Mead Lover's Digest #0919 Fri 12 April 2002


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



SoCal Homebrew Fest – 04May2002 (Jack Stafford)
Seafoam head and length of initial fermentation? (Melinda Merkel Iyer)
Re: oak chips (Marty and Janice)
how long is too long? (DavidJBrooks)
Re: Warm mead (was Largashall) ("Matt_lists")
Sharp-tasting ale mead ("Sebastian Page")
RE: Mead Lover's Digest #918, 9 April 2002 ("Gladish, Christopher W.")


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Subject: SoCal Homebrew Fest - 04May2002
From: Jack Stafford <>
Date: Tue, 09 Apr 2002 16:47:25 -0700

I will be serving three gallons of black plum melomel
from the Yeast of Eden Homebrewer's Club booth. I split
the batch into two 3 gal kegs. One was emptied at last
year's fest. So this is the better half, and when this
keg's gone it's time to brew some more. There will be
many other meads on tap. Stop by and quench your thirst.

Costa Mesa, California

Subject: Seafoam head and length of initial fermentation?
From: Melinda Merkel Iyer <>
Date: Tue, 9 Apr 2002 18:10:26 -0700

I posted this a while back to the list and have received two digests
since then but didn't see my post among them. My apologies if anyone
receives this twice… and also apologies for what will surely be a
couple of very stupid questions. But please bear with me; you folks,
along with a collection of not-so-great books and a porter homebrewer
at my office, are my only references for learning.

I pitched yeast on a 5-gallon batch of traditional mead about eight
weeks ago. I used mesquite honey, champagne yeast and reverse osmosis
water, and was practically paranoid about sterilization (with
iodine). I flash pasteurized the honey at 170 degrees for 30 minutes
before pitching.

It is still fermenting rather nicely. Six weeks ago the airlock
blipped about every 9 seconds, two weeks ago it slowed to 20, and now
it's settled around 14. I've also got a good collection of sediment
(at least 1/4") at the bottom of the carboy. Fermentation temp has
been around 68 degrees at night, 76 degrees during the day. I wish I
could control the temp better, but have not been able to do so thus
far. The smell out the top of the airlock is heavenly, though, so I
must be doing something right!

SG was 1.117 at the outset, promising eventual alcohol of 15.5% (if I
read my hydrometer correctly), so I was expecting a long ferment
time. However, my homebrewing friend thinks my initial ferment should
have finished long ago. He also thinks the buildup of sediment will
impart bitterness.

What is a standard initial ferment time for this type of mead? Am I
doing my mead a disservice by not racking it off the lees? Is it
dangerous to do this in the middle of a ferment?

My other question: about six weeks into fermentation the must
developed a foamy head of about 1/4" thickness, which resembled
nothing quite so much as seafoam. The top of the 6.5 gallon carboy
fogged up, too, which I found strange due to the reasonable temps.
This went away a few days ago. Now the mead is beginning to clear,
but is still fermenting rather rapidly. Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance!


Melinda Merkel Iyer

Subject: Re: oak chips
From: Marty and Janice <>
Date: Tue, 09 Apr 2002 19:15:28 -0600

to oak mead, I like to use untoasted American oak chips that I cover with a
shot of brandy (one ounce- by weight- of oak chips to start with), and add to
5 gallons of mead. I taste the mead two weeks later, and if it's not "oaky"
enough, I add another ounce of oak chips (covered with brandy) and check
again in another two weeks. using this method, I prevent over-oaking the
mead- a good thing, since you can't remove oak flavour from mead. I now never
use more than 4 ounces of oak in 5 gallons of mead. I remember one batch
that I over-oaked, I almost tossed it out, instead, I saved it, and blended
it with an un-oaked mead, and came out with 10 gallons of mead that was
perfect, so don't worry too much if you over do it. Checking it once a week
will prevent any over-oaking from occurring, anyway.

I am curious as to why you soak the oak chips in brandy before adding them
to the mead? How long do you soak them? When do you add the oak chips? When
do you remove them? I am currently brewing a batch of cranberry spice mead
and was wondering about saving some to try with oak chips.
Would this same procedure work in beer?

