Mead Lover's Digest #975 Sat 7 December 2002


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



Re: Lavender Mead ideas… (Charlie Moody)
Re: Cranberry mead recipe-MLD#974 ("Kevin Morgan")
Re: Straining fruit MLD#974 ("Kevin Morgan")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #974, 5 December 2002 ("FrOg")
I need a specific type of yeast… (Eric Rorem)
RE: Yeasts and Boiling ("Ken Taborek")
stop your under arrest ! ("Berggren, Stefan")
Yeasts and Boiling ("Kemp, Alson")
RE: New subscriber, looking for Cranberry Mead recipes ("Ken Taborek")
RE: Questions about straining fruit out? ("Ken Taborek")
Re: Subject: Questions about straining fruit out? ("Robert Goulding")
Re: Yeasts and Boiling ("Dan McFeeley")
New Meadery in Africa ("Dan McFeeley")
Hybrid sterilization? (Jason Marshall)


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Subject: Re: Lavender Mead ideas...
From: Charlie Moody <>
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 2002 20:41:24 -0500

On Thursday, December 5, 2002, at 07:17 PM, "phil" wrote:

> Subject: Yeasts and Boiling
> From: "phil" <>
> Date: Sun, 1 Dec 2002 16:36:47 -0800

> I am about to make a lavender metheglin and I am curious to
> hear any thoughts on what yeast to use. I am planning to make a 5
> gallon batch with ten pounds of wildflower honey and five pounds of
> orange blossom honey. I have about a cup of dry lavender flowers from
> my garden and I thought I would just leave it in the secondary
> fermentation until it tastes strong enough.

Yeast choices aside, I'd re-consider trying to make a lavender mead w/
so little lavender & such strong-flavored honeys.

I'd suggest switching to milder / more neutral honeys (alfalfa,
clover); I'd also suggest more lavender (no, I have not attempted to
use lavender; I could be full of it (no, not lavender) 😉

Subject: Re: Cranberry mead recipe-MLD#974
From: "Kevin Morgan" <>
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 2002 21:14:17 -0500

I made a Cranberry Cyser last year. I used 1 gal. fresh cider, 12#
wildflower honey and Muntons dry ale yeast. Then I added 28 oz of
cranberries, frozen>thawed>crushed, to the secondary after fermentation
slowed. I made a couple of small honey additions to sweeten it up. This
mead was undrinkable for the first several months after bottling but now its
not bad, and in another year it will probably be pretty

Subject: Re: Straining fruit MLD#974
From: "Kevin Morgan" <>
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 2002 21:19:58 -0500

When I rack my melomels off of fruit I place nylon lint screen over the
bottom end of the racking cane. I found the lint screen in the local



Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #974, 5 December 2002
From: "FrOg" <>
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 2002 20:12:46 -0700


  • —– Original Message —–

> Subject: RE: My First Mead Brewing Experience! ("FrOg")
> From: Joe Kaufman <>
> Date: Sun, 01 Dec 2002 21:37:49 -0600


> Hm, Mountain Dew and strawberries, eh? You poor sap…I think that
> might be my recipe! *smile* It'll be nice and tasty…one of my first
> recipes!

I thought I gave you credit for the recipe, but after going back
thru the post, I only provided a hyper-link that did not come
thru in the text-only format…sorry…

> Could probably use more strawberry though, so you might want
> to think about adding more strawberries during secondary fermentation…

I plan to add another 4 lbs. this weekend when I rack to the secondary…
as I cannot SMELL too much of the strawberry nose I was looking for…

> Excellent log of your first batch! Funny stuff! Sounds like it is
> going good now, and yes, it's time for another batch!

I am glad you like the log..true log entires…they weren't funny
at the time though..but very humorous now…

> If you have any questions about any of my other recipes on MeadHQ, feel
> free to e-mail me at
> Hope it turns out OK…finger skin and all! *grin*

I'm going to try your chocolate mead next..and will give you credit
for the recipe…your article was very eye-opening…it's why I used the
DEW recipe..


