Mead Lover's Digest #0545 Tue 11 March 1997


Forum for Discussion of Mead Making and Consuming
Dick Dunn, Digest Janitor



Re: Sediment in sparkling mead (#544) (Dan Howard)
maltodextrin (
RE: Sparkling Mead (Eckard Witte)
Myths of Fermentation ("Wallinger")
Spencer's Zymurgy article (Mark Koopman)
The American Mead Association (Keith C Anderson)
competition announcement (Mark Taratoot)
Re: Sediment in sparkling mead (Steven Rezsutek)


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Subject: Re: Sediment in sparkling mead (#544)
From: Dan Howard <>
Date: Fri, 07 Mar 1997 16:21:41 -0800

For people looking for an easier way than disgorging to get rid of
sediment in sparkling wines, there is a specialised kind of cap that
"eats" sediment. Unfortunately, I don't have exact details handy. I
read about it in C.J.J. Berry's book "First Steps in Winemaking".

They are some sort of plastic Champagne-style corks with a built in
little vacuum-chamber, perhaps? I'm not sure how it works exactly, but
you leave the bottles upside down until all the yeast have settled on
the bottom of the cork. Then you trigger it somehow, and the sediment
is trapped permanently in the cap itself, along with a taste of your

Hope this is of some help. A winemaking supply shop would probably know
what I'm talking about, and be able to give you more details.

Dan Howard
Ottawa, Ontario

Subject: maltodextrin
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 1997 13:38:17 +0000

> Subject: Malto-Dextrin for more body
> From: (Cat Tambling & James Buttitta)
> Date: Thu, 06 Mar 1997 13:23:57 GMT
> I am sometimes disapointed in the lack of body in when dry meads.
> When the FG approaches 1.000 they just don't have the moutfeel I
> desire. I've considered adding some malto-dextrin to the must to
> achieve the desired body. I expect 1 lb should increase the FG by
> 0.007 in a 5 gal batch, (this is about the rate of increase seen in
> beer recipes). I'm a bit concerned about the flavor, but I don't
> think this will be problem in the blueberry melomel I'm planning:
> 12# honey
> 7# blueberry
> 1.5# malto-dextrin
> champagne yeast
> Has anyone out there used malto-dextrin in mead? Do you think it will
> work?
> Jim
Yes I'm sure it would work but I think you would get a grain flavor
that you wouldn't want. I sugest that you try pure malto-dextrin
powder. I have used it in beer with great success and I have tasted
the powder and it is tastless. I'm not sure if you would need to heat
it to get it to disolve but I'm sure a quick test would tell you one
way or another.

Matt Maples

"A Honest Brew Makes Its Own Friends"

Subject: RE: Sparkling Mead 
From: (Eckard Witte)
Date: Sat, 8 Mar 97 02:14 +0100

Jeremy York asked about getting rid of the sediment of sparkling mead.

The procedure you read of is exactly the one I'm using several years.

I don't do sparkling mead, but I do sparkling wine of apples, rhubarbs …

I don't know what crown caps are, I use those plastic stuff that is used on
the cheaper champaign or "Sekt" bottles, fixed with a thin metallic rope.

One problem is that the salted ice is smelting. I use a Champaign cooler,
I fill it with salted water and put it in the deep freezer. I can
"degorge" (getting rid of the sediment) about 5 or 6 bottles, than I've to
put the cooler in the deep freezer again. I make about 50 bottles a year,
so it takes a while.

Receipes say that you add a " deposit" (i.e. some liqueur) after degorging. I've
never tried that; I'm always happy, if only a fifth of my wine leaves the bottle
before re-closing – I wouldn't try to open it again before drinking.

I'm doing this "degorging" in my cellar. When I first tried a sparkling wine, I
was wandering wether fermentation in the bottle startet again. I opened one
bottle in my kitchen. Next day my wife was wondering why I cleaned the whole
kitchen in the middle of the night – and washed my cloth: the wine was
wonderful, but three quarters of the bottle blowed off.

I let the wine rest about a year before degorging. I've find out thats the
wine becomes better the longer you let it rest after degorging – at least
half a year. Some of my sparkling wine was really wonderful – like

Good luck, Eckard

Subject: Myths of Fermentation
From: "Wallinger" <>
Date: Sat, 8 Mar 1997 08:24:54 -0600

> I thought readers might be interested to learn as I did, that CO2,
>being a heavier gas than O2 or N2 would sink to the bottom of the the
>three gasses in a still envionment. This is encouraging to the old time
>brewer who only had a flat lid or a bit of cloth to tie over the top of
>his had blown vessle. The Oxygen would quite quickly pushed out by the
>larger heavier Carbon-di-Oxide molecules. This may be one reason for
>the lack of success with balloons, as the release of gas would be
>nearer the bottom.

This, unfortunately, is one of the myths of fermenting that continues to be
perpetuated through forums like these. While it is true that CO2 is heavier
than O2 and N2, it is equally true that these gases behave as ideal gases
and mix completely given enough time, even in a still environment. If this
did not happen then we would all be dead – all the CO2 in the atmosphere
would drop to the surface of the earth and we would suffocate.

