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Mead Lover's Digest #62 Thu 24 December 1992

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


Bentonite ("PAUL EDWARDS")
Topical [sic] melomel update (Mark. Gooley)
re:Final Gravity question : Juice and/or Solids (R.) Cavasin" <>
Plastic clarifiers (Rick Myers)
the cosmic questions (Dick Dunn)

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Date: 23 Dec 92 08:12:00 EST
Subject: Bentonite

In Digest #61, Rick says that he thinks bentonite is ground up plastic
that uses a static charge to attract suspended particles and cause them to
fall to the bottom of the fermenter.

You're confusing Bentonite and Polyclar. Bentonite is derived from clay
and Polyclar is plastic. I recall that Bentonite is similar to the clay
in Kaopectate.

— Paul

Date: Wed, 23 Dec 92 09:28:58 MST
From: Mark. Gooley <>
Subject: Topical [sic] melomel update

The melomel I described a couple digests ago seems to be nearly finished
fermenting. From 1.105 O.G. it's down to about 1.009. I tasted the sample
after taking the spec. gravity: a pound of ginger root was excessive, and
it overwhelms the kiwis and pineapple juice. Quite an alcoholic kick to

The yeast has mostly sedimented, but the melomel is very cloudy (what with
ginger having been put through a blender, the natural pulpiness of pineapple
juice concentrate, the kiwis, etc.).

Should I get with the bentonite fad? Again, is it prudent to age this over
sediment, or should I rack it again?

Mark., ground-up figs in the next batch

Date: Wed, 23 Dec 1992 11:25:00 +0000
From: "Rick (R.) Cavasin" <>
Subject: re:Final Gravity question : Juice and/or Solids

Sorry! Yes bentonite is clay. I was thinking of polyclar. I guess
they work on the same principle. Talking off the top of my head
again. I feel not unlike a fool.
Cheers, and happy holidays Rick C.

Date: Wed, 23 Dec 92 12:32:25 MST
From: Rick Myers <>
Subject: Plastic clarifiers

> 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.
Nope you're thinking of Polyclar ™, but I think bentonite and
Polyclar work the same way.

Rick Myers

Date: 24 Dec 92 01:40:27 MST (Thu)
From: (Dick Dunn)
Subject: the cosmic questions

OK, I've been making mead for too long (about ten years) not to have good
answers to the following:

  1. To boil or not to boil?

    I've boiled the @&(* out of the honey and made reasonable mead. I've
    not boiled the honey at all and made good mead. I've seen the argument
    that says "if you boil, you'll settle out the proteins and things will
    clear better" … but I don't know how much protein there is to be
    settled out (if any!). I've seen the argument that says "boiling
    destroys the delicate flavors" yet I've made good mead after sub-
    stantial boiling.
    It seems pretty strange that we start out seeking honey that has been
    minimally processed, avoiding the commercial overheated/overfiltered/
    overxyzzyed stuff…and then boil it in solution for an hour!
    My current approach is not to boil, but to heat to sterilization temp.
    For example, if it's 4 gal water and a gallon of honey for a 5-gal
    batch, I bring the water to a boil (drives off Cl while I'm at it),
    turn off the heat, and add the honey. Remaining ingredients go in at
    some appropriate time–e.g., fruit/juice only after the temp is down
    enough not to set pectin. It's done well so far, so I don't see a
    reason to boil. Am I missing something? Are the folks who boil
    missing something?

  2. Who am us, anyway?

    What do we call ourselves? When we make beer, we're homebrewers.
    Isn't there some good term for "mead-maker"? With all the neat words
    we've got for the world of mead–fun stuff like melomel and metheglin,
    pyment and hippocras and cyser, isn't there anything more romantic,
    more stylish than mead-maker (with an ugly hyphen, no less)?
    And close behind that, what do you call the place where mead is made?
    Brewers have a brewery; winemakers (reflecting the duality in their
    craft) have vineyards and wineries. Even the place where the honey is
    made is an "apiary". What do we have? Is "meadery" right? It sounds
    like an awkward neologism.
    Naturally, these questions would be easier to answer if there were more
    mead being made!

That should do for light pre-Christmas fare, although I'm really curious
about both questions.

Dick Dunn -or- raven!rcd Boulder, Colorado USA

…Mr. Natural says, "Use the right tool for the job."

End of Mead Lover's Digest

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