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Cory
08-11-2011, 11:07 PM
I just racked a batch of mead and now two days later I noticed that there is already a bit of a yeast cake on the bottom. Im concerned I may have let too much of the sediment from the primary get into the secondary... should I re-rack?

YogiBearMead726
08-11-2011, 11:22 PM
I just racked a batch of mead and now two days later I noticed that there is already a bit of a yeast cake on the bottom. Im concerned I may have let too much of the sediment from the primary get into the secondary... should I re-rack?

A few questions first.

What yeast did you use?
What style of mead is this?
How much headspace is there now?
How clear is it?

The answer depends on these (and probably a few more) factors. Generally, though, I wouldn't be too worried about it. But again, the above questions will help determine if some re-racking might be in order.

AToE
08-11-2011, 11:51 PM
Which yeast is the big thing, but even then you'll want to let it sit for at least a couple weeks or you'll just end up with extra sediment in tertiary. I often find that the agitation/oxidization of racking out of primary causes a near instant drop of sediment.

Cory
08-12-2011, 12:06 AM
RC212 Yeast, its a strawberry melomel... maybe an inch of space in the neck of a 1/2 gal. growler... not very clear at all, not even close to being able to read thru it.

Thanks for the quick responses!

AToE
08-12-2011, 12:46 AM
Cool, you're fine then, that yeast is OK for extended contact with the lees. Now, that sediment may contain fruit bits, so if you look at it and you think this is the case, then yes you may want to rack soon.

The problem is that every time you rack you end up with less volume, creating more and more headspace, so you need a way to combat that!

Cory
08-12-2011, 01:34 AM
I have lists of yeasts with their alcohol tolerances, flocculation and temp ranges but I didnt know various strains were more or less able to cope with the lees. Are there others besides RC212 that are less susceptible to the lees? Is it just that it wont pick up the yeasty taste as much?

brian92fs
08-12-2011, 01:43 AM
I have lists of yeasts with their alcohol tolerances, flocculation and temp ranges but I didnt know various strains were more or less able to cope with the lees. Are there others besides RC212 that are less susceptible to the lees? Is it just that it wont pick up the yeasty taste as much?

I believe the reference is to yeasts that more appropriate for sur-lie aging techniques. These strains would be less likely to impart off flavors if left in the carboy for awhile. But I could be wrong about this.

AToE
08-12-2011, 01:50 AM
They'll all give off yeasty characteristics, but it's a matter of the quality of those. The main one to avoid extended lees contact with is 71B. I'm sure there are others, but that's the only one I'm aware of - and even that you really need more than a couple/few weeks of exposure for it to do something negative.

I rarely ever rack less than a month in secondary, often much longer, and I've yet to have too much yeast charcter - and that's from a guy who doesn't like strong yeast character (as far as I know, all my experience is with bottle-carb'd meads and wines (I like it in beer though), I have a test going for just straight aging on and off of lees, which should teach me more in a few months).

dave_witt
08-12-2011, 09:24 AM
Cool, you're fine then, that yeast is OK for extended contact with the lees.

Yes, do you know of any others? Perhaps this is a category to be added to the yeast table--I'm always wondering if I could go another week before racking, or if I should risk oxidation to avoid unwanted yeast flavors.

AToE
08-12-2011, 12:40 PM
Yes, do you know of any others? Perhaps this is a category to be added to the yeast table--I'm always wondering if I could go another week before racking, or if I should risk oxidation to avoid unwanted yeast flavors.

71B is the only one I know of. Generally give or take a week isn't going to make much of a difference, the yeast needs months to really break down and release stuff, and especially if you aren't stirring them back up into suspension often as is done with sur lie aging then you shouldn't have any problems.

MattHollingsworth
08-16-2011, 02:40 AM
71B is the only one I know of. Generally give or take a week isn't going to make much of a difference, the yeast needs months to really break down and release stuff, and especially if you aren't stirring them back up into suspension often as is done with sur lie aging then you shouldn't have any problems.

So, with 71B, if I'm not stirring (as you wrote above), leaving it on *some* lees in secondary for 4 or 5 weeks should be okay, right?

I racked to secondary after about a month in primary and some new lees formed.

AToE
08-16-2011, 02:44 AM
So, with 71B, if I'm not stirring (as you wrote above), leaving it on *some* lees in secondary for 4 or 5 weeks should be okay, right?

I racked to secondary after about a month in primary and some new lees formed.

You should be fine, a month is a long time in primary though. It's a tough call with 71B, because every time you rack too soon you just get more sediment, but you instinctively want to get it off those lees.

If you feel confident that the bulk of the lees have dropped after 3-4 weeks I'd rack it then rather than later. You'll always get some lees for the first year of course, but really minor amounts won't hurt.

MattHollingsworth
08-16-2011, 04:40 AM
You should be fine, a month is a long time in primary though. It's a tough call with 71B, because every time you rack too soon you just get more sediment, but you instinctively want to get it off those lees.

If you feel confident that the bulk of the lees have dropped after 3-4 weeks I'd rack it then rather than later. You'll always get some lees for the first year of course, but really minor amounts won't hurt.

Cool. Thanks.

MattHollingsworth
08-18-2011, 06:49 AM
Hmm. Looking back at my notes, primary was 15 days, not a month.

Racked to secondary on 7-25. I'll likely rack to tertiary this weekend, so almost 4 weeks in secondary with that 71B.

schlapppy
08-18-2011, 09:08 AM
I found this really good thread between Oskaar & Medsen about lees aging. (Patrons only)
http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12396

Here's more advise from Oskaar specifically about 71B
http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14028

And my other favorite.... D-47
http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9310

MattHollingsworth
08-18-2011, 09:29 AM
I found this really good thread between Oskaar & Medsen about lees aging. (Patrons only)
http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12396

Here's more advise from Oskaar specifically about 71B
http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14028

And my other favorite.... D-47
http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9310

Great links. Thanks.

kudapucat
08-18-2011, 09:46 AM
WRT sur lie aging. I understand it should be stirred monthly.
BUT
I'm interested in sur lie from a point of laziness.
Can I leave a d-47 mead on it's primary lees, until bottling without adverse effects.
I understand less yeasty character will be imparted to the mead, but that's ok with me.

schlapppy
08-18-2011, 10:31 AM
Great links. Thanks.

NP. That's my advanced search-fu.



I'm interested in sur lie from a point of laziness.
Can I leave a d-47 mead on it's primary lees, until bottling without adverse effects.

Try reading the D47 post i linked.

kudapucat
08-18-2011, 05:13 PM
I did.
Twice now.
I wish to ask: "are there negative effects from not stirring?"

AToE
08-18-2011, 05:37 PM
I did.
Twice now.
I wish to ask: "are there negative effects from not stirring?"

No, it just might not clear as fast (the yeast going up into suspension will drag even more down) and won't have as strong a lees character.

Medsen Fey
08-22-2011, 06:12 PM
"are there negative effects from not stirring?"

Potentially.
Lees that sit compacted without stirring may produce sulfur odors. This is why battonage protocols are performed in winemaking. If you've racked and have only a layer of fine lees, it may be less problematic. This is not to say that every time a mead sits on lees without being stirred, bad things will happen. In some cases, people keep their mead on the gross lees without stirring, and it works out fine for them. On the other hand, if you try this and your batch gets stinky, you'll know why.

You pays your money, you takes your chances.

AToE
08-22-2011, 06:46 PM
Good to know, I was completely unaware of that!