Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1215, 16 September 2005

Mead Lover's Digest #1215 Fri 16 September 2005


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



Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1214, 13 September 2005 (davidbrowder)
reactivating mead (Chris Yate)
RE: Mead Lover's Digest #1214, 13 September 2005 ("Johnson, Carol (CCRF)")
A few more sulfite comments ("J. Russ")
Re: Different strains of yeast (Tim Bray)
Re: fruit presses (Dick Dunn)
RE: Dandelion Honey Source? ("Matthew Ransom")
use of sulfites (Russ Riley)
concord grape pyment ("eric")


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Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1214, 13 September 2005
From: davidbrowder <>
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2005 00:11:00 -0400

sulfites : Ya know a blind taste test'll prove, or disprove the
headache/migriane problem. Been there, done that, and I'll bet the
results'll be the same this time.

Subject: reactivating mead
From: Chris Yate <>
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2005 08:10:11 +0000

Hi there,

I made three gallons of mead about 4 months ago. After about 2 1/2
months of quietness, in which I've racked the mead twice off the
sediment, one of the batches has started bubbling gas through the
airlock again. It's quite slow, maybe a bubble every 30 minutes.
I'm not panicking yet, but is this expected behaviour in mead? Or is
it more likely a sign of infection? Unfortunately I can't measure the
gravity as there's not enough height in the fermenter to use the
hydrometer properly….

If it is an infection, can it be treated with campden or something
like that, or should it just be drunk before it gets much worse? My
housemates have been clamouring for mead since I made it!



Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #1214, 13 September 2005
From: "Johnson, Carol (CCRF)" <>
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2005 07:19:29 -0500

Regarding adding sulfites etc.

This is my first post but I have been lurking for months and months. I
have to agree with some on the list who do not add sulfites. Commercial
wines give me a massive headache.

I make over 120 gals per year with a couple of friends. I am not
interested in competition just the look on someone's face after they
have tasted my mead. My friends and acquantenances love it – so I am
sticking to the formula I have used since 2001 which is:

Honey, brown sugar, powdered sugar, grapefruit juice, filtered water and
liquid sweet mead yeast. The only addition to my recipe has been
hibiscus flowers. It's a beautiful color and yummy. Oh and a little
pure lemon extract.

Anyways… I say do your own experimentation in one gallon batches until
you get the combination YOU enjoy most. I like to read about other's
recipes and comments but I have no intention of adopting anyone else's
methods when I am so pleased with my own. I like that I do not add
anything to the mix that I would consider an additive or chemical.

  • — Carol from Corpus Christi, TX


Subject: A few more sulfite comments
From: "J. Russ" <>
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2005 09:30:15 -0400

Charles Sifers wrote:

Here are a few links to sites that discuss the health effects of

Thanks for the links, Charles – very informative.

I've done a fair amount of research into sulfites and have written about
them several times in my monthly newsletter. I'd like to add a few comments
about sulfites that most people are unaware of:


  • – Sulfites are present in every fermented beverage. All meads, all wines,

and all beers contain sulfites. Is a common misperception that sulfites are
only present in grape wines. Every mead made by everyone reading this
contains sulfites. The reason commercial beers (for instance) do not have a
"contains sulfites" phrase on the label is because the level is below the
threshold required to label it.



  • – Many people who believe they are having a reaction to sulfites are

actually having a reaction to bio-amines. These are produced as a result of
malolactic fermentation which, of course, is common in commercial wines.
Since almost nobody knows what bio-amines are, this doesn't get the
attention (or blame) that sulfites do. It is often assumed that the
relatively high – compared to homemade wine/mead – level of sulfites are to
blame. Possible, but unlikely for most people. The reactions seem to be



  • – Sulfites WERE used in ancient times. The Romans and Egyptians used

them…see the link below. Not that this really matters, but I think it's


Here is another good link. It discusses not only sulfites, but some related

Sulfites get an undeserved bad name. For the vast majority of people, they
are not a problem when used in the small proportions that they are supposed
to be used in. Nonetheless, to any meadmaker who feels that sulfites (or
sorbate or any other chemical for that matter) are not needed – I encourage
them to leave the chemicals out. Why use them if you don't feel you need





Subject: Re: Different strains of yeast
From: Tim Bray <>
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2005 08:02:54 -0700

For a fun comparison of yeast strains on mead production, go here:

They liked the RC212 best; D47 didn't fare so well, although I know some
others like it a lot.

