Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1222, 16 October 2005

Mead Lover's Digest #1222 Wed 16 October 2005


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



Super krausen ("david.lane ")
Re: nitrogen/nutrients/go-ferm/fermaid K/fermentation (Randy Goldberg MD)
Re: Gluconic acid availability ("Dan McFeeley")
Gluconic acid and sourness ("William")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1221, 12 October 2005 (Spike)


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Subject: Super krausen
From: "david.lane " <>
Date: Wed, 12 Oct 2005 10:05:55 -0600

I've made meads with these yeasts:

WYeast Sweet Mead
White Labs Merlot
WYeast Eau de Vie
WYeast Rudesheimer
Nottingham Ale
Lalvin K1-V1116
Lalvin D-47

I never had what I would really call a krausen,
only an inch or two of active bubbles. At least
until the D-47…

Holy smokes. The 3 gallon batch in the 6.5 gallon
primary kept polluting the three piece airlock!

Now I'm curious if D-47 (fed periodically with DAP
and yeast hulls) might be the culprit, or is the
honey itself perhaps to blame, or maybe some celestial
alignment issues?

Anyway… I like the taste of the mead I've stolen
from that batch, so I suspect I'll use use D-46 again.
All in all, Lalvin yeast is just super. Has anyone
used the Lallemand 43 that seems to be an Eau de Vie


Subject: Re: nitrogen/nutrients/go-ferm/fermaid K/fermentation
From: Randy Goldberg MD <>
Date: Wed, 12 Oct 2005 12:44:52 -0400

On Wed, 12 Oct 2005 09:17:29 -0600 (MDT), wrote:
>=A0anyway, after 60 hours since pitching, the meads are bubbling out of the
>=A0airlock only once every 5 seconds or so and are not showing much foam on
>=A0top. =A0there are a few isolated colonies of yeast growing on top, and there
>=A0is some CO2 buildup but not the vigorous ferment i'm used to with past
>=A0meads and my beers. =A0while hydrating the yeast i noticed it was foaming a
>=A0little and could see CO2 bubbles near the top of my jar, so i thought the
>=A0yeast was good. =A0it just isn't very prolific.

Meads don't foam like beers/ales do, because there isn't enough protein to=
support the foam structure. Since I consider a ferment finished when the=
bubble cycle is more than 120 seconds, I'd say every 5 seconds is pretty=
good. Leave be.


Randy Goldberg MD
RandomTag: Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and=
good with catsup.

Subject: Re: Gluconic acid availability
From: "Dan McFeeley" <>
Date: Wed, 12 Oct 2005 11:17:49 -0500

On Fri, 7 Oct 2005, in MLD 1221, Erroll Ozgencil wrote:

>On 10/7/05, Dan McFeeley wrote:


>> Also — gluconic acid is the primary acid in honey, and the
>> flavor profile is going to be different from wines made from


>As far as I know, gluconic acid isn't available at retail the way
>citric, malic, and tartaric acid is. Is there something about it
>that makes it difficult or expensive to produce? Or is it just
>lack of demand? I always thought that if you wanted to add
>acid to your mead, gluconic would your first choice.

It might be more likely to find gluconic acid through industrial
retailers — it's not the kind of thing you'll find available through
winemaking outlets.

Following winemaking science, gluconic acid would seem to
be the logical choice for acid additives in meadmaking. Mead,
however, roughly follows enological principles but in many ways
shows itself to be something unique, apart from winemaking.
Acidic properties of honey and mead are one of those ways.

Briefly, acid content can be very critical in winemaking in order
to achieve balance and harmony of flavor profile. An acid
measurement and appropriate adjustment can make the difference
between a dull wine and a great wine. Mead is different. There
is a wide range of acid variations amongst varietal honeys, yet,
meadmakers have found that mead needs hardly any acid adjustments
at all, yet remains balanced, in spite of the variances among varietal
honeys. Acid adjustment can be critical for balance in winemaking;
in meadmaking acid functions primarily as a flavor additive.

Why is that? Gluconic acid is strikingly different from the organic
acids found in wine, i.e., tartaric, malic, and citric acid. It's a
combination of the organoleptic and chemical properties of gluconic
acid that makes the difference. How it works together with the
other flavor components of honey is *qualitatively* different from
the flavor profile of fruit.

