Mead Lover's Digest #0768 Wed 17 November 1999


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



re: Newbie questions, Apple Butter … (Dick Dunn)
First Mead (Stace)
lune de miel honey ("Gary Gutowski")
Re: Newbie questions, Apple Butter, Pectic Enzyme (Spencer W Thomas)
How to stop fermentation (Kent & Judy Peetz)
Yeast, and osmotic pressure changes ("Tony Gallodi")
Oak? (David Johnson)
Newbie Q's ("Stevenson, Randall")
RE: Mead Lover's Digest #767, 10 November 1999 ("Brian Lundeen – F102")
Mead Lover's Digest #767, 10 November 1999 (
Re: OJ mel again ("Wout Klingens")
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #767, 10 November 1999 ("Wout Klingens")


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Subject: re: Newbie questions, Apple Butter ...
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 10 Nov 99 23:10:35 MST (Wed)

Dave Burley <> wrote:
> Mazers:
(He's writing to our drinking vessels? I vacillated to reply, but don't
want to be a vassal to a vessel:-)
> Johnathon Edwards describes his method
> for making apple butter by coring and peeling
> 5 lbs of apples. Next time you do this save
> yourself a lot of work by just cutting the apples
> into quarters, don't peel or core them. Cook
> them as you did, but when they become
> mushy, put them through a collander…

I'm with Dave on not wanting to peel/core that many apples! Unless…you
have one of the old-style peel/core/slice gadgets. With those, you put an
apple on a 3-pronged skewer, close it up, turn a crank, and in about 10
seconds the apple is peeled, cored, and spiral-sliced (if that matters).
You should be able to find this device in a lot of good kitchen shops, as
well as mail-order places like Applesource, Cumberland General Store, or
Vermont Country Store.

> For those readers who are not familiar with
> a collander it is a conical metal device on
> legs which has holes in it. The point of the
> cone is pointed down. A wooden cylinder
> about 11/2' in diameter is rolled around
> the inside of the cone…

No, what you're describing is a chinois.
A colander is bowl-shaped and is just a strainer (like what you use to
drain pasta after cooking).
You'll occasionally see a chinois called a "food processor" in older books,
but that's not common now that we use the latter term for the electrical

The chinois is difficult for this sort of processing because the apples
tend to slip out of the way of the pestle. There are a couple other
approaches. For smaller amounts, a ricer will work–this is a two-handled
gadget with a perforated bucket about the size of a fist and a plunger that
pushes stuff through the holes. Usual use is for mashed potatoes. Another
implement, for larger amounts, is the venerable "Foley food mill" which is
shaped like a pan but with a shallow, perforated cone bottom and a hand-
cranked sweep inside to push the food through the perforations. It's
coarser than a chinois and it works better here because the sweep traps the
pulp as it rotates. (Words are difficult here! Go visit a good cookware
shop and it will all become clear.)

Dick Dunn Hygiene, Colorado USA
…Y2K isn't the end of the world. It's not even the end of the millennium.

Subject: First Mead
From: Stace <>
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999 04:28:53 -0700

Well, this was my first mead. I've made beer and wine up to this point.
Anyway, some of this may seem obvious.
I just bottled less than 3 gallons (leaving behind sediment and some
liquid) into five bottles, one glass and the cup or so in the bottom of the
bottling bucket.
It tasted dry and a tad bit metallic. I am sure oxidation took place.
I now realize that I aught to use smaller containers. I was using 5-6
gallon carboys. Too much air in the containers oxidized it.
It's not undrinkable. I added raisons to each bottle.
I guess, in time, I'll find out how they turn out. Right now there standing
upright, in a box.
The next mead I do, maybe melomel or cyser I will only make a gallon. Make
it in a glass apple juice jar.
Does anyone know how many bottles that would make?
Can you cork it right in the jug? After fermentation stops, of course…
Anyway, that's the way things have gone.
My two cents.

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world;

the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the
world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on
the unreasonable man."

