Mead Lover's Digest #1594 Fri 3 August 2012


Mead Discussion Forum



can i contribute brewing few months no heat added organics? (Steve)
Re: Vanilla and post-processing questions (
Re: adding vanilla to mead at bottling (


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Subject: can i contribute brewing few months no heat added organics?
From: Steve <>
Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2012 19:39:25 -0700 (PDT)

Thanks for the valuable data you give me with your emails.
Am I allowed to contribute as a beginner that mostly just use gallon containers
with about a pound of honey?
I want to give results of adding organics and combinations, maybe even get
suggestions of ingredients to add and more.
Thank you

Subject: Re: Vanilla and post-processing questions
Date: Tue, 31 Jul 2012 11:18:42 -0400 (EDT)

Re: Brian's question about using vanilla artificial flavoring or pure
vanilla extract
You have a relatively expensive in time and effort mead made with a vanilla
bean per gallon and aged almost 2 years. I don't see why you would
even consider using an inexpensive synthetic vanilla. Vanilla extract
is simply a water/alcohol extract of vanilla bean and contains several
hundred chemicals versus synthetic vanillin in ethanol – so it is a
natural extension of your alcohol extract. I can taste the difference
between synthetic and true vanilla. In your position, I might even try
buying a couple of different brands of true vanilla to see which tastes
best in my brew.

Carl McMillin
Brecksville, OH

Re: Bob's post-fermentation processing questions

1. Stabilization – no need for sorbate/meta: At 0.998 FG, you are
not going to need to worry about post-fermentation bottle bombs. A few
people are sensitive to sulfites. Very dry meads can often have a chemical
taste even without additions – so I would bottle it neat. The sorbate
doesn't really stabilize the mead itself, it simply keeps yeast from
multiplying, and sulfite helps with this and acts as an antioxidant to
protect the delicate color and flavor of wines. Meads don't have many
of the oxidation problems of wine (1/2 bottle of red wine in fridge for a
couple of days versus six months or so for mead – and peak aging flavor
of meads at 50 years). If this were a melomel, you would add meta to
stabilize the fruit flavors and color.

2. Cold stabilize? – Yes, a good idea to help further clarify even those
meads that appear clear.

2a. Back Sweetening and sorbate/meta – Yes. Although your original honey
works quite well for this, I prefer blending with a partially attenuated
mead (simple sugars ferment out early, so a slightly different taste vs
with raw honey).

3. Acid Levels – My guess is that the dry mead will almost certainly NOT
need any more acidity, and the back sweetened may or may not. This will
have to be adjusted to taste. I have found quite a difference between
the base honeys, in that some will need acidity and others will not.
The sweeter the mead, the more acidity it requires for balance. Yes, do
it before bottling the back sweetened mead. The acids can soften with age.

4. Rule of thumb for pure tartaric acid addition – Only add if you need
to. Some meads require NO additional acidity (esp. DRY meads), depending
on the honey. However, you might want to consider an acid blend instead
of pure tartaric acid. I actually start with small samples with 4 or 5
levels of an acid blend to approximate acidic need, and then see whether
malic acid (from apples), citric (e.g. oranges), or tartaric (grapes)
might be better than the blend. On rare occasions, a bit of grape tannin
helps 'flabby' meads with a bit of astringency.

Carl McMillin
Brecksville, OH

Subject: Re: adding vanilla to mead at bottling
Date: Tue, 31 Jul 2012 13:11:04 -0400 (EDT)

Brian "_hansvater@comcast.net_ ( > asked:

> > It is time to bottle my 2 gal batch of vanilla mead that has been aging
> > for almost 2 yrs. While in the secondary I added one vanilla bean to
> > each 1 gal bottle but now at bottling I would like more vanilla flavor.
> > My questions is: would it be Ok to use a vanilla extract with some
> > artificial flavoring or go with a pure vanilla extract?
Vanilla extract will add vanilla to the nose, but not to the taste.


Richard D. Adams

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1594