Mead Lover's Digest #0767 Wed 10 November 1999


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



Lalvin EC-1118 (Tidmarsh Major) (Paul Mozdziak)
Newbie questions, Apple Butter, Pectic Enzyme (Dave Burley)
Well, I killed that sweet mead… (William Macher)
Kegging Mead (Ted McIrvine)
Re: Acid levels (Dan McFeeley)
Re: old lithuanina mead recipes..alot of hops! (Dan McFeeley)
thiobendazole, orange zest? (CAM LAY)
Re: Orange/lemon zest and mead (Spencer W Thomas)
Questions About Racking, Fermenters, and Airlocks ("Michael O. Hanson")
Re: EC-1118, Bottling Question, Stuck fermentation (Spencer W Thomas)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #766, 7 November 1999 ("Belinda Messenger")
Re: bakers honey (


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Subject: Lalvin EC-1118 (Tidmarsh Major)
From: Paul Mozdziak <>
Date: Sun, 07 Nov 1999 14:05:18 -0600

Lalvin EC-1118 is the only yeast that I use for mead/melomel/cyser–it works
very well for me.
I don't have many problems with stuck fermentations, and it is a very
alcohol tolerant yeast from what I recall.
Paul Mozdziak
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Department of Anatomy
1300 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53706

FAX 608-262-7306

Subject: Newbie questions, Apple Butter, Pectic Enzyme
From: Dave Burley <>
Date: Sun, 7 Nov 1999 20:36:04 -0500


L.C Otter asks some basic questions:

Racking is transferring from one vessel to another
and leaving the sediment behind. The best
arrangement is to have a solid tube with a "u"
at the bottom attached to a tube through which
you siphon the beverage. The "u" prevents
stirring up the sediment.

I don't want to stop you from asking questions but
since you probably have more questions than
can be efficiently answered here, I
suggest you contact Country Wines
( I have no affiliation) in Pittsburgh, PA and
ask for a catalog. They can supply you
needed equipment, books and advice
to get you started properly.

Welcome to a fun hobby!

Johnathon Edwards describes his method
for making apple butter by coring and peeling
5 lbs of apples. Next time you do this save
yourself a lot of work by just cutting the apples
into quarters, don't peel or core them. Cook
them as you did, but when they become
mushy, put them through a collander which
will separate the seeds and skins from
the apple flesh. This is apple sauce and
you can then cook this down to make apple

For those readers who are not familiar with
a collander it is a conical metal device on
legs which has holes in it. The point of the
cone is pointed down. A wooden cylinder
about 11/2' in diameter is rolled around
the inside of the cone into which apples
are placed and the skins stay behind as
do most of the seeds and the pulp falls
through the holes in the side of the cone.
Much easier than peeling and coring!

When my mother was a young country girl
she and her sister were in charge of
preparing the apples and cooking the
apple butter in a big iron, wood-fired kettle
Tiring with all that stirring, stirring over the heat,
she convinced herself it was cinnamon that made
it brown, so she kept going to the store to buy
cinnamon. After several trips, the grocer
asked what in the world she was doing with
all that cinnamon. She explained and he
explained it to her that it is the cooking down
in the presence of air that makes it turn brown.

Ron Laborde asks if Pectic enzyme
should be put it at the boil as some
directions state. Sorry, but these
directions are dead wrong! as you
suspected, even if it is in writing.
Caveat Lexor!

Pectic enzyme works best if is put into
fresh fruit in which there is no alcohol,
however, I once added it to a parsnip
wine a Britsh friend made. The wine
was cloudy and had not cleared in a year.
Next morning he came over to tell to come
see! The wine was crystal clear and the
bottom of the jug had a large mat of grey.
So while the preferred use of the enzyme
is not in wine, try it if you have cloudy wine.

As for year old enzyme, the liquid is not too
stable, but I would try it. no harm should
come. I used to buy PE on an alumina
support and that was very stable, but not
available recently.

