Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1016, 25 May 2003

Mead Lover's Digest #1016 Sun 25 May 2003


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



Sticking mead & cote des blancs ("Robert J Miller")
Re: Subject: Calculating Alcohol Content (Eric Drake)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1015, 20 May 2003 ("Charles Gee")
Re: Pasteurization ("Kevin Morgan")
Last year's blueberry melomel (
Pasturizing Mead ("phil")
Re: Pasteurization of honey ("Ken Taborek")
To boil or not to boil. ("Dale & Ellen Montondo")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1015, 20 May 2003 (Charles Sifers)
Water ("Sergi Santacana")
Re: Pasteurization of honey (Dick Dunn)


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Subject: Sticking mead & cote des blancs
From: "Robert J Miller" <>
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 11:21:54 -0500

Subject: Sticking Must MLD #1013
From: Bob Miller <>
Date: May 16 2003

Greetings all from Texas
I have been trying to absorb the group knowledge now for about a year and
a half now, since I got turned on to Mead from a sample at our Home Brew
club. I have used Red Star Cote des blancs for all my meads (mostly mels)
and the spec's on it say only 12 to 14% Tolerance, I would say you have
gone way past the yeast tolerance or got a really hot version. Using my
calc's the sticking must was at 26%, don't think so – could your initial
reading have been 1.122, this would be more in line with the amount of
honey and would yield a alcohol of 12.6 to 13+% dead on target.
Although the spec's say it is a relatively slow fermenter I have not found this
to be fact. My most recent was made on 2/1/03 with 13 # of wildflower
honey, 2.5 tsp nutrient, 2 tsp of Petic emzine and water to 5 gal, 1 pgk
worth of starter. This yielded a SG of 1.102. ferment temps were about
74 f and on 2/9 the SG was 1.057, this is typical for me, (one week half way
through). I then rack over onto what ever fruit I'm using (split Pomegranate
extract, 15 oz – 3 gal & seedless Raspberry puree, 1.39 kg – 2 gal), still
plastic at this point. I was not able to get a gravity on the raspberry but the
pomegranate (15 oz) added 15 points to the SG or equivalent to a starting g
of 1.117. On 2/23 the pome was back down to 1.041 (rack to glass), on
3/11 it was 1.017 which is where it is today, (I was trying for
about 1.015, semisweet). This calculates to 1.117-1.017= 0.100/.725
= 13.8%, (various other methods approx 14%). The raspberry went to
1.001 on 2/23 and 0.998 by 3/16. Anyway so much for slow fermentation.
Comments and suggestions are welcome for this new guy.

May your cup never be empty
Bob M (Sleeping Pig Brewery)

Subject: Re: Subject: Calculating Alcohol Content
From: Eric Drake <>
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 12:50:09 -0400

At 08:38 AM 5/20/2003 -0600, "Bill & Ramona Kuhn" <>


>I use 3#/gal, I get am I.G.
>of about 1.112 […] I will get 12%
>alcohol in a dry mead using 12# of honey in a 5 gallon batch


I am wondering if I am calculating pounds per gallon differently than every
one else. The above shows a 3# of honey to 4 gallons water ratio, but when
I say I use 3# per gallon, I am referring to each gallon of batch
size. So, my 3#/gal for a 5 gallon batch would be 15# honey. Which method
is predominant?


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1015, 20 May 2003
From: "Charles Gee" <>
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 10:55:51 -0700

> Subject: Pasteurization of honey
> From: Matt Gerbrandt <>
> Date: Mon, 19 May 2003 14:10:56 -0700 (PDT)


> There seems to be a pretty wide range of
> pasteurization techniques used for honey in mead
> making. These techniques range anywhere from adding
> the honey to water and heating to 160 F for 15 minutes
> to the approach proposed by the National Honey Board
> which calls on people to essentially bake the honey at
> 176 F for 2.5 hours
> (
> What approach are most people here going with?


My approach is not to bother. I make sure the must has plenty of nutrients I
use Frozen AppleJuice, Orange Juice and White Grape Juice 1 can of each to a
23 litre batch plus nutrients Pitch with an active yeast usually Lalvin
EC-1118 that is very competitive keep the primary nice and warm and let her
go. That yeast gobbles the nasties. The meads usually ferment down to 0.992
to 0.998 then I use P. sorbate and add the sweetener(sucrose) to bring the
mead to where I like it. Not a purist I know but it is better than drinking
cold tea!

