Mead Lover's Digest #0963 Sun 20 October 2002


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



tannins after the fact! (Patrick Devaney)
RE: Conditioning size/flavor? ("Sergi Santacana")
Contaminated mead, making mead grenades, liquid yeast ("Kemp, Alson")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #962, 17 October 2002 (Vicky Rowe)
Carboys and Gooseberries (Terry Estrin)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #962, 17 October 2002 ("Travis Hancock")
Sweetening & carbonating ("Mary Johnson")
Re: sweetening and carbonating mead – second go ()
RE: Mead Lover's Digest #962, 17 October 2002 looking for 5 gallon appl ("…)
RE: Mead Lover's Digest #962, 17 October 2002 Cyser Help… ("Stephen Murp…)
Re: The cellaring of mead (Steven Sanders)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #962, 17 October 2002 (Christopher C Carpenter)
RE: sweetening and carbonating mead – second go (Melinda Merkel Iyer) (Ada…)
RE:Subject: looking for 5 gallon apple cyser recipe ("Matt Maples")
RE:Subject: Dry vs liquid yeast ("Matt Maples")
Wout Klingens (Morrocan Orange-Mel) ("john doerter")


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Subject: tannins after the fact!
From: Patrick Devaney <>
Date: Thu, 17 Oct 2002 09:06:41 -0700 (PDT)

Hello all!

I have a question about adding Tannins. My friend

and I have 10 gallons of honey mead in 2 5-gal
carboys, both of which are a little too cloudy for my
liking, but I intend to clear that up with a fining
agent (our other meads have all fallen clear nicely).
The real problem is that they are almost TOO sweet….
I only learned about adding tannins to the cooled must
after we made these two, and I'm wondering if tannins
can be added after the fermenation has finished? Or
does it have to be before the yeast is pitched?


Any comments would be most welcome!





Subject: RE: Conditioning size/flavor?
From: "Sergi Santacana" <>
Date: Thu, 17 Oct 2002 18:22:32 +0200

First, sorry for my "primitive" english. About flavor and size: The
"size/flavour effect" is often used on brewing Champagne (or Cava), wine
and also, of course, mead. You've just to think on Magnum chamagne size
bottles (these so big ones used often on Formula-1 contest…) they use
this size because there is a smaller oxidation of the liquid than in
smaller bottles. This is because, as you pointed, the proportion
air/liquid is smaller in bigger bottles as the neck of the bottle is not
proportionaly big to the content (else, it should have about 20 cms
diameter and long!.). As this oxidiation is smaller the flavour, of
course, is "better" (it depends on own preferences, of course). I don't
know if temerature has any influence but it's easy to think it has, as
big surfaces are more exposed than smaller to temperatures changes.

Subject: Contaminated mead, making mead grenades, liquid yeast
From: "Kemp, Alson" <>
Date: Thu, 17 Oct 2002 09:27:07 -0700

From: Jeffrey C Child <>
Subject: contaminated or salvageable?

>I am very interested in never having food poisoning
>again. What do you think? Do I need to pitch it,
>or can I fix it and bottle it? And if so how?

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Draw a little bit of
the mead out and taste it. If it tastes good, rack it and bottle
it. If it tastes bad, throw it out. I don't think that there's
a lot you can do to "fix" an aged wine (except for blend it).
As far as I understand, there is probably nothing harmful
that will grow in high alcohol solutions. It'll taste bad, smell
bad, etc, but you won't get sick from it.

From: Melinda Merkel Iyer <>
Subject: sweetening and carbonating mead - second go

>I never got any response to my inquiry about
>sweetening and carbonating mead, so I'm asking again.
I think that you're asking the yeast to be very
predictable. They won't be. Trying to bottle carbonate a sweet
wine is a dangerous sport and you'll wine up with exploding
bottles. I've heard of some people adding sacharin to ciders,
but that doesn't appeal to me.
The best solutions are to:
(1) make the wine, zap it with sulfites and/or sorbates,
add sugar and carbonate it in a mini-keg; or
(2) make the wine, add a >little< bit of sugar and yeast,
bottle it, wait for it to bottle carbonate, disgorge it, add a
dosage (of sugar and vodka) to sweeten the wine and inhibit
fermentation. (Champagne-style)

From: Ben Snyder <>
Subject: Dry vs liquid yeast

>I was wondering what the relative benefit
>is in using liquid yeast over dry when making mead.


