Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1051, 16 October 2003

Mead Lover's Digest #1051 Thu 16 October 2003


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



Challenge-response mail filters are YOUR responsibility! (Mead Lovers Dige…)
Sweetening Mead ("David Craft")
Re: more on cyser (MLD #1050, 2003-10-12) (Ross McKay)
Re: Bulk ageing vs bottle ageing and Lees and off flavors ("Ken Taborek")
Re: Cider Pressing Bags (Dick Dunn)
Glycerine for mouthfeel ("Charles Gee")
Racking (
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1050, 12 October 2003 (
Re:MLD get together at Meadfest (
High OG problems…. ("Mark A. Salowitz")


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Subject: Challenge-response mail filters are YOUR responsibility!
From: (Mead Lovers Digest Admin)
Date: Sun, 12 Oct 2003 20:49:26 -0600 (MDT)

If you decide to use a challenge-response mail filter (spam blocker), it is
YOUR responsibility to handle the unblocking.

(If you don't know what "challenge-response" means…) This is a style of
mail protection in which an incoming mail message to you triggers an auto
response to the sender, asking the sender to do something special–send a
particular reply, go visit a web site and click on something, answer some
questions, that sort of thing–before any mail from the sender will be
delivered. It's intended to block spammers who won't go through this
rigamarole. (It mostly doesn't work, but that's an off-list topic.)

I will not work with challenge-response mailers. Between the mead and cider
lists, there are over 1600 subscribers. I cannot give personal service to
each one. I also have to deal with my own spam problems at this end, and I
like to make cider and mead occasionally too! Anyway, I am not about to go
romping about web sites, answering silly questions, and generally playing
games, to ensure that YOU can get the digest mail that YOU requested!

Note that this doesn't mean that you can't use challenge-response mail
protection! It only means that YOU have to take care of unblocking or
white-listing (whatever you want to call it) the digest mail. If I get
a challenge from your mailer, I will unsubscribe you and mark your address
as not to be resubscribed until I get an assurance that you've fixed the

If I seem grumpier than usual, it's because I am. Nowadays, any fool can
write spam-blocking software; many fools are apparently trying to do so.

If you're concerned about this policy, or have questions, contact me OFF-
LIST(!); use (the admin address for the digest).

Mead-Lover's Digest
Dick Dunn, Digest Janitor Boulder County, Colorado USA

Subject: Sweetening Mead
From: "David Craft" <>
Date: Sun, 12 Oct 2003 17:17:05 -0400


I made a 6 gallon batch of Cyser that I am splitting into 3 gallons of
sparkling cyser and 3 gallons of spiced still cyser. The large batch
started at 1.11 and ended at 1.00, very well attenuated. I would like to
sweeten the still portion that I have added a spice tea to. It presently
sits in a 3 gallon carboy and is ready for 1 lb of honey to bring it up to
about 1.01.

What is the best way to knock off the yeast and sweeten this mead?

I have not used campden tablets before, but have some at the

Your thoughts,

David B. Craft
Battleground Brewers Guild
Crow Hill Brewery and Meadery
Greensboro, NC

Subject: Re: more on cyser (MLD #1050, 2003-10-12)
From: Ross McKay <>
Date: Mon, 13 Oct 2003 09:26:41 +1000

Dick Dunn responded to my comments on apple juice from an extractor:
>Ross, if I have the right article you got 630 ml/kg, which would be about
>660 g/kg or 66% wt/wt (assuming 1050 SG). Is that right? That is actually
>a good yield from a small press or extraction. I figure anything under 1/2
>wt/wt is marginal; anything over 2/3 is very good. The comparison you got
>on the Cider Digest was against a large industrial hydraulic press…and
>unless you're willing to go to hydraulics you're unlikely to be able to
>generate the pressure it takes to push the yield up over 75% as with that


>If the pulp feels pretty dry when you squeeze it in your hand, there's
>not likely much to be gained with a small press.

Yup, that was the article / achieved extraction rates. OK, I don't feel
so bad now! I will still see if I can press some juice out of the pulp
(small sample in a tea towel to see if *anything* comes out), but
otherwise I'll just RDWHAH-made-cyser 🙂

>The easy answer is to get more apples! But of course if you've got a small
>quantity of precious varieties that's no help.