Charles Gee

Subject: Re: Pasteurization
From: "Kevin Morgan" <>
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 15:05:06 -0400

I pasteurize by bringing a couple gallons of water to a boil, turn off
the heat and then add the honey and stir. Then top up with cold water
and pitch the yeast when cool enough.

Kevin in South Jersey


> Matt Gerbrandt
>There seems to be a pretty wide range of
>pasteurization techniques used for honey in mead
>What approach are most people here going with?

Subject: Last year's blueberry melomel
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 20:54:21 EDT

I am relatively new to meadmaking (2001); I am sure other newbies have

heard over and over again how time can make a good mel better. Tonight my
wife and I both noted a nice bump up in the blueberry nose of a melomel
bottled last November. It was a good batch–it is now wonderful.


In the past, I drank mead young, because even young mead is better

than old grape wine. The inteesting thing, however, is that the change in
quality was not incremental–we've been sampling this batch for months.
There has been a real transformation, enough to make me believe in the mead


My solution? Make so much mead that I can squirrel away some. I know

none of this is news to the more experienced meaders here–I have been told
this before. (Shoot, I practically have a crush on Vicky Rowe, and I've
never laid eyes on the woman, but she speaks the truth.)


I brew mostly ale; age is not friendly to beer. I have seen

(tasted?) the light, however, and plan to start buying honey in 5 gallon






Subject: Pasturizing Mead
From: "phil" <>
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 20:32:09 -0700

Hi Mat,

And you thought you were asking a simple question….I pasturize my mead at
100 f. for less than 5 minutes. I just get it hot enough so that it runs
out of the container and I rinse what is left into the must with warm water.
My goal is to retain as much of the complexity of the honey flavors as
possible. Also, when I add in the other ingrediants, I generally end up
right around 90 f. which I believe is about the optimum temperature for
starting a fermentation.

The flavor notes in the meads amd even the melomels I have made seem to bear
out this theory.


Subject: Re: Pasteurization of honey
From: "Ken Taborek" <>
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 23:41:26 -0400

> There seems to be a pretty wide range of
> pasteurization techniques used for honey in mead
> making. These techniques range anywhere from adding
> the honey to water and heating to 160 F for 15 minutes
> to the approach proposed by the National Honey Board
> which calls on people to essentially bake the honey at
> 176 F for 2.5 hours
> (
> What approach are most people here going with?


> Thanks in advance!
> – -Matt Gerbrandt


I used to pasteurize, raising the must to ~160-180 for 5-15 minutes. Now I
use sulfites and skip the heat entirely. I can't ay that I've noticed a
flavor change, but the process is simpler and easier. Also, sulfites are a
lasting prophylactic measure which also have other beneficial effects such
as aiding color retention and protecting against oxygenation, while
pasteurization only protects the must if it's kept scrupulously away from
any source of recontamination.



Subject: To boil or not to boil.
From: "Dale & Ellen Montondo" <>
Date: Wed, 21 May 2003 16:25:05 -0400

To boil or not to boil. That is a question of many. My first batch of
long ago was boiled because I started my brewing with grain products. It
just has to be done. Then came honey. I made a batch of Barkshack
gingermead from a resipe and it was a wonderful taste adventure. Then I
read that it takes away aromatics when raw honey is boiled, so I tried a
batch with out boiling. Well, it was drinkable but it didn't have the
aromatics or esters I enjoyed when I boiled. Come to find out, honey
containes natural yeast that can give off flavors that can really change
the flavor of the batch. I now only use the boil method with Wyeast
(liquid) there is sweet and dry, I like dry, but only if it sits for 6
months in the bottle, that's hard to do by the way,and you really should
try some fresh ginger root. Oh, and I still believe in priming. That
will really leave you with some friends.

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1015, 20 May 2003
From: Charles Sifers <>
Date: Thu, 22 May 2003 13:00:13 -0500

on 5/20/03 9:38 AM, at


> Subject: CharlesSifers: Rack and rack and rack
> From: "Kemp, Alson" <>
> Date: Thu, 15 May 2003 16:42:17 -0700


> Charles writes:
> I started a 5 gallon batch of wildflower mead on 4/2.
> [snip] I racked it to the glass carboy on day 3 and
> it was still going hard [snip] It began to slow on 4/23
> so I […] racked to a clean carboy and added more
> honey water [snip] Now nothing, nada, zip. I racked
> again yesterday […] but 36 hours later still nada.


