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Mead Lover's Digest #61 Wed 23 December 1992


Forum for Discussion of Mead Brewing and Consuming
John Dilley, Digest Coordinator

Contents:

re:Final Gravity question : Juice and/or Solids (R.) Cavasin" <cav@bnr.ca>
Bentonite is Clay (John Gorman)

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Date: Tue, 22 Dec 1992 08:54:00 +0000
From: "Rick (R.) Cavasin" <cav@bnr.ca>
Subject: re:Final Gravity question : Juice and/or Solids

Re:Final Gravity Question
Doug expresses some concerns about his final gravity of 1.008.
It sounds as if your fermentation is done, or very nearly so.
Several factors could contribute to your higher than expected
F.G. The most important is the yeast. If the yeast you are
using is unattenuative (doesn't go after that last bit of
sugar left in solution), you can expect a somewhat higher F.G.
Many people use champagne yeasts for their meads, which is a
very attenuative yeast. Some wine yeasts like Epernay are
a little less attenuative, as are some ale yeasts. Another
characteristic that can come into play is the yeast's alcohol
tolerance. In your mead with the 1.08 starting gravity, an ale
yeast may have reached the limits of its alcohol tolerance leaving
a fairly high F.G. Also, it could be that your honey and other
ingredients contribute a higher than usual amount of unfermentables.
One thing you can do for added peace of mind is to bottle the mead,
but make one of the bottles a 'groelsh' bottle or something similar
that is easily resealable. You can then periodically check to
see if any additional fermentation is taking place (by seeing if
the bottle becomes pressurized). If pressure builds in the groelsh
bottle, you can take remedial action on the others before the
corks pop ;).

By the way, I think Bentonite is ground up bits of plastic that
use static electric charge to attract solid particles (yeast etc.)
suspended in the wine/mead and draw them to the bottom. It is NOT
a chemical process (the plastic is basically inert) but a physical
process.

Juice and/or solids:

Joe asks about using his juicer. I've been considering getting one
myself, but I got my table top press working so I'm going to use that
for now. My sister borrowed a juicer to make a pomegranate melomel
a while back and was very happy with the way it worked (the melomel
is still fermenting). One thing to note about severing the juice from
the pulp is that in some fruit, alot of the pigment is in the skins.
Especially true for berries and such.
This is why you can make white wine from red grapes by not fermenting
on the pulp. This summer I made a strawberry melomel by fermenting
on the pulp and it is looking like it will have a faint reddish tint.
I made another batch this fall using more strawberries, but I extracted
the juice using my press. It is looking more pink than red. I'm not
sure that there is very much in the pulp that the yeast will use
that won't also be in the juice (some small fragments of the solids
probably get through anyway). One clever 17th century way around this
can be found in Digby. He offers the option of pressing the juice
out of the fruit, and then putting the 'magma' (pulp?) into a cloth
bag which you can hang in the primary fermenter. Presumably, the
pigments in the skins of the fruit can still leech out (along with
any residual flavour), but you have a much easier time when racking.
Trouble is, I use glass carboys as primary fermenters, and I
can't get a bag of fruit pulp down the neck. Back to plastic
buckets I guess.
Cheers, and happy holidays Rick C.



Date: Tue, 22 Dec 92 11:39:14 EST
From: john@rsi.com (John Gorman)
Subject: Bentonite is Clay

> The discussion about clearing the mead sounded like a good tip to
> keep in mind, but what is Bentonite?

Bentonite is granulated clay. I got mine at The Modern Brewer
in Cambridge MA. There may be other trade names for the same thing.

The suspended clay particles are shaped in tiny flat sheets.
The edges of the sheets carry electrical charges, which attract
other particles suspended in the mead. They all clump together
(flocculate) and sink to the bottom of the carboy, leaving clear
mead behind.

To use, boil 2 cups of water in a saucepan. While boiling, slowly
sprinkle and stir in 5 tsp of bentonite. Cover and let stand for
24 hours. Add during racking. I had to do this twice to get a
really clear Barkshack Gingermead.


John Gorman john@rsi.com
Relational Semantics, Inc. 617-926-0979
17 Mount Auburn Street Watertown MA 02172 USA

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End of Mead Lover's Digest


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