  • George Bernard Shaw

Subject: lune de miel honey
From: "Gary Gutowski" <>
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999 07:01:48 -0700

I am interested in hearing about experiences anyone has had with the
following honeys from the Bernard Michaud company of Jurancon, France. They
are sold in the US under the label lune de miel (Honeymoon). The following
information was taken from the labels and from their web site at

Forest Honey – Liquid but dense. A deep, slightly russet brown.
Highly scented, it has a characteristically woody fragrance.
A full-bodied honey with strongly malted and resinous flavors.
Long-lasting taste. Comes from resinous and coniferous forests. Is
appreciated for its richly and woody characteristic flavor.

Acacia flower honey – Always liquid, a lovely luminous, transparent color.
A subtle, slightly flowery scent that does not last. Smooth and elegant in
the mouth. A mild, silky honey.

Mountain Honey – A creamy, caramel colored set honey.
Strongly scented with complex woodland aromas.
Powerfully flavored with a touch of wood and a hint of liquorice
Lasting flavor. This high altitude honey, gathered by bees from the rarest
wild flower blossoms, is a genuine gift of nature. Equally suited for
baking, confectioneries or sweetening.

I purchased this honey at an eastern European grocery store in Denver. My
thoughts were to make traditional mead, medium to sweet, out of each type.
Since the mountain and forest types seem very strong, I plan on mixing about
25% of each with 75% clover or some other neutral honey. The acacia honey
seems much mellower. I plan on making a medium to sweet traditional mead
with 100% acacia honey. Any information on experiences with these honeys is
greatly appreciated.

Subject: Re: Newbie questions, Apple Butter, Pectic Enzyme 
From: Spencer W Thomas <>
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999 10:31:45 -0500


As you are no doubt aware, there are lots of gadgets designed for
separating fruit & vegetable pulp from seeds, stems, skin, etc. I've
used at least 4 different ones in my life.

The absolute simplest, mechanically, and also the hardest to use is a
simple strainer with a wooden spoon. I use this only for very small
quantities of "stuff," where I don't want to haul out a bigger
implement and then have to wash it.

A potato ricer (see, e.g., might do the trick
for small quantities. I haven't tried one.

The one you've described is the next simplest, but is a pain to use,
because you have to keep stopping to push the pulp back down. Also,
I've found it a nuisance keeping the "cone" from slipping around in
the "stand." I grabbed a picture of one with a conical "masher" from
eBay and stashed it at
<> Mine is not that
elegant looking. 🙂 This is also sometimes referred to as a
"chinois." See, e.g., <>.

Next up is a "food mill." This has a piece shaped a bit like a
regular pan, but with holes in the bottom, sometimes on a stand.
Inside the pan is a paddle, attached to a central shaft with a crank.
The paddle is inclined so that when you turn the crank, the "stuff" is
forced down against the bottom, so that the pulp goes through the
holes. It is spring-loaded to press against the bottom but to let the
seeds and skin slip under it. There's a picture of one at
<>. My mother had one of these.

At the "top" of the line is the "Victorio" type food strainer. This
gadget has a hopper, a spiral screw, and a strainer that surrounds the
screw. You turn a crank, which forces your apples along the screw.
They are compressed between the screw and the strainer, and the pulp
comes out into a chute that directs it into a bowl. The skin, seeds,
etc. come out the end into another bowl for disposal. Fast,
efficient, easy, but work to set up and a pain to clean. The one to
use when you're processing a bushel. See for a picture of one brand.

=Spencer Thomas in Ann Arbor, MI (

Subject: How to stop fermentation
From: Kent & Judy Peetz <>
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999 21:16:15 -0600

I have a grape mead, (Pyment?) going that I want to stop at about 1.01.
How do I stop it without using campden tablets (sulfites)? I am new to
this but I think it is the sulfites in wine that give me a headache
after just a glass or two. I tried potassium sorbate in a fermenting
persimmon wine that I have going and it didn't stop. It is at less than
1.000 on the hydrometer. That lalvin 1116 is some tough stuff. Anyway,
I really want to stop the mead before it goes that dry. Any

What is the best method for sweetening the persimmon wine back up? My
first batch of pyment went to 1.00 and I added a cup of sugar that I
boiled in a cup of water. Seemed to work OK.

