View Full Version : Bottled Too Early?

Bee Serious
11-15-2011, 05:08 PM
Hi everyone,

After a successful first year of beekeeping, I decided to try mead!

I used a recipe (a Rabbit's Foot Meadery clone) I found in an archaic issue of Brew Your Own my brewaholic neighbor loaned me from 2005. Can be found here:

15 lbs. (6.8 kg) wildflower honey
5 tsp. yeast nutrient
5 tsp. DAP (diammonium phosphate)
5 tbsp. bentonite
2 pkg. Lalvin EC-1118 yeast

The directions were just vague enough for me to misunderestimate when I could/should bottle - especially since I am quite new to the whole thing. I bottled after a couple of months and one racking. I used bentonite like the recipe called for, but I wasn't very convinced it did what it was supposed to.

While researching online later, I found that one should only bottle after the mead COMPLETELY clears - like you should be able to read a newspaper through it. When I poured a glass, I could see through it, but while in the carboy it was cloudier than Keith Richard's pee. I'm pretty sure the hygrodromometer had stopped dropping.

So did I just screw it up completely? I know that mead will clear in the bottle, but can become easily agitated whenever you move it. Is it worthwhile to cold crash it and re-carboy from the bottles and let it clear? It already tastes pretty good - maybe I just leave it alone and hope for the best - I drink cloudy beer all the time.

Any advice/thoughts? Thanks!

11-15-2011, 05:54 PM
The cloudiness won't hurt anything really. Just a matter of preference.

Most wine/mead snobs will say that it should be perfectly clear, and as you noticed just picking up the bottle stirs up the sediment.

If you like the way it is and don't plan on giving it away, go to town on it!

If you plan on giving it away, you might consider trying to clear it a bit more (this would be my preference based on not wanting to turn people away from mead)

If you do end up wanting to clear it, carefully put it back into a big carboy (more bulk aging doesn't hurt either) doing your best to not splash too much. Let it settle out for a couple weeks and rack.

Give it a couple more weeks, if it develops more sediment rack again. Repeat until there's not more sediment or there's such a tiny amount that you don't mind the last bottle having a small amount of sediment. (I like to call this last bottle the maker's share. Good for celebrating bottling day!)

Either way, since the SG isn't moving you should be safe, and it in the end, is about what you like!

11-15-2011, 06:42 PM
I actually do find a pretty big difference in taste/aroma between my meads that cleared totally before bottling and those that didn't - for ones with sediment it's improved if I manage to pour cleanly off the sediment, but still slightly yeastier than it would have been in my opinion.

But if you like the yeastyness then it's hardly a problem.;D

11-15-2011, 10:22 PM
... my brewaholic neighbor...

Brewaholic! Great Neologism! It certainly belongs on these Forums.

And Welcome to Got Mead!

Bee Serious
11-15-2011, 11:37 PM
Thanks for the responses!

I think I may get a 2-3 gal. carboy and re-bulk age some of the mead in order to have a frame of reference to compare the rest of cloudy bottles to.

Also, I just started a one gallon batch of a JAOM variant (I used Wyeast Sweet Mead Yeast - sacrilege, I know). Now that I am cognizant of the sheer amount of forced anticipation mead making requires, I am inevitably going to start brewing beer in tandem to satisfy my insatiable need for consumable fermentation. How far down does the rabbit hole go?

11-16-2011, 02:07 AM
How far down does the rabbit hole go?

As far as you want it to. ;)

In all seriousness, brewing has definitely made aging mead more manageable, and has become it's own obsession for me. I'd highly recommend it to anyone, especially mead makers.

11-16-2011, 03:05 AM
Yeah, this hole goes all the way to China! Mead got me into making beer, kombucha, interested in fermented foods (can't wait to start my tempeh!!!!), into smoking meats... it just goes on and on.

11-16-2011, 08:37 AM
I think I may get a 2-3 gal. carboy and re-bulk age some of the mead in order to have a frame of reference to compare the rest of cloudy bottles to.

Go for it. I ended up unbotteling about 2 cases of wine to make some adjustments just last week. It seems wasteful (of time.. and corks) but IMO... your craft is something you should be proud of. Get it just right. You will be happy you did.

Chevette Girl
11-16-2011, 04:09 PM
I think we've all done it once or twice... heck, the other day I bottled a maple mead I thought was clear which promptly rewarded me by dropping crystal clear... thankfully it was in screw-top bottles so I can just pour them into fresh bottles without wasting corks!