Mead Brewing?

Pug Bainter pug at
Tue Dec 3 06:56:49 PST 1996

> >    Do you have any hints on getting mead to ferment any faster?  I've
> > been told to use "yeast vitamins" or some kind of enhancer that makes
> > yeast go wild in the wort, but I haven't found any such thing in any
> > brewing catalog that I've ever read.
> What kind of yeast are you using?

There are a lot of yeasts that won't take the high SG of mead. (They go
into shock. *grin*) This is something you have to be very careful with
when choosing one. Your local homebrew shop should be able to tell you
if it'll work or not. (If not, find a new homebrew shop. *grin*)

> I've never had any trouble with using two packets of champagne yeast.

I'm still using single packets of champagne or whitbread ale yeast. I
have a starting SG of between 1.3 and 1.5 and the champagne will ferment
it down to 1.001 while the ale yeast will ferment it down to about 1.06
(very sweet and very yummy).

> Let me know if any of this works for you.  I've .cc'd a copy of this to
> the Ansteorra mail list.  Any of you other brewers out there have any
> suggestions?

That's why I was confused when I hadn't seen the original message. *grin*

Another suggestion is to use Wyeast. They basically come in their own
starter kit. (They usually ferment much harder in the beginning than dry
yeasts.) Most people recommend Wyeast now adays anyway since it's made
from a "single perfect yeast culture."

A few things.

I've never had mead ferment as hard as most beers do. This I appreciate
since it means I don't have to clean up blow off messes.

As well, the main thing you want to do in order to get a cleaner, faster
fermentation is to have more yeast when you pitch. This is basically
what happens when using more yeast (ie. 2 packets instead of 1), yeast
starters as Damaris suggested, or the Wyeast (since it's basically a
starter in tin foil). I've also found rehydrating dry yeast before
pitching helps a lot. You put the yeast in a cup of warm (90-110) water
for 15 minutes, stir it before pitching, then pitch. (I forget what the
stiring does, but it's recommended.)

Be patient. Mead takes much longer than beer or cider to age. (Although
I usually age my mead and cider the same amount of time.) For a good
light clover mead, it takes about 9 months. If you are using something
heavier, it could take even longer to ferment and age. (Yes, I do mean I
leave it in the carboy for 9 months before bottling.)

The yeast nutrient is helpful with meads and ciders since they don't
have all of the necessary "food" that the yeast needs for a clean quick
fermentation. The Greenhill recipe adds things like orange juice, lemon
juice and tea. These give it most of the nutrients the mead needs as
well as a nice flavor. (Amazing how a little flavor can go a long way
towards a better taste.)

Note: We've tried the Wyeast Dry Mead yeast and it came out way to
"winey" for my taste. We haven't tried the Sweet Mead yeast yet.


Phelim Uhtred Gervas  | "I want to be called. COTTONTIPS. There is something 
Barony of Bryn Gwlad  |  graceful about that lady. A young woman bursting with 
House Flaming Dog     |  vigor. She blinked at the sudden light. She writes
pug at           |  beautiful poems. When ever shall we meet again?"

More information about the Ansteorra mailing list