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View Full Version : New member - and where my latest mead is at



Ruskin Brewery
02-02-2012, 10:39 PM
Greetings all,

I'm un-lurking after registering earlier this evening (worth it just to read the forum rules!), reading threads relevant to my original search, and getting the feel of the place.

Short story: I've decided to sit tight for now.

Long story: I'm a beer brewer, mainly lagers. But I always have to have something experimental going, and after making a satisfying sweet buckwheat mead that was a decent after-dinner drink I thought I should get serious.

That was a revelation. Sulphite titration and control produced a wildflower dessert mead with outrageous amounts of floral aroma. For a follow-up I was aiming for a more normal alcohol and sugar level, learned staged nutrient addition, and got a nice demi-sec.

So next I wanted to try the other extreme.

4 kg honey unfiltered, no bee parts but it left propolis on my immersion chiller.
2 kg honey filtered
Both from friends, probably mostly canola
Added to boiled water, stirred to dissolve (15 min.) and chilled.
Aerated and made to 23 L at 21.0 P (1.084)
Pitch EC-1118
11 days - 18.0 P
36 days - 13.2 P
68 days - 7.0 P - racked and added 2 g K Metabisulphite
7 months - 3.5 P (1.014), pH 3.5, slight fermentation. Racked and added 2 g K Metabisulphite
10 months - sweet, great flavour, hazy. Moved to 10 C (50F) closet but haze not dropping. Bright aroma, pleasant hint of VA. Haven't taken a larger sample yet.

So all is well, right? Rack it once more and if it doesn't re-start at cellar temperature I can bottle. But that haze is annoying. It's not dropping and I'm now looking at the alternatives for clarifying while still being a purist (for this one batch). If it's protein (difficult to believe) an oak leaf could put the right amount of tannin to drop it. Otherwise, what? Egg white?

What do experienced mead makers bet? I'm going to wait a while in case it does clear over the next couple of months. Your stories are solicited.

brian92fs
02-03-2012, 12:24 AM
Sounds like you tried a show mead. With a workhorse like EC-1118 at that low of a gravity, it should have finished totally dry in two weeks or less. The lack of nutrients are probably the reason for the slow fermentation.

Also, there's no need to boil the honey. Most users here don't add any heat. That combined with EC-1118 have the potential to blow off a lot of the delicate aromas of the raw honey.

Have you read the NewBee guide? There's a lot of good info in there.

skunkboy
02-03-2012, 01:20 AM
If you don't want to use anything physical to help clarify the mead you could try in no particular order ...

1) cold crashing it : should not be big deal if you already making lagers
2) wait longer and see if it settles out
3) rarely, if you give the carboy a little shake once in a while that might help to
precipitate the haze out

if your willing to try an oak leaf, anything with an electrical charge should work to
pull stuff out as well... heard the other day that sometime citrus juice can help clear it
as well, but obviously have a flavor impact.....

JohnS
02-03-2012, 02:04 AM
I am interested to know teh answer to this one also. Whirofloc, or Benoite? My guess would be to try whirlfloc and then Benoite.

veritas
02-03-2012, 04:49 AM
I have found most things to clear given enough time. That being said for fining I have had great success with sparkolloid and bentonite.

Ruskin Brewery
02-04-2012, 10:25 AM
Hi all,

Thanks for your replies. Yes, indeed, after a couple of traditional meads I am trying for a show mead. The slow fermentation was entirely expected, especially since I deliberately reduced nitrogen levels by racking at 1/3 original gravity. This was inspired by cider practice where the objective is to get a stable sweet product without using sorbate.

I haven't been boiling anything but the water. I do add the honey while the water's hot, partly for a little pasteurization but mainly to get the honey to melt. I don't see it making a lot of difference whether I warm the honey in its container or out of the container - or does your experience say that's wrong? Note that I don't add metabisulphite at the beginning.

From past experience I've found bentonite works but not as well as Sparkolloid for clearing. But those were meads with nutrient additions. JohnS mentioned Whirlfloc - as a brewer I think of Irish moss products as something that works while boiling. Does it work as a finishing treatment? In a couple of weeks I'll try skunkboy's suggestion of swirling up the lees. Meanwhile I'll soak an oak leaf in some white wine to make sure I like the flavour before doing anything rash.

Next project is to make Tej. Nutrients won't be my problem there!

brian92fs
02-04-2012, 01:17 PM
I haven't been boiling anything but the water. I do add the honey while the water's hot, partly for a little pasteurization but mainly to get the honey to melt. I don't see it making a lot of difference whether I warm the honey in its container or out of the container - or does your experience say that's wrong?

I think this might depend on what your starting with. If its a truly rare fresh honey that's never seen heat, then you might be losing something with the heat. All of the advice on here seems to be to avoid heat if possible. However, I'm not sure if anyone's done any conclusive tests to determine how much heat is too much.

JohnS
02-04-2012, 04:47 PM
From past experience I've found bentonite works but not as well as Sparkolloid for clearing. But those were meads with nutrient additions. JohnS mentioned Whirlfloc - as a brewer I think of Irish moss products as something that works while boiling. Does it work as a finishing treatment?

Whirlfloc works really well in the secondary when working with wort. I am not sure if its the best product, but it does work. Its akin to bentonite verses sparkaloid or another similar finishing ingredient.