Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1179, 27 April 2005

Mead Lover's Digest #1179 Wed 27 April 2005


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



Re: types of pears (Dick Dunn)
Apple Press (Dick Adams)
Re: various topics (Mail Box)
Re: capsimels and seals (Jim Johnston)
Sacred Nectar Prayer (


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Subject: Re: types of pears
From: Dick Dunn <>
Date: Sat, 23 Apr 2005 21:19:21 -0600

Janice Woodcock <> asked…
> >… I have not made one before so I was wondering types of pears would
> >be best? Any tips for avoiding problems with pears? Thank you in advance

and Erroll Ozgencil <> replied:
> Janice, when I make apple wine I follow the lead of cider makers. Their
> experience in selecting varieties and concocting blends is a great place
> to start. So even though I've never made a pear mel or wine, I think you
> should start with the perry pears that are available in your area.


> Here's a web page on perry pear varieties:



Depending on the area, that may not go so well. The page that Erroll cites
is a very good one; Paul is thorough and accurate. But it is in the UK,
and indeed perry pears can sometimes be found on chance because perry is
only just coming out of decline there. The trees are to be found, unused,
over there because there are still old orchards, and these pears are
amazingly long-lived (hundreds of years). Janice I presume (from the email
address) is in Canada, where it would be far more difficult and perhaps
nearly impossible to find perry pears. In the US you could pretty much
forget it…not that there aren't perry pears around, but what few you can
find are likely to be of intense interest to the owners of the trees!

Beyond that…and I'm not trying to be too discouraging, really!…perry
pears are by all accounts quite a bit more difficult to work with than
cider apples. (I'm trying to step softly because I've poked around perry
production, tasted the fruit, watched the processes, and talked to a lot
of producers…but I'm still waiting for my own trees to start bearing so
I can't say I've produced a "real" perry of my own [from perry pears], only
from dessert fruit.)

One problem is that some varieties are fiercely tannic, so you've got to
balance/mitigate that, and also deal with the idea that it's going to throw
a tannin haze whenever it feels like it, the way a temperamental child will
throw a tantrum.

Another concern has to do with acid balance…while apples have almost
entirely malic acid, perry pears can vary considerably, and some of them
have a lot of citric acid. (This touches on an interchange on the MLD a
while back, with Wout Klingens pointing out a pitfall.) You don't want
to get lactic-acid bacteria loose in a juice with a lot of citric acid
because they'll turn it straight to vinegar. Even with dessert pears it's
easy to get noticeable acetification.

If you want to work with pears, try regular dessert pears first to get your
feet on the ground. Once you get past the pressing (or if you can get
someone to press them for you) it's not too bad. The pressing problem is
just that the pomace can be really slippery. Take the pears just on the
edge of ripeness, definitely not overripe, and that part will be easier.

Dick Dunn Hygiene, Colorado USA

Subject: Apple Press
From: (Dick Adams)
Date: Sun, 24 Apr 2005 01:52:09 -0400 (EDT)

I am hopefully moving back to The Promised Land of North Carolina before
September. Whereever we move, I am going to plant apple trees and pear
trees. Off-topic, but after the first frost you put out rabbit traps.
Apple fed rabbits are a delicacy.

Is there somewhere on the internet that has graphics amd instructions
for building an apple press?


Subject: Re: various topics
From: Mail Box <>
Date: Sun, 24 Apr 2005 2:09:06 -0400

> Subject: Hot meads
> From: "OCurrans" <>
> Date: Tue, 19 Apr 2005 18:05:10 -0400


> I guess I am not as much of a man as some on this list. Firewater and eyes
> popping out don't seem like a pleasurable event. BUT, I have three gallons
> of tomato mead, bulk aging, that is "missing something." I think a LITTLE
> BIT of heat may be just the thing. How would you tone it down for this wimp?


> Howard Curran Oviedo, FL


Mead that is "missing something" to me usually means a mead with little or
no acid component. A little acid blend or other acid addition usually works
wonders with these meads. But tomatoes, most varieties at least, have a
good amount of acid, so I'm left wondering what your mead could be missing.
Perhaps it's that your mead is young. I've not made a tomato mead,
but most sources indicate that it's a mead that takes time to appreciate.
If this is the case I'd recommend letting tome work it's usual miracle with
your mead, and just rack every six months or year, keep the airlock full
and free from infections, and wait patiently for the proper time to bottle.

