Mead Lover's Digest #0544 Fri 7 March 1997


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



Re:fermentation; autolysis (Peter Miller)
Re: Possible stuck fermentation. (Peter Miller)
siphoning out fruit bits (Chuck Wettergreen)
fermentation stopped? (Chuck Wettergreen)
Sediment in sparkling mead (
getting out the chucnks (
Iodophor questions (
Malto-Dextrin for more body (Cat Tambling & James Buttitta)
Re: fermentation; autolysis (Spencer W Thomas)


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Subject: Re:fermentation; autolysis
From: Peter Miller <>
Date: Wed, 5 Mar 97 17:21:16 -0000

>From: "Joseph Greene" <>
>Date: Mon, 3 Mar 1997 21:11:41 -0500

>I have a traditional mead that has been actively fermenting for 6 weeks.
>The O.G. was 1.090. It is now at 1.050. The yeast is Wyeast Sweet Mead.
>I know fermentation of mead is slow, but is this uncommonly slow? What
>alcohol level can I expect from this yeast?

I have a Patterson's Curse mead that's been steadily fermenting (very
slowly) for nearly 4 months on a Vierka mead yeast. It _does_ seem like a
long time, but there's nothing wrong with it – clearing slowly, nice
continuous bubbles, smells good. I've racked it off once (got impatient)
and it still has about half the original honey remaining. Temperature has
been pretty constant – thought I might as well just wait it out!


Perpetual Ocean Music & Sound Design

Subject: Re: Possible stuck fermentation.
From: Peter Miller <>
Date: Wed, 5 Mar 97 17:21:17 -0000

>From: st5bx@bayou.UH.EDU (David Ghere)
>Date: Mar 01 1997 10:55:49 AM
>Hello All,
> Last night after about 3 weeks of fermentation I racked my mead to
>get it off of the vast deposits of gunk at the bottom of the carboy. Now,
>the fermention has slowed to a little more than a dead stop. Is this
>normal, and will it speed back up again once the yeast has built up
>strength, or did I mess up my >2 gallon batch. I am new to making
>fermented beverages, so any help is appreciated.

If it was fermenting at a reasonable rate before you racked it off the
yeast deposit, you're probably right in assuming that it has stopped
because the colony has not built up sufficiently. I did exactly the same
thing over the weekend, and mine appears to have stopped also, but I'm
pretty confident that it will resume again in due course. Be aware tho'
that since the alcohol level is probably somewhat higher than it was when
you started, it may take a little time for the yeast to build up a colony
_and_ tolerance to the alcohol. If nothing happens in a week or so, you
can always add a new starter colony – it won't hurt anything.

BTW, the must sitting on the yeast for three weeks is probably not
harmful; IMHO it's actually preferable to let it go until fermentation is
all but completed before racking. (I start to get concerned after about 8
weeks or so with meads. Straight wines finish a lot faster usually)



Perpetual Ocean Music & Sound Design

Subject: siphoning out fruit bits 
From: Chuck Wettergreen <chuckmw@Mcs.Net>
Date: Wed, 5 Mar 1997 07:46:52 -0600 (CST)


In MLD #542 Brett Donahue ( had little bits of
raspberry floating around and asked:

MM> There has to be a better way of filtering/seperating the chunks from th
MM> mead. How do you do it? I think I would ferment the fruit in a bucket
MM> next time rather than a carboy so that I could remove the fruit easier.
MM> But, with what?

First, except for meads where I add the fruit as juice, such as cysers,
I always add my fruit to the secondary. I use a standard plastic primary
fermenter as my secondary, but only when I use fruit (confused yet?). I
chop the fruit very fine to get the most surface area exposure.

When it comes time to rack off the fruit, I use a standard racking cane and
a fine-mesh nylon grain bag. After sanitizing both, insert the cane inside
the bag. Put both in the mead and start to siphon. If the bag gets clogged
with fruit bits, move the foot (technical term for the orange-thingy on the
end of the racking cane) to a different area of the grain bag. This method
will separate almost all of the fruit from your mead.

Also in MLD #452 Derrick Pohl ( asked about the
use of iodophor in several different ways.

Just so you know from whence I come, I believe that iodophor is God's Gift
to homebrewers/meaders/vinters. Used correctly it is inexpensive and one
of the best sanitizers available. (I also believe that many of the
"sanitizers" sold by homebrew shop owners, aren't).

