Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1292, 7 December 2006

Mead Lover's Digest #1292 Thu 7 December 2006


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



Re: Braggot (Dick Dunn)
Re: milk, yeast (Dick Adams)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1291, 5 December 2006 ("Paul Shouse")
Thoughts on combining yeasts (Bobby Don Johnson)
Re: Milk Mead ("Spencer W. Thomas")
Mead yeast (
2007 Upper Mississippi Mash-Out ()
RE: Braggot ("Bill Pierce")
Re: MLD #1291, 5/12/06 (Arthur Torrey)
Braggot ("Robert Farrell")


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Subject: Re: Braggot
From: Dick Dunn <>
Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2006 23:23:37 -0700

"Paul Shouse" <> wrote:
> The question facing the would-be braggot maker is whether or not to crack the
> complex sugars in the honey using the diastatic enzymes in the malt. It's a
> clear choice to be made, and it's for you to make it as you see fit…

Diastatic enzymes convert starch to sugar, but there's essentially no
starch in honey.

Even considering complex sugars, there's hardly enough to matter. Most of
the sugar in honey is as dextrose and fructose, monosaccharides which are
completely fermentable. Of the remaining sugars, the bulk is maltose and
sucrose–disaccharides which are also fermentable because the yeast can
split them. There isn't enough unfermentable sugar in honey to bother
about, as you can realize by the fact that a mead with adequate nutrient
and a yeast that can tolerate the potential alcohol will "ferment out" to
completely dry.

Dick Dunn Hygiene, Colorado USA

Subject: Re: milk, yeast
From: (Dick Adams)
Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2006 01:50:51 -0500 (EST)

> I'm wanting to make a mead with milk (lactomel?) and I remember seeing a
> recipe on hear a while back. I don't mind winging it, but I am wondering
> about lactase, which I seem to recall was in the recipe. Is it necessary?
> splits lactose into galactose and glucose, right? why would one want that?


> also, in the last few batches of cider/beer/mead I've made, I've been adding
> a lot less yeast than a whole WYeast pack or White Labs vial or package
> of dry yeast. this has had the benefit of reducing the initial mess I've
> experienced previously as well as a small cost savings. apart from taking
> a bit longer to ferment, is there any reason adding a smaller amount of
> yeast would be a bad idea? thanks.

GotMead had a recipe for a lactomel, but it did not come up
on a search. Possibly in the reload stack.


Also Google, AltaVista, whatever on lactomel and see what you get.


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1291, 5 December 2006
From: "Paul Shouse" <>
Date: Wed, 06 Dec 2006 17:09:38 +0900 on Wednesday, December 6, 2006 at 1:52 PM +0000 wrote:

>Subject: milk, yeast
>From: circle mouse <>
>Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2006 16:08:21 -0800 (PST)



>hey gang,


>I'm wanting to make a mead with milk (lactomel?) and I remember seeing a
>recipe on hear a while back. I don't mind winging it, but I am wondering
>about lactase, which I seem to recall was in the recipe. Is it necessary?
>splits lactose into galactose and glucose, right? why would one want that?

Off the top of my head, I would say you need to split the lactose because yeast
are unable to metabolize it, but that many types of bacteria are able to.
Lactobacillus will produce lactic acid giving your mead a sour taste, others
will just ruin it. So, lactase might be a very good idea.

On the other hand, if you can control it, you could pitch a lactobacillius
yogurht or koumiss starter to give it a sour-creamy flavor. Sounds good
already! It might be best to turn the starter loose on the milk first,
pasturize it at an acceptible level of sourness, then add it to the must and
pitch your yeast. Good luck!