Or perhaps you are correct and a bit of kick is just the ticket. In which
case I'd suggest drawing out a good quart of your mead and performing
a test with a few added ingredients in seperate glasses of the mead.
Crushed black pepper, ginger, and various hot peppers might be things to
try, and once you find the magic bullet just multiply the addition by the
remaining volume, give it some time to blend, and when it tastes great
that's when you bottle it.

Best of luck!

Ken Taborek

> Subject:  Stablizing mead
> From: "John Misrahi" <>
> Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2005 09:04:28 -0400


> Hi all,
> Long time lurker but first time poster here. I have two of my first batches
> of mead in the words, one is a straight mead (about 4L) and the other is a
> cherry cyser (11L carboy)


> Anyways the cherry cyser seems about ready to bottle , I want it to be still
> (its fermented fairly dry and seems to be about done).


> What is the proper procedure for stabilizing? How much sorbate should I be
> adding, and when should I add it? What about potassium metabisulfite, is
> that a good idea to improve the shelf life of the mead?


> Thanks
> John


If your mead seems to be about done, it still might not be done. The best
way to ensure that your mead has reached it's terminal gravity is to
measure the SG over time. Once it's stable, then it's done. After it is
indeed done stabilizing is a simple matter of adding sorbate according to
the instructions on the bottle (it's not in front of me, but I believe my
sorbate instructs 1/2 tsp per gallon), and sulfite according to volume
and if you choose pH. If you use sorbate you should always sulfite, as
sorbate is susceptible to a bacterial attack that the sulfite will prevent.

Ken Taborek

> Subject: How much Oak?
> From:
> Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2005 21:52:48 +0000


> I was planning to try using oak chips for the first time with my 6 gallon
> batch and was wondering how much to use and for how long. Ken's book says
> "keep them in there anywhere from a week to 6 weeks" but this is a broad
> range. I know it is a matter of personal preference, but what would you
> guys recommend?


I use oak liberally in wines and meads. I simply toss the sawdust,
cubes, or other oak media into the carboy or fermenter, and let racking
remove them. If you add the oak during fermentation as most wine kits
recommend then you'll be racking off the oak after the primary fermentation
has completed, about seven to ten days. If you add oak to a wine or mead
after fermentation because you feel it will improve it, then leaving it
in until the next racking is fine. The alcohol and sulfite (assuming
you use sulfite) present in a mead or wine after primary fermentation is
complete will protect it from any bugs introduced from the oak addition,
and the oak only contributes flavor up to the saturation point, so there
is little added effect and no harm to come from leaving the oak in beyond
a week or two up to several months until your next racking.

Ken Taborek

Subject: adding Oak
Date: Sun, 24 Apr 2005 05:18:39 -0700

When adding oak to my beer (I have not added oak to any of my meads) I will
age 1/2 gal of beer on a half cup of oak. Then when it comes time to keg or
bottle I add a little of the "oaked beer" to the main batch and taste. Add
more if needed.
If it were legal to distill I would also use this method.
David Brattstrom
Plymouth, CA

Subject: Re: capsimels and seals
From: Jim Johnston <>
Date: Mon, 25 Apr 2005 17:12:28 -0500

> Oh, come on. It's hardly the chiles that are causing the gaskets to fail.
> A capsimel won't break down the seal on a bottle any more than any other
> mead will. (Contrary to folklore, chiles are neither significantly acidic
> nor alkaline, nor are they corrosive; they don't attack any common metals or
> sealants.)


> The yes-really-I-was-serious point of my question was based on the fact
> that I know capsaicin can permeate some compounds enough to carry over.
> I know it can hang on in cloth for a couple washings; I -think- it can
> carry over in rubber-like "stuff". Would the gaskets pick it up? I
> know they'll pick up other flavors.


In all seriousness, it might linger a bit in a rubber seal, but it
wound have to have prolonged contact to do so. If the bottles are
stored upright, I don't think it would be an issue at all.


Subject: Sacred Nectar Prayer
Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2005 23:24:37 EDT

I recently found this prayer on the label of a jar of honey and thought it
was beautiful. I take no credit or religious position and simply pass it
along out of interest.

cheers, Bob Grossman

Sacred Nectar Prayer
Heavenly Father, as this Sacred Nectar now touches my lips, let it remind me
how sweet Your creation is and how beautiful Your world is to behold. You
made all things through Your Word ??? the Logos ??? and Your Word is even
than nectar. Just as I now consume this nectar, let me also consume the
Living Word, who came down from Heaven to teach us of You. Sweet are His
of everlasting life and even sweeter is His love for us and for You.

???Mine eyes have been enlightened because I tasted a little of this
1 Sam 14:29

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1179