I don't buy iodophor from a homebrew shop, I buy Dineotex dairy tank
sanitizer by Sterns Chemical. It costs US$10 per gallon. One (US) ounce
in five gallons yields 25 ppm titratible iodine. At this concentration 60
seconds contact time provides complete sanitation (I forget how the label
phrases it, but it's sanitized). It also contains some amount ( 15?)
phosphoric acid to prevent the builtup of milkstone (which I believe to
be the same as beerstone). At full concentration it will remove milkstone
(and beerstone). The label says not to rinse milk tanks sanitized with
iodophor, let them drip dry.

The key to economical use of iodophor is to re-use it. As long as it
retains its color, it will continue to sanitize. I store pre-mixed
solution in 4 liter wine jugs and do my sanitizing in a Rubbermaid
dishpan. When I'm finished I just pour it back in the jugs and seal.
When it starts to lose its color, I either make a new batch or just
squirt a little more concentrate into the jug.

Derrick asked about spraying down racking canes and hoses. I'd be more
concerned with the inside of the hoses than the outside. I soak all
hoses and canes in iodophor. Yes the hoses will turn yellow, so what?

I use a bottle washer with iodophor and a bottle tree. I don't believe
that the bottles have to be totally dry, just drained of liquid iodophor.
I also don't believe (and have some empirical evidence to support it)
that iodohor makes any flavor contribution used in this manner (after
all we're talking about a *dairy tank* sanitizer here, the most closely
watched food industry there is). Some might argue with this, but to put
it very simply, they're wrong. 🙂

Geneva, IL

* RM 1.3 00946 *

Subject: fermentation stopped?    
From: Chuck Wettergreen <chuckmw@Mcs.Net>
Date: Wed, 5 Mar 1997 07:46:51 -0600 (CST)


In MLD #543 David Ghere ( wrote:

MM> Last night after about 3 weeks of fermentation I racked my mead to
MM> get it off of the vast deposits of gunk at the bottom of the carboy. N
MM> the fermention has slowed to a little more than a dead stop. Is this
MM> normal, and will it speed back up again once the yeast has built up
MM> strength, or did I mess up my >2 gallon batch. I am new to making
MM> fermented beverages, so any help is appreciated.

When you racked, you drove off some of the carbon dioxide which was in
solution at one atmosphere. It will take several days for the mead to
become saturated again. When it does, it will start to bubble again,
assuming that it is not fermented out (unlikely after only 3 weeks).

Geneva, IL

* RM 1.3 00946 *

Subject: Sediment in sparkling mead
Date: Wed, 5 Mar 1997 07:18:03 +0000

> Subject: Sediment in sparkling mead
> From: Jeremy York <>
> Date: Fri, 28 Feb 1997 16:37:52 -0800
> I read a procedure for getting rid of the sediment that you'll
> get when making a sparkling mead, from the yeast dying off that
> had been active after bottling. I was wondering if anyone had
> any experience with it…it sounds kinda risky to me.
> First, you store the bottles inverted so the sediment builds
> up in the neck. After the yeast has settled out, you fill a tub
> with salted ice water, and put the bottles into the tub, neck down.
> The sediment and some of your brew will freeze in the neck;
> you can then open the bottle. The frozen sediment plug should
> then blow out, and you can re-seal the bottle.
> Now, I use crown caps on champaigne bottles myself, and the
> prospect of having a plug of ice trying to come flying out
> while I open the bottle doesn't seem like something I want
> to try.

This process is call "Disgorging" (sp) and as I'm sure you know is
the Champaigne process. This process never apealed to me either. If
the mead is for my consumption I usually live with the small amout of
sediment. But if it is for gifts I like it to be as clean as
possible. The only other way I have found is by force carbonating it.
That is putting it in a keg and applying pressure then bottling.
Unfortunatly not everyone has the equipment to do it and I haven't
quite got the proceedure down as well as I would like. If anyone else
knows of a way please speak up.

Matt Maples

"A Honest Brew Makes Its Own Friends"

Subject: getting out the chucnks
Date: Wed, 5 Mar 1997 06:52:26 +0000

>I made a mead with rasberries which broke into small slimey chunks
>that stayed in suspension throughout the carboy. When I tried to
>siphon the mead from the rasberries , I ended up wasting a lot of
>mead while trying to seperate the "floaters" from the mead. I never
>was successful at getting out all of the rasberries.
>There has to be a better way of filtering/seperating the chunks from
>the mead. How do you do it? I think I would ferment the fruit in a
>bucket next time rather than a carboy so that I could remove the
>fruit easier. But, with what?