Dave Burley

Subject: Well, I killed that sweet mead...
From: William Macher <>
Date: Sun, 07 Nov 1999 22:35:51 -0800

Hello everyone,

"Wout Klingens" Offered some advice regarding my stuck
fermentation question [where I posted that my OG was 1.2] and questioned if
I was sure my OG was 1.200. He was not the first to question that OG! Well,
actually I am sure it was really 1.120 so I must beg forgiveness for a
brain cramp or sloppy proof reading or one too many sips of home brew that

Wort asks:

>Are you sure you OG was 1.200? If so then your fermentation isn't stuck,
i>t's *very* done. Your alcohol percentage is off my scale, but I guess it's
a>round 22%, maybe more, which seems highly unlikely with a beer yeast.

Indeed it certainly would be! And is in my case, my OG was 1.120 and it was
down to 1.050 after 11 months. The must had dropped pretty clear. The honey
was a local dark honey, so it was a bit difficult to see my hand through
the 5 gal. Carboy, but I could see it.

>>What should I expect this mead to finish at if I am shooting for a sweet

>If you get this batch going again, I am afraid, you'll wind up with a dry
>one with the champagne yeast in it.

Yes, I have killed my poor sweet mead! It is, by the way, now covered with
white foam on the surface and producing bubbles out the air lock about 10
per minute. So the sweet mead will resurrect as a dry mead I suspect.

>>Loosing my cool for a moment, I opened three packs of dry champange yeast
>>and dumped them in the carboy on top of the 1.050 must…no activity yet…

>Ok, let's see if we can save this one. Suppose the 1.200 is a typo and it
>was 1.100 instead…..

>Did you just dump the yeast in or did you rehydrate it first? If you
>rehydrated the yeast then you should be able to get it going again.

I really did lose my cool. Certainly something a budding mead maker would
not want to admit except in private, considering the importance of patience
and such…but it did happen. I just sanitized the three packs of dry yeast
in iodophor, washed them under tap water, ripped them open and dumped them
in on top of the must. A minute later I stood back and asked myself what I
had done…but it was done! While all were chanpange yeast, two were one
brand and one was another.

>How much DAP did you use in preparing the must? If none, then try a *tiny*
>bit and see what happens. Like 1/4 teaspoon in a 6 gallon batch. *If* the OG
>was 1.100, then chances are, that you get a few points of that 1.050. If
>not, then make a dry batch and blend it with the dry one.

I used two tsp of yeast nutrient for the five gallon batch if my memory is
correct. My notes are not handy, but I am pretty sure I am right this time.

>Another method is making a starter and when that's active add to the batch.
>Of course, again, only if the 1.200 is a typo.

>That's the best I can do for you.

I think I will let this one go where it will and enjoy what it turns out to
be, especially since the champange yeast is in there and doing it thing
rather well.

I have plans to make another attempt at sweet mead. I have two Belgian
style ales in the primary and I plan on using the yeast [Wyeast abby and
trappist] for two sweet meads. I am thinking of trying again, but with a OG
of about 1.000. My hope is that the belgian ale yeasts, which are more
tolerant of higher alcohol than many other beer yeasts, will bring the
finishing gravity down to around 1.020 to 1.025.

I know that the ale yeasts will poop out at lower alcohol levels than
champagne yeasts, but I am not sure what my target OG should be if I can
expect these Belgian ale yeasts to ferment up to about 9 or 10 percent

>It was a real eyeopener for me to realize, that if there are no off-flavors,
>but the FG isn't what I aimed for, it's always possible to save any batch
>through blending. A relaxing thought, because no batch will ever be a loss.


I will keep that advice in my back pocket

Thanks to all who have sent/posted advice! And sorry for the misinformation
regarding the OG of the original batch.

