Mead Making 401 | Making Better Mead |

Welcome to Mead Making 401! In this series we dive deeper into mead making. I’ve already done 101, 201 and 301 – so we are now on 401! Today’s topics are:

1.) Backsweetening without Stabilizing
2.) Show, Great & Long Meads
3.) Organic vs Inorganic Nutrients
4.) Step Feeding a Brew
5.) Sulfites for Long Term Aging


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Find the notes here:

0:00 Introduction
0:20 Today’s Topics
1:18 Backsweetening without Stabilizing
6:04 Show, Great & Long Meads
8:05 Organic vs Inorganic Nutrients
12:40 How to Stepfeed a Brew
20:38 Sulfites in Brewing

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  1. I’m making raspberry, it’s dry. It’s at .998 right now. Im about to rack to secondary after a week to verify it stays at .998. If I back sweeten with Splenda in secondary, how much would you recommend for 1 gallon? Im going to use Splenda so I don’t have to worry about starting fermentation again. Thanks

  2. Very interesting. I saw a video where they were making Lemon Mead (I’m interested it trying to make some), and in addition to lemon zest and juice, they used a handful of white raisins. Was the purpose of the raisins to create a nutrient for the yeast? What if I’m using Fermaid-O…. can I omit the raisins? Just curious… Thanks, and great videos. 👍🏻

  3. Question. So, I like the taste of maraschino cherries and wanted to brew with some. Problem is, they have Pottassium Sorbate as preservative mixed in with them. But that got me thinking about using a jar of them during back sweetening. Would the mead absorb enough of the maraschino cherry taste to be worth it, and would the potassium sorbate already in the cherries be enough to stabilize the mead without needing to add a separate dose?

  4. Hey 3M. Are there traditional sources for yeast nutrients, i.e. nitrogen and phosphate, other than contemporary additives (DAP, etc.)? I prefer a metheglin-style mead. Thanks for your time.

  5. "High gravity requires your yeast to go through some serious osmotic pressure. Sometimes yeast can struggle and present off flavours because they get stressed in their fermentation stage". I disagree with this statement. Commercial brewing under great volume creates higher pressure due to weight. Pressure fermentation has proven to perform great results, reduce off flavours, and able to tolerate higher temperatures, especially around 10-12psi.

  6. Hey guys I have an idea for a new brew
    honeysuckle [since they are in bloom here right now], vanilla
    about a 1 pound of blossoms, 1/2 a gallon of homey, 1 vanilla bean [cut up & mashed] & a gallon of water with half a pack of Lavin DVII yeast.
    What do you think

  7. I know you're a mead channel but do you enjoy Sarsaparilla?
    If you do, have you ever made an alcoholic sarsaparilla?
    I'd love to see a recipe for this or even a sarsaparilla inspired mead.

  8. Weird story! My early brews had a pretty lackluster homemade boiled yeast slurry for nutrition. The efficacy of this "nutrient" is probably best-demonstrated by the traditional I brewed with it (since there's no natural YAN in such a recipe). And that traditional stalled out at just under 14% – with a 17%-rated yeast that is *literally advertised for restarting stuck fermentations* lol

    But I also did two batches where I used chai tea instead of water – same boiled yeast slurry attempt at nutrients – and both took off like rockets. The first broke 15% ABV and the second broke 16% ABV; both were using 71B with an on-paper tolerance of 14%.

    I have done no further research on the matter, so please let's not have anybody interpret this comment as an endorsement of chai tea as a nutrient replacement. In fact, I consider the taste of the meads I made with chai tea replacing 100% of the water to have been an abject failure. That was absolutely not a good recipe in spite of the apparently successful fermentation lmao, so if it turns out you need such a high level of tea to have an impact it would absolutely not be worth it. I'm only wondering out loud if it might be worth doing a deeper dive into the impact of tea on fermentation… my sample size is 3, but it does suggest there might be something to it.

  9. Hi, newcomer here – started my first batch last week, your videos made me do it 😉

    Have a question about sanitizing equipment. I also am growing mushrooms and the sterilization process over there is much more rigorous as compared to how it is here with brewing. Even a small gust of "domestic air" could contaminate the produce – a liquid culture solution for instance. So I'm a bit surprised when I see brewing guides just rinsing stuff off with some cleaning agent but then afterwards still have everything exposed to contaminants.
    What's the thought process (?) behind sanitization with brewing? Why does it have to be specific products like Star San? I used regular isopropyl alocohol for cleaning that I had from the mushooms – does that make much of a difference?

