Mead Lover's Digest #0473 Sun 14 April 1996


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



Re: Yeast nutrients (Chickengrrl)
Kai-der? (Fred Hardy)
Maine mead-makers (Steve Miller)
Mazer Cup '96 ("JOHN A. JR. CARLSON ")
White Floaters! (Douglas Thomas)
how much honey? (Pip Sullivan)
adjusting mead sweetness (Olson)
PLEASE watch the addresses (Mead Lover's Digest)
Re: ale yeast — another opinion (MATT MACINTIRE)
fusel alcohols (
55 Gallon Drums (!) ("Geoffrey J. Schaller")
Re: Pomegranate Juice (Rebecca Sobol)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #472, 8 April 1996 (


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Subject: Re: Yeast nutrients
From: Chickengrrl <>
Date: Mon, 08 Apr 1996 23:51 -0700 (PDT)


For a word on yeast nutrition, the ammonia phosphate called for

as a yeast nutrient is vital for growth and reproduction. The Nitrogen in
the ammonia molecule is used for gromth and forming new cells. Phosphate
is used in making energy (ADP->ATP) for the yeasts activities. I'm not
sure about vitamin B1 or Potassium. I only use ammonia phosphate and get
pretty good results(as long as I don't overdo the honey, assuming you
caught that thread).

Subject: Kai-der?
From: Fred Hardy <>
Date: Tue, 9 Apr 1996 07:48:26 -0400 (EDT)

Cyser is simply cider before there was availability of cheap sugar. If you
are comfortable pronouncing cider as kai-der, then cyser is kai-ser. BTW,
Webster's says cider is si-der. British spelling is cyser, presumably
pronounced the same way.

Now I'll go have a glass of each and enjoy the difference in flavors. The
apple crop in Va. was quite sweet in 1995, and a little malic acid in the
must made it near perfect.

Cheers, Fred

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:

Subject: Maine mead-makers
From: Steve Miller <>
Date: Tue, 9 Apr 1996 08:16:08 -0400

I have been getting Mead-lover's Digest for a month or two now and am, due
to press of events, no closer to making my own than I was. I am hopeful that

  • — come fall — I'll have a more resonable schedule. It would be helpful if

I could find mead-makers in Maine or nearby Canada or perhaps mead-tastings
in the area to help convince my wife (who LIKES mead) that we 1. have room
and 2. REALLY can make it ourselves…
Steve Miller
Steve Miller says: Visit The Authors of the Liaden Universe page email:

Subject: Mazer Cup '96
From: "JOHN A. JR. CARLSON " <>
Date: Tue, 9 Apr 1996 08:41:06 -0600 (MDT)

Has anybody seen info on the 1996 Mazer Cup yet?


  • –John

Subject: White Floaters!
From: Douglas Thomas <>
Date: Tue, 9 Apr 1996 08:00:27 -0700 (PDT)

Well, people writing to me got me thinking. Some thought these little
floaters (3-5mm long) we lactic bacteria, others thought they might be
mold. I grabbed some out with a pipette and took some into the local
brewshop (in business 20 years). He took one look and asked if I had
ever sloshed the secondary. I replie I had once when moving it. He
tells me that some yeast strains form small colonies that can take many
shapes. If some of those small colonies got stuck to the surface via,
being to light to sink, then they will continue to grow in a now calm
environment like little stalactytes. He said for my own expreience I
should culture one of these things, but I don't feel like doing it.
When I racked again I added a good dose of campden, and they still formed
again, and no off flavors.
This may all be b.s., but I have seen no harm by them and some of my own
reading indicates that some yeasts do "mat" up.
That's about all
Doug Thomas

Subject: how much honey?
From: Pip Sullivan <>
Date: Tue, 09 Apr 1996 22:00:00 GMT

I am a new brewer – most traditional mead recipies I have seen list 9
parts water to 1 part honey, but recently, an aquaintance mentioned
that he uses 3, 4, or 5lbs of honey per gallon, depending on ow sweet
he wants the mead. I prefer a dry to medium mead, but don't want to
end up with a 'too-watery' mead, or a hydromel (is that right?).

Can anyone offer me any enlightenment?


Pip Sullivan (Somerset, UK)

Subject: adjusting mead sweetness
From: (Olson)
Date: Tue, 9 Apr 96 20:05:58 MDT

In Mead Lover's Digest #470, Dale Swanston asks:
>In the past couple digests there have been a questions regarding
>controlling the final sweetness of the mead. I've been waiting hoping
>someone would reply, I'm very curious. I find my meads ferment out too
>dry (most of the sweetness is gone). What is the best way to control
>this? Via, initial gravity/yeast type (ie ale vs champagne say) or
>using a chemical wine makers use to stop fermentation or to keep adding
>honey to the fermenting mead until the yeast poops out leaving you with
>the desired sweetness.
>Can someone reply describing how they control their mead's sweetness.

There are several different ways to control the final sweetness of your
meads. Yeasts vary widely in their tolerance to alcohol. So if you want
a low alcohol sweet mead, you should use an ale or sweet mead yeast.

