Mead Lover's Digest #1451 Tue 8 December 2009

Mead Discussion Forum


re: Yeast (Vuarra)
Alternate Method for Handling Crystallized Honey (
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1450, 4 December 2009 ("Lane O. Locke")
Re: Long Island Meadery & aging meads (
crystallized honey ("Dennis Kennedy")
Re:crystalization (JOHN GRIMSHAW)
Re: Yeast (
Re: Re: MLD#1449, 26/11/09 – Crystallized Honey (mail-box)
fermentation times (Lauren Cohen)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1450, 4 December 2009 ("")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1450, 4 December 2009 (Len Wenzel)

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Subject: re:  Yeast
From: Vuarra <>
Date: Fri, 4 Dec 2009 08:55:40 -0800 (PST)

The only way to kill the yeast is to let it run out of food (dry out the
mead), or increase the alcohol content (yeasty suicide).

You could also try sulfiting when your mead has stopped fermenting, due
to cold, but some people have sensitivities to it, so I don't use it.


If you close your eyes and touch someone, you can't tell if they are black,
white, old, young, ugly or pretty so why should it matter when your eyes
are open?

Subject: Alternate Method for Handling Crystallized Honey
Date: Fri, 04 Dec 2009 13:28:41 -0500

Patrick has a 5 gallon pail of crystallized honey. All of the heating
methods people suggested will work well. However, I have simply handled
it by using a STRONG simple ice cream scoop (not one with the push hoop
release). I boil water with a part of a potassium metabisulfite tablet.
It only requires one per 20 gallons to eliminate the possibility of
chloramines – either added instead of chlorine by the water company or
formed by chlorine with any amino acids (proteins) in the water supply.
I take the water off the stove and scoop the honey into the hot water until
it meets my target specific gravity (usually 17.5% potential alcohol for
the alcohol tolerance of the yeast I use (about 13.5% alcohol) leaving the
desired amount of residual sweetness I enjoy (about 4% PA residual sugar).
You can get close with warm honey water, but make sure your final hydrometer
readings are cooled (e.g. ice bath) to about 68F or your readings will be
way off. The near boiling water will dissolve and sanitize the honey.
I have found that by the time I scoop and dissolve enough crystallized
honey for my target gravity, the water is still in the 160-180F range long
enough to kill extraneous bacteria/yeast. Then cool (water or water/ice
bath), put in carboy, add a drop of olive oil and/or oxygenate/stir and
pitch an active starter. If you know by experience that your honey will
need added nutrients or energizer (some honey does/some doesn't), they can
be added to the hot water. If you don't know, I tend to add them when the
fermentation slows down if needed – however make SURE they are dissolved
in a bit of water or experience has sadly shown me that the crystals will
provide you a "nice" fountain/vulcano effect by nucleating bubbles and
releasing all of the dissolved carbon dioxide at once.
Carl McMillin
Brecksville, OH

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1450, 4 December 2009
From: "Lane O. Locke" <>
Date: Fri, 4 Dec 2009 12:39:11 -0600

<ART Wrote:

<The other thing you should be aware of, is that if your bucket has a honey
<gate on it, every time I've done this, the gate has had a slow leak after I
<was done. I suspect the heat messes up the O-ring. (In the future I will
<keeping my honey in buckets w/o gates, except for possibly the bucket I'm
<working out of)

Try putting your honey gate on a bucket lid- that way you can switch it from
bucket to bucket.
Make a cradle to hold the bucket on its side with the lid end slightly
I would recommend using a ratcheting tie town strap around the lid to secure
it while it is on its side.

