Mead Lover's Digest #0670 Tue 19 May 1998


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



sweet tooth (
pH balancing and taste (Jim Sims)
Re: Clearing Problem ("Marc Shapiro")
Re: Stopping fermentation. Marc Shapiro's comment (Czesp)
Fermenting with fruit (Jeremy York)
Novice Meadmaking question (Mary Savage)
Correction (Mary Savage)
Sweet mead (dennis key)


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Subject: sweet tooth
Date: Fri, 15 May 1998 10:51:14 -0400

OK, I admit it…I like sweet mead…really sweet…most of the
recipies/tips I've seen are for making sure your mead isn't too sweet
rather than the other way around…it may be declasse' but…how do you
get a sweet mead?


Subject: pH balancing and taste
From: Jim Sims <>
Date: Fri, 15 May 1998 11:08:56 -0400

I tried a test-run over the last coupla months (started in Jan), adding
CaCO3 to a basic mead recipe I've used before to see if it would hasten
the fermentation. It seemed to dramtically reduce the primary
fermentation time, but I still have a "off", "chalky",
reminds-me-smell-wise-of-sunburn-lotion taste to the plain, raspberry,
and sweet derivatives I made back in January.

any ideas?


Subject: Re: Clearing Problem
From: "Marc Shapiro" <>
Date: Fri, 15 May 1998 11:44:07 +0000

Dave Johnson asked several questions relating to the clearing of a
mead that he sweetened with additional honey after fermentation had
nearly ended and the mead was already beginning to clear. I rarely
have clearing problems, so I will leave that to others, but I can
answer some of the other questions.

With 14 lbs of honey in 4.25 gallons of must an OG of 1.124 is right
on target. Since that dropped to 1.002 my calculations show an
alochol content of over 16.5% which would certainly account for the
alcohol burn that he describes. It also means that he doesn't need
to worry about spoilage organisms if he decides to just let the mead
bulk age for a while to see if it clears on its own (which, by the
way, is my preference). Since this is already racked off the bulk of
the yeast there is no rush to rack it again. I would not bother with
racking again until it shows some signs of clearing and there is
appreciable sediment in the carboy. Bulk aging never hurt anything.
If he does decide at bottling time to dilute the mead due to
excessive sweetness the high alcohol should help here, too, as
dilution will bring that more in line, as well. Without dilution,
the alcohol burn will probably mellow some, but 16.5% alcohol is
still a lot. The thing to remember, though, is that dilution will
will affect the flavor, aroma and body, as well as the alcohol and



Marc Shapiro

Visit 'The Meadery' at:

"If you drink melomel every day, you will live to be 150 years old,
unless your wife shoots you."

  • –Dr. Ferenc Androczi, Winemaker of the Little Hungary Winery

Subject: Re: Stopping fermentation. Marc Shapiro's comment
From: Czesp <>
Date: Fri, 15 May 1998 15:07:30 EDT

Of course, Marc Shapiro is right about champagne yeast producing dry mead from
a must with SG of 1.105. In my post of May 15 I inadvertently wrote champagne
yeast instead of sweet-mead yeast. However, the question of stopping the
fermentation is still unanswered. I know that fermentation can be prevented
by addition of sorbic acid or a sorbate, but I am not certain that active
fermentation can be stopped with sorbate. My problem is, more often than not,
how to ferment out all sugar from musts of higher gravity than about 21 Brix.
I often have to accept some residual sugar, although I don't care for sweet
meads or wines.

Czes Perun

Subject: Fermenting with fruit
From: Jeremy York <>
Date: Fri, 15 May 1998 18:03:57 -0700

I've tried a few different methods of making fruit meads,
but haven't been entirely satisfied with any of them.

I've put the fruit in a fine nylon bag and steeped it
in hot must to sterilize it, then (by hand) squeezed the
juice from it. This deals with sterilizing the fruit, and
leaves you with an easy-to-syphon mead. Bad parts are that
the fruit is present during the primary ferment, and I've
heard it said that the primary ferment will carry away a lot
of the aromatic fruit flavors with all of the CO2 being vented.
Also, it seems that much of the fruit flavor never gets a chance
to leech out into the mead due to the short exposure.

