hist-brewing: Re: hist-brewing-digest V1 #154

Al Korzonas korz at xnet.com
Tue Aug 25 14:09:05 PDT 1998

Mongo writes:
>I recently read an article comparing several different yeasts and their
>use in the making of mead. The author reported favorably on the use of
>white-wine yeasts except to say that a possible problem is that they
>like to flocculate prematurely, which can cause a slow secondary
>fermentation and/or maturing process. At that I decided to stick with
>ale yeast for small meads and champagne or Mead yeasts for the stronger
>stuff. If there is one thing I hate it's premature yeast flocculation.

Please excuse the delay, I was out of the country...

I've used wine yeast in all my meads upon the advice of some very
knowledgeable meadmakers such as Dick Dunn and Dan McConnell.  The
mead that won at the AHA Nationals was made with Premier Cuvee.  I
tried several different yeasts and of all the ones I tried, I liked
the Premier Cuvee the best.  Some are indeed sulphury, but that will
age-out given enough time and cooler temperatures tend to reduce the
sulphury aromas.

Mark writes:
>Use a good yeast nutrient and extra diammonium phosphate (2
>tablespoons/5 gallons is a good amount).

I used Fermax which is a blend of yeast nutrients... I don't recall
if I used 1 or 2 teaspoons, but it was no less than 1 and no more than 2.

>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.

Indeed!  I don't know how much of the speed is due to the yeast and
how much is because of the incredible amount of work the yeast have
to accomplish in these highly-alcoholic beverages.

In response to Margaret's question, Tim writes:
>"flocculation" is a term used for the tendency of a yeast to fall out of
>solution and form a yeast cake in the bottom of the fermenter.

That's pretty much true for 90% of the yeasts we get these days.  Some
yeasts (like the Samuel Smith's and Ringwood yeasts, both available from
The Yeast Culture Kit Company -- no affiliation) are true "top fermenting"
yeasts AND are highly flocculent.  They actually flocculate to the top.
They will eventually break up and fall to the bottom, but "flocculation
is technically the tendency to clump together, whether it's at the
top or the bottom of the fermenter.  You're right, though, that all lager
yeasts and even most ale yeasts these days don't form a strong cake at
the top of the ferment.

For what it's worth, these top fermenters are probably more closely
related to the strains used prior to about 100 or 200 years ago.  They
were easily harvested for reuse by skimming which is why brewers selected
yeasts that were true "top fermenters."

Dar asks:
>Ok, I have a general question here.  I had a pretty good sweet mead that
>unfortunately blew all of their corks off when it got warmer and the yeast
>went active again.  Has anyone tried or uses, stabilizers in their mead?  My
>mead actually sat quite a while, and seemed quite still, before I bottled,
>so I was thinking of using a stabilizer on it next time.

Sweet meads are typically sweet because the meadmaker has added more and
more honey until the yeast were unable to ferment it.  If you begin with
about 15 pounds of honey and 3 gallons of water, it should be quite sweet
with no stabilisers.  Now, if you say you want to make an 8% sweet mead,
then indeed you need to stabilise it somehow, but I thought this was
the Historical Mailing List... ;^)


Al Korzonas, Palos Hills, IL
korz at xnet.com

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