Mead Lover's Digest #0658 Fri 20 March 1998


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



re: Freezing mead / Potassium sorbate (Jeff)
Re: MLD #657, cloudy melomel (GREATFERM)
Oak Barrel Sources (Dan McFeeley)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #657, 18 March 1998 ("Marc Shapiro")
Re: Potassium sorbate (


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Subject: re: Freezing mead / Potassium sorbate
From: (Jeff)
Date: Wed, 18 Mar 1998 15:13:29 -0500

Hi All,

Jim wrote:

>(This freezing
>technique can be used to increase the alcohol content of the liquid (as it
>is in eisbiers), but could involve you in some legal entanglements if you
>were to use this to make a mead brandy.)

Believe it or not, the BATF has no problems with *homebrewers* using

the freezing technique to increase the alcohol content of beer or hard cider
(or I assume mead and wine). However, it is illegal for *commercial*
brewers to do this.

A while back this subject came up in the HBD. Myself and a couple of

others dug into the laws (27 CFR in particular) and were unsure about the
legality. One of the other people contacted the BATF and got a note back
that stated that *homebrewers* are not subject to the laws in 27 CFR. The
laws do prohibit *commercial* brewers from using this technique, but since
homebrewers are not subject to these laws the BATF said that they have no
problem with us using this technique. They were very clear though that we
could *NOT* increase the alcohol concentration by removing the alcohol
from the beer/cider, but that removing the water and therefore concentrating
the alcohol in the remaining solution was OK. Removing the alcohol from
a solution, and saving the alcohol, requires a distiller's license.

All of the info we "uncovered" was passed on to Jim Parker at the AHA

who has requested a formal ruling from the BATF. The results are supposed
to appear in a future issue of Zymurgy.

Bryan wrote:

>Okay, so I've done a dejanews search and have looked through a number of
>web pages on mead making and have not been able to find a definitive
>approach to adding postassium sorbate to mead.

I'd be interested in any info on using sorbate also.

I have a mead that I started last September. The OG was 1.140 and is now

at 1.022 and is crystal clear. I have done a couple of things to get the SG
down to where it is and I don't think that it is going to go any lower.
However, I would like to bottle this batch as a still mead and don't want to
end up with *any* carbonation in the bottles. From what I have read, sorbate
seems like the tool to use for this purpose. Since this batch *probably*
is'nt going to ferment any more, could I get by with using a smaller than
normal amount of sorbate?


Geoffrey A. McNally Phone: (401) 841-7210 x21390
Mechanical Engineer Fax: (401) 841-7250
Launcher Technology and email:

Analysis Branch

Naval Undersea Warfare Center
Code 8322; Bldg. 1246/2
Newport, RI 02841-1708


Subject: Re: MLD #657, cloudy melomel
Date: Wed, 18 Mar 1998 19:55:59 EST

> Now, I have one gallon of
> clear mead and one gallon of cloudy.

> Alexamdra Ceely

You say your fruit will make jelly, but do not mention using a pectinase to
hydrolyse the pectin. Pectin can make wine cloudy. Try adding some pectinase
(Pectinol, Pectozyme) to the cloudy wine and see if it helps. It doesn't work
well in alcohol, it should be added at the beginning of the process, but it is
only partially deactivated by alcohol, and should have some effect if pectin
is your problem.

Jay Conner

Subject: Oak Barrel Sources
From: Dan McFeeley <>
Date: Wed, 18 Mar 1998 19:42:39 -0600

This might be helpful for those wanting to experiment with aging
mead in oak. The supplier listing and intro paragraphs below are taken
from Brewing Techniques Sept. '97, p. 68. No endorsement of any kind
is intended. Caveat emptor!