I've dumped the fruit into a fermentation bucket
along with fermenting mead, but I almost contaminated the
batch. It's easier to get the fruit out this way, and
you get a prolonged soak of the fruit in the mead. However,
the sanitation concerns are greater, dipping a strainer in
to get the fruit out stirs things up and aerates, and leaving
the fruit in while you siphon leads to a difficult siphon.

I've dumped the fruit into a glass carboy along with fermenting
mead. Nice long soak of the fruit in the mead. But straining
is not an option, and the siphoning was a nightmare. Even with
a chore-boy tied to the end of the racking cane, I was still getting
completely loaded up with gunk and having to restart the siphon
numerous times, and eventually gave up and dumped it through a
strainer into a bucket (better than pitching it).

A few ideas I've picked up off the net lately are putting
a campden tablet in the fruit (w/ enough liquid to dissolve); even
if you don't use them in your meads, this seems like a good way
to sterilize fruit if you're not going to heat-treat it. Also,
I'll probably try pectic enzyme to clear some of the gunk. Another
is the idea mentioned above of not putting the fruit in until you're
doing the secondary fermentation. BUT, I don't like the idea of
doing an extended secondary in a bucket, and my last experience
with siphoning a strawberry mead (maybe it was my malfunctioning
Phils Psyphon Pstarter, which I've pitched) left me dreading doing
that again.

So, what's a body to do?

One other thought is that I'll go to a 7 gallon carboy if I'm going
to float fruit in the fermenting stuff, since it displaces and soaks
up a fair amount of liquid. I only got a 3 gallon yield out of the
strawberry batch I spoke about above, from a full 5 gallon carboy
with fruit in it.

Jeremy York Projectionist "Immersed, I explore.
ThemeMedia Inc. VOX 425 602-3557 Text, not read, is understood. FAX 425 602-3570 Words into wisdom."
vmail 425 298-5933

Subject: Novice Meadmaking question
From: (Mary Savage)
Date: Sun, 17 May 1998 22:31:21 -0400 (EDT)

My name is Leo Horishny and I have the materials at hand to make my first
batch of mead. I was just about ready to try to make a yeast starter when I
realized, I had no idea how long it took before a must was ready to throw
the starter in.

Roughly how long does it take to boil up 3 gallons of water and 10 pounds of
honey? Before the 1/2 hour sterililizing period that is. I'm not trying to
be so precise as to choreograph this operation, but I would like to have a
ballpark figure.


I'm also curious as to any reason why Mad About Mead! by Pamela Spence
hasn't appeared on any book lists I've noticed on the Net or in other media
(no pun intended). It has its weaknesses, but I've found the book helpful.


Subject: Correction
From: (Mary Savage)
Date: Sun, 17 May 1998 22:48:43 -0400 (EDT)

Re-reading the M.A.M. book I have and the FAQ, I'm getting the idea that
this was the person mentioned at the end of the FAQ.

I answered THAT part of my email.

Pardon me.


Subject: Sweet mead
From: dennis key <>
Date: Mon, 18 May 1998 17:11:22 -0600 (MDT)

I have had the best success making sweet or semisweet mead or cyser by
following the Duncan & Acton method of "feeding the must." For example,
if I want a high alcohol product (dessert wine, etc.) I use champaign or
cuvee yeast which tolerates 18-20% alcohol. I start with about 1 1/2
gallons of honey for a 6 gallon carboy. When the S.G. drops to 1.005, I
add 1/4 pound per gallon of honey. This continues until fermentation
stops. If you want a sweeter mead, add the honey at 1.01 or 1.015. To
get a lower alcohol level, use a yeast with less tolerance (your supplier
can advise you on this) and start with less honey and follow the same

I know this is a bit time consuming, but it gives you good control over
the end product, and mead making is about patience, no?

Never Thirst,


End of Mead Lover's Digest #670