Mead Lover's Digest #0531 Fri 24 January 1997


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



Preparations… (Daniel Gurzynski)
The continuing saga… ("Jon Grim")
Sanitation, heresy and dangerous solutions ("Steven W. Smith")
Off flavors and other questions (Nathan Moore)
vegemite = yeast extract ("Brander Roullett (Volt Computer)")
How to sweeten a melomel? (Terry Estrin)
adding Acid Blend in mead (Brett Donahue)
Re: Clarifying Meads (Peter Miller)
Re: Preparations… (Peter Miller)
juice concentraites (Dave Polaschek)
Wyeast Sweet Mead yeast (Brion Morrison)
coconut (
Blowoff (
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #530, 22 January 1997 (
honey prices (Unlisted)


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Subject: Preparations...
From: Daniel Gurzynski <>
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 1997 07:16:43 -0500


While I'm sure that there are people who have great luck with using

Camden tablets to sterilize must for mead, I personally know of no one
who has. My experience has been that you get a very nasty sulphurous
quality that almost refuses to age out. It may be due to the lack of
acidity in most mead musts as compared to wine musts although I'm not
sure. As well as the sulphurousness, some people have various alergies
to sulphates. Just my 2 cents. Good Luck.

History is nothing but a pack of tricks we play upon the dead.

  • —Voltaire

Subject: The continuing saga...
From: "Jon Grim" <>
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 97 11:00:01 CST

Fellow meaders,

I am about 6 months out on 2 15#, 5 gallon batches…

I took a specific gravity last night:

Champagne Yeast batch
pH 3.35
Sweet Mead Yeast batch
pH 3.46

So, how much does the pH need to be altered to ensure lively continued
fermentation (if at all)?

How much (and what…) should I add to alter the pH?


private email is fine…

Jon Grim
MD/PhD Student
UAB Dept of Gene Therapy
"You can't win friends with salad"

Subject: Sanitation, heresy and dangerous solutions
From: "Steven W. Smith" <>
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 1997 10:45:14 -0700 (MST)

Just had the urge to de-lurk, spew some anecdotes and ask a question.

First, sanitation. I've found that basic (even lax) sanitation (rinse out
dust and bugs) coupled with good intentions will suffice. That is: no
chemicals (campden, bleach, iodaphor or whatever), no boiling or heating
(drives off "volatile aroma chemical thingies" [tech. term]), just mix honey
with warm water, add yeast. When adding fruit after the primary fermentation,
I wash it and usually freeze it, but no pasteurizing or chemical warfare. A
couple other nonstandard methods that I like to advocate:

1, ferment at ale temps (50s to low 60s) rather than the 80-ish range.

My experience is that there's no "cooling off period" of 6 months to years
required if you don't provoke your yeast to generate nasty byproducts (fusel
alcohols, etc.).

2, I get a much faster fermentation if I add the honey gradually, starting

with a rather thin must. I suppose you could consider it building a big yeast
starter. I first tried this after making a 5 gallon mead with 15 pounds of
honey. I pitched a decent yeast starter and _nothing_ happened for nearly
a month, not a bubble. I added a bunch of fruit – it sat in the kitchen for a
couple more weeks as if preserved in formaldehyde. The yeast eventually got
aclimated and slowly took off. It was a rather graphic demonstration of
honey's antiseptic properties 🙂

I certainly didn't originate these techniques, but they've served me

extraordinarily well. BTW, If you attempt to brew _beer_ with similar
sanitation you'd best be into P-lambics (that is, your wort will be a nasty
infection waiting to happen).

One question and I'll shut up and go away for a few more years 😉

I'm rather fond of commercial beverages such as Drambuie (sp?), Irish Mist,
Gran Marnier, Apfelkorn (sp again), etc. It occurred to me that a blueberry
mead (insert correct archaic beverage name) I've got could be formidable
competition for the aforementioned pricey liquors. Would Everclear be an
appropriate booster? Anyone have an outstanding success story with such an
abomination? TIA

_,_/| Steven W. Smith
\o.O; Systems Programmer, but not a Licensed Therapist

=(___)= Glendale Community College. Glendale Az.

U or

"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down?
We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." Jack Handy

Subject: Off flavors and other questions
From: Nathan Moore <moorent@bechtel.Colorado.EDU>
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 1997 10:47:13 -0700 (MST)

I am new to this mead thing and have a few questions, mainly

concerning what might give me off flavors.

Will any of the following give me off flavors. If they do how severe

would they be and will the disappear with age.

1) Yeast Nutrients
2) Yeast Extract
3) Pectin(sp?) enzyme
4) Sparcaloid or other clarifiers

Also, has anyone tried using yeast from a primary fermentation of one

mead to pitch a second. I know this is common for beer but don't know
about mead. I just bought 24 lbs of orange honey and plan on doing two
batches. The first will be a 2.5 gal show mead pitched with lavalin from
a starter and the second will be a 5 gal melomel pitched on the yeast from
the primary fermentation of the show mead. If this sounds like a problem
please tell me.

