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Jmattioli
10-23-2003, 09:38 AM
I found a recipe for Mead in a book callled 'Mad about Mead' that I just started and it called for 16lbs of Wildflower honey and 6 t of yeast nutrients and 4 t of acid blend for 5 gal. Yeast recommended was Epernay 2. After reading posts by chuck and others I am wondering if it is really needed or is way too much. Its a darker honey that according to posts on this site should not need much if any acids or nutrients. Yet this recipe comes from Pamela Spencer, the author of the book and one who has been making mead for a long time. I had hoped this site would increase my confidence as I am new to this and this is only my 4 th batch of mead this year. I have tasted the first 3 and they were good but not great but they have not been aged over 3 months yet. I used clover honey and acids and nutrients in all of them. Joe

Lagerman64
10-23-2003, 01:19 PM
Be careful using acids, you don't want to over do it. I am speaking from experience, I followed a recipe and didn't check the acid level (my titration kit was in the closet and I didn't want to wake my wife). Ouch :-X Super tart! Even aging 10 years didn't help (we'll it did a little, but not enough to make it drinkable). I've been experimenting on finding the right titration level's (using wine base lines)-Traditional Meads .50-55%, Fruit Meads .60-.65%, Grape Meads .70% for reds and .75% for whites. Acid titrations kits are easy to use and available form most LHBS.

Jmattioli
10-23-2003, 08:18 PM
Thanks for the info on the acid levels. Can the must be tested when finished and acid added then to bring to appropriate level for taste?

Dan McFeeley
10-24-2003, 01:46 PM
I found a recipe for Mead in a book callled 'Mad about Mead' that I just started and it called for 16lbs of Wildflower honey and 6 t of yeast nutrients and 4 t of acid blend for 5 gal. Yeast recommended was Epernay 2. After reading posts by chuck and others I am wondering if it is really needed or is way too much. Its a darker honey that according to posts on this site should not need much if any acids or nutrients. Yet this recipe comes from Pamela Spencer, the author of the book and one who has been making mead for a long time. I had hoped this site would increase my confidence as I am new to this and this is only my 4 th batch of mead this year. I have tasted the first 3 and they were good but not great but they have not been aged over 3 months yet. I used clover honey and acids and nutrients in all of them.


Hello Joe -- yes, that's a little too much nutrient. Two
nutrient products, Yeastex-61 and Fermaid both recommend
1 to 3 grams per gallon, which is about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp per
gallon. It's also not a good idea to add acid at the start
of the fermentation.

I'm assuming you're referring to the recipe on p. 91 of the
book. Pamela does say "If the thought of chemicals makes
you cringe, feel free to boil the must, substitute bee pollen
for nutrient (5 tablespoons per gal), strong brewed black tea
for tannin (1 tablespoon/gallon), citrus peels (from 2 - 3
lemons or other fruit) for the acid blend.

You'll find that many of the older recipes for mead will
recommend 4 tsp of acid blend at the start of the blend.
The problem is that adding acid at the start of the
fermentation can caused a stalled or stuck fermentation
due to excessive dropping of the pH. The yeasts secrete
organic acids as they work, dropping the pH naturally.
Extra acid drops it even lower. Also, honeys vary widely
in acid content, flavor profile, etc. It's not a good idea
to recommend the same amount of acid blend regardless
of what honey you're using. Best to start the mead
without acid, finish it out, taste it, and then add acid
according to taste. You may want to consider leaving
the acid blend out altogether. As many meadmakers
have found, mead does quite well on its own, remaining
well balanced. The acid properties of honey are quite
different from the acids found in wine grapes, and need
separate consideration.

Hope this is helpful!

jaysbrew
01-20-2004, 12:37 AM
I'm pretty late to be adding a comment here, but what the heck...we're mazers - we're patient.

IIRC, Ken Schramm recommends a pH of 3.7 to 4.6 for the initial must. I second that recommendation. Unfortunately, Ken goes on to say that you should not add acid and you may need to add CaCO3 (Calcium Carbonate) to raise the pH. That I don't necessarily agree with. Note that you can also use Potassium Carbonate to raise the pH.

As mcfeeley noted above, honey varies in acidity. So does water. My must in Fairfax, Virginia is not going to have the same pH as your must in CA, UT, FL, or any other place. Untreated, my must normally starts with a pH around 4.8. I adjust using acid blend to around 4.3.

Your mileage will vary. My advice is to adjust the pH within the 3.7 - 4.6 range. Before bottling, adjust to taste.


Cheers,
Jay

Dan McFeeley
01-22-2004, 11:51 AM
IIRC, Ken Schramm recommends a pH of 3.7 to 4.6 for the initial must. I second that recommendation. Unfortunately, Ken goes on to say that you should not add acid and you may need to add CaCO3 (Calcium Carbonate) to raise the pH. That I don't necessarily agree with. Note that you can also use Potassium Carbonate to raise the pH.

That's on page 56 of Ken's book -- actually it's not Ken's own recomendation but a reference to research published by the late Dr. Roger Morse and Keith Steinkraus in 1966. Morse and Steinkraus had found a window of pH ranges that would allow optimum yeast performance. This was between pH 3.7 and 4.6. The fermentation would struggle at pH values above and below this window. Morse and Steinkraus recommended a pH of 3.7 for honey musts for several reasons: too high a pH would leave the honey must open to bacterial fermentations, while a pH of 3.7 would fall within the window but still be low enough to help inhibit bacterial contamination. Morse and Steinkraus did not recommend pH values higher than 3.7.

To add a little more to this -- I haven't checked pH regularly on my meads, but have always found a starting pH of 4.0. I don't worry about this. As soon as the yeasties kick off, they're going to secrete organic acids which will lower the pH below 4.0. Yeasts are adapted to function well in lower pH environments than bacteria. It's a natural trait that allows yeasts to dominate the microbiological environment, pushing out competiton from bacteria. In other words, if the starting pH of the must is a little high, don't worry about it, watch your sanitation methods, monitor the pH to be sure, but let the yeasties lower the pH on their own.

Jmattioli
01-24-2004, 02:08 AM
:)Thanks for all the great inputs to my original post. I am now on my 17th batch in experimenting and I have found using as little nutrient supplement as is necessary unless I blend in which case I add none to be wise advice. None of my meads since that time have had the listerine taste or were undrinkable when finished. From start of fermentation to clearing and bottling have been as short as 4 weeks and 4 days to 2 1/2 months. (Never used a fining agent) My only problem with starting fermentation was on an early batch with a very high OG of 1.150 (followed recipe but not anymore) and Cotes de blancs (epernay2) yeast which I changed to EC-1118 and stopped at my desired SG and had no problems. I have followed closely the advice of OG's in the range of 1.090 to 1.100, no boil, little or no acid at start and only grape tannin for clearing and astringency. I recently purchased 60lb unprocessed honey and am looking forward to improving my meads made MORE(not all) naturally even further. I ferment to completion and then stabilize and sweeten. However, I do like English mead and have found I need to sweeten and put in a rather large amount of Malic and Tartaric Acid at the finish to duplicate the taste of that which I tasted from England a couple years back. (Action & Duncan Style, I call it but I add the acids at the finish instead of the start) And the best part, it doesn't need to age 5 years to taste good.
Thanks again,
Joe