Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1071, 22 January 2004

Mead Lover's Digest #1071 Thu 22 January 2004


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



Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1070, 20 January 2004 ("Lane Gray, Czar Castic")
Re: CO2 and dried airlock (Michael Hetzel)
RE: Mead Lover's Digest #1070, 20 January 2004 ("Maurice St. Aude")
Topping off and CO2 (Phil)
Meadllenium entries (Phil)
Subject: Re: Topping off mead ("Joseph Mattioli")
Re: Opps (Dave Sherohman)
second batch (Sue Bentley)
re: topping up mead ("Ben Rodman")
re: fermentation question (Peter Szentendrey)


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Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1070, 20 January 2004
From: "Lane Gray, Czar Castic" <>
Date: Tue, 20 Jan 2004 17:24:35 -0800

From DarinBruck:
> I "lost" a 3 gal batch to the garage about a year ago. It was recently
> found again but the whole thing has been sitting on the lees – not
> necessarily a bad thing. BUT the air lock dried out at some point. I
> have been afraid to try it. Do yall spose its safe?

I think I'd read somewhere (either here, rcb or rcmm) that the bacteria
that can survive in mead don't belong to any classes of the ones that can
make you sick. Therefore, it seems unlikely that anything worse than a
"yuck, this tastes like utter carp!" would result, with the most likely
bad result consisting of a cardboardy taste from oxidation.

Lane Gray
Yes, I'm a minion of Satan, but my duties are largely ceremonial

Subject: Re: CO2 and dried airlock
From: Michael Hetzel <>
Date: Tue, 20 Jan 2004 19:56:36 -0800 (PST)

First, in regards to the dried out airlock.. yes by all means try the
mead. I've had this happen to me once, and the mead was still quite
good. Chances are nothing bad happened (if there aren't dead flies in
there, you're likely good to go). The airlock has a narrow ID that
inhibits air flow (if there's not a breeze blowing across it). Give it
a try, it won't hurt you.

As for the CO2 discussion, Dick uses a good analogy to make the point
that CO2 is soluable in air (air of course has CO2 in it as well).
>From Dick's post:
<stuff cut> (Consider that the air in a quiet room doesn't stratify
into layers of different gases by weight.)

Another way to think of this is that gases are molecules, and pressure
is simply those molecules bouncing off one another. CO2 and O2 will mix
readily at atmospheric pressure.

If one were convinced that a little bit of air (21% O2 by volume) in
the neck is ruining the must/mead, perhaps one way of reducing that
amount of O2 is by bubbling CO2 up through the must. If not through the
must, then the closer to the surface the better so that you're not just
mixing the air at the opening of the carboy. A slow flow rate for an
extended amount of time would do the trick, in effect continually
diluting the air (all of it) with CO2 until the O2 content is negligble
(which is how the primary fermentation deals with it). I'm thinking a
two hole stopper, one hole for the CO2 line and the other for the
airlock.. anyway this is just off the top of my head since I myself
don't see a need for it. But a blast of CO2 into the neck doesn't
create a blanket, rather just dilutes some of the the air a little.


Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #1070, 20 January 2004
From: "Maurice St. Aude" <>
Date: Tue, 20 Jan 2004 23:31:19 -0500

Hi all:
This conversation has me thinking now. I am just about to invest in the
new Better Bottle carboys (PET plastic) because they would provide me
with a simple way of flushing my carboys with CO2 and the using the
built in racking arms to do a closed system racking and eliminate the
top ups. Are we now saying that this system would not eliminate that
Does anyone have any thought on these carboys before I replace all my
glass? Their website is


  • —–Original Message—–

From: [] 

Sent: January 20, 2004 5:06 PM

Subject: Re: Topping up mead
From: "King, Derek" <>
Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2004 22:34:07 -0500


>Subject: Re: Topping up mead
>From: Don Dibble <>
>Date: Mon, 12 Jan 2004 12:29:33 -0800 (PST)

>Hi all! I use CO2 to push the air out of my carboys before racking into
>them. However, I've never heard of anyone testing this procedure to see
>what pressure to use or for how long. Has anyone performed, or seen
>results from, a test? I was thinking about testing via a long match.
>the match goes out their should be no more, or very little, Oxygen is
>left. Opinions?



Subject: Topping off and CO2
From: Phil <>
Date: Tue, 20 Jan 2004 20:33:35 -0800 (PST)

> Hi everyone.
> I'm wondering why there is so much discussion about
> this; if the mead is
> still fermenting, it's generating CO2 which is
> heavier than air. Thus, the
> mead protects itself, doesn't it?

I usually depend on the CO2 is suspension when I rack.
There's generally enough of it after the first two
rackings (judging by the bubbles in the racking tube).
After that, I don't think there's much CO2 in the
batch and choose to add my own.


Subject: Meadllenium entries
From: Phil <>
Date: Tue, 20 Jan 2004 20:57:14 -0800 (PST)

> Subject: Meadllennium entries
> From: "Howard & Patty Curran" <>
> Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2004 09:10:53 -0500


> I just mailed my entries to Meadllennium 2004. I
> can't believe how easy
> it was. I filled out one form, and it automatically
> filled out the



The only thing missing from your post was the phrase
'while-surfing-the-net-I-found-this-great-site.' I
was planning on submitting two entries to this
competition, but now I don't feel like it.

