Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1010, 24 April 2003

Mead Lover's Digest #1010 Thu 24 April 2003


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



corection about buffers (
re: buffers ("Dan McFeeley")
sweet meads ("Tom & Dana Karnowski")
Melomel from Jam ("David Craft")
too sweet meads (Jim Johnston)
Mead body (was: Sweet mead) ("Kemp, Alson")
sorry, I should have read longer ("Tom & Dana Karnowski")
dry meads (Doug Gibbs)


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Subject: corection about buffers
Date: Mon, 21 Apr 2003 23:19:18 EDT

i apologies fro the mistake in the first posting of this message

ok first off i would like to know how to get the ph to where the yeast will
be nice and happy and what ph might that be abouts. iv herd that a hi ph is
needed but aperently that is somthing of a misnomer. id like not use any
thing that would add flavors to the mead eather lol well there the task so
how do we get here

chris anderson

chris anderson

Subject: re: buffers
From: "Dan McFeeley" <>
Date: Mon, 21 Apr 2003 22:37:04 -0500

On Wed, 16 Apr 2003, in MLD 1009, Chris Anderson wrote:

>ok first off i would like to know how to get the ph to where the yeast will
>be nice and happy and what ph might that be abouts. iv herd that yeast is
>needed but aperently that is somthing of a misnomer. id like not use any
>thing that would add flavors to the mead eather lol well there the task
>so how do we get here

Apparently the yeast are quite happy at a pH level between 3.7 and 4.6.
A level at around 4.0 and higher, however, is also something bacteria
like as well — best to keep it around 3.7 as the best compromise between
a pH low enough to inhibit any bacterial growth, and high enough to keep
the yeasts happy. How to get it there? Do nothing! I haven't made an
extensive survey, but whenever I checked, the starting pH of my honey
musts was right about 4.0. That's a tad high, but yeasts secrete organic
acids during the fermentation, which will drop the pH even lower.

In other words, it's a good thing to check the starting pH level, but
very likely it will already be right where it needs to be.


Dan McFeeley

Subject: sweet meads
From: "Tom & Dana Karnowski" <>
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2003 05:19:11 -0400

Folks who like dry meads – do you feel like your dry mead has a true honey
character to it? I mean, once it dries out, can you tell it was fermented
with honey?

Also, I've got a raspberry mead of rather low OG (about 1.050) in the
fermenter, so it is dry. I want to sweeten it too but not raise the alcohol
level. Can campden tablets kill off the remaining yeast? I've been
thinking more about just kegging it and keeping it cold to stave off further
fermentation after sweetening the mead with honey, but I wn't be able to
bottle it then.

Tom Karnowski
Knoxville TN

Subject: Melomel from Jam
From: "David Craft" <>
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2003 06:39:18 -0400


I have made Melomel from jam. I used about 30 drops of enzyme per five
gallon batch. I have found fruit mead clear better than traditional ones.
I don't know why, but they do for me.

You have to use lots of Jam to get any flavor. I would guess a 1 pound jar
is only half fruit, the rest sugar and some water…………

Good Luck,


Subject: too sweet meads
From: Jim Johnston <>
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2003 07:52:28 -0500

While I agree that many commercial meads are too sweet, there are
several that I have found in the dry range. Usually these are too dry
for my taste. It is most difficult when fermenting mead to arrive at a
nice semi-dry finish. This is something I have struggled with as well
i my own mead-making. I fare a bit better when dealing with my
melomels because the fruits ( usually berries) I use tend to offset
some of the sweetness. I now taylor my recipes more carefully and
choose yeasts more appropriately for the desired result. I never use
champagne yeast at all anymore.

I made three ginger metheglins with essentially identical recipes
except for the yeast. Starting gravities were within .002, finishing
were 1.020, 1.012 and 1.000. Of the three, the finishing at 1.012 gave
the best results. This was a light mead made with one gallon of orange
blossom honey and one ounce of ginger for six gallons, finishing at
around 7% abv. It was kegged and served sparkling, which certainly
lessened the sweetness by virtue of the carbonic acid in solution.
That used the Lalvin 71B-1122. The driest one used a Red Star
champagne yeast and it was just too dry. Surprisingly, the sweetest
used a dry mead yeast ( Yeastlab M62 ) which I feel was probably their
sweet mead yeast that had been mislabeled. It was nice and served
carbonated it was less sweet than the finishing gravity would indicate.


Subject: Mead body (was: Sweet mead)
From: "Kemp, Alson" <>
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2003 11:56:24 -0700

Subject: Sweet Mead / Pet Peeve
From: "nlkanous " <>

> commonly when I mention mead to people around
>me I get those "oh yuck, that stuff's so sweet"
>comments and many are unwilling to try my mead.
>I don't care too much for sweet wines or mead,
>myself. I like mine dry.
Fully agree, I like mine dry, thanks for bringing it up,
etc. Eric Johnson and I just did a presentation to the local
winemaking association and a lot of our presentation was
dedicated to dispelling the "sweet" mead myth.
An aside: from my perspective, saying you're making
"mead" is roughly as completely non-descriptive as saying you're
making "wine": the only thing communicated is that (honey and
water)/(grape) are being fermented.


BUT I do have an open question about mead: is a
>perfectly< dry mead a good thing? I'm starting to think that a
>perfectly< dry mead is not a good thing. I've made a couple and
they seem to have a good aroma with the mouthfeel of a 12%
alcohol solution.
White wines definitely have a certain amount of
mouthfeel. California Chardonnays have an especially strong
mouthfeel, possibly for a number of reasons:
1) batonage encouraging the sloughing of large proteins
off the cell walls of yeast and thickening up the solution;
2) oak perhaps lending some viscosity to the liquid;
3) grapes are solid things, perhaps they lend some
viscosity to the liquid?;
4) a lot of white wines have very small amounts (>0 Bris
<1 Brix) of residual sugar.

I'm trying (1) and (2). (3) is obviously impossible with
mead (although there may be a slight variation across honeys,
honey is basically sugar and not-much-else (compared to a
I think that (4) is the key. I prefer my wines/meads
dry, but sugar right below the threshold of perception (0.5 Brix)
might not perceivably sweeten the mead while providing a better
mouthfeel (non-watery character).


Subject: sorry, I should have read longer
From: "Tom & Dana Karnowski" <>
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2003 21:06:37 -0400

I sent my question about sweetening mead BEFORE I scrolled down and read the
last message in MLD1009, which answered my question. How embarrassing!
Please forgive me.
Tom Karnowski
Knoxville TN

Subject: dry meads
From: Doug Gibbs <>
Date: Wed, 23 Apr 2003 10:34:37 -0700

What natural additives do any of you use to make your mead dryer?
(lemon, limes etc)
I have used commercial acid blends with my fruit/sugar wines but prefer
to keep things simple with my mead. I am usually not willing to take
chances with my small stores of honey. I have experimented, often with
very bad results, with my fruit/sugar wines. I found that
apple/blackberry never worked with sugar, so I have never tried it with
honey. Blackberry/cranberry works nicely and so I have made some with
As I understand it, yeast prefers certain Ph levels and the acid is also
needed to allow the bottled product to keep longer. I think some of the
posts have mentioned some add the acid after fermentation to achieve a
desired level of dryness, or maybe the posts talked about adding the
herb or fruit flavoring after fermentation.
Doug in Bandon Oregon

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1010