  • -Paul


Subject: Thoughts on combining yeasts
From: Bobby Don Johnson <>
Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2006 01:26:09 -0800 (PST)

Does anyone have any thoughts on combining yeasts. I was thinking of
combining Lalvin's RC212 and 71-B, mainly just as an experiment. But I
thought I'd better get some feedback before I wasted money on honey and
wine for a pyment. I don't know if the yeasts will fight for dominance
or work together, giving the mead the best of both. Any thoughts would
be appreciated. bdjwayne

Subject: Re: Milk Mead
From: "Spencer W. Thomas" <>
Date: Wed, 06 Dec 2006 10:09:22 -0500

An old post may be of help here. From the MLD #48:

Date: 1 Dec 1992 09:48:30 -0500
From: "Daniel F McConnell" <Daniel.F.McConnell`at`>
Subject: milk and honey

Subject: Time:9:45 AM
OFFICE MEMO milk and honey Date:12/1/92

Whilst researching a talk on the making of mead for the Third Annual Taste of
The Great Lakes Regional Homebrew Conference, I came upon a number of
references to "milk and honey", including Biblical as in "the land of…."
Anyway, during a sleepless night (due to a 2 month-old daughter) I had an
inspiration. Were these guys talking about fermenting the stuff??? Sure
enough the next thing I knew (4AM) I was gently heating a gallon of whole milk
containing 2.5 lb of honey (no acid this time, I was afraid it would curdle the
milk). Fermentation proceeded well, except for lots of some cheesy floating
material. Racking produced a revelation…this stuff tastes like sweetened
Devon cream! No sour-milk taste at all. Now the questions. What is this? Is
this a Metheglin? Has anyone else tried something similar? Would this be good
on Wheaties?

Subject: Mead yeast
Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2006 10:16:43 EST

I have been making traditional or wine mead. I have previously used bread
yeast without difficulty, however I have recently purchased some wine yeast.
Does anyone have any experience keeping a yeast culture for future use? I
have seen some comments about using the must for culture. I had a friend who
kept a culture of yeast in her freezer for yogurt and when her yogurt would
become contaminated she would restart a batch.
I was thinking that if I used a meadium, yeast, yeast nutrient and made a
batch that had a lot of activity, then froze some of it into an ice cube tray,
then I could use an ice cube to restart a batch.
It is worth a try, however I wanted to see if anyone else had tried
something similar?

Subject: 2007 Upper Mississippi Mash-Out
From: <>
Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2006 15:08:36 -0600

Meadmakers get their own best-of-show wooden chalice at the Mash-Out,
Jan. 26-27 in St. Paul, Minnesota. One of the larger homebrew contests
in the country, the Upper Mississippi Mash-Out provides prizes along
with every medal. There also is a separate BOS chalice for cidermakers.
Special categories include first-time entrants and the infamous "Eis
Anything" category. Entries are due Jan. 1 to 13. The contest is
sponsored by the St. Paul Homebrewers Club and the Minnesota Home
Brewers Assn. Check out all the details on the Website at:

Paul Dienhart

Subject: RE: Braggot
From: "Bill Pierce" <>
Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2006 18:16:56 -0500

With all due respect to Paul Shouse's advice in MLD #1291 regarding
the source of malt sugars in braggot, I would beg to differ with him
on one point. There is no requirement for enzymes in the
fermentation of honey. Honey contains no starches that need to be
converted to sugars, and the vast majority of sugars in honey are
easily fermented by the yeast, which accounts for the very high
attenuation achieved in meadmaking.

I would agree with Paul's caution about not steeping base malts. He
is indeed correct that steeping does a very poor job of converting
starches (almost all of the starches in base malt are unconverted),
and steeping of these malts can result in a number of potential
clarity and sanitation issues. On the other hand, many specialty
malts such as caramel/crystal and roast malts contain almost no
starches; these can be steeped successfully to extract color and

As for the larger question of whether to mash the malt used in
braggot or use malt extract, that is entirely up to the
brewer/meadmaker. I have made braggot very successfully (sufficient
to win the best of show award at a relatively small competition)
using fresh extract; I have also mashed pale malt. My recipe uses
50 percent pale malt/50 percent honey (by weight). The wort is
bittered to about 12 IBUs (just slightly higher than American light
lagers) and the honey is added at the end of the boil prior to
chilling. The recommended yeast is a fruity ale strain (Wyeast
1318). The target O.G. is 1.063 and the F.G. is 1.008. It is
carbonated to about 3.0 volumes of CO2 (a little more than many
beers but less so than most sparkling meads). I would characterize
the result as being more like honey ale than mead, but it has a pale
straw color, is light in body and has discernable honey notes in the
aroma. As with mead, it does an excellent job of hiding its alcohol
content and is very drinkable.

