hist-brewing: Wine yeasts in Mead

Ron and Dale Holcomb daleron at pacbell.net
Wed Aug 19 20:21:49 PDT 1998

allotta wrote:

> After brewing meads for the last 6 years, and several award winning
> meads, I feel I am quite knowledgable about this subjest.
> Red Star years make an excellent mead.  I have had success with cote de
> blanc, prisse de mousse and montrachet.  However I have heard that
> montrachet could give a sulfery taste.
> Fermentation temperature is important.  Stay in the 60-70 degree
> range.   NO HIGHER.
> Use a good yeast nutrient and extra diammonium phosphate (2
> tablespoons/5 gallons is a good amount).
> Wine yeast wil ferment slowerthan ale yeast, but the slower fermentation
> will give a better mead.   Also, LET IT AGE!!!!!  If you get impatient
> and drink before 6 months, it will not be at its best.   For mead 1-2
> years is best.
> I have 3 meads that have been in secondary fermenter for the last 1 1/2
> years.  Don't intend to bottle for another 6 months.
> Best,     Mark
> P.S.  send me a sample.

For what it is worth, I agree with John on all of his points except for
Montrachet.  I personally do not like the results that I have experienced with
that yeast.  My favorite yeast lately has been Lalvin K1-V1116 ("Killer").  This
yeast allows a good honey character to come through and makes enough alcohol to
create a preserving effect without the heavy alcohol presence that Montrachet or
Pastuer Champagne yeasts can give.

When using the wine yeasts, let the mead age.  My successes have come from using
about 3+ lbs of honey per gallon of finished product, lots of yeast nutrient,
and relatively long fermentations.  My fermentations in their various forms take
at least 9 months and usually last one year.  Let the mead stand in the bottle
for at least a year.  This is where an alcohol level of 9% + helps to preserve
the mead.  Also, be careful not to oxidize the mead during handling.  Splashing,
sloshing, and too much headspace in the fermenter can all contribute to that
cardboard-like taste that some brewers refer to as that "homemade character".

Anyway, enough for now.  Good luck!

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