Subject: Yeast, and osmotic pressure changes
From: "Tony Gallodi" <>
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999 20:43:22 PST

In DR. Fix's Book "Principles of Brewing Science";
he states at one point, that sudden shanges in
osmotic pressure could damage the yeast.
The example given, was yeast being transferred from a
stage of rehydration, to a wort at, or above
16 balling (1.063). How likely is it that this damage
would occur?

Subject: Oak?
From: David Johnson <>
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 07:34:17 -0600

Greetings all!
Woodchuck has brought out a new cider which they call "colonial". My
wife tasted some and was impressed with the flavor. It appears that the
big change here is the fact that they used oak in fermentation. I plan
on adding about an ounce of american white oak for about a week to a
cider and a cyser this year. I have used this amount in the past with
beer and gotten flavor just at my threshold levels. I figure it will be
more prominent in cider. I would be interested in anyone else's comments
on the use of oak and oak chips in cider or cyser.

Subject: Newbie Q's
From: "Stevenson, Randall" <rstevenson@LDI.STATE.LA.US>
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 09:51:59 -0600

Light Otter, a self-professed newbie, asked, "What is racking?"

Racking is transferring the fermented substance from one container

to another. This is usually done to get it off the lees (i.e. gunk on the
bottom). There are two primary benefits: Clarity of the final product and
a reduction in the risk of off flavors. Racking is usually done using a
syphon tube and a racking cane. The cane is a stiff tube with an attachment
at the end to keep most of the stuff on the bottom from transferring.

"Can I have a carboy that's smaller than 3 … gallons?"

Yes, your one gallon jug will do fine. I often try new recipes with a one
gallon test batch. The usual size is a balance between getting the most for
the effort expended and reducing the loss if a batch gets contaminated —
the larger the batch, the greater the risk of contamination and cost of

"Can you make an airlock at home?"

Yes, form an airtight seal on the fermentor and vent the gas through a tube
that has the gas exit end under water. Another method is to just put a
balloon over the mouth of the carboy. This method is popular in many rural
areas where supplies are not readily available. It works well if the
carboy/jug is small enough. (Usually 1 gallon or less for meads is OK, but
faster fermenting musts and worts are generally limited to 2 or 3 liter
bottles.) You may decide to use a coton plug to keep nasty beasties out
until the rapid fermenation has stopped and then use the balloon. When the
balloon shrinks down to the size of a lemon, fermenation is has, for all
practical purposes, stopped. Of course with a mead, you will want to wait a
while (months) before you bottle.

R. Stevenson

Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #767, 10 November 1999
From: "Brian Lundeen - F102" <>
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 09:43:36 -0600

> I have plans to make another attempt at sweet mead. I have two Belgian
> style ales in the primary and I plan on using the yeast
> [Wyeast abby and
> trappist] for two sweet meads. I am thinking of trying again,
> but with a OG
> of about 1.000. My hope is that the belgian ale yeasts, which are more
> tolerant of higher alcohol than many other beer yeasts, will bring the
> finishing gravity down to around 1.020 to 1.025.
> I know that the ale yeasts will poop out at lower alcohol levels than
> champagne yeasts, but I am not sure what my target OG should
> be if I can
> expect these Belgian ale yeasts to ferment up to about 9 or 10 percent
> alcohol.

Do not underestimate the power of ale yeasts. In a study of barley wine
(extremely high gravity beer) fermentations in Ray Daniels' book Designing
Great Beers, it was noted that on average, there was little difference in
final alcohol level between ale yeasts and Champagne yeast. Of course, the
Champagne yeast was probably still rolling along at 11-12% while the ale
yeasts were "hitting the wall", so to speak. However, if you are looking for
a sweet mead, do not assume that the ale yeast will poop out at 9-10%,
especially if you are using the primary yeast cake of a strong Belgian ale
yeast. I just did a barley wine on the yeast cake of Wyeast 1056 American
Ale (a strain not particularly noted for very high alcohol tolerance) and it
had no trouble achieving 11% alcohol in about 4 days of fermentation. The
starting gravity was 1.100, and will probably finish about 1.025, but beer
worts have a higher proportion of non-fermentable sugars than a mead must.
I'm not sure what you plan to start with, I think you had a typo in your OG
spec, but I think you should plan on a greater attenuation than you expect

