Mead Lover's Digest #0705 Wed 4 November 1998


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



preventing oxidation (ALAN KEITH MEEKER)
re: Stopping Cider Fermentation (Dick Dunn)
Re: Topping Off (Dan McFeeley)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #704, 30 October 1998 (Kate Collins)
RE: book recommendation ("Shane Essary")
RE:Cider (Paul Mozdziak)
Re: Chaucer's Mead (
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #704, 30 October 1998 ("Mike Kidulich")
Re: Questions about Wyeast Belgian Trappist yeast (
Bottling? (Gregg Stearns)


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Subject: preventing oxidation
Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 12:58:51 -0500 (EST)

Concerning the problem of headspace in secondary, tertiary, etc.. I like
the idea of using some inert material such as sterilized marbles to bring
up the level – clever idea that!

Another possible solution, one that I've used successfully myself in
racking beer, is to get ahold of some dry ice (frozen CO2) and plop this
in the empty carboy before racking. Allow must of this to sublimate and
your carboy will be well purged of air and filled w/ CO2 gas. Now when you
rack over you are not exposing your mead to any appreciable amount of O2.
You can add a little extra at the end of racking to purge the head space
if you're really paranoid. The one thing I did worry about a bit was the
possibility of introducing contaminants so I soaked my dry ice pellets in
vodka before use but this may be unneccesary, especially in a mead going
to secondary which should have a much higher alcohol content than (most)

  • -Alan

"Graduate school is the snooze button on the alarm clock of life."

-Jim Squire


  • -Alan Meeker

Johns Hopkins Hospital
Dept. of Urology


(410) 614-4974


Subject: re: Stopping Cider Fermentation
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 30 Oct 98 12:03:12 MST (Fri)

"Michael O. Hanson" <> wrote:
> There are two basic methods for stopping fermentation in wine, mead, or
> fermented cider. Sulfites or Camden tablets are one method…

> The other method is to add potassium sorbate…

Sorbate won't stop an active fermentation. It can prevent a fermentation
from re-starting but only after the yeast are pretty well dormant.

Dick Dunn Hygiene, Colorado USA

…Don't lend your hand to raise no flag atop no ship of fools.

Subject: Re: Topping Off
From: Dan McFeeley <>
Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 13:10:40 -0600

In MLD 704, Nathan Kanous <> wrote:

>As mentioned in "Making Mead", you could always sanitize some marbles or
>other such "filler" and use that to take up space. I've heard rumors of
>lead leaching out of some marbles, and people fearing bacteria hiding in
>the small pores…it's your choice. Just another option.
>I've also had advice that indicates mead and wine are a little more hearty
>than beers and may be more tolerant of that extra headspace. I was worried
>about one I've got in secondary and Jim Branigan convinced me to not worry
>about it. We'll see. Good luck.

I was also concerned about the possibility of dyes used in marbles
leaching out into the mead. To bypass that risk, I buy marbles from
pet stores intended for fish tanks. I figure that anything that is
safe enough to be used in an aquarium should be ok to be used in
mead making.

Regarding the latter point, all sources agree that mead is more vulnerable
to oxidation than wines and beers. I'd have to double check this, but
I believe that the reason for this is the poor buffering capacity of

Dan McFeeley

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #704, 30 October 1998
From: Kate Collins <>
Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 21:05:34 +0100

> How about it, any good meads out there??

I've found two commercial meads here in Sweden, I believe they're
both Swedish. One of them, which is called simply "Mj=F6d" (Swedish
for mead) and has some sort of cornucopia on the label, was actually
quite nice (although too sweet). Another one, whose name I have
forgotten but whose label sported an impressive Viking ship, tasted
approximately like dog leavings. Strange that commercial meads are
often so revoltingly sweet – it gives the drink a bad name among the
less educated 🙂


Subject: RE: book recommendation
From: "Shane Essary" <>
Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 14:52:22 -0600

> Subject: Book recomendation
> From: "Michael Scott Meiners" <>
> Date: Mon, 26 Oct 1998 21:56:21 -0500
> Howdy all. Anybody have suggestions on which book is the better
> one to buy?
> Mad About Mead! : Nectar of the Gods, Brewing Mead: Wassail! In Mazers of
> Mead, or Making Mead Honey Wine : History, Recipes, Methods and Equipment?
> So far all of my mead info has come from CJJ Berry's First Steps in
> Winemaking and the MLD. I would like to get more info, but I am a poor
> college student and can only afford one book. Thanks,
> – -Mike

I like Mad about Mead. It's pretty informative and has some neat recipes.
You'll find a more extensive recipe listing just be staying on the group. I
think I've collected more than 50 or so recipes, variations, etc, just by
saving my MLD's, plus the archive is available. I also have Papazian's book
TNCJHB (and the companion), which has a chapter on mead, which to tell the
truth, is what got me into mead to begin with. Check out Marc Shapiro's
site as well as others and, besides the basic equipment listing and/or the
photographical record of steps involved, etc, you'll be all set.

Also, have you checked your university or local library? You might be
surprised what lurks there.


