a few weeks.

I have a starter of champ. yeqast ready to finish the job, and I
remember reading here about a procedure to add small amounts of
the must/mead to the starter over time so as to not overwhelm
the yeast. Does anyone have experience with this procedure?
Please fill me in if so. Will the champagne yeast be shocked if
I add the must all at once?

I still have some 30lbs of the buckwheat honey – any ideas on a
melomel/meth with this stuff?

The 2 ciders are looking nice, I did a cranberry cider and a new
england style (i think) the cranberry is a nice ping with a good
kick of acidity fro the berries. I just completed the final
racking onto dried cranberries and topped w/cider. The n.e. had
a ginger,cinnamon,and cloves – its yummy already…racked it
onto raisins.

thanks for the advice

  • -frank

Subject: article submitted to the club newsletter
From: Richard Webb <rbw1271@husky.ca.boeing.com>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 1996 14:09:45 -0800

I've written the following article for submission to my brew clubs (yes, plural.
..!),
and I would appreciate any comments, critique, and criticism you may have on wha
t
I've written. If you don't want to wait until I make corrections to the original
text, feel free to use this article as it is now, or be safe, and ask me in a co
uple
of weeks, plenty of time for me to make the corrections that I expect to see fro
m
submitting it to this august body!

Thanks in advance!
Rich Webb

Making Magic: Brewing Mead, by Rich Webb, Mead and brewing Deity

With the AHA club only mead competition coming up in August (note: the Alers
competition will probably happen sometime in July), it's almost too late to
think about making mead. However, with the tips that I'll give here, maybe
your young mead will be just special enough to walk away with all the marbles
come July…

At it's most simple, mead is a fermented beverage that uses honey as its primary

source of sugar. (This compares most favorably with wine, where the grapes
supply a ready source of sugar, and most unfavorably with beer or sake, where
the sugars come from starch in grain which is transformed into sugar by enzymes

or mold cultures.) Because the sugar is readily available, making mead is much
easier to make than beer, but slightly more difficult to make than wine. There
is no need to spend the entire day mashing grain, nor is there any need to
spend an hour or more in a full boil as with beer. Honey also mixes well with
other juices and sugar sources, and so leads to a great variety of fermentation
experiments. One of the favorite of these are the various fruits, with strawberr
ies
leading the list. (One of the best strawberry meads that I've ever had was
made by our own Overlord Don Johnson) I've also made meads with blueberry,
raspberry, apple, cherries, wine grape juice, chili peppers, spices, and malt
sugars. I've had no small measure of success with several of these, and I have
the ribbons and trophies to prove it.

A typical 5 gallon batch of mead starts with a gallon of honey. This will typica
lly
run about $17-20, depending on the source. (Remember, it takes over 2 million
trips by a bee to a flower and back to the hive for each pound of honey, so
don't expect this stuff to come cheep!) This much honey in this much water
will yield a fermentable liquid (called "must" like beer is called "wort")
with a starting gravity of about 1.080. Adjust this up or down depending on
what you are trying to achieve. The higher gravities lead to a more wine-like
drink, while lighter gravities can seem more like champagne, or alcoholic soda
pop in the extreme.

As a process, start with the water. Bring your 4.5 or so gallons of water up
to a steady, rolling boil. Because honey does not have sufficient nutrients
to enable yeast to undergo a vigorous and healthy ferment, put perhaps 1 tsp
of yeast nutrient, or 3 tsp of yeast energizer (follow package directions,
but err on the side of less is better) into the vigorous boil. You will also
find that the sweetness of the mead requires the sour tartness of some sort
of acid in order to balance it out. I've added from 1 to 3 tsp of acid blend,
grape tannin, citric acid, or a combination thereof to this rapid boil. However,

