View Full Version : Did I do something wrong/Should I bottle

07-23-2008, 10:33 AM
Gentlemen (and/or ladies),
Here's my recipe and process:

Initial Recipe:

15 lbs raw honey
1 gallon bag of frozen, smashed, then thawed apple slices
D-47 yeast


Did not heat, simple process-mixed water and honey (warmed water-never went above 120), cooled, added apples, pitched D-47 (previously started)
This was on 9/15/07

S.G. 1.066
Racked onto another 2 lbs honey in about 1/2 gallon water, 1 gallon bag full of crushed northern spies, 4Tbsp cinnamon, 4 cloves (exploded out of bucket next morning)

S.G. 1.030
Racked again, added another 1/2 pound of honey (I was aiming for Sweet)

S.G. 1.018
Racked again

Still very cloudy-added 4 tsp bentonite (it's at about 4 gallons)

S.G. 1.020
STILL CLOUDY-more grey though than anything leese appears more solid
Tastes good-like spiced apple cider-a little sweeter than I'd like and the alcohol is still harsh (either that or I have fusels)

QUESTION: After reading on here, I suspect I shouldn't panic because it's still cloudy, and I see advice to bulk age up to a year before panicing. I'm closing in on a year though and I really need that carboy. Did I screw something up to make it so cloudy? Should I take the sparkeloid to it? Or is this how it is going to remain-should I just bottle it and be done?

Thank you in advance for your patience with a mead maker wannabe

07-23-2008, 10:47 AM
I like your apple processing technique! ;)

No worries about the cloudiness - apple is extremely high in pectins, and although you didn't do anything to permanently "set" the pectins (by heating the must with the apples in it), if you want the batch to clear unaided you still will have a long wait until that all settles out. One year is not unreasonable; 18 months is not unheard of. Next time, if you add some pectinase (pectic enzyme) just prior to pitching your yeast, the batch will clear faster.

If you really need the current batch to clear now, hot Sparkolloid is probably the best way to go. I have used it with good success on apple cysers in the past, and although it will also remove some of the aromatic elements of your batch, you probably won't notice unless you do a side-by-side comparison of some treated with the Sparkolloid compared to some not so treated. Personally I don't mind a little cloudiness in a cyser -- I don't think that it detracts; it just shows some impatience on the meadmaker's part! :toothy10:

Even with the hot Sparkolloid, still expect it to take several days to clear -- that apple pectic residue is stubborn! :BangHead:

Oh, and yes, step feeding the way you did (by adding more honey midway through the fermentation) usually results in yeast stress toward the end of fermentation, which will increase the amount of fusels that the yeast produce. That's likely the source of your "hotness." It will mellow, but that will also take time.

07-23-2008, 11:37 AM
Thank you Wayneb!

Just so I'm clear-I will avoid feeding it honey like I did on 12/3. Should I also avoid feeding it honey when I move it out of the primary (like I did on 10/8)?

I am sorry-I am impatient. I think what I'll do is-I'm getting another mulberry mel going. When I put it in the primary I'm going to put 2 gallons of this in 1 gallon jugs with airlocks to age and sparkolloid the other half and bottle it when I move the mulberry out of the primary. That way I can see what my impatience costs me.

Medsen Fey
07-23-2008, 01:24 PM
It is not too late to try some pectinase enzymes even now. Although they work better in non-alcohol solutions, they may be effective still -you might want to use a higher amount though.

07-23-2008, 01:28 PM
Any honey that is added after about the first 1/3 of primary fermentation, will change the osmotic balance of the must enough to stress your yeast. So, any honey from such an addition that gets fermented, will likely cause the production of some fusels. That process is called "step feeding."

If you want the result of any fermentation to end up sweet, it is better to figure out what your starting gravity should be based on the expected alcohol tolerance of your yeast and work from there. So say you want to end up at 14% ABV (based on using a yeast with a 14% tolerance), and you want your finishing gravity to be in the neighborhood of 1.015 (fairly sweet for a cyser). You can use the Gotmead mead calculator or any other similar fermentation computation tool, and plug in a range of values for honey and water to find that your starting gravity will need to be about 1.121 for you to end up with a 14% ABV at a final gravity of 1.015. Mix up the batch from the get-go using that starting gravity and you'll end up in the ballpark, unless your yeast finishes at a higher tolerance than the one specified by the manufacturer (which can happen, especially if use staggered nutrient additions and if you aerate the must prior to pitching). If your batch does finish drier than you'd like, you can wait for the batch to clear, then stabilize it with sulfite and sorbate and backsweeten it with a little more honey to taste.

I like your plan for an A-B comparison of the Sparkolloid vs. unassisted clearing. There's nothing better than a side-by-side to show you exactly what's happening.

And Medsen's right, pectinase does continue to work slowly even in musts that already have alcohol. But you may be past the point where they will be of any appreciable benefit to you now.

07-23-2008, 02:11 PM
Ok-Thanks for the direction guys. I'm slooowly getting better at this process. I was going to duplicate another mead I made (or try to) by making the must match the S.G. of the other one, and I think I've seen reference to the calculators you're talking about but forgot and I haven't formulated a recipe using one yet. I'm going to try it though. I'm going to try making a show mead to see how bad I am, then try to duplicate it, to see how really bad I am...