Subject: I need a specific type of yeast...
From: Eric Rorem <>
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 2002 19:13:07 -0800 (PST)

Hey all,

I'm been making mead for about 2 years now and I
finally kind of know what I want to accomplish. You
know? I've failed a couple of times and come close
enough to have a good idea. Here's the deal, I want
to find a yeast to use that will result in high enough
alcohol content so I can age it for a long, long time.
I like to cellar stuff. But I tried champagne yeast
and the result may be able to fuel funny cars. And
it's got too much of the breadiness that you can get
from the champagne yeasts. So what are some
recommendations? I generally make melomels. Any and
all info appreciated.


Subject: RE: Yeasts and Boiling
From: "Ken Taborek" <>
Date: Fri, 6 Dec 2002 11:43:04 -0500

> Hi All,

Hi Phil,

Welcome to the hobby!
My comments are inline below.

> I don't want to use montrachet yeast because I believe it is the reason
> my current batches taste like Listerine. My vender is recommending
> Prise de Mousse.

I've used montrachet in a good many meads, and have never experienced a
Listerine taste. I've tasted many great homemade wines that were fermented
with montrachet, and again never tasted a Listerine flavor. Montrachet is a
fine yeast, very consistent and reliable.

> Are there any faster or more neutral tasting yeasts? Or are there any
> that work slower but allow for more varietal character or help create
> complexity?

Champagne yeasts are typically both faster and neutral in flavor. For the
characteristics of other yeasts, pick up the pamphlets of the yeast vendors
from your local supply store, or search online for resources.

> In my current attempts, I didn't cook my honey, which I bought from a
> local beekeeper. He just filtered it. I have trouble believing I am at
> any greater risk of loosing these batches as those of you out there who
> boil.

So long as you take reasonable cleanliness and sanitation precautions, there
is probably no significant difference in the risk of infection between
boiling, heat pasteurizing, and sulphiting.
If you choose to use none of those methods you are increasing your risk,
both of infection and of wild yeast taking hold in your must. By what
degree I can not say, but I choose not to risk my ingredients and time
investment by neglecting a simple step.

> All the accounts I've read about bacteria or other unwanted critters
> growing in mead have involved stuck fermentations. It appears this can
> happen whether or not the honey is boiled. In fact, heat killing off
> the yeast is often sited as a contributing factor in stuck fermentation.

It's true that excessive heat can kill the yeast, but I've never seen this
listed as a cause of stuck fermentation. The only way heat should kill off
the yeast is if the yeast is pitched before the must cools to a tolerable
level, or if the mead is fermented in a very warm environment.

> So, I wonder if killing bacteria by heating the honey is worth the loss
> of subtle flavors in the honey? Has anyone had any bad experiences which
> they attribute to not cooking their honey? Does anyone dispute the loss
> of flavor during the heating process?

I used to heat pasteurize my must. I made many very tasty meads using that
method. I now sulphite, and I've yet to determine that this method produces
more aromatic meads.

> I can think of two reasons why cooking may just be folklore. First,
> given how aggressively yeast takes off, it seems it would kill off any
> flora or fauna introduced with the honey or other ingredients.


> Second, although I washed my fruit and used clean utensils, it lived its
> whole life in an unsanitary environment, and my kitchen was clean, but I
> cannot guarantee sterile. Aren't there little critters on the flowers
> and herbs, and on and under the skins of the fruits which are not
> troubled during the washing and cutting process? Thus, it seems that
> the uncooked ingredients going into the mead are likely to be home to
> little critters.

You are correct, there are bacteria and wild yeast present on all fruits,
flowers, and in unpastuerized honey. The presence of bacteria and wild
yeast on grapes is why sulphiting has been used in winemaking for many
years. The sulphites kill the unwanted organisms, and then the desired
yeast is introduced into the sterile must. Heat pasteurizing or boiling is
an alternative to sulphiting that also kills the unwanted organisms.

