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JohnS
11-17-2011, 01:41 AM
I have a racking question.

Is it better to rack with the fruit and/or spices, and any other adjuncts in the boil or pasteurizing stage using a muslin bag, or cheese cloth? Personally I think that this would be more efficient in racking. On the other hand if you add the fruit to the primary, would it not be better for aging out, and the aroma, and flavor for the mead. The downside is racking can be a b---h. I have done this with my last batch and it took forever to rack into another fermenting bucket. Someone told me to use a paint strainer and pour the primary into the secondary with this paint strainer used as a barrier top strain out the fruit. What about that idea? So which one would be better and why?

Chevette Girl
11-17-2011, 03:35 AM
Unless it's a JAO and I'm leaving the fruit in long enough to sink, I almost always bag my fruits in my primary bucket. I even have a few spice bags and sometimes I even remember to use them (I tie spices in cheesecloth when I can't find the mesh bags).

Loose fruit is always a pain in the arse when racking time comes so I rarely do fruit in secondary, especially if it's in a carboy. The added advantage of bagged fruit is if you want to get it off the fruit but don't need to move it yet, you can just pull the bag out and rack it a few days (or weeks) later.

I need to do some side-by-side testing with different yeasts to see the effect of fruit addition in primary vs secondary... darn to-do list... Some folks swear it's better to do one way, some swear it's better the other, some split the difference and do half and half.

Straining must is always a more time-consuming and messy project than it seems initially, or at least it has been each time I've tried. Stuff either goes right through the strainer or it ALL gets clogged and I have to wait around at the mercy of my thriving fruit fly colony for it all to percolate through, the additional disadvantage to straining is it can expose your mead to a lot of oxygen. Not so big a deal if it's still releasing CO2 but could lead to oxidation on a mead that's degased.

fatbloke
11-17-2011, 06:28 PM
I have a racking question.

Is it better to rack with the fruit and/or spices, and any other adjuncts in the boil or pasteurizing stage using a muslin bag, or cheese cloth? Personally I think that this would be more efficient in racking.
Boiling/pasteurising is mainly for beer brewers or from old recipes. I most cases, apart from extracting juice from certain fruit or making a spiced extract of some sort, you wouldn't normally try and "pasteurise" something that is already, nature's most anti-bacterial, anti-fungal substance - that removes aromatics and some of the more subtle flavouring properties of varietal honey.....

On the other hand if you add the fruit to the primary, would it not be better for aging out, and the aroma, and flavor for the mead. The downside is racking can be a b---h. I have done this with my last batch and it took forever to rack into another fermenting bucket. Someone told me to use a paint strainer and pour the primary into the secondary with this paint strainer used as a barrier top strain out the fruit. What about that idea? So which one would be better and why?
Ok, so why not just use a sieve atop a funnel ? meads don't oxidise like "proper" grape wines do, but if you're concerned then get a funnel that you can attach some tubing too, then lower it to the bottom of the fermenter and then just run the batch through the sieve.

Or, if you've used an ingredient that turns to mush, you could either ferment it in a muslin/cheese cloth, or you could wrap the end of the racking cane with same....

There's no real better or best, it's just what you find works best, given the ingredients you've used......

It's no different from filtering. It's quite normal to let all sediment drop out as any suspended yeast clog a filter, yet that doesn't mean that it's a "no-no", just that it needs to be remembered that filtration is purely for giving a batch a "final polish" and as you can get some very, very fine filtration media, it's best to have an idea about what you're trying to achieve i.e. you wouldn't filter something "red" with too fine a filter as they can remove not only undesirable matter, but also pigmentation etc, yet you can run "whites" through so called "sterile" media that will remove all yeast and other materials almost down to bacteria size!

So as I say, work with what you find easiest (or what your wallet can stretch too).

YogiBearMead726
11-17-2011, 07:34 PM
There are a few senior members (looking at you, Oskaar) that don't like to use a bag for fruit, even if it can save time/be less messy. The idea being the surface contact of the cap has a lot to do with final flavor (though I've never done side-by-side to compare myself). It does seem to be more of a personal preference, so really just do whatever is your cup of tea. Just make sure if you do bag it up, you fully submerge the fruit a couple of times per day. It's imperative to prevent mold from growing on the fruit.

wayneb
11-17-2011, 07:36 PM
Oskaar's not alone! ;)

Seriously, I much prefer to allow a proper cap to form (and then to punch it down several times a day) when I'm fermenting anything with dark red fruit in it. I've tried both ways (bagged and bagless), and I get much better color extraction if I allow the yeast to have their way with unconstrained fruit. ;D

YogiBearMead726
11-17-2011, 09:33 PM
Oskaar's not alone! ;)

Seriously, I much prefer to allow a proper cap to form (and then to punch it down several times a day) when I'm fermenting anything with dark red fruit in it. I've tried both ways (bagged and bagless), and I get much better color extraction if I allow the yeast to have their way with unconstrained fruit. ;D

That's good to know. :)

I've only ever done unbagged, so I can't say I have seen a difference. But two mentors with the same opinion is always a good sign in my book.