According to Clayton Cone (now retired from
Lallemand/Lalvin), Lalvin is granted a license to produce a dry
yeast only if their dry yeast matches the performance of the
reference lab culture of the yeast. Do make sure to properly
rehydrate the yeast.
Keep in mind that many (most?) commercial wineries use
dry yeast to ferment their wines. Are they wrong to do so?
Would they trust a million dollars of wine to something that
often produced off-flavors? Wouldn't commercial wine labs (see
www.thewinelab and carry and recommend liquid
yeasts? (They do carry yeast cultures/slants sometimes…)
That said, if you really want to use liquid yeast,
Clayton recommended White Labs. I've had mixed luck with liquid
yeast while others have had marvelous experiences. YMMV.


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #962, 17 October 2002
From: Vicky Rowe <>
Date: Thu, 17 Oct 2002 12:48:17 -0400

>Hi folks!

I need your help. I'm collecting reviews on commercial mead for
placement on You can see the ones I've put up
so far at .

I get lots of email from folks wanting to know if there are any good
commercial meads. We all know that there are, but it's hard for a new
person to know what's good and what's not.

Matt, I know you carry several, and Chris has a goodly
stash as well (have you tried the Moniak yet?).

On another note, the rose mead is coming along nicely. It has the
greatest color, sort of a deep pink, and the *smell* is to die for! It
has a wonderful subtle rose flavor, but is a bit dry. I'm going to
sweeten it a bit before I bottle….


Vicky Rowe
Makin' mead? Drinkin' mead? Find articles, recipes, advice and hundreds of
links to anything you want to know about mead at

Subject: Carboys and Gooseberries
From: Terry Estrin <>
Date: Thu, 17 Oct 2002 10:24:47 +0000

A couple of questions:

1) Has anyone out there made a gooseberry melomel? If you have, please let
me know how it turned out (I'm considering making a batch next summer).

2) I've been using 34 liter clear glass, straight-walled carboys, but I'd
like to get something larger – without resorting to the large, green
teardrop-shaped "Italian" carboys. Does anyone know where I can get *really
big* clear glass ones (like, 8 gallons or more)?


Terry Estrin
Vancouver, BC

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #962, 17 October 2002
From: "Travis Hancock" <>
Date: Thu, 17 Oct 2002 17:44:57 +0000

year has gone by with plastic wrap sealing the carboy, and I am wondering
if the wine is growing all kinds of pathogens, or if it can be saved. I
have had salmonella food poisoning (under cooked lasagna at a relative's

As long as there isn't any mold you can see, or a foul smell, it's probably
and I would bottle it normally. You have to try hard (in my experience) to
contaminate a batch of anything, beer, wine, mead, whatever. In any case,
there really can't be anything (other than the alcohol 🙂 ) that would make
you sick, as long as there's not very evident contamination (like a mold


or stringy, ropy things floating around), and you would know the foul smell
if you smelled it.


Subject: Sweetening & carbonating
From: "Mary Johnson" <>
Date: Thu, 17 Oct 2002 13:07:36 -0500

>I never got any response to my inquiry about sweetening and
>carbonating mead, so I'm asking again. I've got a spiced mead in
>secondary that's too spiced and thought sweetening it would be a good
>solution. Does anyone have any idea how to sweeten without using
>Campden tablets so that I can still carbonate later on? Is my only
>option to add more honey and pitch more yeast, and just hope the
>yeast dies off at the right level?