Best regards…

Bill Macher Pittsburgh, PA USA

Subject: Kegging Mead
From: Ted McIrvine <>
Date: Mon, 08 Nov 1999 00:03:22 -0800

The one mead that I kegged was possibly the best mead that I ever made.
(The judges agreed upon tasting some bottles that were bottled a few
months after kegging.) I suspect that the CO2 blanket inhibited the
oxidation while the mead matured. I did put a warning with the alcohol
content on the keg at the party though… I didn't want the uninitiated
to think it was honey-flavored soda pop and drive home feeling the

Ted in NYC

> From: "Michael O. Hanson" <>
> Date: Fri, 05 Nov 1999 11:19:28 -0600
> Has anybody out there used soda kegs or party pigs for kegging sparkling
> mead? If so, how do they work
> compared to bottles? I like party pigs for kegging beer because they are
> less expensive to start with than soda kegs and more portable. It is also
> easier to fill two party pigs with beer or mead than two cases of bottles
> per five gallon batch.

Subject: Re: Acid levels
From: Dan McFeeley <>
Date: Sun, 7 Nov 1999 23:57:24 -0600

On Fri, 22 Oct 1999, in MLD 765, Gregg Stearns wrote:

>Long ago someone posted info on suggested acid levels in various meads.
>Can someone repost that, or tell me what issue it was so I can go dig
>for it?

It was a chart published by Byron Burch in the 1992 Fall/Summer _Beverage
People News_, a small newsletter put out by his wine and beer supply
company. Byron Burch runs "The Beverage People," a family owned business,
and was the A.H.A. "Meadmaker of the Year" for 1992 and 1993. I first
posted his chart on MLD, asking if readers who had experimented with using
acid had gotten similar results.

Here is the chart:

Minimum Recommended Acid Levels

Dry Meads .55%
Metheglens .55%
Sweet Meads .65%
Melomels .65%
Fruit Wines .65%
Cysers .70%
Ports .75%
Pyments .80%

I spoke with Byron not so long ago, asking him how he had arrived at his
figures and also a little about his ideas in meadmaking. He laughed
at the first question and then said he had put the chart together mostly
through 30 years of experience of talking with wine and meadmakers, looking
through material in various publications, and experimenting with them
himself. There's no real documentation at all, he told me, still laughing
to himself, just a series of "educated decisions" from years of reading,
swapping ideas, and seeing what works. He is very confident of its
validity, and has it hanging in his shop in California.

Living in Sonoma county in California, he spoke about the influence of
winemaking techniques in how he makes his meads, and of course, Byron is
an accomplished winemaker himself. The mead that gave him the AHA 1992
Meadmaker of the Year award was champaign like, dry, low in alcohol, and
"consciously patterned" after white wine styles. He uses a clover honey
called "canadian clover" almost exclusively. "I just love the taste,"
he said.

Byron also pointed out that people who have been exposed to wines a great
deal may have a different appreciation of meads compared to others for
whom wine plays a small role in their enjoyment of fermented beverages.
It's a matter of the education of the palate and what is most enjoyable
to the individual. I asked him about the approach of other meadmakers,
i.e., using no acid or just enough to taste and he hesitated. "That
makes me nervous," he said. He feels that because mead is a food
product, just as is wine, it needs similar protective measures to
ensure its stability.

There are many meadmakers who use little or no acid at all, have been
able to achieve a proper acid/sweetness balance and have won awards at
high level competitions. Charlie Papazian makes the same point in his
two books on homebrewing. I found Byron's ideas on meadmaking, however,
to be very interesting and well stated. He also has the awards to show
for them. Especially intriquing to me was his observation on the
influence of one's tasting experience on palate preferences, a point
that seems well taken.

Dan McFeeley

Subject: Re: old lithuanina mead recipes..alot of hops!
From: Dan McFeeley <>
Date: Mon, 8 Nov 1999 00:00:14 -0600

On Sat, 30 Oct 1999, in MLD 766, Jonathan Edwards wrote:

>> Mead
>> Ancient Recipe
>> Midus
>> 2 quarts honey
>> 5 gallons water
>> 1/2 lb. hops
>> yeast
>> 1 slice bread
>wow, 1/2 lbs of hops! in a mead! i'm sure this is a typo…or are you
>looking for a mead so bitter it is undrinkable? :-0

No, it wasn't a typo on my part, this was how it appeared in the book.
Hard to say why this was such a large amount, especially when the first
recipe, a higher gravity mead, called for only a handful of hops. Maybe
the fresh hops used in Lithuania were only mildly bitter.