JohnS
11-18-2011, 05:13 PM
Thanks to everyone that wrote on this thread. I always get a plethera of excellent thoughts and ideas here. :)

Thinking that the unbagged is not such a bad thing, I am thinking that its better to but a muslin bag at the end of a racking cane and suck up all that good juice. Am I right about that?

I have heard about the punch down method from a book i have read, but I have to honestly say I have not tried it.

I am also thinking about a braggart for my next recipe. I have not found a recipe yet, but soaking or steeping the malted barley, in the initial phase of the pasteurizing, along with fruit and/or spices, pulling the muslin bag (with the grain bill), and fermenting the fruit until completion. After that racking to the carboy and letting it sit for an appropriate amount of time.

Maybe this will also be a drinkable concoction sooner, then waiting 6 months or so.

TheAlchemist
11-19-2011, 02:01 PM
...I am also thinking about a braggart for my next recipe.

As Inigo Montoya might say
"You keep using that word...I do not think it means what you think it means..."

Did you mean to say braggot?

JimSar
11-19-2011, 02:54 PM
As Inigo Montoya might say
"You keep using that word...I do not think it means what you think it means..."

Did you mean to say braggot?

For those who don't know who Iņigo Montoya is, here's his picture:
http://www.pbase.com/jimsar/image/139748534.jpg

Another quote of his: "Hello, my name is Iņigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!"

;D

JohnS
11-21-2011, 12:02 AM
Braggot or braggart. its almost the same...

Loadnabox
11-21-2011, 10:44 AM
+1 for not boiling/pasteurizing.

Personally I use the bag method. I tried the free-range-fruit method and wound up sacrificing a LOT of precious wine due to fruit crud not compacting well at the bottom.

I also had a ton of problems with racking as anything I would put over the end of the cane would clog so fast that racking was literally impossible. My cane simply could not maintain suction and I would lose my siphon.

Lastly, unless you have the ability to punch down the cap minimum 3x's per day you risk spoilage organisms forming on the cap.

Personally, I now put fruit into a bag and am much happier with how easy it is to maintain while fermenting, the improvement in yield, and ease of racking.

JohnS
11-22-2011, 12:00 AM
+1 for not boiling/pasteurizing.

Personally I use the bag method. I tried the free-range-fruit method and wound up sacrificing a LOT of precious wine due to fruit crud not compacting well at the bottom.

I also had a ton of problems with racking as anything I would put over the end of the cane would clog so fast that racking was literally impossible. My cane simply could not maintain suction and I would lose my siphon.

Lastly, unless you have the ability to punch down the cap minimum 3x's per day you risk spoilage organisms forming on the cap.

Personally, I now put fruit into a bag and am much happier with how easy it is to maintain while fermenting, the improvement in yield, and ease of racking.

Did you try a muslin bag at the end of the racking cane when racking fruit? I am thinking about how to rack the batch that I have fruit in? If a muslin bag at the end of a cane does not work ( I see no reason why it shouldn't, unless the muslin bag does not handle suction well), then I will try straining it with a paint strainer.

Next batch with fruit, I will read more on how to strain grapes in the home and industrial level wineries.

Loadnabox
11-22-2011, 04:33 PM
Did you try a muslin bag at the end of the racking cane when racking fruit? I am thinking about how to rack the batch that I have fruit in? If a muslin bag at the end of a cane does not work ( I see no reason why it shouldn't, unless the muslin bag does not handle suction well), then I will try straining it with a paint strainer.

Next batch with fruit, I will read more on how to strain grapes in the home and industrial level wineries.

I was straining it with a paint straining bag from Lowes (sanitized of course)

Soyala_Amaya
11-23-2011, 07:41 PM
I've tried a muslin bag, it doesn't get good suction. It was basically constant pumping to keep a flow, hurt my arm but was worth it to keep all the nasty banana out of my secondary. Still, it got WAY too much oxygen from pumping like that.