Mead Lover's Digest #0714 Sun 20 December 1998


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



Stuck fermentation, help? (
A note to all about honey ("James Perry")
Re: Sweetening finished mead (David Sherfey)
Belgian yeast in mead (Spencer W Thomas)
St.Louis Brews competition results posted (Jack Baty)
mint mead, other spices? (
Stuck mead? or slow? (Malcor)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #713, 12 December 1998 (dennis key)
Mead Yeasts (Carl Wilson)
Sweet Mead Ferment Stuck? (


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Subject: Stuck fermentation, help?
Date: Sat, 12 Dec 1998 22:50:22 EST

I am fairly new to mead-making, although I enjoy it, along with the results.
I just started a batch of the "Dangerous Cyser" from the bunch of recipes on
the Stanford FTP site. I used an Ale yeast (unfortunately I forgot which
type), and the fermentation stalled within a day or 2. The yeast immediately
spread out into a layer which started working its way down the carboy in a
level layer, and after about eighteen hours, the layer was not much more than
halfway down, and it has remained there for a couple of days. What have I
done wrong, and how do I recover?

Lane Gray

Subject: A note to all about honey
From: "James Perry" <>
Date: Sat, 12 Dec 1998 20:51:40 PST

Hello all,

The other day I had a friend send me some mead that was made from
poisoned honey and I thought it would be a good idea to say a few words
of wisdom to all who read this digest about honey.

1. Get good honey to start with, it's best to spend a little more to
make sure you get a good product!
2. If you are buying it from the person who keeps the bees, as opposed
to someone who buys raw honey and packs it to sell, ask a few questions.
Such as how healthy the bees are!
3. And last but not least, buy honey from an area where that are farms,
orchards, and such. This is where my friend went wrong!

Now before everyone puts down their horn of mead and backs away from it
I'd like to say what happened to me is very rare, and I'm fine! There
just aren't many flowers out there that make toxic nectar and from what
Scott said the place where he bought the honey from is no longer in
business, it seems most of the bees died from unknown causes. So just
be careful when using strange honey.

Take It Easy,
James P.

Subject: Re: Sweetening finished mead
From: David Sherfey <>
Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 09:04:33 -0500


Adding 1.005 or so to a dry mead is a good place to start. A measure of
1.5 fluid ounces of commercially available clover honey or two ounces of
dry corn sugar per gallon will yield about 1.005. You may want to test
this on yourself with a small amount of mead first before committing
your whole batch to a change, and the corn sugar is much easier to
measure (if you have a good gram scale available). Once you have
settled on the amount you want to add, continue tasting for several
sips over a half an hour to make certain.

Potassium sorbate is added at the rate of 1/2 teaspoon per gallon.

Last night I added about 1.004 to a finsihed cyser (1.090 OG) that had a
barely perceptable amount of residual sweetness, and this brought the
flavor up to just above dry. I have done this a few times and have
found that it's best to be conservative and add slightly less than your
taste tests tell you to. It is easy to add more later, but if you've
put too much in, then……you have to make more mead to get it right.

David Sherfey
Warwick, NY

Subject: Belgian yeast in mead
From: Spencer W Thomas <>
Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 14:57:35 -0500

I tasted a mead (cherry??) at the Ann Arbor Brewers Guild meeting last
Friday that was made with a Belgian yeast (I don't remember the exact
strain). There were no significant flavors that I could
attribute to the yeast, except for diacetyl, and that's certainly not
unique to the Belgian strains!

So it is clear from this one example that it is possible to make
decent-tasting mead from at least one Belgian strain. (Reminds me of
the old joke about black sheep in Scotland.)


Subject: St.Louis Brews competition results posted
From: Jack Baty <>
Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 16:43:24 -0600

The results of the St. Louis Brews 1998 Happy Holidays Homebrew Competition
have been posted
on the club's web page:

Thanks to everyone who helped by entering, judging, and contributing prizes!

