Mead Lover's Digest #0762 Thu 7 October 1999


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



Re: Mead Lover's Digest #761, 26 September 1999 (
Re: Regular Baking yeast ("Thaddaeus A. Vick")
Mead Lover's Digest #761, 26 September 1999 (Dave Burley)
Mead Lover's Digest #761, 26 September 1999 (
online book on mead making (
Re: Regular Baking yeast (
Honey Composition Tables (Dan McFeeley)
Re: stopping Fermentation/sweetening dry mead (
Mead Contamination Question (
meat and cardboard smell (Warren Place)


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Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #761, 26 September 1999
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 03:01:16 EDT

Well A depressing segment of my mead makng life has just occured. I had

about 8 gallons preparing that would finish at the time my son is to be
born. My hopes, my dreams were to bottle the month little JJ would be born
and let the two age together. the trouble occured abouth one month ago, my
well prepared buckets being fully sealed with gage were sitting on their
shelf, untouched and brewing like good little buckets, 'till I with some
friends sampled the mix to see how it was progressing. It was time to siphon
anyway and so we thought we'd start tasting the night before siphoning. The
mead was tasting pretty darn good, it was a cinnamon cyser that tasted
similar to hot cider on Christmas Eve with a little kick(if you know what I
mean). We were all impressed on the taste and knew this would be the last
siphon needed before preparing to bottle. We even named it Christmas Hearth.
I replaced the gage and set them back on their shelf. Well, we didn't siphon
the next day as too much was happening with the baby and momma, so the
following weekend ended up coming around. I, all excited, prepared the next
bucket for the gloriously tasting Cyser (Christmas Hearth) to be siphoned
into. I then cleaned all my hoses and set up my filter, feeling a draft at my
feet as I walked the kitchen floor barefoot to the shelf where the Cyser
rested. I retreievd the first bucket lifted the lid and gasped….there
accross the top of my project was a thick layer of gnats having drunk too
much of the fermenting liquid all dead probably with little gnat smiles. I
opened the next bucket and found the same, opened the next and again the
same. We concluded that the gages were not sealed in place as before and the
one or two gnats that suddenly stopped flying under the kitchen door and
bothering the sink found a new place to enjoy themselves told their buddies
and partied.

We have since moved to a better cared for apartment, with no gaps in the

doors or windows. I plan now to start all over again this month since Little
JJ is due Nov.4 so I will have a mead that will litterally age with my first
born son. It is unfortunate to have lost one project that can be replaced but
know that another greater project is still developing, perhaps we should name
the new mix after the first words of little JJ or something he inspires us
with during the developement.

My only advice is to keep a lid on things and be sure to keep everything


Subject: Re: Regular Baking yeast
From: "Thaddaeus A. Vick" <>
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 06:48:02 -0700 (PDT)

> My question is will the high amount of yeast cause any problems, or
> should I scrap this batch?

I wouldn't expect the amount of yeast to have much of a detrimental

effect. The usual small amount of yeast that you add quickly multiplies
to similar proportions anyway. I've drained as much as a pint of dead
yeast off the bottom of a five-gallon batch, and I know I only put in
one little packet. Generally speaking, unless you urgently need the
fermenter for other projects, let your mead go. Don't count it ruined
before it's had a couple of years to age.

Thaddaeus A. Vick, Linguist to the Masses Email:
URL: ICQ: 21574495

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one

persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress
depends on the unreasonable man."

  • George Bernard Shaw


Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #761, 26 September 1999
From: Dave Burley <>
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 10:03:02 -0400

Mead lovers:

There have been discussions lately of no- muss no-fuss meads, adding, or
not ,nutrients and the like. All of these are basically in the same
category of getting a medium which the yeast can efficiently ferment and
have a good tasting product at the end.

Frankly, a pure mead must, consisting of only honey dissolved in water, is
almost like a pure sugar solution and is about as healthful to the yeast as
if you ate only pure sugar. The long fermentations, apparently loved by
some, is simply because the yeast is unhealthy and can't ferment very
quickly. A healthy fermentation should be mostly completed in two or three
weeks. Sitting on dead yeast and the resulting autolysis can give your
mead a meaty or rubbery taste, which perhaps in small amounts some enjoy. I
don't. In fact, it may be the autolysis which allows the remaining yeast to
slowly ferment by providing nutrients.

What are the various ammonium salts, yeast hulls and the like and what are
they used for?

Ammonium salts and phosphate salts ( typically ammonium phosphate) provide
sources of nutrients for the production of proteins and various DNA and
energy chains in the yeast. Yeast hulls provide sources of sterols to build
the cell walls in new yeast cells. These sterols are necessary to build
healthy cells which will allow the yeast to ferment to a high alcohol
content. Like many people, I do not like to add these to the mead for fear
of off tastes from the additives. You would like to add just enough so that
teh nutrients all reside in teh yeast and none in the mead when the
fermentation is finished. How much is enough? I don't know nor does anyone
else since it depends on the OG, yeast and honey type and on and on.