the fermentation will be more vigorous if you wait until after fermentation
to add the acid. It is also easier to blend the acid to your taste if you wait
until after the fermentation. Your choice. Pour the honey into this hot bath,
and turn off the heat. Cover the must and hold this temperature for a while.
You can imagine that during those 24 million trips the bees made to gather
the nectar to make the honey, that somewhere along the line, some sort of contam
ination
managed to get into the honey. In fact, honey is actually well contaminated
with bacteria, fungus, spores, bee parts, protein, and God knows what else,
so steep the must at pasteurization temperatures for as long as half an hour,
but for at least 15 minutes. Instead of steeping, you may choose to boil your
honey for a while. This will make your final mead much clearer, but the penalty
you pay will be a reduced (or non-existent) honey aroma profile: you will have
boiled it all away. However, you can take the opportunity to boil and add Irish
Moss. A white to yellow scum will rise to the top of the boil. Use a skimming
spoon to remove this from the boil. Using some sort of heat exchanger, chill
the must as rapidly as possible, aerate, and add a healthy and vigorous yeast
starter.

Because mead is a rather high gravity ferment, good yeast techniques are more
important than in regular gravity beer ferments. This is good advice for all
brewing, but at higher gravities, make sure that you pitch a sufficient quantity

of yeast slurry. If in doubt, you aren't pitching enough. The more yeast cells
in your initial pitching, the faster and more complete your fermentation will
be. Same with aeration. If you can inject filtered atmosphere (or ultimately,
pure, medical quality oxygen), your yeast lag time (initial, reproductive)
phase of the ferment will be minimized, and a healthier fermentation will be
the result.

As far as yeast types go, I'd encourage experimentation. I've had excellent
luck with Red Star Pasteur Champagne yeast (in contrast with my comments in
the previous paragraph, I've often just chucked a package of dry yeast, right
out of the package, onto the cool must, shaken the hell out of it and then
let it go. We can't all be perfect all of the time!). Red Star Epernay is simila
r
(if not the same) as the Champagne. Lately, I've tried some of the more popular
Wyeast cultures, owing to their lower attenuation characteristics compared
to the more traditional wine yeasts. (I haven't tried this with any of the
lager strains, but that is on my list of things to do!) Using the wine yeasts
will result in a more alcoholic mead, and one that is less sweet. If you prefer
sweeter wines, then choose a yeast that will peter out at a lower alcohol tolera
nce.

Mead making does take longer than beer making. This is true for a couple of
reasons. First, it is a high gravity ferment, and by definition, this takes
longer than a lower gravity ferment. Second, an insufficient yeast population
is often used, resulting in an even longer ferment. Third, it is often true
that the fermentation is done, but you simply find yourself waiting for the
yeast and suspended protein to settle out of the liquid. (If you have some
sort of filtration system that will remove these floaters, your wait will be
proportionately shorter.) Finally, if you used too much yeast nutrient, it
will take longer for the harsh, metallic "off-flavors" from these salts and
chemicals to recede into background levels. If you used too little nutrient,
then the yeast in your ferment is running a marathon with the nutrition of
a candy bar. There simply isn't a healthy enough environment for the yeasts
pleasure.

Finally a note on adding fruits, spices, or herbs to your mead. It might be
best to have a vigorous initial ferment with just honey, then rack onto the
crushed and pulverized fruit. (Don't use a food processor or blender to liquify
the fruit: Aeration of the fruit will lead to oxidation of the alcohol, leading
to wet cardboard type aromas and tastes) If you're worried about the sanitation
of the fruit, heat it up to pasteurization temperatures, but no higher. The
pectin in the fruit may set, leading to a permanent haze floating in your mead.
It may also be wise to add spices, herbs, and chili peppers to taste, because
too much of a good thing can be quite overwhelming. If you add fruits or malt
sugars, you can cut down on the yeast nutrients, as these sources bring much
needed natural nutrition to the fermentation.


