Mead Lover's Digest #0622 Thu 11 December 1997


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



Re: Low Alcohol Yeast (Jack Stafford)
Neck rings (Chasman)
Clogged racking canes (Chasman)
Rocky Mountain Meadery (John Mason)
Re: Stuck Fermenatation (reding)
Re: Commercial Meads (
Michael Fay (Matt Maples)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #621, 8 December 1997 (CMatt609)
First Batch from a Lurker (Golgothus)
Moving w/ Mead… (Charlie Moody)
(no subject) (Samuel Williams)


NOTE: Digest only appears when there is enough material to send one.
Send ONLY articles for the digest to
Use for [un]subscribe/admin requests. When

subscribing, please include name and email address in body of message.

Digest archives and FAQ are available for anonymous ftp at

in pub/clubs/homebrew/mead.


Subject: Re: Low Alcohol Yeast
From: (Jack Stafford)
Date: Mon, 8 Dec 97 12:18:53 PST

On Sat, 06 Dec, Sheryl Nance-Durst <> wrote:
>I did a batch of Lemon-Ginger using Munton & Fison ale yeast. It
>came out fairly low alcohol & was pretty good within 1 month of
>bottling. I've only used wine yeasts before, so I was surprised how
>much of an "ale" taste was imparted by the yeast. I've also heard
>some mead makers recommend Edme ale yeast in the past.

I made a black cherry melomel using Munton's ale yeast (dry yeast in
green/white packet) hoping that it would result in a sweet mead. The
ale yeast consumed all of the fermentables. OG=1.111 FG=0.980 That's
over 13% alcohol, folks! Either this was a fluke or ale yeast is not
the answer for sweet mead. YMMV.


Yeast of Eden Homebrewers Club
Costa Mesa, CA

Subject: Neck rings
From: Chasman <>
Date: Mon, 08 Dec 1997 12:18:15 -0800

Steve asks about neck rings:

Hehe, makes me think of those women in Thailand with the brass rings around
their necks…

It is common in meads to see a "ring" around the neck of the caboy. It can
be caused by several things:

1) Yeast: Even though the mead may have cleared or be clearing, it is
common for yeast to stick to the glass at the interface of the liquid and
air. I get this all the time. I gently swirl the carboy to dislodge the
yeast and let it settle to the bottom.

2) Sugar: As most meads spend a lot of time in the carboy, it is common to
see some evaporation take place from the carboy (yep, happens even through
the airlock). As the liquid evaporates, it leaves a ring of mostly sugar
but also proteins and minerals at the air/liquid interface. As the
evaporation proceeds, this ring can become quite thick.

My advice is taste the mead and if their are no discernible off flavors,
relax, there is probably no infection.

I'm not sure that I understand why you are adding metabisulfite at
pitching. Alot of yeasts aren't SO2 tolerant, especially wild ones (which
is why you add metabisulfite—to kill them before you add your pitching
yeast). Maybe I am missing something here but the standard practice is to
sulfite and then wait 24 hours before pitching.


Charles Hudak in San Diego, California (Living large in Ocean Beach!!)
ICQ# 4253902
"If God had intended for us to drink beer, he would have given us stomachs."

  • –David Daye

Subject: Clogged racking canes
From: Chasman <>
Date: Mon, 08 Dec 1997 12:26:38 -0800

Bob is having racking probs….

>> Last week I racked 5 gallons of blueberry melomel to the secondary. I had
>> difficulty maintaining the siphon due to the amount of fruit residue in
>> primary carboy, and only racked about 3 1/2 gallons.
> <snip>
>> In the future, would I be better off using a plastic bucket for initial
>> fermentation, so that I can squeeze the pulp and scoop out the fruit
>> racking?

Here's what I do:

I heat pastuerize the fruit by pouring hot must onto it and letting it sit
at 150-170 for 15 min. I put the fruit inside a large sparge bag (those
monster things that people use for all grain batches of beer ~7-8Gal)
inside my bottling bucket (6.5Gal bucket with spigot). I plop my immersion
chiller in the bucket and chill the must down to pitching temp. Tie the top
of the bag closed and business as usual. After about 2 weeks, I open the
spigot and rack the fermenting must into a carboy. No mess, no fuss and
GREAT yield. Never had a problem with this yet. You don't have to do the
pasteurizing bit if you are against that (Dick ;o), just sulfite and pitch
the next day. No more clogged racking canes for this guy!


