Mead Lover's Digest #72 Tue 19 January 1993

Forum for Discussion of Mead Brewing and Consuming
John Dilley, Digest Coordinator


Re: Sweet Meads (Steve Dempsey)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #71 (January 18, 1993) (Robert Crawford)
yeast choice (Dick Dunn)

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Date: Mon, 18 Jan 93 10:37:57 -0700 
From: Steve Dempsey <>
Subject: Re: Sweet Meads

Keith Schwols <> sez:

> I want to make my next mead a sweet mead and was wondering how to do this.
> What does everyone use for a stabilizer? Which yeast strain is the least
> attenuative?

A couple of ways to make sweet meads:

  1. Use lots of honey, more than any yeast will ever ferment, like
    OG 1.140-1.1160. This will probably take a long time to ferment,
    and you'll have a strong beverage in the end. If you know how
    attenuative a particular yeast is, you can just use more honey
    than it will consume and end up with a sweeter product.

  2. Stabilize the mead before it's done. The generic `wine stabilizer'
    sold at most homebrew retailers will work. You have to carefully
    monitor the mead and hit it when you reach the desired sweetness.

  3. Wait until fermentation is done, then rack several times to make
    sure yeast is gone (or use stabilizer). You can also shock the
    yeast by dropping the temperature quickly enough. Add more honey
    to achieve desired sweetness and if you didn't stabilize it, wait
    wait some more before bottling to make sure the yeast does not
    start up again

  4. Use a less attenuative yeast, like an ale yeast. You'll want
    something fairly neutral, like the Chico strain (WY1056). An
    OG of 1.090-1.110 should finish over 1.020 with an ale yeast.

In general, I've gone for #1 — use more honey and a medium attenuative
yeast like Montrachet. Stabilizer sometimes leaves noticible flavors
of sulfur that take a while to age out. Also, #1 and #4 are the only
ways to get a sweet sparkling mead by bottling before fermentation is
done. But you have to know where it will finish or you'll get glass
grenades (not recommended unless you are VERY sure of the FG).

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Date: Mon, 18 Jan 93 12:49:03 CST 
From: Robert Crawford <>
Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #71 (January 18, 1993)

> I want to make my next mead a sweet mead and was wondering how to do this.
> What does everyone use for a stabilizer? Which yeast strain is the least
> attenuative? Thanks in advance.

The best way I know of making a sweet mead is to use more

honey — the rule of thumb I've been going by is 2.5 lbs for a drier
mead, 3 lbs for a sweet mead.

Rob Crawford

Date: 18 Jan 93 23:28:57 MST (Mon) 
From: (Dick Dunn)
Subject: yeast choice

Robert Crawford <> writes:

> 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…

The flor sherry yeast has two characteristics to be aware of. First, it's
more alcohol-tolerant than most, so it's a better choice if you're aiming
for quite a strong mead.

(Note in passing, not in response to Crawford's note, but something else I
saw recently reminds me: Folks, DO NOT try to make a sweet mead by using a
yeast that quits at low alcohol level and just hoping that when it slows
down, the yeast have died. Unless you're very sure of your yeast, you
can end up making bottle-bombs if the yeast wakes up again. Instead,
stabilize the mead. Potassium sorbate is probably the most common and
least offensive way to do it.)

The other thing about the flor yeast is that it has a definite character of
its own…I don't know how to describe it other than "like a flor sherry".
It's not jumping-up-and-down-screaming character, but it's obviously there.
I've had good luck with it in several melomels.

(However, I wonder how close the Red Star is to a true "flor" yeast. It
might well be a hybrid or a mixture of flor with another more conventional

Dick Dunn -or- raven!rcd Boulder, Colorado USA

…Mr. Natural says, "Use the right tool for the job."

End of Mead Lover's Digest