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View Full Version : how can you tell when a really dark mead is clear?



aczdreign
08-13-2010, 03:09 PM
I've been using an LED flashlight to peer through my 3gal carboy of plum/rosehip melomel and I think it's clear enough to bottle, but it is really, REALLY dark.
When I look through the side of the carboy that the flashlight is touching, it seems to be relatively opaque purple (rays of light shining in), but when I go around, I can very clearly see the LED layout through the liquid. I've read that you should be able to read newsprint through a carboy, but the very dark, ruby red color of the mead really dampens the light.

The mead was stabilized several weeks ago, no fermentation is occuring. I've been keeping an eye on the lees, and haven't noticed the layer thickening at all for quite some time.

AToE
08-13-2010, 03:20 PM
How old is this? Age alone can sometimes give you a starting guess as to whether or not it's clear. If it's under 6-8 months you're pretty safe assuming it's got quite a ways to go for clearing.

I have this problem too, but I just use it as motivation to age longer in bulk.

Shadar Aman
08-13-2010, 03:22 PM
Would you be able/willing to draw a sample of it? Seems to me that a small amount in a glass might be easier to judge the clarity of.

Medsen Fey
08-13-2010, 03:32 PM
This little light of mine,
I'm gonna let is shine...

If you are seeing the rays of light, it ain't clear. The reason you are seeing the rays is the reflection off the suspended particles in the same way that you can see a flashlight bean in a dusty room. When you can't see the beam from the side, you're clear.

aczdreign
08-13-2010, 03:32 PM
I can't believe I didn't think to siphon a bit off into a glass.
The smaller amount looks absolutely crystal clear, so I think I'm going to go ahead and bottle it, because I'm itching to use the carboy again.

As far as age, it's about 4 months old, with pectic enzyme and potassium sorbate added about a month ago. When I added the potassium sorbate, the clearing was visible overnight, and it continued over a week or two, but there have been no changes in the past two weeks.

I've got no problem with a little sediment in bottles, as long as it's manageable. I'm happy with it so I think I'm going to go ahead and bottle it.

aczdreign
08-13-2010, 03:46 PM
This little light of mine,
I'm gonna let is shine...

If you are seeing the rays of light, it ain't clear. The reason you are seeing the rays is the reflection off the suspended particles in the same way that you can see a flashlight bean in a dusty room. When you can't see the beam from the side, you're clear.

Ouch. So do ya think sparkaloid or anything would help? I know time is best but I'm really ready to get it out of the carboy.

Medsen Fey
08-13-2010, 03:50 PM
Sparkolloid could certainly help clear it.

aczdreign
08-13-2010, 03:53 PM
Maybe I'll go grab some at the brewing shop today. What is the time frame on the stuff? I'm emptying a 1gal today, so maybe that can hold me over for another few months, lol.

Medsen Fey
08-13-2010, 04:14 PM
What is the time frame on the stuff? I'm emptying a 1gal today, so maybe that can hold me over for another few months, lol.

It may take 3-4 weeks.

One axiom in meadmaking is that the sooner you learn to let mead develop at its own pace, the sooner you will be happy as a mazer.

epetkus
08-13-2010, 06:15 PM
It may take 3-4 weeks.

One axiom in meadmaking is that the sooner you learn to let mead develop at its own pace, the sooner you will be happy as a mazer.

Ain't that the truth!!! :o

My first couple of batches (read impatient mead maker!), while drinkable, are NO WHERE near my other batches where I forced myself to let them be (after ther primary fermentation, etc.).

Even still, some things just have to be experienced to be learned: "Every child must learn for themselves that fire is hot".

Eric

AToE
08-13-2010, 06:18 PM
Yeah, as someone who is just now finally letting things go past a half year before bottling I think it's pretty much a given that beginners will drink their mead young, and end up with bottle sediment. That's part of the learning curve, and hey, even if it has sediment it's not too hard to hide a couple bottles to age longer.

wayneb
08-13-2010, 10:42 PM
Half a year, eh? I have a couple of carboys downstairs with "2007" markings on them. I think it is almost time for them to be bottled. ;)

aczdreign
08-13-2010, 11:32 PM
Well, you guys have convinced me to go ahead and let it do its thing for a few more months at least. I started a hard root beer today and that should be a pretty short affair, so it'll keep me distracted while the plum/rosehip and orange/hanabero keep working. I'm really anxious about the plum/rosehip because it tastes so damned good every time I sample it. I need to make this recipe again and keep track of SG's and whatnot this time around.
Sad thing is, I won't have plums again until next year!