Subject: More strawberry flavor
From: Ted Major <tmajor@parallel.park.uga.edu>
Date: Tue, 9 Jan 1996 12:46:33 -0500 (EST)


Hi-
My wife and I have a Barkshack ginger mead that we made with 8 lbs of
strawberries in the primary. After aging for a year in a carboy, the
color is great, but the strawberry flavor is lacking. Does anyone know
of a source of natural strawberry flavoring that we could add at
bottling time? All we've seen is imitation strawberry flavoring,
which we'd like to avoid. Is adding strawberry extract at bottling a
viable option, or do we need to rack it onto fresh strawberries for
another fermentation?
Thanks for your help,
Tidmarsh Major
tmajor@parallel.park.uga.edu


Subject: What would YOU do?
From: Jacob Galley <jgalley@tezcat.com>
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 1996 10:08:19 -0600 (CST)


Hello, folks. I having trouble making a decision about what to do
with my half-fermented cyser. This is a 5-gallon batch made with 3
gallons of cider and, um, 5 lbs (?) of buckwheat honey. I pasturized
everything, but didn't boil. The origial gravity was 1.084. I
pitched a starter made from Brewer's Choice (aka Wyeast) London Ale
yeast.

After an initial vigorous fermentation, the gravity fell to about
1.060 in a month. At this point I racked the cyser and stored the
slurry in two beer bottles, for use in future starters. I put the
cyser in my basement at ~48^F. Then winter came, and the temperature
down there dropped to ~38^F. The yeast went dormant at about 1.050,
meaning that the alcohol content was ~4%. I remember someone in this
Digest warning that this concentration of sugars and alcohol was
precarious, the most likely time for a fermentation to get stuck.

Anyway, I brought the cyser up to my bathroom (avg. temp. ~62^F) to
see if the yeast would wake up on their own. In a month, the gravity
barely changed. So I cracked open one of those bottles of slurry,
made another starter, and pitched. I did not attempt to aerate the
cyser because I was worried that this would harm the flavor. (Is this
a valid concern?) Three weeks later, the gravity is 1.042.

Now what should I do? Should I move it back to a slightly cooler
closet, or to the cellar? Should I make another starter from the
second bottle of slurry, aerating the cyser this time? Is a slow
ferment inherently better or worse than a faster one?

Should I just leave it alone?

What would YOU do?

Jake.

Reinheitsgebot <– "Keep your laws off my beer!" <– jgalley@tezcat.com


Subject: Hops in Braggot
From: Fred Hardy <fcmbh@access.digex.net>
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 1996 17:06:19 -0500 (EST)

I just read a rather long dissertation on judging meads, including style
guidelines, by Michael L. Hall. In it he espouses hops in braggot. IMO,
this indicates a lack of knowledge on his part, and a willingness to
accept what is entered in competitions as being representative of a style.

I agree that braggots entered into competition often (usually?) contain
hops. This should disqualify them in any American Homebrewers Association
competition (it does not), and I hope the AMA will see the light. Braggot
is a fermented drink made from honey and malt – Not honey, malt and hops.

Fermented drinks made with honey, malt and hops are called specialty
beers. Even if 90 percent of the fermentables are from honey it is still
a specialty beer. Braggot dates from pre-history in Britain, and probably
the Norse countries, and essentially dissappeared during the 15th
century. Hops did not become a common ingredient in malt-based brews
in Britain until the 17th century, and did not gain general acceptance
until around 1700.

Braggot is the result of adding enough honey to the second running of a
mash to raise the alcoholic level high enough to provide a preservative,
and to increase the market price. It happens that an adequate level is
around 1.075 gravity. Since malt derived sugars contain dextrines which
do not ferment, braggot will often have a final gravity around 1.012.

Original gravity from a second running of a malt mash will be around
1.040 to 1.045. Adding enough honey to get a final alcohol level to
preserve the beverage (8% ABV) will require honey to comprise at least
50% of fermentable sugars. This results in the rule-of-thumb requirement
of honey being 50%+ of fermentables in braggot. It is not an arbitrary
number, it is historically accurate, and results from Medieval brewing
practices and economics.

Further study reveals that braggot was probably spiced. Everything was in
the Middle Ages, primarily for medicinal reasons. Cinnamon, for example,
was prized as a medicine for long life in Britain, and cloves, nutmeg and
ginger surely found their way into beers, wine and braggot.

