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kudapucat
12-07-2010, 07:40 AM
OK, this feels to me like a REALLY dumb question, but how clear should it get? How do I tell when it has cleared?
It's a different colour to when it started, and it did look like it had heaps in suspension, whereas now it doesn't, but will it clear further? should I be able to see through it? should it be a semi opaque colour?
These are questions for which I have no answer.

Dan McFeeley
12-07-2010, 07:45 AM
Clear enough to read newsprint through on the other side is a good guesstimate but even then you should give it time. Check the gravity also to be sure that it seems finished -- even a clear mead with some residual fermentables can "wake up."

You can also try shining a flashlight beam through the carboy. A mead that hasn't quite cleared will show a strong beam through the carboy.

--

kudapucat
12-07-2010, 07:50 AM
That's a nice idea...
As these are my first trial batches, I'm using 5 litre bottles racked into 2 litre bottles. Will the smaller diameter and therefore lesser amount of mead between me and the newsprint, or the torchbeam make a difference?

tatgeer
12-07-2010, 10:35 AM
Yes, smaller diameter can make a difference. Meads that look quite clear in the hydrometer tube often have visible cloudyness in the jug for me.

And, as McFeely said, even the newsprint test doesn't mean it's 100% clear. Consider how much sediment you're ok with in the bottle. When I'm in a rush to use a carboy, I've been known to bottle at less than 100% and just pour carefully when drinking. Those are usually the bottles I don't give away but keep for myself.

AToE
12-07-2010, 12:58 PM
I find that sometimes mead clears in stages as well, it'll visibly clear right after fermentation, then after first racking, then it becomes gradual (often I can actually see a line above which is clearer than below). I haven't seen a mead actually become clear enough to read something through a carboy in under 7 months I don't think, sometimes takes longer.

mmclean
12-07-2010, 05:39 PM
My JAO was clear enough to read fine print through a gallon carboy in 2 months. Still dropped sediment after racking.

PainInUrHead
12-08-2010, 08:32 AM
What does clear mead look like?
When the gods came down from Mount Olympus. Its like that, except better. But after three months my show was a great amber color, clear as like home made ice tea in a glass with ice.

phreebyrd
12-19-2010, 02:20 AM
i can see the shadows in between the miniblinds on the windows

kudapucat
12-22-2010, 08:23 AM
OK.
When I started, my goal was to have a bottle to gift for Christmas.
After significant reading here, I found that to be nigh on impossible.
Now I'm getting excited again, as my first dry mead is clear. I can see newsprint through it, but I can't read it yet.

My question: What happens if I bottle before it's completely clear?
Is all that will happen that I get some sediment in the bottle? If so, I dare say I'd bottle early on this one occasion.
The recipient will have no problem sitting on the bottle for 12 months.
So please mead mentors... what to do?

fatbloke
12-22-2010, 10:08 AM
OK.
When I started, my goal was to have a bottle to gift for Christmas.
After significant reading here, I found that to be nigh on impossible.
Now I'm getting excited again, as my first dry mead is clear. I can see newsprint through it, but I can't read it yet.

My question: What happens if I bottle before it's completely clear?
Is all that will happen that I get some sediment in the bottle? If so, I dare say I'd bottle early on this one occasion.
The recipient will have no problem sitting on the bottle for 12 months.
So please mead mentors... what to do?
It ain't just the mead mentors who might have an idea.....

So, I always clear mine to be able to do the "newspaper" test in the 1 gallon DJ (1 imp gallon a.k.a. 4.55 litres). Then I rack it, with this being the presumed final rack. If it does drop another sediment, it goes through my minijet (also got an enolmatic and matching filter/housing - only got a 1 micron filter at the moment).

The minijet will pump/rack and filter, the coarse grade filter is usually enough. I haven't had any further sediment problems since I got that..

The only thing you will get if you bottle too early (but you've made sure that there's not chance of any further fermentation starting up) is a sediment in the bottom of the bottle. The main reason for ageing (and logically clearing) in a carboy/DJ is because sometimes the smaller volumes in bottles can be affected by temperature variations/swings, plus it's less of a PITA to rack from carboy/DJ sized containers than it is if you've already bottled.

Erm, you could try using a coffee cone type filter if a minijet or similar is unavailable, but you'd need to think about how to manage a filtration like that as you don't want to go oxidising it (not as easy to oxidise a mead as it is a "normal" or other fruit wine) i.e. try not to splash too much, so maybe rig the filter to flow smoothly etc.....

Sounds like you've done a successful job so far, and would seem a waste if you're to hasty in final production processes.

The only thing that a bit of sediment in the bottle might do, is, cause a slight off taste if it's been made with a yeast prone to autolysis, and looks rather unsightly (and unprofessional IMO). You end up serving the first glasses out the bottle to your guests so they don't get or see the sediment in your glass.....

So how you finish this off is pretty much up to you.. Good effort thus far (and some good questions too).

regards

fatbloke

Dan McFeeley
12-22-2010, 11:13 AM
OK.
When I started, my goal was to have a bottle to gift for Christmas.
After significant reading here, I found that to be nigh on impossible.
Now I'm getting excited again, as my first dry mead is clear. I can see newsprint through it, but I can't read it yet.

My question: What happens if I bottle before it's completely clear?
Is all that will happen that I get some sediment in the bottle? If so, I dare say I'd bottle early on this one occasion.
The recipient will have no problem sitting on the bottle for 12 months.
So please mead mentors... what to do?


The newspaper print guage is a sort of seat of your pants kind of test. It gives you an idea but not the whole picture. Check your gravity, that'll tell you if there's still residual sugar enough for the yeasties to wake up and start chewing on.

--

Medsen Fey
12-22-2010, 11:44 AM
The recipient will have no problem sitting on the bottle for 12 months.
So please mead mentors... what to do?

If the person you are giving it to is going to let it sit for 12 months, why don't you sit on it for 12 months instead, and then give it once it is clear and ready?

YogiBearMead726
12-22-2010, 12:31 PM
If the person you are giving it to is going to let it sit for 12 months, why don't you sit on it for 12 months instead, and then give it once it is clear and ready?

But that just makes too much sense! ;)

If you really want to give them something this Christmas, why not take a picture of a bottle/the mead and wrap it up with a note that says "Coming Soon". It's what my folks do when they order things that haven't arrived in time for the holiday. :p

AToE
12-22-2010, 02:47 PM
Just FYI coffee filters won't do the trick, they barely filter out anything at all. (I've tried, to no avail)

Sediment in the bottle isn't so terrible, drives me nuts though. The important thing is to store the bottle upright for a day or two before opening and then to pour it into a decanter carefully, leaving some mead and sediment behind (or you can just spin the bottle to get it all really well mixed up and just live with it being less clear, but beware this also effects the taste).

kudapucat
12-22-2010, 06:22 PM
If the person you are giving it to is going to let it sit for 12 months, why don't you sit on it for 12 months instead, and then give it once it is clear and ready?

Because...
I have an issue.
Dad has been 'talking' about mead for a while (Dad's my apiarist)
The mead is a surprise. (as clearly he'll never get around to it)
He doesn't know I'm making it.
I've carefully stockpiled honey from him at a 'reasonable' consumption rate.
I'd like to surprise him sooner rather than later, so that he gives me more honey, in larger bulk.
Yes, I'm an altruist at heart :angel4: hehe

So you see my conundrum: Issue the present, or pay for honey.