View Full Version : How Long On The Lees?

05-14-2006, 02:13 PM
I made this Cyser a couple weeks ago:

5 Gallons Preservative-Free Apple Juice (NO SORBATE!)
12 Pounds of Clover Honey
6 3" Cinammon Sticks
6 Whole Cloves
15 grams D47
Yeast energizer and nutrient
1 Teaspoon of Dried Orange Rind

I used D47 after it was recommened by a couple members of this forum because of the fact it actually imparts some complexity and scents that work well with apple juice. Now to the question ....

How long should I let it sit on the lees during the primary? Fermentation is still going on but has obviously slowed considerably from where it was. I'm now getting just 1 to 2 bubbles per minute coming through the airlock.

As always, your help is appreciated.

05-14-2006, 03:31 PM
Continue to swirl the vessel until you can get a lees stirrer available here (http://morewinemaking.com/product.html?product_id=19688) to stir the lees at medium speed. Stir daily for the first week after the airlock activity has gone down to once per minute, and every three days thereafter. It's ok to stir at medium speed because there is a certain amount of oxidation that goes with lees stirring so don't be afraid of getting a little air in there while your stirring. You don't need to break the surface of the mead while stirring. The idea is to keep the yeast moving, and allowing them to release their organelle into the must as they lyse.

I'd say to go about 2-4 weeks once airlock activity has finished and taste to see if you have the character you're looking for. Then go ahead and rack. Also, don't stop your normal swirling of the carboy during primary. You want to keep the yeast up and in suspension to help the fermentation go nice and quick.



05-14-2006, 04:10 PM
Thanks Oskaar ..... my local Homebrew Supply has that exact same stirrer, but they are closed Sunday and Monday. I will pick one up on my way home from work Tuesday and follow your recommendation. Figure it will be quicker than ordering from CA.

Will your advice apply to the Pyment I made yesterday?

12 Pounds Clover Honey
5 1/2 Gallons Freshly Pressed Grape Juice (French Colombard from Chile)
18 grams Lalvin R-2
10 grams Fermaid K

Please advise ..... (and oh yeah, thanks in advance :) )

05-14-2006, 04:37 PM
Hey GL,

Actually with R2 I'd suggest racking off the lees once fermentation has stopped. I've not done a lot of lees aging with R2 so I don't have a lot of experience with this specific yeast and can't really say that it's consistant for lees aging until I have done at least 5 or more batches using it for lees aging.

Another option is the Fresh Fine Lees protocol developed by the ICV. For this You need to sulfite at racking time to a level of 50 ppm. This will kill off any spoilage organisms that may be present in your wine, and any beasties that might start up a malo lactic fermentation. You'll see why this is necessary below.

Here's the protocol:

For a five gallon batch you'll need 40g of ICV-D254 yeast. Add directly to the wine. Do not rehydrate in water. If necessary, mix in a smaller amount of wine to make the addition easier.

Week 1 – Stir the treated wine 2-3 times

Weeks 2-8 – Stir the treated wine once weekly

At the end of that week, rack off the lees.

A clear effect can be noted 4-8 days after the addition, but the trial can be run for 4-8 weeks, depending on the winemaker’s objectives.

My Comments: The reason you want to add the yeast directly into the mead/wine is that you are not looking to get these yeasts going, but rather you want them to die quickly and undergo an ETOH induced cellular lysis (that is they blow up like little water balloons) when the cells lyse, they release all of their organelle (internal organs and such) into the mead. These are the flavor components that give you the lees character, and why the treatment is so much shorter than lees aging for months and months. So you are in effect sending these yeast to a quick and early demise in hopes that they blow up and their guts end up in the mead/wine that you're making. Their sacrifice will not have been in vain. LOL


It is important to sulfite before doing this for the reasons of microstability. Here's why:

Before starting this protocol, it is a good idea to check for live Brettanomyces (not just 4-ethyl-phenol), Pediococcus and Lactobacillus. Adding fresh yeast can serve as nutrients for spoilage organisms. If Brettanomyces is present, this protocol is not recommended. If spoilage bacteria are found (Lactic Acid Bacteria, Acetobacter), treat the wine as necessary to remove the bacteria. Once the wine is clean, this protocol can be utilized.

Doing the sulfite treatment will dispense with you needing to run the tests. I verified this with Scott Laboratories and have a batch of this going now. I'll let you know how it turns out. This is the first batch I've made this way so . . . take a chance . . . Custer Did! ;D



PS, I'll post the Protocol in it's entirety in PDF format for you folks that are interested.

05-14-2006, 09:02 PM
Excellent information Oskaar ..... Thank You !

05-15-2006, 04:12 AM
So you are in effect sending these yeast to a quick and early demise in hopes that they blow up and their guts end up in the mead/wine that you're making. Their sacrifice will not have been in vain. LOL

Now that, was a funny read! ;D