TIA and I can't wait to share the results.
Nathan Moore
Denver, CO

Subject: vegemite = yeast extract
From: "Brander Roullett (Volt Computer)" <>
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 1997 10:14:42 -0800

>Vegemite (concentrated yeast extract)
>Ingredients: Yeast Extract, Salt, Mineral
>Salt (508, 509), Malt Extract, Natural C-
>olour (150), Vegetable Extract, Ribofla-
>vin, Niacin.
>I love my Vegemite
>and just how do you use Vegemite? in brewing meads?

well you can acutally use it instead of yeast nutrient

and how would you use it? what proportions, etc. and does the salts,
etc affect flavor?

Brander Roullett(a-branro) aka Badger

For a quart of ale is a dish for a king. -William Shakespeare

Subject: How to sweeten a melomel?
From: Terry Estrin <>
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 1997 11:46:15 -0800 (PST)

I realize this topic has been covered ad infinitum, but it always
seems like the answer is never the one I want to hear. I have a
blackcurrant melomel that has fermented out really dry (read sour). I
would like to sweeten it, preferably with honey. Grape concentrate is
not an option as it has to be kosher, and kosher grape concentrate is
generally not available. So, all you mead-mavens out there, can I
stabilize it with sulphites or potassium sorbate and add honey to
sweeten it – without the yeast coming back to life?

Terry Estrin

Subject: adding Acid Blend in mead
From: Brett Donahue <>
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 1997 14:30:50 -0700

I am not an experience wine drinker. I know that one can add acid
blend, lemon juice, tartic acid, etc. to make the mead more acidic.
What I do not understand is: what is the purpose? What desirable
mouthfeel/flavor/effect does this give the mead? What are some desired
PH values in the final product? Should a sweeter mead be more or less

Subject: Re: Clarifying Meads
From: Peter Miller <>
Date: Thu, 23 Jan 97 10:16:34 -0000

>From: "Brander Roullett (Volt Computer)" <>
>Date: Mon, 20 Jan 1997 09:59:28 -0800
>I am fairly new to meads, and have heard talk about clarifying meads.
>can people post their favorite methods of clearing their meads?
>(betonite, sparkaloid, etc. etc.)

My favourite method is….. time. Not that I'm adverse to using something
if necessary, but I rarely have a problem. I _do_ use pectinase often to
inhibit pectin haze but all of my meads and wines seems to go bright
fairly happily. The few stubborn ones I've had over the years have all
cleared to bright with time.


Perpetual Ocean Music & Sound Design

Subject: Re: Preparations...
From: Peter Miller <>
Date: Thu, 23 Jan 97 10:16:32 -0000

>From: Joel Baker <>
>Date: Sat, 18 Jan 1997 13:51:45 -0600 (CST)
>One of the things I noticed discussed
>that caught my eye while looking through the archives and on the net was an
>"alternate" method of removing undesirable microorganisms from the must
>pitching the yeast, using Camden(sp?) tablets. Since I have something of an
>aversion to working with very hot liquids (I'll do it, I don't *like* doing
>it much at all…), I was wondering if anyone had comments on the quality of
>things made by this method, or cautions about it's use?

I have used sulphite (Campden tablets) frequently in the past and there
are no real handicaps unless you are allergic to sulphur. Most commercial
wines these days have sulphite added – indeed it would be unusual to find
one that didn't. I've read also that in some wines (especially slow
fermenting high alcohol wines – particularly dessert wines) that small
amounts of sulphur are actually converted by the yeast into desirable
substances in the finished product.

Caveat: I am trying not to use sulphur at all now, except for
sterilization of my equipment. I've found that it doesn't seem necessary
as long as you're careful (but you will have to tangle with the high
temperatures). I can't comment on longevity of meads made without
sulphur, since it's only a recent jag for me (I do however have some mels
as old as fifteen years made with additions of small amounts of sulphur
as suggested by the books we were using at the time – they are still
intact and improving!)


Perpetual Ocean Music & Sound Design

Subject: juice concentraites
From: Dave Polaschek <>
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 97 22:05:27 -0600

>Hi gang,
> Time to stop lurking and post a question. Looking at the labels on juice
>concentrates, it doesn't show preservatives… so I am wondering… what is
>wrong with using them for a pyment? any ideas out there?

Nothing seriously wrong with 'em, but it's not as traditional.

The major drawback to concentrates is that they're usually sweetened with
corn-syrup. They're also going to lack the tannins and other things that
lend a drink made with real fruit some added complexity.

