hist-brewing: slow mead ferment and period nutrients

Melanie Wilson MelanieWilson at compuserve.com
Wed Jul 7 23:58:18 PDT 1999

>I've never really tried to quantify it.  All my batches of mead (10 or 12
now) have been made with one package of rehydrated wine yeast (Premier
Cuvee has worked best, IMO) per 3 to 4 gallons of mead.  They were all
fermented somewhere between 60 and 65F.

Having converted that to C , yes that is the region I'd go for. Your trade
names don't mean anything to me as we don't have them readily in the UK I'm

>  The 65F one took longer to
stop bubbling, but was ready to drink much sooner (6 months, I believe).

How long for the bubbles to stop ?

& do you add more honey at the end at all ? after they stop at first ?

>I don't think anyone would have used malt as a nutrient for meads,
but that is just my guess.  On the other hand, I do know that for hundreds
of years, brewers were aware of the fact that if they skimmed the foam
off one batch of beer and added it to another, they would get a quicker
and more reliable ferment in the second batch.  We now know that they
were pitching yeast, but they didn't know that back then.  In a video
called "The Brewers of Helston" they show a small brewpub called the
Blue Anchor in England.  In this video, they show the brewmaster taking
a bucket out of the refrigerator and scooping out a few cups of yeast.
Okay, besides not being sanitary, this also has other implications to
our current discussion.

They also dried the yeast on a branch & put it up to indicate a pub then
dipped the branch in to restart the next batch & so on.

Why do you say unsanitary ? As beers & other alcohlic drinks were used in
alot of cases as MORE sanitary than pure water as the alcohol kills off the
nasties the logic seem wrong to me, I cannot see anything unsatitary about
it ? I'm probably being dense or something.
And most of the pubs brewing their own here probably still do the same !

>Based upon my knowledge of brewing, I know that if you were to store
a thick paste of yeast in a bucket in the fridge, LOTS of them would
die.  A major ingredient in Fermax and other commercial yeast nutrients
is *DEAD YEAST*.  Now... we know that we are adding yeast, but it
really isn't that different from what the ancient brewers were doing,
it's just that we're pitching something that is mostly one strain,
while theirs was a melange of yeasts and bacteria that they happened
to like.  I suppose that if you wanted to, you could make a starter
from some Cantillon or Cuvee Rene Lambics (the first batch) and just
pitch that into your second batch (another thing they used to do is
to go next door (or to the brewery down the street) and get a pint of
yeast when they ran out or had a bad batch).  You could also set aside
some of this yeast to dry out and die and use that as a nutrient.  I think
this would be about as period as one would like to get unless you have
the guts to make five gallons of wort and simply allow it to spontaneously
ferment.  What you may want to do is split that into many small fermenters
and leave them open in various parts of the house.  Toss the ones that
smell and taste bad and reuse the ones that taste/smell good.  This
is *exactly* what brewers did hundreds of years ago.

It is pretty much the same principle as sough dough really :)

But we do know yeast was transfered & stored on the aformentioned twigs, I
assume in preferance to the spontaneous and (probably) rather risky method



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