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Mead is one of the oldest alcoholic beverages in human history and has been enjoyed by many cultures for centuries. It is made from various ingredients, such as honey, water, and yeast. To have a great-tasting mead, brewers need the best yeast for the mead to ferment appropriately.
- My Top Yeast Mead Recommendations
- Features to Consider before Buying Yeast for Mead
- Frequently Asked Questions
My Top Yeast Mead Recommendations
Yeast is one the most vital ingredients in making mead, as it converts the sugars in the honey into alcohol. Various yeasts are available in the market for homebrewers and commercial brewers. Here are some of my top recommendations for yeast to get you started on making excellent mead:
Best Yeast for Mead Overal: WLP720 White Labs Blush Sweet Mead Liquid Yeast
WLP720 White Labs Blush Sweet Mead Liquid Yeast is my best mead yeast. It is a strong attenuator, meaning it can consume more of the sugars in the mead, producing higher alcohol content. Unlike others on the list, this one has a low mineral content, which allows you to use more honey without changing the flavor.
The yeast is also very viable and can ferment rapidly, allowing for a quick and efficient process to produce alcohol with minimal effort. The yeast has an alcohol tolerance of 15 % ABV making it ideal for higher-gravity meads.
Unlike Lalvin K1-V1116 Saccharomyces, with a temperature range of 59-86 Fahrenheit, WLP720 WhiteLabs Blush has a working temperature range of 70-75 Fahrenheit, making it suitable for most fermentation temperatures. Its liquid nature makes it produce finished mead with a subtle fruity aroma and a dry finish.
The only downside to this yeast is that it can spill, leading to messes in the brewing area. It can also produce off-flavors in high-gravity meads.
- It is a strong attenuator, meaning it can consume more of the sugars in the mead.
- It has an alcohol tolerance of 15 % ABV making it ideal for higher-gravity meads.
- It has a working temperature range of 70-75 Fahrenheit, making it suitable for most fermentation temperatures.
- It produces finished mead with a subtle fruity aroma and a dry finish.
- Can spill, leading to messes in the brewing area
- Can produce off-flavors in high-gravity meads
- Attenuation: <75%
- Flocculation: Low
- Optimum Ferment Temp: 70-75°F (21-24°C)
Best Yeast for Sweet Mead: Lalvin K1-V1116 Saccharomyces Cerevisiae 3
Lalvin K1-V1116 Saccharomyces Cerevisiae 3 is a great yeast choice for sweet mead. It is a good attenuator and can ferment up to 18% alcohol. It produces a good balance of ester production, enabling it to create complex flavors in the finished mead.
It is also very temperature tolerant, with a range of 59-86 Fahrenheit, allowing greater control over the fermentation process. It is also a good choice if you are using natural fruits or berries in your mead, as it can also help bring out the flavors of those fruits. The yeast is also gluten-free and vegan-friendly, making it suitable for those who have dietary restrictions.
Unlike others on the list, Lalvin K1-V1116 is a good choice for sweet mead. It produces a slightly sweeter, fuller-bodied mead with notes of toast and fruity esters. It produces good carbonation and can be used to bottle condition your mead.
Unlike the WLP720 WhiteLabs Blush, which comes in liquid form, this one comes in the yeast’s granule form, making it easier to store and use. The only downside to this yeast is that it can produce off-flavors in high-gravity meads if not correctly managed and monitored.
- It is a good attenuator and can ferment up to 18% alcohol.
- It produces a good balance of ester production, enabling it to create complex flavors.
- It is temperature tolerant and has a range of 59-86 Fahrenheit, allowing greater control over the fermentation process.
- It is also gluten-free and vegan-friendly, making it suitable for those with dietary restrictions.
- It can produce off-flavors in high-gravity meads if not properly managed and monitored.
- It can produce a slightly sweeter, fuller-bodied mead if not managed correctly.
