Mead Lover's Digest #0764 Wed 20 October 1999


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



Slow fermentation, etc. / stove top mead / Edwards! ("Wout Klingens")
Re: Looking for Good Cyser Recipe (Charles Terrell)
Re: Bee pollen as a yeast nutrient (Dan McFeeley)
Honey Color and Use of Nutrients (Dan McFeeley)
Yeast Nutrients (
RE: burley? clinitest! lol!/Apple Butter Cyser (Joe Kaufman)
Yeast (Ted McIrvine)
Strawberry Melomel ("Russ Hobaugh")
elderberry melomel ("Kurt Hoesly")
thickness (Leonard Meuse)
polyclar and pear melomel ("Fred Ogline")


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Subject: Slow fermentation, etc. / stove top mead / Edwards!
From: "Wout Klingens" <>
Date: Mon, 18 Oct 1999 14:44:39 +0100

Dick Dunn wrote:
>My impression from talking to a LOT of meadmakers over the years is that
>most meadmakers DO add them…like maybe 9 out of 10. OK, some fair
>fraction of those folks don't particularly like adding them, but they do
>anyway (even though they worry about it).

I don't like it and I don't add them 🙂
Another reason for adding hulls is, because yeast "like" to "cling" to
something. Mead is poor in solids and so the yeast will drop down sooner
than we would like. Yeast hulls prevent that. Much like adding flower like
old recipies prescribe (source: Clayton Cone).
And it's true. I observed that too. I don't use them anymore.

>stantially too little (i.e., a lot less than the yeast would like to do a
>rip-roaring fermentation) and you'll get good mead without the off-tastes
>from excess nutrient.

Some time ago Scramm mailed, that nutrient doesn't add off-flavor. So let's
get terminology straight, shall we? 🙂
What is DAP? Energizer or nutrient??

John Baker wrote:

>I was wondering if there were recipes for mead that didn't require the use
>of a laboratory! (LOL) Can one make mead using what they already have and
>make a "bottle" at a time?

I made several 2-liter batches, just to experiment. They turned out quite
well. Due to the volume the risk of oxidation will be there, so you can
start and if you prefer your mead to be clear, then don't open it and leave
it on lees until you are ready to bottle.
You are absolutely right. Nothing more fun than adding honey, water and
yeast to a small batch and sit back. No risk, no ado and when it's ready and
if it is strong enough, you have more than you can consume alone in one
evening 🙂

Jonathan Edwards wrote:
>hey now,
>serious lurker here…just read 6 months of mead digests that were in my
>mailbox. is this dave burley the same character that preached the use of
>clinitest on the hbd digest a year or two until they made him stop?
>wow…got admire his stubborness! 😮

Ho now,
serious student here… I liked reading and contributing to the MLD so far.
Let's keep it that way 🙁
A hit with a fist hurts for a few days. A hit with the tongue hurts for


Subject: Re:  Looking for Good Cyser Recipe
From: Charles Terrell <>
Date: Mon, 18 Oct 1999 10:54:00 -0500

> From: "Carl Wilson" <>
> Date: Sat, 09 Oct 1999 22:20:51 -0500
> I'm looking for a good Cyser recipe. Something that will turn out only
> slightly sweet. The only mead that I ever tried that didn't turn out
> good was a Cyser. I don't want a repeat of that!

I followed Barat's "Cyser go Boom!!" recipe. Turned out dry, but it should
age well. Took several months to ferment completely.

(I know Barat from SCA events. He and Ravenshaw make darn good mead. VIVAT

I've also had good results with his other recipes, especially for concord
pyment. Except I misunderstood part of the recipe and caused a purple volcano
to erupt all over my kitchen floor. Had to divide it between two carboys and
add honey water to bring each up to a reasonable volume. But it turned out
great. Tastes like sweet raisins after 6+ months in bottles. Yum.

Charles Terrell <>
Programmer/Analyst — Pegasus Systems, Inc.

Subject: Re: Bee pollen as a yeast nutrient
From: Dan McFeeley <>
Date: Mon, 18 Oct 1999 13:14:34 -0500

On Fri, 8 Oct 1999, in MLD 763, Ken Mason wrote:

>What if I added pollen to the must instead of a yeast
>nutrient? Years ago when researching mead making, I
>seem to remember coming across ancient testimonials
>(Old Norse, I believe) about adding a spoonfull of bee
>pollen to mead to fortify it.
>However, I'm spotty on the details as to if it was
>something added to the mead while it was brewing or
>just before drinking.

>I know Pollen is a concentrated source of
>micro-nutrients, but it is also a concentrated source
of protein and amino acids, (at least 35% by volume. . .
>about twice that of meat) If pollen were to be used
>as the nutrient, would the excess aminos and protein
>be utilized by the yeast? Would they remain inert?
>Or might they become something unpleasent?

I know it's been a long time, but any chance that you could give a
documentation of the source? I'd be very interested in learning more
about ancient methods of meadmaking.