That's the best guess I can manage. Thanks for pointing this out!

Dan McFeeley

Subject: thiobendazole, orange zest?
Date: Mon, 08 Nov 1999 09:38:42 -0500

Our friend Wout writes, in part:
>… the zest is absolutely not to be consumed because of pesticides… It
has Thiabendazole in it… So I did a search on the 'net on "thiabendazol"
(without the "e") and came… T. induces blatter cancer in animal testing.
T. is also used in worm infection of the skin. The remarks about this
application were, that though it is partially absorbed, no ill effects have
been proved to pregnant women and their baby. (Contradictory??)
>Anyway, I dumped a perfectly good 6 gallon batch of OJ-mel 🙁 I knew I am
>not going to drink it so I did.
The following is exclusively MY opinion and explicitly not that of my
employer. If our moderator would indulge me in the following tangential

I mean no disrespect to our friend Wout. Certainly there are compounds to
which we should limit our exposure, or at least to which we should not
expose ourselves without consideration. It does not appear to me that
thiabendazole is worthy of a great deal of concern, however.

Thiobendazole is used as a fungicide and antihelminthic. I have been
treated with thiobendazole, as "Mintezol," for hookworms (one of the
occupational hazards of structural entomology). It's quite effective,
despite making one feel intermittently awful for several days, and lending
a distinct rancid-broccoli odor to one's entire body. The therapeutic dose
is of course much higher than the residue amounts one would find in orange
peels. The half-life of the compound in humans is 1.2 hours.

I found the following information in various English-language sites. The
information below is a reasonable summary, and is from Extoxnet (the
Extension Toxicology Network, compiled from information provided by various
Universities in the U.S.)

Reproductive effects: A three-generation study in rats showed no adverse
effects on reproduction at 20 to 80 mg/kg/day. <snip>Reproductive effects
in humans are not likely at anticipated levels of exposure.

Teratogenic effects: Pregnant rabbits fed doses of 75, 150, and 600
mg/kg/day produced pups with lower fetal weights at the highest dose
tested. No birth defects were observed with thiabendazole at any dose
tested [3,8]. Teratogenic effects are not likely from thiabendazole exposure.

Mutagenic effects: Several studies with bacteria have failed to produce any
chromosome changes or mutations due to thiabendazole [8]. It appears that
the compound is not mutagenic.

Carcinogenic effects: A 2-year feeding study with rats at levels of 10 to
160 mg/kg/day produced no cancer-related effects attributable to
thiabendazole [3,8]. Another study conducted over 18 months at the maximum
tolerated dose in mice produced no evidence of cancer related effects
[3,8]. It does not appear that thiabendazole is carcinogenic.


Subject: Re: Orange/lemon zest and mead 
From: Spencer W Thomas <>
Date: Mon, 08 Nov 1999 11:57:18 -0500

Wout> I made my most successful one very strong indeed. Something
Wout> like 18% or so. In this year's Mazers I entered it outside
Wout> contention. McConnell scored 40, Schramm scored 39.5 and
Wout> Thomas scored 40. My apologies to these reknowned judges for
Wout> trying to poison them 🙁

Apology accepted. 🙂

I am sorry to hear about this pesticide problem. I wonder if there
is, somewhere in the world, someone growing these oranges organically!

This mead would (IMHO) have won the best of show if it had not been
entered for "evaluation only". It tasted to me almost exactly like
Grand Marnier liqueur.