- K1V - 1116 Wine Yeast
- 5 gram per packet (3 packets)
- One of the most widely used active dry wine yeasts in the world
Best Beginners Yeast for Mead: Lallemand Bry-97 American West Coast
The Lallemand Bry-97 American West Coast Yeast is an easy-to-use yeast for mead that produces a neutral with slight ester. It is a good attenuator and will ferment up to 9% ABV in your mead. It has good temperature tolerance and can withstand temperatures from 59-72 Fahrenheit. This gives you greater control over the fermentation process, making it easier to produce consistent results.
Like the WLP775, this yeast is also highly flocculating, which will settle out of the mead quickly after fermentation. The yeast is also low in sulfur dioxide, so it won’t add off-flavors to your mead. The finished mead will have a clean, crisp taste with a nice balance of fruity and floral notes.
Like others on the list, this yeast also comes with rehydration instructions, making it easier to get the yeast into the solution before pitching. It also has a pitching of 50 – 100g/hL making it ideal for achieving the desired alcohol content. The only downside is that it can produce a cloying sweetness if the fermentation isn’t monitored and appropriately managed.
- It is a good attenuator and can ferment up to 9% ABV.
- It is highly flocculating, which will settle out of the mead quickly after fermentation.
- It is low in sulfur dioxide, so it won’t add off-flavors to your mead.
- The rehydration instructions make it easier to get the yeast into the solution before pitching.
- It can produce off-flavors if you don’t read the rehydration instructions properly.
- It can produce cloying sweetness if the fermentation is not managed correctly.
- Lallemand Danstar BRY-97 American West Coast Ale Yeast
- American West Coast Ale Yeast
- Gluten Free
Best Yeast for Dry Mead: WLP775 English Cider Liquid Yeast
The WLP775 English Cider Liquid Yeast is a great choice for dry mead. It ferments quickly and has excellent attenuation of up to 80%. This produces a clean, crisp mead with light fruit notes and minimal residual sweetness. The high attenuation also helps to prevent off-flavors and produces a dry, light mead.
Like WLP720 WhiteLabs Blush, the yeast works under the temperature range of 70-75 Fahrenheit, so you have reasonable control over the fermentation process. It is also immune to sulfur dioxide, making it an excellent choice for those sensitive to it. The WLP775 is also a low-foaming yeast, which is ideal for reducing the foam produced during fermentation.
Unlike Lallemand Bry-97, with an alcohol tolerance of 9%, this one has an alcohol tolerance of up to 12%, which is ideal for those looking to produce a more potent mead. It also has a flocculation level of medium to high, helping to settle out quickly once fermentation is complete. The yeast can also be used for high-gravity meads; however, it is essential to monitor the fermentation closely to avoid off-flavors.
- It ferments quickly and has excellent attenuation of up to 80%.
- Immune to sulfur dioxide, making it an excellent choice for those sensitive to it.
- Low-foaming yeast, which is ideal for reducing foam during fermentation.
- Alcohol tolerance of up to 12%, making it great for strong meads.
- Medium to high flocculation, helping to settle quickly once fermentation is complete.
- It can produce off-flavors if not monitored closely during fermentation.
- It needs close monitoring when used for high-gravity meads.
Features to Consider before Buying Yeast for Mead
|Alcohol Tolerance (%)||Yeast Working Temperature Range (Fahrenheit)||Yeast Form|
|WLP775 English Cider Liquid Yeast||12%||70-75||Liquid|
|Lalvin K1-V1116 Saccharomyces Cerevisiae 3||18%||59-86||Granule(Solid)|
|WLP720 White Labs Blush Sweet Mead Liquid||15%||70-75||Liquid|
|Lallemand Bry-97 American West Coast||9%||59-72||Granule|
The yeast you choose for your mead will significantly impact the flavor and quality of the finished product. Here are some essential factors to consider before buying yeast for your mead:
Attenuation is essential when selecting a yeast as it determines the kind of alcohol produced during fermentation. Attenuation helps to create a dry, crisp with lower residual sugar content. A transparent beer is always the goal for mead fermentation, and high attenuation helps to achieve that.