In the future, please don't promote anything like an
infommercial. I have no problem with you promoting a
club event, but making it sound like you're an
outsider (and including every bit of detail) sounds
phony and is a turn off.


Subject: Subject: Re: Topping off mead
From: "Joseph Mattioli" <>
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 2004 09:48:18 -0500

If mead is topped off except for a couple inches in the top of the
carboy, I see no reason to be overly concerned with a little oxygen.
It may actually improve your mead as it does with wine. Suspended CO2
will eventually replace it unless it is already finished and still. In
that case a minimal amount of oxygen will not have adverse affects
especially if you use Campden tablets or another form of sulfite which
helps prevent oxidation. Even if you don't use sulfite don't worry
about the couple inches of oxygen. One can be too careful in making
mead and go to unnecessary extremes. Do the basics and let the mead do
its thing and your mead will be fine. Not to worry…. Drink and
enjoy…. That is my opinion after 17 successful batches in a row.


Subject: Re: Opps
From: Dave Sherohman <>
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 2004 09:51:31 -0600

On Fri, 16 Jan 2004 14:21:23 EST, wrote:
> I "lost" a 3 gal batch to the garage about a year ago. It was recently found
> again but the whole thing has been sitting on the lees – not necessarily a
> bad thing. BUT the air lock dried out at some point. I have been afraid to
> try it. Do yall spose its safe?

"Safe"? Hell, yeah! I've let mead sit for extended periods of time
and not checked on it until after the airlock has dried out a number
of times and nobody's gotten sick from drinking it. They've even
insisted that it was good stuff.

Give it a try. I suspect you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Subject: second batch
From: Sue Bentley <>
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 2004 08:40:22 -0800

hello everyone, I have a question…

this last Sunday, I made mead with 8kgs wildflower honey, added enough
spring water to make it 6 gallons when cooled.
When at a cooled temp. I added about 2 large handfuls of raisons, 3 lemons
(jested) and then the white bitter stuff removed and then the lemon meat
quartered and squeezed into the batch, 2 tbsp strong black tea, 2 tbsp yeast

this was then divided into 2 batches, 1 – 4 gallon batch , added 1 pkg
Lalvin D47 yeast… and 1 – 2 gallon batch, add 1 pkg Lavlin V1116 yeast.

I keep these in pails in my laundry room (temp around 15 degree celsius)with
material for breathing. I skim and stir everyday…

my question is, does this sound OK? is there anything else I should be
doing? or is there anything in this procedure that I shouldn't of done?

please advise?

thanks in advance


Subject: re: topping up mead
From: "Ben Rodman" <>
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 2004 10:49:40 -0700

For my $.02, a fermenting mead is actively pushing out CO2 and thus

largely protected, and oxidation risk is also ameliorated because active
yeast will take up some introduced O2 so its potential to interact with the
mead is reduced. This is among the reasons winemakers rack (there are
several); the added oxygen and reduction of carbonic acid can help a
ferment run to completion. Once the mead is not actively offgassing, it
does need to be topped up. Though CO2 is heavier than air, it is highly
miscible with air so the layering isn't perfect. Also a carboy with
appreciable headspace will try to equalize with fluctuating atmospheric
pressure (picture an old-style glass storm barometer with the long spout
you put colored water in… as pressure changes the air tries to burp up
and down; that's what headspace wants to do). This can allow air (with
oxygen) to burp into the carboy when high pressure rolls in or the carboy
cools. This is why even the well-purged carboy needs topping after it no
longer generates positive pressure from fermentation. People with access to
corny kegs can purge the kegs easily, rack the mead in under a CO2 blanket,
and push the sealed keg down the cellar stairs to age without worrying
about airlock evaporation, topping, etc.


An actively fermenting mead is thus at minimal risk, though if your

fermentation is progressing very slowly there might be a risk. If for
example your ferment after a couple months is trickling along, it could
happen that the offgassing might not be able to overcome a combined carboy
cooling and high pressure front rolling in, so the pressure difference
would bubble inwards. Again, the yeast might be able to use the O2 before
it caused trouble. Any flaws in this line of reasoning?


There was a post some time ago about using a thin layer of mineral oil

floating on top of mead to protect it… seems like it'd work if you
seperated the oil from the mead well when bottling. Any data points on this


Ben Rodman in Lyons, CO

Subject: re: fermentation question
From: Peter Szentendrey <>
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2004 11:57:43 +0100

Hello to everyone on the List!
I'm a newcomer here on the list but I have been experimenting
with meadbrewing for several years now. I saw Randy Tudor's question
in the Jan. 12 issue, but it seems to me that nobody answered.
The question was:
"I have a batch of mead that had been in primary fermentation for about


weeks and the co2 had slowed to about 2 bubbles per minute. I racked and

checked the sg ( 1.010). After racking all co2 bubbles stopped. Since I


new to this, I am not sure if this is normal or not. Do I need to add
yeast or should I just wait and let it sit."
I would be also interested in the answer, since I also experienced
this phenomenon several times. (Slowly bubbling mead stops
bubbling after I racked to secondary fermenter.) I even tried adding
more yeast but it didn't restart the fermentation. Because of this I
do not dare to rack the mead while in fermentation although quite
many recepies suggest this. (to get rid of the lees early.)
What do you suggest??
Peter (from Hungary)

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1071