Charles Hudak in San Diego, California (Living large in Ocean Beach!!)
ICQ# 4253902
"If God had intended for us to drink beer, he would have given us stomachs."

  • –David Daye

Subject: Rocky Mountain Meadery
From: John Mason <>
Date: Mon, 8 Dec 1997 15:22:57 -0600

To pick up on the meadery thread, while in Denver over Thanksgiving I
tried a semi-dry mead from the Rocky Mountain Meadery. I found it to be
representative of a traditional mead, unlike Chaucer's, which is truly
awful. It was good, but not great, and a touch too sweet for my taste.
I believe they have a dry offering as well. With all the Colorado
representation on the list I'm surprised no one has mentioned it.

Subject: Re:  Stuck Fermenatation
From: reding <>
Date: Mon, 08 Dec 1997 19:49:30 -0600

I would not aerate the mead that has already undergone a fermentation, even
if only partially. I think the better solution would be to grown about 1
qt of a new starter that was aerated very well when you made the starter.
Hopefully that will be good enough to allow it to ferment the remainder of
your mead.


Keith Reding
St. Louis, MO

I have a very stuck fermentation. SP is 1.068. The original recipe was
5 gal of mead consisting of 15lbs of honey and champaign yeast. The
mead has completely cleared. It is as clear as can be.

I started a new yeast starter and through it in with more yeast
nutrient. I check the PH and made sure that it was above 4. It seems
to have started fermenting again.

My question is: In this case, would it be ok to add oxygen? Would that
ruin the mead? Or would in help the yeast? Would the yeast use all of
the oxygen?

Subject: Re: Commercial Meads
Date: Tue, 9 Dec 1997 02:04:40 -0800 (PST)

I would concur with all who've commented that Chaucer's is inferior stuff.
Downright lousy if you ask me. I believe the reason for this is probably
not simply due to 'over-processing' or the like, but rather that it isn't
even real mead at all. From all I can gather Chaucer's is simply
substandard white wine which is cut with honey–hence the sweetness and the
low alcohol.

Life Force makes a number of meads, some better than others. At least it's
real mead! Their best by far is the Vandal Dark, which has a strong honey
character. It's sweet but quite good.

There is a fellow in Vermont who makes a very dry commercial mead. The
company is L'Abeille Honey Winery. Beautiful color and aroma, but more akin
to a dry white wine, and a very good one at that. The vinter is a French
guy, so maybe that explains it. They're located in Stowe, VT.

There's also the Rocky Mountain Meadery in Colorado. From my recollection
their "Lancelot" was the best, most of the other variety were sub par.

One can find Polish mead in some liquor stores, often in quite distinctive
ceramic or other unusual bottles. The one I tried was sweet but very good.

If you know anyone going to Ireland, have them bring back some Bunratty's
Mead. Great stuff.

I would say that with the exception of meads produced in Europe (which are
generally of very high quality), anyone brewing at home can surpass any of
the Stateside commercial varieties…

  • -Michael Moynihan

Subject: Michael Fay
From: Matt Maples <>
Date: Tue, 9 Dec 1997 11:00:07 -0800

Michael, I received your message about the mead co-op but my reply bounced
please let me know the best way to contact you.

Matt Maples

(sorry about taking up digest space with this but I couldn't think of
another way)

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #621, 8 December 1997
From: CMatt609 <>
Date: Tue, 9 Dec 1997 17:41:10 EST

i would like to get a recipee for a dry cyser. also i have used canned fruit
for my meads. think the chance of infection is lower , and any fruit can be
had at any time of yr. ( i try to guess the amount of suger in the can and
consider that in my recipe, somtimes no suger is added , and the fruit is
packed in fruit juice). i have been happy with my results. however though i
have made mead many times i know no one with expierence and have tasted no
mead i didn't make leaving me little to compare it to. any comments about
using canned fruit? chris mattern

Subject: First Batch from a Lurker
From: Golgothus <>
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 1997 01:35:23 EST

Hello All,

This is my fist post to MLD, though I've been Lurking here for

months. I have been brewing beer for some time now and have had nothing but
success, never a wasted batch to date… I recently brewed my first batch of
cyser and, at bottling time, it was quite hot… high alcohol taste that
produced a fiery burn. I was hoping for a sweet mead with a medium alcohol
content and plesant mouthfeel. All in all, it is quite dry and I wanted much
less bite than I achived. I'm hoping that it will age out to a more mellow
flavor in six months to a year… I'll keep you informed.

