Mead Lover's Digest #1565 Sat 14 January 2012


Mead Discussion Forum



RE: Sweet Mead ("Bill Pierce")
Re: Sweet Mead (Caroline Taymor)
Re: Stopping mead fermentation (Kurt Sonen)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1564, 9 January 2012 ("Dennis Key")
2012 Mazer Cup International Home Meadmakers Competition – Call for Ent (W…)
Re: Stopping mead fermentation (
RE: Sweet mead, stopping fermentation ("Wout Klingens")


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Subject: RE: Sweet Mead
From: "Bill Pierce" <>
Date: Mon, 9 Jan 2012 12:02:22 -0500

I would qualify Adam Chatburn's advice about backsweetening in MLD #1564.
Yes, it is possible to use unfermentable sugars and artificial sweeteners
for this purpose. However, there are some things to keep in mind.
Maltodextrin adds little if any perceived sweetness; its contribution is to
increase body. Lactose has a little more perceived sweetness, but again the
most prominent effect is increased body. And Splenda certainly adds
sweetness, but because Sucralose has many times the perceived sweetness of
sucrose, it is "cut" with maltodextrin in order to make an equivalent volume
have the same sweetness as sucrose (table sugar). The result is a
noticeable increase in body, which may or may not be desirable.

As for fining, though it certainly improves clarity, the reduction in the
yeast count is hardly sufficient to prevent refermentation. If you were to
examine the fined mead under the microscope (I have done this with beer),
you would find a surprising amount of yeast remaining, even if it appears
crystal clear. The same is true with all but sterile (1 micron or smaller)
filtration (which results in considerable flavor reduction and even the
stripping of some color). Coarser filters just don't remove enough of the
yeast to prevent what is left from fermenting any added sugar.

Bill Pierce
Cellar Door Homebrewery
Burlington, Ontario

Subject: Re: Sweet Mead
From: Caroline Taymor <>
Date: Mon, 9 Jan 2012 09:36:06 -0800

I made a braggot with a very low malt content which turned out nicely
sweet. You can definitely taste the Malt, but it's a milder flavor, not a
predominant one, it's close to a true mead in flavor. I didn't carbonate
it so i can tell that after a year, with no sulfate, sorbate, freezing,
backsweetening, etc, it hasn't fermented much more. I think it was a
combination of residual unfermentable sugars in the malt and it reaching
it's alcohol tolerance that left it sweet. We think we used wlp 720 yeast.
Another option if you want it sweet, and don't want to use chemicals,
or frightening unfermentable sugars and sweeteners like aspartame.

Subject: Re: Stopping mead fermentation
From: Kurt Sonen <>
Date: Mon, 9 Jan 2012 13:00:02 -0500

> > Subject: Re: Stopping mead fermentation
> > From: "Bill Pierce" <>
> >
> > If you want sparkling, sweet mead, you have to force carbonate.
You can backsweeten and use no chemicals if you force carbonate. The
carbonic acid will inhibit the yeast. I normally bulk age for a while, so
the yeast are more inactive – haven't tried this with a fresher batch.
Carbonation adds a nice complexity and a little sweetness opens up the
flavors – a really nice combination without having a bottle bomb or a high %

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1564, 9 January 2012
From: "Dennis Key" <>
Date: Mon, 9 Jan 2012 12:26:05 -0700

Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #1563, 5 January 2012
From: Adam Chatburn


Date: Thu, 5 Jan 2012 10:27:49 -0800

Back sweetening without secondary fermentation.

You can use Splenda or any other non-fermentable sugar like sucralose,

malto-dextrin or lactose, try something like Log cabin syrup, it's a
blend of sorbitol, aspartame and sucralose. However, if you want to
avoid chemicals – try natural gelatine finings and/or using a wine
filter to remove the cells before back sweetening.


I don't want to get too far off subject, but I recommend getting a

copy of Sweet Deceptions available at a reasonable price from–especially if you have a Kindle. Judge for yourself about
artificial sweeteners and HFCS.

Dione Greywolfe
Dragonweyr, NM

Subject: Re: MLD #1563, Sweetening mead
Date: Thu, 5 Jan 2012 20:27:11 +0000 (UTC)

My approach has been somewhat primitive, but seems to work and it avoids
the use of chemicals. It DOES produce the risk of bottle bombs in theory,
but I've never had one when doing it right… Essentially I leave the
mead in bulk age for a very long time, racking every few months.

My target range for most meads is between 1.005 and 1.010, which IMHO is
a nice balance between sweet and dry. Each time I check the SG, and if
it is below 1.005, I add enough honey to bring it up to 1.010

Eventually the yeast gives up, so when I get a batch that has been stable
through a couple of rackings, shows no other signs of activity, and tastes
good, I bottle it…

I control the approximate alcohol level by choice of yeasts. I used to
use champagne yeasts, but I found that they have high tolerance, and
I had "rocket fuel" by the time they gave up. I now use Lalvin D-47,
which gives a nice result, and that I've found very reliable.

The risk is that the yeast might wake up and start fermenting again,
leading to excess pressure in the bottle. IMHO as long as you are careful
to make sure the batch is stable before fermenting, this isn't a big risk.

