Mead Lover's Digest #0655 Wed 11 March 1998


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



Re: Mead Lover's Digest #654, 8 March 1998 (Markmercy)
re: beer yeast for mead (Robert J Haines)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #654 (CLSAXER)
Acidity and pH ("John Heubel")
Re: Vierka yeast problems (Gary Shea)
removing advertising (Mead Lover's Digest)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #653, 4 March 1998 (Potgold)
Vierka Yeasts ("Martin Fredrickson")
New to mead. ("Sandlin, Jonathan Mark – BUS")


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Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #654, 8 March 1998
From: Markmercy <>
Date: Sun, 8 Mar 1998 12:58:19 EST

I have tried a "desperation" mead simple. Honey, cinimon, cloves and bread
yeast. (yes bread yeast) It is "finished" now, after several weeks. I
bottled it in some screw top bottles (save those frutopia bottles!) to be able
to sampple at times to see without opening a lot of bottles and ruin it. It
tastes rather like a dry champaigne. Interesting! I continute experimenting!

Subject: re:  beer yeast for mead
From: (Robert J Haines)
Date: Sun, 08 Mar 1998 12:57:16 EST

In MLD 65, Randy Paul <> asked about
using ale yeast for a mead, and in particular asks about
"off-flavors." Randy should check out the Homebrew
Digest and perhaps rec.crafts.brewing for lots of info on
various ale yeasts, temps they crave, "off" or other flavors they
produce when treated properly/improperly, etc. Of course,
behaviors may change when a different substance (must
.vs. wort) is being fermented … I'd definitely suggest trying
some small test batches to get an idea of the results before
going for 5 gallons.

You can use a "clean" or "neutral" ale yeast like Wyeast
1056, and shoot for the lower end of the ferment temp
range suggested for the yeast to minimize off-flavors. 1056
can probably tolerate high gravity reasonably well if you pitch
a large starter that's in good condition … or you could start
at a lower O.G. and "feed" to get to your desired pounds/gallon
rate. Some "off" flavors can be remedied by you (diacetyl {sp}
rests, crash cooling and extended lagering, etc.) but others
might remain.

Of course, if there are certain flavors you *like*, you can also
select the yeast with the appropriate characteristic and
(mis)treat it as needed to get that flavor. Belgian mead,
Weisse mead, etc. anyone?

Bob Haines

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #654
From: CLSAXER <>
Date: Sun, 8 Mar 1998 13:08:41 EST

I just want to write in and say how much I enjoyed and appreciate the ale and
lager yeast information Tidmarsh Major and Martin Fredrickson shared with us
in MLD #654. I have been experimenting with using "beer" yeasts in my meads
for a while. Their comments reflect some of the results I have gotten, but
more importantly, I gained a lot of knowledge from them without having to do
all the leg work myself. I think that is very cool! When I first started
making meads I looked everywhere I could think of to find this kind of
information, without much success. Thanks for sharing with us. And thankyou
Dan for putting it out there were we can see it.

One question to Tidmarsh Major. When you rack the must onto the yeast cake
from the previous batch of beer does it pick up any hop bitterness that might
be left behind in the yeast?

Drink Hail!
Carl Saxer

Subject: Acidity and pH
From: "John Heubel" <>
Date: Sun, 8 Mar 1998 16:32:12 -0600

Howdy all,

I've just racked my Prickly Pear Cactus melomel off the lees for a final
settling prior to bottling. There's a little tanginess which to me seems
acidic in nature. Since I've never had a commercial mead I don't know what
level I should shoot for. I plan on getting an acid test kit soon so I'll
soon know those parameters. Any help is appreciated.

John Heubel
Wichita Falls, TX

Subject: Re: Vierka yeast problems
From: Gary Shea <>
Date: Sun, 8 Mar 1998 22:12:52 -0700 (MST)

As I mentioned in the last digest, I started three 1-gallon (roughly)
batches of raspberry mead, one with Edme and two with Vierka yeasts
(mead and sherry). Today the Vierka batches were active. Seeing
as how I pitched the yeast on 3/2, and this is 3/8, that's a bit
scary! Who knows _what_ is actually growing in there. Smells ok
so far…

I pitched the Vierka yeasts right out of the packet, which
is what I've always done with Edme and Munton & Fison. Have avoided
doing starters to date, but I suspect that's a luxury that some yeast
strains will not permit.


Subject: removing advertising
From: (Mead Lover's Digest)
Date: 9 Mar 98 10:16:20 MST (Mon)

Folks at or Realize that any mail you send out gets
a brief advertisement (for your ISP) added to the end of the message auto-
matically. That advertising is deleted here automatically. I hate to get
so close to "editing" the MLD, but the policies are "no advertising" and
"no off-topic material", and I intend to stick to them. Since you can't
help these advertising addenda on your mail messages, the only alternative
would have been to block your postings, which I certainly won't do.
Comments/questions/complaints about this? Contact me please.