For normal alcohol strength meads, I use one yeast (Lalvin K1V-1116) and
vary the amount of honey that I add to get different amounts of sweetness.
I use this yeast because it is neutral in flavor and has been very
reliable for me.

An important thing to know is that not all of the honey needs to be added
at the beginning of the fermentation. In fact, it is a good idea NOT to
put all the honey in immediately. If the honey concentration is too high,
the osmotic pressure will inhibit the vigorous growth of the yeast.

What I have had very good luck with and what I recommend is to start all
meads with only about 2 pounds of honey per gallon of water. This gives
a starting gravity of 1.065 to 1.080, depending on your honey's water
content. With this amount of honey, the yeast easily gets a vigorous

After roughly two weeks of active fermentation, I add approximately a
half pound of honey per gallon. I pasteurize this undiluted honey in my
microwave oven for 20 minutes at 150 F. Since I have a temperature probe
for my microwave, this step is automatic and painless. I pour this hot
honey directly into my carboy and do not bother to stir the mead. Usually
lots of carbon dioxide bubbles are released that agitate the fermentation.
If the honey settles to the bottom, don't worry about it, the yeast
will eat it up. I have never racked a mead and found honey in the
bottom of a carboy.

Roughly every two weeks afterwards, I repeat this feeding process until
I am satisfied with the result. Of course, I check the specific gravity
every time before adding more honey. I usually check the pH and acidity
every other time, just to keep track of them. I don't make any corrections
for acidity until the fermentation is almost finished, unless the acid
balance is way off.

If the specific gravity hasn't changed significantly in two weeks, the
yeast may be reaching its alcohol tolerance and I stop and think about
what I want this mead to be, before I add any more honey. I may decide
not to add any more honey if it is too sweet for what I am aiming at.

At any of these testing/feeding steps, you may decide to kill off the
yeast with one of the available stabilizers. I recommend that you rack
the mead into a clean carboy and get the mead away from most of the
dead and inactive yeast before you add any stabilizer. If the mead is
at the final gravity that you want, then all you need is patience. If
is a bit too dry, you can add a little bit more honey.

If you don't use a stabilizer, when the active part of the fermentation
is finished, rack the mead to get it away from the accumulated yeast.
Then patiently wait for the aging process to smooth out your mead.

The process outlined here keeps the meadster actively involved in the
progress of his/her mead. Many people just want to get the mead started
and then forget about it until it is finished. You have to decide what
your own style is and do what feels right to you. There are many
variations to the fermentation process and most of them work just fine.

I hope that this has helped.

Sorry if these comments are late, but twice I've had this message bounce
back with "host unknown."

Gordon Olson

Subject: PLEASE watch the addresses
From: (Mead Lover's Digest)
Date: 9 Apr 96 21:05:24 MDT (Tue)

from the janitor…sorry about letting those "unsubscribe" requests plop
through in the last digest. Should have turned things off while I was
cleaning the filters.

Anyway, please watch the addresses. If you want to unsubscribe or change
your address, send to If you want to send an
article for the digest, send it to This convention
("list@address" _vs_ "list-request@address") is widespread; you might as
well learn it. If you forget, brief instructions are at the top of every
issue of the digest.

The effect of sending to the wrong address will not be what you intended
unless I happen to be in a mood where re-routing mis-addressed email is the
most entertaining thing I can think of to do!

Dick Dunn, Digest Janitor Boulder, Colorado USA
Mead-Lover's Digest

Subject: Re: ale yeast -- another opinion
Date: Wed, 10 Apr 96 00:53:00 -0400

In MLD #472 Matt Maples wrote:

MM >Well Dale here's my spin on the subject. I have tried using

>lower fermenting yeasts such as ale yeast but I did't like the
>flavor they imparted and I did'nt get very predictable ferment so
>I don't like to go that route.

Matt, my luck with ale yeasts has been very different…

I have had my best successes with Wyeast's (# 1056) American Ale
yeast and pretty cool fermentation temperatures of about 68 degrees
F. I became interested in trying this yeast when I heard that is
very clean fermenting. With Champagne yeasts I got nasty headaches.
When I pitched 16 to 24 oz. of very active starter of Wyeast 1056
(for 5 gals) I have reliably fermented out initial S.G of over 1.095
down to just below 1.000. If I ferment even cooler (at 62 deg F )
not all the sugar gets fermented and the final S.G ends up higher.
For me this yeast makes a mighty tasty melomel. And so far I don't
get those awful headaches anymore. So don't give up entirely on
those ale yeasts yet folks…but your mileage may vary…

then later in MLD # 472 John Mason wrote:

JM >Acton/Duncan doesn't mention urea at all. Could it be that it

>isn't appropriate for mead?

