Mead Lover's Digest #70 Sun 17 January 1993
Forum for Discussion of Mead Brewing and Consuming
John Dilley, Digest Coordinator
Date: Sat, 16 Jan 93 10:05:56 EDT
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Willie Smith)
Subject: Mead temperatures, yeasts
Mark Lewis asks about ideal mead fermenting temperatures and types of
yeast to use. I've done a lot of looking (and not much experimenting)
on the first question, and a little experimentation with the second.
Temperature Papazian, in TNCJOHB, tells you to use 21-26 degrees C
(70-78F), and references LC Gayre. Papazian, in Gayre's book Brewing
Mead/Wassail! In Mazers Of Mead, tells us to use 18-24C (65-75F).
Morse, in Making Mead (Honey Wine) tells us to use 18-19C (65-68F).
They all agree that changes in temperature are more detrimental than
the 'wrong' temperature. Acton and Duncan in Making Mead tell us to
start at 26C, drop to 18C during most of the fermentation, and
complete at 27C, but also tells us that 21-24C (70-75F) is
satisfactory. We've got a temperature controlled waterbath made from
trash cans to keep things at a constant temperature using an aquarium
heater and airlift water circulator, but the only temperature we've
tried so far is 22.6C. In general, it appears that higher
temperatures will cause faster fermentation, but may cause Off Flavors
(TM). Note that these temperatures are quite warm, especially
compared to basements and beer fermenting, so mead has a reputation
for taking years to ferment. Reasonable times are on the order of 10
to 20 days. Our current batch used a lot of honey (10 lbs in 3
gallons) and is almost done at 4 weeks. Aging appears to work best at
temperatures below about 60F, and though it's difficult to leave it
alone, aging for a year appears to be A Good Thing.
Yeast Papazian calls for champagne yeast or Pris de Mousse. Papazian
in Gayre mentions wine or champagne yeast. Morse tells us that
Brother Adam, the famous beekeeper of Buckfast Abbey in England uses
Maury, Madeira, or Malaga wine yeasts, and suggests yeasts used in
making "sauterne-type wines", champagne yeast, or white wine yeasts.
Acton/Duncan tell us that others reccomend Maury (but they don't),
Tokay (which ferments at 35C! (95F)), and they recommend sedimentary
white wine yeasts (Sauternes, Bordeaux, Stienberg, Bernkastler,
Zeiltinger, Champagne, Liebfroumilch, Graves, General Purpose), but
especially Steinberg and Sauternes. We've had good results with Red
Star (yes, I know their beer yeasts are supposedly atrocious) Pris de
Mousse, it's pretty constant in activity from start to end, and drops
off quickly when complete. We've had mediocre results with Red Star
champagne yeast, it was very active at the start and tapered off over
a long period of time. Our current batch is fermenting with a
Vintner's Choice (TM) liquid Champagne yeast (3021), which slept for
over 24 hours, exploded into action for a day, and has been tapering
off ever since. I'm not too impressed, and unless it turns out to
make a drastic improvement in taste, I think we'll go back to Red Star
Pris de Mousse.
Confused yet? I think the best thing to do is experiment. We've been
adjusting one variable at a time, but at a month per experiment it can
be pretty slow. I suspect our next couple of experiments will be the
high and low end of the temperature range (whatever that is).
Date: Sat, 16 Jan 93 12:28:42 CST
From: Robert Crawford <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #69 (January 16, 1993)
Well, I've only made one batch of mead, but it was WONDERFUL!
I used Red Star Montrachet, dry. I don't know if an ale or lager yeast
would be attenuative enough, but I've heard some people use it to good
My next batches (five!) are going to be forced into one of two
yeast choices — Red Star Flor Sherry or Pris de Mousse. Anyone know
which is more suited? I'm doing five different meads — two
metheglins, two melomels and a sack — so I figure I might have to
break down and use both (or get another type)…
Rob Crawford firstname.lastname@example.org
End of Mead Lover's Digest