I don't have any growing so need to actually buy them. Buying cider
apples means a 400km round trip for me, only done once so far, and the
end product tells me that it's worth the effort so I'll be loading up
the car to the gunnels next trip I make!

Oh, and my current on-the-go cyser is from pasteurised juice from the
orchard (Bilpin, NSW for the Aussies here) with clover honey – and is
very tasty indeed! I can see that cyser will be an annual job for me
from now on, and must reserve some cider apples for the cyser next time.

Ross McKay, WebAware Pty Ltd
"Words can only hurt if you try to read them. Don't play their game" – Zoolander

Subject: Re: Bulk ageing vs bottle ageing and Lees and off flavors
From: "Ken Taborek" <>
Date: Sun, 12 Oct 2003 21:34:51 -0400

> Greetings all-


> Couple of questions regarding experiences some of you may have had:

[question on bulk vs. bottle aging snipped. I bulk age, but there's nothing
inherently wrong with bottle aging]

> 2. Lees and off flavors. I have heard and read many times that not racking
> your mead from time to time to get it off the lees can produce off flavors in
> the mead. This is going to sound odd but, has anyone ever had this happen to
> them? The more I think about it the more I wonder if it is truly something to
> be concerned about. I currently rack every two months, how often is truly
> necessary to avoid off flavors?


> Thanks in advance,
> Josh


I think you are racking far too often. Often enough to actually do some
harm to your mead, due to exposure to oxygen and spoilage organisms.

The rule of thumb I use for racking is to rack after the majority (or all)
of fermentation is completed, and then to rack again if sufficient lees
build up. This regimen typically sees me racking a mead three times before
bottling it, and that's after a bulk aging period of nine months to a year.

Regarding your question about having had off flavors from extended rests on
the lees, I've never experienced this. It's my belief that once the initial
racking has been done, which for me also involves removing the fruit from
the mead, the remaining lees that may accumulate will not cause any off



Subject: Re: Cider Pressing Bags
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2003 20:22:02 -0600 (MDT)

"Michael L. Hall" <> wrote:
> I've got a Happy Valley Ranch press (
> I use the bags that they sell and I've had good luck with them. They
> really fit the press exactly, are strong, etc. Only problem is that
> they're expensive, especially if you just want to buy a bag by itself.

They really are over-the-top expensive. If you can't find another source,
at least you can get it from HVR, but look around. They get $13 + $6 S&H =
$19 for one bag. I can get a 24"x24" nylon pressing bag at my local home-
brew shop for $7.50, and it fits my HVR press just fine. I've been using
the same bag for years, put tons (literally) of apples through it.

The HVR presses are OK (not great, but not bad) but their accessories are
high-priced. wrote:
> My family ,,, as long as i can remember my family has always used just a
> regular cloth bag made of regular cheap cotton from the fabric store,,,
> ,,, my mum says trhe best stuff would be a 200 thread count cotton
> fabric… its usually 3 or 4 dollars a yard……. high quality bed sheets
> are made of 200 or so thread count cotton..

You're going the wrong direction. High thread count is very nice to sleep
on, but when you use it for a press bag, all you're doing is trapping the
juice because the openings in the weave aren't large enough. It can blow
out, unless your press doesn't have a lot of pressure…you'll be lucky if
it doesn't but startled if it does. And even if it doesn't blow out, you
still won't get good yield from your pressing because the fine fabric will
clog up and resist the flow of juice. The idea is to get the juice out
first, filter later. (This is why basket presses are inefficient: the
juice from the center of the mass can't find its way out as the pulp is
compressed around it.) Typical press cloths have a "thread count" more
in the range of 10-20.

Dick Dunn Hygiene, Colorado USA

Subject: Glycerine for mouthfeel
From: "Charles Gee" <>
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 07:28:19 -0700

I have noted in theodd place references to the use of glycerine to
improve 'mouthfeel' of various beverages in particular those that need a
syrup like texture such as Liquers.

