Mead Lover's Digest #0743 Fri 28 May 1999


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



a Cyser ("Larry R. Sieting")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #742, sweet mead ("Wout Klingens")
sweet mead (
D47 (Gary Shea)
Answers on Yeast & other Beginning Questions (Ted McIrvine)
stopping fermentation (
Boneyard Brew-Off 2nd Notice ("Brian J. Paszkiet")
stopping fermentation (Dick Dunn)


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Subject: a Cyser
From: "Larry R. Sieting" <>
Date: Sat, 22 May 1999 02:48:00 -0400


Finally time to stop lurking. I have a 5 gallon carboy filled with apple
cider that was supposed to be pastuerized. Well… it decided to start
fermenting on its own. I did not add yeast to it. Question is this…. Do
I test it; if so with what, or just dump it due to not knowing what little
yeasties or bacteria caused the fermentation?

This is the second batch I have made. The first came out okay, but the
second took off before I added anything to it. This was started last


Larry R. Sieting

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #742, sweet mead
From: "Wout Klingens" <>
Date: Sat, 22 May 1999 08:30:17 +0200

Belinda Messenger asks:

>But what if you do want a sweet mead? Can you keep racking away the yeast
>until fermentation stops?

Chuck and me are discussing this topic for ages now and we still don't agree
I am inclined to say "yes", if you make sure, that the mead has more than
12% alcohol in it *and* you make sure, that the fermentation has stopped
*completely*, to avoid exploding bottles. I "heard" (that means, that I have
never read any scientific proof) that refermentation through budding of any
leftover yeastcell isn't possible above 12%. I also "heard" that yeast cell
in lagphase won't "come to life" above 12%.
But I have never tried this, because of a lack of carboys 🙂
So I also am interested to hear opinions from more experienced meadsters.

>I currently have a mango melomel that has been foaming away (we're talking
>major fermentation) for over 6 months, that I've racked twice. At last
>racking , it tasted great, so I'd like it to stop fermenting already. I
>used an ale yeast to retain sweetness. I'm seriously considering campden
>tablets, but I've never used them and it seems like cheating.

I entirely agree. Not only that, but it seems to me, that making a fine mead
at home to make it as natural as possible, and thus making it as healthy as
possible doesn't make any sense, when you add chemicals of questionable
But if you don't mind that, then chill your mead for a week or so to 0
Celcius to stop fermentation, rack it off the lees, add P.sorbate and SO2
(to prevent geranium smell) and fine it. After all, almost all commercial
wines are made with SO2.
This works all the time and guarantees a biologically stable wine, even at
lower alcoholpercentages.


Subject: sweet mead
Date: Sat, 22 May 1999 09:32:42 EDT

>Subject: Assorted newbie questions
>From: "Russ Hobaugh" <>
>Date: Wed, 19 May 1999 10:43:53 -0400

>I mainly brew beer, but I recently finished my first batch of mead: 1 gallon of

> How would I get a sweeter mead with a lower alcohol content?

Yes, it's normal for champagne yeast to produce a high alcohol "warming" affect.
I pefer this myself, but for competitions and friends, I use a sweet mead
yeast. I've been playing with other yeasts, but about the only sweet mead
yeast I've found is wyeast. I have recently picked up some Whitelabs sweet
mead yeast, but I can't attest to it's performance, perhaps someone else here

Subject: D47
From: Gary Shea <>
Date: Sun, 23 May 1999 02:40:12 -0600 (MDT)

My experience with D-47 is limited — I have a peach mead that I pitched
a couple packs of D-47 into, did the pH adjustment and incremental
honey-adding thang while the activity was still really noticeable.
It has never stopped fermenting, despite reasonable pH, and I would
expect decent nutrients from the peaches. It's now consumed something
like 3 1/2 lbs of honey/gal (this is something of an estimate, as I
can't find all the logs for that mead just now), is too dry for me
(ymmv — I like sweet meads), still has that CO2 bite to it, and I
don't think it's every going to stop, and it has a nasty new mead
flavor. Ughh. I made it about 1 1/2 years ago.


> Subject: Yeast Questions
> From: Al n Paige <>
> Date: Tue, 18 May 1999 20:51:32 -0500
> Has anyone had any experience using the yeast ICV D-47 by Lalvin? What
> was your pitching rate for a 5 gal batch? At what temperature did you
> ferment the mead? Were there any off flavors produced by the yeast?
> Stuck ferments? Any and all info would be greatly appreciated.
> Al Franciosi

Subject: Answers on Yeast & other Beginning Questions
From: Ted McIrvine <>
Date: Sun, 23 May 1999 16:43:14 -0700

Johannes Ehinger" <> and Belinda Messinger Ph.D."
<> both had a couple of beginning questions.

I often use an ale yeast, as Belinda did. But I firmly believe that
giving a mead the time it needs is the best way to stop fermenting. An
ale yeast will drop out sooner than a wine or champagne yeast because of
lower alcohol tolerance. An extended period of cold aging (down around
35 degrees) is another good way of stopping fermentation; it kills
yeast, so plan on bottling as a still mead. Racking a mead off the
yeast before fermentation is over will only cause the remaining yeast to
reproduce and lengthen the fermentation. Yeast usually stays in
suspension as long as it has fermentable sugars unless alcohol or
temperature kill it.