John, in their big book _Progressive_Winemaking_ Acton and
Duncan discuss yeast nutrients fairly extensively. Yeasts need
nitrogen as a nutrient. Some folks argue against adding any
nutrients to meads — often on the grounds that it is not a
traditional ingredient. Acton and Duncan recommend adding
nutrients like ammonium phosphate and urea to supply the nitrogen
that a Mead would probably be lacking. Those two guys throw in a
little of everything just to be sure — <g>. They add several
nutrients in addition to just the standard yeast nutrients. For me
this approach has worked well. I'm not concerned with authenticity.
I only want everything to ferment without any off flavors. I just
want to make mead that tastes good. It is interesting to me that in
grape musts all these nutrients are present in "correct" amounts. So
I don't feel that it is "wrong" to add them to a mead. But you
might be a traditionalist, so you have to make the call for yourself.

My own question is about sparkling Cyser:

I can (sort of) control the residual sweetness of my still meads.
But so far I haven't figured out how to make a sparkling Cyser that
has a slight residual sweetness. Sterile filtration is out — I'm too
cheap. And I don't really want to pasteurize. I tried Lactose and
or Glycerine without much success. I don't have the equipment
to force carbonate. Anybody know how to make a sparkling Cyser that
isn't too dry?

Matt MacIntire

Subject: fusel alcohols
Date: Wed, 10 Apr 1996 08:39:12 -0400 (EDT)

Hi all:

>From time to time I see references made to higher brewing temperatures
producing fusel alcohols. I've looked through various FAQ's to find out more
about these, but can find nothing…

Can someone explain, in layman's terms, what fusel alcohols are and what they
mean to a mead maker?


David Prescott, Shaftsbury, Vermont

Subject: 55 Gallon Drums (!)
From: "Geoffrey J. Schaller" <>
Date: Wed, 10 Apr 1996 17:28:02 -0400

While at work today, somebody brought down a sample 55-gallon drum used for
chemiacl shipping as a memento for their office.

Of course, the idea that popped into my head was "My, that's a lot of Mead…"

Althougth I doubt I'd ever do this, does anyone know the pros and cons for
such a container?

Possible problems:

Volume (55 gallons is a LOT – you'd have to make a big starter 🙂
Plastic contamination (never used for shipping, but will the plastic afect it?)
Oxidation (Will oxygen seep through the plastic?)
Racking – you'd need either 2 drums, or 11 5-gallon carboys!

Just a weird thought. Maybe someday I will entertain it if I ever get a
high enough demand.

Geoffrey "Gofe" Schaller "Laugh, and the world laughs with you 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."

Subject: Re: Pomegranate Juice
From: sobol@ofps.ucar.EDU (Rebecca Sobol)
Date: Fri, 12 Apr 1996 15:00:42 -0600 (MDT)

From: "Robert A. Tisdale" <> in MLD #472

I would be interested in the recipe for pomegranate mead.
I would also like to find out where to obtain some pomegranate juice.<<

When this subject came up a few digests ago we had a pomegranate mead
in the bottle, that hadn't been tasted since bottling. Since then my
brew partner and I made a point of trying this mead to see how it was
coming along. Here's our recipe.

  • -+-+-+-+-+-+-

Brew date: June 5, 1995
10 pounds raw alfalfa honey from Terry Dorsey (a local beekeeper).
5 t yeast nutrient
1 t gypsum
Eldorado Springs water – enough for 5 gallons
1 package Lalvin (EC-1118 we think) Yeast – started June 2 in honey water.
6 qts. R.W. Knudsen Pomegranate juice

Heat honey with water to almost boiling. Add gypsum and yeast nutrient.
Skim scum. Keep hot for about 10 minutes to pasturize. Add juice and let
sit covered (heat off) for 20 minutes. Cool, pour into carboy and add water
to make 5 gallons. Pitch yeast. Stir and store with blow-off tube.

Racked on July 7, 1995.
Hydrometer reading (8/2) = 0.995.
Hydrometer reading (10/12) = 0.995.

3/4 cup corn sugar boiled with 1 cup water. Pour liquid sugar into pail,
rack mead into pail and stir before bottling. Bottled October 12, 1995.

  • -+-+-+-+-+-+-

This mead still has a nice red color, but it's fading to orange. Good
pomegranate flavor comes through nicely. It's pretty dry and doesn't
really sparkle. Still has a bite that I associate with a young mead
that needs more aging. The last few sips from my glass tasted better
and more like pomegranates than the first few sips. Try a gourmet grocery
store, or possibly a middle-eastern grocery store for the pomegranate juice.

Rebecca Sobol * * Boulder, Colorado

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #472, 8 April 1996
Date: Sun, 14 Apr 1996 10:16:10 -0400

In a message dated 96-04-09 03:25:06 EDT, you write:

>Subject: Pronunciation
>From: (Kurt Schilling)
>Date: Fri, 5 Apr 96 09:28 EST
>Greetings all:
>I have a question that has been gnawing at me for the past few months. The
>questoin is what is the correct pronunciation of cyser? I have been
>pronouncing it with a hard "C" for years, i.e. "Kai-zer", but have heard a
>number of folks pronouncing it with a soft "C", i.e. "Sigh-zer". So, I put
>the question before the mead making collective to get an answer. Public or
>private responses are invited, and I will post a summary on the concensus.
>Kurt Schilling (

I say soft ' C' as in cider.

End of Mead Lover's Digest #473