Mead Lover's Digest #0797 Thu 23 March 2000


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



Mead experiment (Nathan Kanous)
Tast, Experimentation, and Good Science (Jerry Harder)
Re: black mead (
What can I sub for mulberries? ("Robert Goulding")
Mead Makers Bibliography (Dan McFeeley)
Mead Sanitation Update 3/19/00 (Jerry Harder)
Maple wine ("Russ Hobaugh")
Best yeast for sweet mead? (


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Subject: Mead experiment
From: Nathan Kanous <>
Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000 22:22:51 -0500

You say:
>I think a bunch of experiments is a necessity. There is a lot of variability
>even among even two "identical" batches of mead, with no known variables.

End of story. High variability dictates HUGE numbers. It's basic

>Also, I'm interested in finding out not only what boiling does to aroma, but
>also what it does or doesn't do for clarity,

I'm not going to comment on aroma. Some will say heating (note, I didn't
say boil) kills it, others claim this is bunk. See my original comment.

Clarity? No question. Try it just once and you have your answer. Boiling
ABSOLUTELY increases clarity and pasteurizing / heating does as well in my

The real questions are flavor and aroma. It's probably a question of aroma
since aroma has such a significant impact on perceived flavor.

I'm not trying to discourage the experiment. Science is a great thing.
However, I think the numbers necessary are going to be high. Again, a
couple triangle tastings with some experienced tasters should give you a
"flavor" for whether there may or may not be differences.

With the high degree of variability, subjectivity of tasting, and the needs
of the individual, try it yourself at home and make your own decision. I
brew for me. I enter contests to get feedback from judges. I don't care
if they like it or if it fits the style. I look for them to identify flaws
and offer suggestions. I've got a cyser in the basement that I think
sucks. I entered it in a competition recently to hear what others said.
All in all, there were no obvious problems, but it sucked. It was out of
balance and not very complex (don't forget that I pasteurized this batch).
No infections or any other obvious problems, just not exciting in any way.

I've babbled long enough. Mead takes a bit longer than beer. I brew for
myself. Make it like you like to taste it. I'm just not convinced much
will come from such an endeavor. Go for it and I'll "read all about it" in
a few years.
nathan in madison, wi
Nathan L. Kanous II, Pharm.D., BCPS
Clinical Assistant Professor
School of Pharmacy
University of Wisconsin – Madison
425 North Charter Street
Madison, WI 53706-1515
Phone (608) 263-1779
Pager (608) 265-7000 #2246 (digital)

Subject: Tast, Experimentation, and Good Science
From: Jerry Harder <>
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2000 07:54:28 -0600

Nathan Kanous wrote:

First, those that are convinced
that one method is superior probably won't change anyhow.
Second, do you really need a bunch of people doing this?
I figure that if you run enough triangle tastings with a couple
of batches, it should become fairly convincing early. If you
get 10 people together and they can all identify which of the
3 tastes is the "odd one out" then you've got something.
If it's a wash, it's a wash.

I would have to say he sounds like one of those people
whose not going to change no matter what. Further just
because two methods make a product taste different and
a certain set of individuals prefer one over the other
doesn't necessarily mean another set of people wouldn't
feel differently. In our experiment it would not be very
useful to say that one is better than the other. Useful
information would be to describe HOW they are different.
Many people and many meads give a far better picture
of what is going on. This develops a set of tools which we
can then choose from for different recipes and for different

Jerry Harder

Subject: Re: black mead 
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2000 20:35:54 EST

I haven't been following the "black mead" thread too closely so forgive me if
I'm off-topic or redundant. But Acton & Duncan in "Making Mead" give a
recipe for a black mead. For a one gallon batch, in brief, they call for 4
lbs. blackcurrants, 1/2 pint red grape concentrate, 2 lb. light mixed flower
honey, nutrients, Bordeaux yeast, 1/4 oz. malic acid, and water to make a
They call for fermenting on the pulp three days, then straining off & lightly
pressing the pulp, then adding the grape juice concentrate. If you need
other particulars, email me. Theirs is an interpretation of an old style, so
your interpretation using blackcurrants is just as legit.

Subject: What can I sub for mulberries?
From: "Robert Goulding" <sanctuary@RAPIDNET.COM>
Date: Sun, 19 Mar 2000 10:56:38 -0700

Dear Paul & Lisa,

I don't know about 'frozen' mulberries but you might want to talk to

local greenhouses or anyone else like the county extension agent (if you
have one). I suggest this because mulberries may grow where you live. I
seem to remember picking mulberries from trees in the spring or summer,
summer I think, in Ohio. It is possible you might find a close-by source
for them, fresh.

My memory may not serve, however. I am not sure what we called

mulberries really were. This is like from 30+ years ago. Good luck.

Robert Goulding
Head Rooster
Robert's Roost
625 South Street
Rapid City, South Dakota



Subject: Mead Makers Bibliography
From: Dan McFeeley <>
Date: Sun, 19 Mar 2000 12:20:06 -0600

I have an updated version of the listing of books, articles and web pages
of interest to mead makers, however, it's much too large to post on the
Digest. If anyone is interested, send me a private e-note and I'll send
back a copy. I'll also e-mail a copy of the meadery directory to anyone
who requests it.