Bill Pierce
Cellar Door Homebrewery
Burlington, Ontario

Subject: Re: MLD #1291, 5/12/06
From: Arthur Torrey <>
Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2006 19:36:37 -0500

On Wednesday 06 December 2006 00:52, wrote:
> Mead Lover's Digest #1291 5 December 2006

Ken, I would agree with you that this is a "kit beer" recipe, and is probably
based on the good old "KISS" principle. – But I've never been seriously
tempted by all grain brewing by the very nature of the extra equipment needed
and the complex time and temp. procedures involved. Seemed like way to much
fiddling about. OTOH, I found it perfectly easy to use the "kit" and didn't
need any extra equipment beyond what came in my initial brewing kit setup and
the big spaghetti pot I already had for normal cooking.

Because of going to a low-carb diet, I no longer drink beer, so I don't make
it any more, but I liked the results, and I got lots of nice comments every
time I shared some. Far as I'm concerned, that's good enough, and anyone
telling me that I'm "doing it wrong" because I don't follow some particular
process is getting into "religious argument" territory.

I have had recipes on other kits that said to hold at a certain temperature –
I found them to be a real PITA, as I had to constantly monitor the brew
temperature instead of just setting the kitchen timer and going off to surf
until I needed to do something else. In addition, the time lag when trying
to hold a particular temperature with a three gallon pot of must on a normal,
underpowered kitchen stove is also a challenge. (If I were brewing today,
I'd use the burner from my turkey frying setup which is a more appropriate

I don't have the reference handy, but I once saw an article in a brewing
magazine that talked about the ongoing 'religious debate' between the "all
grain" and "extract" brewers. They compiled the contest results of the major
beer judging events of the previous year, and found that there wasn't a
significant difference in the number of prizes won by the two groups. Their
conclusion was that it was equally possible to make great beer either way.
Indeed the recipe I was using was allegedly a contest winner.

So at the bottom line, it looks to me like someone who uses a complex method
to make good brew telling someone who makes good brew with a simple method
that he is "doing it wrong" – Sounds to me like a "religious argument" <grin>


> Subject: Re: Boiling Braggots
> From: Mail Box <>
> Date: Sun, 26 Nov 2006 17:01:07 -0500


> > From: Arthur Torrey <>


> [snipped]


> > I stand mildly corrected… I made my earlier post from memory, but now
> > that you mention it, I just checked the instructions for a couple of my
> > kits. Both said crush the grains and put them in a brewpot w/ 2 gallons
> > of cold water, bring to a boil, then let steep. So the grains only got
> > boiled for a minute or two at most, and mostly weren't on the bottom of
> > the pot to get burned.
<more snip>
> > Whether this is the "right" way to do it or not, it works. Seems to me
> > like one of those "religious argument" topics like the use of sulfites
> > and how much / if one should heat honey…

> >

> > ART


> ART,


> It looks to me more like a beginners kit instruction than a position in
> a "religious argument" topic. A lot of beginners kits try to make
> things as easy as is possible for the neophyte brewer, to avoid
> frustrating him/her and driving off a potential revenue stream.
> Steeping instructions that tell the beginner to bring the grains to a
> boil avoid that whole fussy "have to have a thermometer, and *gasp* know
> how to read one" issue that comes with a more prudent instruction to
> bring the water to a certain temperature and hold it there for some
> number of minutes. After all, even the most under equipped kitchen has
> one tool for determining when water is boiling. ;-P.


> Cheers and Happy Holidays,
> Ken


I'm not an expert on this, nor do I feel like murdering my poor yeasty
critters, as I'd rather let them die happy from over indulging…. <GRIN>
I understand what Mike is wanting to do, and it does make sense for a
commercial setup like his, but I'm not sure it's worth it for me (also sounds
like a nuisance when working with homebrew qty's)

It sounds to me like what Mike is trying to do is balance several conflicting
curves, all dealing with time and temperature.

On one side you have the mead, which we probably all agree will degrade in
quality if heated excessively. "Excessive" is a fuzzy term however, as you
need to define BOTH how hot, and how long it stays at that temperature. The
shorter the time, the higher the temperature you can get away with, and the
steeper the temperature change is, the longer you can stay at a high temp.

