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Old 03-18-2013, 08:01 PM   #1
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Default Mead Yeasts

Anyone on here have any experience with Wyeast's Sweet Mead and Semi-Sweet Mead yeasts?

How does it match up to say the Lalvin 71b-1122?

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Old 03-18-2013, 09:13 PM   #2
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Anyone on here have any experience with Wyeast's Sweet Mead and Semi-Sweet Mead yeasts?

How does it match up to say the Lalvin 71b-1122?
Never used Wyeast's but from the stories I've read they are very temperamental. I've used 71b and it is very good.
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:30 PM   #3
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Anyone on here have any experience with Wyeast's Sweet Mead and Semi-Sweet Mead yeasts?

How does it match up to say the Lalvin 71b-1122?
Semi-sweet ? Only heard of sweet and dry. Either way, how does wyeast know what strains were originally used 11 or 12 hundred years ago ? They didn't write much down, certainly nothing of yeast strains. Other more recent, yet equally historic recipes are equally vague.

So what does that mean ? It means such products are mostly marketing hype.

Ok, so with that done.....

Wyeast sweet mead is a very finicky one to use. I've tried it 3 times and 3 times its failed to start. If you did a search both here and/or gotmead, you may find some people who have been successful with it but also an equal or greater number who have had problems with it.

It has a tolerance of 11 % ABV.

Their dry mead yeast is less finicky and much easier to get a result with.

There are also so called mead yeasts from white labs. Now their sweet mead one seems better though I can't say for certain as they're not available here......

Beer people seem to like liquid yeasts whereas its generally recommended to use dry yeasts for meads, partly about cost partly the much higher cell count and the greater number of variant strains which can give you a range of different tastes from a small number of ingredients.

Sweet or dry ? Is about honey/sugar levels, fermentation techniques and finishing processes.

The last one you mention is good for traditionals and cysers. Its known to produce early drinking brews and if you did cyser it can metabolise about 1/3rd of the malic acid in the apple juice. Its only negative is that its not known to be good for aging on the lees/sur lie/batonage techniques. Its generally thought that batches need to be racked off the lees/sediment no later than about 2 months after completion of the ferment as it can cause autolysis type off flavours.

I'd suggest that K1-V1116 is a better bet for general batches especially for traditionals.
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Old 03-19-2013, 12:57 AM   #4
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Sweet and dry are relative, as fatbloke illustrated...I have a completely dry orange blossom varietal bulk aging right now that was done with the White Labs Sweet Mead strain. It's all about the alcohol tolerance of the yeast relative to your OG...

I really like the Wyeast Dry Mead strain...I use it for a lot of my meads, and I've learned how to work with it and get good results.

One thing about any liquid yeast though...regardless of what they say on the packet/tube, you need to make a starter to build up your cell counts to get optimum results.

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Old 03-19-2013, 03:11 AM   #5
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I'm not the master mazer that some of our other commentors are, but I stick with K1-v1116 and EC-1118. They seem reliable, haven't seen a single stuck ferment or problem starting, and both seem to ferment the hell out of anything I throw at them, including a too high SG must.

Maybe some of the other yeasts out there can add more refined or subtle characteristics to mead, but I'm still at the point where I just appreciate the consistency and reliability. My pallet is probably not refined enough yet to distinguish the differences in contributions from one yeast or another. So my thinking is why bother with something known to be a headache.

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Old 03-19-2013, 10:21 AM   #6
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Further to what nitack said, dry yeasts are very good too, and definitely more convenient, what with not having to muck around with starters and all. I use a lot of US-05 for my beer, and I also like 71B for meads, especially melomels. I have been wanting to play around with some of the other dry wine/mead yeasts more, but like I said, I just know the Wyeast Dry Mead yeast so well, I tend to stick with it...a lot of it is just what you feel comfortable working with, and after a while you just get to know how a particular yeast works in your own brewing system.

