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PlainHank
07-05-2010, 11:47 AM
I would like to get some opinions on how often a mead should be racked that is bulk aging.

I finally have a large enough stash of mead to drink that has enabled me to have the patience of Job with my current batch. This is very unlike how I was for previous batches when I was looking at them every day and itching to do something, anything with them.

On New Years of this year, I mixed up a 5 gallon batch of wildflower honey mead. A bit over 4 weeks later, I racked it out of the primary (plastic bucket) into a glass carboy. I had enough to have the level half way up the neck, so I have virtually no head space. (first time for everything!). I put an airlock on, moved it to a closet and there it has sat for now six months! I have ignored it for six months! Believe it or not Ripley.

My plan has always been to let it sit until Christmas vacation and then put it into bottles before I then start the process over again for the coming year.

Since I have racked it once at 4 weeks, is there any need to rack it further or is it just a good idea to prove my patience and forget about it for another 6 months? Or is there some schedule that is recommended, say rack it every three months or something like that?

Advice?

AToE
07-05-2010, 12:05 PM
No specific shedule that everyone agrees on, it's more a "rack when it needs it" mentality. Is there sediment at the bottom? (I would imagine so) I would rack it at least once more to ensure clarity, ideally racking every couple/few months from now on until it is totally clear and not dropping any more lees.

One trick that I use to minimize racking losses when there is only a small amount of sediment is to move the carboy up onto the counter where I'll be racking from 3-6 hours early (some people do a full day), and then I jam wash cloths under the far side of the carboy until it's at a significant (but not precarious!) slant. Then I keep the racking cane tip away from the bottom until right near the end and it all works out great.

Using the tilt method it's possible to avoid 99% off the lees (any transferred will just fall out again anyways) with racking losses of next to nothing. I often get away with only losing a cup or two, instead of a half inch of the carboy or more.

Tannin Boy
07-05-2010, 12:23 PM
No specific shedule that everyone agrees on, it's more a "rack when it needs it" mentality. Is there sediment at the bottom? (I would imagine so) I would rack it at least once more to ensure clarity, ideally racking every couple/few months from now on until it is totally clear and not dropping any more lees.

One trick that I use to minimize racking losses when there is only a small amount of sediment is to move the carboy up onto the counter where I'll be racking from 3-6 hours early (some people do a full day), and then I jam wash cloths under the far side of the carboy until it's at a significant (but not precarious!) slant. Then I keep the racking cane tip away from the bottom until right near the end and it all works out great.

Using the tilt method it's possible to avoid 99% off the lees (any transferred will just fall out again anyways) with racking losses of next to nothing. I often get away with only losing a cup or two, instead of a half inch of the carboy or more.
AToE,

Great suggestion / method...

It's so simple that I should have thought of it by now???

I have been painstakingly pouring the last 1/2 gallon into a separate bottle to
allow the lee's to settle again, to keep losses to a minimum...

Medsen Fey
07-05-2010, 01:03 PM
It is hard to say much about racking without knowing which yeast was used and what the recipe was, but if the mead has sat on the lees for six months without any sign of off odor or flavor then leaving it longer probably isn't going to hurt.

Chevette Girl
07-05-2010, 01:45 PM
I do something similar when racking to minimize losses, currently I have a piece of 1/4" plywood that I sit the carboy on and two wooden wedges that I slowly and carefully shove under the plywood, then when it's almost at the bottom I use one hand on the neck of the carboy to tilt it so the racking hose is vertical... usually works well but since I'm a klutz I usually disturb a little bit of stuff into that last bottle... I'm working on a design for something that I can work with one hand so I can hold the racking hose steady with the other, something that prevents the carboy from slipping off the back edge and can make a gradual incline without jostling things, maybe using threaded rod and some nuts or something with a sliding block of wood to tilt the base...? still playing with that one in my mind... but tilting the carboy does significantly cut down on losses when racking, I definitely lose less volume than a hydrometer test tube sample.

epetkus
07-05-2010, 07:19 PM
Agree with the racking when necessary, and as Medsen stated, that will be dependant upon yeast strain used, recipe, lees aging desired/not, etc.

As for the carboy tilting method, you can buy carboy wedges to perform this, or take the low-tech approach like I do and pick the proper set of flip flops or sandals (depending upon carboy size), and set them under the carboy to achieve the proper angle. ;D

Now I need to design and build an automatic racking cane depth adjuster so the tip is always just below the surface of the liquid to completely minimize the amount of lees sucked into the racking cane. Wait, I think I have an idea; now on to the patent office!! :cool:

Eric

PlainHank
07-05-2010, 07:36 PM
Well, I just up and did it. When I pulled it out of the closet and set it up on a table (I waited about 5 hours for whatever I agitated to settle) I was amazed at how clear it was. It was absolutely beautiful, a crystal clear gold.

I take the answer of "as needed" to mean there isn't any set schedule.

There was a bit of yeast at the bottom but very little. So I carried it back to it's home and will leave it until the end of December.

I had about a cup left over at the bottom that I poured into a glass and put it in the frig to let everything settle out, then we will give it a taste.

Is there a better hobby?

akueck
07-05-2010, 09:34 PM
Is there a better hobby?

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