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Principal Mazer
02-28-2010, 09:16 PM
Greetings!

I've been lurking for about 3 weeks (just about 1 week before I started my first new batch in a long time) but just joined the site yesterday. Really like the site so far, all the users seem to be reasonable people!

A bit about me: I started off roughly 18 years ago as mainly a beer brewer, with the occasional batch of mead thrown in to shake things up a bit. My beers always turned out pretty good, I even got an AHA award or two along the way! My meads were also quite satisfying, though I never could bring myself to part with a bottle or two for judging purposes. ;) I drifted away from all things brewing about 10 years ago (a time that roughly coincides with the birth of my daughter; hmmm, I wonder if there's a connection?)

I recently had my interest in mead rekindled by the fortuitous discovery of a fairly low cost supplier of honey. My first batch in many a year was a very basic 'pure' mead. I have never been all that hung up on the details of brewing, but I'll try to get the specifics of the recipe here:

5 lbs clover honey
6 liters spring water (bottled)
1 and 1/2 tsp of yeast nutrient
1 and 1/2 tsp of yeast energizer
1/2 packet of Lavlin EC-1118 yeast

I put the water and the honey in my old brewpot and brought it up to 160 degrees F and held there for 15 minutes to pastuerize the must. From there, I put the whole shebang into my 2 gallon plastic bucket fermenter and put it in an ice water bath to bring the temp down to pitching temperature. When the must was down to ~72 degrees, I rehydrated the yeast in 2 cups of 100 degree water for 15 minutes before pitching. The end result was very close to, if not exactly 2 gallons of must. I didn't take a gravity reading before fermentation; because as I said before, I don't sweat the details. I fermented in the primary for 2 weeks, and then racked to secondary. Primary and secondary fermentation temperatures have been in the 70-72 F range. I put the bulk of the mead into a couple of clear containers, plus one full Grolsch swing-top bottle for evaluation purposes. I cracked the top on the Grolsch bottle after six hours and there was no 'pop' that would indicate pressure, so I'm judging fermentation to be done. However, the mead is still cloudy as all get out, so (drumroll please) I'll ask the question that I hinted at in my subject line: How soon can I expect this formulation to clear? And is there anything I can do at this point to encourage it to clear more quickly?

I'd like for a pint bottle or two to be cleared up for my wife's birthday, which is in mid-March. I realize that it will still be pretty 'raw' at that time, but my wife is a real fan and I don't want to disappoint!

Thanks in advance for any and all help and guidance.

PM

Medsen Fey
02-28-2010, 09:59 PM
Welcome to GotMead PM!!!

You sound like you're going to have a very nice mead that should be drinkable without too much aging. I can't say I'm keen on your method for assessing completion of fermentation - it could potentially be dangerous with a stuck batch. With EC-1118 (or any yeast for that matter), if it were bottled with residual sugar and reactivated, your first sign of a problem might be a bottle shattering in your hands. Most folks around here recommend checking your final gravity to be sure it is done (even if you didn't check it at the beginning).

As for clearing, with traditional meads it can take weeks or months. Putting it in a fridge for a couple of weeks can help. If you want to have it clear in two weeks, you probably need to filter it. Fining can speed things up but even that may take more than a couple of weeks for all the sediment to settle.

I hope that helps.

Medsen

Principal Mazer
03-01-2010, 11:53 AM
Thanks for the information, Medsen.

I too was a bit concerned with the possibility of creating a bomb with the Grolsch bottle, so after my non-scientific 'pop' test, the bottle went straight into the fridge to slow or halt any further fermentation. I checked it just a few minutes ago, and it is noticeably more clear than it was when I racked last Friday. I had a hunch that it would clear more rapidly if it were chilled, so having you confirm that for me was very comforting. Thanks!

Sadly, my hydrometer has gone missing in the ~10 years since I last brewed; and I hesitate to buy another one for a simple, compelling reason - I'm cheap!

At any rate, the bulk of the mead is resting comfortably in secondary fermentation right now. I'll probably let it stay there for another week to ten days and decide what to do from there.

Anyway, thanks for the reply. I'll post an update at some point to let you know how things turn out.

PM

wayneb
03-01-2010, 12:52 PM
Hi, PM! Let me add my welcome to the "Gotmead?" community, too! Like you, I took a hiatus from all things brewing while our kids were young, and I discovered this site when I was spinning back up several years ago.

One thing I'll add, amplifying what Medsen said earlier. Although I'm as cheap as the next guy when it comes to spending money on the hobby (family and household expenses seem to never leave any truly discretionary cash on hand), a hydrometer is really cheap insurance! When I got back into meadmaking it was the first piece of equipment that I re-purchased. And then, about a month later I found my 30 year old one stashed away in a box labeled "basement misc." At least now I have a spare on hand! ;D