  • -Shane Essary

Apprentice Mead Maker

Subject: RE:Cider
From: Paul Mozdziak <>
Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 15:47:39 -0600

I've had good luck making reasonably sweet high alcohol cider or cyser using
Lalvin EC-1118 yeast, and starting with a high specific gravity. For cyser
around 15# of honey to 5-6 gallons of apple cider or for cider enough sugar
to get a high initial specific gravity.
Paul Mozdziak
Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Department of Anatomy
1300 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53706

FAX 608-262-7306

Subject: Re: Chaucer's Mead
Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 22:29:04 EST

A couple of folks in the last MLD mentioned Chaucer's Mead as a commercial
example they did not find too impressive. In an earlier exchange here, a
bunch of us raked it over the coals pretty good — not necessarily because of
its sweetness, but because it seemed overprocessed & lacking in honey
character. From the alcohol level & measured final gravity, I inferred that
they arrest fermentation somehow to preserve sweetness and probably filter it
all to hell as part of this process. A sweet mead should reek of honey aroma
& taste. It should taste like summer. Chaucer's doesn't. One of the samples
I tasted was also oxidized ("wet cardboard"). Increased acid levels can also
render a sweet mead less cloying. So don't write off sweet meads just because
of Chaucer's!

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #704, 30 October 1998
From: "Mike Kidulich" <>
Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 22:55:21 -5

> If indeed oxidation will be a problem, then the remedies may include: 1.
> Buy a smaller carboy. 2. Add more honey & water (and nutrient) to increase
> the volume to just shy of 6.5 gal. 3. Any others?

If you have access to a CO2 tank, you could just top off the headspace in
the carboy with CO2, or better yet, flood the carboy with CO2 before you
transfer to the secondary (or tertiary, as may be). This should prevent

Mike Kidulich, President Emeritus/BJCP Coordinator
Upstate New York Homebrewers Association

Subject: Re: Questions about Wyeast Belgian Trappist yeast
Date: Sat, 31 Oct 1998 22:59:13 EST


I am no expert, but I have done starters both of the ways you mention and

both worked. The key in either case is avoiding infections. Iodophor is my
favorite tool to accomplish that. I also have used the Belgian Trappist yeast
you mention. It seemed to work well in the mead I tried it in and dropped a
1.090 mead down to about 0.996 without too much trouble. I did use a starter
though that boosted the amount of yeast up quite a bit from the yeast pack.

Once I did a beer (I do wine, mead and beer now…just getting into wine

in last year) and then put the mead on the dregs. It worked. My opinion now
is though, it is probably better to use the yeast out of the secondary for
this; two reasons…get rid of the hop ring which may have bacteria and also
the hops and trub in the bottom you have in the primary.

Methinks now it may be better to avoid that and use the secondary soon

after the yeast drop…don't wait too long. Using the beer as a starter like
that develops a great yeast starter! Just a few comments and ideas.. Like I
said I am no expert….Let me know what you think. Duane

ssage dated 98-10-30 16:53:13 EST, you write:

<< Subject: Questions about Wyeast Belgian Trappist yeast
From: (Derrick Pohl)
Date: Mon, 26 Oct 1998 23:21:41 -0800

I popped a pack of Wyeast Belgian Trappist beer yeast (#3787) on the
weekend, intending to use it in a Belgian-style strong spiced winter ale,
but alas didn't have time to use it.

It now occurs to me that given its high alcohol tolerance (12%), this might
be a good yeast to use in a mead.

What I have in mind is a strawberry melomel, with just a hint of sweetness.
So I'd be feeding the must until the yeast poops out.

Has anyone tried this yeast in a mead? The one concern I have is that it
probably has that characteristic banana/clove aroma which marks many
Belgian yeasts and is a desirable characteristic in Belgian beers. But I'm
not sure how desirable it would be in a mead.

The other question is: now that the Wyeast yeast pack is all swollen and
puffy, do I need to make a honey must for a starter, or can I just do a
light malt extract wort? The advantage of malt is it has all the nutrients
and a just-right pH for the yeast already to go, whereas a honey must
sounds a little more tricky. I must admit I haven't made a yeast starter
for a mead before.

If I do make a honey must, how much nutrient should I put in? The package
I have calls for 1/2 tsp. per gallon, but that's for beer and wine. I
would think mead might need a little more, as it has less naturally
occurring nutrients. The ingredients for the nutrient I have are:
Diamonimum Phosphate, Vitamin B Complex, Magnesium Sulphate.

Derrick Pohl <>
Vancouver, BC, Canada >>

Subject: Bottling?
From: Gregg Stearns <>
Date: Sun, 01 Nov 1998 15:10:25 -0600

What is the best way to bottle mead? I planned on racking it after the
first fermentation, letting it settle some, wondering if I should add
any clarifier, then bottling in 1.75L wine jugs and corking.
Should I prime when I bottle with more honey? if so how much?

feel free to e-mail back

Gregg Stearns

"No! Do not try. Only do, or do not. There is no try."
(Yoda, Jedi Master)

End of Mead Lover's Digest #705