Dan McFeeley

Subject: Mead Sanitation Update 3/19/00
From: Jerry Harder <>
Date: Sun, 19 Mar 2000 23:56:55 -0600

The following Data was collected after 2 weeks fermentation:

NOTE 1: the Brix is not accurate because the refractive index of
alcolhol + water is not the same as straight sugar water mix.
I hope to develop a correlation for monitoring purposes
because it is so much easier to take a refractometer reading
than a hydrometer one- all you need is a drop.

NOTE 2: Sometimes I give two pH readings like 2.92/3.00
For some reason the pH of a 15-20ml sample is usually smaller
than say a 100 ml sample. 15 ml is my standard, but with
doing the FAN test it's easy to get the second, I just have to
remember. If there is only 1 number it is of the 15 ml sample.

6.5 gallon, pasteurized. cuvee yeast
SG 1.016
pH 3.14/3.16
FAN 109.2
Brix 11.4
TA 0.32%

No sanitation, Champagne Yeast
SG 1.032
pH 3.03/3.05
FAN 100.8
Brix 13.0
TA 0.315%

Boiled Champagne Yeast
SG 1.039
pH 2.89/2.90
FAN 35.0
Brix 14.2
TA 0.33%

Pasteurized -Set aside for aldehyde binding test
Champagne Yeast
SG 1.036
pH 3.19 / 3.18
FAN 109.2
Brix 14.2
TA 0.305%

Pasteurized Champagne Yeast
SG 1.034
pH 3.08/3.10
FAN 99.4
Brix 14.2
TA 0.295%

Pasteurized with Fermaid Champagne Yeast
SG 1.012
pH 3.61 / 3.62
FAN 85.4
Brix 11.0
TA 0.32%

Distilled water no sanitation, Amsterdam Lager yeast
SG 1.076
pH 4.52 / 4.52
FAN 235.2
Brix 19.8
TA 0.17
The extra yeast seems to have done the trick.

Tap water pasteurized, Amsterdam Lager yeast
SG 1.096
pH 4.86/4.87
FAN 310.8
Brix 22.8
TA 0.19%
The extra yeast didn't do much here.

SO2 and acid added Champagne Yeast
SG 1.044
pH 2.92/2.92
FAN 142.8
Brix 15.0
TA 0.96%
SO2 @ 10 ppm Ripper method =
about 0.8ppm molecular

Weight until pH drops and add SO2 Champagne Yeast
SG 1.032
pH 3.05/3.06
FAN 84.0
Brix 13.0
TA 0.34
Yeast was not killed. Fermentation moving right along.

An extra point from a Jan 1992 experiment on Red Star
Champagne Yeast, Starting gravity 1.122, orginal numbers
unknown. Has vinigar off flavor.

SG 1.056
Brix 19.4
pH 3.23/3.22
FAN 21
TA 0.375%

Volatile acidity test gives nonvolatile acid at 0.255%
confirming vinegar infection.
This wine although a stuck ferment has been
stable for 8 years. The FAN on other batches such
as those below is lower an lower brix, in accordance
with what literature says regarding yeast being unable
to use FAN as easily at higher brix.

Two unfinished meads:

Dry End Cap Honey
SG 1.012
Brix 10.4
pH 3.56/3.57
Fan 15.4
TA 0.26%
Still active but very slow.

Sweet Version
SG 1.056
Brix 19.0
pH 3.63/3.63
FAN 47.6
TA 0.33%
Still active but very slow.

Subject: Maple wine
From: "Russ Hobaugh" <>
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 11:14:00 -0500

I started a Maple Wine a month ago:

1.5 gallons grade B maple syrup
1.5 gallons water
champagne yeast stepped up in honey and malt extract.

The SG on this was 1.154–NOT a typo–1.154! This has been
bubbling away steadily(every 30 seconds) for over a month now.
Should I rack this soon, or let it go until it finishes, and then rack?
I have been told to let it go by the brew shop I frequent, but am
not sure. I don't want to wait to long and get autolysis.

Russ Hobaugh
Goob' Dog Brewery
Birdsboro PA

Subject: Best yeast for sweet mead?
Date: Tue, 21 Mar 2000 03:21:46 EST

I'm fairly well versed regarding beer yeast, but I admit to being less so
about mead yeast choices. After more than a dozen batches of dry mead, I'm
quite pleased with Wyeast 3632 Dry Mead; it's my yeast of choice for meads
that finish dry.

However, I am much less satisfied with Wyeast 3184 Sweet Mead for sweeter
meads. I find this yeast to be finicky and prone to stuck fermentation, even
with a large volume of starter and oxygenation of the must with pure O2.

Therefore I'm seeking a better option for sweet mead yeast. So far three dry
(as in dehydrated) wine yeasts seem like possibilities:

Red Star Cote des Blancs
Lalvin D47 Cote-du-Rhone
Lalvin 71B-1122 Narbonne

Would anyone care to comment on the relative merits of these for sweet meads.
Is there a clear favorite among them?

Thanks in advance for any information

  • — Bill Pierce

Cellar Door Homebrewery
Des Moines, IA

End of Mead Lover's Digest #797