Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1072, 26 January 2004

Mead Lover's Digest #1072 Mon 26 January 2004


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



Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1071, 22 January 2004 (
MLD # 1070 CO2 and dried airlock ("James P")
RE:Topping off and CO2 ("Murphy-Marsh, Leigh")
Re: Peter's fermentetion question (Steven Thomas)
Re: second batch ("tom")
Re: Co2 and dried airlock ("tom")
Response to Jason Pickett (Adam McPadden)
slow bubling primare ("john doerter")
Winter mead Gathering, After action Report ("john doerter")


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Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1071, 22 January 2004
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2004 23:21:51 EST

Re: Oops. OK general consensus is go for it. I will be reporting on results
shortly. Thanks folks.

Subject: MLD # 1070   CO2 and dried airlock 
From: "James P" <>
Date: Fri, 23 Jan 2004 15:11:17 +1000

I wonder if the oxidation issue is a little over-rated, or too highly
It is important, but should be kept in perspective. If a *little* oxidation
happens, it probably won't ruin your mead (unless you are planning to enter
it in a competition).

My limited experience is with one half-filled 600mL PET bottle that had some
left-over mead from a racking. It oxidised within a week (colour went from
light golden to brown).

Most of my meads are aging in PET bottles (without sulphiting), but I keep
them with minimal headspace). This is obviously not the recommended
practice, and I wouldn't recommend storing your meads this way for 5 years.
Nonethless, none of them are ruined due to oxidation (from a 1 year bulk
aging perspective)

My suggestion of oxidating "factors"
1) Lack of tannin
2) headspace > 5% of volume (or large surface area of mead in contact with
the headspace)
3) No fine lees (lees use oxygen – refer to
4) Temperature low (near freezing) – higher absorption of oxygen

Any comments?


Subject: RE:Topping off and CO2 
From: "Murphy-Marsh, Leigh" <>
Date: Fri, 23 Jan 2004 18:27:43 +0800

Just a note, as it really isn't readily available here, but if yu are
really concerned about Co2 (I'm not) you could throw a small piece of
dry ice in your racking vessel as you rack which will produce copious
amounts of Co2.

When we are born we are naked, wet, hungry, and we get smacked on our
>From thereon in, life gets worse

Subject: Re: Peter's fermentetion question
From: Steven Thomas <>
Date: Fri, 23 Jan 2004 19:05:16 -0500

Re: Peter's fermentation question involving bubbles and racking

It is common to find people stumbling over problems of indexing yeast

activity by tracking bubble production. Bubbles are handy because require
no tooling and having no risk of contaminating the brew, but they aren't a
perfect index of current yeast activity. Since the CO2 is quite soluble in
water, the bubbles currently seen may be from activity some time ago.


Bubbles can mean current CO2 production has saturated the solution, or

the temperature has risen and more is leaving solution, or the solution has
been agitated, or subjected to a pressure drop. (The higher solution has to
climb up a siphon hose before it drops down to the second container, the
greater the pressure drop it is subjected to. A twelve inch lift exceeds
all but the most extreme of atmospheric swings from hurricane low pressure
to arctic highs.)


So a cessation of bubbles after racking may only mean that the ferment

stopped some time ago, and the transfer removed the residual excess CO2
from solution. There are microscopy staining techniques that can
distinguish active yeast from inactive, that could be used to answer the
question, but require tooling and breaking the sanitary seal of the carboy.


The take-home lesson is that bubbles indicate fermentation sometime,

not necessarily fermentation now.

  • -Steve Thomas


Subject: Re: second batch
From: "tom" <>
Date: Fri, 23 Jan 2004 19:51:12 -0500

In response to:

Subject: second batch
From: Sue Bentley <

hello everyone, I have a question…

>this last Sunday, I made mead with 8kgs wildflower honey, added enough
>spring water to make it 6 gallons when cooled.
>When at a cooled temp. I added about 2 large handfuls of raisons, 3 lemons
>(jested) and then the white bitter stuff removed and then the lemon meat
>quartered and squeezed into the batch, 2 tbsp strong black tea, 2 tbsp yeast
>this was then divided into 2 batches, 1 – 4 gallon batch , added 1 pkg
>Lalvin D47 yeast… and 1 – 2 gallon batch, add 1 pkg Lavlin V1116 yeast.
>I keep these in pails in my laundry room (temp around 15 degree celsius)with
>material for breathing. I skim and stir everyday…

I'm a long way from being any kind of an authority on meadmaking

myself yet, but I think all the stirring and skimming you need to do
should take place only while
heating the must. After your primary ferment has begun you shouldn't
need to skim at all, any unwanted yuck that you seem forming is normal
and the dead yeast cells that fall to the bottom will be left behind
during your racking process. As far as stirring, I've heard of
periodically rocking the primary fermenter to keep the yeast cells
active, but my feeling is that the less you take the lid off the
fermenter the better during that first critical stage.


Tom Ostrow


Subject: Re: Co2 and dried airlock
From: "tom" <>
Date: Fri, 23 Jan 2004 20:04:32 -0500

From DarinBruck:
> I "lost" a 3 gal batch to the garage about a year ago. It was recently
> found again but the whole thing has been sitting on the lees – not
> necessarily a bad thing. BUT the air lock dried out at some point. I
> have been afraid to try it. Do yall spose its safe?

