Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1287, 5 November 2006

Mead Lover's Digest #1287 Sun 5 November 2006


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



Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1286, 31 October 2006 (
Yeast question – repost (=?iso-8859-1?q?Omar=20Hern=E1ndez=20Romero?=)
Meady Comments from a New-Bee ("Prutzman, Christy L SPC NGMO")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1286, 31 October 2006 ("Dennis Key")
racking intervals ("Chuck")
Re: Jim and Morisa Racking (Dick Adams)
Pina Colada Mead (Dick Adams)
Meadllennium 2007 ("Meadllennium Team")
lazy mans braggot ? ("John P. Looney")


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Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1286, 31 October 2006
Date: Tue, 31 Oct 2006 11:56:26 EST

Greetings Kinsman,
I think you will find that concerns on leaving your mead on the trub (guck
on the bottom of carboys, yeast solids) is overstated it takes several years
for autoalysis (Dan back me up on that, that's the word right). It stands to
reason that there is probably other things going on if you had left it to
long on the trub, its a bitter taste that comes up (from the B complex vitamins
and others that the yeast is so rich in) not a sour taste. If all else fails
bottle it and stash it some were out of the way, and open a bottle once a
year to check it out. It happens that time cures a lot of ills. (we are talking
a couple of years for yuck to yum)
My boss (you know she who must be obeyed) always called my Mythoglyn's
tennis shoe mead during their youth. Whenever she gets a bottle that's aged
enough you have to be a very good friend before she'll let you have any. The
difference is that marked.
I always recommend the famous advice of Saint Papasan (spelling?) "relax
have a home brew". Start a new batch! Good advice for us folks making mead also.
Dutch Carpender

Subject: Yeast question - repost
From: =?iso-8859-1?q?Omar=20Hern=E1ndez=20Romero?= <>
Date: Tue, 31 Oct 2006 11:06:26 -0600 (CST)


I'm a Mexican electronics engineer, interested in making wine and mead.
I have done some experiments to get experience, and want to start
"getting serious" in mead and winemaking.

I read some time ago (maybe 6 months, although I could find the same
page three months ago) a webpage in which someone rated several yeast
strains with grades going from 0 to 5. I cannot find that page anymore.
I remember that some Lalvin yeast were rated as good, namely K1-1116
and D-47.
Do you know where I can find that information? Besides the practical
ratings, that page had many details about the fermentation
characteristics of the yeast under evaluation.

I have another question: I do not have access to homebrewing/winemaking
supplies here in México; buying on line from USA stores is somewhat
expensive (due to shipping costs) and risky (goods may be
stuck/confiscated in customs). I went to the USA two months ago, and
bought some ingredients, but not all of the ones that would be
considered essential… like yeast nutrient.
I've used some ammonium and magnesium sulfate (a drop of a saturated
solution of each component for 2 liters of must), Is this OK?
Also, I read that yeast hulls are good nutrient… I do have access to
bakers yeast, and can also recover the lees from previous batches. How
can I condition these yeast as yeast nutrient? (I assume that I should
kill the bakers yeast with hot water…)

Thanks for your response.
Best regards.

Omar Hernández Romero

Subject: Meady Comments from a New-Bee
From: "Prutzman, Christy L SPC NGMO" <>
Date: Tue, 31 Oct 2006 12:04:22 -0600

Hallo to all,

I'm brand new to the mead-making adventure and thought I'd say "hiyas."
Thought everyone might enjoy some comments on the process from a

After much researching and tasting of a few commercial meads (it's hard to
find a "real" commercial mead!), I ordered some equipment, bought a bucket of
amazingly delicious dark tree honey from a local beekeeper (doesn't have the
spicy aftertaste of clover….I'd consider this stuff to be almost the
molasses of the honey world), and started a batch. I used a recipe from Dave
<> 's Mead Made Easy
page…the traditional mead. It seemed easy enough. So I follow directions
and go to pitch my yeast (I decided to use a White Labs ready-to-pitch fresh
yeast) and found that, after several hours, nothing was happening! My
yeast…was….DEAD! *GASP!*

Okay, well I had thought that might be the case….it was a warm day when my
packages were delivered and the cold-pack wasn't cold when I opened it. But
this concerns me…what if all the yeasties I bought are dead in the other
packages? Well, can't find out unless I try another one.

So I rummage through the fridge and find another pack of yeast. Wyeast sweet
mead yeast. I know that there have been mixed reviews on this yeast, but I
figure I'll give it a shot. I activate it and pitch it in. Gravity's a
little high too, so I add some H2O to bring it to 1.120 or whatever it ought
to be (I did write all this down, but I'm at work so I can't check my notes).
I put on and airlock and let it go.