> Please don't consider me presumptuous, I am just a naive novice who has
> yet to taste a successful mead of my own making.


> Your grasshopper,


> Phil

Give your 'Listerine' tasting batches some time, they will likely improve
greatly with age. My tasting notes for nearly all of my batches are
unfavorable during the process, but I've liked the finished product in
nearly all cases after sufficient aging.



Subject: stop your under arrest !
From: "Berggren, Stefan" <>
Date: Fri, 6 Dec 2002 11:13:46 -0600

Hello Meadheads….

I am curious as to what the procedure for arresting fermentation in a mead
once it has reached a desired specific gravity would be. Say I was making a
cyser and using a
champagne yeast that normally produces a dry mead. Do I visually monitor
activity in
the fermentor and take hydrometer once it starts to slow and gauge from
Then what sulfites or sorbates do I add to keep the mead from further
I ususally make 1 or 3 gallon batches, so getting the ppm correct is a
challenge and
often turns into a guessing game.


There is more to life than increasing its speed." –Gandhi

Subject: Yeasts and Boiling
From: "Kemp, Alson" <>
Date: Fri, 6 Dec 2002 09:16:09 -0800

Random: My fianc=E9e and I are in the middle of conducting
a boil/no-boil experiment right now. The two carboys have
fermented for 2 weeks and are getting on towards dry. So far, we
prefer the no-boil.
Note: I never boil/pasteurize my honey/must anymore, we
were just doing this as an experiment. =20

>My vender is recommending Prise de Mousse.
>Are there any faster or more neutral tasting=20
>yeasts? =20
Lalvin EC1118 is fast and neutral, but then(someone
correct me if I'm wrong) it is the Prise de Mousse strain.

>Or are there any that work slower but allow for=20
>more varietal character or help create complexity?
I've been very happy with the results from Lalvin's
ICV-D47 (I make meads that are similar to Chardonnays).

>In my current attempts, I didn't cook my honey=20
>… have trouble believing … greater risk of=20
>losing these batches
You won't lose the batches. Do use proper amounts of
sulfites and keep clean. I was pretty worried about the sanity
of ingredients until I started making red wine. YUCK!

> I've read about bacteria … growing in mead=20
>have involved stuck fermentations. =20
Hmmm… You mean that bacteria infected stuck (high
sugar) meads? Definitely a problem, but stuck fermentations
(with nutrient and such) are fairly rare.

>In fact, heat killing off the yeast is often=20
>sited as a contributing factor in stuck fermentation.
Yeast should be properly rehydrated and added to the must
when the must is either at ambient or cooled down from boiling to
85F-ish. Heat killing off yeast is really only a concern for
wineries with 400G+ fermentation vessels that can easily get to


The two commercial meadmakers I know boil their must.
They both think that, after lots of boil/no-boil experimentation,
the mead's better that way. I've got 1.5G batches of Sanddune
honey mead fermenting right now: one is boiled (15min); one is
not boiled. Tasted them last night. Preferred the not boiled
mead, seemed to have a little more complexity. But it was also
drier than the boiled mead, so I won't be able to really judge
until both are finished fermenting to dryness…


Subject: RE: New subscriber, looking for Cranberry Mead recipes
From: "Ken Taborek" <>
Date: Fri, 6 Dec 2002 12:31:22 -0500

> Hello,


> Currently, I am planning my next batch to be a Cranberry mead – I've
> heard good things about cranberries, and they are in season so I thought I
> would like to give them a try.


> However I haven't had much luck finding recipes, and the ones I've found
> have mostly been for cranberry juice (made with non-honey sweetener –
> yuckk!!!)

Hi Art,

Welcome to the hobby!