On the other hand, they're incredibly easy to use. One of my "I'm in a
hurry to get something fermenting" mixes is:

1 gallon apple-juice minus a quart (no preservatives) If you buy it in a
glass jug, you've got a fermenter, too. The quart you pull off is for
everyday consumption.
1 pint jar honey
1 can fruit-juice concentrate

Shake like the dickens to mix, and add the yeast (usually red-star

Total preparation time is about 15 minutes. It's drinkable within a month,
and peaks before six months are up. Quick & dirty. Not an excellent cyser,
but serviceable.

  • -DaveP

Dave Polaschek – or

Subject: Wyeast Sweet Mead yeast
From: Brion Morrison <>
Date: Thu, 23 Jan 1997 00:42:31 -0500

This was sent in Digest 11

>Wyeast #3632 Dry Mead-Prisse de Mousse
>Wyeast #3184 Sweet Mead-Rusesheimer
>The Wyeast ID's are second-hand data, so take it for what it's worth. I have
>not used either of these from this source. If the Prisse de Mousse is true
>to type, it also ferments in the 16-18% range, dry and austere. Great for
>dry white wine. Rusesheimer has a reduced EtOH tolerance, a little lower
>than Steinberger (I'm guessing at 11-12%)

I recently "finished" a pear melomel using Wyeast sweet mead yeast 3184.
This included 16lbs of clover honey and 6 lbs of pears. It turned out fairly
sweet as I expected, but with an ending alc around 14-15%. I thought it might
be of interest that this mead fermented completely in 2 months. It was bottled
still about one month ago and is very nice. If anyone else is thinking about
a pear melomel I would suggest double the amount I used, because while the
pear is noticeable, thats about all it is.


Subject: coconut
Date: Thu, 23 Jan 1997 12:18:27 +0000

> Now, I have not heard yet of anyone making coconut melomel so i
> wondered if anyone out there has tried and had any success with them. For
> those who are interested here is the recipe we used for our one gallon batch.
> ingredients
> meat and milk of 3 coconuts
> 2.5 lbs clover honey
> juice of one half lemon
> 1 cupful earl grey tea
> red star premier cuvee yeast
> pectic enzyme
> nutrients

I think this sounds like a great experiment and would love to know
how it turns out. Two things for thought. First what about adding a
lillte vinila to the recipe? I think that the two would complement
each other well. The other thing is that there is a lot of fat in
coconuts and fat inhibits yeast growth. You may want to look into
something that will break down the lipids. I get a Yeast Enegizer
from my local shop and it states that it contains not only nutrient
but something that will break down fats. Hope this helps.

Matt Maples
IS Department
IPAC Pharmacy

Subject: Blowoff
Date: Thu, 23 Jan 1997 12:06:20 +0000

>My first batch of mead is merrily fermenting away. I attached a
>blow-off hose to the carboy but have no krausen. Is this normal?
>If so, then a blow-off hose would be unnecessary, right? I'm
>getting about one bubble every 2 seconds through the hose and see
>lots of tiny bubbles rising in the must but no large clumps of yeast
>churning around like one sees in fermenting beer. The yeast is
>Wyeast Sweet Mead, BTW.

Most (not all) of the meads I have made did have some blow off. The
batch I am currently fermentring did not. It is a hop/giger mead and
I think that the hop bits must be keeping the bubbles from
collecting. I say don't give it another thought. As far ad the clumps
of yeasts go most type wine yeast doesn't clup or flocculate like
beer yeast can. Happy brewing and have a good one.

Matt Maples
IS Department
IPAC Pharmacy

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #530, 22 January 1997
Date: Thu, 23 Jan 1997 12:28:45 +0000

> I am interested in using a kraeusen to prime my next mead. I
> have had trouble getting enough carbonation in the bottle using
> corn sugar or honey primers even after years in the bottle.
> I am thinking of fermenting 1 lb. of honey and add that to my
> mead, cap it and hope it works. The mead has some residual sugar.
> Will this give me good carbonation?

I think more to the point is "Why isn't your other priming methods
working?" Corn and honey primers are tried and true methods. I think
you need to find outs whats wrong instead of trying somthing else.
The only time I have had priming problems is if I'm bumping up
against alcohol limits. If your yeasts have just pooped out you may
want to try and repitch some more yeast at bottling that may help.

Matt Maples
IS Department
IPAC Pharmacy

Subject: honey prices
Date: Thu, 23 Jan 1997 16:18:44 -0800 (PST)

hello all-

while we''ve all discussed the process of making mead with all its intricacies
and practical tips, we've never talked about prices. how much are you spending
per lb and what about prices for crystallized honey. how much does a typical 5
gallon batch cost for a true mead?

sorry to take the romance out of this guys, i'm just curious how my prices are
comparing to everyone elses…



End of Mead Lover's Digest #531