Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1022, 23 June 2003

Mead Lover's Digest #1022 Mon 23 June 2003


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



Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1021, 18 June 2003 (Vicky Rowe)
RE: mead at risk? ("Kemp, Alson")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1021, 18 June 2003 (Ken Vale)
Re: mead at risk? (Barat)
Pectinase and hangovers…? (Ross McKay)


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Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1021, 18 June 2003
From: Vicky Rowe <>
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2003 13:58:48 -0400

>Subject: Cherry mead recipes
>From: <>
>Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2003 11:17:09 -0600


>I know some of you have probably had great success out there brewing
>cherry mead and was wondering if someone could be so kind as to share a
>recipe. I have about 12 pounds of cherries right now and probably twice
>that left to be picked. Thanks for you help.



Hi Grant!

I've had great luck with cherry mead. I usually get flash frozen cherries
when I go home to MI in the summer, and make the mead during the
fall or winter. Here's my recipe:

12 lbs Mesquite honey
4 gal water
12.5 lbs MI sour (pie) cherries, pitted
5 tsp yeast nutrient
Premier Cuvee yeast (Red Star)
handful mahlab, crushed (from Penzey's Spices)

7-29-98 Simmered 1 gal boiled water at 150 F, and added honey. Poured
must onto 3 gal water in pail over squished and bagged cherries. Pitched
yeast at 80F
8-22-98 Racked off cherries. Gorgeous red color, tastes a bit sour. Add
lemon peel and more honey at next rack
9-25-98 Cherry flavor good, a bit tart
11-4-98 Thin, not much cherry nose or flavor
11-17-98 Racked and added 3 c honey water
2-2-99 Not too shabby, needs sweetening
3-14-99 A bit sweeter, nice flavor, but not much nose
4-4-99 Not much cherry flavor
4-24-99 Thin. Added more honey water
8-23-99 Racked and added 2 c water with 1.5 c honey. Added handful of crushed
mahlab to carboy
10-19-99 WOW!!!! Something in the mahlab changed it, and now it tastes just
cherry pie!
12-5-99 Racked, still a bit thin. Added 1 qt honey water
1-29-00 S.G. 1.010 Bottled

This one has been aging since then, and I've got a few bottles left. It has
only gotten better
with age, and I hope to make it again soon….


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

Subject: RE: mead at risk?
From: "Kemp, Alson" <>
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2003 11:06:55 -0700

From: "phil" <>

>March 15, 03, made a starter with Lalvin D47 yeast,
>1.5 oz beverage people yeast nutrient, a little honey
>and water.
It looks as though you're saying that you dumped a 5gram
satchet of yeast into a little water with 1.5 ounces of nutrient.
I'm not a yeast expert, but I think that that would damage the yeast
pretty badly (rehydration in mud). According to Lallemand, yeast

should be rehydrated in mineral water (cholorine doesn't matter
too much), because the yeast will suck up the rehydration
solution with abandon. If the hydration solution has lots of
sugar/gunk in it, then that all gets sucked inside the yeast
cell wall without being properly processed.

The way I build a starter:
Pour 8oz of pasteurized (no preservative) apple juice into a big cup
Put a few pinches of super food into apple juice
Add 1 yeast satchet to 4oz of warm tap water
Let sit for 15 min
Pour water/yeast into apple juice

If you want to use honey for the starter, just substitute
the honey container and honey residue in it for the apple juice.

>June 14, a. g. 1.060, first racking.
Keep in mind that when you rack, you remove a lot of yeast…
If you're worried about autolysis or something, give the solution
a stir to get the yeast (temporarily) back up into suspension.

Suggestions now that you're stuck:
– Switch to a really strong yeast like Lalvin EC-1118 or Red
Star Premier Cuvee (or any tirage yeast). Do a proper rehydration
and a strong starter in a big carboy. Then slowly (over a few
weeks) rack the stuck mead onto the starter one gallon or so at a
– Get some yeast _hulls_, add 2g/ gallon to the starter
after you add stuck mead to the starter (for the first couple of gallons.
Yeast hulls help yeast build good cell walls in growth mediums
(stuck mead) and can pull toxic fermentation by-products out of stuck

An aside: Be paranoid about rehydration and starters. Chances are good
that everything will work out without worrying about rehydration, but
if it doesn't …

– Alson

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1021, 18 June 2003
From: Ken Vale <>
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2003 19:55:45 -0400

>From: "Lane Gray, Czar Castic" <>
>Date: Sun, 15 Jun 2003 18:56:51 -0700


>Robert Elliot wrote:

> >

>>I have been reading your web literature on mead but it doesn't mention =
>>how much honey should be dissolved in the quantity of water.


>>Can you give me some figures to make a traditional mead?