Here is a sweet mead recipe for Johannes that is similar to the mead
that he described. (The recipe won the mead/cider category in this
year's NYC regional homebrewing contest.)

Heat 15 pounds of honey with a gallon of water to 160 and hold for about
20 minutes. Add two teaspoons acid blend and 2 tablespoons of dried
orange peel before turning off the heat. Fill a fermenter with several
gallons of cold water, add the cooling must (the pasteurized honey) and
top off with more water. Pitch champagne yeast and ferment for about 3
weeks in the primary and then in the secondary until it clears (which
might take 3-4 months).

Some people clarify mead with gelatin. Others like Sparkaloid ™,
which is excellent for clearing but a minor hassle because it requires
multiple rackings in the final weeks before bottling. Prime with 1/3
cup of corn sugar and hide the bottles for a few months.


Belinda asked:
> But what if you do want a sweet mead? Can you keep racking away the yeast
> until fermentation stops?

And Johannes asked:
> Im thinking about start brewing mead and I need some advice. Of course I
> have read the Mead-lovers digest FAQ but that doesnt really cover it all.
> Last year I had a cup of a mead that I was told was a sweat mead made from
> only honey, yeast, water and som acid balance stuff. I would like to make a
> try with that since the taste of the stuff was really great. Can anyone give
> me some advice about the process, what I should think of and, most
> important, a recipy. For example, how much honey should I take and how long
> should i lett it ferment.

Subject: stopping fermentation
Date: Mon, 24 May 1999 14:28:29 EDT

Belinda wrote:

> But what if you do want a sweet mead? Can you keep racking away the yeast
> until fermentation stops?
> I currently have a mango melomel that has been foaming away (we're talking
> major fermentation) for over 6 months, that I've racked twice. At last
> racking , it tasted great, so I'd like it to stop fermenting already. I
> used an ale yeast to retain sweetness. I'm seriously considering campden
> tablets, but I've never used them and it seems like cheating.
I don't think the racking would do it, because there is almost always going
to be yeast in suspension. I don't know if you could kill it with Campden
without bringing your sulfur levels up to an awful level. I would be tempted
to stop it with alcohol. Something about 1/4 cup of everclear/gal. ought to
bring your alcohol levels up to yeast toxic. That is what is called for in
the quick mead recipe on the stanford ftp site, and my wife is quite fond of
that quick metheglin. It is what I make the most of, as we both love it, and
it is quite popular with the dagorhir group I belong to.


Subject: Boneyard Brew-Off 2nd Notice
From: "Brian J. Paszkiet" <>
Date: Thu, 27 May 1999 15:02:12 -0500

The Boneyard Union of Zymurgical Zealots of Champaign, IL
would like to announce our upcoming 5th Annual Boneyard
Brew-Off taking place June 11-12, 1999. We will be judging
all 1998 BJCP beer, mead, and cider categories. This is an
AHA sanctioned competition as well as a qualifying event for
the Masters Championship of Amateur Brewing (MCAB) II (see for more details). Points will also be
awarded for Midwest Homebrewer of the Year.

The main judging will start at 9:00 am on Saturday, June 12th.
Standard AHA rules apply: we will need three unmarked
10-16 oz brown or green bottles, with bottle ID forms attached
to each bottle with a rubber band, a completed entry/recipe
form, and $6 for each of the first entry, $5 for each subsequent
entry from the same brewer(s). Entries must arrive between
MAY 26 and JUNE 5, 1999. We will accept walk-in entries
from judges at 8:15 am on the day of the competition
(June 12th) as long as the completed paperwork and fee arrive
by June 5th.

Our special category again this year will be the "No One Gets
Out Alive High-Gravity Brew-Off". In this category, we will judge
any beer with a starting gravity over 1.070 purely on the basis
of drinkability and octane. For this category, we only require
two unmarked 6-16 oz brown or green bottles. We will allow
any high gravity style, but if you wish the beer to be also judged
in another category, you must separately enter it in that category.
No fortification is allowed. The winners in this category will not
be eligible for best of show, but will receive a special award.

Entries should be sent to:
Boneyard Brew-Off
c/o Piccadilly Beverage Shop
505 S. Neil St.
Champaign, IL 61820

For additional information, contact the competition organizer
Brian Paszkiet ( or (217) 352-2438(H) or
(217) 333-9033(W)).

Forms and rules are also available on the World Wide Web at:
Online entry and judge registration are available NOW.

Brian Paszkiet
BUZZ President

Subject: stopping fermentation
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 28 May 99 11:00:53 MDT (Fri)

Belinda Messenger <> asked:
> But what if you do want a sweet mead? Can you keep racking away the yeast
> until fermentation stops?

There will always be enough yeast left in suspension to keep fermenting.
Chilling won't do it either (unless you were actually to freeze the mead,
but that's got its own set of problems).

You said you'd used a yeast with relatively low alcohol tolerance, so the
yeast will eventually give up. However, predicting when it's done is
tricky. I've had a mead appear dormant, with no change in SG, for months;
then it restarted fermenting after I (foolishly) bottled it with a lot of
sugar still left.

If you can wait until the fermentation has subsided (no apparent activity)
then potassium sorbate will stabilize the mead and prevent fermentation
from restarting. But sorbate won't stop an active fermentation.

Dick Dunn Hygiene, Colorado USA

End of Mead Lover's Digest #743