I myself found out (through the collective wisdom of this group)

that you never throw out a batch of mead that you think may have gone
wrong. I did everything wrong my first two batches ie: pitched the
yeast when the must was way too hot, presumable killing most of the
yeast cells thereby taking over three months for the first discolored,
cloudy- rocket fuel smelling -that even ants would avoid ferment to end,
letting the airlock dry out and then letting the secondary ferment sit
on the lees for over a year before getting around to bottling it at
least one racking too early.

Three years after brewing, I am enjoying the last of a really nice

tasting, clear as a bell cranberry mead. Time seems to heal all wounds
with mead, even if it tastes and smells like something only the military
would be interested in right now.


Tom Ostrow

Subject: Response to Jason Pickett
From: Adam McPadden <>
Date: Sat, 24 Jan 2004 09:01:34 -0500

My question is, can I just add the second batch into the first and do it
all at once, i.e. 12 lbs honey, 36 0z blueberries, etc? Or would the two
stage process be better?


Jason Pickett


I like the two stage process. For Melomel's where I want the fruit
(or whatever is added for desired flavor), I use the first/primary
fermentation for the creation of alcohol from the honey. I like to
use the yeast to throttle the net alcohol content, as much is possible.
Some yeasts die out with single digit ABV (Alcohol by Volume), others
like the champagne yeasts get into the high teens, it depends on what
you are trying to create. After the primary, assuming the yeast is
pretty much pooped out at (or close to) its ABV max, I rack into the
with whatever is to be added for the flavor…blueberries…more

In my own batches, I've noticed the fruit flavor in the finished mead
comes through much better. When added to the primary, the fermentation
uses the fruits sugar as well as the honey to generate alcohol, and the
result still has good ABV, but the fruit flavor not as strong.

Or, if you really want to do the one shot deal, adding everything all
at once, just use a lot more blueberries at the beginning.


Subject: slow bubling primare
From: "john doerter" <>
Date: Sun, 25 Jan 2004 07:54:45 -0600

> Subject: re: fermentation question
> From: Peter Szentendrey <>
> Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2004 11:57:43 +0100


> Hello to everyone on the List!
> I'm a newcomer here on the list but I have been experimenting
> with meadbrewing for several years now. I saw Randy Tudor's question
> in the Jan. 12 issue, but it seems to me that nobody answered.
> The question was:
> "I have a batch of mead that had been in primary fermentation for about

> 4

> weeks and the co2 had slowed to about 2 bubbles per minute. I racked and


> checked the sg ( 1.010). After racking all co2 bubbles stopped. Since I

> am

> new to this, I am not sure if this is normal or not. Do I need to add
> more
> yeast or should I just wait and let it sit."
> I would be also interested in the answer, since I also experienced
> this phenomenon several times. (Slowly bubbling mead stops
> bubbling after I racked to secondary fermenter.) I even tried adding
> more yeast but it didn't restart the fermentation. Because of this I
> do not dare to rack the mead while in fermentation although quite
> many recepies suggest this. (to get rid of the lees early.)
> What do you suggest??
> Peter (from Hungary)

A couple things,
1 the mead may actually be finished, (max alchohol for the yeast)
2 The mead may be poisoinous for the yeast (too many byproducts)
3 the Mead was almost finished and the racking released Co2 from
suspension, The fermentation remaining didn't generate enough to

Obviously there are two choices that suggest the mead is finished
for the chosen yeast and you need a Stronger yeast if you want
further fermentation (such as a champagne yeast if you were using
a 12-15% wine yeast).

In the case of a stuck fermentation because low nutrients and yeast
byproducts being toxic to the yeast, you can try yeast hulls (they
absorb yeast-toxins from the must) and some yeast eneregizer/nutrient
Like Fermaid, Fermax, and/or DAP. I'm always careful with
these not to add too much as I suspect this causes off flavors
and listerine type results. To be more specific i use LESS than
recomended ammounts by a considerable margin… usually
considerably less than 1/2 of the recomendation, but many people
swear by them, and the need for long term aging 🙂

I hope this was helpful to you.

Subject: Winter mead Gathering, After action Report
From: "john doerter" <>
Date: Sun, 25 Jan 2004 07:59:17 -0600

Well the Gathering was last night. My thanks to the
attendees from Music City Brewers who helped make
this such a large success. A very positive evening
with encouragement for the newer members among
our group, and the wisdom of experieced meadmakers
as well.

Our biggest problem… more mead than we could
possibly sample in one night and have people drive
home safely.

BrewGoddess had delightful cycers and a very nice
blueberry sample from primary.

Andy a.k.a. Skippy brought several nice meads including a
methglyn that was very smoth with cinamon presentation.

Cyserman brought several cysers, wonderful sparkling perry,
and even a commercial sample displying a very nice selection
of flavors, including the effects of barrel aging.

I offered a few selections of my own, all too young,
but they were not without merit in the group… never
thought I'd have a mead described as beef in wine sauce :-).
Also of intrest was the mead from primarry people
thought tasted of apricots and citrus, but they couldn't
name the main flavor as maple till they heard what it was.
Nicely subdued but definately recognizable once named,
only 24 days old i think my maple was the best of mine
that was tasted tonight. Keeping fingers crossed on the
finishing of that one.

The fact that for every mead sampled tonigh another
was sent home without sampling, suggests we can
do this again soon. (though the samples might be
smaller next time).

The gathering ended with rough plans to do this
again in the late summer or early fall, and perhaps
to take our meads to the Tn Ren Faire this May.

I as host inherrited several partial bottles of very fine
mead and must stagger off now.

John Doerter

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1072