View Full Version : Syphon question

12-01-2010, 10:32 AM
Does it hurt the mead or wine if once it is finished fermenting it is left in the
2nd fermenter for a while before syphoning off to bottle? Is there any rush to get it out?

12-01-2010, 11:21 AM
Please quantify "a while"...

12-01-2010, 12:02 PM
Yes that does depend somewhat on time, but it also depends a lot on what is in the lees layer at the bottom of that secondary vessel. If it is only fine lees, which consist solely of spent yeast, and if that yeast strain is one that can be used for extended sur lie aging without introducing off flavors into the mead, then extended secondary time is no problem. However, if you have fruit bits in there or if you have a yeast strain known to be bad for lees aging (like Lallemand's 71B - great for young fruity wines but horrible for sur lie), then you don't want to be in that secondary for more than about a month or so post-fermentation.

12-01-2010, 01:52 PM
I am using natural yeast on the fruits. (Blackberry, blueberry, plum etc.) Mead has yeast from bee pollen.

Is 2 months too long to leave it before syphoning? Or can it go longer?

Not using sulfites, so want to make sure it is done.

Also have 6 batches of various things going and hard to stay on top of it all.

Is a good sign they are done when there are no ring of little bubbles on the top of the wine around the neck of the 2nd fermenter jug?

12-01-2010, 02:58 PM
The only way to be sure that it is done, going the "all natural" route, is to measure the final gravity and confirm that there are no residual sugars remaining.

I've seen bottles of apparently "finished" mead become bottle bombs with only a slight environmental change (say moving them to a room that's 5 degrees warmer), and waiting a few weeks.

Also when you're going all natural, I'd get the finished mead off the lees ASAP once fermentation is over. The less crud that you have of indeterminate origin in there, the better your chances of no spoilage down the line.

12-01-2010, 03:12 PM
Just to expand - there's no rush to bottle. Actually, it's quite the opposite, the longer you can bulk age the better - I generally try to bulk age for at least 10 months before bottling. You want to make sure the mead/wine/whatever is finished fermenting, and that it is as clear as possible before bottling so you don't get a bunch of sediment in the bottle. Also, keeping it in bulk stops you from drinking it before it's had time to age properly!

Now, that said, as stated in posts above, you do want to rack it off whatever sediment drops out. I generally rack several times before bottling. The tricky part with this is headspace, every time you rack you lose some volume, not matter how careful you are. I use glass beads (sanitized and the ones that are fish-safe (and therefor human safe) only) to top my meads up to the neck while aging. Another really good option is to just pop in some unused synthetic corks (not real cork) to take up that space.