>- —

>Melinda Merkel Iyer


I have had success adding honey water (1:1) and NO EXTRA YEAST. Last time I
did it, the residual yeast started work again, so I'd be ready for
additional fermenting time. You can kind of titrate the mead; add honey,
see if fermentation restarts, if so, wait until it stops, and repeat. Once
you get it to the stage where no fermentation starts, you can start

As far as carbonating goes, I'd carbonate by the bottle. Add a few grains
of yeast to each bottle. Make sure you're using champagne bottles and WIRE
THE CORKS or you'll risk bottle bombs/flying corks.

Anyway, that's worked for me. YMMV.


"we must be the change we want to see in the world" Gandhi

Subject: Re: sweetening and carbonating mead - second go
From: <>
Date: Thu, 17 Oct 2002 13:43:41 -0400 (EDT)

This is in answer to Melinda Merkel's question:

If you have a "low" fermenting yeast, it will not ferment past its target
alcohol content(i.e., 12-14%) and any sugars you add will be for residual
sweetness. Just add more honey and don't worry (and have a homebrew, they


If you have a "high" fermenting yeast (say fermenting up to 18% alcohol) I
don't see how you could have the yeast selectively use the corn sugar and
not other sugars you put in. If you don't want that much alcohol, one easy
way is to use a non-fermentable sugar (lactose) to sweeten your batch. This
way, only the corn sugar will ferment.
Hope this helps

Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #962, 17 October 2002 looking for 5 gallon appl
From: "Stephen Murphrey" <>
Date: Thu, 17 Oct 2002 16:58:23 -0400


Here's how I did it:

Add to your kettle:
5 gallons real apple cider
15 lb. honey
Heat to 180 degrees F (to sanitize).
Cool quickly to 70 degrees F.
Check the pH, and if it's too low, adjust with calcium carbonate to about
4.0 (I didn't have to do this).
Pitch a healthy starter (I used 0.75 quarts of bottled apple juice to make
it) of Wyeast sweet mead yeast.

Mine fermented quickly and was crystal clear after a month. I bottled it
after about 3 months (much shorter time than I've used for other meads). It
won no contest ribbons, but that's only because we drank it all very

Steve Murphrey

Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #962, 17 October 2002 Cyser Help...
From: "Stephen Murphrey" <>
Date: Thu, 17 Oct 2002 17:19:25 -0400


>I have just mixed my first fresh Cyser, with pressed apples and honey. I
>have made Cysers with store bought in the past but this is my first try at
>the real thing. as per my ciders, I mixed in about 25% dolgo Crabapples to
>ofset the sweetenss of the other apples I picked up here in Alaska. after I
>mixed in the warmed honey water (1:1 honey water and sweet cider) I got a SG
>of 1.095 (the apple juice was 1.070). immediately, a bunch of sludge formed
>and sank to the bottom, where it has bben for several days.


>the Cyser is fermenting away happily, but I am wondering about the sludge.
>I assume that the apple tannins coagulated the honey protiens and sent them
>to the bottom of the carboy, but it looks like I will lose over a gallon
>(out of 6) at racking, as it does not ssem to be settling.


>has anyone experienced this, and if so, was it a problem? i would hate to
>lose over a gallon of what I worked to create…

This is "working as designed". There are lots of solids in fresh cider, and
you'll always get the sludge. Just rack off the sludge into a secondary
fermenter when the fermentation has slowed. I view the sludge not as a
"loss", but as a normal "cost of doing business".

Steve Murphrey

Subject: Re: The cellaring of mead
From: Steven Sanders <>
Date: Thu, 17 Oct 2002 14:36:40 -0700 (PDT)

> Subject: The cellaring of mead
> From: "Christopher Hadden" <>
> Date: Mon, 14 Oct 2002 08:40:17 -0500

> I'm working on a new and improved version of
> . For the
> visitors to my site who are new to mead and have
> some commercial meads
> sitting in their cellar, what sort of general
> cellaring guidelines could be
> provided? I'd like to be able to state something
> like "Traditional meads
> should be aged X-X years. Melomels should be aged
> X-X years but generally no
> longer than X years."