Likewise, killing yeast depends on time and temperature, Once you get above
the point where they start to die, the question becomes how fast they will
die. The higher the temperature, the less time is needed to kill them. I
would guess that having a fast change in the temp would also help here, the
same way that diving into a pool of cold water stresses us more abruptly than
easing into it.

The %alcohol will have an impact on the shape of this curve, presumably
because the alcohol is already putting the yeast under some level of stress.
Since you only want to kill the buggers off when you are at the finished
point, you really only need to worry about the time / temp curve for that
point, but I'm not sure what it would be.

Thus the curves go in opposite directions and in order to get good results you
need to find a temperature point where the time needed to kill the yeast is
less than the time it will take to cause noticeable degradation of the mead

I haven't anything like the data I would expect Mike to have, but his number
feels about right to me. I suspect that trying to heat the mead to a lower
temperature would make you need a dwell time that was long enough to hurt the
mead quality.

> Subject: Heating Mead to kill the yeast
> From: (Dick Adams)
> Date: Sun, 26 Nov 2006 18:25:24 -0500 (EST)


> At rec.crafts.meadmaking, Mike Faul of Rabbit's Foot Meadery
> posted an idea running a Mead through two chiller coils. The
> first coil sits in boiling water while the second one sits in
> an ice batch. Using an inline thermometer and a bypass valve
> at the output of the first coil and a flow control valve at
> the output of the second coil, the objective is to hold the
> temperature of the first output at about 160-180 for 'n'
> seconds and have it kill all the yeast. He then estimates
> that 170F (76.7C) for 10 secs should be sufficient.


> Everything Mike has suggested has improved the quality and
> efficiency of my meadmaking.


> My only problem with this idea is that I have a electric stove
> that takes 34 minutes to bring 3 gallons of water to a boil.
> So I'm searching for the low end temperature of the yeast
> fatality scale as well as the associated holding time. Does
> anyone know where to find it.


> notes:
> "Temperature control is very important during fermentation.
> Yeast is a living organism, and will die if too stressed.
> Both alcohol and temperature stress it. With no alcohol
> around, it won't die until about 40 &degC. At 14% alcohol,
> it will die at 33 &degC, and at 25 &degC if in 20% alcohol."


> 40 dC = 104 dF and that seems outrageously low! I may have
> been a typo because I recall reading (but don't recall where)
> that yeast dies at 140 dF (60 dC). Can anyone verify this?


> Dick



I think that MAY have been me, and I will give you fair warning that I was not
real impressed by the results. While some of the problem may have been due
to my procedure, I felt the brew that I ended up with wasn't good enough to
justify trying to do a repeat.

The recipe I used came in part from "The Alaskan Bootlegger's Bible" by Leon
Kania, ISBN 0-9674524-0-6. The book is worthwhile IMHO, it has some decent
stuff in it, and it's got a lot of humor. Coverage runs the full gamut of
brewables, including distilled beverages (with emphasis that it is a "how to"
book, not a "must do" book) and has a lot of advice on making your own gear,
whether because you are poor or just to far from a good brew supply shop.

The book recipe was:
2 QT commercial lactose free milk
2 lb cane sugar, corn syrup or honey
2 QT water
Champagne Yeast, although can use bakers yeast as well. (he generally says
bakers yeast will work for most recipes)

1. Mix the sweetener and water, if you boil, allow to cool to room temp so as
not to scald the milk
2. Add milk, pitch yeast. Use a fermentation lock, and a bucket style
fermenter, NOT a carboy! Ferment at ~70*F
3. In ~ seven days you will get three layers – a curd or cottage cheese layer
on top, a clear layer in the center (the whey), and a yogurt like layer on
the bottom.
4. Rack by straining through a cheesecloth lined colander to separate the
solids from the whey.
5. Put the whey in a secondary fermenter and treat like any other wine / mead.
6. You will get approx 1 QT curds / gallon. The curds are edible and
wholesome, but high alcohol ("will hammer you into the ground like a tent
peg") if you don't want to go on a cheese bender, then rinse and strain.

They also had a couple other variants on the theme, buy the book as I don't
want to infringe his copyright that much.

As to the lactase, or use of Lactaid type milk (the stuff made for lactose
intolerant folks) the idea is that yeast can't handle lactose, it's a
non-fermentable sugar. It needs to be broken down so that the yeast can
ferment it.