Mr. Hall distinguishes between Standard Mead (made with neutral honey)
and Varietal Honey Mead made with a one-flower honey. It seems odd that
he cannot distinguish between beer and braggot. The AHA guidelines for
braggot state that the International Bittering Units (IBUs) of braggot
should be "zero." IBUs are a measure of the dissolved isomerized hop acids
in the beverage. The only way to have "zero" IBUs is to have no hops.

Let us judges judge braggot in the mead category, and beer in the beer
category. "Mable, hold the hops!"

Cheers,

Fred Hardy
BJCP National Judge
Homebrewer, mead maker and history buff


We must invent the future, else it will | <Fred Hardy>
happen to us and we will not like it. |
[Stafford Beer, "Platform for Change"] | email: fcmbh@access.digex.net


Subject: Peach Melomel Recipe
From: ssoisson@mail.erols.com
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 1996 16:45:23 -0500


I have 6 quarts of frozen peeled, pitted and sliced peaches. Looking for a
good peach melomel recipe to cook up a 1 gallon batch. Thanks!

Steve Soisson
ssoisson@erols.com


Subject: Alcohol Tolerance in Yeast
From: jmurphy@dulles.attmail.com (Murphy, Jennie)
Date: Tue, 16 Jan 1996 15:24:00 -0500


>From MLD #451

>Subject: RE: MLD #450
>From: sobol@ofps.ucar.EDU (Rebecca Sobol)
>Date: Fri, 29 Dec 1995 12:34:31 -0700 (MST)
>

>more of. We use about 2 pounds of honey per gallon in most of our meads.
If
>you use more honey and a very high tolerance yeast you might end up with
>something very dry, but it will take a very long time (years) to age. If
>you use a yeast that is less alcolhol tolerant your mead will be sweeter.
Use

My question is, how can you tell how "alcohol tolerant" your yeast is? I am
an untried beginner, and am interested in a sweet still mead. What yeast
would be less "alcohol tolerant?"

AtDhVaAnNkCsE,
Jennie Murphy


Subject: Tx. Commercial Meads
From: Sylverre Polhemus <sylverre@tyche.lib.utexas.edu>
Date: Tue, 16 Jan 1996 15:48:07 -0500 (CDT)

Someone recently posted a request for commercial meads available

in Texas — Chaucer's is widely available in Austin. Their 'meade'
tastes a lot like a traditional quick mead, though too sulfited for my
tastes. Their melomels, which are billed as wines with honey, or some
such legal nonsense, taste a lot like homebrew from a gifted but
inexperienced meadmaker 🙂 They're cloudy, though not bad if decanted.

Of course, you could always just make a small batch, or find a

friend to, or go to one of the local Rennaisance Faires (Waxahachie,
Magnolia, Austin, Smithsville) and buy a tankard. . .

In any case, enjoy

Sylverre@tyche.lib.utexas.edu

who has just popped a taste-test bottle of Loquat Libation, just short of
a year old, and is losing the willpower to let the stuff age the five
years she had intended. . .


Subject: yeast reincarnation (the yeast within...)
From: lprescot@sover.net
Date: Tue, 16 Jan 1996 18:33:04 -0500


Regarding the necessity of patience and aging in the carboy, I thought I'd
send along an anecdote:

The mead was a lemon-ginger with 15 lb.s of honey in five gallons of water- a
recipe after Sir Kenelme Digbie. Gravity was 1.092 I pitched the yeast (Red
Star Premier Cuvee, 10 grams) on October 29, 1995. It took off with a BANG,
and by November 23 was down to 1.009. I racked and it cleared almost
instantly, so I racked again on December 5th, 1995. By then the gravity was
down to 1.002. This concerned me- this yeast usually goes well below that, so
I added a teaspoon of nutrient, as per what I've read in the MLD. Nothing. I
didn't worry about it for a while- the mead wass brilliantly clear, utterly
and incomparably delicious, so I let it age. Then this weekend, on January 18,
the mead started up again out of the blue- about a bubble through the Vinamat
per minute! No activity for six weeks and now this, which would have surely
sent corks and mead all over the closet if I'd been impatient.