Im not sure if you could separate it out by styles
like that. Just in my own experience, fermentation
temperature and/or yeast used and specific ingredients
make a bigger difference than style, per se. Buckwheat
and heather honeys are notorious for taking a long
time for aging. Or if one is using a yeast that throws
a bunch of listerine-like phenols when its fermented
above a certain temperature, than that has to be aged
out. Or pyments made with a heavy-tannin red wine base
would take longer to age than ones made with a white
wine base..

Really, the only general rule I can think of for aging
is that the more strongly flavored it is, the longer
it should age. What ive seen recommended for grape
wines is to buy a case, and sample bottles periodicly.
Although I dont know if everyone can do that. 🙂


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #962, 17 October 2002
From: Christopher C Carpenter <>
Date: Thu, 17 Oct 2002 19:22:10 -0500

Greetings Unto the Meadhall.

Once again, I have some tangental inquiries that might lead
to some interesting strings… I hope I don't annoy you all
too much…;O)

1st.. I am also on a bakers list, and the subject has come
up about using ale must for bread making. It strikes me
like a prime thing to use a quart of mead must for the
liquid in baking a sweet bread. Has anybody done this, is
mead yeast good for bread?? I know that bread yeast makes a
doughy flavored mead (have tried it), but what happens with
mead yeast in bread?

2nd.. I bottled some of my Lavender mead a tad early (it is
an outstanding mead), and it continued to ferment, popped
the cork, and poured completely into a plant WOE IS
ME..;o), has anybody else had this experience, to an
extent?? Did their plants die?

Good Brewing to all

Chris Carpenter

Subject: RE: sweetening and carbonating mead - second go (Melinda Merkel Iyer)
From: Adam McPadden <>
Date: Fri, 18 Oct 2002 19:52:12 -0400

Hi Melinda,

I am in a similar situation with a cyser. My dilema is that all the
sugars (cyder and honey) are already added and its a lot. SG=1.110,
so in my case I will probably just let it ferment to completion and
bottle uncarbonated.

In your case it sounds like you have room for more sugar (honey) to
be added and fermented. What did you use for yeast? If its a yeast
that can stand high alcohol, like a champagne yeast which I used in
my cyser, than you could add more honey. The trick for you
is to figure out what your alcohol content is now and estimate based
on the yeast you used, how much higher you could go in alcohol content
before all the yeast died.

Here is what I would do. Add a small amount of honey (maybe 1pound)
and let it ferment. Do this as many times as needed to get to a 10%
alcohol content, assuming you have a high alcohol yeast. Once you
are at that much alcohol your yeast will still have some life in them
and you can add the appropriate amount of honey (or whatever sugar you
use to carbonate) at bottling for carbonation.

If you did not initially use a high alcolhol yeast, add it now with
the 1Lb of honey. Then at 10% ABV your remaining yeast will still
have some punch for carbonation.

When you get to 10% ABV (alcohol by volume)if its not sweet eneough
for you, you can always add more honey. The risk you run is that
the alcohol content will get so high, that the yeast will die and
not be there at bottling time for carbonation. At that point you
can add as much honey as you want to sweeten, but won't be able to
carbonate(unless you do it artificially with CO2 gas).

Then you will be left having to drink a really high alcohol,
spiced mead. Life is tough.

Or on a completely different idea, make another batch of the same
mead without any spices. Then mix them and proceed normally. Then
you have twice as much to drink and half the spices per volume. Again,
life is tough…

Good luck.

Subject: RE:Subject: looking for 5 gallon apple cyser recipe
From: "Matt Maples" <>
Date: Sat, 19 Oct 2002 11:19:15 -0700

It is hard to really a good cyser recipe due to the variability of the

apple varieties used.