Professor Robert Berthold of Delaware Valley College in PA has done some
investigation into the use of bee pollen as a source of nutrients in
meadmaking. You can find a brief paper by Berthold at:

Berthold described how he heard a presentation by Dr. Fred Beam on the
deteriorating social structure in Kenya due to the passing of restrictive
hunting laws. The men were not able to hunt as had been their custom,
and alcoholism was becoming a problem since they were at home a lot.
The alcoholic beverage of choice in Kenya, according to Beam, is a mead
made by crushing honey, brood and pollen together, mixing it with water
and allowing it to ferment naturally.

"Ah ha!", said Dr. Berthold. He set up a few experiments, including
a test of 30 batches of mead using pollen from different sources.
The meads all fermented successfully. Pollen, however, varies
in compositional makeup according to its source. More research
is probably needed here, as Dr. Berthold suggests.

The paper wasn't very specific on details of the recipes. Five
tablespoons per gallon was used, but the source of the pollen
wasn't given. My guess was that he got it from a beekeeper.

Hope this is helpful!

Dan McFeeley

Subject: Honey Color and Use of Nutrients
From: Dan McFeeley <>
Date: Mon, 18 Oct 1999 13:36:57 -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?

In MLD 762, I posted some charts drawn up by John White in his research
on honey and its composition, and suggested that although the nitrogen
content does increase with color, the extra need for nutrients in lighter
honey may not be that much higher, since the nitrogen content as represented
by amino acids is made up primarily of proline, which yeast are not
able to use.

Not a bad guess, but here is some information from the research of Roger
Morse which is more accurate. This is taken from an article in _Scientific
American_, Sept. 1972, vol 227 (3), pp. 185 – 190.

As I have mentioned, we learned that honeys vary considerably
in their fermentability. Light honey, represented by clover,
was the most difficult to ferment and required more additives
in the form of vitamins, minerals and nitrogen than dark honey,
represented by buckwheat or goldenrod.


In the case of the purest clover honey, in which yeasts grow
slowly, if at all, fermentation was stimulated by the addition
of the second preparation (test preparations of additives used
in Morse's experiments). In other batches of clover honey the
second preparation alone had no apparent effect. A solution
of clover honey without nutrient additves served as the
experimental control. No fermenentation was observed in
the control for 18 days. It reached an alcohol concentration
of 6 percent in 54 days.

Buckwheat honey without additives fermented much more rapidly
than clover honey. This suggests that dark honeys contain
more natural yeast nutrients than light honeys. In the case
buckwheat honey the use of both preparations produced the
most rapid fermentation.
p. 188

Dan McFeeley

Subject: Yeast Nutrients
Date: Mon, 18 Oct 1999 19:01:50 EDT

Been Reading a lot about the quantity of yeast nutrients to use and though I
should add my 2 cents.

We've done about 20 meads (traditionals and melomels) in the past 2 years.
One took a first place, one took a third in competition.

My partner and I have settled on a format of (per 5 gallons)
2 tsp acid blend
2 tsp yeast nutrients
2 tsp yeast energizer
2 tsp irish moss
We never boil the honey only pasturize it, we use NO sulfites. We only use
red star champagne yeast, 2 pks at a time.

And have Never had a stuck fermentation, or off flavors. One new item we
added for the last 2 batches was a super-jet filter at bottling time. I
highly recomend it!!!


Subject: RE: burley? clinitest! lol!/Apple Butter Cyser
From: Joe Kaufman <>
Date: Mon, 18 Oct 1999 23:07:46 -0500


<stuff about Dave Burley snipped…I must not pay enough

> anyways, haven't made a mead in over year but i just bought 50lbs of honey
> and am considering doing an Apple Butter Cyser. Got the recipe from a
> Brewrat on the brewery bbd. comments on the recipe? anyone made this before?

<apple butter mead recipe snipped>

> basically you combine honey and spices to 1 gallon of apple juice and heat
> to pateurize. pitch with rest of apple juice. this yeast will ferment up to
> 20% alcohol. rack onto raisons in secondary after two months. let age for
> months and months. prime with lyles golden syrup. add 5 additional raisons
> and piece of cassia bark to bottle. yeast on raisons will referment
> carbonation the cyser. condition a long lone time.
> I hear it's fantastic. whatcha think?

