Mead Lover's Digest #0758 Thu 9 September 1999


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



Crown Vetch honey (Bruce Conner)
Re: Two stuck mead batches (Clogar)
Buckwheat mead (Terry Estrin)
More Info on Sugar Content of Fruit (Dan McFeeley)
Lager yeast for mead? (Warren Place)
Mead Lover's Digest #757, 29 August 1999 (Dave Burley)
Re: Stuck fermentation (
Stalled Mead (Stace Roland)
wyeast sweet mead yeast (
Lalvin D-47 Yeast Report ("Carl Wilson")
Sweet Mead Yeasts ("Michael Winnie")
Serviceberries (Nathan Kanous)


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Subject: Crown Vetch honey
From: Bruce Conner <>
Date: Sun, 29 Aug 1999 14:14:51 -0400

After reading the description of Crown Vetch honey, I'm thinking of
making a show mead (probably on the sweet side). Anybody on the list
ever used this type of honey? How was it?

Bruce Conner

Subject: Re: Two stuck mead batches
From: Clogar <>
Date: Sun, 29 Aug 1999 16:05:24 -0400

> I am new to mead making and have just started two, 1-gallon batches
> starting from the same source honey (clover/canola), which I bought
> from a local farm in Winnipeg Manitoba. The first gallon, I started
> 2 weeks ago SG: 1.084 Acid. .6% – it is a very basic recipe,
> only significant additives were 1/4 tsp tannin, and 3/4 tsp energizer,
> 4 tsp acid blende. The other recipe is a methlglyn SG: 1.105 Acid
> .5%, with additives consisting of 3/4 tsp energizer, 3 tsp acid
> blende, cloves, ginger, all-spice, lemon. Both batches were
> pasteurized for 2 hrs (the first one, I accidentally boiled), and
> allowed to cool 24 hours before the yeast was pitched.

Quick note on the recipe: Why not use yeast nutrient in your

mead? Since you're not using any fruit, your mead is going to be lacking
in a lot of the nutrients needed to do a strong, complete fermentation
(it will still ferment, it will just take longer). The addition of yeast
energizer (I'm guessing a B-complex vitamin?) is good, but I'd suggest
buying a well-rounded nutrient as well and using it. In my meads, I
always use double the recommended nutrient and they turn out fine.

> The first batch was pitched with a dry Lalvin EC-1118 wine yeast.
> I prepared the next batch and a yeast starter, of Lalvin K1-V1116 in
> orange/apple/grape juice.

I use both EC-1118 and K1-V1116 all the time and have had no

problems. Heck, they are often used to RESTART stuck fermentations.
Once they get going, they usually don't quit until the job is done.

Having said that, I don't think it was the yeast (especially

since fermentation appears to have started. You did rehydrate before
making a starter solution, right?). It could be some sort of infection
in your mead.. but since you boiled the first honey (and I assume you
cleaned everything vigorously), I don't think so.

> Does anyone know why they have stuck, and what I can do about it??

Add yeast nutrient (a mix of Diammonium Phosphate and other

things. I like Lavlin's _Fermaid_ a lot), rehydrate and re-pitch a
packet of EC-1118 or K1-V1116, and cross your fingers.

As to why they have stuck, I have no idea. Your homebrew store

owner may be right about the honey – I use clover honey all the time,
but I've never used a clover/canola honey as far as I know. I suggest
trying to make a small (1 gallon) batch using pure clover honey, and
a similar batch using clover/canola honey. That should indicate if
they honey is the problem.

  • -= R.C.

Subject: Buckwheat mead
From: Terry Estrin <>
Date: Sun, 29 Aug 1999 18:24:30 -0700 (PDT)

Hi all,

Back in January of '96 I started a batch of buckwheat mead with the

following proportions:

* 9 kg (19.8 1bs) unpasteurized buckwheat honey
* Water to 34 litres
* Lalvin K1-1116 yeast (did starter), 2 packets

After a very vigorous primary fermentation, I bulk stored it for about two
years, then bottled it.
I have always been a big fan of buckwheat honey, so as you can see by the
proportions, I made it strong. However, at this point, it is *so*
buckwheat-y that it is unpalatable. I spoke to a fellow meadmaker a few
years ago who said that buckwheat mead needs to age at least five years,
at which point it gets a sherry-like character. Since I have over 70
half-size bottles of the stuff, I am hoping that this transformation will
take place! Has anyone out there had any experience with a buckwheat show