Now it is true that it can take awhile for gases to mix in a still
environment. This process is called diffusion. The speed at which diffusion
takes place depends on temperature and the relative gravity of the gases. A
small amount of CO2 eminating from the surface of a liquid will appear to
'sink' to the bottom of the vapor space. In reality, it simply concentrates
there because it is coming from the liquid surface. It will eventually
diffuse into the entire vapor space.

The thing that really protects the head space is the volume of CO2
produced. A recent post estimated the volume of CO2 generated to be 1
million cubic centimeters. Now that is passing gas! Even leaving 1% of the
fermentation to take place in the secondary will provide 10,000 cubic
centimenters of CO2.

There is one other process that helps protect the fermented beverage when
racking. The liquid reaches maximum saturation during fermentation. The
head space is completely filled with CO2. Henry's Law states that the
amount of a gas in solution is proportional to the partial pressure of that
particular gas in the vapor space above the liquid. On racking to the
secondary, with air in the head space, CO2 will begin to come out of
solution into the head space. It will eventually reach a new equilibrium.
In other words, the amount of CO2 in the liquid will reach equilibrium with
the partial pressure of CO2 in the head space. (The partial pressure of CO2
in the head space is equal to the total pressure times the concentration.)

Now, here is where gas diffusion comes into play in the secondary. As the
CO2 diffuses from the liquid into the head space (per Henry's Law) a layer
of CO2 develops. That layer of CO2 develops because gas diffusion is a
slower process than Henry's Law diffusion. So the Henry's Law equilibrium
is achieved rather quickly at the surface, protecting the liquid at the
surface. But over time the CO2 will diffuse into the rest of the head
space, increasing the air that the liquid will be exposed to.

Sorry for the long post, but these are complicated processes. I hope by
being as brief as I was that I did not confuse the reader.

Wade Wallinger
Pascagoula MS

Subject: Spencer's Zymurgy article
From: Mark Koopman <>
Date: Sat, 08 Mar 1997 08:47:34 -0600

For those of you who haven't sen it, Spencer Thomas's Zymurgy article in
the current issue is definitely worth a read. The photos are down right
artistic, There are some good and "interesting" recipes from Dan and Ken
for cysers, and meads, and some discussion on blending finished meads
(as well as other liquids) that approaches the radical and provocative.
I quite enjoyed it. Always a pleassure to read something that strays
from the middle of the road. Thanks!!

Mark Koopman

Subject: The American Mead Association
From: (Keith C Anderson)
Date: Mon, 10 Mar 1997 20:09:33 PST

To whom it may concern,

Can you tell me if the AMA is still around & if so, how can I get

in touch with them??
It seems that the toll free number listed by you folks in the section
entitled, "Books and Other Sources of Information (a partial list)" is
no longer any good.
Your help is greatly appreciated.

Subject: competition announcement
From: Mark Taratoot <taratoot@PEAK.ORG>
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 1997 00:05:57 -0800 (PST)

Heart of the Valley Homebrewers Present:
The 15th Annual
Oregon Homebrew
Competion and Festival

At the Oregon Trader Brewery
140 Hill Street NE
Albany, Oregon 97321
(Off Street Parking Available)

Saturday, May 10th
From 11 am to 5 pm


We are looking forward to continuing the tradition of this festival in its
fifteenth year as the longest running competition in the Pacific
Northwest! This years activities will incude several displays, a raffle,
food concessions, and the opportunity to meet and talk with some of hte
best and most experienced homebrewers anywhere!

Details on entry requirements will be available soon. Contact Jennifer
Crum at or Mark Taratoot at, or

Visit our Web site at

Subject: Re: Sediment in sparkling mead
From: Steven Rezsutek <>
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 1997 10:55:12 -0500 writes:
> > Now, I use crown caps on champaigne bottles myself, and the
> > prospect of having a plug of ice trying to come flying out
> > while I open the bottle doesn't seem like something I want
> > to try.
> This process is call "Disgorging" (sp) and as I'm sure you know is
> the Champaigne process. This process never apealed to me either.

I've successfully used this method twice now, and batch 3, actually
a [grape] wine, is currently doing its head stand.

The ice plug isn't a big worry, just don't try to watch it as it
emerges. I "shoot" the plug and cap into an upright washtub, which
also serves to catch any gushing.

It's best if you chill the bottles down as much as possible before
freezing the necks. This reduces the temperature differential
along the bottle, and curbs the gushing a bit. Also make sure
your dosage is equally chilled.

As for safety, I've not yet had a bottle burst on me, but just to make
sure, I wear my welding gloves && leathers and some form of eye/face
protection when I'm working with them. Perhaps overkill, but I need
my hands and eyes, and I've been carbonating to 4.5 atm. give or take.

Once things have survived the disgorging process, and have received
thir dosage and been capped with champagne stoppers, I don't worry
about it any more than I would with a bottle of champagne I bought.

Oh, one important thing: Use ONLY thick, heavy champagne style bottles
that are designed for this sort of thing. I wouldn't trust a beer
bottle for a minute in an application like this.


End of Mead Lover's Digest #545