Mead Lover's Digest #1320 Tue 15 May 2007


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



Re: Sugar Shock (Mail Box)
< Need advise (=?iso-8859-1?q?Omar=20Hern=E1ndez=20Romero?=)
Sugar Shock (
Re: coconut mead (robert Moore)
Coagulating proteins (


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Subject: Re: Sugar Shock
From: Mail Box <>
Date: Sun, 06 May 2007 12:29:05 -0400

Subject: Sugar Shock


Date: Tue, 1 May 2007 12:53:14 EDT


> In the realm of the Mazer,
> * What is sugar shock?
> * What are ill effects of sugar shock on Mead?
> * Is there anything positive about sugar shock?


> Dick

I've seen the term used in two contexts.
In the first, it's the level of OG at which the must actually draws
moisture out of the yeast due to osmotic or hydrostatic pressure,
killing or at least hampering their reproduction and other metabolic
In the second, it's a type of environment which is foreign enough to
that in which the yeast was stepped up. For example a yeast starter
prepared in an environment of cane sugar, introduced into the much more
complex sugar environment of a honey must. In this case it it not
deadly to the yeast, but they do take some time to acclimate to their
new environment.
Caveat: I am no microbiologist. I merely play one when I'm making mead.

(Or should that be: But I had a glass of mead last night!) 🙂


Ken Taborek

Subject: Need advise
From: =?iso-8859-1?q?Omar=20Hern=E1ndez=20Romero?= <>
Date: Mon, 7 May 2007 17:48:25 -0500 (CDT)


I'm getting prepared for my next mead/wine making season – it's
currently too hot at my place so I'm waiting till June and the clouds
come so it gets cooler for my yeasts. In preparation to that, I'm
getting my supplies and planning my schedule. So, these are my

1. I bought some blueberry blossom honey – any suggestions for a mead
based on this? I'm trying to get the most of it in regards to flavor
and character, but I know that it may overload my mead, so I'm
wondering whether I should blend it.
I can blend it with the following:
a) clover
b) orange blossom
c) chamomille blossom
d) wildflower
e) dzildzilche (I've never tasted this one, actually)
Or, should I use this blueberry blossom honey for a melomel?
My goal is to have a semi-sweet, still mead, with alcohol content
somewhere about 9% – 11% (to match mi wife's liking).
I have the most common Lalvin yeasts available, as well as Red Star's
Montrachet and Premier Cuvee.

2. I avoid fermentation during these hot days – at least while I can
improve my home so it gets cooler; I know that high temperatures are
not so good for FERMENTING meads, wines and beers, but, what about
FERMENTED ones that are currently aging?
I have some wine and some mead that have finished fermentation and are
currently aging.
The temperature inside does not get above 25°C (77°F) where they are
aging, but I know I'm still far from the optimal temp for aging.

3. My first mead is now 1+ year old. I tasted it yesterday, and it's
getting better. It was VERY harsh and dry the first time I tasted it (8
month ago). It also lacked body. Today, it is not so harsh, it's
getting better, more palatable, although it still needs aging. In
regards to this, I have a couple of questions:

a) It has a nutty aftertaste – which I don't dislike, but it doesn't
agree with the flowery taste. I'm not sure whether it's because of
aging 'sur-lies' or because I used baker's yeast (I know, I know… it
was my first mead 'experiment'). It doesn't taste bready anymore. Is
there anything that I can do to soften this taste? I have got rid of
the yeast already (a very thin layer, though).

b) This mead lacks body. I think it will develop some more interesting
flavors (I tell you this based on the great improvement I just tasted),
but I don't think it will develop body. I'm planning to sweeten this
mead once it meets my taste requirements, but I'm not sure that the
sugar will add enough body. I was considering some gliceryne… any

4. Any ideas about using dry malt extract for providing residual
I want semisweet meads, but I'm still learning how to safely and
reliably finish fermentation, then sweeten when finshed… in the
meantime, I'm wondering if the non-fermentable sugars from DME can do
well in providing sweet taste. I've reviewed the MLD archives, but
found little useful information about the use of malt or malt extracts.
There are several braggot recipes, and many discussions about braggot,
but little information about what malt or malt extract can add to mead,
and how to use them wisely. Any hints about its use and how they would
change the mead's flavor/character would be welcome.