Terry Estrin
Vancouver BC

Subject: More Info on Sugar Content of Fruit
From: Dan McFeeley <>
Date: Sun, 29 Aug 1999 21:48:23 -0500

Here is another chart from an article titled "Sugar Analysis of Fruit
Juices: Content and Method" (B. W. Li, P. J. Schuhmann, _Journal of
Food Science_, vol. 48 (1983) pp. 633 – 635, 653). The analysis is
of commercially available juices made from fruits, also a tomato and
vegetable juice, and may be helpful to meadmakers who use juices for
their melomels. Note of caution — a short range and a low standard
deviation (S.D.) suggests little variation in the sugar content of the
samples, while the opposite indicates wide swings among the samples
in sugar content.

Happy melomel making!

Dan McFeeley


Total Sugar (g/100 ml)
Juice no. samples Mean +/- S.D. Range
Apple 19 11.30 +/- 1.12 9.12 – 13.50
Citrus Blend 7 10.60 +/- 0.23 10.30 – 11.0
Grape 9 13.70 +/- 0.56 12.90 – 14.20
Grapefruit 15 7.50 +/- 0.49 6.95 – 8.86
Lemonade 29 11.20 +/- 1.41 9.66 – 15.30
Orange 41 10.40 +/- 0.44 9.31 – 11.30
Pineapple 7 12.50 +/- 0.64 11.20 – 13.40
Prune 10 13.10 +/- 0.63 12.00 – 14.20
Tomato 28 2.76 +/- 0.48 2.22 – 4.11
Vegetable 11 3.22 +/- 0.21 3.00 – 3.74

Subject: Lager yeast for mead?
From: Warren Place <>
Date: Mon, 30 Aug 1999 20:25:50 -0700 (PDT)

Has anybody tried using lager yeast for mead? What strain and what were
the results? I'm just wondering what yeast will make the best mead: ale,
lager, or wine yeast?

Warren Place

Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #757, 29 August 1999
From: Dave Burley <>
Date: Tue, 31 Aug 1999 09:53:37 -0400

Message text written by

Jarrod Brown has two stuck meads even though all
his particulars such as acidity and OG all appear OK.
He asks for some comments on stuck mead.

One of the major differences in mead making and
wine or beer making is the fact that few bufffers
exist in mead and the pH can drop precipitously
and slow or stall the fermentation by moving the
pH outside the range of the yeast enzymes'
optimal activity range. Although Jarrod did
add some acids which will act as buffers, it
may be insufficient.

Measure the pH. On a small quantity of your
mead – with some of the yeast included

  • – add some calcium carbonate ( chalk) to

adjust the pH up a point or two and see if
that doesn't allow the fermentation to restart.
You may have to add some fresh yeast.
You may have to add a little calcium carbonate
periodically to keep it going. There is no
reason for mead to take any longer to ferment
than other beverages, except for this lack of
buffering, for which you can correct..

As far as your SG being the same or higher
after a brief fermentation, is it possible the
mead was not totally stirred. I know this often
happens with extract brewers when they first
begin, since they do not realize how difficult
it is to mix water and a syrup. If you have this
layering, this may also be part of the
problem as the yeast which falls into this
high sugar layer may stop fermenting. I am
surprised that this can happen in a gallon jug.

How about the temperature of the fermentation?
Wine yeasts like it warmer than beer yeasts, so
you should keep this at 65-70F. Try warming the
jug to this range and see if the yeast restarts.
Often when yeast have been cooled, they take
a little time to restart and may need repitching.

Also, since you are adding a large starter,
I think 2 hours sterilization is very excessive.
Try 15 minutes at 160F covered. Cool and
then transfer.

Dave Burley

Subject: Re: Stuck fermentation
Date: Tue, 31 Aug 1999 14:07:18 EDT

In a message dated 8/29/99 10:52:02 AM Central Daylight Time, Thompson Brown

> Does anyone know why they have stuck, and what I can do about it?? A
> local brew store owner noted that a couple other people in the area have
> had problems with 'sticky' meads. Does it have anything to do with the
> type of honey?
I didn't see anything about aeration, so you might not have gotten a vigorous
yeast colony growing, especially with a 24 hour perios after a boil to let
the O2 leave the must. I use one of those Auto-Siphons, and I turn it around
and use it as an air-pump-remove the racking tip and hold your thumb over the
end while pushing the plunger down. I do that about 5 plungers full of air
per gallon. I get a pretty good fermentation that way, and only one batch
have I ever had stick. It was a *very* thick cyser (SG a little over
1.150). That was jsut too thick, so I diluted with water, but that didn't
seem related to your situation.