> Each time you racked your mead during fermentation,
> you removed untold billions of active yeast. Racking
> does not activate fermentation. More than likely
> racking will _stall_ fermentation (because it removes
> active yeast). So your comments make perfects sense:
> each time you racked, you left behind active yeast,
> biomass and nutrients, so fermentation should be
> expected to stall…


> (Before anyone yells at me: yes, sometime racking
> will speed up fermentation via oxygenation/agitation…)


> -Alson

> > ——————————

For the record, you have miss quoted me, the above is not my post, it is an
earlier post I replied to from:

> Roberta
> "In principio creavit Deus caelum et terram.
> In principio creavit Deus hominum, in celebratio imago,
> et creavit Deus lupo, in perpetuii cantieri praesus."

However, I typically pitch a large starter, and have had total fermentation,
1.124 O.G. to .995 F.G., in 2 weeks.

Although, I don't recall her posting the volume of her starter. It is
possible that she pitched a large active starter that was able to utilize
the honey quickly, and reach tolerance. The alcohol was already at 19% when
she first racked, then she added even more honey and water, and it again
worked vigorously. It must be well over 20% alcohol, and I don't know too
many yeasts that go above that.

She certainly racked off lots of yeast if she removed the sediment, (my
understanding of these yeasts is that they are top fermenting, and
flocculated yeast is more or less dormant), if she racked the sediment along
with the mead, she stood a good chance of boosting a stuck fermentation. I
have used this method sucessfully myself, with a stuck secondary

  • -zz

Subject: Water
From: "Sergi Santacana" <>
Date: Thu, 22 May 2003 16:25:16 +0200

Dear meadmakers,

Wich water will work better with fermentation?. I suppose that the best
water will be mineral bottled water, but what I mean is, wich minerals
are expected to improve yeasts eficience? or, in others words, wich
minerals and wich proportion should work better in fermentation, as
there're a lot of different bottled mineral water with different
minerals and proportions.
When I say "to work better" I mean that are minerals used or need by

By now, i've take 2 different water marks (sorry if the chemical names
are wrong, I'm translating from Spanish):

1. Normal Mineral water

Bicarbonate 135 mg/l
Sulfates 11,6 "
Clorures 6,9 "
Calcium 33,5 "
Magnesium 6,6 "
Sodium 12,2 "

2. water 2 (volcanic)

Bicarbonates 350,1 mg/l
Calcium 95,4 "
Clorures 5,2 "
Magnesium 15,1 "
Nitrates 1 "
Potasium 1,7 "
Silice 11,6 "
Sodium 6,8 "
Sulfates 14.9 mg/l

Wich of these waters will wok better, in example?.

Subject: Re: Pasteurization of honey
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: Fri, 23 May 2003 23:49:38 -0600 (MDT)

Matt Gerbrandt <> wrote:
> There seems to be a pretty wide range of
> pasteurization techniques used for honey in mead
> making…

NSS! And some of them date back a few hundred years…carrying forth the
needs and misunderstandings of bygone days.

> …the approach proposed by the National Honey Board
> which calls on people to essentially bake the honey at
> 176 F for 2.5 hours
> (

I've poked at this and asked some folks who might be able to find us an
answer; nothing just yet but I'll report if I hear. Seems pretty clear
that the advice is Just Plain Wrong; the question is *how* it came out
so wrong. I can't find any background to this recommendation and it doesn't
make sense. The most stringent (sterilization-oriented) procedure I've
found to date suggests some small number of minutes at around 160 F. I'm
not saying that is necessary or anything like it; I'm just saying that I've
never seen anything beyond that. 176F for 2.5 hours is not only
guaranteed to cook off any interesting aromatics in the honey; it will do
no small amount of caramelization.

The NHB is about honey, not mead. And they also have to tread a thin line
as far as talking about alcoholic beverages in the relatively-ignorant and
neo-prohibitionist state of the US today. But that doesn't excuse giving
really bad advice–in particular (for the NHB) advice that will result
in damaging the qualities of honey.

Dick Dunn Hygiene, Colorado USA

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1016