Mead Lover's Digest #0876 Sun 21 October 2001


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



Re: Mead Lover's Digest #875, 17 October 2001 (Jim Sims)
RE: a few mead questions ("Matt_lists")
Re: MLD#875 ("Ken Taborek")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #875, 17 October 2001 (Charles Nelson)
yeast questions ("Micah Millspaw")
glucose oxidase (Dick Dunn)
Chocolate mint (


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Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #875, 17 October 2001
From: Jim Sims <>
Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2001 12:31:40 -0500

> Subject: Smelly mead, NZ meadmakers and racking time issues.
> From: "Dany P. Ghozali" <>
> Date: Sat, 13 Oct 2001 21:58:16 +1300
> I have one more question for you all. How long can one leave mead on its
> lees? I have one batch that seemed to have dropped sediments very quickly –
> well, quicker than other batches I've had. About half an inch of sediment
> lies at the bottom after only 2 weeks in the secondary and the mead is
> clearing nicely. One thing I have noticed is the aroma seem to have
> strengthen in a nice way after sitting on the sediment for that time and I
> am tempted to leave it longer.
> Are there any reasons why I should not leave it longer? There are still
> little bubbles rising to the surface in the jar but no bubbles and very
> little difference in water level within the airlock.
> Any comments/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I have only one experience to add – I brewed a (plain, but somewhat sweet) mead
last fall (2000), then had the great fortune to be sent to Australia from Jan
2001 to the end of June 2001. I meant to bottle that batch before I left,

Once I got back, I was very worried it would have acquired some nastiness from
sitting on the yeast/lees for so long (hadnt even racked it once before
leaving). I finally got around to bottling it in late August of 2001 and
hesitantly tasted it.

It was quite good, probably one of the better batches I've made recently.


Subject: RE: a few mead questions
From: "Matt_lists" <>
Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2001 10:56:42 -0700

1 bakers yeast:

I have heard both sides, some say it is erratic, a few love it, I for
one can't imagine that it produces a flavor that I would really want in
my mead. One of the reasons wine and beer yeasts are developed is for
the flavor they produce. With the reasonable price of dry
brewers/vintners yeast why take the chance plus you can find plenty of
info on their behavior and flavor profile. Maybe you can hear from
someone who has played with it but I for one want to experiment with
other yeast beside bread yeast, from my point of view I can't see any
benefit from switching.

2 wheat germ

I have seen older recipes that use it (as well as toast) but again I
would be concerned about the flavor and isn't there a fair amount of oil
in the germ?? If you are looking for a natural nutrient try using dead
yeast. From what I understand they sonically rupture the yeast cells and
sell it in powdered form for just such a purpose. The dead yeast
obviously have everything that the live yeast is looking for plus no

3 carbonates


4 Pollen and Jelly

I really have no idea how effective the pollen would be, it sounds like
a good source of nitrogen but I'm not sure what kinds of trace elements
you get, you pose a really good question maybe a beekeeper can give us a
good answer. As for the royal jelly unless you can find it really cheap
it would be too cost prohibitive to use.

5 Clarity

For me it is a matter of pride. I want to make the best mead I can and
that means it looks good as well as tastes good. For me it is a
reflection of my skill as a mead maker. You are right in that 1500 years
ago they didn't care. They didn't have clear glass to drink it out of
anyway so what it looked like didn't matter that much. But if you are
pouring a glass of mead to a friend do you really want her to hold the
glass up and question whether she really wants to try an opaque mead??
Or would you rather have her see it and immediately put it to her lips.
If you are worried about chemicals there are plenty of all natural
fining agents, from egg whites to bentonite, isinglass (sp?), to
gelatin. I really do not see where you are coming from, you should not
shy away from doing a little more work to make your mead the beast it
can be.

Matt Maples

Liquid Solutions
12162 SW Scholls Ferry Rd
Tigard, OR 97223
503-524-9722 (web site) (mailing list)

May mead regain its rightful place as the beverage of gods and kings.

Subject: Re: MLD#875
From: "Ken Taborek" <>
Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2001 19:07:47 -0400

> Subject: a few mead questions

Hi Sean,

> bad are food service/baking yeasts for brewing, really?

This has been discussed at length and on many occasions on
rec.crafts.meadmaking, and in this forum. I couldn't begin to do justice to
the mass of discussions on this topic, so I'll suggest that you search the
archives (key word search available here: or usenet ( is a
good resource for this) and I'm sure you'll find your answers.

> 3.can small amounts of sodium bicarbonate and/or sodium carbonate be used
> as a ph balancer as with some other salts (or 'carbonates' )

Yes. More than a little may lead to a salty taste addition that may not be

> 2.wheat germ; is it good for a yeast nutrient in mead? is it bad?
> 4.can bee pollen or royal jelly be added as a yeast nutrient,and if not,
> why?

Questions 2 and 4 seem to be fairly similar, in that you are asking 'can I
use X as a yeast nutrient?'.
Sure, go for it. They might not satisfy all of the needs of your yeast,
Most commercial yeast nutrients contain diammonium phosphate. If you find a
natural substitute for this, you'll probably have good results with it.
Fermax is cheap, and works for me.

