[Sca-cooks] Killing the yeast in Mead before bottling
Stefan li Rous
StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
Sun Nov 25 15:10:03 PST 2007
<<< I bought a book on basic brewing, and almost all their
suggestions for Mead
is roughly; "Boil up honey and water, add yeast, leave for a week or
then add a campden (sulphur dioxide) tablet to stop fermentation,
store for 6+ months before drinking"
I've never elsewhere read anything suggesting the sterilization of
before bottling - I presume this is to keep it sweet and not bubbly (or
explosive). Is this common, and does the tablet affect the flavor at
Killing the yeasts before bottling does come up in a number of mead
discussions. However, I doubt it was done in period, since their
bottling technology until very late in our period, and this includes
for wine as well, didn't allow for long time storage while keeping
the beverage from going bad. Since using campden tAblets is far from
a period technique, I've never used them myself.
The reasons to kill off the yeasts are to maintain a bubbly bottle
without the concern that letting the fermentation continue will end
up blowing up your bottle (which can be quite, ah, interesting
especially if you have several pressurized bottles stored next to one
another) or to keep a sweet mead which fermentation would turn into a
drier mead. I've tended to get around the latter by waiting until the
fermentation has died down and then adding some more honey or for the
former, on luck. I've never had a bottle explode. I do tend to let my
meads ferment longer in the carboy, with an air lock than many people
do. That "week or two" seems awfully quick. I would leave my meads in
the primary fermenter for a month or two at least. Definitely use a
primary fermenter/carboy with a fermentation lock. If you forget and
simply cap the primary fermenter, you *will* get an explosion. Sticky
honey-water everywhere is *not* nice. This is one reason I gave up
mead making when my wife moved in and I lost access to the one area
in the house which had tile floor instead of carpet. However, with
the new house having some larger areas of non-carpet...
One method that I've heard of, but haven't tried, is to heat up the
sealed bottle in a water bath, basically pasteurizing it. But I
suspect that the chance of having the bottle shatter while doing that
would be quite high.
The yeasts will tend to naturally die off from either of two reasons.
They die because they starve. ie: they run out of sugars. This
creates a dry mead. or secondly, they die of alcohol poisoning. This
gives you a high alcohol mead and depending upon how much sugars/
honey is left, either a dry or sweet mead.
Yes, the longer you can age a mead, generally the better it will be.
I would recommend at least a year. I have left a bottle or two for
over five years, but that was more because the bottle got hidden and
I forgot about it.
For more on brewing mead and mead in period, see these files in the
BEVERAGES section of the Florilegium:
Mead-Mkng-Tps-art (9K) 6/23/05 "Mead Making Tips" by Byron Whited.
mead-msg (170K) 7/ 5/04 Making mead. Honey based
meadery-list-msg (26K) 4/ 4/02 Lists and reviews of commercial
THLord Stefan li Rous Barony of Bryn Gwlad Kingdom of Ansteorra
Mark S. Harris Austin, Texas
StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
**** See Stefan's Florilegium files at: http://www.florilegium.org ****
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