  • – In response to one previous question from Dick Adams, the temp range

at my city is:
Winter: 5° C min, 20° C max, outside
Spring: 10 °C min, 35° C max, outside
Summer: 10 °C min, 25° C max, outside (clouds do well in keeping things
Autum: 10 °C min, 25 °C max, outside


Thanks in advance, and best regards.

Omar Hernandez-Romero

Subject: Sugar Shock
Date: Tue, 08 May 2007 14:15:46 -0400

Question was:
In the realm of the Mazer,
* What is sugar shock?
* What are ill effects of sugar shock on Mead?
* Is there anything positive about sugar shock?

In my reading, sugar shock is an osmotic effect caused when yeast are added
to a high sugar must/wort at the start of fermentation. It likely bursts
the membrane of some yeast cells. For this reason, some people will start
their brews/fermentations with a lower sugar content and then add more honey
part way through the fermentation after some of the sugar is converted to
alcohol and the yeast has time to accommodate to a higher sugar environment.

The potential for "sugar shock" is particularly evident in starter batches.
Many people suggest that if yeast is initially being rehydrated or an
initial expansion is being conducted – that a diluted solution be used
instead of the full sugar content of the main fermentation.

The ill effects would be the killing some/many/all of the yeast, thus
either slowing fermentation or in worst case not having any viable yeast.

I have not heard anyone mention any positives about sugar shock, but I
suppose theoretically the Buffalo Theory of Cliff to Norm on the Cheers TV
program could come into effect. Paraphrasing, Cliff said that in a buffalo
herd, the slowest and weakest buffalo become stragglers and get killed off
first – thus improving the genetic makeup of the buffalo herd. Therefore,
beer is good for you because it kills off the slowest and weakest brain
cells – thus improving the overall quality and speed of the remaining
brain cells. And this is why you always feel smarter after drinking a
few beers. Similarly, I suppose sugar shock could kill off weak yeast
cells and allow the propagation of more sugar tolerant yeast.
Carl McMillin
Brecksville, OH

Subject: Re: coconut mead
From: robert Moore <>
Date: Tue, 08 May 2007 17:08:42 -0700

I have used canned coconut milk in several meads and also used fresh
coconut juice from young (white) coconuts. The canned stuff definitely
left an oil film on the top. Most of which was lost during careful
racking. I still can see it floating on top when I look into my glass.
Rancid? Luckily no. I never even gave that a though, and I am a chef!
My first batch 2003) was a tropical blend (pineapple, guava, mango,
papaya and coconut) using all juices and canned coconut milk (4 15oz
cans in 6 gallon batch.) I do not think the coco meat alone will impart
enough flavor without using a large (I like coconut) amount.

Do you live in Florida? I have n access to "green" coconut or sprout matter.

Subject: Coagulating proteins
Date: Wed, 9 May 2007 17:08:16 EDT

Pretending to being open-minded to the issue of boiling, I am wondering at
what temperature do the proteins in honey coagulate?

My honey gets flash pasteurized at 180F. Will proteins coagulate at
that temperature?

What is the protein content of honey?

Is there any evidence that honey that has been boiled will clear better
than honey that has been pasteurized?

Are there any textbooks on the chemistry of honey?

Someone once suggested that Mead makers came to Mead either from wine making
or beer brewing – and the latter thought boiling was a necessity. OTOH I
came from fermenting Maple Syrup – where boiling is unnecessary.


Richard D. Adams, CPA (retired)
Moderator: misc.taxes.moderated

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