Mead Lover's Digest #1421 Sat 2 May 2009

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


Orange spiced mead questions (
Apple Jack and dry meads by more yeast (
Re: Lilac in mead (Rebecca Sobol)
Re: Apple cider for cyser? (Marc Shapiro)
Question about "drying" mead (Ian)

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Subject: Orange spiced mead questions
Date: Mon, 27 Apr 2009 09:47:04 -0400

Mike made a very dry orange spiced mead using zest from both orange and
lemon and also added spices and commented that the mead tasted chemical,
astringent and acidic.?

My comment back to him was that it was most likely more astringent than
acidic and that the dryness of the mead made this more apparent.? I
suggested tasting small samples with increasing amounts of sugar/honey.?
Often a little sweeter mead hides some faults.? I was so convinced that it
was the astringency, and not residual acidity that Mike was tasting that I
suggested even adding a small amount of acid blend to small samples of the
"sweetened" mead and he might be surprised that the acidity (with the added sweetness)
might even help cover up the astringency he was tasting.? (It might also
make it worse, so only try on small samples)

Mike further asked if he had used a yeast that finished earlier, and made
the mead sweeter, would the amount of orange/lemon zest and juice been fine?

Again, I think it is the astringency that you obtained from both the zest
and the spices ? coupled with a dry mead ? that gave you the chemical
tastes you noted.? Some people specifically add orange/lemon/lime juice to
their mead so they do not need to add those ?nasty chemical acids? to
their naturally made mead – like malic acid (the primary acid found in
apples).? The juices have acids in them that help give a dry finish to
a sweet mead that woul d otherwise taste like cough syrup.

Both the zest and many spices (but not all spices) give astringency to the
mead.? In straight honey meads, a little grape tannin or tannic acid for
astringency adds complexity and life to meads.? Note I said a little,
because only about 5% of the acids being tannic acid works and too much
makes the mead taste astringent.? So, I don?t know whether your level of
zest and spices would have been too high for a sweeter mead, but my guess
is that it still would have been too astringent ? but not too acidic.?
Overall, if you are adding additional spices, try cutting down on the
zest and increasing the juice for your flavors.? Without the spices,
you can stand more zest ? but it is still easy to overdo the zest,
as I have found out.

Carl McMillin, Brecksville, OH

Subject: Apple Jack and dry meads by more yeast
Date: Mon, 27 Apr 2009 10:02:54 -0400

Daniel Wright asked some questions:

Optimal light and temperature for his plastic bucket?

Light ? most meads don?t have hops that make for skunky beer after exposure
to UV light, but I would not tempt fates by strong light.? Temperature
depends on the yeast used, but lower temperatures generally give fewer
off flavors when the mead ferments ? as long as it is high enough to keep
happy the yeast that you are using. Plastic bucket OK for short times,
but anything over 3-6 months, I prefer less permeable glass.?

Can you just add a bit more yeast to make a less sweet mead?? NO!!!?
It is the strain of yeast, not the amount.? Remember that the Vikings
used a ?MAGIC PADDLE? to stir their mead and it would come out OK.?
Obviously only a trace of yeast left in the grain of the wood is enough
to start the culture.?

Can you make the equivalent of apple jack by freezing and removing the
water.? Of course you can ? just don?t tell anyone because it is illegal.?
Although you can legally make 50 gallons per year (100 gallons/couple)
of beer or mead, the first drop of concentrated beverage, by any means
including freezing, is illegal.

Carl McMillin
Brecksville, OH

Subject: Re: Lilac in mead
From: Rebecca Sobol <>
Date: Mon, 27 Apr 2009 09:24:28 -0600

On Sun, 26 Apr 2009 16:47:31 -0600 (MDT) wrote:

> > Subject: Lilac in mead
> > From: Scoville Steve <>
> > Date: Wed, 22 Apr 2009 12:41:33 -0500
> >
> > Mead folk,
> >
> > Can anyone provide advice on the use of Lilac in mead?

We made a lilac mead and it was wonderful. Not too dry and gently
sparkling. You will want the flowers. I'm sure what variety of lilac
we used, but it hadn't been sprayed with bug spray, ever.

We made a tea with the lilac flowers and add that to a plain mead
during racking. Red Star Pasteur Champagne yeast. You can find our
notes here.

Unicorn Unchained Meadery

Rebecca Sobol Boulder, CO

Subject: Re: Apple cider for cyser?
From: Marc Shapiro <>
Date: Mon, 27 Apr 2009 21:13:43 -0700

> > From: Mike Jansen <>
> > Date: Wed, 22 Apr 2009 13:38:59 -0400
> >
> > I have a *really* small experimental batch (1 qt) of mead that just stopped
> > fermenting recently that was all cider (no water) and 1 lb of honey. The
> > cider (I forget the brand, I bought it at WalMart!) was 100% cider,
> > pasteurized, may have had ascorbic acid if I'm remembering correctly. I
> > even used WalMart honey.
> >
> > My only ingredients were 1 qt cider, 1 lb clover honey, cinnamon stick and
> > whole clove (when I simmered the cider), Red Star dry wine yeast, and yeast
> > nutrient (1/4 tsp added at beginning and another 1/4 tsp when I racked to
> > secondary).

Add a thin slice of fresh ginger root, and only about half of the honey
(2 lbs/gal of must) and you'll have my standard cyser. Definitely worth
keeping, drinking and replicating. I also usually go for frozen
concentrate. Some day, I may get enough apples off the tree in my
backyard to make a small batch from my own juice, except that I don't
have a crusher, or cider press.

Marc Shapiro

Subject: Question about "drying" mead
From: Ian <>
Date: Wed, 29 Apr 2009 12:39:16 -0400 (EDT)

I have a friend who made a request for a bone dry blueberry mead.

So, I made up a batch using 2.0 lb of Clover honey, a bottle of Trader Joes
Blueberry Juice and White Labs Dry Mead yeast with enough water to make
1 gallon.

I also made a batch using the same recipe, but White Labs Sweet Mead Yeast.

Final SG of the Dry batch was around 0.998, don't recall what the sweet
batch was, not much higher, maybe 1.004.

There was a noticible flavor difference between the batches, as would be
expected. However, my friend stated she would like it even dryer.

So, my question is:
* What can I do to the existing batch to "dry" it out?
* Since it is fully attenuated, it isn't an issue of residual sugar, so
would a different yeast give a drier flavor? (I plan on trying to make
another batch for her) If so, what would you recommend?

My first thought was to make a strong rose petal tea and blend some of
that in small quantities to avoid diluting the alcohol content. I have
found Rose Petals create a (to me) dry, almost dusty, mouthfeel when I
have used it my meads.

But I am curious to see if there are other solutions out there.


End of Mead Lover's Digest #1421