Mead Lover's Digest #1518 Tue 29 March 2011

Mead Discussion Forum


Problems in ferment? ("M. Graham Clark")
Re: One Gallon Batches ("Dave Polaschek")
Re: One Gallon Batches (Chazzone)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1517, 25 March 2011 (Steven Buczkowski)
Re: One Gallon Batches (Erroll Ozgencil)
Re: One Gallon Batches (Dick Dunn)

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Subject: Problems in ferment?
From: "M. Graham Clark" <>
Date: Fri, 25 Mar 2011 12:13:46 -0300

I am having some problems with a few batches of mead I have on the go and
thought that maybe the more experienced can help. I have three batches I
started around the same time last October (one 5Gal and two 1Gal). I
started them about a week apart. When I last tasted/took a gravity reading
was in early February. They had all stopped fermenting (no activity or
change in gravity since the last reading a month earlier). They all tasted
of slightly of burnt rubber. The 5Gal is a Melo-meth (Cran-apple spice),
the smaller batches are a maple blueberry wine and a traditional mead, so
the only common ingredient is yeast and water. I can not figure out what is
causing this taste, however the other day I was moving the traditional out
of the way so I could get to a Stout I had ageing behind it and noticed a
sort of shimmery something just below the surface. I am anal with
sanitation, and my beer does not suffer from any contamination. Could it be
my water? I am on a well, but it is not hard. I rent, so I do not know
exactly what is going on with my water, but I get good suds in the shower
and my beer tastes great. I use a slightly greater then 1% solution of
sulpher dioxide as my sterilizer, and as I said I am anal with cleaning my
carboys before sterilizing. The fements were all healthy and relatively
quick, except the traditional mead (which I have written off, yet still cant
bring myself to toss it). I used champagne yeast for all three. If anyone
wants more details, I try to keep good notes. However, I am fairly new to
meads so I am always learning more about what I should actually be putting
in my notes, normally in hindsight. The ferment temperature was around
20-21C (68-70F).

Thanks in advance,

M. Graham Clark

Subject: Re: One Gallon Batches
From: "Dave Polaschek" <>
Date: Fri, 25 Mar 2011 14:43:42 -0500 (CDT)

Dick Adams wrote:

> > If you use 2 packets (10g)of yeast in a 5 gal batch,
> > will 2 grams of yeast in a 1 gal batch be appropriate?
I generally use a whole 5g packet of yeast. It's wasteful perhaps, but I
never have a problem with a fermentation that's slow to start.

> > Any ideas on what to do for ph in a 1 gal batch?
Leave it be? I tend to make cysers in 1 gallon batches, and have never
needed to adjust the pH. is my base
recipe for one-gallon batches and has produced good results every time but
one, and that was due to bad sanitation. But then I haven't used citrus
juices, so I've probably avoided getting too acidic.

> > For clarification, I'm going to use Bentonite.
I've also found little need to use anything to clarify the mead. There's
usually a temperature swing at some point that will cause the mead to
clear overnight.

> > I nice thing about 1 gal batches is you can pick'em up
> > and shake then the first few days.
Eek? I wouldn't ever intentionally shake the mead while it's fermenting.
Aerate it enough before you start, and then just let it sit, preferably
wrapped in a blanket, because with only one gallon of liquid, you have a
smaller thermal mass, and it can undergo fairly large temperature swings
if it's not insulated.

Rack once into a secondary when the vigorous fermentation has finished,
and then bottle when it's dropped clear. If it doesn't clear on its own,
put it in the basement without a blanket, and the cooler temps will
usually convince it to clear, at least in my experience.

  • -DaveP

Subject: Re: One Gallon Batches
From: Chazzone <>
Date: Fri, 25 Mar 2011 19:19:36 -0400

There are a lot of different variables to consider, in varying the
amount of yeast used. I always use as big a starter as I can, which
results in a fast start, and virtually no chance of a stuck
fermentation. On the other hand, using a small amount of yeast can
open the door to a greater chance of stuck fermentation, but may allow
for the yeast to develop different flavor characteristics.

I'm also a baker, and when I make a bread with a commercial yeast, I
tend to use the smallest amount of yeast initially. Then allow for
longer proofing, which tends to result in better/more complex flavor
for the finished loaf.

Conversely, I usually make sourdough, which means I'm using a "big
starter", but with the advantage of the yeast (along with the
lactobacillus and acetobacter) having had the time to develop more
character, which translates to better tasting bread.

The commonality is letting the yeast take time to mature.

Mead making has the added threat of contamination, which is why I go
with a big, pre-made starter, and will typically dump a new batch
right on the lees of a compatible mead that I have just taken off the
primary. I've poured a small batch right into a 6 gallon carboy w/
about a gallon of lees from the previous big batch, and had excellent

The bottom line is that the exact amount of yeast used is not crucial,
as long as you take into account the variables.

