View Full Version : dry mead

john f
08-02-2005, 03:51 PM
I am looking for recipes as well as process hints for plain dry mead. I am relatively new to this and the few attempts I've made so far have not been successful. Basically each batch gets stuck at about 1.020 (after starting at 1.090) and when allowed to finish to 1.000 has a slightly bitter finish and a bouquet that can best be described as hair perming solution. I use tartaric and malic acid as well as nutrient and energizer and Red Star Champaign yeast.

Any suggestions would be greatly apprciated. Thanks.

08-02-2005, 05:28 PM

If you are new and want a nice dry mead that is not harsh then keep it simple.
Try using Lalvin EC-1118 or K1V-1116 yeast and honey and tap water to 1.090 and use only 1/2t of nutrients per gallon. Add no acid of any kind or energizer.

Works every time.


08-02-2005, 07:43 PM
I agree with Joe.

If you're looking for a simple five gallon dry mead recipe try this one too:

4 Gallons H20
1 Gallon Honey (your choice but it should be a good quality varietal honey)
5 Grams Lalvin 71B-1122
2 Teaspoons Nutrient
2 Teaspoon Energizer

1. Rehydrate your yeast per manufacturers instructions: http://consumer.lallemand.com/danstar-lalvin/lalvinrehyd.html

2. Dissolve the honey in the water add the nutrient and energizer

3. Pitch your yeast, mix well, aerate the heck out of your must

4. Seal your vessel and airlock it.

5. Once the airlock starts popping, watch it daily until it slows to 1 or two pop per minute and rack to secondary, check your gravity.

6. Rack again when you stop throwing lees, check gravity.

7. Age as long as you can stand it, check gravity every few weeks and see what it tastes like.



08-03-2005, 06:38 AM
Time helps mead mellow, that bitter mead may be smooth and well rounded in a years time. When my 1st mead finished 4 months ago it was bitter and harsh... fast forward to now it beats any mead or wine I've ever had, absolutely divine. Let it age in a cool dark place for a few months and try it again... you'll be surprised at the difference a little time makes.


08-03-2005, 08:31 AM
I'll add in one more little tip: use extra yeast. I recommend following Oskaar's recipe, but instead of 1 packet, use 2 or 3. For an extra couple of bucks you get a stronger fermentation and that will help you get your gravity down in the end.


08-03-2005, 01:08 PM
That's a good point Jay.

I generally use one packet for any must up to 25 brix unless the quantity I'm making exceeds five gallons, otherwise it's two or more depending on brix and batch size.



Dan McFeeley
08-03-2005, 01:19 PM
Just a quick note -- Oskaar's not speaking from personal experience alone, the reseach in enology backs him up. For high Brix musts, it's more important to pitch more yeast.

john f
08-04-2005, 04:01 PM

Thanks for the suggestions. I am going to try again with a 3 gal batch, a double dose of yeast and no acid.

Those who suggested nutrient - please let me know what kind you use. I have Fermaid K on hand.

Also - what was the approximate total time from when you added the yeast to when it was bottled ?? In my case it was about 2 to 3 weeks to get from 1.090 to 1.000. But another 7 or 8 months just to get from 1.020 to 1.000.

Best Regards:

08-08-2005, 01:40 AM
Fermaid K and DAP should be all you need nutrient wise, although rehydrating the yeast with GoFerm, according to directions, will help the yeasts get off to a excellent start. Be sure to aerate well over the 1st 3 days as oxygen levels are very important in the yeasts early development.


john f
08-18-2005, 11:12 AM
The aeration issue is interesting and something that I have actually avoided for fear of introducing biological contaminats into the must. How do you aerate without contaminating the must ??

Thanks to all of you for some great information !

John F.

08-18-2005, 12:17 PM
Adding your honey/water to your vessel through a funnel is an excellent way to get good aeration (I have confirmed this with a calibrated DO2 probe). No additional aeration should be necessary. You will not be able to avoid introducing bogeys into your must regardless of your transfer/ aeration procedure. However, your yeast inoculum will quickly outpace them (i.e. only be concerned if your yeast doesn't take off within a reasonable amount of time).


08-18-2005, 02:33 PM
Oxygenation is pretty simple.

Some folks use an oxygenation kit like this one:


and some folks use an aquarium pump with a sterile filter inline on the way to the stone.

The yeast use oxygen as a nutrient just as they use supplemental sources of nitrogen during the first 3 - 4 days of primary fermentation. Nitrogen in the form of DAP (ammonia salts) and other more balanced nutrients like Fermaid K (amino acids) give the yeast the building blocks they need to really flourish and maintain a vigorous fermentation. Oxygenation during that time is also beneficial to the growth of the yeast.



08-18-2005, 03:38 PM
More details on my aeration experiment...A co-worker/friend/ fellow brewer and I had a discussion one day concerning whether or not we were getting complete aeration of our beer wort. The next time we had some down time in the lab we ran a little test comparing funnel addition, stirring and sparging/stirring (i.e. airstone) affects on DO2. Starting with de-gassed water we measured the DO2 with calibrated meters before, during and after using these three methods. Not surprisingly, any of the three methods will fully aerate your wort. But, there is a difference in how quickly the liquid is aerated. The funnel method aerates the fluid as you add it to the your vessel. Vigorous stirring and sparging/stirring both took longer (and were comparable time-wise) but the sparging method was obviously easier on the arm. None of the three methods is going to aerate to a higher degree than others since once you reach saturation, you can't go any higher...Unless you were to sparge with pure oxygen. However, this has it's drawbacks since pure oxygen is toxic after you reach a certain point.

As Oskar said, it is good to think of oxygen as a necessary nutrient. One additional note on the importance of a good primary fermentation...It is vital to produce not just a big population of cells, but a healthy population as well. Specifically, it is important for the yeasts to assemble a good lipid layer in their cell wall. Without a strong lipid layer, the cells become less tolerant of alcohol concentration in the secondary fermentation...Regardless of advertised resistance. This means that instead of a good strong completion of your secondary fermentation, the cells will begin to peter out after 5%-7% alcohol conditions are reached.


10-29-2006, 01:03 PM
" However, this has it's drawbacks since pure oxygen is toxic after you reach a certain point. "

Toxic to the yeast? How much O2 can actually be disolved into the must?