On a slightly different topic, the barley wine I mentioned above also
received a long aeration with an air stone before and shortly after pitching
the yeast slurry. This is regarded as essential by brewers, especially for
high gravity beers. Aeration is a topic that is rarely discussed by wine and
mead makers, and I think it deserves some attention. Oxygen is vital for
yeast growth, and if you are boiling your mead especially, you could have
insufficient oxygen levels that may contribute to the slow fermentations
often described in mead making. Sulfites (which are not used in beer) can be
a complicating factor if you are planning to oxygenate the must before
fermentation, as they can bind to the oxidized products that would normally
drop out during the fermentation, leaving the wine or mead with an
unpleasant brownness. Therefore, IMO, there should be no pre-fermentation
sulfiting done if you plan to aerate the must.


> Subject: Re: old lithuanina mead recipes..alot of hops!
> From: Dan McFeeley <>
> Date: Mon, 8 Nov 1999 00:00:14 -0600
> On Sat, 30 Oct 1999, in MLD 766, Jonathan Edwards wrote:
> >> Mead
> >> Ancient Recipe
> >> Midus
> >>
> >> 2 quarts honey
> >> 5 gallons water
> >> 1/2 lb. hops
> >> yeast
> >> 1 slice bread
> >
> >wow, 1/2 lbs of hops! in a mead! i'm sure this is a typo…or are you
> >looking for a mead so bitter it is undrinkable? :-0
> No, it wasn't a typo on my part, this was how it appeared in the book.
> Hard to say why this was such a large amount, especially when
> the first
> recipe, a higher gravity mead, called for only a handful of
> hops. Maybe
> the fresh hops used in Lithuania were only mildly bitter.

Hops only contribute bitterness if they are boiled, and the amount of
bitterness extracted is a function of the gravity of the liquid being boiled
(high gravity means less bittering utilization), the quantity of hops (large
quantities will contribute less bittering on a per ounce basis) and the
length of time boiled (longer boils, more bittering). The recipe listed does
not state when these hops are added, but if they are just going into the
fermenter, their contribution would be basically aromatic, perhaps a little
flavor. I do not expect this produces a bitter mead, but you would have to
love the smell of hops.


Subject:  Mead Lover's Digest #767, 10 November 1999
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 22:00:15 EST

Reply to "" on Bakers Honey

I've used 300lbs (5, 60lb pails) of bakers honey in the past 2 years.
I always check the flavor (it's always been acceptable)
It is darker in color to start with, but makes a nice golden colored
I usually make melomels with strong fruit flavors and still get a nice honey
character in the overall taste.

I have had traditionals made with orange blossom honey and pure unprocessed
honeys. They are great too. But don't over look bakers honey if its
available, affordable, and good tasting.


Subject: Re: OJ mel again
From: "Wout Klingens" <>
Date: Sat, 13 Nov 1999 11:48:50 +0100

Mead lovers,

Due to a few questions I received privately about my OJ mel recipe I think
it's wise to comment a bit more.
Though as I stated this recipe can't fail a few readers apparently need some
more info on procedure. Besides, I forgot the main ingredient in my recipe:
water. You all did realize it needed water, didn't you? Huh? Huh? :):):)
Please forgive me on the metrics, but for me it's the best way to be
Please for the sake of discussion send your questions and remarks to the
MLD. Other people might be interested too.

Ingredients for 25 liters:
juice of 80-100 oranges;
zest of 25-30 oranges;
500 grams (approx. 1 pound) of heather honey;
approx. 10 kilos of dark wildflower honey;
champagne yeast;
(nutrient, energizer, sulfite is optional).

