Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1110, 23 June 2004

Mead Lover's Digest #1110 Thu 23 June 2004


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



Re: Tulip poplar mead (Adam Funk)
re: unfermentable sugars (Adam Funk)
Re-cap of University of Nebraska Workshop on Mead ("Julia Herz")
pasteurizing (MICAH MILLSPAW)
Pasteurizing and the health of mead fermentations (Ken Schramm)


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Subject: Re: Tulip poplar mead
From: Adam Funk <>
Date: Fri, 18 Jun 2004 23:09:52 +0100

> > I just obtained a couple of gallons of tulip poplar
> > honey from Virginia. I wanted a dark honey. It has a
> > biting odor. It is very dark and has a very
> > distinctive taste. It has a good, lingering
> > aftertaste. I like this honey.

Just curious: what part of Virginia? I used to live in the Shenandoah
Valley and I don't recall seeing this honey.

Subject: re: unfermentable sugars
From: Adam Funk <>
Date: Fri, 18 Jun 2004 23:15:52 +0100

> Adam, you mentioned adding unfermentable sugars when bottling to dial
> in the desired sweetness; I have seen mention of this recently but
> (clearly) haven't absorbed the salient details… What are examples of
> unfermentables that I might use to sweeten this mead?

> but what might I consider to sweeten
> without imparting additional flavors?

I'm aware of two types of things that I mentioned before: lactose and
artificial sweeteners. Someone else in Digest #1109 mentions that
NutraSweet can be metabolized by yeast and would therefore not work. I
have never tried artificial sweeteners in brewing/wine/meadmaking since I
think they taste funny in general. As I mentioned before, I have used
lactose a few times in winemaking and it worked, but beware of
lactobacillus which can convert sugars (including lactose and others)
into lactic acid. (I have produced deliberately sour beer by adding live
yogurt shortly before bottling).

Subject: Re-cap of University of Nebraska Workshop on Mead
From: "Julia Herz" <>
Date: Mon, 21 Jun 2004 11:45:03 -0600

This past Friday and Saturday the University of Nebraska
held an incredibly extensive workshop on beekeeping (Friday) and mead

What a great program that was put together by Marion Ellis who is an
Associate Professor with the Entomology Department. Mead topics on
Saturday included:

History and Mythology of Mead
Resources for Mead Makers
The process of mead making
Mead Making Equipment
Mead Making and Yeast
Judging Mead
Mead Styles
Mead Making as a Business
Mead Making as a Hobby
Commercial and Home Mead Tasting

We need more programs like this! Over 70 paid attendees spent Saturday
listening to the above topic which shows folks are interested.

Compliments to Univ. of Nebraska and to the hope that we see more of
these programs put on by similar organizations in the future.

Julia Herz

Subject: pasteurizing
Date: Mon, 21 Jun 2004 12:34:49 -0700 (PDT)

>This leads me to ask…
>Could the reason people pasteurize is that they
>went from making beer to making mead and old habits
>die hard? Winemakers don't boil their
>musts and they are not creating bad grape carma.

>If the need to pasteurize is more than folklore,
>than can someone tell me about a healthy, quick
>starting fermentation that went bad because
>beasties overwhelmed the yeast? I have posed this
>question on prior occasions and have yet to get a
>response. So, I say to Steve, (with a friendly
>smiling nudge) Go ahead and add extra work to your
>meadmaking because of old-wives-tales.

I have been trying to ignore this thread ('cause it
bugs me) but I just can't.

I have to agree about the old-wives-tale or mommily
aspect of this.

The concept a Pasteurizing (using elevated temperature
over time
to kill microorganisms)is not being utilized well
enough by those (myself included)in the heated must
camp to even be called Pasteurization.
If by heating a must to 150F for 10-15 minutes you
feel that you have
destroyed any and all evil micro-flora, that is way
off base. The tailoring of time and temperature to
specific organisms for predictable and consistent kill
rates is very important. For example: The general goal
in the Pateurization of milk is to kill off
bacterium, which dies off pretty easy. Pasteurizing
beer like A-B does,
kills off any yeast that might have passed the
filtration process but does not effectively kill off
any really sturdy spoilage bacteria like
pedios and enterics. Really effective sanitation
controls those.

A gently heated must is just easier to stir. And may
make it easier to separate the bee parts and pieces
from the honey. Does it prevent spoilage? No way!

I'd have to agree with Phil W. that heating the must
will not save a mead from spoilage (again a
homebrewing concept). It is best to practice good
sanitation and to pitch a large amount of healthy

Micah Millspaw

Subject: Pasteurizing and the health of mead fermentations
From: Ken Schramm <>
Date: Mon, 21 Jun 2004 22:13:30 -0400

I will post more on this later, but I have reason to believe that the
pasteurization and or heat treatment may only be valuable in the removal
of wild yeasts that may populate the honey. I have been doing no-heat
meads for about six or seven years now, and have not made a mead that I
considered to be spoiled or a spitter. I am at least fifty or more
batches into this practice, and have made a pretty firm commitment to
it. I have made virtually all of the best meads in my repertoire this
way. It is not a statistically reliable conclusion, but simply my

That said, there will be residual bacterial populations in any no-heat
mead made with adjuncts like spices or fruit, and those populations may
be substantial. Whether those bacteria will be harmful or disastrous to
the flavor and aroma/bouquet of the mead is a matter of subjective and
objective analyses which need to be conducted in a controlled and
impartial manner, and probably over a prolonged period. Traditional
meads (with honey and no other fermentables or flavor ingredients) will
pose far less of a problem in this regard.

As I mentioned, I will post a more definitive discourse on this in time.

I'll stick my two cents in on the BJCP: The world of mead appreciaters
is small but growing. We need to be supportive of anybody who is willing
to put their time and effort into promoting mead, be it judging,
commercial mead, competitions, anything. It is far easier to sit on the
sidelines and provide commentary, but it doesn't get any of the hard
work done. In that regard, Dick alone may be in a position to post
criticism of others; he has definitely made more than his share of
volunteer contribution. My take is that if anybody is doing anything to
make mead judging better, we need to support them. Or put our money
(and our time) where our mouth is, meaning go out there and make the
change happen with the sweat of our collective brows.

Hey Dan McFeeley, I lost your current phone number. We need to talk.


End of Mead Lover's Digest #1110