Hope this is somewhat clarifying and not raising more questions
than it's answering.


Dan McFeeley

"Meon an phobail a thogail trid an chultur"
(The people's spirit is raised through culture)

Subject: Gluconic acid and sourness
From: "William" <>
Date: Wed, 12 Oct 2005 17:55:01 -0300

Hi all,

In response to Errol's question about gluconic acid, this acid is made
industrially in a scale of thousands of pounds per year by fungal,
electrolytic or chemical oxidation of glucose. One manufacturer is PMP

Another manufacturer, Purac, has an interesting literature regarding
sourness and sweetness

According to Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, when pure it is
crystalline solid. The commercial grade is a 50% solution in water, light
brown colour.

It is used in pharmaceutical and food products, cleaning and pickling
metals, sequestrant, cleansers for bottle washing, paint strippers, alkaline
derusters, and as as catalyst in textile printing.

It sounds as if experiments are in order. About using gluconic acid in
meads, if I were to use it, I'd put in the mead after the fermentation is
complete, as it is liable to be fermented away by the yeast. A sample of
gluconic acid I had ended up by developing an interesting fungal growth on
it. This tells me that the substance can be "digested" by yeasts.

Best regard to all

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1221, 12 October 2005
From: Spike <>
Date: Wed, 12 Oct 2005 08:38:24 -0700

Possibly cork taint? Statistically, 1-2% of the natural corks made
are "tainted" with a bacteria that can drastically change the taste of
the wine over time as it ages in the bottle. Of course, if you used
synthetic corks, this would not be the problem.

It would explain the mead getting worse with age. If this is what is
happening, maybe only some of your bottles are effected and the rest
are fine.



> Subject: Any Hope?
> From: "Randy Wallis" <>
> Date: Sun, 9 Oct 2005 22:31:09 -0400


> Two years ago, on the day my daughter got married I started a 5-gallon
> batch of peach melomel. My goal was to send her a bottle every year on her
> anniversary. The brewing was pretty much uneventful and straightforward;
> at no time did I notice any problems. After 8-months I bottled. A couple
> months after bottling we went on vacation with our daughter and son-in-law
> and I took along two bottles, one for all of us, and their first one for
> their anniversary a month later. The one we had on vacation was very good,
> it had a very mellow taste with just a hint of peach and we were all very
> excited about watching it improve with age. My daughter also said the one
> they had on there first anniversary was very good. Three weeks ago I sent
> them their second bottle. Saturday I called them to see how it was and by
> my daughter?s hesitation I could tell it was not going to be good news.
> She beat around the bush a little but finally just blurted out ?it was bad
> dad?. According to her it was very acidic and sour, so I pulled a bottle
> and opened it and sure enough there was a hint of vinegar in the smell, and
> what my daughter took for acid I could tell was a slight vinegar taste. I
> really don?t know how it happened because I am fanatical about sanitation
> on all my equipment and never touch my mead with anything that has not been
> sanitized, but I guess some how I got an infection. It has never happened
> before or since (I have made four batches since then and all are fine). So
> is there anyway possible to save this mead? If this was just normal mead I
> would just caulk it up to a learning experience, but seeing it was very
> special mead I would really like to salvage it or at least some of it. I
> told my daughter probably the easiest thing would just be for her and Chris
> to get divorced and remarried so we could give it another shot, but she did
> not really like that idea. So, are there any thoughts out there? Is there
> anybody out there who had this happen and had something work, or for that
> matter tried something that did not work so I can avoid that path? Also,
> since it is bottled and corked is it something that is going to keep going
> and get worst? Lastly, why did it taste good after 3-months in the bottle
> and bad after 18 and is there a chance that some of the bottles are not
> affected, could this be an infection that was in the bottles and not the
> mead? Back then friends would give me bottles and I would wait and wash and
> sanitize them before use. Now I give it a very good washing and strip the
> label when I first get it and then wash and sanitize before bottling. So,
> if there was a weak link in the chain two years ago it was the bottles.
> Thanks.


> Randy Wallis


End of Mead Lover's Digest #1222