Lane O
AKA: The Great And Powerful Shaggyman

Subject: Re: Long Island Meadery & aging meads
Date: Fri, 04 Dec 2009 14:02:00 -0500

Paul gave us a detailed tour of his Long Island mobile "everything on wheels"
clean, stainless steel meadery and commiserated with him in that most of
his visitors have no idea of – what is this stuff called mead. We tasted
about a half dozen meads he had for sale, then he brought out another half
dozen for us to taste that were out of stock. I agree the Cyser was good.
In spite of the massive quantites of my mead I have at home, we brought home
a bottle pear mead and a raisin-clove mead. Off-line I was reminded that
B. Nektar mead from MI is also good, but I have only tasted two of them
and have yet to visit their Ferndale meadery (maybe this summer). I hope
to visit the Maxwell winery/meadery in Adelaide, Australia next month –
but I may be there at the same time as the pro bicycle Tour Down Under,
so I don't know what complications that might bring.

By the way, has anyone seen info on the aging of meads. I have only seen
one reference that said meads reach optimal drinking at 50 years – but
no data. I think this might be true for traditional meads and metheglins,
but I have found my melomels changing (sometimes improving, sometimes not)
after 3-6 years. A recent strawberry/cinnamon mead at 2-3 years became
a cinnamon/strawberry mead, but still very good, and a 6 year blackberry
lost/changed some aroma, and became softer. The fruity experience is to
be expected (from wine info), but I still haven't seen much on optimal
aging of traditional meads.
Carl McMillin
Brecksville, OH

Subject: crystallized honey
From: "Dennis Kennedy" <>
Date: Fri, 04 Dec 2009 16:03:56 -0500

No one completely answered Patrick St. Jean's question, and I am curious
about it, too. Can one use crystallized honey by just scraping it out
and using it by weight? If so, are there any pitfalls?

Subject: Dealing with crystallized honey
> > From: "Patrick St. Jean" <>
> > Date: Sat, 21 Nov 2009 05:33:31 -0600
> >
> > Hi everyone,
> > I've got a 5 gallon bucket (~60 pounds) of honey here which has
> > crystallized and I'm wondering if anyone has any tips on how to deal
> > with it. I'm probably going to break it down into 4 15 pound batches,
> > but it's going to be tough to dig it out the way it is. Can I just dig
> > out chunks and use them by weight or is there maybe a way to soften the
> > whole thing?
> >
> > Thanks!
> > Pat

Subject: Re:crystalization
Date: Fri, 4 Dec 2009 16:34:44 -0800 (PST)

For crystalized honey,contact your local beekeeper.

I'm a hobby beek and anyone who buys my honey;bears or pail,can bring it
back anytime and I'll stick it in my "hot box".Depending on the degree of
granulation,at 105 deg,a pail can take 2-3 days.

Many beekeepers will have a honey warmer made from an old fridge or
something with a light bulb,bathroom fan and thermostat.

Beware of band heaters,they can have hot spots.Prepare to stir.


Subject: Re: Yeast
Date: Sat, 5 Dec 2009 10:05:08 EST

Edward Verhagen
( wrote:

> > I use Lalvin EC-1118 yeast in my mead.
> > I have no problems with fermentation.
> > Does anyone know a natural way to kill off the yeast?
> > I use no chemicals and do not want a chemical to kill the yeast.
> > Would cold work, if so what temp. for how long?

The least expensive way is lower the temperature to near
freezing so that the yeast flocculate and the rack with the
cane above the sediment.

Another way is to rack into a kettle, heat the kettle to
74C (166F), and hold temperature between 72-76C (162F-172F)
for five minutes.

Also you could filter it.


Subject: Re: Re: MLD#1449, 26/11/09 - Crystallized Honey
From: mail-box <>
Date: Sat, 05 Dec 2009 18:29:36 -0500

Art (and a few others) wrote a great reply to the question of
re-liquefying crystallized honey. It made me think a bit… I
rearranged a few of Art's sentences to make my reply flow more logically.
> > Get a large pot – I use a porcelain water bath canning kettle – and put the
> > bucket in the pot w/ some sort of open spacer under it so as to keep it off
> > the bottom a little bit. Fill the pot w/ water to almost full, and put it
> > over low heat. I like to use the same propane burner that I do my fried
> > turkeys with, but you can use your stove as well…

