Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1033, 7 August 2003

Mead Lover's Digest #1033 Thu 7 August 2003


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



RE: Mead Lover's Digest #1031, 2 August 2003 ("Ariel")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1032, 5 August 2003 ("Mark Roberts")
Yeast fermentation byproducts ("Vince Galet")
"cardboard" (
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1032, 5 August 2003 ("Travis Miller")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1032, 5 August 2003 ("Merlin")
blueberry melomel experiment (mkiley)
honey of a different wing? (Mark Ottenberg)
Commercial Mead In Chicago (Greg Fischer)


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Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #1031, 2 August 2003
From: "Ariel" <>
Date: Sat, 2 Aug 2003 9:40:21 -0700

> From: Dennis Key <>
> Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2003 11:27:13 -0600


> Ariel, How many habaneros in how big a batch? I tried a hot green chile
> mead and it had so many rough edges, it's barely drinkable after five
> years!


> Dennis


Dennis, I used two habanero for a one gallon batch. One habanero I put into
a morter and ground into 2oz of honey until it was invisible. I added that
2oz of honey in with the 3lbs of honey and heated the whole lot. The other
pepper I diced and added to the must just before taking it off the heat. I
added a whole packet of premier couvee that I started in water with just a
little sugar as food. A week later I strained out the pepper bits. Then I
racked it whenever the yeast graveyard started looking full. I think it was
2 or 3 times before bottling, which I did about a month after start

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1032, 5 August 2003
From: "Mark Roberts" <>
Date: Tue, 05 Aug 2003 17:25:18 +0000

Greg wrote about cardboard flavors in beer. These aromas/flavors (cardboard,
manilla envelope, paper) are usually by-products of oxidation. You can
frequently detect these flavors in pale lagers from Europe (Pilsner Urquell
commonly) which have been a long time traveling from the Czech Republic to
your local liquor store. In beer, they can also result from using old liquid
malt extract.

On the other hand, excessive quantities of table sugar in beer usually
produced a cidery flavor (I know–I followed the kit instructions on my
first batch).

Being new to meadmaking (though not new to beer brewing), I am not as
familiar with oxidation flavors in mead. But avoiding the introduction of
oxidation during racking and limiting contact by filling up bottles should
help avoid those stale papery aromas and flavors.

Subject: Yeast fermentation byproducts
From: "Vince Galet" <>
Date: Tue, 5 Aug 2003 13:51:14 -0400 (EDT)

A few more comments on yeast byproducts:

1) cardboard taste is more likely to come from oxidation than from
sucrose. Watch your exposure to oxygen late in the game. But granted,
sucrose is not recommended as an adjunct because of its non-neutrality on
final taste.

2) Jo simplifies fermentation as "basically the conversion or break-down
of sugar to water, carbon-dioxide or alcohol and energy (for the yeast)".
I beg to differ. Yeast cells are not just an alcohol producing factory.
For instance, sugars can be transformed in pyruvate, leading to ethanol
and acetyl CoA (energy), but the pyruvate intermediate can also be
transformed into amino acids and keto acids leading to higher alcohols
(the famous fusel alcohols). These alcohols can be further combined with
the fatty acids (produced by the yeast as a "storage" form of acetyl coA)
and make esters. The bottom line is that fusel alcohols and aromatic
esters are coming from sugar metabolism, not impurities contained in sugar
or other stuff. (granted, impurities may also impart a bad taste)
This is not just affected by the type of fermentable but also nutrients
and vitamins, pH, fermentation temperature, amino acids etc? and of course
the type of yeast itself (that's why the manufacturers offer such a
selection in the first place)
So the whole picture needs to be taken into account

3) Rick is suggesting a biochemistry approach to answer the question. I'm
not sure it will. Biochemistry books will give you a lot of mechanisms and
metabolic cycles, but it won't tell you how this will affect the
properties of your mead (or beer or wine) and what you can do to change


Therefore I recommend looking into more beverage-oriented sources like
wine or beer engineering, yeast applied to wine or beer production, flavor
chemistry. This will make the link between the fermentation science and
how it affects your result. I don't have the answers yet, I'm just reading
a little in my spare time (and I don't have much time to pull articles),
but I hope this helps those who are interested in digging deeper.

Suggested reading:
Cole V.C., Noble, AC, 1995. Flavor chemistry and assessment. In Fermented
beverage production, Lea AGH, Piggott JR (eds). Blackie academic and
professional: London;361-385
Pretorius, I, 2000. Tailoring wine yeast for the new millenium: novel
approaches to the ancient art of winemaking. In Yeast (journal), 675-729.
Good starting point to find other references.

This is a very fascinating topic indeed – Please share your findings


Subject: "cardboard"
Date: Tue, 5 Aug 2003 14:29:57 EDT

Greg is quoted:

"I'm interested in trace chemicals that may have an effect on flavor, as in
the effect of using white sugar in beer that can produce a "cardboard" taste.
What chemical does this?"

I have no idea, but I think the reputation for table sugar in beer is that it
will produce a "cidery" taste. (Corn sugar is more neutral.) At least with
mead, I think "cardboard" would be more of an oxidizing thing.


