Mead Lover's Digest #1316 Fri 20 April 2007


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



Re: Berry types for mead? (Dick Dunn) #1315, (Alida Dunning)
Re: Stopping fermentation ("Dan McFeeley")
Response and Question…. (Dana Acker)
Re: autolysis off-flavor (Mail Box)
71B-1122 (Ken Schramm)


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Subject: Re: Berry types for mead? (Dick Dunn) #1315,
From: Alida Dunning <>
Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2007 01:00:28 -0800

Don't forget fruits other than berries. Apples, crabapples and rhubarb are
easy to grow and make great mead. Our local meadery makes a "highly
quaffable" blackberry-blueberry.
I agree that freezing brings out the flavor in strawberries. A buddy and I
made a batch using strawberries and cherries. We boiled the thawed, crushed
fruit with the honey and water for a few minutes and then strained it all
through a wire mesh strainer. This removed most of the fruit pulp ahead of
time. The pulp I made into a pie.
Alida, Homer Alaska.

Subject: Re: Stopping fermentation
From: "Dan McFeeley" <>
Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2007 07:59:37 -0500

On Sat, 14 Apr 2007, in MLD 1315, Dick Dunn replied
(in part) as follows:

> >The nature of pasteurizing is that you can vary the temperature
> >you use (as long as it's high enough) against the time you hold
> >that temperature. The two "rule of thumb" points are that 20
> >minutes at 140 F, or just reaching 160 F (no extended time
> >required), are sufficient. For more details, look into
> >"pasteurization units"–PU's. (Note: the time/temp
> >relationship is severely nonlinear.)

> >

> >Secondly, the goal in stabilizing the mead is NOT pasteurizing it!
> >All you're trying to do is kill the yeast. Yeast are far more vulnerable
> >to heat than are bacteria. I doubt that you'd even need to reach
> >140 for an instant to do the job, but I don't have reliable info here.

Classic pasteurization is bringing the temperature to 150 F and holding
for 15 minutes. That's all you need. Honey itself is remarkable clean,
in terms of sanitation. You can keep it on the shelf at room temperature,
consume it right away, and there's no risk of bacterial contamination.

Below is an old post I made to the Mead Lover's Digest, giving the
information on heat and temperature needed to kill yeast. As you
can see, it doesn't take much at all to kill off the wild yeasts present
in honey, and even then, these are not active yeasts. The only yeasts
that can survive in honey are osmophilic yeasts, and these are in spore
form. They only become active once the honey is diluted to above
18% water content. They become inactive at honey must levels
because they are likely imported from flower nectar, and are not
adapted to function at the osmotic pressure found at honey must


  • — Dan M.


Subject: Heating the Honey Must
From: Dan McFeeley <>
Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 11:54:48 -0600

There has been discussion in the past on the virtues of boiling or heating
the honey must on this list, and I thought some information from John
White's chapter on honey in _The Hive and the Honey Bee_ (Dadant
Publication, 1975) might be helpful.

>From what I can see, the benefits of boiling the honey must are meads
that clear more easily due to the denaturing of the proteins that cause
haze. The scum that comes to the surface can be skimmed, resulting in
a cleaner must. The disadvantages are an alteration of the flavor of
the mead from the high temperatures used in order to boil the must, and
a driving off of the volatile components that add bouquet and the more
delicate honey flavors to the mead.

John White cited research (in The Hive and the Honey Bee) by G. F.
Townsend published in 1939 examining variations in temperature and
time needed to kill off five vegetative forms of wild yeasts found in
honey (at 18.6 % moisture). White drew up a table which was
calculated from the data in Townsend's article. This is the table
(p. 513) below:

Time at Indicated Temperature Temperature
470 min 123 F
170 130
60 135
22 140
7.5 145
2.8** 150
1.0** 155


** Extrapolated from logarithmic curve constructed from Townsend's data

White suggests heating honey at 140 F for 30 minutes in order to eliminate
wild yeasts in the honey that cause fermentation, should the moisture level
rise high enough to allow the yeasts to stir from their inactive state. For
anyone who is interested, this is the citation for Townsend's article:

Townsend, G. F. 1939. "Time and Temperature in Relation to the
Destruction of Sugar Tolerant Yeasts in Honey." J. Econ.
Entomol. 32:650-654.



Dan McFeeley

Subject: Response and Question....
From: Dana Acker <>
Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2007 06:30:50 -0700 (PDT)

Subject: (no subject)
Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2007 14:37:10 EDT

> > Here's my issue on this though. Is there a way to get the
> > same result without the sulfites. I'm allergic!!

I've got 4 6 gallon carboys going at various stages. The ph range from
about 3.3 to 3.6. My intentions are to filter the mead down to a .5 micron
and not use sulfites (or any other chemicals). Anyone have thoughts on the
use of filtration vs sulfites?



