Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1127, 7 September 2004

Mead Lover's Digest #1127 Tue 7 September 2004


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



RE: Mind those disk quotas, folks! (David Chubb)
Re: cyser problem ()
Re: Bicarbonate additions ? (Randy Goldberg MD)
Few questions on a braggot (mellymel_hsv)
Moldy Melomel ("Robin Wilhelm")
Is my mead ready to bottle?? ()
Re: First Melomel (MLD #1126, 2004-09-02) (Ross McKay)
Juicing fruit ("Doug Honey Love Ranch")


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Subject: RE: Mind those disk quotas, folks!
From: David Chubb <>
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2004 13:30:54 -0400

If people want e-mail accounts that won't bouce. I have a bunch of Gmail
invites. If anyone wants an account just drop me an e-mail at wyrdone AT and give me an e-mail address to sent the invite to.


  • –David Chubb


[Janitor's note: With gmail–just as with ANY "free" email service–be
sure you understand what's involved. They're only "free" in the sense
of not costing money. You are providing them something in exchange for
their providing you a service. You may be a captive audience for ads;
they may scan your mail in order to do targeted marketing. My only
legitimate concern, as digest janitor, is that the account not bounce
mail. But you might well have various other concerns if you use such
an account for personal mail. Caveat emptor. -Dick ]

Subject: Re: cyser problem
From: <>
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2004 13:34:20 -0400

>Sharon Labchuk <> wrote

>Date: Tue, 31 Aug 2004 04:06:28 -0300

>I've just bottled 4 batches of mead that I'm very >happy with but the 5th
>batch – a cyser – is not clearing. This is my first >cyser. I made it in
May using about 12.5 pounds of >honey and 5 gallons of unfiltered apple
>juice and K1-V1116.
>I can't find my notes re the starting SG but it is >now at 1.020 and hasn't
been bubbling for more 6 >weeks. I racked it once off a huge amount of
>sediment then and nothing has accumulated since.
>What would cause the cyser to remain cloudy? Does >this mean fermentation
is incomplete? And what should >I do?


I would say you have a lovely sweet Cyser Sharon. Just right if you like
it a little sweet. It will be off set by the malic acid in the apple juice
for a good balance. The cloudiness sometimes happens from proteins in the
honey or pectin haziness from the apples. I would say it is finished from
your recipe. The cloudiness won't hurt a thing but for appearance sake
you can use a clarifier like sparkaloid and it will be clear and bright
in a week. Age it a bit and enjoy or drink some now if it taste fine to
you but it will only get better.


Subject: Re: Bicarbonate additions ?
From: Randy Goldberg MD <>
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2004 13:56:04 -0400

> Testing:


> S.G. .998 ( this is not a type-o). Never had one this low. I will
> retest at next racking. PH 3.3 to 3.2


> Tasting:


> There is a nice full taste but as many will conclude from the PH reading
> above, it has a very harsh bite to it. So,…… With all of us adding
> things to our mead to raise the PH to more tolerable levels, how will
> this effect the taste of the mead? I don't want to end up with a metal
> or medicine taste and a great PH level. What will raise the PH but be
> neutral to the taste of a nearly finished mead?


> Any help is greatly appreciated.

Some of the harshness may be alcohol – if this is the lowest FG you've ever
had, you may have gotten more alcohol than you're used to. What was the OG?
Also, from the FG you've obviously got essentially NO residual sugar, which
often helps smooth or mask harsh flavors.


1. You might consider sweetening your mead somewhat. If you don't want to
risk increasing the alcohol content, stabilize with sorbate first.
(Personally, I can't drink meads with FGs that low – TOO dry for my taste.)

2. As has been mentioned, calcium carbonate is a good choice to alkalinize a
mead – better, in fact, than sodium bicarbonate, because it can absorb twice
as much acid per molecule. Start with a VERY small amount (1/4 tsp or so),
and suspend it well in sterile water (say 1/4 cup) to avoid the issue of
particulates causing foam. In small amounts, CaCO3 won't affect your taste.


Randy Goldberg MD
Random Tag: Gravity doesn't exist. The Earth sucks.

Subject: Few questions on a braggot
From: mellymel_hsv <>
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2004 10:57:45 -0700 (PDT)

I've got a wedding coming up in about 9 months. First
off, is that adequate time to get a braggot brewed and
drinkable (by June 18, 2005)? Next, anyone have
suggestions on braggot recipes? I'm open to anything

If that doesn't seem like enough time for a braggot,
are there any other meads, melomels, cysers, etc. that
may age nicely in 9 months time? If not we may have
to fill those gorgeous 1 liter cobalt swing top
bottles with some sort of Belgian Wit or the like
(nice summer brews).

Thanks in advance!

Love and Light,


Subject: Moldy Melomel
From: "Robin Wilhelm" <>
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2004 20:38:59 -0400

Subject: Moldy Melomel, My Story
From: Kevin May <>
Date: Wed, 1 Sep 2004 09:11:42 -0700 (PDT)

I have a follow-up to the moldy mead thread?