The other factor is that what made the yeast quit was the alcohol
concentration – if the concentration drops by much, the yeast WILL wake
up, so you need to avoid adding any water while bottling – make sure the
bottles are dry, and minimize the amount of water added from the cork
soaking solution. (I use aglomerated corks, and shake them off after
dipping in sulfite solution per the directions)

A good approach. Nothing wrong with "rocket fuel" if that's what you

want. Using a strain like Lalvin D-47 and the "feeding" technique
described in Duncan and Acton's Mead Making works very well in my
experience. You can discuss alcohol tolerances with your local brewshop
supplier if you want even lower alcohol levels.

I long ago switched to Grolsch or other bale-top bottles or 750 ml

Steinlager crown cap bottles and the occasional Champaign bottle that
takes standard crown caps. I found that no matter how careful I was in
bulk aging and repeated rackings when no activity was apparent I still
got occasional bottle rockets with corked bottles. The bale-tops and
crown cap bottles are strong enough to prevent bottle bombs. Besides,
the occasion unexpected sparkling mead is always a pleasant surprise!

Dione Greywolfe

Subject: 2012 Mazer Cup International Home Meadmakers Competition - Call for Ent
From: Wayne Boncyk <>
Date: Mon, 9 Jan 2012 18:29:06 -0700

The Mazer Cup International 2012 – March 2 & 3, 2012, Boulder, Colorado

The Mazer Cup International is a BJCP & AHA sanctioned mead-only
competition open to all home meadmakers.

This year we will continue the tradition of the original Mazer Cup by
awarding hand-crafted mazers to the winners of our home competition event.
Our distinctive medals for commercial winners have also become a coveted
achievement in the commercial mead making industry.

How do I enter?
Go to to enter. Entries are
registered ONLINE, saving the hassle of paper tracking, and keeping the fee
to a very reasonable $6.00 per entry.

Why should I enter?

  •   You get to compete against a host of international home meadmakers
  •   Valuable feedback from experienced judges and professional meadmakers
  •   Suggestions on how to improve your mead from judges and other meadmakers

When may I enter?

  •   Enter Now! The Mazer Cup International is currently accepting entries
  •   The entry deadline is February 17, 2012

NOTE: This is more than a month earlier than last year, so don't delay!

  •   The Mazer Cup Home Competition judging will be on Saturday, March 3, 2012

Don't Miss Out!
Visit the Mazer Cup International Website, and go head-to-head with some
of the best meadmakers in the world.
This will be a great competition for mead feedback from mead experts,
writers and award winning meadmakers.

Subject: Re: Stopping mead fermentation
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2012 10:00:32 -0500 (EST)

Bill Pierce wrote:
> > If you have an aversion to chemicals and want a sweeter mead, about
> > the only guarantee would be to crash chill the mead nearly to freezing
> > when it is close to the desired gravity, and then to keep it cold until
> > it is drunk.
I do that – and sometimes bottle from there,
When a Mead reaches its target FG, it goes into the frig where it gets
chilled to 46 F (7.8 C). I previously used a chest freezer with a Ronco
Temperature control and got the temperature to 36 F (2 C). If you bottle
from there and keep the racking can away from the lees, the probability
of a bottle bomb is fairly low.
If you want to buy additional toys, you can pasteurize Mead to kill
the yeast or run it through a filtration system to eliminate the yeast.

Richard D. Adams
Ellicott City, MD 21042

Subject: RE: Sweet mead, stopping fermentation
From: "Wout Klingens" <>
Date: Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:44:42 +0100

My 2 cts worth:
Forget stopping an active fermentation.
Stopping it by cooling or freezing won't work. As soon as the temperature
rises it will start again.
A good procedure would be to sterile filter it after cooling, but then
amateurs don't have the possibility to bottle it under sterile conditions.
A better way would be to do an in-bottle pasteurization. In my opinion it is
a 100% sure fire technique. Not difficult to do I suppose, but I don't have
any experience with it. I have read, that it will change the flavor and
aroma though. I do not know, if the corks will pop out, when the mead is
heated. I suppose not, you can try easily: put a small borked bottle in the
oven for some time and test.
A nicer way in my opinion is treating a stuck fermentation not as a problem
but as a blessing….
Forget aeration, stirring, re-pitching, adding nutrients, and you will have
a stable sweet mead.
You need a yeast, that will stop fermenting under certain conditions like
high sugar without the drawbacks of developing off-flavors.
Sauternes yeast is such a yeast in my opinion. In my experience Sauternes
has no problem with low-nutrient environments and gives a wonderful flavor
to mead. It adds balance by producing more acids than other yeast.
As soon as the alcohol percentage is higher than 12% the danger of re
fermentation is minimal, so I have read. Correct me if I am wrong, but
that's why champagne has no higher alcohol percentage.
What I am trying to do for the first time is a bit more tricky: I am trying
to make a 10% sweet mead. Danger of refermentation is therefore real. I am
hoping, that the high residual sugar – target is 104 gr/ltr – will prevent
After the fermentation slows down, I'll have to add acids for balance. I
think this also will act as a preservative. I'll be carefull with the
nutrients. Too much would cause problems.
I'd like to start it now and I hope it will stay stable until next
Christmas, after which I'll bottle it.

I hope this helps.

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1565