Subject: Questions About Racking, Fermenters, and Airlocks
From: "Michael O. Hanson" <>
Date: Mon, 08 Nov 1999 10:06:10 -0600

I am responding to a post by Light Otter with some questions about racking,
airlocks, and fermenters. Racking means siphoning your mead, wine, or beer
from a primary fermenter to a secondary fermenter or from a secondary
fermenter to another fermenter. You want to transfer from a primary to a
secondary fermenter when your mead is bubbling about once a minute. You
want to use a racking tube or cane because you want to siphon your mead. A
racking tube or cane with a length of plastic tubing is easier to work with
than just a length of tubing. Siphoning as opposed to pouring mead will
reduce the chances of oxygen mixing with the mead. When you rack your
mead, be sure to leave the settled yeast in the primary fermenter. This
will help clear your mead and reduce off flavors that can show up if you
leave mead on the yeast too long.

The size of your primary and secondary fermenters depends on the amount of
mead you wish to make. Generally, you want to leave some room in the
primary fermenter to keep mead from bubbling out of the airlock. In my
experience, I have found that a six gallon primary fermenter works well for
a five gallon batch of mead. Mead bubbling out of the airlock doesn't harm
the mead. However, it is not pleasant to clean up. When you rack your
mead, you want the secondary fermenter as full as you can get it. That
will prevent air and oxygen from getting in
contact with your mead.

The primary fermenter can be either food grade plastic or glass. The
secondary fermenter should be glass. Plastic can allow oxygen to get
through it and into contact with your mead and combine with alcohol. That
will give your mead an off flavor.

You can make airlocks at home by using a length of plastic or rubber
tubing, putting one end of the tubing through the lid or stopper on your
fermenter, and putting the other end in a glass or jar filled with water or
cheap vodka. However,
commercially available airlocks are relatively inexpensive (about $0.95)
and easy to clean and use. You won't need a lid for your secondary
fermenter. You can use a drilled rubber stopper that will fit the opening
of your jug or carboy.

I hope this helps. If you have any questions, please let me know.


Mike Hanson, President
Hanson's Hobby Homebrewing, Inc.

Subject: Re: EC-1118, Bottling Question, Stuck fermentation 
From: Spencer W Thomas <>
Date: Mon, 08 Nov 1999 11:51:32 -0500

Wout> Are you sure you OG was 1.200? If so then your fermentation
Wout> isn't stuck, it's *very* done. Your alcohol percentage is
Wout> off my scale, but I guess it's around 22%, maybe more, which
Wout> seems highly unlikely with a beer yeast.

My calculator ( says
that the alcohol content for a fermentation from 1.200 to 1.050 is
15.8% by weight or 19.7% by volume. That's achievable.


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #766, 7 November 1999
From: "Belinda Messenger" <>
Date: Mon, 08 Nov 1999 09:48:32 -0800

RE: Orange/lemon zest and mead ("Wout Klingens")
Why don't you use organically grown oranges? No thiabendazole there.
Your Oj mel sounds wonderful…it would be a shame to not make it.

Subject: Re: bakers honey
Date: Tue, 9 Nov 1999 09:32:59 EST

In a message dated 99-11-07 14:19:26 EST, wrote:

<< I was given a five gallon bucket of bakers honey from the bee keeper that
supplies my family's almond orchard with bee hives for pollinization. Are
there recipes that this dark honey would be more suitable for, or is it
usable for mead? >>

Taste the honey! Is it good tasting? If it is, then use an any other

honey. There are many reasons for honey to be sold as bakers grade. In
general dark honeys don't sell as well, though there are specialty markets.
Some dark honeys are delicious. But honey can also be sold as bakers grade
because it is bitter or rank. It can be honey that was accidently overheated,
which does not spoil it for baking where it would be heated anyway…..

If the honey is not good tasting, don't waste your efforts at mead

making. Use it for baking instead. You cannot make a poor honey into a good
one by fermenting it.

Incidently the bees provide pollination. Pollenization is provided by

other almond varieties (daddy plants) A pollenizer is a plant to be a
source of viable pollen. A pollinator is the agent that carries the pollen,
usually bees. Commercial beekeepers make more of their livelihood today from
pollination contracts than from honey production.
Dave Green (AKA Pollinator, AKA "The Pumpkin Patch Pimp")

End of Mead Lover's Digest #767