Mead Lover's Digest #976 Tue 10 December 2002


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



Re: montrachet (Steven Sanders)
Stefan … arrest (DOUG BAILEY)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #975, 7 December 2002 ("Maurice St. aude")
Honey and Yeast and other assorted bugs (Nathan Kanous)
Tasting (Mathieu Bouville)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #975, 7 December 2002 Subject Cranberry MEAD (Joan…)
RE: Mead Lover's Digest #974, 5 December 2002 ("Bill & Ramona Kuhn")
Re: Honey and Yeast and other assorted bugs ("Dan McFeeley")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #975, 7 December 2002 (Christopher C Carpenter)
yeast ("Micah Millspaw")
Cranberry mead (Dick Dunn)


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Subject: Re: montrachet
From: Steven Sanders <>
Date: Sat, 7 Dec 2002 07:42:38 -0800 (PST)

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

> 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.

I stopped using Montrachet because of this 'listerine'
problem, but it might only show up at higher
fermentation temperatures.. It does age out, but I
couldnt see a point to continuing to use that
particular yeast when there were alternatives that I
didnt have to age off flavors out of..



Two and two are merely four.
Often less, but never more,
And I, for all the worlds advance,
An upright mammal, wearing pants.

Subject: Stefan ... arrest
Date: Sun, 08 Dec 2002 12:08:04 +1300

Hi Stefan

I now almost exclusively stop my meads. If I start at about 1.102, I
stop them around 1.005-8. This gives a nicely balanced sweetness and a
better taste then fermenting to dryness and resweetening, I think.

I don't have the facilities to sterile filter to get rid of any yeast,
so when I am ready to stop the fermentation I rack onto about 1 tsp
sodium & potassium metabisulfite / gallon and refrigerate the mead.

Fairly soon after (within two days) the mead begins to clear, descending
in a layer of about 1 inch/ day. After about 10 days I rack of the lees
onto about 3/4 tsp PMS/gallon and refrigerate for another week.

After this second chill I remove the mead from the fridge and leave to
bulk age for another two to three months, checking to make sure
fermentation does not restart. It has only once, and I did the
PMS-chill proceedure and it stopped. I then fine, rack and bottle.

By this method I have very good, drinkable mead of about 13% a/v in
around three months from start to finish!


Doug Bailey – /
348 Heretaunga Street West
Hastings, New Zealand.
Phone: 64 – 6 – 876 8787

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #975, 7 December 2002
From: "Maurice St. aude" <>
Date: Sun, 8 Dec 2002 12:03:46 -0500

Hey Eric,

I would suggest that you try Lalvin K1V 1116, it will get as high as most
Champagne yeast with out the rocket fuel effect.
> 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.


> Thanks,
> Eric

Subject: Honey and Yeast and other assorted bugs
From: Nathan Kanous <>
Date: Sun, 08 Dec 2002 11:28:44 -0800

Good Morning,
Contrary to what Dan McFeeley has posted…..I don't think honey is as
clean as he suggestis. It's been known to contain Clostridium botulinum
spores which is thought to lead to infantile botulism. Speaking of which,
I read a piece in the American Bee Journal that incorrectly describes the
role of honey and infantile botulism….I need to write to them, I suppose.

I don't think that honey is free of anything. I'd bet there are all sorts
of native yeasts, fungi, molds and bacteria in honey.

"But nothing grows in honey" you say. Well, honey is so hyperosmotic that
it will probably dehydrate any microbes that are unable to protect
themselves from such osmotic gradients.

"But honey has antibacterial properties." Honey has been used to treat
some forms of chronic ulcers and such but nobody really knows why it
helps. It just does. My guess is that one contribution to this is that
this osmotic gradient dehydrates and kills many bacteria in wounds. There
may be other "antibacterial properties" but I don't know that we understand

Also, Dan posted:
>You can consume raw honey right from the comb without fear of bacterial
>contamination from spoilage

I'm not sure of the logic here. I eat raw vegetables and don't suffer get

>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.

To the contrary, I believe that you DO increase the risk of bacterial
infection (in a relative sense) by diluting honey because you decrease the
osmotic gradient to the point that the bacteria can replicate and
live….just like leaving honey raw….it doesn't ferment….dilute it to
the point that the yeast can tolerate the environment and
voila….mead…..a form of "yeast contamination" of honey.

I don't mean any disrespect to Dan by any means…he's contributed much to
the digest but I just don't agree entirely with

Subject: Tasting
From: Mathieu Bouville <>
Date: Sun, 8 Dec 2002 13:56:22 -0500 (EST)

I have just had a look at the Beer Judge Certification Program
( where they have tons of info on beer tasting. But I could not
find much about mead tasting anywhere on the web or in mead books. If it
is possible to write a book on tasting such a base drink as beer, it
should be possible to do the same for a divine beverage.
My undrstanding is that some people in MLD are official judges and must
therefore know a lot on that topic. It would be nice of them if they could
share their experience with the rest of us. In order to fully appreciate
and improve one's mead, being able to evaluate mead more accurately than
than "nice" or "pretty good" seems necessary.

