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Mead Lover's Digest #0533 Fri 31 January 1997


Forum for Discussion of Mead Making and Consuming
Dick Dunn, Digest Janitor



Yeast Nutrien, Prices, Sanitation (Nathan Moore)
acid blend (Rich Webb)
Re: Honey Price (
Acid Blend, AMA (
vanilla bean mead recipe (Thomas G. Moore)
Honey prices (Brett Donahue)
Re: Sparkling Melomel Question. (Marc Shapiro)
Re: vegemite = yeast extract (DuG)
Dying Bees (Jeff Duckworth)
Mead experiments (Jonathan Day)


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Subject: Yeast Nutrien, Prices, Sanitation
From: Nathan Moore <moorent@bechtel.Colorado.EDU>
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 1997 12:31:31 -0700 (MST)

In Digest #532 Marc Replied to my question about adding causing off

flavors from yeast nutrient (as well as some other adatives) by saying I
have nothing to worry about as long as I use them correctly. The reason I
asked this question was I have been warned that the nutrient does cause
off flavors, I believe they were discribed as medicine and metalic. So
here is my question, how do I use the nutrient properly to avoid this? Or
was the guy that warned me about it a extremist/purist (It was a local
brewshop owner)?

About Honey prices, here in Denver the cheapest I have found is $15

per gal. for clover and wildflower, and $30 gal. for citrus, catclaw,
raspberry, etc.. I did find citrus for $13 a gal. in AZ.

In #532 someone mentioned that you can relax your sanitation for

strong beers. I know this is a mead forum but I have to warn you, DO NOT
DO THIS. Malt is a much better medium for little beasties, no mater how
strong it is.

Nathan Moore
Denver, CO

Subject: acid blend
From: Rich Webb <>
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 1997 12:45:50 -0800

Curt Speaker declares:
>As I understand it, acid bland is typically added to mead musts
>because honey dissolved in water does not create the optimum pH for
>yeast to ferment at. Something must be added to bring the pH down
>into the acidic range that yeast prefer.

I don't want to declare Curt _Wrong_, but if you'll allow me to drop out
of lurking mode, I'll give you my take on the situation…

Bob Kime, associated with the food sciences department at Cornell
University, performed an experiment on some honey that a project that I
was to be associated with wished to have done. Same honey, same yeast,
and a lot of variables. One of the experiments performed was
fermentation with and without the addition of acid. The results were
clear. The must WITHOUT the acid fermented to a lower gravity in the
time allowd than the must WITH the acid. This led us to conclude that
the yeast were "happier" with their environment without the addition of
acid prior to fermentation…

The use of acid to balance the sweetness remaining in the fermented must
is similar to the use of bittering hops in beer making. Indeed, hops
could be used to add a bitter component to honey, but the hour or more
boil is thought to be detrimental to the delicate character of honey. I
now add a teaspoon (or so) of acid blend AFTER fermentation to achieve
this balance. If I had the resources, I would measure the acid level in
a batch of mead and adjust it with the addition of acid. I do not trust
my taste in this matter, as I have tasted fermented mead without acid as
I was transferring to a conditioning tank. At that point, the yeast
seemed to have sufficient natual acidity to encourage me to bottle
without the addition of any acid. Big mistake. The resulting mead is
sweet and insipid. The word cloying comes to mind, but saccarine is
perhaps better…

As usual, your milage may vary. And you shouldn't necessarily take my
word for it. If anybody else has performed an experiment where the only
changed variable is the pre- or post-fermentation of added acid, I
encourage you to let us know… Otherwise, you're taking my word for it,
and I could be pulling your leg!

Resuming lurking mode,
Rich Webb, Emperor of the Brews Brothers

Subject: Re: Honey Price
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 1997 16:39:14 -0500 (EST)

Our local Sam's Wholesale Club sells 5# containers of blended honey for
$6.79. It's a blend of US, Mexican and Argentine honey and has, in my
opinion, more "honey" taste than some all-American white clover blends.


Subject: Acid Blend, AMA
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 1997 17:16:57 -0500 (EST)

I've been reading the discussion about acid blend. I must say
that I agree with the person who opted for using lemon juice.
My understanding is that honey IS an acid envrionment (e.g. the
recent offerings by McDonald and Schramm) and needs acid only
for taste. I've read that acid in mead started as an attempt to
bring it a little closer to grape wines.

I've found that acid blend can get very out of hand. I had a
couple of batches where the acid taste seemed to become more
pronounced over time, and the mead became increasingly
disappointing. I've opted for a bit of lemon juice or nothing
at all, and been FAR happier with the results. I'll never use
acid blend again.

The real reason I'm witing though, is to pass on some
information. I called the 800 number for the American
Meadmakers Association to find that it had been disconnected. I
wound up calling the private number of a guy named Andy who the
AMA has recently used for advice. It seems that a key player at
the AMA left town, and the organization is kind of in a
shambles. He said that his first order of business will be to
re-vitalize the Ambrosia Adventure Competition, and then, he
hopes bring back the magazine Inside Mead. He said he'd never
heard of the MLD, but wanted a website as well.

I told him I'd post this information here. I had not gotten
anything for my subscription except one magazine. I guess we'll
see what the future holds!