Next morning….surprise! Big ol' mess! I should have put on a water-trap
to start. It's really going now. Blew off the airlock. Must is EVERYWHERE!
So I clean up the sticky-yummy-smelling-mess. I put on the water trap and
sit on the floor for a half hour watching it bubble and pop like crazy. The
entertainment value of this stuff has just gone up, in my opinion. Too fun!
🙂 And I haven't even tasted anything yet!

So now it's going on 4 weeks later. There is about 2 inches of sediment on
the bottom of the carboy and the color has lightened considerably. The mead
now a beautiful amber color and I can tell it's already clarifying a little.
Things have slowed down in the fermentation department. I put on the
airlock, and it bubbles occasionally. The only way I can really tell
anything is going on is by looking at the itty-bitty bubbles at the top of
the bottle….they're coming up like almost-flat soda. I suppose it'll be
another month or so before I can rack it.

I'm getting more and more excited about this stuff, and wondering how it'll
taste when all the yeasties have dies out. Also, wondering if I should prime
it with champagne yeast before bottling to get those yummy bubbles, or if it
will make my mead too dry…? Anyone have advice on this matter?



Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1286, 31 October 2006
From: "Dennis Key" <>
Date: Tue, 31 Oct 2006 11:40:54 -0700


Subject: racking intervals
From: "Rick" =


Date: Sat, 21 Oct 2006 22:31:47 -0500


I need a rule of thumb to know how often to rack. My first mead is
beautiful, clear, bubbly, and tastes somewhat sour. I think I let it
sit on the lees too long. It probably sat in the carboy 3 months
between rackings(4 rackings total). I was very busy with school and
work. How long is long enough, so that I know that I'm not too early,
but not so long as to ruin the taste?




It's hard to make a rule of thumb. I rack the first time after the

initial burst of fermentation calms down to a few bubbles per minute.
My usual mead making technique is to add more honey (about 1/4 cup per
gallon–see Duncan & Acton's Mead Making) with each racking until
fermentation stops. During this phase, I just rack whenever the bubbles
slow down to a crawl. After fermentation stops, I watch for a film of
sediment on the bottom and rack to a clean carboy. When it's all clear
and no sediment settles out for about a month, I add a touch of
potassium sorbate to keep fermentation from restarting after it's
bottled (this happens all too frequently).


I am usually going for a semisweet, high-alcohol aperitif or dessert

still mead. I control the alcohol content by using a yeast that has the
alcohol tolerance level I want to achieve. Champaign and Cuvee yeasts
run 18-20%. Others can be as low as 7%. Discuss this with your
supplier. If you are going for a dry mead, you can control the alcohol
by how much honey you use. Take an initial specific gravity and
potential alcohol level then a final reading to get your approximate
alcohol content. With practice, you won't need to rely on these
readings so much. If you want a dry sparkling mead, treat it like beer
(kinda'). i.e., run it to completion, rack a couple of times adding
about 1 1/2 Tbs of corn sugar per gallon to the last racking and bottle
immediately using crown caps, bale caps or Champaign bottles with corks
wired down. The carbonation will come from in-bottle fermentation.


So, the bottom line answer to when to rack is, "It depends!" (on what

you want to achieve).


P.S. It may be sour because it has no residual sugar left. A couple

of years aging should smooth that out.


Dione Greywolfe AKA Dennis Key


Subject: racking intervals
From: "Chuck" <>
Date: Tue, 31 Oct 2006 13:08:45 -0600

In MLD #1386, "Rick" <>

>I need a rule of thumb to know how often to rack. My first mead is
>beautiful, clear, bubbly, and tastes somewhat sour. I think I let it
>sit on the lees too long. It probably sat in the carboy 3 months
>between rackings(4 rackings total). I was very busy with school and
>work. How long is long enough, so that I know that I'm not too early,
>but not so long as to ruin the taste?

Three months on the lees would not change the taste any. What is more likely
is that you mead is fermented out to total dryness.

What I would (and have done in the past) is rack one more time, then add
some additional honey. If you have a 5-gallon carboy full of mead, I'd add
about a pound. Stir it gently in (the end of a poly long-handled spoon works
well) and then watch it. If it starts to ferment, after a couple of days,
well then wait for it to complete fermenting. If it doesn't ferment, then
taste it. I believe you'll find that the little bit of additional honey will
take the sour edge off and greatly improve the flavor.


Chuck Wettergreen

Subject: Re: Jim and Morisa Racking
From: (Dick Adams)
Date: Tue, 31 Oct 2006 20:47:14 -0500 (EST)

"Jim Fleming" <>

> Dan… (and the rest of the Group too)


> We thank you very much for your encouragement…


> We're going to commit yet another cardinal sin….