Mathieu in Ann Arbor

Subject: Debate!
Date: Mon, 09 Dec 2002 09:01:23 +1300

Hi all,

Here's an issue I thought might be worthy of some lively debate:

Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin, Mueller Thurgau, Pinot Gris,
Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon … they are all alcoholic beverages known
world wide. They are, of course, too, grape varieties from which the
like-named drinks are named. So well known are they, that they need not
even be ordered as "chardonnay wine"; quite simply "chardonnay" is

Very few people have ever tried mead. Some vaguely recall a connection
with honey, but that's about all. As them if they'd like an Orange
Blossom, Clover, Thistle or Manuka and you'd draw a blank face each

My topics for debate are two-fold:

First, this year I have made a Thistle, Apple Blossom and Manuka (yes,
I'm from NZ). They are hugely varied meads, more so if I have used
different yeasts for each variety. I have even cut down my ingredients
to just honey, yeast, water, pectic enzyme and nutrient – no acid, no
tannin – and worked at stopped fermentation to get balances that I like.
I can see that I have a long road ahead of me to create the 'perfect'
mead from each variety, even using the simplist ingredients. However, I
think that in our 'apprenticeship' years attention should be paid to
trying to make a good simple mead from a honey variety that appreciates
the honey, works with it, and finishes with a mead that showcases the
colour of that honey, carries the smell of that honey in the aroma, and
has charactoristics of the honey in the taste. Then do the same with
some other varieties. That, to me, is a good base to work from in
making good melomels and metheglins.

Secondly, there must be 154 different honey varieties, 1633 different
melomel types and 3556 different metheglin possibilities! How can we
market 'Mead' to the general public with that many taste variations? How
can we teach them what mead 'is'?

Perhaps we should concentrate on marketing one step at a time: Mead is
honey wine. Here is a mead made with orange blossom honey. What do you
think? Now here's one made with clover. Do you like this one better?
What about this thistle mead? Soon people will develop favourites and
make orders of orange blossom, clover or thistle. Now you have an
educated public. Then try them with a melomel. "Mmmm." they say. "I
can taste the berries in this. Is is made from clover honey?" Bang, we
have a palate to equal the guy asking for chardonnay and sauvignon
blanc! Progress! And a step forward for both the meadmaking and honey
production industries.

I like making melomels and metheglins, and I especially enjoy drinking
melomels. However, when I read the Digest and see people trying pine
metheglin, sage metheglin and papaya melomel, I scratch my head. Good
on these guys for experimenting and pushing the boundaries, but how are
we going to get the world hooked on mead when there are so many
different types? Personally, I'm trying to become a better meadmaker by
trying to make an excellent basic mead. I'm also trying to broaden my
expertise by doing the same with a number of different honeys. I pour a
glass of these for my guests first, before going on to a nectarine
melomel or lavender and rosemary metheglin, so that they, too, get an
idea of what mead is and how honey varieties affect the product. The
result, I think, is their better appreciation of mead as a sophisticated
beverage and the dashing of any idea that meadmaking is a fringe home
brew or cottage wine activity (regardless of whether or not it really


What do you think?


Doug Bailey – /
348 Heretaunga Street West
Hastings, New Zealand.
Phone: 64 – 6 – 876 8787

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #975, 7 December 2002 Subject Cranberry MEAD
From: Joanna Hammerschmidt <>
Date: Sun, 8 Dec 2002 16:35:00 -0800 (PST)

One recipe i found works very well for a cranberry mead utilizes cranberry
juice concentrate. I have discovered it has all of the tartness of the
cranberries without the hassle of the pectin. The recipie is a follows for
a 3 gal. batch with a fairly high alcohol content (15.5%)
1gal-buckwheat honey
1package of lavlin 1122
2 containers of cranberry concentrate (not cocktail, just juice)
During my first fermentation i added the first containter of cranberry
Then after racking i added the second one.
The resulting mead was a lovely red color and had quite a bite to start
with, however after about 3 months of aging (i made it still) it mellowed
out and had lost all of the bite normally associated with a really strong

Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #974, 5 December 2002
From: "Bill & Ramona Kuhn" <>
Date: Sun, 8 Dec 2002 20:09:26 -0700

> Does anyone have any specific suggestions about how much Fresh Whole
> Cranberries I should use for a 5 gallon batch?


> I have currently purchased five 12 oz. packages, which if I don't hear
> otherwise I am planning to freeze, chop in a blender, and brew with about
> 15 lbs of my dark honey and champagne yeast, along with the usual yeast
> nutrients, pectic enzyme, etc. I will probably not do any acid blend at
> first as I expect the cranberries will probably be more than acid enough.

