Mead Lover's Digest #47 Tue 01 December 1992

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


Lead in Ceramic Glazes (mpl)
3 gal carboys (Brian Smithey)
Jug glazes (Jane Beckman)
Orange blossom honey, and high O.G. (gparsons)

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Date: Mon, 30 Nov 92 08:47 EST
Subject: Lead in Ceramic Glazes

It is quite possible that there is lead in the glaze unless it is fairly
new and made in the US or other "enlightened" countries. There are lead
test kits you can buy. I think "Real Goods" sells one, but I'm not sure.
Anyway, they're not hard to find if you ask around. Most of them are fairly
expensive ($20 and up) but they will do more than one test (like in the
range of 50, I think). If you plan on using the jugs over and over, it's
probably a good idea to test them, since lead poisoning is cumulative, and
the must is likely to leach out significant amounts of lead due to the
acidity of it and the long time it is in contact with the fermentor.
Check on the lead kits – my information is purely from memory.

Mike Lindner

Date: Mon, 30 Nov 92 13:04:36 MST
From: Brian.Smithey@Central.Sun.COM (Brian Smithey)
Subject: 3 gal carboys

>>>>> COYOTE <SLK6P@CC.USU.EDU> writes:

Coyote> I have recently aquired some ceramic jugs (Mountain man type
Coyote> jugs) and plan to use them for fermenting. I was told they
Coyote> hold 3 gal each ( I haven't confirmed that yet). A friend
Coyote> recently inquired as to whether they were glazed with food
Coyote> grade glazes (i.e.- no lead) Hmmm I said, I dunno! I'd rather
Coyote> not worry, but then I also figure the alcohol will kill enuf
Coyote> brain cells, and I don't need to add insult to injury. SO….
Coyote> anyone know anything about ceramic glazes? I like the 3
Coyote> gallon size, it saves my big carboys for other things (beer)
Coyote> and the 1 gallon jugs eat up lots of fermentation locks.

Coyote> John (Coyote) Wyllie

Just thought I'd mention that 3 gallon glass carboys can be found.
I picked one up at Fun Fermentations in Orange County, CA a couple
of years ago, specifically for mead, strong beer, and "experimental
batches", when I don't necessarily want an entire 5 gallons. They're
made in Italy, I believe that they're imported by Crosby & Baker. I
remember it being quite expensive, probably close to $20, but I really
like it. I can do a closed primary in a 5 gallon carboy (plenty of
head space), and then rack into the 3 gallon for secondary.


Brian Smithey / Sun Microsystems / Colorado Springs, CO

Date: Mon, 30 Nov 92 14:40:57 PST
From: (Jane Beckman)
Subject: Jug glazes

Several things to consider in ceramic glazes and lead:

date of manufacture
place of manufacture
coverage of the glaze

First thing, turn your jug over and check for a country-of-origin mark. If
it says "MEXICO" forget any idea of using this jug for fermenting. Likewise
anywhere in in south/central America. Lead glazes are prevalent there.

If there is no mark, it dates from before 1893, and it's potluck as to what
the glazes are, as well as guessing the country of origin. I would not use
anything that is prior to 1893, as they could get away with almost anything,
back in the 19th century. It might be only redware, or salt-glaze, but do
you really want to risk it? (Besides, this would make the jug a possibly-
valuable antique!)

CHINA should be fairly safe, if the glaze is not the vitreous green or red
stuff. Europe is probably safe. The USA is probably safe, if no lurid
colors were used in the glaze. However, be careful of brightly-colored
glazes. Brown is possibly suspect, unless it was manufactured in the past
couple decades.

Some jugs are only glazed on the outside. Those should be fairly safe, as
the glaze is not in contact with the acidity of the fermenting mead.

A good rule of thumb: if there is any doubt, DON'T!

–Jilara []

Date: 30 Nov 92 15:10:00 +1500

I would like to subscribe to the mead lovers digest!

Date: Mon, 30 Nov 92 20:47:47 EST
From: lunatix!
Subject: Orange blossom honey, and high O.G.

Hi guys and gals,
I made a batch of mead the other night with only orange blossom honey, but
I could not find my hydrometer till the next day. when I did a test of the
O.G. it was 1.140!! did I go too much over on this? after 3 days it is now
down to 1.092 and still cranking away… hmm… I only added 3 pounds of this
honey in to a gallon of water. it should not have been that high I thought.
did I just miss-calulate the S.G. of honey? or could this honey be thicker?

Lost in the net,

.sig under reconstruction

End of Mead Lover's Digest