In our winery we filter sweet wines through two filters on the way to the bottling line. We go through .45 micron filter pads in a plate and frame
filter, then through a .45 micron membrane cartridge filter. The filter
pads are nominal filtration and serve as a pre-filter. The membrane is
absolute filtration and filters down to the bacterial level–its bad for
business if bottles start popping corks or exploding. We also use sulfites
and on occasion sorbates if we feel it is warranted. Again as it is a
commercial product we do a lot of extra measures. Of course the wine has
gone through multiple filtrations before we take it through the .45's.


That said, before I knew what I was doing, I used to make Dandelion
wine and mead, ignorantly breaking every law of God and man when it comes
to winemaking/meadmaking and it still turned out pretty good. No chemical
additives and no filtration, and no overt sanitation efforts, other than
just washing my hands, vessels and utensils like I would the evening dishes.
I used bread yeast not even knowing that there were special yeasts good
for wine, mead or beer, and somehow all came out all right–probably falls
under the God looks out for children and fools catagory. The end product
was consumed pretty soon after bottling–which was with washed out (only)
wine bottles with used corks just jammed in the bottle top. Some of
the mead was kept up to a year without pushing up the cork or exploding,
and at the time went down pretty good. I still stand humbled and amazed.


That's not to say that going the extra mile is not warranted, becauseI've seen some disastrous results take place with the best of practices
and methodologies employed. I think that's why Charlie Papazian reminds
us all not to worry. Do as much as you can to make a good product and pay
attention to what everyone posts here. Even if something someone posts
doesn't apply to your particular problem, you never know when it might
just come in handy and save the day. But I digress….


As to the filter question, where can one purchase a home meadmaking
level filter that can get down to the .5 micron level? My filters at the
winery are really too large for small batches. I've found a miniature
plate and frame filter with its own pump for several hundred dollars, but
again its not going to get down to the sterile filtration level. I think I
remember reading that a 1 micron filter will get out most yeasts which could
cause problems both with spontaneous fermentations and interfere with taste.


In small batches we can heat our small test (five gallon) fermenting
musts, but on a larger one it is a lot more difficult. With most of the
commercial yeasts we use, must temps reaching 105 degrees F will kill
the yeast. Usually we have to use chilling to keep the musts from taking
off like rockets and getting way too hot, but we're talking large volumes.
Never had a small volume batch get overheated. But if you don't want to
use sorbates or sulfites, heating is the way to go.



Subject: Re: autolysis off-flavor
From: Mail Box <>
Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2007 16:39:54 -0400

From: dan

Date: Sat, 14 Apr 2007 15:03:41 -0400


> A variation on this theme: If I rack off at, say, 30 days
> and a little bubbling is still present at 60 days, should
> I rack again? I suppose this is a probability question:
> is leaving the modicum of remaining yeast in place a
> greater or lesser hazard than the risk of picking up
> some mold or the like. After all, real wineries never
> expose anything to air when racking kettle to kettle
> and, well, I do — like it or not.

> > – –dan

The purpose of racking is to leave either the gross lees behind, or the
lees which have dropped out of suspension after the first racking.
Gross lees is a term which applies well to wine making, but not so much
for mead making. With much home mead making there are no gross lees
(for example a pyment made with grape juice). With a large remaining
proportion there are vastly reduced gross lees (for example a 5 gallon
batch made with 5 lbs of blueberries kept in a fine nylon bag). So the
initial racking for most meads is to remove as much yeast as is
practical. Racking before fermentation has completed defeats this
purpose. The activity of fermentation keeps the dead yeast in
suspension and prevents flocculation. So my suggestion would be that
there is no purpose in racking at 30 days or 60 days if fermentation is
still continuing. Ensure a rapid and healthy fermentation by pitching
an active starter into a properly aerated and nutritious must within the
gravity tolerance of your yeast strain, and you should not have
fermentation continuing at 30 days, and certainly not at 60 days.

Racking before fermentation has completed only makes further racking
necessary in the future as fermentation ceases and the remaining yeast
is now able to settle. This increases the number of times you will be
exposing your mead to oxygen during racking. When you do rack, limit
your exposure to oxygen and bacteria by sulfiting and proper topping of
your secondaries.


Subject: 71B-1122
From: Ken Schramm <>
Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2007 19:23:28 -0400

I am very curious about the alcohol levels (18%?) that I have seen
attributed to 71B-1122 here. I have done repeated batches with that
strain, with residual sugar left at the end of the fermentation, and
nutrified to the point where they could have gone on longer had the
yeast been able to tolerate the yeast, and they have all stopped
around 14.5% ETOH. I had the levels tested at NYSAES on one of those
meads. It came in right on the money.

If you want 1122 to end sweet, start with a gravity over 1.140,
nutrify properly, and it should stop at 14.5% pretty consistently.


End of Mead Lover