Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1183, 13 May 2005

Mead Lover's Digest #1183 Fri 13 May 2005


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



Re: Filters (
Re: All Natural Selection ("Dan McFeeley")
High Alcohol and Corks ("Douglass Smith")


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Subject: Re: Filters
Date: Tue, 10 May 2005 09:02:30 EDT

Hello all,

Since I last wrote to the forum, I've gotten alot of good feedback. I

also heard from a representative of Buon Vino filters. Here's what they
told me when I asked about the leakage problem….


"Dear Mr. Fink
It is difficult to say exactly why but mead is very difficult to filter.

Were the pads and plate placed in the filter housing correct. If you invert
one ( either pad or plate ) you cut off the flow through the system and thus
you get higher back pressures and more leakage.

If it is not a set up problem, you may have clogged up the pads very quickly.
Filter pads remove very small particulate at the micron level. Micron sized
particulate cannot be seen with the naked eye. Even if you visually think that
the wine is clear the pads are taking out much smaller sized particulates
than you can see. Although I do not make mead I have had a number of questions
asked about this product and the density and higher particulate that is
suspended is not like a normal grape wine and it is harder to filter. Which
means that the areas in the pad that trap particulate are being filled much
faster than normal and the pad clogs faster as well.

These are the two reasons why this can happen. Tightening down on the screws
would not be the reason, in fact it would be the reverse. You need to tighten
down the pads well ( not with a wrench but nice and tight by hand ) in order
to create a seal which minimizes any seepage from the pad…."

So there you have it folks. Mead is apparently too tough for a small filter
like the mini-jet. I wonder if the Super-Jet would work.

It also makes sense that, considering how much particulate matter there is in
honey compared to grape juice, the filters would get clogged very fast,
especially the suer fine ones. I figure I'll have to stick to medium
Hopefully that will solve some of my long-term sediment issues. So far, the
mead had wonderful clarity with the medium filters. Well see how it looks an a
year or two. That's when I seem to notice the film of sediment on the bottom
of the bottles of what I thought was perfectly clear mead.

If (when) I ever realize my dream of a commercial meadery, I'll defininitely
invest in high-end filter equipment.

Greg Fink

Subject: Re: All Natural Selection 
From: "Dan McFeeley" <>
Date: Tue, 10 May 2005 12:15:16 -0500

On Mon, 02 May 2005, in MLD 1181, James Trevor asked these questions:

>I am a very newbie at making mead. My fisrt batch is currently
>in the primary fermenter. I noticed a few posts back that there
>are some "All Natural" brewers. I would like to go the same
>way, but there is little details for the final brew that I can

Do a search for anything by Chuck Wettergreen. He has been
the most successful all natural meadmaker I know.


>——- >

>I know yeast needs a slightly acidic environment to work, but I
>can not seem to find any values (PH or %) that I should be
>looking for. I used an Acid Blend (following the instructions
>as close to as I could) and had an initial reading of 0.1% (SG


You have to be careful not to confuse acidity with pH. Although
the terms are related to each other, they're different. Acids are
(very roughly speaking) proton donors; pH is a measure of the
amount of hydronium ions present in a solution. Some of the
chemist folk on this unit can probably explain it just as simply
but more understandably than I can.

The late Roger Morse of the University of Cornell did research
on the importance of pH values in meadmaking during the 1960's.
He found a "window," or range of values where the yeast functioned
quite well. This was about 3.6 to 4.6 (I'm going from memory here,
too lazy to go downstairs and pull out the file). He recommended
shooting for a value of 3.7 as the best compromise between a pH
value low enough to inhibit bacterial activity but still high enough
to help the yeasties. Values above or below this range tended to
have slowed or even stuck fermentations.

If you're using an acid testing kit usually found in winemaking
supply stores, it's important to know that they don't give accurate
values in meadmaking. The acidic properties of honey are *different*
from those of fruits, and the lactone product of gluconic acid actually
interferes with standard titration methods in measuring total acidity.
This problem is well known in honey circles, first identified by
John W. White jr. in 1958, but relatively unknown among meadmakers.

>I would assume if I went natural the acid would be done by a
>juice mixture (apple comes to mind) if so any suggestions on
>amount and types of juices to add??

Again, it's not the acid that is important — it's the pH. Most honeys
have a pH of about 4.0 or so, so you're ok. Don't worry about
the acidity of different fruit juices unless it's known to be tart, then
you might want to make adjustments. Check the must with a pH
meter (again, the acid testing kits don't give accurate readings in
meadmaking) to be sure.

>Again following instructions, I used a starter pack of yeast
>nutriant. I read somewhere that raisins are perfect for this
>job. Again how much should I be looking to add?

Sorry, I'm not sure, since I've never used raisins in a mead.

>Primary Firmentation

>——————— >

>Are there any advantages/disadvantages to using a glass carboy
>over plastic bucket?

It depends. A plastic bucket is good to start with, especially
if you're using aeration as a method of aiding the fermentation
(generally good over the first 72 hours of a fermenation). After
that it's good to seal off the fermentation in a glass carboy, using
an airlock.

Hope this is helpful!


Dan McFeeley

Subject: High Alcohol and Corks
From: "Douglass Smith" <>
Date: Wed, 11 May 2005 11:22:17 -0400

Hi Group,

I came across a warning today where someone said that corked bottles with
higher than 15% alcohol by volume should NOT be laid on their sides, as the
high alcohol content will dissolve nasty flavors from the cork. First off,
is this true? I'm just about to make my first foray into making a higher
alcohol mead (16-18%), and I would like to know if what worked for 12% still
works for 18%. Second, if this is true, how do I deal with it? The warning
in question said bulk age, then bottle. But I assume you still wouldn't be
able to lay the bottle down, which would eventually cause the cork to dry
out. Could I use synthetic corks without having to worry about this, or
would I have to switch to screw-caps?

Thank You


  • – Douglass Smith –

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1183