I've made a dozen or so batches of mead, and many more of various wines and
beers these past few years, and I've never seen this. I can only attribute it
to the fact that my wife is on maternity leave and therefore the temperature
is a little more constant throughout the day (albeit with a woodstove, which
can still fluctuate).

Anyway, I thought I'd pass this one along

David Prescott, Shaftsbury, Vermont

lprescot@sover.net


Subject: Acidity & Sweetness
From: dmartin@magna.com.au (David martin)
Date: Wed, 17 Jan 1996 21:19:27 +1100


Hi all

I have been reading the journal on and off for a few years now, and

have been brewing mead for about the same time. For various reasons (like
moving house) I started a few batches of mead about 18 months ago and got to
the stage of racking them into the secondary. They then got packed for the
move and i've only just uncovered them, neglected in the garage (pretty
slack aren't I ;-).

The first is a traditional mead, it is VERY sweet (It was my first

ever and I think the yeast I was sold was a bit suspect… it pooped out
very early). It will make a good desert mead unless i decide to try to dry
it out a bit… what would you people recomend for a drying out method? Add
more yeast and give it another go?

The second was an attempt at en elderflower & peach memomel. It is

VERY VERY VERY acid. I tasted a bit recently and my front teeth nearly
disolved :-). I think I made the elderflower tea much too strong (either
that or I mistook teaspoons for tablespoons when adding acid blend :-). What
would you recommend for sweetning it up? Add more honey? I'm not even sure
that sweetning it will counter the acid. What I really need is a way of
removing the acid. I was thinking of adding some bicarb soda to it to
neutralise it (I know that this may make the mead undrinkable but what the
heck… it's undrinkable now). Any suggestions?

Many Thanks
David Martin

Airgead Studio
Handcrafted Celtic Jewelery
dmartin@magna.com.au


Subject: lemon melomel recipe? fermentation timing?
From: "Robin S. Martinez" <zenitram@ix.netcom.com>
Date: Wed, 17 Jan 1996 14:24:54 -0800


I've just started my first two 5-gallon batches of mead a couple of weeks
ago. The first batch is made with a Missouri wildflower honey, and the
second batch is made with an equal mixture of the wildflower honey and a
very dark autumn honey. 1 gallon of honey was used in each batch, and I
used Premier Cuvee yeast. At this stage, both batches are actively fermenting.

My question is, at what stage do I rack the mead to a secondary fermenter?
After that, how long before I bottle it? My recipe said to rack to the
secondary carboy in about 3 months. Is this a good gauge?

On another note, I'm already thinking about my next batch of mead. I'd like
to try a melomel using lemons. Has anyone tried using lemons, or have a
recipe you'd like to share?

Thanks,
Robin Martinez … zenitram@ix.netcom.com


Subject: Stopping fermentation
From: iaciofano@leds.shr.tdh.qntm.com (ED IACIOFANO)
Date: Thu, 18 Jan 1996 13:36:09 -0500


Hi,

My last few attempts at a show mead have been pretty much a pleasant

success. The place where I've been having a problem though, is in stopping
the fermentation when I want to. I mix the honey, water and nutrients to
the desired origional gravity. Let it ferment and typically go past the final
gravity that I want by the time I am able to shut the yeast down. What I've
been doing is placing the carboys in my (really cold) gararge to let the yeast
settle and then rack, add stabilizer, let settle again, get irritated watching
the fermentation continue… I'll be out of luck when winter is over.

The two common methods (that I am aware of) to achieve desired final

gravity are to let ferment dry then add sweetener and stabilizer or to keep
adding fermentables until the yeast poops out. But I want mead, not jet fuel.

Does anybody know of an easy way to be able to ferment to desired final

gravity and then *stop*? I might try the method of ferment-until-dry-add-
stabilizer-and-sugar. I've been avoiding it because it involves extra
steps, but I guess if it works it'll end up being less steps than I end up
doing now. Has anybody had success with another method? Please don't tell
me I'll have to buy a fridge for this.

Thanks.


Regards,

/Ed_I



End of Mead Lover's Digest #452


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