I made a Melomel roughly based on "Charlie Moody"'s
'TROPICAL AMBROSIA' MELOMEL (Mead Lover's Digest #465,
5 March 1996) I don't have the exact recipe I used in
front of me but it included a pineapple, fresh
strawberries, pluots, half a lemon, and some other
things. I pitched Lavlin K1 yeast and let it go. =20

I was so excited by it that I may or may not have
washed the fruits well enough? This was of course
pointed out by my wife after the must joined the
fruit. The initial fermentation was fast and furious,
and I thought that I had no problems. Racked it a
week later and put it away.

A month later I peek in on it and see what looks like
mold with a slight skin on the top of the liquid. The
problem is that it also looks like the gunk that
strawberries leave after you rack off of them, you
know, that weird white floaty stuff. I tasted it
quickly and it is SOUR, but checking my ingredients
list, there were things that could give an acidic sour
start. I threw in some more yeast (Lalvin EC-1118) to
try and get a hold on it. I didn't check the gravity,
but there wasn't a sweet note in it.=20

I too will try to salvage it, too many fruits went
into it to just toss it out, but I will be very
careful with the process. Any suggestions beyond what
was mentioned are of course welcome.



If it is truly mold you grew on your mead, there is little hope for it. =
Did you rack it into an airtight secondary? There are two stages to =
fermentation, a vigorous first, or aerobic (with air), and a slower, =
longer ferment, in a sealed carboy with a fermentation lock…called =
anaerobic (without air). If your brew was open to the air the whole =
time, it most likely acetified, and you now have vinegar. It would be =
totally unsalvagable as mead. Either way, I certainly wouldn't want to =
drink a sour, moldy mead. If you wouldn't eat a sour, moldy piece of =
fruit, why would you drink it?
It is possible there were some natural 'bugs' living on the fruit, =
however, most vigorous fermentations and the subsequent alcohol levels =
generated will not allow anything to survive for long. It's more likely =
that exposure to too much air or lack of sufficient sterilization of =
equipment is the cause.
If you are going to pitch more yeast, and the drink is already sour, you =
will probably need additional sweetness to restart the fermentation. =
Yeast will not ferment without the presence of sugar of some sort, so =
add additional honey. However, before incurring more expense, you should =
have a good look at whether it's worth it.=20
Robin Wilhelm (

Subject: Is my mead ready to bottle??
From: <>
Date: Fri, 3 Sep 2004 21:57:37 -0400

I have a simple still mead that I started on Mother's Day. I cannot see any
bubbling from the lock, but if I shine a light through the mead, it still
looks like champagne. Do I need to wait until it stops bubbling completely
or is it safe to bottle?? I am planning on using good quality wine bottles
with corks.


Subject: Re: First Melomel (MLD #1126, 2004-09-02)
From: Ross McKay <>
Date: Sat, 04 Sep 2004 13:32:07 +1000

G'day Miriam,

[CC'd off-list also]

>I think my problem is that here in Israel homebrewing suppliers are few
>and far between. Something like a fermentation bucket with an airlock is
>hard to find. I found one in a chemical supply place in Haifa, about
>halfway across the country; it will have to be delivered by taxi.

What about water barrels? In Australia, most of the plastic fermenters
sold in the homebrew shops are basically water barrels with clear
plastic lids, a hole drilled in the top (for the airlock – also a rubber
grommet), and a tap screwed into the barrel near the base. You can buy
nearly the same thing in the hardware store with an opaque lid and no
hole in the top. I've seen them in 32 litre, 25 litre and smaller sizes.

Also, pretty much any food-grade plastic bucket with lid will do,
including the sort that the baker and the delicatessen get. Think large
buckets of yoghurt, honey, basically any liquid or semi-liquid food.

"The lawn could stand another mowing; funny, I don't even care"

  • – Elvis Costello


Subject: Juicing fruit
From: "Doug Honey Love Ranch" <>
Date: Sat, 4 Sep 2004 08:28:28 -0700

I have stopped using frozen/fresh, whole/crushed/mashed fruits in

nylon bags in any must in favor of simply juicing all the fruits I use.
The nylon bag method was messy, it never seemed to give the fruit flavor
that I wanted. When the bag was removed, the loss of volume needed to be
replaced since all my primaries are 6 gallons and all my carboys are 6

I have a three piece steam juicer (about $90) that works better than

the most expensive mechanical juicer. During each season, I gather or
buy the berries/fruits (blackberry, apple, peach etc) then steam juice
them, putting that juice into 2 liter soda bottles and freeze for future
use. By not keeping the frozen fruit I save on freezer space. When I
start a new batch of must I thaw the juice and add to the primary must,
usually 1 gallon (4 liters/two pop bottles) in a 6 gallon must.


End of Mead Lover's Digest #1127