Dan McFeeley

The simplest way for brewers to obtain casks is to either go thorugh a
wholesaler or a local beer and wine making shop. Shops typically
carry barrels seasonally for wine makers, but they try not to stock
very many of them. Remember, barrels are expensive and often big.
Most small shops do not want them kicking around the warehouse or the
sales floor for very long. Also, most homebrew shops do not know very
much about barrels; you might want to speak with a coopeage for specific
information. Most companies sell American white oak with a toast that
is appropriate for wine makers and also suitable for beermaking. The
type of oak is listed where known. Note: Some companies are wholesalers,
and some or all of their products may only be available through a

Cooperages: A cooperage ("tonellerie," in French) may be able to make the
exact size you want, and depending on available stock and quantity
ordered, you may have some control over the process, such as the wood's
origin, its metod of drying/aging, or the percentage of new wood used
(which will afect its flavor contribution). The United States is home
to a number of coopers. Most of them are on the West Caost serving the
wine indutstry or in the South serving the bourbon industry. Thus, if
you want a charred barrel, you might try contacting a southern cooperage.
Many of the West Coast cooperages use French oak, some exclusively.


The Barrel Company, Inc. G.W. Kent, Inc.
217 S. Washington St. 3667 Morgan Rd.
Winchester, VA 22601 Ann Arbor, MI 48108
Tel. 540/667-3555 Tel. 1-800-333-4288
Fax: 540/667-3593 Fax: 1-800-500-7505
New & used charred French oak barrels
oak Bourbon barrels
and chips.

L.D. Carlson Steinbart Wholesale
463 Portage Blvd. 234 S.E. 12th
Kent, OH 44240 Portland, OR 97421
Tel. 1-800-321-0315 Tel. 1-800-735-8793
Fax: 330/678-6686 Fax 1-800-577-5712
American oak barrels American oak barrels
and chips

Vinotheque U.S.A.
420 Northboro Rd.
Marlboro, MA 0172
Tel. 1-800-481-8466
Fax: 1-800-635-0035
American oak barrels
and chips


Barrel Assoc. International Barrel Builders, Inc.
575 Lincoln Ave., #200 P.O. Box 268
Napa, CA 94558 St. Helena, CA 94574
Tel. 707/257-0714 Tel. 1-800-365-8231
Fax: 707/257-0742 Fax: 707/942-5426
American and French white French, American, and Hungarian
oak barrels and small casks barrels and small casks. Oak
(15-55 gallons) chips

Blue Grass Cooperage Boswell Co.
P.O. Box 268 1000 4th St.,
Louisville, KY 40233 San Rafael, CA 94901
Tel. 502/364-4550 Tel. 415/457-3955
Fax: 502/364-4567 Fax: 415/457-0304
200-L and 225-L American French oak barrels and casks
oak barrels. Also custom barrels

Canton cooperage Co. Demptos Napa Cooperage
365 S. Woodlawn Ave. 1050 Soscol Ferry Rd.
Lebanon, KY 40033 Napa, CA 94558
Tel. 1-800-692-9888 Tel. 707/257-2628
Fax: 502/692-3998 Fax: 707/257-1622
55-gallon American and European
white oak barrels (some Hungarian

Tonnellerie Francaise Tonnellerie Mercier
P.O. Box 798 C Rt 2, Box 756
Calistoga, CA 94515 Montross, VA 22520
Tel. 707/942-9301 Tel. 804/493-9186
Fax: 707/942-5037 Fax: 804/493-0435
French oak and American oak French oak barrels
barrels and casks. Oak chips

World Cooperage/Independent Stave Tonnellerie Raxdoux
Co./Marion Co. Cooperage 578 Martin Ave.
4391 Broadway Rohnert Park, CA 94928
American Canyon, CA 94589 Tel. 707/326-713
Tel. 707/644-2530 Fax: 707/588-8547

  • ——————- French and American oak barrels

1078 S. Jefferson and casks
Lebanon, MO 65536
Tel. 417/588-4151
Fax: 417/588-3344


P.O. Box 517
Lavenon, KY 40033
Tel. 502/692-4674
American and French oak barrels


Barrels, Chips, Etc. Innerstave
25435 Chatworth Dr. 24200 Arnold Dr.
Euclid, OH 44117 Sonoma, CA 95476
Tel/Fax: 216/531-0494 Tel. 707/996-8781
French, American, and Fax: 707/996-1157
Hungarian oak barrels Oak inserts that can
and chips be attached to the inside

of the barrel to refurbish
its flavors. Also oak chips


Pickering Winery Supply Co. Presque Isle Wine Cellars
888 Post St. 9440 Buffalo Rd.
San Francisco, CA 94109 North East, PA 16428
Tel. 415/474-1599 Tel. 1-800-488-7492
Fax: 415/474-1617 Fax: 814/725-2092
French and American oak Distributors of American and
barrels and casks. Custom some French oak barels, as
available. Also wood chips well as French oak chips and