Ensure you get yeast with high-attenuation levels to get the desired mead and a clean finish. For example, the WLP775 English Cider Liquid Yeast has up to 80% attenuation that helps it to produce a clear and dry mead.
This is the process of yeast aggregating and settling out of suspension after fermentation. High flocculation is preferred for mead, as it helps to settle out quickly and gives a clear finish.
An example of yeast with high flocculation is the WLP775 English Cider Liquid Yeast, which has a medium to high flocculation rate. The medium to high flocculation gives the yeast a desired range that one can manage easily.
Yeast should be chosen based on the type and strength of mead you produce. Most brewers prefer to brew a high-gravity mead, which requires yeast with higher alcohol tolerance. A high-alcohol strain helps to avoid off-flavors and produces a dry, crisp mead.
An example of yeast with high alcohol tolerance is Lalvin K1-V1116 Saccharomyces Cerevisiae 3. It has an alcohol tolerance of up to 18%, making it great for those looking to produce a stronger mead.
Temperature tolerance is important when selecting yeast, as it helps to control the fermentation process. Yeast that works at lower temperatures will ferment more slowly, delaying the process. Yeast works best at an optimal temperature range, so be sure to check the specifications of the yeast you choose.
For example, the Lallemand Bry-97 American West Coast Yeast has an optimal fermentation temperature of 59-72 Fahrenheit. This is great for those looking to control the fermentation process and is the optimal temperature range for this particular yeast strain.
Osmotic Pressure Tolerance
Osmotic pressure tolerance measures the ability of yeast to survive and ferment in a solution with high sugar content. Mead has high-sugar content, so getting yeast with an osmotic pressure tolerance is important.
To get the osmotic pressure tolerance, you can rehydrate your yeast to test it with a hydrometer. An example of yeast with excellent osmotic pressure tolerance is the Lallemand Premier Cuvee Yeast. This helps the yeast to ferment quickly, producing the desired results when making mead.
Sulfur Dioxide Tolerance
For many people, sulfur can cause off-flavors in their mead. Therefore, yeast with a higher sulfur dioxide tolerance is necessary to avoid these off-flavors. The WLP775 English Cider Liquid Yeast is immune to sulfur, which makes it a great choice for those looking to avoid any off-flavors.
Yeast comes in different forms, such as liquid, powder, and dry. Most meaderies prefer liquid yeast, which is easier to measure and works best with high-alcohol wines. Liquid yeast allows you to rehydrate the yeast, which gives you control over the fermenting process.
An example of liquid yeast suitable for mead is the WLP720 White Labs Blush Sweet Mead Liquid Yeast.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Put Too Much Yeast in Mead?
Yes, you can put too much yeast in mead. However, this usually takes 10-20 times the recommended amount of yeast. More yeast is better at first, though it will eventually overpower the flavor of your mead. Using a packet designed for a 5-gallon is ideal as it helps to keep the flavor balanced.
Can You Reuse Yeast From a Previous Mead Batch?
Yes, you can reuse yeast from a previous batch of mead. However, ensuring the yeast is still viable and has not been contaminated is essential. Reusing yeast can be a great way to save money. The only problem is that the result may be better than if you had used fresh yeast.
Which Ingredient Gives Mead Its Sweet Taste?
The ingredient that gives mead its sweet taste is honey. Honey provides the fermentable sugars yeast needs to convert into alcohol and carbon dioxide, giving mead its uniquely sweet taste. Honey also contributes a range of flavors, including floral and fruity notes.
How Long Can You Leave Mead on Yeast?
You can leave mead on yeast for three weeks to one month. This gives the yeast enough time to ferment the sugars, resulting in a well-rounded flavor. After this period, you should rack the mead into a carboy for aging or bottling.
When making mead, choosing the suitable yeast for the job is essential. There are various yeast types, each with its benefits and drawbacks. Consider the alcohol tolerance, temperature tolerance, osmotic pressure tolerance, and sulfur dioxide tolerance when selecting a yeast. Cheers!