  10. I had a question on the nutrient section. You cite yeast hulls as an example of organic nutrient and then cite boiled bread yeast as a poor source of nutrients. I was under the impression that boiled bread yeast is a method of making yeast hulls at home. Are you saying that it is an organic nutrient and a poor nutrient (as the two are not mutually exclusive) or is there a big difference between the two?

  11. I tried using Lactose to sweeten a mead, but eventually the Lactose separated and settled at the bottom of my mead; I dissolved the lactose in some water then added it to the brew. What's the best way to get lactose into your brew?

  12. Nice video! I actually didn't know that you shouldn't use DAP over 9%. In the past, I've used fermax and fermaid K later in fermentation to try and push a strong mead to finish. It didn't work out as well as I would hope, and now I know to avoid this in the future.

  13. The distinction of organic vs. inorganic nutrients has nothing to do with whether they are naturally derived or made in a lab. It isn’t the food-labeling distinction but rather the chemical one. An organic nutrient is carbon-based and an inorganic nutrient is not. DAP molecules have no carbon as part of their chemical makeup, so DAP is not organic.

    Fermaid K is about 2/3 Fermaid O and 1/3 DAP so it provides a mixture of organic and inorganic nitrogen, so it’s a great well-rounded nutrient. Fermax doesn’t publish information about its composition, but it’s probably something similar.

  14. Interesting video. Using non-fermentable sugars to back sweeten a mead creates a separate problem , in my opinion. Don't you want to highlight the flavors of the honey in every mead you make? When we use a non honey sweetener to sweeten the mead, don't we lose (or at least diminish) the honey flavors?
    On a second note, if we pasteurize the mead to kill off the yeast then we cannot use sugars to carbonate the bottle. You have to force carb by pumping in CO2. One other option I have not tried is to ferment brut dry, then add enough sugar to prime the bottles with just enough to add the sweetness you are looking for. If you then monitor the pressure caused by the CO2 and pasteurize at that point, there will be enough sugar left to sweeten the mead. BUT, as you suggest, thee is some risk to heating gas filled bottles filled with liquid.
    Last point: as you say, tea is not a nutrient for yeast but black tea contains tannins and that is typically the only reason why someone might add tea to their mead. How much tannin does a strong cup of black tea provide? I have no idea and that is sometimes the problem. If you use standard tannin powders (typically made from chestnuts) there is a known, if not precise, amount of tannin made available. and so the manufacturer can suggest that you add a specific quantity of the powder to every gallon of mead. That is much harder to determine with "strong black tea" – How much tea did you use? How long did it stew? Are you adding the leaves?

  15. I very much appreciate all the info! Also, the way I step feed is I plug my volumes and yeast percentages to BatchBuildr, then choose my nutrient progression. Then I divide honey needed in half (to add first), then remaining in half again, and add them in two more separate occasions. I tend to arrive around needed final gravity every time.

  16. Good info, I didn't know about those different meads. I have my first "show" mead that's ready to bottle. Been aging for a year now. I've been calling it traditional mead but good to know it has another name. I tried to make my first wine (a dandelion wine) without a nutrient just to see if I could. It started out ok but stalled well before it was done so I ended up having to add nutrients to get it going again. I went with DAP this time though I normally use Fermaid O. Didn't know about not adding it after a certain ABV but it was at around 4% when I added it. It was an interesting experiment. I just posted the video of that experiment today.

  17. Overall a good video, but there is a much easier and more accurate way to do the math when it comes to dillution. The water content DOES NOT matter. Only the change in volume.

    This makes the math much simpler than what you showed. Using the same numbers and ABV equation you used in your example, we get the following:

    1 gal @ 1.130 –> 1.070, ABV so far (1.130-1.070)*131.25= ~7.87%, Dilute with .66 gal honey. New volume =1.66. New ABV = Old ABV*(1/1.66)= ~4.74%
    1.66 @ 1.130 –> 1.000, ABV (1.310-1.000)*131.25+4.74= ~20.76%

    Remember, anything that is soluble that is added to a brew dilutes it and lowers the ABV. Honey is soluble, not just the water.

  18. Quick question about DAP- you said after 9%. I've heard this before so, the clarification I'm looking for is after the brew has reached 9% or the brew's estimated final ABV is above 9%? Just looking for that clarification!

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