I have 15 gallons(imperial) of this seasons Buckwheat mead which is my
preferred evening tipple. It has fermented to dryness and I can adjust
the sweetness to my taste with more honey and inhibit the ferment with
Potassium Sorbate and metabisulphite. I very much like the the texture
(mouthfeel) of sweet desert wines but have problems with the high
sucrose/glucose/fructose levels. Does anyone have experience with
Glycerine as an adjunct and what would be a reasonable amount to add?

Charles Gee

For the curious the location is Masset on Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte
Islands) British Columbia, Canada

Subject: Racking
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 14:57:57 EDT

Hi Again. I have made my first mead. It really is a friut melomel, at least
that is what the recipe says. I got the recipe off the internet. I also got
the book The Compleat Meadmaker, but I'm still a little confused. I am
suppose to rack after 3 weeks but it is still bubbling. Do I rack it or do
I wait till it stops bubbling? Help!

Thank you Venus


Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1050, 12 October 2003
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 15:49:44 EDT

Dear Digest

This is in response to "Bulk ageing vs bottle ageing and Lees and off flavors"

In a message dated 10/12/03 2:03:22 PM, writes:

<< I currently rack every two months, how often is truly
necessary to avoid off flavors? >>


I too have questioned this. Frankly, I have made many excellent meads without
any racking. I just let the must sit on the lees for up to 9 months, then
bottle. So far I've not encountered any off flavors that seem to derive from
sitting on the yeast.

I do ferment in a plastic carboy that has been lined with a 2 mil, FDA
approved, low density polyethylene bag. Note, that is plastic certified by
the FDA for use with food. (Actually, the 36" X 18" size I use is apparently
most often employed when sterilizing medical equipment).

Not only does this seem to have the great advantage of providing a totally
sterile fermenting environment, it also obviates the need for glass
carboys–which I find objectionably dangerous. Best of all, after fermentation
you just rock the bag out of the plastic carboy and throw it away.

Jay Ankeney
220 39th St.
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
(310) 545-3983

Subject: Re:MLD get together at Meadfest
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 16:55:52 EDT

Greetings, Meaders,

I am a reader of MLD, and plan to attend the Meadfest. I am willing to host a
gathering of MLD readers/posters at my house, which is walking distance from
the Broker, where the meadfest will be held.

I am proposing a brunch on Saturday, from 11 am to 1 pm. That way we

can all discuss mead when we have a shot at remembering what we said.

If you want to come, RSVP to my personal email,, and

I will give you directions. This will be a potluck, as I cannot afford to feed
the masses. Anyone in town who can bring something, let me know. If you are
froom out of town, tell me if you are coming, and maybe we can have you bring
fresh OJ or other juice, or some other thing you can easily purchase.

My house is small, so we may have to limit numbers; let me know ASAP

if you want to attend. Dick Dunn, our illustrious Digest Janitor and a Mead
Judge, says he will try to show up, at least for a short time. If the weather is
nice, we can expand to the back yard and have lots of folks. Right now, it is
gorgeous out, but this is Boulder, it could snow or be blowing a gale by the

There has been some talk of attempts to have a venue where homebrewers

could taste each others' stuff, but this may not be feasable. We shall see.


I look forward to meeting some of you 'in the flesh'


Marcia Crary


Subject: High OG problems....
From: "Mark A. Salowitz" <>
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 17:12:03 -0400

Hi folks,

I'm currently attempting to ferment a batch of rather high OG "mead"
which was passed on from a nice family recipe… and fermentation is not
taking off at all. Basic recipe involves 13 pounds honey, 12 pounds
brown sugar, lemon juice, cold black tea, and some lemon, orange peel,
ginger, and clove to flavor and spice (while heating the must only).

The OG when I started was a whopping 1.174@76F.

After cooling everything appropriately and pitching some Wyeast 3347,
nothing.. zilch… nada. It's been 4 days now and there is no activity
at all in the airlock. I've tried nutrient, energizer, and aeration…
still nothing.

Anyone have any suggestions on perhaps how to convince this batch to
start up without obscure voodoo rituals involving chickens?


Mark Salowitz

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1051