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View Full Version : Can I just siphon the lees off the bottom instead of racking?



Sunny
10-29-2008, 09:48 PM
Hi There. This may be a toyally assinine question, but...I have several multi-gallon batches that are ready for a second racking and my husband is suggesting that instead of racking the clearer mead off of the sediment that we try to siphon the sediment itself from the bottom and top off with CO2. I'm sure there is a reason for not doing this...as this is not the way it is done. But I've learned over the years not to scoff at his ideas b/c he comes up with some pretty ingenious stuff. Then again, if anyone else has amunition that I can use to shoot him down...NAW! Just kidding! But really, is there a reason not to try this? THANKS!

Oskaar
10-29-2008, 11:30 PM
Need to see your recipe and process first. Different yeasts have different characters as do different mead formulations.

Conical fermenters operate on this premise (pull the yeast off the bottom) but are designed to funnel the yeast to the bottom of the fermenter for easy extraction. The yeast you use will play an important roll. It's flocculation character along with flavor influence will ultimately help determine how you proceed.

Cheers,

Oskaar

wolf_tracker
10-30-2008, 05:13 PM
:wave:

so are we saying that this would or would not work??

http://www.northernbrewer.com/pics/fullsize/vvessel.jpg

just wondering??

:cheers:
wolf

Oskaar
10-30-2008, 05:19 PM
It's a conical and overpriced, but I don't see why it wouldn't work.

Oskaar

Vino
10-30-2008, 06:09 PM
I know I am a noob here...but having brewed many batches of beer over the years I have spent considerable time racking...the real problem with trying to siphon the sediment is that you run a greater risk of aggitating the sediment and bringing it back into suspension which is what you are trying to avoid. Not to mention that the sediment is heavier than your mead (that's why it is in the bottom) so the laws of physics come in to play...once you start the flow through your racking cane, you will wind up pulling a good bit of the good stuff with it.

As for the Hubby...Just quote Newtons Second Law, The Law of Acceleration: "The acceleration with which an object moves is directly proportional to the magnitude of the force applied to the object and inversely proportional to the mass of the object."

The sediment has a greater mass and therefore lighter product (the mead) will make up the greater portion of what is removed.

This is all assuming you don't have these batches in conicals...if you do please disregard the above. ;D

Vino

Oskaar
10-30-2008, 07:11 PM
I know I am a noob here...but having brewed many batches of beer over the years I have spent considerable time racking...the real problem with trying to siphon the sediment is that you run a greater risk of aggitating the sediment and bringing it back into suspension which is what you are trying to avoid. Not to mention that the sediment is heavier than your mead (that's why it is in the bottom) so the laws of physics come in to play...once you start the flow through your racking cane, you will wind up pulling a good bit of the good stuff with it.

As for the Hubby...Just quote Newtons Second Law, The Law of Acceleration: "The acceleration with which an object moves is directly proportional to the magnitude of the force applied to the object and inversely proportional to the mass of the object."

The sediment has a greater mass and therefore lighter product (the mead) will make up the greater portion of what is removed.

This is all assuming you don't have these batches in conicals...if you do please disregard the above. ;D

Vino


Good points vino, and you're right about the yeast at the bottom. One of the main reasons I wanted to know which yeast was used is that the flocculation character of certain yeast makes that yeast cake at the bottom so solid that it's just not worth it to try. Another factor is that certain yeasts once they've died, are just really bad for the overall flavor and character of the mead.

The process factors into play here as well because if there has been daily stirring of the fermentation the yeast at the bottom will not be a solid cake, but more of a stratified layer of yeast that will mix back into suspension when they shove the racking cane into it to try and siphon it off.

There are also a number of other factors, but, what you pointed out is really the main issue here, and that is as soon as the siphon starts the least resistant liquid will be transferred and that's going to be the actual mead with some of the sediment.

Good response,

Oskaar

Sunny
10-30-2008, 09:10 PM
Wow. Thanks so much for the information and good advice. I have been swirling daily and have used different yeasts in each batch such as D-47, Montrachet, Champagne, 71b-1122, k1v-1116, (trying to figure out the different effects for myself) -these are mostly show meads and a few melomels. I think I'll just be a good girl and rack the mead off. I read my husband Newton's Second Law and he was like, "Oh yeah. Of course. That makes sense." :confused4: He keeps coming up with new ideas but they are all a lot more elaborate and difficult than simply racking the mead off into a clean carboy. Still, maybe I'll try his idea with the extra gallon that was left over from the big batch of Oskaarz Dried Cherry Cyser just for fun. If it gets all swirled up and mixed up...we can just let it settle again. Thanks again for your help and advice.

"I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy!"