What is the solution to this problem? Make up a large starter ( like a
gallon – done sequentually for 5 gallons of must) in which these nutrient
ingredients are added to produce a healthy and large amount of yeast. Chill
this down overnight at least, , pour off the liquid and discard it and use
the yeast slurry. Any excess of nutrients will not be carried forward into
the must. The lightest in color and taste <pure> malt extract ( OG of
starter = 1.040) makes a good source of protein and carbohydrates for the
yeast growth. Adding a packet or two of bakers yeast which has been
hydrated and boiled will supply the needed sterols. This way you can have a
large healthy yeast supply which will ferment to the end, not need to grow
in the mead must ( and therefore not need nutrients) and not generate
esters and ketones which can be perceived as off-flavors by some drinkers

Subject:  Mead Lover's Digest #761, 26 September 1999
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 18:30:20 EDT

>Subject: Re:MLD#760 'Fr:Belinda Messenger Ph.D.'
>Date: Sun, 19 Sep 1999 10:18:32 EDT

>>>"Maybe I'm old-fashioned in my mead-making but I don't worry too much about
>>formulas and specific mineral nutrients etc…….I know I'll get nailed for
>>this laidback approach to mead-making, but I don't think that it's always
>>necessary to understand and control the process inside and out"

> I would like to applaud you on your 'laidback approach to mead-making.

Me too, me too.

> I don't think theres anything wrong with measuring everything, But I know
>I get a great feeling of accomplishment when I'm sipping a mead I've made
>using only simple ingredients and a little skill (or maybee luck?)

I think the most technical thing I've used so far in making my meads is a gas
stove, for heating the must. As my old teacher used to say "All you need is
water, sugar, and yeast. Everything else is flavouring.

Wichita Falls, TX

Subject: online book on mead making
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 19:15:43 EDT

Hi there!
Thanks to all the great people who have given me advice and encouragement on
beginning to make mead. I just wanted to tell other newbies such as myself
that there ia a great book that I discovered through my searches that is
totally online and available! NAIAWYY (not affiliated in any way, yada yada)
and the site for this is: More information
like this should be shared, (Imho), as it is there to help us all! It also
has some great recipes too. I'm still trying to find a local place that sells
brewing supplies in central CT. Anyone know of any?

Subject: Re: Regular Baking yeast
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 21:35:09 -0600

Ricky Shehorn <> wrote:
: My question is will the high
: amount of yeast cause any problems, or should I scrap this batch? I know
: if I keep it going, I will probably have to let it work more than 6
: months.

If you use bread yeast, the resulting mead takes on the taste of bread
yeast. Whether this is a problem or not depends mostly on how you
feel about the flavour of bread. With the right seasonings, you can
end up with something that's very reminiscent of fresh bread with
honey and butter on it. Some might even consider that a feature….

As to the quantity of yeast, the first thing yeast does when you toss
it into the must is start reproducing until it hits a saturation
point. Then it starts falling out of solution. About the only thing
you've really done is shorten the amount of time that the yeast spent
increasing its population.


Subject: Honey Composition Tables
From: Dan McFeeley <>
Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 01:13:03 -0500

On Tue, 21 Sep 1999, in MLD 761, Ken Mason wrote:

>My question/challenge to fellow mazers is: Has anyone found that dark
>honeys need less or no nutrients compared to lighter honeys? Would
>you try?

Apologies to those who prefer the "laid back approach" 🙂

The charts below are from John White's study titled "Composition
of American Honeys", published in 1962. You'll see that nitrogen
content tends to increase as the color darkens, which might suggest
less need for nutrients at first glance. On the other hand, nitrogen
content also represents the protein content of the honey and proline
is the principle amino acid found in honey. Proline is not easily
utilized by yeast, if at all.

The results of the University of Illinois study you referred to was
published in the Journal of Apicultural Research 37(1) 27-31(1998)
titled "Antioxidant capacity and correlated characteristics of 14
unifloral honeys." The nature of the antioxidants themselves were
not identified in the study, however, some guesses were the flavanoids
from the nectar sources, which have antioxidant properties. The
total antioxidant capacity of honey was compared with that of
ascorbic acid, giving an average figure of 0.8 x 10-3 meq/kg, which
is close to that of tomatoes.

Hope the information below is helpful, or at least of interest to
MLD readers!

Dan McFeeley



Characteristics Measured Average Deviation Range

Moisture, percentage 17.2 1.46 13.40 – 22.9
Fructose, percentage 38.19 2.07 27.25 – 44.26
Glucose, percentage 31.28 3.03 22.03 – 40.75
Sucrose, percentage 1.31 0.95 0.25 – 7.57
Maltose, percentage 7.31 2.09 2.74 – 15.98
Higher sugars, percentage 1.50 1.03 0.13 – 8.49
Undetermined, percentage 3.1 1.97 0.0 – 13.2
pH 3.91 —- 3.42 – 6.10
Free Acid, meq/kg 22.03 8.22 6.75 – 47.19
Lactone, meq/hg 7.11 3.52 0.00 – 18.76
Total Acid, meq/kg 29.12 10.33 8.68 – 59.49
Lactone/free acid 0.335 0.135 0.000 – .950
Ash, percentage 0.169 0.15 0.020 – 1.028
Nitrogen, percentage 0.041 0.026 0.000 – .133

