Mead Lover's Digest #94 Thu 11 March 1993

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


Re: Mead Lover's Digest #93 (March 10, 1993) (Tom Brady)
re: skimming the must – what tools? (Michael Tighe)
Re: What do you use to skim? (Steve Dempsey)
Gelatin quandary (R.) Cavasin" <>
skimming implements (R.) Cavasin" <>
Skimming spoon (Jane Beckman)
fruit (Leo Woessner)
Sparkling mead question (R.) Cavasin" <>
subscribe (Ron Schieffer)
Re: What do you use to skim with? (STBLEZA)

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Date:         Wed, 10 Mar 93 09:43:18 EST
From: Tom Brady <BRADY@VTVM1.CC.VT.EDU>
Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #93 (March 10, 1993)

In response to Mr. Manteufel's query about what people use to skim the
scum from the must while boiling:
I generally use a well-sterilized handheld strainer (about 6 inches [18 cm]
in diameter). I also use this handy item to strain out herbs and fruit from
metheglins and melomels, as well as sifting out the finer chaff when I crush
grain for beer.

A query: My roommate is seeking to make a semi-quick mead (total brewing and

bottling time about 4 months). Does anyone have any good recipes to suggest?
One thing he is seeking to avoid is the problems with excessive carbonation
often found in quick meads, although we can bottle in champagne bottles, if
Tom Brady

Date: Wed, 10 Mar 93 10:57:49 EST
From: (Michael Tighe)
Subject: re: skimming the must - what tools?

Thomas Manteufel asks:
> While we all talk about skimming the scum while
> heating the honey, what works best to do so? …

My response is: whatever works, DO IT!

I've tried feathers, as described in some medieval texts (they get wet
and stop working), I've tried slotted spoons (only works on really
thick skum), I've tried strainers (they get clogged quickly or else
they stop straining because of some surface-tension thing), I've
tried soup ladels (lose too much liquid), I've tried lots of
things….. 😉

What I've settled on is a very wide shallow spoon – normally used (I
expect) for serving things like casseroles. These are available in
large grocery stores as well as the usual kitchen stores. The spoon is
about three inches wide and about four inches long and only about
one-half to one-inch deep, with a long (12-14 inch) handle. I also
usually use a pot which is very close to the amount of brew I'm
making. That is, use a 5-qt pot for a 1-gal batch, and use a 5-gal pot
for a 4.5-gal batch. This way, the "attack angle" of the spoon can be
very shallow to the surface of the liquid. This means you can skim off
the skum without getting too much liquid. You always lose liquid, but
this way works best for me.

May your yeastie-beasties be good to you!

Michael Tighe, Intermetrics, Inc., Cambridge, MA 02138 (USA)
email:, phone: 617-661-1840

Date: Wed, 10 Mar 93 09:53:24 MST
From: Steve Dempsey <>
Subject: Re: What do you use to skim?

In MLD #93 (CPU-SPP generic account) writes:

> While we all talk about skimming the scum while heating the honey,
> what works best to do so?

I use a fine mesh strainer. Stirring so the floating stuff pools
in the center, I scoop it quickly and then hold a spoon or bowl
under the strainer to catch anything that runs through.

================================ Engineering Network Services
Steve Dempsey Colorado State University Fort Collins, CO 80523

================================ +1 303 491 0630

Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1993 12:07:00 +0000
From: "Rick (R.) Cavasin" <>
Subject: Gelatin quandary

A question about using gelatin for fining:

I've rarely used gelatin (don't normally need it in my beer making)
but have recently found it necessary for a couple of meads and some
ciders. In one mead, it worked well, and in another, it did not
seem to make any difference. My main concern is about a Perry I
tried to use it in. The Perry has been persistently cloudy for
months despite a number of rackings (the must was pasturized, I
figured I'd try gelatin before pectin enzyme). Recently, I racked
it, and then topped up the jugs with gelatin solution (as per
directions). After a couple of weeks, the bottom halfs of the jugs
are full of a fluffy, easily disturbed precipitate, and the upper
halfs are reasonably clear. Unless this precipitates settles more,
I won't be able to rack the perry further. A couple of ciders that
were sulphited rather than pasturized have produced similar precipitates
without the addition of gelatin. Do I simply have to be patient
and wait for this sediment to compact? Is something very wrong?
Rick C.

Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1993 12:07:00 +0000
From: "Rick (R.) Cavasin" <>
Subject: skimming implements

Thomas Manteufel asks 'What do you use to skim'?

I use a small wire mesh kitchen strainer. The bowl is only about 2-3"
in diameter, and the mesh is very fine. I think it is of the type
used to strain the pulp from citrus juice. I simply scoop out the
foam from the simmering must, and rinse the strainer in a container
of warm water I keep to hand. It takes several passes to get most
of the foam.
Hope this helps.

Rick C.

Date: Wed, 10 Mar 93 10:23:32 PST
From: (Jane Beckman)
Subject: Skimming spoon

I find that the material the skimming spoon is made of makes a BIG difference.
I use a wooden spoon, the bigger/deeper the better. The scum will stick to
wood. I rinse it in the sink between skimmings, to get all the glop off.
I am also not talking about those wimpy little wooden paddles that they
call "wooden spoons" at the supermarket. My skimming spoon is a hand-carved
piece of pine from Cost Plus with a bowl 3 inches in diameter and an inch
deep, almost more of a ladel-type bowl. It works very well. Metal or
plastic, though—forget it!

–Jane Beckman

Date: Wed, 10 Mar 93 14:30:07 EST
From: (Leo Woessner)
Subject: fruit

I am interested in adding raspberries to the secondary of a basic mead. THe mead was made with 12#s of clover honey and the juice of 5 lemons. How and when
is it best to add fruit to a mead. Should I add friut to the primary or secondary?? how is it best to sanatize fruit before fermenting it. Is using fruit juices\juice better than using whole fruit. I have not used fruit in a mead yet but am very interested in doing so. Since the mead is already fermenting I cannot add the fruit to the boil, but would this have been better.

Thanks in advance for all help!

Leo Woessner

Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1993 15:54:00 +0000
From: "Rick (R.) Cavasin" <>
Subject: Sparkling mead question

Does anyone have any experience with producing a sparkling yet sediment
free bottle conditioned mead?
While I don't mind having sediment in my beers, I think it would
be nice to be able to pour a crystal clear sparkling mead from the
bottle without having to empty the bottle in one go.
I've heard that it is possible to invert the bottles so that the
sediment settles on the corks, and then to somehow replace the corks,
eliminating the sediment in the process, and that this is how champagne
was traditionally made.
Does anyone have any details? Has anyone done it successfully?
Any hints?
Rick C.

Date: Tue, 9 Mar 93 13:07:01
From: gtephx! (Ron Schieffer)
Subject: subscribe

I have just started wandering into the world of mead with a
cranberry mead (really melomel?) and would like to find out
more. Please sign me up for the mead-digest.



Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1993 18:22 EST
Subject: Re: What do you use to skim with?

As far as skimming goes, I just use a hand held, wire mesh strainer. I also
tend to use commercial honey (there are few bee keepers in my area), which is
strained before it is shipped, so I tend not to have to strain much…

|"There are no choices between good and |The Dragon of |
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| -The Dragon of Shadow Walking and |(Bitnet:STBLEZA@IUP) |
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