Mead Lover's Digest #0791 Sat 19 February 2000


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



Re: Lalvin EC-1118 yeast for mead ("Carl Wilson")
The Boiling Issue !! (
Mead Lover's Digest #790, 13 February 2000 (Dave Burley)
Using unsulphered honey (Christie Nowak)
Yeasties ("Philip J Wilcox")
Blood Mead is for Vikings not Vamps! (Ken Mason)
Good Beekeeping Books? (VIZECKY)
Braggot (
sorbate question ("Kurt Hoesly")
Artificial corks (Kristine Adam)
Edme Yeast (Angela Byrnes)


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Subject: Re: Lalvin EC-1118 yeast for mead
From: "Carl Wilson" <>
Date: Sun, 13 Feb 2000 20:09:09 -0600

> Subject: Lalvin EC-1118 yeast for mead
> From: "Stevenson, Randall" <rstevenson@LDI.STATE.LA.US>
> Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2000 10:04:09 -0600
> I have used Lalvin EC-1118 for most of the meads I have made. It does not
> tend to produce off flavors and is a very active strain. (It is a champagne
> yeast). It makes a great sparkling mead; however, I would not recommend it
> for a sweet mead. (try D-47)

I'd have to agree completely. My latest batch of cyser (my first using
EC-1118) was not only "drinkable" before it went into the bottle, but was
very good!. I've never had a batch taste to good without any aging! I just
hope I can leave it alone until it really matures! 😉

My previous batch was a sweet mead (16.5 lbs honey in a 5 gallon U.S.) using
D-47. While it wasn't as drinkable at such an early age, it only needed a
short bottle conditioning period. Alas, it was all gone long before it
reached full maturity!

I used to use Lalvin KIV-1116 almost exclusively for mead making, but these
days I'll stick to D-47 for the sweet meads, and probably use EC-1118 for
the rest.

Subject: The Boiling Issue !!
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 11:06:35 EST

Subject: Boiling vs Pasteurization & Sulfiting or doing nothing

Has anyone done a side by side comparison of Meadmaking by the 4 proposed
methods? I've read many comments about boiling vs a hot 160 degree steep to
pasteurize – sulfiting or not sulfiting – and the occasional do nothing but
throw in lots of yeast.
It seems to me that alot of these different brewing techniques stem from
meadmakers that come from 2 backgrouds; winemakers and beerbrewers.
The winemakers are used to sulfiting grape and fruit musts and do not have
the experience and equipment (pots/burners/chillers) to do a boil. It may
seem natural to treat diluted honey in the same manner as wine.
The beer brewers are used to boiling wort to make beer so it seems a natuaral
practice to bring the honey up to a boil. They might not be familiar with
sulfiting or understand it.
Now we have a lot of rhetoric being kicked around about boiling being
detrimental to the honey aroma and I'm not sure who's saying it based it upon
actual experience and tasting. I suspect that alot of the lost aromatics in
boiling come from folks that take a long time to heat and cool the honey
must. I have a big burner, pot, and wort chiller that drops the boil very
quickly (5 min from boil to 160)
I brew beer by boiling and so I boil my mead too. I do a 1 minute boil and
quick chill.
My meads are brilliantly clear, very aromatic, and full of body and legs. I
rack twice and sometimes thrice and then bottle very clear sediment free
bottles. I have won numerous awards and recieve favorable comments about my
I'm thinking of doing a 4 way split batch – Stir & mix honey with nothing but
pitching alot of yest / Sulfiting / Pasteurization steep at 160 / quick boil
& chill.
Any thoughts or comments?
Bob Grossman 2 time AHA BarleyWine Gold winner 1 Silver Award for Mead

Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #790, 13 February 2000
From: Dave Burley <>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 10:50:34 -0500

Message text written by

Thanks David Sherfey for the information. While it is true that urea is in
urine, was first separated from there ( thus its name) and was the first
organic compound to be generated outside a living organism by chemists, it
certainly does not have a "urinous odor". Urinous odor is caused by
biochemical transformations of food and bacterial attacks on water soluble
organics in the urine.

Urea is a non-ionic form of nitrogen which yeast can use just like they use
ammonium ion (however, which means you also have added an anion in the
wine) in the production of protein. Adding nitrogen in the form of a
nutrient helps to reduce the formation of fusel alcohols ( by deamination
of amino acids in cases of a nitrogen deficiency) and hydrogen sulfide. If
you notice the smell of hydrogen sulfide from a fermentation this is often
an indication of low nitrogen and this emission can be stopped by the
judicious addition of nitrogen, preferably in the form of ammonium
phosphate. I have often gotten this H2S smell from using Montrachet yeast
in grape musts which were no problem with other yeasts, so I also suspect
it is yeast dependent and how well the strain can extract nutrition from
the must. It also seems to be dependent on racking time and may be part of
the Montrachet's mopping up operatrion as the fermentaion is finishing and
autolysis begins. Depressing fusel alcohol in pure honey musts requires
the addition of nutrients containing nitrogen.

Dick Dunn points out that it is nitrogen content of a must ( and not just
urea) which contributes to the increased amount of carbamate in wine. While
it is true urea can be made to chemically generate ethyl carbamate, which
is a carcinogen, it apparently is not the only substance which can generate
carbamates. Addition of any nitrogen containing nutrient is suspect, I
guess and best avoided except in things like meads and other low nutrient

I am not sure this carbamate is even a problem. Do we have evidence that
this is something to worry about or just an analytical triumph and a
publish or perish paper?