In terms of your question about using less than a full package of yeast. This
is something you can get away with sometimes, but it is a risky idea.

When you mix up a batch of must, you are creating a culture medium that just
about every kind of bacteria, mold and wild yeast will thrive in and love.
In fact I can just about guarantee that even if you don't add ANY yeast,
SOMETHING will be fermenting in your must within 72 hours! Most of those
somethings are critters that will at best make lousy mead, and many will just
spoil it.

The idea when brewing is to pitch a high enough number of the desired brand of
yeast cells that they will have a head start on out competing and crowding
out all the other critters. Most commercial yeasts are even bred to have a
mild anti-biotic effect on any strain other than themselves.

The size of the package you get at the brew shop is basically the MINIMUM you
want to pitch in a five gallon batch. If you pitch less, then you run the
risk of having some other undesirable critter getting ahead of, or at least
significantly competing with your yeast. Some folks even use TWO packages,
especially if the package is getting towards it's "sell by" date, or they
have other reason to suspect that the yeast might not be real high grade.

The only time I'd even consider pitching less than a package is if I was doing
a small batch (say a gallon).

Even then, it's debateable wisdom. A second factor is that the inside of
those packets generally have some kind of special environmental control
(atmosphere, humidity, etc.) that you will change by opening the package.
The yeast makers also go to great lengths to make sure their strains are pure
and there is no contamination in the package. This would cause me to worry
about how well the yeast would keep after opening, and to worry about getting
cross contaminated with undesirable bugs.

Yeast is cheap compared to the cost of all the other ingredients, not to
mention your labor – don't try to cheap out on the process. The only way I'd
consider not using an entire package in a batch was if I had several small
batches of must ready at the same time (but less than five gallons total), in
which case I might share the packet across all of them, rather than putting
an entire packet in each.

The mess is far more a question of technique than it is of how much yeast you
pitch. To avoid the mess problem,

1. Make sure you leave enough head room (at least a couple inches! between the
top of the liquid and the top of the fermenter.

2. Consider using a "blowoff tube" instead of a fermentation lock. This
alternative style of fermentation lock reduces the chance of a clogged lock.
To make a blowoff tube, just substitute a 2-3' piece of plastic tubing for
the lock. Put the other end into an empty wine or soda bottle (pref 1.5L or
better) that is half full of water, making sure the end is under the surface.

Hope this helps,



> Subject: milk, yeast
> From: circle mouse <>
> Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2006 16:08:21 -0800 (PST)


> hey gang,


> I'm wanting to make a mead with milk (lactomel?) and I remember seeing a
> recipe on hear a while back. I don't mind winging it, but I am wondering
> about lactase, which I seem to recall was in the recipe. Is it necessary?
> splits lactose into galactose and glucose, right? why would one want that?


> also, in the last few batches of cider/beer/mead I've made, I've been
> adding a lot less yeast than a whole WYeast pack or White Labs vial or
> package of dry yeast. this has had the benefit of reducing the initial
> mess I've experienced previously as well as a small cost savings. apart
> from taking a bit longer to ferment, is there any reason adding a smaller
> amount of yeast would be a bad idea? thanks.


> tel

Subject: Braggot
From: "Robert Farrell" <>
Date: Wed, 06 Dec 2006 18:43:54 -0800

A friend and I made a braggot in November, 2002 using the following general

Made an "Imperial Brown Porter" with a gravity about 1.080. We used dry malt
extract as the base. Cold steeped specialty grains were added for additional
color and complexity. We purposely underhopped–believed we used Goldings
from Yakima, Washington. It was an approximately 3 gallon batch in a 5
gallon carboy. We used Wyeast 1968 for fermentation.

A second 5 gallon carboy was used to ferment the honey. As I recall, the OG
was about 3 gallons with a gravity of 1.084. It was fermented with Wyeast
Chablis yeast.

Once primary fermentation was complete, we transferred to a 6 gallon carboy
and fermentation began again.

After fermentation was complete, we transferred to a 5 gallon carboy. It
was racked again and eventually bottled about one year after the initial

It may not have been textbook technique but we have been very pleased with
the results. Our only regret was that we promised so much of it to friends.

Bob Farrell
Portland, OR

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1292