I've just opened my first cranberry melomel, and I'm very pleased with it.
It has a tart cranberry flavor that might not be popular with a lot of wine
drinkers, though, so be warned in advance. I made a 1 gallon batch, as an
experiment and due to some serendipity. I'd had a 5 gallon batch that took
many days to start fermentation, and I'd built up a 1 gallon starter to help
it along, but by the time the starter was ready the slow starter had taken
off like gangbusters and so I made 3 single gallon batches with recipes I
thought I'd like to try, but wasn't willing to commit to a 5 gallon batch

This recipe was inspired by my girlfriend's mother's cranberry relish, which
is delicious. 🙂 Her recipe uses all of the oranges, but I excluded the
piths. The mulling spices I added, pretty much on a whim.

Ingredients for 1 gallon

2 lbs bagged fresh cranberries
3.5 lbs orange blossom honey
1 tsp yeast nutrient (DAP)
zest and fruit of 2 navel oranges
3 tbsp Williams and Sonoma mulling spices (cinnamon chips, orange rind,
whole cloves, whole allspice, orange oil, cinnamon oil)
1/3 gallon Wyeast Dry Mead starter


Added honey to 1/3 gal water removed from boil
Blended cranberries and orange fruit, added to water,
Added zest, yeast nutrient
Chilled to ~75f (overshot my mark, I typically pitch at ~90f)
Poured into 1 gallon glass jug fermenter and topped with yeast starter.

I really dislike making small batches, they are really only good for testing
suspect recipes, which I considered a cranberry melomel to be. The small
container makes it difficult to do things like use a fruit bag to hold the
fruit, and the small neck of the glass jugs makes it hard to remove fruit.
This is one reason I blended the cranberries. The cranberry hulls float
like the cap in a red wine, and being unable to really punch it down through
the small neck of the jar I had to resort to swirling the jug to dampen it.
I lost a lot of volume during racking due to the hulls, around a quart, and
topped up with Mountain Sun 100% cranberry juice. I typically sulphite, but
for these 3 single gallon batches I only sulphited prior to bottling, due to
the yeast starter being suddenly available.

The resulting mead is a rose color, dry and tart, with cranberry very
evident in the nose and taste. The mulling spices are only faintly
detectable, and add to the meads complexity. I like it best served chilled,
like a white wine. My girlfriend likes it served warm like mulled cider,
with some honey dissolved in it.

I'm happy enough with this mead that I'll be making a 5 gallon batch this
year, which will let me lay enough down that I don't expect to have to make
it again for several years.

If you follow this recipe I'd appreciate a review once it's finished!



Subject: RE: Questions about straining fruit out?
From: "Ken Taborek" <>
Date: Fri, 6 Dec 2002 12:37:17 -0500

> I am brewing a rasberry mead and I am about ready to transfer it
> out of the
> fermentation bucket and into a carboy. I looking for people's
> ideas as to how
> to strain the fruit out. What are your favorite ways????


> Thanks!


> Derrick

Hi Derrick,

I use a fruit bag, either muslin or nylon, and primary in a lidded bucket.
This lets me lift out the bag, removing all the fruit in one easy step.

For this batch, you might try placing a small muslin or nylon bag with a
drawstring (a hop bag, if you're also a brewer) over the end of your siphon
when you rack, to leave the fruit behind in your primary.



Subject: Re: Subject: Questions about straining fruit out?
From: "Robert Goulding" <>
Date: Fri, 6 Dec 2002 12:40:11 -0700


I use muslin bags that I otherwise use for grains and/or hops in my beers
and braggots. That still leaves some particulate matter in the must. That
usually settles out in the secondary and siphoning, if done carefully,
leaves that behind when going into the tertiary carboy. With any berry mel
I almost always end up with a little bit in the keg or in the bottles. I
just don't worry about the little that is left. Purees are easier to use
but seem to leave more solids in the must. As long as you get most of it
out I just don't see much of a problem with the little bit that sometimes
remains. There are filtering systems available but I have never thought it
was worth the money.

An alternate method, if you are using a large-opening primary fermenter, is
to put the fruit in a large muslin bag to start with. Then you can just
squeeze it out when transfering to the secondary. Sanitation is more iffy
that way but it has worked well for me.