American oak sawdust


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #657, 18 March 1998
From: "Marc Shapiro" <>
Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 09:11:58 +0000

On 18 Mar 98 at 11:04,Alexamdra Ceely wrote:

> Subject: Split batch of Mesquite Melomel
> From: AlexMVSC <>
> Date: Sat, 14 Mar 1998 21:07:54 EST
> Anyway, I had two gallons in two jugs. I
> brewed it back in September using 5 1/2 lbs of mesquite honey,
> approx. 2 quarts of mesquite pulp and liquid sweet mead yeast. It's
> been racked 4 times since then. Now, I have one gallon of clear
> mead and one gallon of cloudy.
> I'm stumped. Could my clear batch have just stopped fermenting
> prematurely? How would I tell? Or is there something wrong with the
> cloudy batch? I'm thinking of throwing them back together for a
> while to see what happens, but I'm afraid that would be disastrous.
> Any ideas and suggestions would be appreciated.

I have a few questions and a few things for you to check. First,
check the SG of the two carboys. Since the original must was made as
a single batch the starting SG would have been the same. If the
current SG is significantly different between the two jugs that would
indicate that one fermented more completely than the other. Also, I
would assume that fermentation is complete in both jugs if it has
been racked four times, but are you sure? If the cloudy jug is still
fermenting slowly that would account for its refusal to clarify.

One more thing. You say that the mesquite pods are used for making
jelly and that you boiled them. Did you use pectic enzyme to break
down the pectin? If not then this is a very likly culprit for your
haze. Pectin sets when boiled and will definately cause a haze. If
this is the case then get yourself some pectic enzyme and follow the
instructions that come with it (or ask your local supplier).
Remember that this enzyme works better before fermentation as alcohol
inhibits its activity. You may need to use more, now that
fermentation is complete, than you would have needed prior to
fermentation. It also works better at warmer temperatures.
Obviously you do not want to heat your melomel, but if it is in a
chilly place you might want to warm it just a little (don't go above
80 F).



Marc Shapiro

Visit 'The Meadery' at:

"If you drink melomel every day, you will live to be 150 years old,
unless your wife shoots you."

  • –Dr. Ferenc Androczi, Winemaker of the Little Hungary Winery

Subject: Re: Potassium sorbate
Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 10:27:15 -0800

Do I simply add 2.5 tsp. of potassium sorbate to my 5gal of rasp. melomel,
wait 2 days and add the honey or what? It?s been racked and I can?t see
any sedimentation left in the carboy but I just want to make sure I?m doing
it right and all. Also, I kinda would like to bottle and serve [some of]
this within the next couple of months (it?s starting to taste good?hell of
a lot better than a month ago). Is this cool? Will I need to rack again?
How long before I can bottle? Thanks in advance!


The main thing to remember about K sorbate is that it will only keep a

fermentation from restarting. There must be absolutely no activity, none,
nil, not any at all. If you are sure of that you can add the K sorbate (mix
it in well) then add the honey right away. If I am trying hurry a lagging
mead to the bottle for one reason or another (mostly to free up space for
the next batch:-)) I will put the carboy in the fridge for 3 or 4 days to
halt fermentation then add the K sorbate. If you really want sweeter meads
you should think about using a lower alcohol yeast. It takes longer to do
that way but I find it more rewarding.

You can serve it as soon as you want, sweetening with some honeys will

make your mead hazy some will not. I've used clover to sweeten and it
stayed clear, then I have also used star thistle and it ended up hazy. I
didn't bother clearing the star thistle one because it was ready to drink
and wasn't going to competition. Hope this helped.

Matt Maples

End of Mead Lover's Digest #658