Average Composition of Honey Samples Classified by Color

Color Code %Moisture %Fructose %Glucose %Sucrose %Maltose %Higher Sugars

0 16.7 38.51 32.59 2.71 6.48 1.16
1 16.7 38.04 31.79 1.83 7.09 1.40
2 17.1 38.56 32.38 1.31 6.76 1.44
3 17.1 38.33 32.60 1.63 6.54 1.30
4 17.3 38.62 32.28 1.38 6.64 1.24
5 17.6 38.32 32.19 1.16 6.78 1.18
6 17.0 38.48 31.32 1.19 7.28 1.41
7 17.6 38.83 30.85 1.06 7.11 1.21
8 17.2 37.89 29.76 .99 8.37 1.75
9 17.5 36.92 29.96 1.01 8.33 1.89
10 16.5 34.19 26.47 .87 10.45 3.80
11 17.1 34.96 26.39 .88 10.04 2.64
12 18.9 36.34 29.60 .93 8.05 1.63

Average Composition of Honey Samples Classified by Color (cont.)

Color Code Color pH Total Acid (Meq/kg)
0 Light half of Water White 3.87 16.25
1 Dark half of Water White 3.82 18.99
2 Light half of Extra White 3.83 21.44
3 Dark half of Extra White 3.79 24.15
4 Light half of White 3.32 27.67
5 Dark half of White 3.87 28.89
6 Light half of Extra Light Amber 3.94 31.44
7 Dark half of Extra Light Amber 3.95 34.05
8 Light half of Light Amber 4.18 33.80
9 Dark half of Light Amber 4.00 40.46
10 Light half of Amber 4.44 41.25
11 Dark half of Amber 4.40 46.00
12 Dark Amber 4.02 44.14

Average Composition of Honey Samples Classified by Color (cont.)

Color Code Free Acid (Meq/kg) Lactone (Meq/kg) Ash (percentage) Nitrogen
0 11.83 4.50 0.053 0.023
1 13.65 5.34 .059 .025
2 15.36 5.96 .065 .027
3 17.19 6.96 .084 .030
4 20.16 7.67 .124 .037
5 21.47 7.40 .128 .039
6 23.63 7.82 .178 .045
7 25.37 8.68 .192 .052
8 26.98 6.82 .305 .055
9 31.01 9.45 .261 .050
10 37.00 4.25 .503 .073
11 39.24 6.76 .608 .058
12 35.77 8.37 .202 .063

Subject: Re: stopping Fermentation/sweetening dry mead
Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 06:20:06 EDT


> The first is, if I have a mead that has reached my
> desired sweetness, what is the method most recommended for stopping the
> fermentation? I thought that one of batches had completely finished, but a
> few weeks later the corks started to blow on my bottles.

I hate it when that happens. A braggot nearly sliced my wife a few weeks ago
(glass bottles, crown capped) If you do still meads, or carbonate in a
carboy (be careful with that, or use plastic, like I do), the surest way is
to add sufficient quanities of Grain alcohol to kill the yeast. I have been
told that bringing the must down to near freezing and then adding sorbate
will stop it and keep it from restarting, but I haven't tried that.

> My second question is, What is the recommended method for sweetening a
> mead
> that is a bit to dry without re-starting fermentation?

If it has died from alcohol toxicity, just add honey to it as it is. You
could add Sorbate and sweeten it if it had just run out of sugars, but I am
told that sorbate is not completely reliable.


Subject: Mead Contamination Question
Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 17:45:02 EDT

Hi all!

I just racked a Tupelo honey mead from a plastic bucket to a carboy. After
racking I noticed that the bucket's valve/spigot had leaked during
fermentation and
that the liquid had turned into some kind of vinegar. The mead smelled fine
but now I am concerned about having contaminated the mead with
vinegar-causing bacteria.

I racked the mead onto some passion fruit nectar so there is some new food in
there for beasties to eat.

What can I do to make sure it did does not get ruined? In an article by
Dan McConnel and Ken Shramm (sp?) they talk about a method of sanitizing
honey and water using Campden tablets. Can I use Campden and/or Potasium
S??? to kill-off whatever is in the mead and then throw in a starter of fresh

Your advice is appreciated as always, Rene'

Subject: meat and cardboard smell
From: Warren Place <>
Date: Sat, 2 Oct 1999 13:19:25 -0700 (PDT)

I sampled my pyment today and found it tasted funny. Since I have

a cold I consulted my fiance. She said it smelled like rat poison! What?
After further questioning she described it as having a meaty and cardboard
smell much like that of a box of rat poison. She (as many women do) has a
very keen nose and warned me last week that it smelled slightly like

What does all this mean? I have read that cardboard smell is

due to oxidation and aldehyde formation. I have taken great care not to
expose the wine to air when racking. I don't understand how this could
have happened.

As for the meat smell, I've read that is caused by

fermenting a low temperature which leads to methional production. The
wine has been held between 70F and 75F. Is that too low? I am using
Lalvin 71B-1122 strain of S. ceresiae.

Warren Place

End of Mead Lover's Digest #762