Robert Goulding
Rapid City, South Dakota.

Subject: Re: Yeasts and Boiling
From: "Dan McFeeley" <>
Date: Fri, 6 Dec 2002 15:13:08 -0600

On Sun, 1 Dec 2002, in MLD 974, Phil wrote, in part:

>In my current attempts, I didn't cook my honey, which I bought from a
>local beekeeper. He just filtered it. I have trouble believing I am at
>any greater risk of loosing these batches as those of you out there who
>boil. . . .So, I wonder if killing bacteria by heating the honey is worth
>the loss of subtle flavors in the honey? Has anyone had any bad
>experiences which they attribute to not cooking their honey? Does
>anyone dispute the loss of flavor during the heating process?

Actually, honey is quite clean stuff. Raw honey can be used as a
dressing for wounds and has been found to speed the healing
process. You can consume raw honey right from the comb
without fear of bacterial contamination from spoilage. Diluting
the honey to must won't increase the risk of bacteria infection,
in fact, so long as good sanitation practices are maintained,
the must should be all the more infection free as a result of
using honey.

The main benefit from boiling the honey must seems to be that it
denatures the colloidal material in the honey, reducing haze problems.
One could just as easily fine or filter, however. Tannin has also
been used as a clearing agent. The delicate flavor nuances of
honey, however, are easily damaged by heat. Brother Adam
used boiling as part of his meading process, but recommended
no more than a minute or two in order to avoid losing too much
of the volatile components of the honey.

Paul Gatza spoke briefly on boiling at the panel discussion during
Planet Buzz. He pointed out that he'd tasted many a fine mead
which had used boiling the must as part of the meading process.
Regardless of which side of the pike you come down on, it's
not necessarily an either/or question between good mead and
lousy mead. Making a choice is really a matter of weighing the
options from an informed data base, and working toward making
good meads even better.


Dan McFeeley

Subject: New Meadery in Africa
From: "Dan McFeeley" <>
Date: Fri, 6 Dec 2002 16:10:56 -0600

A new meadery opened up recently in Africa.
Based on traditional meadmaking methods in
Africa, the mead is called iQhilika-African Mead.
Vickie, Chris, Julie, mark this one for the meadery

Makana Meadery
Postnet Suite 90
Private Bag 1672
Grahamstown, 6140

27 (0)83 319 0369
27 (0)46 622 2016
Fax 27 (0)46 6223984


Directors: Garth Cambray Bsc (Hons),
Dr Winston Leukes Bsc (Hons) Phd,
Vuyani Ntantiso



Subject: Hybrid sterilization?
From: Jason Marshall <>
Date: Fri, 06 Dec 2002 19:27:49 +0000

I've bought into the 'no boiling' camp of mead-making. However,
circumstances in my environment are such that I can really only safely
ferment during the winter months. I have a wine fridge that I can store
bottles in, but no air conditioning, which I blame for the mediciny
taste of some of my batches. This obviously puts a premium on
fermentation time. I expect that I can only safely ferment about 5
months out of the year.

With some leftover honey from my last batch, I made about half a gallon
of must to grow some yeast in. As I was interested primarily in yeast,
not flavor, I boiled the must to make sure everything was thoroughly
dead. Three weeks later, the must had fallen clear, and nearly still.
Meanwhile, my gently cooked batch is still burbling away happily and
cloudily at the 9 week mark, while the feeder batch is completely still.
I can definitely see the draw of boiling your must, though I still
don't like the idea of flavorless mead.

It occured to me that perhaps a compromise is in order. I've heard of
people adding a bit of honey to their mead at bottling, or even drinking
time, to improve flavor. If I were to boil two thirds of my must, and
take extra special care with the other third, would it fall clear
quickly, but still have a reasonable amount of flavor? Has anyone here
tried this?


End of Mead Lover's Digest #975