> the seeming, almost obssesive concern with clarity based more on
> mead looking nice,or concern that the suspended matter is detrimental in
> some other ways to the finished product?

5 – I can only answer this question for myself. I enjoy a clear mead, for
purely esthetic reasons. In addition to the esthetics, if bottled too soon
your mead can have a yeasty bite, and you'll also be losing some of the
other benefits of bulk aging.

I do want to address your statement:
> i of
> course understand the reason for racking often to remove dead yeast

I, personally, do not understand the reasons some folks rack often.
Recipies that call for frequent racking on a set timetable have those
instructions ignored by me. I rack a few weeks after primary fermentation
appears to be completed, and after the mead has dropped clear. Frequent
racking adds work, exposes the mead to oxidation, and loses more of the
Your mileage may vary, of course.

> Subject: RE: Cranberry Mead question

Hi Janis,

Thanks for the detail on your cranberry-orange mead, it sounds delicious!
Would you be willing to post your complete recipe?

A few questions on your color extraction methods, if you please;

> you have to
> toss the boiled berries so as not to introduce unwanted tannins
> in the mead.

Do you mean pectins? If it was tannins, I'd think you'd get just as much
from the several pounds of whole fruit, so I'll admit I'm confused…

I'm also curious about the reason you began using this method. Did you find
that the frozen cranberries didn't contribute enough color, even when adding
another round of fruit to the secondary?


> Subject:
> From: "sdbburn" <>


Airlock activity isn't always a good judge of the mead's completion. Taking
a hydrometer reading can help, and so can just waiting on it to clear. Your
cloudiness could be yeast working on some residual sugars, if so, they'll
drop out after they are all done.


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #875, 17 October 2001
From: Charles Nelson <>
Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001 06:25:00 -0500

Sean (and everybody else),
Interesting questions. I hope you post any replies you get privately to the
list for the rest of us to read. Now for one of my pets: A lot is two words.
There should be a space between the a and the l. It's like a bunch or a few.
It is spelled incorrectly as alot.

Subject: yeast questions
From: "Micah Millspaw" <>
Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2001 10:17:36 -0500

>Subject: a few mead questions
>Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2001 02:26:37 -1000
> bad are food service/baking yeasts for brewing, really?

The yeasts used for beer and wine are the result of selection
over many hundreds (thousands) of years. I am certain that most
of this was done based on flavour and performance rather
than a actual knowledge of yeast. In short, bakers yeast will
ferment the must but will not be as alcohol tolerent nor yeild
the flavour profile that we normally associate with mead.

>2.wheat germ; is it good for a yeast nutrient in mead? is it bad?

There are better nutrients available, also it will throw a haze.

>3.can small amounts of sodium bicarbonate and/or sodium carbonate be used
>as a ph balancer as with some other salts (or 'carbonates' )

Yes, sodium carbonates could be used,
but look at your overall water composition to see how how they
will fit. Calcium carbonated are commonly used for water adjustment.
Also look at the ph of your honey after it is hydrated, is ph adjustment

>4.can bee pollen or royal jelly be added as a yeast nutrient,and if not,

Pollen is an excellent yeast nutrient. Royal jelly, I doubt that it would
any better than the honey and would be had to come by.

> the seeming, almost obssesive concern with clarity based more on
>mead looking nice,or concern that the suspended matter is detrimental in
>some other ways to the finished product?

I think that it is simply asthetics. People are acustomed to clear

Micah Millspaw – brewer at large

Subject: glucose oxidase
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: Sat, 20 Oct 2001 01:25:57 -0600 (MDT)

If a little knowledge is a dangerous thing…I must be very dangerous.

I've done some reading and I've come to understand a bit about the enzyme
glucose oxidase and how it protects honey until the bees can get the
moisture content down enough to preserve it. (The idea is that it breaks a
sugar into gluconic acid and hydrogen peroxide; it's the H2O2 that acts
against spoilage critters.)

OK, so my question becomes this: What happens to the glucose oxidase after
the honey is concentrated, and on along the sequence until we're working
with the honey? Is it inconsequential? Is it de-activated or otherwise
broken down by the concentration of sugars or heat or time or whatever
else? If it's still there, what would keep it from becoming active again
when we dilute the honey to make our must?

I don't think this is an issue in mead-making or anything like that. I'm
just trying to understand one constituent of the honey and one process.

Dick Dunn Hygiene, Colorado USA

…Simpler is better.

Subject: Chocolate mint
Date: Sat, 20 Oct 2001 09:38:36 EDT

Hi Meaders – I'm a long time reader, first time writer. A friend just gave
me a bunch of something she calls cholate mint. Its a peppermint like herb
with a definite chocolate taste. I never knew it existed. Anyway, now that
I have it, of course my thoughts turn to mead.


Thanks, Rob Schwartz

End of Mead Lover's Digest #876