Mead Lover's Digest #1528 Sat 25 June 2011

Mead Discussion Forum


Honey prices (
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1527, 20 June 2011 (
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1527, 20 June 2011 (Rebecca Sobol)
Subject: Re: Almost free honey ("Ed Vendely")
Re: when to back-sweeten (Dick Dunn)
re: when to back-sweeten (Martin Pare)
re: honey is cheap. (

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Digest Janitor: Dick Dunn

Subject: Honey prices
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 2011 11:35:31 -0400

This may not be applicable to all but last summer when looking for a
good amt of honey for several planned meads I stopped at the local roadside
farmers market that sold pints of local honey and just asked them if they
would call their supplier and give me a price on a bulk 10 gallons. I
made a deal with the guy that night for around $2:50 lb. Nothing fancy
just good tasting honey from a local beekeeper in eastern Nebraska. A
quick post to my homebrew club and 7 gallons I wanted to deal was sold at
cost immediately. I did a late racking this spring and my straight mead
was wonderful tasting already. I had no luck using yellow pages/internet
looking for local beekeepers.

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1527, 20 June 2011
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 2011 14:56:21 EDT

Hi Jed!
(i'm un-lurking, Dick!)
Please note the campden (a.k.a. potassium meta-bisulfite) will not kill the
yeasties. It will make them uncomfortable but it won't kill them and
prevent further fermentation when you add more honey. You need to remove as
much of the yeast as possible by letting it clear and racking (low
effectiveness) on up to sterile filtering (tough to do, but effective). This is
also an argument for back-sweetening late in the process unless you are trying
for high alcohol as well. You will then also have to inhibit the
fermentation by either chemical means (sorbate) or by raising the alcohol far
enough (usually over 18%). Which takes us to the #3.
Yeast will live and ferment under a "bell-shaped curve", so some yeast will
quit earlier than the yeast manufacturer says and some will hang in even
longer. Some will give up and go dormant for a while. To some degree the
nutrient works against you here, but you do have well fed yeast — which is
an overall good thing.

In a message dated 6/20/2011 7:51:45 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, writes:

My question is tri-fold.
1. How many campden tablets are necessary for a 6 gallon batch of mead
(to kill all yeasties!)?
2. Should I back-sweeten with honey now or when it clears?
3. How is it that the yeast I used went well beyond it's alcohol
tolerance (it is now over 16% abv)?

Thank you all in advance, your help is very much appreciated.


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1527, 20 June 2011
From: Rebecca Sobol <>
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 2011 17:55:17 -0600

On Mon, 20 Jun 2011 08:18:42 -0600 (MDT) wrote:

> Subject: rhodomel or rhubarb mead
> From: "Joanna Bailey" <>
> Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2011 20:25:45 -0700
> Has anyone made rose petal mead?
> I just started a batch of rose petal wine, and hope to try a mead next
> summer with our own honey. There aren't too many recipes online, but
> I'm always game for an experiment.

We made a lovely mead with rose petals. Here's our notes:

> How about rhubarb mead?
> We have a very prolific rhubarb patch so I'm looking for interesting
> ways to make use of it.

Some notes from our rhubarb mead:

Strawberry rhubarb:

Cherry, almond and rhubarb:


Rebecca Sobol Boulder, CO

Subject: Subject: Re: Almost free honey
From: "Ed Vendely" <>
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2011 20:59:30 -0400

I've been making mead (hard cider, wine and beer too) for about 25 years
and used to buy honey from a local beekeeper by the 5 gallon bucket @
$112. When the keeper retired, my wife and I got our own bees…been
doing it for about 10 years. Fascinating! Quit whining about the price –
you get what you pay for and you all should be using only local, raw,
chemical-free honey, not processed store packaged stuff that could even
be from China! Everyone should have their own bee hive(s) just like a dog
or cat! Cider makers seem to all grow their own heirloom/cider apples –
Mead makers should have their own bees – good for pollinating gardens and
etc… and sell your excess for a profit. Dick, you make cider, got your
own trees? Bees will pollinate them for a better crop!

Ed Vendely


Subject: Re: when to back-sweeten
From: Dick Dunn <>
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2011 20:50:41 -0600

Jed Forbis <> asked several questions about a mead
in progress. He's writing that he liked it a lot early-on but it's less
and less to his liking as it progresses. I would -think- this would be
just due to the ongoing reduction in sugar…a bit of sugar makes lots of
things taste better on the spot. But as a mead ferments out to dry, it
starts to show its real character, which can be awkward in its youth.

So, Jed suggested:
> …I was thinking that I should throw in a couple of campden
> tablets and then re-introduce couple of pounds off honey back in.
…and asked…
> 1. How many campden tablets are necessary for a 6 gallon batch of mead
> (to kill all yeasties!)?

The action of campden tablets (-metabisulfite) is strongly dependent on
pH. Jed doesn't mention adding any source of acidity, so the basic (oops)
answer is that no plausible addition of campden tablets -by-themselves-
will stop the yeast: A mead must on its own is only slightly acidic.
The rule-of-thumb cutoff is that if the pH is above 3.8, sulfites won't
do the job. Traditional mead doesn't come near that.

OTOH, if it's the dry-mead character you're not liking, sure, toss in some
more honey. Some or all of that will ferment out; if what you find you
want is a slightly-sweet mead, you can feed it 'til the yeast give out and
leave some residual sugar. At that point you can wait 'til the yeast are
dormant (by observation) and -sorbate- it. This is quite a reasonable
process to follow.

BUT consider that what you're tasting is an awkward young mead. Expecting
it to be appealing at that point is like expecting a 13-year-old boy to be
graceful: It hasn't found itself yet. Consider just giving it time. I
know it's a challenge to be patient at this point.

(I'll leave his remaining questions to other folks.)

Dick Dunn Hygiene, Colorado USA


Subject: re: when to back-sweeten
From: Martin Pare <>
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2011 19:14:29 -0700 (PDT)

Hi, I am at batch 7 or 8. 4 weeks is young for a mead. It may just be
in a bad phase and will get around later. Had that twice so far with w15
and x16 yeast. give it some time, 2 months or so and see how it is then


Subject: when to back-sweeten
From: Jed Forbis <>
Date: Sun, 19 Jun 2011 08:11:34 -0400

Hello all,

The question that I have is this…. I made a batch of mead 4 weeks

ago. ….. It
tasted like heaven. I did my measurements and my math (and Beersmith's)
said that I was at 15% abv. I have since tasted it and the flavor is
less and less to my liking. It has stopped fermenting and is now just
clearing. I was thinking that I should throw in a couple of campden
tablets and then re-introduce couple of pounds off honey back in.

Subject: re: honey is cheap.
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 2011 20:37:11 +0000 (UTC)

Be careful from where your honey comes –

Tsunami of Indian (Chinese) Honey Now Arriving on U.S. Shores– Threatens
to Drown Rebounding U. S. Honey Market– Much of this honey is believed
to be illegally transshipped Chinese honey that is contaminated with heavy
metals and antibiotics and has been routed through Indian companies in order
to circumvent the U.S. tariff enacted to prevent Chinese honey dumping.

Full article is from the American Bee Journal – link is HERE:

Apparently this stuff is at Walmart and others…

Howard (previously only lurking)

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1528