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

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #653, 4 March 1998
From: Potgold <>
Date: Mon, 9 Mar 1998 10:44:22 EST

In a message dated 98-03-04 21:34:22 EST, Randy Ricchi
<> writes:

<< When I was through, you could see a wax
film on the measuring cup. This film was very hard to wash off, even with
hot soapy (liquid dishwashing detergent) water and a lot of elbow grease.

I then noticed there was a waxy film on the surface of the must.
At that point, I decided I was not going to use my immersion chiller to
cool the must, because I figured it might be a nightmare to clean
afterward. I also decided I didn't want to rack this must into a carboy,
because then I would have a waxy film in my carboy.>>

You just introduced another good reason NOT to boil honey. When you find

these tiny wax flakes in your honey, you know that your beekeeper has made a
valient effort to give you the best there is – unheated raw honey. Had it been
heated, the wax would already be removed.

But then so many mead makers (following ancient myths) heat this fine,

delicate-flavored honey and introduce so many off flavors that they have to
wait a long time for it to be drinkable.

Beeswax melts at about 140. A rule of thumb is not to ever get honey above

130 degrees. Among other things you avoid the wax film problem.

<< I have two questions:

1) Will the wax in the must fall out with the yeast after primary, so I can
rack to a carboy and not worry about wax carryover?>>

If there is any left (and there probably isn't now), it will float. It will

not stick to anything, to the point where it is not washable, if it is not
heated above the melting point of the wax.

<<2) If I do get some wax carryover into the carboy, what can be used to
dissolve it and clean the carboy?>>

Elbow grease. Your first impulse is to use hot water, but this melts the

wax, spreads it around, and makes a fine film on everything. Best bet is to
use warm water along with a good cleanser, like Bar Keepers Friend. If the
neck is too narrow on a container we put in a wet washcloth with the powder,
and tumble/shake it. It will come off. Dave Green Hemingway, SC USA
The Pollination Scene:

Jan's Sweetness and Light Shop (Varietal Honeys and Beeswax Candles)

Subject: Vierka Yeasts
From: "Martin Fredrickson" <>
Date: Mon, 09 Mar 1998 10:50:02 -0800

In MLD #654, Gary Shea asked about the Vierka yeasts. I have made only one
batch with a Vierka product, about 20 months ago, I decided to try the
Madeira yeast from Vierka in a very sweet dessert style mead. When I opened
the package, I was surprised to see what looked like dried grape skins and
grape seeds in the package. Apparently, they harvest the lees from a batch
of wine and dehydrate it. While I thought this was a bit odd, I went ahead
and tried it anyway. Since I am a fanatic about big yeast starters,
particularly in high gravity musts, I set out to grow between 1 pint and 1
quart of yeast slurry.

The Vierka yeast was the slowest starter I have ever seen. It took about 8
days before I saw any kind of noticeable activity, I almost gave up on it.
Altogether, it took almost 3 weeks to grow a quantity of yeast that I can
usually get in 7-10 days with other yeasts. Once the culture had taken
hold, the fermentation went fairly normal, it was not any more or less
active than other yeasts I have used. My very sweet mead turned out very
nice with this yeast. Besides the slow start, the only complaint I had was
that it is a very poor flocculator, it took forever to settle out and the
barest movement of the carboy caused a cloud of yeast to rise from the

This mead was drinkable from the day I bottled it and has developed a nice
complex character as it has aged. For anyone that is interested, this mead
was an experiment in extremely high gravity mead. It was made with 60
pounds of blackbutton sage honey in a 13 gallon batch. The batch was split
between myself and a friend, he used Cuvee yeast in his and it turned out
very nice also. The exact starting gravity of this batch is unknown, our
hydrometer didn't go that high but we estimate it at about 1.260. This was
the only time we ever did anything like this, and I doubt that we will ever
do it again, most of my meads start between 1.080 and 1.120.

I am thinking about trying other Vierka products in the future. I suggest
if you decide to try them, be patient and grow a good starter. Pitching the
dry yeast into a large volume might eventually work, I am just concerned
that some undesirable organism would become established in the must before
the yeast could get off to a strong start.

Subject: New to mead.
From: "Sandlin, Jonathan Mark - BUS" <>
Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 09:56:31 -0800

I am new to this mail group. I joined to learn about making mead.

>From my reading of the last couple issues, I have some questions. How much
yeast nutrient is too much, and how much should I use in a batch to limit
off tastes? And secondly, what type of yeast is typically used to make
mead, is there yeast strains specificaly made for mead? I would appreciate
some help here, feal free to post answers or send me private email.

End of Mead Lover's Digest #655