Subject: how long is too long?
Date: Tue, 9 Apr 2002 21:29:53 -0500

This is my 4th batch of mead. The past three were all drinkable enough to be
long gone. This one has me stumped.

Its a simple mead, one gallon of wildflower honey with enough water to make
it 4 gallons total. I used Red Star Primee Cuvee yeast (not my favorite, but
I've used it before and it's not bad. I prefer now a Belgian ale yeast) with
a tablespoon of yeast-ghosties for nutrient. I pitched it on October 4,
2001. The original gravity was 1.117.

I racked it on November 11, 2001, tasted (hot and nasty!) and measure
gravity at 1.060.

I racked again on December 4, 2001. It still tasted very green, and gravity
was 1.035.

Today is April 9, 2002, and I havn't seen any bubbles in the airlock in
ages. The mead still taste green and yeasty, and the gravity is about the
same as it was in December. It's about as clear as a carboy full of amber


What's the deal? Should I just continue to be patient, wait for it to clear
and hope for the best? Or pitch some more yeast to get it jump started
again? Or???

Its always been easy before! 🙂


Subject: Re: Warm mead (was Largashall)
From: "Matt_lists" <>
Date: Tue, 9 Apr 2002 20:36:09 -0700

> ——————————

> Subject: Re: Lugershallmead
> From: Spencer W Thomas <>
> Date: Mon, 08 Apr 2002 13:32:57 -0400


> Why on earth did this person drink it room temperature and warmed?
> It's like a white wine and should be drunk chilled, IMHO.


> =Spencer

If that is your opinion you are entitled to it, I on the other had have
found plenty of meads that are better at room temp. Mostly they are of the
full sweet variety, ones like Litewsky or Jadwiga. There are some that are
designed to be heated like Largashall Christmas, Ambrosia by Kristy Spiced
and Mountain Meadows Spice and give such instructions on the label. If you
chill a really sweet mead I think you miss out on much of the aroma plus it
changes the smooth round texture. There are not too many rules in mead so no
one is right or wrong but you really should try heating a mead that was
designed to do so.

For semi-sweet mead on down though, I do agree that they should be chilled
to extenuate the refreshing quality of them. I make mostly dry and brute
meads that I believe are much better chilled.

Matt Maples

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

Subject: Sharp-tasting ale mead
From: "Sebastian Page" <>
Date: Wed, 10 Apr 2002 15:47:34 +0000


I brewed and bottled my first ever (ale-strength) mead about
three-and-a-half months ago. I tasted it about a month afterwards and it was
sharp and acidic-tasting to the point of undrinkability. Time has not
mellowed it, and it still tastes the same.

I did not overuse yeast nutrient: 4 tsps in 5 UK gallons, which is about 6
US gallons I think. This was slightly less than what the nutrient's
instructions recommended, so the problem is not a metallic taste from that
(and I do not think that yeast nutrient could taste so bad that the mead is

I used 100grams of citric acid (all that I had), but the recipe asked for an
ounce per gallon, so the sharp taste is not from over-acidification.

The only ingredients were 6lb of supermarket-quality honey and some hops.
This much honey would make the mead dry, but again, my mead is very very
sharp,beyond the bounds of acceptable quality.

The last possibility, or so it seems to me, is an infection. On one hand, I
used no airlock and left the mead for a couple of days in the fermenter
after fermentation had essentially finished. On the other, fermentation was
vigorous and started fairly quickly; I have brewed several batches of beer
in the same fermenter before and this was my first bad brew; there were no
visible signs of contamination; and I sanitized things properly.

Do you have an idea of what might have gone wrong? – because I will soon be
trying another mead (only this one will be wine-strength, in a proper
airlocked fermenter). Is there anything that can neutralise this sharpness,
because the honey aftertaste is not bad and it would be a pity to chuck it
all. I found some info. about sharpness and neutralising it with
precipitated chalk, but I cannot remember the web address and I was only
ever hazy on the details of the procedure.

Many, many thanks for your time,

Sebastian Page

Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #918, 9 April 2002
From: "Gladish, Christopher W." <>
Date: Wed, 10 Apr 2002 14:43:27 -0500


End of Mead Lover's Digest #919