I'd love to see more of this kind of thing!


Albion, CA

Subject: Re: fruit presses
From: Dick Dunn <>
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2005 14:48:14 -0600 wrote:
(skipping the sulfite and HDPE stuff)

> Thinking of buying a press: instead of puttting whole fruits in mead to
> make melomels, I was considering using fruit juice instead. It works great
> with cyser, maybe it could work as well with peach, raspberry or other
> fruits and avoid the issue of separating the fruits from the mead later

> on.

I've tried it with some fruits, including raspberries which happen to work
very well. (We grow and sell raspberries, so that's particularly familiar

> 1) would the collective think that one may lose flavor or complexity doing
> this?

With raspberries, yes. It makes the melomel "softer" somehow, but also
simpler (less interesting character). I've conjectured that this is
because tannin that might otherwise be extracted with whole fruit is lost,
but I don't know that it's specifically tannin(s).

> 2) Is it actually possible to press peaches, raspberries or other fruits
> in a press, and separate the solids from the juice like you press grapes
> or does it clog the whole system and gives a bad yield and a mess? Where
> could I find a list of "pressable" fruits vs. those that don't work?

Some commercial operations will press apricots, peaches, etc. I've done
a little experimenting but haven't had much luck with those soft fruits.
For any fruit, there's an interaction between the type of press, the
character of the fruit, and how you mill it (if at all). For example,
grapes just get crushed, apples must be ground (chopped, shredded–
something on that order), pears somewhat like apples. Some berries
you can freeze; they'll release about half the juice when they're thawed
and then you press the rest of the juice out. Works with strawberries
but rather messy. Oh, and pears are a major mess to press if they're
fully-ripe or over-ripe.

No, I don't know of a list of pressable fruits…again, in part it depends
on the type of press.

Dick Dunn Hygiene, Colorado USA

Subject: RE: Dandelion Honey Source?
From: "Matthew Ransom" <>
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2005 17:13:37 -0500

I was looking at the Honey Locator and saw dandelion honey, but there was
no source listed 🙁

Does anyone hacve a source or have a favorite variety(s) of honey for meads?


Matthew in Lindale, TX

> Subject: Varietal honey locator
> From: "Eric Chumley" <>
> Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2005 08:53:03 -0500


> Are you all aware of the honey locator, which can help you find varietal
> honeys at <> ? Good

Subject: use of sulfites
From: Russ Riley <>
Date: Thu, 15 Sep 2005 07:06:50 -0700 (PDT)

I think one thing to consider as far as commercial
wineries using sulfites is that their products may not
be cared for quite as well as our home-produced
products. That is, by and large, my mead will not be
loaded onto a truck, transported to a warehouse (where
it will sit for a potentially long time), then
transported to a retail vendor (where it will sit for
a potentially long time, possibly in the sun), then
purchased and potentially not stored properly by a
consumer. All of this can happen to commercial wines,
and the wineries have to worry about that end-consumer
trying it and thinking that they don't like it very
much. Sulfites can help preserve a product against all
this. By contrast, my mead is made in my basement,
stord in basement, and consumed in my home (or nearby,
anyway). Much less abuse, much less need for
"protection". Having said that, there are still
benefits to using it and benefits to not using it, as
previously discussed in this digest.

I guess I just think that sulfites are used by
wineries as a business decision (to protect their
products and their brand) that will not harm their
end-product. I don't see that as a sign of them not
being quality craftsmen.


Subject: concord grape pyment
From: "eric" <>
Date: Thu, 15 Sep 2005 19:18:47 -0600

Hello all

I have access to lots of concord grapes and am planning on a basic pyment.
Plans are to juice the grapes, and add honey until the S.G. is around 1.095,
add yeast, see what happens. Any suggestions to help this along? Type of
yeast? (Lalvin brand seems to be easiest to obtain in my area). Currently I
have 1118, 1116, 1122, and D47 in the fridge.
I dont know much about why acids or tannins etc need to be added, so if it
will turn out "drinkable" without needing a course in chemistry, the more of
that stuff I can leave out, the better.



End of Mead Lover's Digest #1215