> We intend to use about 15 lbs of commercial, processed generic honey
> to start our next batch of mead…

I use only Dutch Gold Honey ( I do not
know how much more commercial you can get.

> We're not going to concern ourselves (this time) with all the
> possibilities and such of all of the various possibilites of Orange
> Blossom, Heather, Clover, or what ever kind of flavors of honey there
> are…


> We simply want good, sweet, plain mead. Something alcoholic, and at
> the time nicely sweet, almost dessert wine sweet…


> We probably could get what we're looking for simply by mixing the
> proper proportions of Everclear, water and Honey… But we'd prefer
> to make it with yeast for a start… LOL!!!

Correct me if I am wrong, but Everclear is 95% ABV. So do not use
Everclear until your Mead has completely aged. I suggest you make
a 5-gal batch using EC-1118 or K1V-1116 and Fermax yeast nutrient.

> <wink! wink! at the shudders of the mead makers that're out there!>

I shudder not. But Everclear is overkill.


Subject: Pina Colada Mead
From: (Dick Adams)
Date: Thu, 2 Nov 2006 19:37:20 -0500 (EST)

I recently tasted a Coconut Mead where the Coconut was too
overwhelming. After being diluted with a dry Clover Mead,
it was very good. I have a pint of Coconut extract in a
cabinet and can get a few ounces of Pineapple extract from
the store. I can also buy a Coconut and a Pineapple. But
I am clueless as to how much of what to use and when to add


The use of extracts is higher on my list hoping the Pineapple
extract will not be as acidic as Pineapple. My child bride
favors the use of extracts because I can siphon off a several
8 oz samples and test with them.

But the question is: Does anyone have any insights into this?


Subject: Meadllennium 2007
From: "Meadllennium Team" <>
Date: Fri, 3 Nov 2006 17:57:59 -0500

MEADLLENNIUM 2007 is scheduled for 27 January 2007. This is a BJCP/AHA
registered competition, and will be held at the University of Central
Florida wine tasting lab in Orlando, FL. This is the first announcement – a
second reminder announcement will be sent out in late December.

MEADLLENNIUM is one of the nation's premier, MEAD-ONLY competitions, and one
of just five MEAD-ONLY competitions in the USA. We are the longest-running,
and for many years, the largest. We began in 1998 and have been raising the
bar for mead competitions ever since. 2007 will be no different!!!

This is a MEAD-ONLY competition. Entries should be categorized following the
2004 AHA/BJCP ( style guidelines for
categories 24, 25 and 26. Categories may be combined in the event an
insufficient number of entries are received. Recently, we have not had to do
this. In fact, in the past, we have expanded categories, and in 2007, we
expect to do the same. We have ordered enough medals to award 1st, 2nd and
3rd place for all nine AHA/BJCP categories, PLUS expanding category 25C
(Other Fruit Melomel) to offer 1st, 2nd and 3rd place medals for Dry,
Semi-Sweet and Sweet meads in this category.

New for MEADLLENNIUM 2007, we will be adding a special category – Historical
Mead. For the meadmaker that prefers to use ancient techniques, methods and
recipes, this category is for you. One 1st, 2nd and 3rd place medal will be
awarded in 2007, but if this proves to be workable, and a popular category,
we could expand it in the future. All the details for this new category are
now being finalized, and will be posted to the Meadllennium web site very

Electronic entry is back, and will be activated at the end of the year. With
electronic entry mistakes are minimized while registering your mead and you
can use PayPal to pay for your entries. Paper registration and bottle labels
are also available in two formats (Word and PDF).

Everything you need to know about MEADLLENNIUM 2007, and more, can be found
at our website:

Howard Curran
Organizer – Meadllennium 2007

Subject: lazy mans braggot ?
From: "John P. Looney" <>
Date: Sun, 5 Nov 2006 15:21:48 +0000

Hey, I got into mead because I loved mead making, and the equipment needs
were lower than beer making (and the wife would kill me if I started boiling
grain in the kitchen & made the place smell like James' Gate[0].

I'd love to have a go at making a braggot, but I'm not quite sure how I can
go about it, without making up a hopper and the like. Can I just add a
pre-hopped "spraymalt" to the honey/water mixture ? Will that be most of the
flavour of a braggot, without the effort ? I think that's what Dave mentions
on the 'extra recipes' area of the Mead Made Easy booklet. If you think
it'll be much poorer than something made with a hopper etc. I do know a guy
who does it, so I might call down to him & see how he does it…


[0] If you've ever been downwind of the Guinness headquarters in Dublin,
when they put on a brew, you'd know all about it.

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1287