Subject: Stalled Mead
From: Stace Roland <>
Date: Wed, 1 Sep 1999 12:40:45 -0600

I too have a stalled mead.
This is my first attempt at mead making. I boiled the ingredients:
4 lbs clover honey
1 1/2 gal. water
2 Oranges sliced and scored
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp cloves
Dry yeast packet (as nutrient(homebrew store suggestion))
Pitched .25 oz of "mead yeast"

It didn't ferment at all…
Went back to brewstore, they gave me second yeast packet…
It started fermenting finally…
Now it has stalled again.
I have no idea what the OG was.
Checked at pitching of 2nd… 1.040
Now it's at 1.025
Any help will be wonderful.
It's tasty. I'd hate to loss it.
Thank you,

Subject: wyeast sweet mead yeast
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 1999 15:42:37 EDT

i finally got my honey for this year and am planning this years mead. i have
made 2 dry sparkling meads and was thinking of trying a sweet still mead this
time. i remember some folks having problems with the wyeast sweet mead but
can't remember what specifically were the pro/con comments. anyo ne have
experience with this strain and comments. suggestions
for making a still sweet mead? thanks marc

Subject: Lalvin D-47 Yeast Report
From: "Carl Wilson" <>
Date: Mon, 06 Sep 1999 16:30:32 -0500

I just bottled (and taste tested) my first batch of mead using Lalvin
D-47 yeast. While it fermented slower than meads I have made using other
yeast, including Lalvin K1V-1116, but it was drinkable far earlier with
little, if any, off flavors that need to age out.

The recipe was a simple one, a "traditional mead" using the "no boil"
method to get the most flavor from my honey. Instead of a boil, I
simmered the must at 170 F for 30 minutes.

14.5 lbs wildflower honey (local beekeeper)
1/2 cup chopped white raisins
4 tsp yeast energizer
2 packets Lalvin D-47 yeast
enough water to make 5 gallons

Again I slowly heated the must to 170 F and stirred frequently to insure
the honey dissolved well and didn't scorch and held it there for 30
minutes. Cooled the wort to room temperature and pitched 2 packets of
rehydrated D-47.

The mead fermented actively for about 3 weeks, then slowed
considerably. I then racked to secondary until fermentation stopped. I
again racked to a clean carboy and let sit for about 2 months to allow
it to clear. Then bottled and "taste tested". Not boiling the must
caused it to clear more slowly than boiled batches, but seemed to payoff
with a better flavor than other meads I have made. Very drinkable very

I highly recommend this yeast!

Carl Wilson

Subject: Sweet Mead Yeasts
From: "Michael Winnie" <>
Date: Mon, 6 Sep 1999 23:11:36 -0400

I have made 3 meads so far this year with varying results using sweet mead

The first used 15 lbs. of clover honey and a combination of Wyeast 3184
(1qt. starter) and White Labs WLP720 (2 vials, no starter). I used both
because it didn't look like the fermentation had started after 2 days. I
had used lots of yeast nutrient (6tsp). This mead had an OG of 1.119 and a
FG of 0.992

The second used 15 lbs. of orange blossom honey and the same combination of
yeast, first Wyeast and then the White Labs when it looked like fermentation
wasn't going to start. I also used yeast nutrient (6tsp) in this mead.
This one hasn't changed gravity in over a month. OG 1.115 SG today 1.023

The third used 11 lbs. of wildflower honey, 4.5 lbs freshly frozen
blackberries and the White Labs WLP720 (2 vials, no starter). I used less
nutrient (1.5 tsp) this time. This one I added a little too much water so
my OG was lower than I wanted. OG 1.079 SG today 1.001 (after only two

So…. my question is: Why the variation in the fermentation and why are
sweet mead yeasts giving me such low specific gravity readings 2 out of 3

Mike Winnie
New Mead Maker

Subject: Serviceberries
From: Nathan Kanous <>
Date: Thu, 09 Sep 1999 09:05:07 -0500

Hi Everybody.
I've got a tree growing in my back yard…the neighbor and I looked at some
books and thought it might be a serviceberry tree. It says these berries
have been used in jams and pies historically. I was wondering if anyone
has used such in a mead in the past? Don't worry, I won't make the mead
until I go to the Ag Extension office and get it identified…don't want to
make hemlock mead or anything.
nathan in madison, wi

End of Mead Lover's Digest #758