Brush oranges for the zest with warm water and some soda (NaCO2) to remove
wax, paint and all unwanted. Rinse well.
Sterilize them with you favourite sterilizing solution (sulfite or iodophor,
of course no bleach!) and rinse well again.
Harvest zest and freeze zest.
Now prepare all carboys and equipment for making must.
Press all oranges. This should yield about 5 liters. The SG of this juice
will be about 1.040. Take care *not* to press the white skin. A regular
citrus press works great. A large basket press is not suitable IMHO.
No oxidation countermeasures have to be taken because of the high vitamine-C
content. A bit of tannin won't hurt though.
Add the heather honey, 6 kilos of the wildflower and water to a total of 22
liters. Mix well.
After 2 weeks rack according to the following procedure:
Tie a fine sterile straining bag around the racking cane, stir the mead to
mix the yeast into the wine with the cane and rack, thus leaving any residue
of fibers behind. Be sure to get as much yeast as possible into secondary.
Don't forget to sterilize the tie around the bag as well.
Take an IG reading. If IG is 1.020 or lower than add another 2 kilos of
Add the rest of the honey in 1 pound quantities until yeast peters out
whenever IG drops enough.
At this time it's possible your mead won't smell too good. Don't worry, it
will all work out.
When fermentation is done or almost done add the zest.
This will stop fermentation for sure within a few days. It will also
prevent unwanted MLF.
Let zest macerate for 14 days. Then rack, using the straining bag again.
By this time your mead will have developed the most beautiful aroma you've
ever experienced, without any exaggeration.
Clear it if you want. Sparkolloid works fine for me. Filter it, if you want
or don't. Whichever you prefer.
Drink it 2 months after fermentation is done. This strong one devellops a
better honey flavor with time.

Variations on this recipe are endless. You can make it sweet, dry, strong,
whatever. The amount of zest you use depends greatly on the flavor of that
zest and how strong you make the mead. So you'll have to experiment a bit.
But again, this mead will never fail, unless you don't use enough honey.
Then I recommend some raisins for adding body.
The heather honey isn't really necessary. But the flavor of the zest is
quite strong and the heather goes nicely with the zest and really comes
through in the endproduct. In this specific mead the long aging times for
heather honey are not necessary.
Alterations in procedure won't have a noticeable effect on the outcome, like
racking an extra time or letting it clear on its own.
Of course the success will depend on the quality of the ingredients. Good
honey and excellent flavorful oranges (juice or for eating) are obligatory,
though the flavor of the juice doesn't play such a big role in this mead.

Good luck,


From: joel tracy <>
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 1999 20:10:28 -0800 (PST)

A question from one who has bottled a few batches over
the past year (and improperly, it seems). What is the
reason behind soaking corks in a potassium
metabisulphite solution? I assume there is something
wrong with soaking in water before bottling with
corks. What is the "recipe" for the solution? Does
bottling mead in beer bottles and caps have any effect
on the quality (still meads)?

Many thanks.

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #767, 10 November 1999
From: "Wout Klingens" <>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 16:55:13 +0100

William Macher <> writes:

>Wort asks:

Hm. You seem to know my twin brother. I am Must :):):)


>I mean no disrespect to our friend Wout. Certainly there are compounds to
>which we should limit our exposure, or at least to which we should not
>expose ourselves without consideration. It does not appear to me that
>thiabendazole is worthy of a great deal of concern, however.

Thanks you very much for your reassuring words and your explanation.

"Belinda Messenger" <>

>Why don't you use organically grown oranges? No thiabendazole there.

Because these oranges are extremely expensive.

>Your Oj mel sounds wonderful…it would be a shame to not make it.

Well, I have been asking around. It seems I have been crying to soon and I
hope the readers will forgive me for that, but I really was very
disappointed at that time and wanted to warn against pesticides in zest,
which doesn't seem to be such a problem in The States after all.
First off, to be honest, I didn't toss the batch after all. I just couldn't.
I was planning to though. But this is the first batch I filtered, so imagine
what it looks to me sitting there on my desk. Second of all, after the first
disappointment was gone I have been asking around and it seems, that over
here also are oranges available, that are not organically grown, but are
untreated anyway. Something my greengrocer even didn't know. Which is good
news, because these oranges aren't very expensive at all.
So what I'll do is 3 things: I'll still want to get some info from the
health department, which I couldn't reach and then decide what to do with
the batch. I am seriously considering so follow the advise of Cam Lay and
others. Second: find the right untreated orange with the right zest and
third: stop and think before I write 🙂
Thanks for the many kind words.


End of Mead Lover's Digest #768