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Mead Yeast

 
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quixoticgeek



Joined: 23 Dec 2008
Posts: 296
Location: Canterbury
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 11 12:07 am    Post subject: Mead Yeast  Reply with quote    

I am thinking of having a go at making some mead. I have in stock a pot of "all purpose wine yeast" which I have been using for most of my country wines. What yeasts have people used for making mead? Is there any reason not to use the all purpose stuff?

J

sean
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 41983
Location: North Devon
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 11 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I just use the same general purpose yeast as for fruit/leaf/flower wines. Gervin Number 1 in my case.

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 11 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I use champagne yeast for mead. Gives a mead with a cleaner taste, and it matures well in the bottle.

fatbloke



Joined: 22 Mar 2009
Posts: 121
Location: Sussex Coast!
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 11 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Yeast for meads, depends entirely on what it is you're trying to make i.e. a "traditional" mead (honey, water, nutrient, etc etc), a cyser (mead made with apple juice), a melomel (mead with other fruit/juice), metheglyn (mead made with spices) etc etc. There's a million and one different combinations. Most of them have no "standard", mainly because, these days, mead is very much a niche product and most of the commercial ones available in the UK are "dessert" meads, which means about 14% ABV and very, very sweet (cloyingly so - and I'm guessing that this is because the manufacturers presume that we'll all think that they're supposed to taste like watered down honey that happens to contain alcohol).

So, down to the actual type of yeast. As I said above, there's no real standard, so I'll quote from how they used to be made down at Buckfast Abbey by the late Brother Adam (as far as I can find out).

He didn't actually write much about his mead making as his speciality was breeding bees, but would make his meads often just from the comb and cap "washings".

Originally, he use "Maury" yeast. Now as there's nothing confirmed, it would seem that this is probably the same yeast that is used in the Maury AOC region of France (Maury is actually a small area that is part of the Roussillon area). As time passed, this "Maury" yeast became unavailable (in home brewing sized packs).

Eventually, I got a response from the Apiaries Manager at Buckfast, who kindly checked through Bro Adams personal papers, and explained that when he couldn't get the Maury yeast, he moved to using the Montpellier strain of yeast (actually, Montpellier isn't that far from Maury so it would go some way to explaining why there are a few similarities of the two types).

It's a bit of a guess, but the Montpellier yeast was probably from Gervin and while not stocked by all Gervin yeast retailing HBS, it's their "Varietal E" yeast. Which somewhat conveniently, is also available from Lallemand as their Lalvin K1V-1116 (which is more widely available, though you'd probably still have to mail order it).

The one mentioned earlier, the "Maury" yeast, is actually still available, just not in home brew sized packs - in the UK. If you went to a commercial supplier, you can get a pack of Lalvin D21 (I think that they're 500 gramme packs).

The other alternative, would be to mail order from the US, because it seems that the largest range of yeasts available is at Morewine. They keep a number that would appear to be repackaged commercial yeast strains.

As I only make meads, mainly traditionals, my preference is for D21, then K1V-1116 (or Gervin Varietal E), then 71B-1122 (which is also a good one if you're using a fruit that's "malic", like apples, raspberry, etc etc), D47 and then maybe something specific, depending on what I'm making - I'll usually dig out the profile of the yeast to work out what I need.

Hopefully that lot is of some help.

Oh, and don't just go for a champagne or high alcohol yeast, because the whole point (IMO) is to achieve a distinctive, enjoyable brew. Champagne yeasts, such as Lalvin EC-1118 just seem to blow a lot of the flavour and aroma from the honey straight out the airlock. So I only tend to keep a little for if I have problems with stuck ferments etc...... and if you happen to get the chance to visit Brouwland, in Belgium. While they stock the Wyeast Liquid yeasts, the "sweet mead yeast" sounds convincing, but it's a pain in the arse. I seems to cause a lot of stuck ferments, for reasons that aren't always clear. Hell I'm sure it's fine and produces good, if low alcohol meads (it's tolerant up to 11% ABV), but I've just found it a bloody nuisance......

fatbloke



Joined: 22 Mar 2009
Posts: 121
Location: Sussex Coast!
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 11 4:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Mead Yeast Reply with quote    

quixoticgeek wrote:
I am thinking of having a go at making some mead. I have in stock a pot of "all purpose wine yeast" which I have been using for most of my country wines. What yeasts have people used for making mead? Is there any reason not to use the all purpose stuff?

J
Yes, it's rubbish.......

For meads, have a bit of a read at Gotmead. Yes most of the info is biased toward US mead makers but you can get enough info for good guidance.....

Dabinett



Joined: 23 Dec 2010
Posts: 90
Location: Hampshire
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 11 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I used Champagne yeast.

Fermentation got going very quickly, and after a few weeks had a hydrometer reading of 1.000, and it cleared completely.

I have since added sulphite and potassium sorbate, and added more honey to sweeten.

I'll let you know what it's like in about a year when it's matured.

I was given lots of useful advice here;

http://forum.downsizer.net/about59597.html

fatbloke



Joined: 22 Mar 2009
Posts: 121
Location: Sussex Coast!
PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 11 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Dabinett wrote:
I used Champagne yeast.

Fermentation got going very quickly, and after a few weeks had a hydrometer reading of 1.000, and it cleared completely.

I have since added sulphite and potassium sorbate, and added more honey to sweeten.

I'll let you know what it's like in about a year when it's matured.

I was given lots of useful advice here;

http://forum.downsizer.net/about59597.html

Which does, of course, do the job. The problem with champagne yeast is that it has a tendency to blow a lot of the aromatics straight out the airlock. Plus if it's ferment is managed, even with a little care, it will also ferment very dry (it's champagne yeast after all). A lot of people don't appreciate very dry meads - plus it often has a medicinal/mouth wash quality to it (the great Ken Schramm likens it to Listerine). Which isn't a fault per se, but it can take a lot of ageing to mellow out. Yes, a lot of the HBS suggest champagne/dessert/high alcohol yeasts, but that's usually because of ignorance and/or sweeping generalisation when considering the use of honey in ferments......

regards

fatbloke

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