AToE
08-14-2010, 12:55 AM
Keeping distracted is the key, the only reason I've been able to keep things in primary for so long (one was almost at a year!) is because I pretty much forgot they existed. Doing 40 batches in a year will tax your memory though!

I'm trying to go a year in bulk minimum now, but it's still hard.

Chevette Girl
08-14-2010, 01:55 AM
I like mixing it up, even with all the long-term projects, I usually have a short-term one like JAO or ginger hydromel or perry or something like that which should be drinkable in a couple months...

Xixist
08-14-2010, 05:10 AM
I've become a fan of Bentonite to clear things up as it works in days rather than weeks. I might also suggest getting another carboy rather than hurring along a recipe to begin another. Patience is a mazers best friend.
Xixist

Chevette Girl
08-14-2010, 09:48 AM
I might also suggest getting another carboy rather than hurring along a recipe to begin another. Patience is a mazers best friend.


...and is constantly doing battle with space limitations and financial constraints... :)

aczdreign
08-14-2010, 11:17 AM
...and is constantly doing battle with space limitations and financial constraints... :)


I've become a fan of Bentonite to clear things up as it works in days rather than weeks. I might also suggest getting another carboy rather than hurring along a recipe to begin another. Patience is a mazers best friend.
Xixist


Keeping distracted is the key, the only reason I've been able to keep things in primary for so long (one was almost at a year!) is because I pretty much forgot they existed. Doing 40 batches in a year will tax your memory though! I'm trying to go a year in bulk minimum now, but it's still hard.

Awesome, thanks for the encouragement, all of you. :)
Like I said, I've started a quick root beer, which should keep me distracted. Being that the plum is, IMO, the best that I've made so far (wines, meads, anything), I really put some thought into it before deciding to rack it, and I'm glad I did.

What I'll do is just keep doing quick ones in the 1gal until my 3gal batches are at least 6-8 months old. Unfortunately I don't have money for another carboy right now, but as soon as I can spring the 30 bucks, I'm hoping to get another. :)

Tygia
08-14-2010, 12:24 PM
I like mixing it up, even with all the long-term projects, I usually have a short-term one like JAO or ginger hydromel or perry or something like that which should be drinkable in a couple months...

I have always let my mead bulk age minimum 6-8 months before bottling, and that's after it has cleared. During the "in between" times, I make Hard Lemonade to quench my thirst ! From start to finish is about a month and a half-only problem is once my friends know it's ready to drink they all come over thirsty.

Blessed be the Bees!
Tygia

aczdreign
08-14-2010, 12:31 PM
I have always let my mead bulk age minimum 6-8 months before bottling, and that's after it has cleared. During the "in between" times, I make Hard Lemonade to quench my thirst ! From start to finish is about a month and a half-only problem is once my friends know it's ready to drink they all come over thirsty.

Blessed be the Bees!
Tygia

Very nice, I haven't tried a hard lemonade yet, that just might be next in line for my 1gal!
Do you have a recipe you would be willing to share?

Tygia
08-14-2010, 12:50 PM
Very nice, I haven't tried a hard lemonade yet, that just might be next in line for my 1gal!
Do you have a recipe you would be willing to share?

Sure, I'll post in the recipe section with some notes...however I always make a 3 gallon batch-so you'll have to tweak it.

Medsen Fey
08-14-2010, 04:35 PM
I've become a fan of Bentonite to clear things up as it works in days rather than weeks.

I've become a fan of Bentonite because it reduces sediment production after bottling, but if it speeds clearing, I'm certainly not going to complain about it.

Similar to wayneb, I've got batches that I haven't even tasted in over a year, but then, they aren't going anywhere.