A 5 gallon bucket will take a rather large kettle, but if you have one,
great. I use spare stove trivets to raise up pots I want to remove from
the heat a bit, a couple of these should work well as the spacer Art

> > As to breaking it up, I'd get some gallon jars from your local restaurant or
> > equivalent, and put it up as five 12 pound batches…

I break my 5 gallon pails down into 5 1 gallon water jugs, the kind that
also is used to hold milk. These are very thin walled, and so transfer
heat very well. When I'm going to make a batch of mead I just fill the
sink with hot water and let the jug sit in it while I do my other prep
work. This warms it to the point where it pours much easier than it
would have straight from my basement.

> > As the honey warms up, it will slowly melt back into a liquid, the magic
> > temperature is around 110-120*F or so.

This temperature is about what a sink full of hot water sits at. Once
that honey has liquefied it'll also be at the easy pouring temperature,
and this strikes me as the perfect opportunity to make a batch of mead.

Ken Taborek

Subject: fermentation times
From: Lauren Cohen <>
Date: Mon, 7 Dec 2009 10:54:23 -0500

Hey, everyone,

I started a few gallon batches of melomel and fruit wine over the
summer, and I was hoping someone could give me advice regarding
fermentation times. Right now, I have a buckwheat honey mead, a mixed
strawberry-raspberry wine, and a blackberry wine going. They were
started in that order, but it looks like the blackberry is already
done fermenting, with the buckwheat steadily chugging along, and the
mixed berry taking the longest.

Does anyone have any guidelines on how long it takes for various fruit
juices to ferment? Is there any way to tell other than by hydrometer
whether or not a wine or mead is ready to bottle (maybe by taste)?

Also, has anyone tried making cyser using cranberry honey (my next
project) before? What were the results?


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1450, 4 December 2009
From: "" <>
Date: Mon, 7 Dec 2009 17:19:41 GMT


The only way I have found to kill off yeast is by heat. Heating up

mead to 140 degrees and then cool it off again. There is some alcohol loss
this way but to use the cold only makes the yeast go dormant. It will
reactivate even after freezing. 40 degrees makes it go dormant and quit
fermenting. Either that or make some really strong mead with that EC118
yeast. I used it and then switched to KV116. I'm using more ale yeasts
now for the lower alcohol tolerance. Just remember if you get your ABV
too low, it won't keep in a bottle so shoot for at least 11% (for still
unpreserved meads) if you plan to store your mead for a while. One thing
though, that I haven't found, is a good yeast for meads that will allow
a residual sweetness without going hot (or high alcohol). Good Luck!

Corey Clemmons

Subject: Yeast
From: Edward Verhagen <>
Date: Fri, 27 Nov 2009 05:39:19 -0800 (PST)

I use Lavlin eec1118 yeast in my mead.
I have no problems with fermentation.
Does anyone know a natural way to kill off the yeast?
I use no chemicals and do not want a chemical to kill the yeast.
Would cold work, if so what temp. for how long?


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1450, 4 December 2009
From: Len Wenzel <>
Date: Mon, 07 Dec 2009 13:45:03 -0500

To get crystallized honey to melt, if its in a large container you might
try wrapping the container in a towel, and then putting a small electric
blanket around that set to low. In winter, or when temperatures are
cool, I find that this works well for me, both with crystalized honey,
and keeping fermentation going. I just check temperatures occasionally
to be sure they don't get too high, and kill off my yeast. Some of the
quickest fermentations I have ever had were when I used a heating
blanket. Before using the heating pad, I had fermentations that took
months, and weren't done. Now my fermentations are usually finished, or
close to finish in one or two weeks. The temperatures are key to using
this method, mine are usually around 68 t0 72 or so. (Beside the heat
controls I can get higher, or lower heat by using less, or more towels.)
I find this works for me.
Len Wenzel

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1451