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beninak
05-09-2007, 03:48 AM
I bottled my first mead a couple months ago. Its just a plain mead made from orange blossom honey. I haven't drank any of it yet, but recently checked on it and and there is a very noticeable bit of sediment in each bottle. It's kinda discouraging because i figure that sediment is gonna have some gross yeast off-flavors associated with it. :sad10:

I'm storing the bottles on their sides to keep the corks from drying out, so the sediment is collecting along the side of the bottle. Is there anything i can do to keep it from caking there or to make the best of this unpleasant situation?

Secondly is there some way to prevent this from happening next time? I only racked the mead once before bottling and didnt use any chemicals or clarifying agents, trying to keep it as chemical-free as possible. The only thing I can think of is rack it a few more times.

Anyone else have this problem?

Pewter_of_Deodar
05-09-2007, 11:59 AM
Couple of things...

Don't panic. A little sediment in the bottle will do nothing more than make things a little less attractive than they might otherwise be. Gross lees problems seem to be associated with having lots of sediment (I define that as around 1/2 an inch) for a long time.

The sediment isn't necessarily yeast. Depending on your recipe, it could be fruit, spices, or yeast, or all three.

Two things for in the future. Rack carefully and don't try to get every last drop. Dump the excess into a big bottle, set it in the refrig for a few days, then carefully pour off the cleared portion and enjoy it. Your last activity before bottling is essentially a racking into a bottling bucket. Again, don't try to get too much out of the container or you will end up racking debris into the portion to be bottled.

For what you have, set the bottle upright a day or three before you intend to drink it, then just be careful as you serve it not to stir it up too much. Most of what comes out will be nicely clear and people hopefully won't notice the debris towards the end of the bottle.

Good luck,
Pewter

youngmeadman
05-10-2007, 01:14 AM
My situation is almost the exact same, except for the honey used, a plan mead, no chemicals, and i racked twice before bottling. I have tried mine though, and it smooth and sweet. I'll follow the advise above, and nobody will be none the wiser!

jaysbrew
05-10-2007, 08:44 AM
Racking more carefully and waiting longer will certainly help. However, if you want to use a fining agent, here's the one that you might be interested in:

http://jaysbrewing.com/catalog/product_info.php/products_id/297

Of course it all depends on your definition of "chemical-free" since everything is a chemical, but polyclar is very "non-intrusive", let's say. It leaves nothing behind in the mead. It's just a charged polymer. It's even vegan.


Cheers,
Jay

10% off for gotmead.com customers and a 5% donation to the site for every order! Just use the "gotmead" coupon when checking out.

Pewter_of_Deodar
05-10-2007, 01:32 PM
Most batches will clear without help given time.

If you are like me and plan to age the mead in bulk for 6 ot 8 months minimum in a carboy, then a clearing agent may not be necessary. Most batches will drop clear when they are done fermenting. Please realize that fermentation can last for MANY months depending on the circumstances...

If you are in a hurry to bottle, you can do as Jay suggests or you can filter.

Leonora
05-15-2007, 04:29 PM
Just a heads up -

most of the bottles that I bottled too quickly that now have sediment are also carbonated. Some very way so!

Open a bottle and check it out! If it is carbonated, I suggest that you store it in the fridge to slow down the fermentation and drink it up soon. Possible bottle bombs!

Let us know what you found out!

Leonora

P.S. I learned to rack a day or so before bottling to let things do a final settle. I also learned to bulk age for a good couple of months (six is what is recommended, but I can never tie up a carboy for that long) before doing a final rack and bottle.

David Baldwin
05-16-2007, 09:52 AM
I've found that most wines I've kept to age for anything like 2+ years tend to drop some sediment.

A friend of mine who is a professional winemaker has found that his spiced orange mead tend to drop sediment in about a year even though he filters before bottling.

I suspect that it has something to do with the tannins that make it through the filter binding together to become larger particles which precipitate out.

I haven't noticed any off flavors from this light dusting of sediment.