I have made two 5 gallon batches of cranberry mead, both of which have
been big hits with the local pagans. I used 10 lbs of fresh cranberries
in one, 12 lbs in the other (both were similar in taste and color), 15
lbs fairly light honey (light sage the first time and orange blossom the
second) and Lalvin K1V-1116 yeast, along with the usual nutrient, no
acid blend (the cranberries are indeed acidic enough), and 1/4 t of
bisulfite (I don't heat the honey, and who knows what might be on the
cranberries). I added a cup of strong lipton tea for tannins, and put
the cranberries in a fine mesh nylon sparging bag so I could squeeze
them out really well. I just put them in whole and popped them one at a
time, but that is a pain and takes a lot of time. I left the cranberries
in the primary for a good couple of weeks, and the mead was dead dry by
the time it made the secondary. After about six months, it was very tart
and bitingly dry. I liked it, but my wife thought a little sweeter would
be better, so I stabilized it with sorbistax and added 1 lb Of honey.
This brought it up to S.G. of 1.010, which is just lightly sweet. It is
very easy and very dangerous, sort of ocean spray with a major
kick…The color is deep red and looks really nice in dark green red
wine bottles. It is good enough that it has become an annual Yule mead.
Good brewing,

Subject: Re: Honey and Yeast and other assorted bugs
From: "Dan McFeeley" <>
Date: Sun, 8 Dec 2002 23:29:32 -0600

On Sunday, December 08, 2002, Nathan Kanous wrote:

> Good Morning,
> Contrary to what Dan McFeeley has posted…..I don't think honey is as
> clean as he suggestis. It's been known to contain Clostridium botulinum
> spores which is thought to lead to infantile botulism.


> I don't think that honey is free of anything. I'd bet there are all sorts
> of native yeasts, fungi, molds and bacteria in honey.

Thanks for the reply! I don't disagree with Nathan's post, in fact, I would
hasten to add that when I said that honey is rather clean, I did not intend
to imply that it is sterile. It does indeed contain wild yeasts, spores and
so on, as Nathan points out. That was a serious overgeneralization on
my part, which Nathan's post corrected for.

For meadmakers, however, it is still possible to consistently make good
mead without the use of heat. For example, Roger Morse theorized that
it was not necessary to heat the must at all, saying that the yeasts in
honey that cause fermentation spoilage are especially adapted to live
only at the high osmotic pressure found in honey. When honey is
diluted to must, the osmophilic yeasts die off. In his research during
the 1950's, all of the meads were made without heating the honey must.
Tested under laboratory conditions, they remained microbiologically stable.

Certainly, the less one relies on boiling or pasteurization, the more
important it is to be sure that good sanitation practices are followed.
Getting the fermentation off to a quick and healthy start is also important.
The yeasts go to work right away, secreting organic acids and lowering
the pH to levels that help inhibit bacterial growth.

It works, but it takes a combination of methods. Meads I've made
without using heat have lasted quite well, over two years now and
no sign of deterioration. I'm still of the opinion that honey, due to
its antiseptic properties and high osmotic pressure, helps with this
although it is certainly not a sterile medium. Hopefully I've said this
in a less reckless way this time around.


Dan McFeeley

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #975, 7 December 2002
From: Christopher C Carpenter <>
Date: Mon, 09 Dec 2002 10:02:36 -0600

LOL… No such thing as a failure, only Meads you are
willing to give to people you don't like…;O)


PS, as a response to the gentleman who is planning on
making a Lavender Mead, I have made it and have 2
suggestions. It is best not combining it with other strong
ingredients, as it is a light flavor (use light honies
also) and there are 2 kinds of Lavender, one used for
perfume, and one used for culinary purposes. Make sure you
have Lavendula Angustofolia. They sell the other for
potpouri and its oils will not go well into your ferment.


> I've failed a couple of times and come close
> enough to have a good idea.

Subject: yeast
From: "Micah Millspaw" <>
Date: Mon, 09 Dec 2002 10:40:02 -0600

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

>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.

>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

Probably almost any other yeast will taste better than Montrachet.
It is very distinctive and IMHO not a good flavour profile.
The Prisse de mousse tends to ferment out dry. I have had good
luck with Pastuer white as a neutral yeast.

Micah Millspaw

Subject: Cranberry mead
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: Tue, 10 Dec 2002 00:54:02 -0700 (MST)

Arthur Torrey <> asked about quantities on cranberry
mead. I've done a couple, each with roughly a pound of cranberries per
gallon of mead. In each case I just chopped the cranberries coarsely in
a food processor. Both batches were very popular.

One of my cautions at first was that I thought cranberries might give a
too-tart or harsh/bitter taste. This proved not to be the case, and I
might try more in the future.

I finished both of these meads a little bit on the sweet side (using "sweet
mead" yeasts, which seems to mean "low alcohol tolerance") and the slight
sweetness worked out just right.


End of Mead Lover's Digest #976