>I know you'll have a heck of a time getting most yeasts to survive with
>initial amounts exceeding 3.5 pounds per gallon (assuming you're an
>American-I'm guessing we're probably talking about 800-850 g/L if you're
>not) without a good deal of fruits or yeast energizers or fertilizers. I
>like a good sweet mead, and prefer about 4#/G, but have found that to get
>them that sweet it works best to start with 3 or less, then add the rest at
>racking time. If you're after a dry mead, then anything less than about 3
>to 3.5 would probably be what you're after.


>Lane Gray


According to my handy metric converter that number for grams/litre is
way high, I get something around 360-420 grams per Litre. Metric
converters are so usefull (especially in Canada where we can't figure
out which scale we are using…)


Subject: Re: mead at risk?
From: Barat <>
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2003 17:38:17 -0500

According to Lalvin (and my own experience), here are a few things that
may have caused the fermentation to get stuck.

Lack of dissolved oxygen
I would recommend racking the mead into a clean carboy, allowing it to
splash as much as possible when entering the new carboy. Once the new
carboy is filled, shake it vigorously for 5-10 minutes twice a day
until fermentation kicks off.

Lack of particulate matter
Particles in the mead help keep the yeast in suspension. Some mazers
use yeast hulls (a.k.a. yeast ghosts) as an additive to get a stuck
fermentation going. The mechanism by which they help is not really
know, but my person suspicion is that they help keep the yeast in
suspension by providing some floating particulate matter.

Must pH
This bit of info is not from Lalvin. I have found that a very low pH
(acidic) must can stop a fermentation. Honey is acid (average pH of
3.9), and your must is likely to have a low pH.

Check the pH of your must. If it's very low add some gypsum to raise it.

Once the mead is done fermenting (assuming any of this helps), add some
potassium sorbate to stabilize the mead. Normally a low pH does this,
but if you have to raise the pH to get the fermentation going, adding
potassium sorbate once it's ready to bottle will help keep the mead
stable in the bottle for long term storage and aging.

Hope this helps

Stephen P.

> Hi All,


> Is my promising mead at risk?


> Since March the a. g. of my "traditional" orange blossom mead has only
> gone from 1.098 to 1.060. I added yeast energizer and nutrient and 2
> more packages of yeast, aerated it, finally racked it, and I am out of
> ideas. My current plan is to leave it and hope it keeps slowly
> fermenting. Any other ideas? Here is a summary of my notes.


> March 15, 03, made a starter with Lalvin D47 yeast, 1.5 oz beverage
> people yeast nutrient, a little honey and water. Pitched it into a 5
> gal carboy with 15 lbs orange blossom honey.


> o. g 1.098.


> Stayed quiet for four days. On March 19, I pitched 2 more packages of
> D47=20


> Things Started going well the next day.


> But by April 3, things were down to one bubble about every 4 secs.


> April 13 a.g 1.079, I aerated.


> May 17, a. g. 1.068, I added 1 tsp energizer


> June 14, a. g. 1.060, first racking. It has great orange and floral
> flavors. Any thoughts on whether the slow fermentation will help
> preserve them? Since I racked, the thing has gotten even quieter-no
> signs of movement.


> Phil W.

Subject: Pectinase and hangovers...?
From: Ross McKay <>
Date: Sat, 21 Jun 2003 14:22:50 +1000


I often see reference to using pectinase to convert pectins into
fermentables, both in meadmaking and winemaking. It is something I've
not noticed a need for, after making several batches of cider and one
cyser without using pectinase and resulting in nice, clear liquids.

I have also noticed many references to vicious mead hangovers, of which
I have yet to experience (hanging onto wooden desk here!) and would like
to avoid.

Recently, when reading some posts in rec.crafts.distilling, I ran across
reference to production of methanol in fermentation as a result of
converting pectin. There was a website referenced where this is

It seems that methanol is one of the undesirables that can be produced
during fermentation when pectin is present, and can lead to nasty
headaches (and worse).

Maybe I'm taking a leap here, but could the use of pectinase be part of
the hangover problem here?

Also, is adding pectinase just a way of "hurrying up" the clarification
of a melomel, or in some instances is it absolutely necessary to get
that crisp, clean liquid that people seem to require?

One of the other things that occurs to me, coming from the beer brewing
world, is that maybe some of the mead hangover stuff comes from
fermenting too warm and thus encouraging the yeast to produce fusels,
also implicated in bad hangovers!

I did a search on MLD archives and found MLD#723 from 1999, where we are
recommended to avoid drinks with amounts of methanol if we want to avoid

But then again, in MLD#746 from 1999, the methanol/hangover link is

Any real consensus out there?


Ross McKay, WebAware Pty Ltd
"Science changes one funeral at a time" – Harvey Weiss

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1022