David Baldwin

Dan McFeeley
05-16-2007, 12:07 PM
Honey is low to non-existent for tannin content, depending on the floral source. Sediment is usually other stuff, probably colloidal material originating with the honey, maybe a bit of suspended yeast material along with it.

So long as you've done everything else right, I wouldn't worry about sediment collecting in aged meads.

Bulk aging helps here. Let it sit for a good long time in the carboy, until you can read newsprint on the other side, then let it sit longer. Rack and bottle.

The only kind of filtering that will eliminate sedimentation is ultrafiltration -- something the pros use but is gawd awful expensive for the home meadmaker.

Boiling and skimming the honeymust will also help cut down on sediment, but then you've got a different set of problems, i.e., possible loss of flavor nuances in the mead, and a lowering of nutrient content of the honey must.

beninak
05-16-2007, 10:54 PM
Thanks for the tips guys! Since it was my first mead, I was a bit impatient. Next time I'll be sure to do an extra racking and bulk age some more to see if that helps.

Tried a bottle finally, no carbonation, but it does have a slight yeasty taste toward the botom half of the bottle.

David Baldwin
05-17-2007, 08:43 AM
Honey is low to non-existent for tannin content, depending on the floral source. Sediment is usually other stuff,

True, yet with the spiced orange (from my winemaker friend)there should be significant tannins from the orange - which I was assuming.

I should have read more closely - it was an orange blossem honey - not an orange melomel... :-[

David

David

beninak
06-19-2007, 05:02 PM
It really makes me sad that my 2 month old JAO tastes alot better than this 6-month old batch of Orange Blossom mead that I spent alot more money on for better quality yeast and honey. :sad10:

If I chill a bottle for a couple of days, i get about 1cm of sediment on the bottom, and it gets really difficult to drink the 2nd half of the bottle without getting overpowered by a yeasty flavor. So I am considering a rather desperate measure: emptying all of my bottles back into a secondary fermentation vessel to let the sediment drop out, rack, and bulk age, and rack a couple more times, before bottling again.

I know its a big pain and I'm not looking forward to cleaning, sanitizing and recorking all those bottles, but it seems like the only way to really salvage this batch.

Oskaar
06-20-2007, 04:01 AM
Beniak,

What was your exact recipe and meadmaking process. I'd like to get an idea of what yeast, and when you bottled. Nine times out of ten sediment in the bottle is due to bottling too soon.

Cheers,

Oskaar

beninak
06-20-2007, 06:08 AM
Well this was my first ever attempt at a mead and I know I did several things wrong, including probably bottle too early, but if there is anything I can do to salvage it, including backtracking a couple of steps and emptying all bottles back into a carboy and racking again a few times before I rebottle, I'm willing to do it.

Here is what I did:

15 lbs. Orange Blossom Honey (it was crystallized when I used it, not sure if that affects anything)
4 gal. water
2 tsp. Wyeast nutrient (now I know I should have used Fermaid :( )
1 tsp generic yeast energizer from my LHBS
10g Lalvin 71b-1122

Put honey in a large pot, with about 1 gal. of hot, but not boiling water. Kept the pot on low heat and stirred until all of the honey became uncrystallized and dissolved with the water. Then added the nutrient and energizer to the hot must and mixed them in. Meanwhile, I put 3 gal of cold water in my glass carboy. Added my must to the cold water, and pitched my rehydrated yeast after making sure the temp was below 80. Shook the carboy for about 15 mins to aerate and then installed airlock.
I let it ferment to completion and maybe a little bit more. Racked to secondary after 6 weeks. It aged in secondary for about a month then I racked into my brewpot and bottled it.

Of course I sanitized everything thoroughly!

I know I probably should have started with a smaller recipe for my first time, because it seems like I did quite a few things wrong. Is there any way to get this stuff back on track?

Oskaar
06-20-2007, 06:10 PM
Crystallized honey is fine, I've used it many times with great results.

I think the only thing here that was a problem was premature bottling. Past that I don't see any glaring details that would mean your mead will not be good. Just let it age for a while and see how it goes.

Cheers,

Oskaar