David Prescott, Shaftsbury, Vermont

Subject: vanilla bean mead recipe
From: cm199@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Thomas G. Moore)
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 1997 18:25:50 -0500 (EST)

Somebody asked about my recipe for a vanilla bean recipe. I

thought I'd share with all. I will bottle this soon. I am still
looking for more research on kraeusening a mead. So if anyone
has info…

12 lbs Wildflower/Clover Honey
1/2 tsp. Citric Acid
1/2 tsp. Tartaric Acid
3 tsp. yeast nutrient
2 vanilla beans (split lengthwise. soaked in vodka 7-9 days)
32 oz. Wyeast Sweet Mead yeast starter

Pasteurized must at 180F for 20 mins. Chilled. Yeasted. I added

the first bean/vodka liquor during last stages of primary. And
2nd added during secondary fermentation.

It has a very nice honey/vanilla aroma going now.
S.G. 1075
6.5 gallons


Will work for homebrew.

Thomas G. Moore

Subject: Honey prices
From: Brett Donahue <>
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 1997 17:41:41 -0700

When I made my first mead, I called all of the phone numbers in the
yellow pages under Honey. I found one place that wanted $1/lb and one
that would charge $.90/lb if I brought my own container. In July (honey
season), when I went to buy the honey, the beekeeper spun it and poured
it directly into my container. The honey was only hours out of the
hive. When I bought the honey during the winter, they gave it to me in
1 gallon buckets that were stored in a refrigerated area and charged me
$10 each. The honey still seemed quite fresh.

Subject: Re: Sparkling Melomel Question.
From: Marc Shapiro <>
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 1997 20:14:14 -0500

> Subject: Questions
> From: (Micheal and Linda Fox)
> Date: Sun, 26 Jan 97 17:39:45 -0800 (PST)

> Do all melomels have to be sparkling, or do they just taste better that
> way? I haven't seen a recipe for a melomel that doesn't call for priming
> before bottling. I have two melomels and one basic mead batches running
> right now, and I was wondering which would be the best route to go with all
> of them. Any input would be appreciated!


I have been making melomels for about 20 years now and I have yet to
make a single sparkling batch. All of my melomels are still. As for
tasting better when sparkling, ask my friends, they don't seem to see
any need for carbonation.



Marc Shapiro

Visit 'The Meadery' at:

"If you drink melomel every day, you will live to be 150 years old,
unless your wife shoots you."

  • –Dr. Ferenc Androczi, Winemaker of the Little Hungary Winery

Subject: Re: vegemite = yeast extract 
From: DuG <>
Date: Wed, 29 Jan 1997 20:48:53 +1100

>Subject: vegemite = yeast extract
>From: "Brander Roullett (Volt Computer)" <>
>Date: Wed, 22 Jan 1997 10:14:42 -0800
>>Vegemite (concentrated yeast extract)
>>Ingredients: Yeast Extract, Salt, Mineral
>>Salt (508, 509), Malt Extract, Natural C-
>>olour (150), Vegetable Extract, Ribofla-

>>how do you use Vegemite in brewing meads?
>well you can acutally use it instead of yeast nutrient
>and how would you use it? what proportions, etc. and does the salts,
>etc affect flavor?

I have not personally used it yet, but i have a friend who used. From what
i can gather he spread the vegimite on a piec of toast, and placed this
vegimite side down in a container. He used this method to get the yeast
going as a starter so there wasn't as much lag time. The yeat was "liking"
the conditions so much he thought they were super yeasties. When i fiind
out how the brew turned out i will post a message to this mailing list.


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Subject: Dying Bees
From: Jeff Duckworth <>
Date: Wed, 29 Jan 97 09:31:30 -0500

Another lurker speaks!

> (John R. Murray) wrote:
>(there's some sort of crud killing off hives, so honey prices are up right

I've heard this from my father as well, an ex-beekeeper because all of
his hives have died four years in a row (damn, do I miss free honey!).
Foul brood and other parasites are apparently killing off the genetically
weak European? honeybee. He seems convinced that beekeeping as we know
it is coming to an end. Does anyone have any more input on this?

Long live the Africanized (not killer!) bee!

Jeff Duckworth

Subject: Mead experiments
From: Jonathan Day <>
Date: Wed, 29 Jan 1997 15:14:26 +0000 (GMT)


I mentioned some time back that I was trying different types

of honey under the same conditions. Well, I've finally bottled
and tasted them. (You don't think I'd just sit back and ignore
six gallons of mead, would you? 🙂

Anyway, the results were extremely interesting, especially

for the Manuka honey. (This is somewhat expensive stuff, so I
won't be repeating the experiment in a hurry. 🙂 This was the
clearest of /all/ the meads, which surprised me a little, as
it was certainly the grittiest, least-pleasent honey to use.
The colour is a little alarming (a deep, rather foreboding
red) and it's definitely an acquired taste, but for all that,
it's not too bad. It's even supposed to be good for you. 🙂

IMHO, of the honeys I tried, New Zealand White produced the

best results. I'll have to run exhaustive testing on the others
(Cheshire wildflower, Lancashire heather, non-specific wildflower)
to decide between them, but at the moment, I'd probably say in
that order.


End of Mead Lover's Digest #533

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