There is two things to making good cyser,


Use cider apples, ones with enough acidity and flavor character to

make the drink interesting. If all you have is sweet eating apples you
may want to fiddle with the acidity level but getting it from the apples
is better.


Same thing with the honey, if all you want to do is to sweeten up the

cider and add alcohol then you can use any cheap light honey. If
however, you want to add more complexity and depth to your cyser use a
honey that can stand up to the apple. Fireweed is always good, or
meadowfoam but you may want to branch out into something a little darker
like tulip popular.


Also don't push it much over 12%, that is plenty of alcohol and your

just asking for yeast trouble and or long aging times if you do. Make it
easy on yourself.


If you are using cider apples, you may want to see if you can get a

yeast designed for the purpose. There are strains out there that will
convert malic acid which will help mellow the cyser. I know both wyeast
3766 cider and Lavlin 71b do pretty good.


If you do end up using the Wyeast Sweet Mead be aware that it is a

highly flocculent ale strain and has a tendency to drop out before
finishing fermentation. If you do use it make sure and stir up the yeast
often so as to keep it in suspension.


I have 5 gallons of straight cider and 3 gallons of tulip poplar cyser

going now both using D47. The cider is down for a malo/latic rest and
the cyser is still fermenting.


Hope this helped.


Matt Maples


Subject: RE:Subject: Dry vs liquid yeast
From: "Matt Maples" <>
Date: Sat, 19 Oct 2002 12:29:31 -0700

There is two advantages to liquid one is the purity, it is a more pure
culture due to the process used to package it. The other is available
cell count. If you are looking for a yeast to use RIGHT NOW some of the
liquid varieties come in a large tube of ready to use active yeast.

With that said, I still do not see spending the extra money on liquids.
Although the liquid is more pure, using today's dry varieties has never
given me any trouble. Sure back when I tried Verika (SP??) brand I had
plenty of troubles but never with Red Star or Lalvin. Also I am a firm
believer in yeast starters. I think it is well worth the time to do
starters to make sure you can an active high cell count to pitch (even
with the liquids)

If you do not have access to the Lalvin brand you may have a hard time
finding certain varieties so you may need to go to Wyeast or White Labs
just to get the strain you want.

Other than that just do up a good starter of dry and you'll be set.

Matt Maples

Liquid Solutions
12162 SW Scholls Ferry Rd
Tigard, OR 97223
503-579-6493 (fax) (web site) (mailing list)

Subject: Wout Klingens (Morrocan Orange-Mel)
From: "john doerter" <>
Date: Sat, 19 Oct 2002 23:08:01 -0500

I went rummaging trough archives and I found this old recipe I'd like to =


quoting —- Wout Klingens (Moroccan orange-Mel)

For 25 liters:
The juice of 100 oranges (1 crate).
1 pound of heather honey.
Dark wildflower honey.
Zest of 30 oranges.
An attentive yeast, whichever you prefer.

Use as much of the dark wildflower you like. Depending on personal taste.
The more honey the more alcohol. Feed if you like, or don't. Add zest only,
when fermentation is done. The d-limonine in the zest will kill off the
yeast, which is a fine way of stopping fermentation prematurely thus leaving
some residual sugar.


The only thing, that will make it better is using
less zest, like 20 oranges, because this particualr mead had a definite acid
burn, though the TA was only 7.0. I suppose that it will vary with the type
of zest you use.

  • ——– end quoting


I know nothing of Moroccan oranges… are they similar size to the
Florida Oranges in the states?

25 liters, that's 6.5 us gallons correct?

How much wildflower honey? I know it will vary with alcohol, but I'd
like a ball park range for say 15-18% alcohol?

Looking at the recipe, juice of 100 oranges is what.. 5 1/2 US

Oh last thing, how Long do let the mead sit on the Zest after you stop
the secondary fermentation with it?

Sorry for all the questions, planning on making one of my first meads
with this recipe after the reviews and claims I read about it. I want
to get the Right equipment. Currently looking for a source of ORGANIC


End of Mead Lover's Digest #963