Even though you don't need a starter with dry yeast, you do still get best results when you rehydrate it properly, and I do use more than one 5 gm packet for mead. When I use 71B, I use at least 2, and often 3 packets (15 grams of yeast total)... Yes, you *can* ferment mead with only one packet, but if you want a healthy, unstressed fermentation, you need to achieve proper pitch rates.

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Old 03-19-2013, 03:33 PM   #7
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I'm not an expert ( just started batches 11 and 12 of mead) but my first batch used ec1118, at the advice of some of the experts here I bought some lalvin 1122, 1116 and d47. Even comparing two batches with the same abv. One using 1118, one using 1116, and 1116 clearly leaves more aroma and flavor. My favorites are 1122 and d47, the young batches I have made with these are showing a lot of promise, and they all kept a lot of the original aroma and flavors, even fermented all the way to 14%

I've always dumped one packet into my must dry(some as high a gravity as 1.130) and typically they go nuts in an hour or two. Really like lalvin yeast.

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Old 04-09-2013, 05:01 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by fatbloke View Post
...Sweet or dry ? Is about honey/sugar levels, fermentation techniques and finishing processes.

The last one you mention is good for traditionals and cysers. Its known to produce early drinking brews and if you did cyser it can metabolise about 1/3rd of the malic acid in the apple juice. Its only negative is that its not known to be good for aging on the lees/sur lie/batonage techniques. Its generally thought that batches need to be racked off the lees/sediment no later than about 2 months after completion of the ferment as it can cause autolysis type off flavours.

I'd suggest that K1-V1116 is a better bet for general batches especially for traditionals.
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Originally Posted by biochemedic View Post
...Even though you don't need a starter with dry yeast, you do still get best results when you rehydrate it properly, and I do use more than one 5 gm packet for mead. When I use 71B, I use at least 2, and often 3 packets (15 grams of yeast total)... Yes, you *can* ferment mead with only one packet, but if you want a healthy, unstressed fermentation, you need to achieve proper pitch rates.
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...One using 1118, one using 1116, and 1116 clearly leaves more aroma and flavor...
I'm sorry I couldn't reply sooner! March was just stupid busy for me! A big thank you to all of you. Very helpful, guys! I ended up using the K1V-1116. I'd like to age a decent amount and even throw a few bottles aside and check back on them in a number of years. I've also gone a fairly traditional route and used bee pollen as a natural yeast nutrient and to give it a little more a well-rounded taste with the wildflower honey. It seems as if this was the best option. I'll look into some various techniques to get a sweeter mead. However I might just let it ferment all the way through and back sweeten once I'm ready to bottle. I'm also looking into using Hungarian Oak cubes to use once I'm ready to do my first racking! Thanks again for all the info!

I do have one other question. I re-hydrated the yeast, however, I only ended up using one packet. I purchased two though. Should I re-hydrate the other and pitch it as well? I prepared everything on Sunday morning. So should you guys recommend I do that, I can. And I trust it won't hurt the process at all, just help speed it along, even though I started it almost two days ago.

Cheers!
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Old 04-09-2013, 12:28 PM   #9
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I do have one other question. I re-hydrated the yeast, however, I only ended up using one packet. I purchased two though. Should I re-hydrate the other and pitch it as well? I prepared everything on Sunday morning. So should you guys recommend I do that, I can. And I trust it won't hurt the process at all, just help speed it along, even though I started it almost two days ago.

Cheers!
If you're already started, you can probably just let it go...I don't think there would be any reason to add more yeast once you've already achieved active fermentation. The benefits of having a good pitch rate right from the start are achieved at the start...once active fermentation is going, I think the cat's already out of the bag...

If the start of fermentation is still lagging, then yes, it might be helpful to add the 2nd packet to get things going, and to promote a healthier fermentation process...
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:44 PM   #10
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Righteous, thanks! If you consider an average of 13-20 bubbles a minute, active fermentation. Then, I will leave it. But if that's laggin' I'll add in some extra yeast.

Is there a specific time when I should rack off the mead into a new carboy? Like there is with the 71b-1122's no more than 2 months limit. If anything, that's what I'm paranoid about.

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