Dave Burley

Subject: Using unsulphered honey
From: Christie Nowak <>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 15:02:24 -0500

An acquaintance an budding mead maker recently asked me if the honey she
used to make mead needed to be unsulphured. I recommended that she do make
sure of that, simply because I know that we want to use honeys that have the
least amount of human intervention as possible. However, I don't actually
know what sulphuring would do to the honey. Can anyone give me some
information about it, so that I can be more specific in my advice?

Christie Nowak


Subject: Yeasties
From: "Philip J Wilcox" <>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 10:46:36 -0500

Did a similar experiment last summer with one gallon meads. I like D-47 the

EC-1118, Dry Mead and Champagne are redunant. They are all Champagne yeast and
Very good odds, that they are all the reported Pasteur Strain. I would cut down
to one champagne yeast and add D-47 (Cote de Blances), Alot of people had
problems with Montrachet, though I havent. If you like belgian beer try an abby
strain, If your looking for neutral yeast character try Nottingham Ale yeast.
You might also want to try one of the Killer strains of wine yeasts KV-…
Especially if your using fruitblossom honey where you'll find more wild yeasts.

Best of luck and keep us informed.

Phil WIlcox

Subject: Blood Mead is for Vikings not Vamps!
From: Ken Mason <>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 13:53:41 -0800 (PST)

In response to an earlier query about blood mead . . .

According to Nordic legend, the Viking God Kvasirwas
was killed by dwarves, Fjalar and Galar. They mixed
his blood with honey to make an exquisite mead. In
the Viking tradition, mead brewed with blood is called
the "Mead of Poetry". If the accounts are correct,
the ratio for blood mead is 1 part each of blood and
honey. If it does work, the only exquisite thing will
be the hangover that results from the high protein
levels in the mead.

Also, Nordic priestess would add blood to mead to
infuse the drinker with the emotions of her choice,
though this is far from mazing mead with blood.

In some countries, blood is added to wine as a
clarifying agent, much like egg whites, but this
practice is illegal in the US and many other

Subject: Good Beekeeping Books?
From: VIZECKY <>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 14:17:55 -0800 (PST)

For quite some time I have been mulling over
beekeeping as an additional hobby. I have done some
cursory research but the majority of books I have been
able to locate are stuffy academic tomes which have
provided little in the way of helpful how-to advice.

Ideally, I would like a simple but acurate book which
lays out beekeeping in the hobby context (as opposed
to commercial).

Does anyone have any recomendations?


Minneapolis, MN

Subject: Braggot
Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2000 02:04:51 EST

Over the past four years I've brewed more than 80 batches of beer more than a
dozen of mead. I've been very happy with almost all of my meads but now I
would like to be more adventuresome. Recently I purchased 100 lbs. of honey
(50 of light clover and 50 of darker mixed wildflower) at an attractive price
from a beekeeper in the area.

I have been thinking about combining both my brewing and meadmaking interests
by brewing a batch of braggot. I have looked at the style guidelines for
braggot, but they are so broad as to be not of much help to someone who has
neither tasted nor brewed this style.

I have a number of basic questions concerning braggot, including typical
starting and finishing gravities, grain bill, percentage of fermentables from
honey, hopping schedules, etc. What I have in mind would have a starting
gravity of about 1.080, a finishing gravity of about 1.010, about 15 IBUs of
bittering and a color of about 4 SRM. It would be sparkling and relatively
well carbonated, with a noticeable head and recognizable as both a malt and
honey beverage.

I'd be grateful for any insight from those who have experience with braggot,
including any proven recipes.

  • — Bill Pierce

Cellar Door Homebrewery
Des Moines, IA

Subject: sorbate question
From: "Kurt Hoesly" <>
Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2000 14:02:11 CST

Hello, all…

I was getting ready to make a cyser this weekend, and just before putting
everything together, I noticed some very fine print at the bottom of the
cider label: "Less than .05% Potassium Sorbate added"

Is this enough to make this particular apple cider unfit for making a cyser,
or will I be able to use it?

Any thoughts are welcome…


  • -k

Subject: Artificial corks
From: Kristine Adam <>
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 21:17:45 -0800

Has anyone out there tried the new artificial corks? They are supposed to
better protect one's wine/mead from spoilage, but I haven't yet tried them

Kristine Adam
Port Moody, BC

Subject: Edme Yeast
From: Angela Byrnes <byrnesa@leland.Stanford.EDU>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 13:43:06 -0800

Just went to my local homebrew store (Fermentation Frenzy for those in the
Bay Area) to p/u some Edme yeast to try for my next batch at the
suggestions that it would make for a sweeter, rather than dry mead. Phil
not only didn't have any, but said that it isn't going to be available
anymore. Have any of you run into this yet?? Anyway, he gave me Nottingham
Ale yeast so I'll give that a try.

LOVED the comments from Elfboy0 in MLD #790 about brewing by the signs. I'm
going to start my second batch tomorrow and probably have it ready to pitch
the yeast by Sat. Ohhh, moon waxing to full and in Leo (which happens to be
mine, Marty's and our daughters birth sign). Thought I'd use tropical
fruits of the yellow and orange variety. "Boil, boil, toil and trouble,
fire burn and cauldron bubble", or something like that from MacBeth. This
could be interesting!

BTW, at the overwhelming advice of all, I'll continue to let my first batch
rest peacefully in it's carboy under the table in the kitchen. The thought
of exploding, cork-popping bottles drenching the clothes in my closet and
generally creating a war zone is not in the least appealing. Now, I must
convince Marty of this course of inaction – he's used to his quicker
brewing beer batches.


End of Mead Lover's Digest #791