Mead Lover's Digest #1446 Mon 19 October 2009

Mead Discussion Forum


Re: Potassium Hydroxide (KOH) ("Dan McFeeley")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1445, 13 October 2009 (
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1442, 19 September 2009 (
Re: wildflower mead (
Re: prickly pear (Rebecca Sobol)

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Subject: Re: Potassium Hydroxide (KOH)
From: "Dan McFeeley" <>
Date: Wed, 14 Oct 2009 10:38:55 -0500

On Thu, 1 Oct 2009, in MLD 1445, Mike
Faul responded:

>> >> At the AHA meeting this year, Kristen
>> >> England, Ph.D. presented the results
>> >> of his work using Potassium Hydroxide
>> >> (KOH) to keep the pH of Mead above
>> >> 3.3 and, thus, decreasing the amount
>> >> needed for aging.
> >
> > Wel after almost 15 years of commercial mead
> > making I simply do not understand the need
> > for adding ANY chemicals with the exception
> > of nitrogen (DAP)

I would agree with Mike in principle, but add
that research of this type, in one way or another,
will still advance knowledge of the science of
honey fermentation.

In a lot of ways, this is an echo of the methods
and approach to meadmaking first advanced
by the late Dr. Roger Morse in the 1960's.
He had already made a study in the 1950's of
the use of nutrients in honey fermentation for
his Master's degree at Cornell university, pH
control was studied by both Dr. Morse and
Dr. Steinkraus during the 1960's.

The method does work, Morse and Steinkraus
reported 2 week fermentation periods and that
would certainly help with the aging process,
since cleaner meads with no little or no off
flavors would need less aging.

It's also reflective of an older collective
mindset in meadmaking — the idea that
honey as a medium for fermentation is
inferior to the wine grape, and needs
extra "control" in order to complete the
fermentation successfully.

This is the sort of situation where the
questions posed, and how they are
posed, determines the answer. Although
honey is often lacking in sufficient nutrients,
minerals, and buffering agents, the black/white,
either/or, all or nothing way in which this is
described is what points to an earlier mindset.
In other words, honey is a poor medium
for fermentation, period, a conclusion that
distorts the character of honey as being
hugely variable in basic content and flavors.

Many winemakers are taking the approach of
looking at the fermentation as a living process,
something you don't stand in the way of, but
aid as little as possible, only enough to ensure
good results and no more. Over control
doesn't work here.

It is also more of an artisan's approach, since
the meadmaker has to have an almost intuitive
grasp of the fermentation properties of varietal
honeys, and how best to work with them.

Dan McFeeley

"Meon an phobail a thogail trid an chultur"
(The people's spirit is raised through culture)

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1445, 13 October 2009
Date: Wed, 14 Oct 2009 14:40:38 -0500

> > Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1444, 7 October 2009
> > From: Scoville Steve <>
> > Date: Wed, 7 Oct 2009 15:13:53 -0500
> >
> > A friend sent me some prickly pear tuna (fruits) any one know how to
> > process them into a mead?
> >
> > Do mead makers usually resort to commercially available juice?
> >
> > Thanks,
> >
> > The Earl

I peel them, put the fruit in a grain bag, then boil for about 30
minutes in part of my water I will use for the batch. The boiling gets
rid of the goopy texture, but if you boil it too long (Charlie
suggests 45 minutes, I believe) all that beautiful magenta color drops
out and it turns a golden yellow. Actually, some of the tunas are
golden to start with, but I used the red both times. This is about the
only occasion I would add fruit to the primary (just juice at this
point, get rid of the bag of mush), but it retained so much flavor and
aroma I was amazed. Using the juice may be difficult to get and loads
more expensive. We have lots of Mexican markets out here in Colorado,
so they are easy to come by. I got mine at the flea market, actually!
Batch 3 of the prickly pear begins next month. Best of luck with yours!

Deborah "Queen Bee" Lee

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1442, 19 September 2009
Date: Wed, 14 Oct 2009 14:50:12 -0500

> > Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1441, 8 September 2009
> > From: Nathan Boettcher <>
> > Date: Mon, 14 Sep 2009 21:36:09 -0700
> >
> > So here comes the question. I tasted at the initial racking and it
> > tasted great! The mead had a 12% by volume which was good…higher
> > than I had expected. It wasn't very clear. After the bottling, I
> > tasted it and it had a vinegry taste to it. It was clearer and was
> > 12.5% by volume.
> >
> > Question: Why did it end up with such a vinegry taste??
> >
> >
> > Best Regards,
> >
> > – -Nathan

Sorry for the delayed response, Nathan. My question to you would be
what are you putting in your airlock? Not water, I hope! Fruit flies
will swim right through it and turn anything into vinegar! Fortunately
this has never happened to me, but when I got the heads up on this I
made sure all my airlocks are now filled with StarSan. I'm amazed at
the number of dead fruit flies that get stuck in them and die, and
shudder to think of what a loss it would be if any of my 30 ±
carboys were to be left unprotected. You can also use vodka or
Everclear; I don't know if sodium metabisulphate works or not, but
with athsma I really have no love of the stuff.


Deborah "Queen Bee" Lee

Subject: Re: wildflower mead
Date: Thu, 15 Oct 2009 01:41:15 EDT

_insnekamkze86@aol.com_ ( wrote:

> > Hello there i am going to be brewing a batch of mead soon and was
> > wondering if you could give me your thought about it. The batch is
> > a six gallon batch with wildflower honey, heather tips, rose hips,
> > and jupiter berries or cloves. Also was wanting to infuse the flavor
> > of cherry in with it as well.
> >
> > This is what im going to be making and was wondering what you thought
> > of it and also any advise about it, such as the herbs or spices or
> > usage of cherries. Thank you

For the cherries, use actual cherry juice. If you use cherry extract, you
will cherry in the aroma, but not in the flavor (or is it the other way
around?). 😉

Best regards,


Richard D. Adams, CPA

Subject: Re: prickly pear
From: Rebecca Sobol <>
Date: Thu, 15 Oct 2009 17:20:21 -0600

On Tue, 13 Oct 2009 19:37:01 -0600 (MDT) wrote:

> > Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1444, 7 October 2009
> > From: Scoville Steve <>
> > Date: Wed, 7 Oct 2009 15:13:53 -0500
> >
> > A friend sent me some prickly pear tuna (fruits) any one know how to
> > process them into a mead?

If you have a juicer, then juice them. You can also freeze the juice
for later.

> >
> > Do mead makers usually resort to commercially available juice?

For our pomegranate mead we used commercially available juice. Some
fruits we juice ourselves (peaches, tuna, etc.), we've used pitted
frozen cherries. Depends on what's available. It's all good.


Rebecca Sobol Boulder, CO

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1446