Subject: mint mead, other spices?
Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 14:22:09 EST

I was contemplating taking that "basic small mead" recipe, and adapting it to
using other teas, i.e., mint tea, some of the other teas from the local
"lesbo-hippie" herb and spice store. My basic question is, would one
generally make a tea stronger than drinking strength, weaker than, or about
the same as one would just curl up with a book?

Has anyone on-list done this, or have you any suggestions?


Subject: Stuck mead? or slow?
From: Malcor <>
Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 12:55:17 -0600

I started this metheglin nov 14, OG was 108, but took a reading
yesterday and it was only down to 72, and still very sweet
I used Wyeast sweet mead liquid yeast.

any ideas?

Gregg Stearns
The Daily Nebraskan

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

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #713, 12 December 1998
From: dennis key <>
Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 14:42:45 -0700 (MST)

Concerning Jerome Millers question (Premier Cuvee yeast, etc.): You can
make anything you like with most yeasts by controlling the amount of honey
your use. I use Cuvee or champaign yeast almost exclusively. I follow
the Duncan and Acton method of "feeding" the yeast to get a sweet or
semisweet mead or cyser. Start with a gallon of honey in 5-7 gallons and
feed it 1/4 lb. per gallon of honey every time the S.G. drops to 1.005.
When it stops, it will be around 18-20% alcohol and will be semisweet.
You can then add more honey to taste without a referment.

If you prefer a lower alcohol mead, use a less-tolerant yeast, start with
less honey and procede as above. My experience is that six gallons will
take about two gallons of honey to reach its alcohol tolerance level using
either Cuvee or champaign yeast. I've made several batches of sparkling
mead by limiting the honey to about 1 1/2 gallons and priming with corn
sugar and bottling either in champaign bottles wiring the corks down or
using crown caps.


The only way I know of to get a sweet/semisweet sparkling mead is to force
carbonate at bottling. As one of my favorite brewmeisters says,
"…carbonic acid is carbonic acid whether it comes from yeast metabolism
or compressed in a cylinder…"

Never Thirst,


Subject: Mead Yeasts
From: Carl Wilson <>
Date: Fri, 18 Dec 1998 20:13:15 -0600

Having brewed my first batch o' beer, I'm now considering my first batch
of mead. But I'd like to ask a few questions about mead yeasts first.
I've read someplace that Cote des Blancs is a very good mead yeast. Is
this correct? If anyone out there has any actual experience with it,
please let me know how it worked out. Also, should I decide instead to
use a WYeast liquid mead yeast instead, how do you go about making a
yeast starter for mead?

Subject: Sweet Mead Ferment Stuck?
Date: Sat, 19 Dec 1998 13:47:58 EST

I have made 9 batches of dry mead in the past 2 1/2 years (I'm primarily a
beer brewer), and all have turned out well. Two of them have won prizes in
competitions. While my own taste runs to dry beverages, I have friends who
like sweet wines, so I tried a batch of sweet mead.

A month ago I heated 12 lbs. of organic wildflower (slightly darker than
clover) honey to 170 F for 30 min. to pasteurize. I cooled it with an
immersion chiller, then added charcoal-filtered (moderately hard) water for a
total volume of 3 1/2 gal. and siphoned to a carboy. The starting gravity was
1.121. I stirred in 4 tsp. of yeast nutrient (diammonnium phosphate) and
pitched a package of Wyeast Dry Mead #3632 in a 1 qt. starter.

Within about 12 hrs. at 68 F, gentle but regular (a bubble in the airlock
every 4-5 sec.) fermentation had begun. This continued for a little more than
three weeks, eventually subsiding to less than one bubble every 2 min. Last
night I racked to secondary and took a hydrometer reading. The gravity had
dropped to 1.059, which seems quite high to me. I'd expected it to be less
than 1.020. The taste was normal but very sweet.

I suspect I have a stuck fermentation, which I understand can be a problem
with sweet meads. If this were beer, I'd probably add a package of rehydrated
dry ale yeast with about 3 tsp. of amylase enzyme. That's usually enough to
get beer going again. But because I have no prior experience with sweet mead,
I'm wondering what the mead experts recommend in this case.

TIA for any advice.

Bill Pierce

End of Mead Lover's Digest #714