Well I have read all the responses to this one and I do it a little
different so I thought I would throw in my 2 cents. I press the fruit
first. After pressing I leave the solids in the press bag, tie it
off and put it in the primary bucket. After two weeks I
take the bag out and presto! no chuncks and I feel I get better
extraction from the fruit that way. I have a small press that
consists of a thick, white bucket with holes in it, and a screw. I
got it at Steinbarts (they usually have an ad in zymergy) and it
did't cost that much.

Matt Maples
IS Department
NCS of Oregon

Subject: Iodophor questions
Date: Wed, 5 Mar 1997 08:05:44 +0000

> Subject: Iodophor questions
> From: Derrick Pohl <>
> Date: Tue, 25 Feb 1997 13:54:00 -0800
> I have just started using Iodophor, after having used bleach for years.
> Wondering about a few things:
> 1) Contact time: is sanitation instant, or is a certain amount of contact
> time needed? My brewing supply shop sells spray/mist-bottles to use with
> Iodophor. Will this work OK for sanitizing the outside of racking hoses
> and canes?
> 2) Rinsing. Product says no rinsing necessary. But it smells awful and
> suds up like soap. Is it really OK not to rinse?
> One thing in particular I want to do with Iodophor is use it in a wine
> sulphiter to sanitize bottles. By "wine sulphiter", I mean one of those
> plastic bowls with a pumping spray nozzle standing up in the middle. You
> put the bottle over the nozzle and push up and down on it, and it pumps
> whatever fluid you have in the bowl up into the bottle. Will this work OK?
> Should I rinse? Or should I let the bottles drip-dry upside-down, thus
> benefitting from more contact time?

I am a sanitizing FREAK! I over do and I know it, I would rather
spend a little more time and the extra $5 a year for more Iodophor
and have just one of my batches go bad due to poor sanitizing. With
that aside here is the standared line….

1) Contact time 2 min. Some people wipe the euipment down with it,

some people spary I like to soak (submerge) it.

2) NO! do not rinse. Your equipment is perfectly sterale the water

you are riseing with is not.

2.1) To reduce foaming put the water in the container first then add

the iodphor.

2.2) In concentrations of 1Tbl to 5 gallons you will never taste it.

Drain out any extra of course. Most of the Iodine will evaporate
and the stuff that doesn't goes perfectly inert after it comes
in contact with organic matter. You have a greater chance of
flavor contaimination with chlorine than with this stuff.

3) Always use cold water with Iodophor. If you use hot water it will

drive off the idodine too fast and will not be as effective.

4) Just a reminder, Iodophor is for sanitizing only it is not ment to

be used as a cleaner.
Matt Maples
IS Department
NCS of Oregon

Subject: Malto-Dextrin for more body
From: (Cat Tambling & James Buttitta)
Date: Thu, 06 Mar 1997 13:23:57 GMT

I am sometimes disapointed in the lack of body in when dry meads.
When the FG approaches 1.000 they just don't have the moutfeel I
desire. I've considered adding some malto-dextrin to the must to
achieve the desired body. I expect 1 lb should increase the FG by
0.007 in a 5 gal batch, (this is about the rate of increase seen in
beer recipes). I'm a bit concerned about the flavor, but I don't
think this will be problem in the blueberry melomel I'm planning:

12# honey
7# blueberry
1.5# malto-dextrin
champagne yeast

Has anyone out there used malto-dextrin in mead? Do you think it will


Subject: Re: fermentation; autolysis 
From: Spencer W Thomas <>
Date: Thu, 06 Mar 1997 11:39:20 -0500

>>>>> "Joseph" == Joseph Greene <> writes:

Joseph> Also, the mead (must?) has been in the primary fermenter
Joseph> the entire time. Is yeast autolysis a problem or should I
Joseph> wait to rack until it finishes fermentation?

To quote from the article I wrote for Zymurgy about "Mardi Gras Mead":

When asked whether they were concerned about yeast autolysis
… Dan replied "We wanted it!" Leaving wine "on the lees" or
"sur lie" is a well-established practice that gives a certain
pleasant, toasty yeast character to the finished wine.
… vintage Champagnes often exhibit this character.


End of Mead Lover's Digest #544