Feeding Your Yeast & Elderberries: Wine Wizard

Dear Wine Wizard, I am planning to brew my first mead this weekend. I will be using a recipe that calls for “yeast extract,” which I take to be the same as products I’ve seen called “yeast hulls” and “yeast nutrient.” Are they all the same? Also, how worried should I be about my champagne yeast taking off in honey? I asked my buddy what he thought; he suggested a good shaking for aeration. If I do that and it doesn’t take off, can I add nutrients a few days later without fear of contamination? Bryce EddingsCape Girardeau, Missouri Wine Wizard replies: Have no fear of the Champagne yeast failing to take off in your honey. As long as you dilute the honey accordingly, you’ll have a sugar solution that the yeast should happily ferment to dryness (in other words, minimum residual sugar) — or to whatever point at which you want to arrest fermentation with cold temperatures or sulfite additions. It ‘s always a good idea to add yeast extract, nutrient or hulls to a honey fermentation because honey