Damn, that sounds fantastic…

My next batch is going to be an apple butter mead, but I am
taking the very simple approach:

10 lbs honey
6 lbs apple butter
2 gallons apple cider

Your recipe sounds much more mouth-watering, but the reason
I think the above will work is that the following recipe did

12 lbs Tupelo Honey
4 lbs 12 oz Smuckers Special Recipe Butterscotch caramel
1 lb 12 oz apple butter
2 gallons apple cider

Fermented like a crazy horse and reached about 15-16%
alcohol. For being that "hot" it tastes damn fine, and has
incredible clarity and golden (almost reddish) color after a
year in the bottle (looked damn fine after 9 months). A lot
of the apple butter spice seems to have shown through, with
most of the caramel just adding to the alcohol I think. The
spices in your recipe should make yours fabulous. I did no
special stuff to mine, just standard yeast starter on fairly
common champagne yeast, with about a five-week
fermentation. Bottled right out of the primary (as I always

One thing I would note about your recipe is the detail and
level of work to follow it. Now, I am about the laziest
mead-maker there is, but I am thinking you could get roughly
the same results without all of the per-bottle requirements,
etc. But then again, all that extra effort just adds to the
ambience of the whole thing…let us know how it goes.
Judging by what you have written, I am thinking you won't be
able to go wrong with this bad boy.


The ball is round. The game is 90 minutes. That's a fact.
Everything else is pure theory.

  • – Run Lola Run

Subject: Yeast
From: Ted McIrvine <>
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 1999 00:57:56 -0700

I've enjoyed the comments of Dave Burley and Dick Dunn regarding yeast.
I often use a Belgian Ale yeast strain for mead making. (Which one
usually depends on which one I've been using for making Belgian Ales.)
I simply rack the Belgian Ale from the primary to a secondary fermenter
and then splash my mead must onto the large yeast cake at the bottom of
the primary. I like the residual sweetness that this produces,
especially in weaker meads.

I've always used malt to propogate yeast. I don't think honey offers
complete nutrition, and if you don't want malt taste in a mead, you can
ferment the malt until the yeast drops out, pour off the fermented wort,
and pitch the yeast in a mead without malt flavors.

Ted in NYC

Subject: Strawberry Melomel
From: "Russ Hobaugh" <>
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 1999 09:40:26 -0400

I just bottled a strawberry melomel after about 5-6months of bulk aging.
I used Wyeast sweet mead yeast and it fermented out to .998! Any
ideas on why this happened? At bottling it tasted VERY dry, so I
added 1.5 cups of sugar to sweeten. This improved the taste
considerably. I noticed however that this tastes "thin"(beer term
I don't know if it applies to mead) like it is lacking mouthfeel. Is this
normal for a mead(only my 2nd one). And what could I do
to prevent this in the future?

For batch #3, I am looking to do a Vanilla Mead. Does anyone know of
a good recipe to follow? There was a KILLER vanilla mead at the
BUZZ-OFF in PA this year, and I would love to brew something like
that. It was a beautifully balanced mead: sweet but not cloying,
warming but not harsh, and a wonderful aroma and taste of vanilla.
If the person who created this masterpiece is out there, please
share your secret!

Russ Hobaugh
Goob Dog Brewery
Birdsboro PA

Subject: elderberry melomel
From: "Kurt Hoesly" <>
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 1999 13:01:34 CDT


Has anyone on the list ever made an elderberry melomel? A few weeks ago, I
picked a huge bunch of elderberries, and really don't want to make that much

I have between 10 and 15 pounds of them sitting in my freezer, waiting for
their eventual fate. I considered making elderberry wine from them, but I'd
rather stick with mead. (Mostly because I've done a few batches of mead,
and have never tried my hand at vintning…)

What would be a reasonable amount of elderberries to use for either a 3- or
5-gallon batch? I'm kind of interested in doing a cyser with elderberries
in it, too…any suggestions for the amount of cider to use?

Any advice/suggestions are definitely welcome!


  • -kurt

Subject: thickness
From: Leonard Meuse <>
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 1999 23:50:16 +0100

I've got sort of a silly question for you sweet meaders out there. I've
been making for about 5 years and about the highest FINAL gravity I ever
make is 1.02 or so. When I tasted a BUNCH of meads left over from the AHA
nationals I noticed a LOT of the sweeter ones seemed very thick. Is this
due mainly to the amount of unfermented honey left or could it also be
ascribed to honey source. I did make one traditional mesquite (dry-medium)
which has BIG character and has hints of beeswax flavor, this gives it
apparent thickness but nothing like those sweeter meads.

Subject: polyclar and pear melomel
From: "Fred Ogline" <>
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 1999 09:58:36 -0400

I have a pear melomel that I made back in January, my first mead with fruit.
I've racked it twice since then (the first time into more pureed pears but
the second time into nothing but a carboy full of CO2.) It's down to about
four gallons. The last time I racked was in April, and it is not clearing
so that I would notice. There is little sediment on the bottom, and it is
pretty much finished out gravity-wise. My local homebrew store told me to
try polyclar, and that all you have to do is add two teaspoons to some warm
water like I was rehydrating/activating dry yeast, and that was all there
was to it. His state of consciousness was questionable at the time, so I
thought I should check out for additional experiences/information.

Does this sum up the procedure? What can I expect as far as performance in
clearing it up: will it work, how long will it take? Does polyclar mess
with the flavor at all? What is polyclar, by the way?

Thanks for the help.

Fred Ogline
Walled Lake, MI

End of Mead Lover's Digest #764