As for pH, depending on the method that you use to test and correct, I
don't see why it is any harder to figure that amount of acid/base for
a 1 gallon batch, than a 5 or 500.

As an aside, I usually pick up and shake my 6 gallon carboys, too.
But then, I build things out of stone and other heavy stuff for a
living, so a 55lb carboy is no big deal.

  • -zz

From: Vuarra <>
Date: Fri, 25 Mar 2011 16:42:02 -0700 (PDT)

>> >>If you use 2 packets (10g)of yeast in a 5 gal batch, will 2 grams of yeast in
>> >>a 1 gal batch be appropriate?
When I brew beer, I buy 50g of yeast at a time and pitch it all. Come to think
of it, I get the same weight packages when I ferment grape must.

There's no reason not to pitch one 5g pack in ~4-5 litres. You won't have to
worry about storing open packages of yeast, and the cell count will almost
guarantee no infections.


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1517, 25 March 2011
From: Steven Buczkowski <>
Date: Fri, 25 Mar 2011 21:27:15 -0400

On Fri, Mar 25, 2011 at 10:40 AM, <> wrote:
> > Subject: One Gallon Batches
> > From:
> > Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2011 22:21:10 EDT
> >
I have been averse to one gallon batches for a few
> > reasons, e.g., measuring out the appropriate amount
> > of yeast, maintaining the pH level, and clarifying.
> >
> > The bulk of my mead making over the last few years has been 1 gal. batches
and I would say : don't sweat the small stuff 🙂
In general, I find that whether I'm doing 1 gal, 3 or 5, everything just
scales linearly but it's pretty flexible.

> > If you use 2 packets (10g)of yeast in a 5 gal batch,
> > will 2 grams of yeast in a 1 gal batch be appropriate?
> >
> > I've done that, measuring out the 'right' amount. I've used as little as
1/5 a package of D-47. Worked fine.
I've even thrown an entire packet into a gallon. Haven't noticed a
difference in any case.

> > Any ideas on what to do for ph in a 1 gal batch?
> >
> > I don't make a huge effort to measure pH at this point but I commonly throw
in a half-dozen craisins and/or as much as a 1/4cup OJ or
lemon juice and haven't had any issues that I can attribute to the practice.
I don't know that it is helping me but it also doesn't seem to hurt.

> > For clarification, I'm going to use Bentonite.
> >
I used Bentonite to clarify a couple of 1 gal batches. 1/2tsp in 1/8cup
water (which I think is just 1/5 the Bentonite recommendation for
a 5 gallon batch?). It worked fine but the additional racking I had to do to
eliminate all the sediment resulted in much larger proportional transfer
losses which I had to make up with water. I pretty much just let time and
gravity take their course now.

> > I nice thing about 1 gal batches is you can pick'em up
> > and shake then the first few days.
> >
> > This is definitely true. 🙂
Steven Buczkowski
Physicist, Photographer, Mead maker

Subject: Re: One Gallon Batches
From: Erroll Ozgencil <>
Date: Sun, 27 Mar 2011 10:47:25 -0700

On Fri, Mar 25, 2011 at 7:40 AM, <> wrote:

>> > > If you use 2 packets (10g)of yeast in a 5 gal batch,
>> > > will 2 grams of yeast in a 1 gal batch be appropriate?
It makes sense that you could scale down like that, but the usual advice is
to use 1 packet in anything up to 5 gallons. Not sure of the reason. It
might be that people giving that advice assume that hobbyists can't
accurately measure to the gram or that opened packets don't keep well (so no
point in saving the rest).

>> > > Any ideas on what to do for ph in a 1 gal batch?
Some people add cream of tartar (0.5 – 1 tsp/gallon) to improve the


Subject: Re: One Gallon Batches
From: Dick Dunn <>
Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2011 22:27:36 -0600

Re Dick Adams' comments on one-gallon batches:
I've tried them off and on over the years, but finally decided "no more."

There are two problems (at least?):

Racking losses: You lose too much at each racking; it's hard to keep the
batch topped-up (without changing the recipe overall) or blanketed with
CO2 or whatever.

Surface/volume breakdown: The surface-to-volume ratio is so much more with
a 1-gallon than with a 5-gallon (assuming similar container shapes) that
the small batch won't scale up to a larger one. The effects include that
there's proportionately more space for yeast or sediment to settle or
plate-out to the vessel in the smaller ferment. But then when you rack
the amount stirred up is much higher.

I would worry less about yeast quantity (one of Dick's concerns) than about
the two above.

And I don't know why I'd shake a batch of mead, of any size, other than
right at the very start to be sure everything is mixed well.

Dick Dunn Hygiene, Colorado USA

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1518