Mead Lover's Digest #1532 Mon 11 July 2011

Mead Discussion Forum


more on crystallized honey (circle mouse)
Mark's Cough Syrup-y Thick Finish (
Ginger Mead – Zymurgy (
perry (Chris Fales)
Honey crystallization (Kurt Sonen)
Time in primary (Steve Ruch)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1531, 9 July 2011 (David Vachon)

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Subject: more on crystallized honey
From: circle mouse <>
Date: Sat, 9 Jul 2011 08:30:05 -0700 (PDT)

like others have mentioned, I've also been led to believe that raw honey is much
more likely to crystallize than heated honey. reading a couple of beekeeping
websites, I also recently found out that less exposure to air may reduce the
tendency to crystallize. as far as I know, most honey is spun out of combs in
an extractor. because this involves thin strings and drops of honey flinging
out of the combs and dripping down the extractor walls, the honey encounters
quite a bit of air (and most importantly, oxygen) before it makes it to a jar,
bottle, or bucket. a trip through a filter or screen can further oxidize the

having tasted a fair amount of honey directly from the comb, I believe the
flavor of un-oxidized honey to be far better. if honey is pressed out of comb
instead of spun, and steps are taken to reduce air exposure, it seems likely
that this fresh flavor could be saved though I've never had honey prepared this
way, I intend to press my next honey harvest to investigate. it will mean
destroying comb so that it can't be reused in the hive, but there are reasons I
prefer that as well. there would, of course, be little reason for those who
prefer the taste of aged and crystallized honey to take these steps, and I have
no idea how the difference in flavor of un-oxidized honey would impact a mead,
if at all.

and I must admit that I may be absolutely wrong about all of this.


Subject: Mark's Cough Syrup-y Thick Finish
Date: Sat, 9 Jul 2011 11:54:25 -0400 (EDT)

I am sure you will get a very rapid deluge of responses on your cough
syrup-y thick finish. This is definitely NOT what you want in a mead.
Think of one of your worst wine faults in the past 20 years – perhaps
extraordinarily tannic wine from fermenting the grapes on the stems for
a month, and then asking if all wines are so bitter/astringent. If your
meads have a cough syrup-y thick finish, it could be several different
problems. My guess is that you were trying for too high alcohol with too
much honey and without the correct type of yeast, nutrients, temperature,
staggared addition of honey, etc. for that type of mead (called a sack mead).
This would give you an ultra sweet mead, and the sweeter the mead, the more
acidity it needs to balance the sugar. Without enough acidity to balance
the sweetness you have the unpleasant cough syrup finish. The amount of
acidity in the honey varies according to variety and individual batch of
honey, but can easily be adjusted after fermentation prior to bottling to
give a pleasant finish. Occasionally there is enough acidity in the honey –
but more often the a sweeter version of mead requires some additional acid.
Acid blend can be bought at any homebrew store (or the individual acids there
or via Internet if you get serious about which acids add the absolute best
tastes for that batch of mead). Easy to pour 4-6 1 oz samples and try
different amounts of acid addition (e.g. dissolve measured in a sample
of mead and do serial dilutions to get different amounts of acidity.
Then try different amounts of acid in each sample and taste yourself or
with friends to determine optimal amount of acid for addition. If you are
trying to go natural, you could use lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, or
other acidic juice or fruit until you get the correct balance/flavor/finish.
Carl McMillin
Brecksville, OH

Subject: Ginger Mead - Zymurgy
Date: Sat, 9 Jul 2011 13:26:11 -0400 (EDT)

Hello Everyone,
This month's Zymurgy (AmHomebrewersAssoc Periodical) has recipe for a
ginger mead that uses 3.25 POUNDS in 5 gallons. Do any of you have any
experience with a ginger mead that has this much ginger? The gingers is
added to fermentation in a sack.

Your thoughts are appreciated.

Subject: perry
From: Chris Fales <>
Date: Sat, 9 Jul 2011 05:25:42 -0700 (PDT)

Another lurker comes forth. As a new mead maker I try to read and learn,
but now have a question. I want to make a pear melomel. Wikipedia only
discusses perry as a fermented pear drink similar to apple cider but makes
no mention of honey. Apparently the variety of pear is important too,
and the good ones are not readily available. That said, can anyone give
advice on a commonly available type of pear that migh be suitable for a
pear melomel, and a recommended quantity for a 5 gal batch? I have in mind
a light (clover) honey and would like to have a distinctive fruit flavor.
Many thanks.

Subject: Honey crystallization
From: Kurt Sonen <>
Date: Sun, 10 Jul 2011 00:18:11 -0400

It's best to liquefy honey slowly at lowish temps over several days. Too
high of temps tends to drive off the aromatics.

> > modern commercial honey is pasteurized, presumably to sterilize it,
> > but it also prevents crystallization if i recall. maybe that is enough
> > to change the flavor.
Honey crystallizes when the glucose precipitates out. Honeys with higher %'s
of glucose tend to crystallize more. A honey with a glucose/water ratio <
1.7 tends to remain liquid for a long time, while one with a ratio >
2.1 usually crystallizes quickly.

"Holding honey at temperatures in the range of
104-140°F (40-71°C) during bottling also slows the rate of
crystallization. Mild heat treatment delays crystallization
by dissolving crystals and flash heating to 140-160°F (60-
71°C) dissolves crystals and expels incorporated air (which
can also stimulate crystallization). Filtering removes particles that can
as nuclei that might initiate crystallization. Honey with a
low glucose-to-water ratio is likely to remain liquid avoiding
crystallization. "

Subject: Time in primary
From: (Steve Ruch)
Date: Sat, 9 Jul 2011 09:14:25 -0700

In the early days of the national home brew compitition one of the

first winners (he won more than once) of the meadmaker of the year
reccomended always leaving the mead on the yeast.


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1531, 9 July 2011
From: David Vachon <>
Date: Sun, 10 Jul 2011 11:56:52 -0400

> > OK Folks.. I have a question.
> >
> > I have made a couple of batches (4 or 5) But I have made wines for about
> > 20 years.. Here is the question.. The Mead finish… that thick kind
> > of cough syrup-y thick finish that Meads seem to have….. at least
> > mine LOL.
> >
> > Do all meads have that finish or is this common to all the meads ?
> >
> > THanks in advance..
> >
> > Mark
It sounds to me like you may not be getting good attenuation from your
yeast. Have you taken OG and FG readings to make sure your yeast is
active and making alcohol? Thick and syrupy is not a description I
would have for any of my meads, and I have been making mead for
several years now. Also, what kind of yeast are you using? There are
of course particular strains well suited to mead and if you prefer a
very dry mead, I would recommend a champagne yeast.
Also know that if your mead did not reach a suitable FG with the
primary, it is perfectly acceptable to throw some champagne or other
high attenuating yeast at it to dry it out.
I hope this helps. Happy mead making!

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1532