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1032, 5 August 2003
From: "Travis Miller" <>
Date: Tue, 5 Aug 2003 20:29:15 -0600

> Greg McBee wrote:


> >Can anyone point me towards any information about
> >the byproducts (other than ethanol and CO2) of
> >the result of fermentation of various types of
> >sugars, i.e. fructose, maltose, dextrose, lactose,
> >glucose, etc.?

A particular sugar content in a wort or must can cause certain flavor
characteristics. Cardboard flavor in beer comes from oxidation. Some
flavors that are normally associated with yeast activity are phenolic
(medicine like), diacytal (butterscotch), Dimethyl Sulfide (creamed corn or
cooked cabbage), Acetaldehyde (green apple). An example of "desirable"
aroma in a beer caused by the yeast strain is the horse blanket aroma many
Belgian Ales posses. This is a very common aroma characteristic of that
beer style. Generally if you stick with a good wine yeast you won't have
problems with any of those sorts of off flavors caused by fermentation with
the possible exception of phenols.

The sugar molecule content of the must or wort (how much of the liquid is
glucose, sucrose, maltose etc) does have an effect on the flavor of the
beverage. Too much of one and not enough of another can cause the flavor
profile to be more cidery, tart, beer like etc. This is generally not an
issue if you are not adding other fermentable in quantity to your mead.
This can be a very big issue for brewers should they be using a large number
of adjuncts such as corn sugar as is common in an English bitter

Travis Miller
Fort Wayne, IN

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1032, 5 August 2003
From: "Merlin" <>
Date: Wed, 6 Aug 2003 07:52:33 -0400

RE: Racking-
Like all of us I was concerned with the age old problem of space in a
carboy. The marbles is indeed a feeble attempt. There is a solution that
has been around since the beginning of time- Float the slightest bit of
mineral oil on top. This creates a beautiful airlock & let's the gasses out.
When you do the final racking / filling it stays on the top and shouldn't
get in the wine.

Merlin – Meadist to her majesty

Subject: blueberry melomel experiment
From: mkiley <>
Date: Wed, 06 Aug 2003 09:36:23 -0400

Greetings all.

It's wild blueberry season here in Maine and I've gone a little overboard
with it and will give y'all the chance to tell me what I've done wrong.

I have an acre of berries that was part of a larger field being managed
commercially before I bought it. My 'organic' management has been to simply
halt all spraying and put them into the alternate year from the neighboring
field to minimize any drifting effects. Close mowing made for a great crop
and with the thought of possible commercial products I've been trialing
melomels with different ratios of honey and berries. Maine blueberries make
an interesting wine but other than my own I've never had a blueberry

I mixed 40 kilos of fresh picked berries with 55 kilos of wildflower honey
and a little more than 120 liters of water (water measurement was only
approximate) and then pitched six liters of working yeast and hulls from a
previous batch of blueberry mead. In an attempt to mosh the berries I used
a paint mixer on an electric drill. It was only partially successful at
degrading the structural integrity (in Pentagonese) of the berries but
thoroughly aerated the must and mixed in the yeast hulls (for yeast
nutrition) and got the yeast culture, a Premier Cru wine yeast, working
speedily and strongly.

The primary fermentation vessel is a stainless steel tank much like the open
tanks used for Belgian ales and some British real ales. I plan on letting
the must ferment for two weeks and then racking to a barrel. The honey was
melted from it's crystallized state to warm liquid, 50 C, but wasn't close
to boiling. No sulphites or other additives were used.

I have lots more berries in the field and am thinking of variations on the
theme. Any suggestions? Has any one done experiments with wild blueberry
mels ? Yeast recommendations?

All comments and suggestions welcomed.
Michael Kiley

Gourmet honey direct from the beekeeper….<>

Subject: honey of a different wing?
From: Mark Ottenberg <>
Date: Wed, 06 Aug 2003 15:23:07 -0600

Ok, it's time to ask …

A while back, one of my friends — upon their awakening to Mead and my
explanation of what I made it from — asked me what other bees make. That
is, if honey bees make honey, what do bumble bees, for example, make? And
what would a mead made with it taste like?

I assume other bees make some sort of concoction similar to honey but
unpalatable to humans. Does anyone know?


  • – Mark


Subject: Commercial Mead In Chicago
From: Greg Fischer <>
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2003 08:06:25 -0500


We are producing Meads from Lake Michigan dune honey. We have our Cran
Nectar Melomel available and a traditional Prairie Passion Nectar. We
just got our Winery License so there will be more to come. Also,
Binney's On Clark & Halstead had a few. Sam's had a few, but they were
buried in the cordial section. Beverly Art Center Wine Bar serves our
meads by the glass. We hope to change the availability of good mead in
Chicago soon.

Greg Fischer

Wild Blossom Meadery
10033 S. Western Ave
Chicago IL 60643

Date: Sun, 03 Aug 2003 16:08:10 -0500

Where can you buy commercial mead in the Chicagoland area?

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1033