The recipe I used for a 1 1/2 Gal. batch is as follows:

5lbs. wild Clover Honey (not pasturized)
1 1/2 Gals. Indian Summer apple juice
1/2 package Red Star Primier Cuvee yeast
1/4 package Brewing Salt containing:
sodium chloride
citric acid
amonium sulphate
amonium phosphate
aneurin hydrochloride
3 drops anit-foam

My O.G. was 1.130 +/- .003 and the F.G. at bottling time was 1.026 +/- .003.
The Potential Alcohol at start was 17.5 to 18 % and at bottling was 3.5 to 4 %
giving a alcohol content of 14 % +/- .5%. I bottled half still and half
sparkling in 22 oz. brown beer bottles, though I may have inadvertntly created
a few "glass grenades"… we'll have to wait and see. At bottling time the
cyser was clear and had a heady aroma reminiscent of Mad Dog 20/20… powerful
but nasty. Again, I hope this will go away with age… what do you think?

I recently read through some older copies of the MLD and have since decided to
forgo the addition of the brewing salts (due to the amonium sulphate and
phosphate) and anti-foam in future batches. All in all this was a learning
experience for me and I hope to produce an after dinner sweet cyser in the
future… the next batch will probably be in the 5 gal. range and include
either mulled cider spices or pumpkin pie spices, haven't decided which.

Please comment on my choices and if you think the cyser in question will
mellow with age. Also, would Wyeast Sweet Mead Yeast be a better choice for
what I am attempting… a mid-level alcohol sweet mead/cyser with full body? I
know that most people seem to have trouble with the sweet mead yeast but I am
willing to try anything as I've never had a batch of beer that couldn't be
saved and 99% were trouble free. Also has anyone thought about trying a sour
mead along the lines of a Belgian lambic style beer? Would this be possible or
is it a futile idea? All comment/criticisims are welcome.

Thanx in advance,

Mykel Whitt
Mobile Alabama

"If pimps and thieves were invariably sentenced, all decent people would get
to thinking they themselves were constantly innocent…that's what must be
avoided above all. Otherwise, everything would be just a joke."

  • –Albert Camus, The Fall

Subject: Moving w/ Mead...
From: Charlie Moody <>
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 1997 16:03:36 -0400

After what seems like a lifetime in the Deep South, I'll be moving to
Boulder, CO in the spring (*yeeehaw*), and I'd like to take my meads with

By then, everything now in carboys should be bottled…but it's winter, and
I have the urge to make mead (especially that chocolate braggot I keep
talking about). Should I resist the urge? Make only meads that will be
ready to bottle in 3 months? Go for it & trust that days of highway
vibration won't subtly mutate my stuff? Chalk up any resultant
yeast-&-honey Frankensteins to bitter experience?

If anyone has experience of moving cross-country w/ full carboys, and / or
full cases, I'd love to hear about it. For the record, this trip will
involve a half-mile climb in altitude over the course of 1400 road miles,
and will probably take 3-4 days @ 55-65 mph.

Charlie Moody
Siddhartha Farms Meaderies
PGP Fingerprint: 7F 0D 9E 8C 7E DF 33 11 2C 2B B8 19 6C 0F 2C 02

Subject: (no subject)
From: Samuel Williams <>
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 1997 14:15:19 -0600

I have compleated my second batch of mead. I used Cuvee yeast, which

I thought I read that it poops out about 10-12% alc. Now my mead is
finished and is a wonderfuly clear mead but droped to 0.099 and about
14% (calculated). Needless to say it is bone dry.

I would like to sweeten it before I bottle. Can someone tell me how

to go about this using honey as the sweetener? How much alcohol does red
star premere cuvee tolerate? I am sure that all fermentation has stopped
as the gravity hasn't dropped at all in the last 4 weeks. the water in
the air lock hasen't moved in the same time period.

End of Mead Lover's Digest #622