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KJUNRebel
08-01-2012, 11:19 AM
Over the past few weeks, I started 3 batches honey ale (or braggot, I guess). I've made some regular mead varieties without malt, and they all cleared up very, very well on their own (except for a cyser that needed some help). This is my first time using beer yeasts and malt. They don't seem to be clearing up as quickly as I expected from my online readings. In fact, no changes to clarity at all since fermentation first started to slow down.

My questions are:
1. Should they clear up on their own given time?
2. Should I even care if they clear before I bottle them?
3. What would be the best clarification agent to use that would still let me bottle condition/carbonate them?

(I seem to get different opinions while researching online that just left me more confused than before I started! It sounds like lots of people bottle before it clears, but some competition rules stated clarity is an issue. I am not interested in competition, but I do want to do what is most commonly considered correct.)

RECIPES BELOW:
#17 - Honey Ale (7/5/12)
1qt honey
3lbs Pale LME
1oz Crystal hops Pellet
Enough water to bring volume to 5.2 US Gallons
WYEAST 1056 smackpack
Boiled honey, LME, and 1/2 oz hops in ~1 US Gallon water for 45 minutes. Added 1/2oz hops and boiled another 6 minutes. Cooled, added additional water, and pitched yeast. Gravity ~1.045. Racked to secondary on 7/23/12 with a gravity of ~1.010. I plan to bottle carbonate.

#22 - Braggot (7/9/12)
4lbs Alexander's Sun Country Pale LME (1 can)
1 can honey (using above emptied can to maintain 50/50 ratio by volume)
Enough water to bring total volume up to 3.8 US Gallons
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1/2 tsp yeast energizer
1 tsp Irish Moss
2/3 oz UK Fuggle Hops pellets
12 oz Tropicana Red Orange juice
SAFALE US-05 yeast
Boiled malt and honey in ~2 US gallons water for 15 minutes. Added Irish moss and hops. Boiled 15 more minutes. Cooled, added additional water and other ingredients, and pitched yeast. Gravity ~1.083. Racked to secondary on 7/23/12 with a gravity of ~1.020. I plan to bottle carbonate.

#30 - Sweet Braggot (7/24/12)
2 cans CBW Golden LME (6.6lbs total)
2 cans honey (using above emptied cans to maintain 50/50 ratio by volume)
Enough water to bring total volume up to 5.4 US Gallons
2 tsp yeast nutrient
1 tsp yeast energizer
2 tsp Irish Moss
1 oz Crystal Hops pellets
16 oz Tropicana Red Orange juice
SAFALE US-05 yeast
Boiled malt ~2 US gallons water for 15 minutes. Added Irish moss, honey, and hops. Boiled 15 more minutes. Cooled, added additional water and other ingredients, and pitched yeast. Gravity ~1.097. Racked to secondary on 7/28/12 with a gravity of ~1.032. Added 2.5 tsp potassium sorbate and 5 Campden tablets. I obviously do not plan to bottle carbonate.

(Sorry about some of the odd volumes and measurements. I was just using up some honey I didn't want to store and targeting an original gravity - not a per-determined volume. I also know that I don't have to usually boil honey.)

akueck
08-01-2012, 05:42 PM
I believe, all other things being equal, higher FG means slower clearing.

Malt also has more proteins, etc, so that will slow clearing too.

On the whole though, you're looking at some very young mead/braggot/beer. It will mostly likely clear on its own if you give it some more time.

KJUNRebel
08-02-2012, 10:32 AM
I believe, all other things being equal, higher FG means slower clearing..

Ahh, good rule of thumb to know. Thank you. The first one (#17) is slightly "less completely not clear" than the others, but I never gave that much thought since it is older, used a different yeast, and had a different honey and malt type. Anything could have been it - including, a you state might be the cause, the FG.



Malt also has more proteins, etc, so that will slow clearing too./QUOTE]

I figured that originally, but then I got confused by people saying to bottle it already. Sooooo, it sounds like what I am seeing is normal, and lots of people just choose to bottle/drink it before it clears? Is this personal preference, or is there a reason some people bottle cloudy and others wait?


[QUOTE=akueck;196078]On the whole though, you're looking at some very young mead/braggot/beer. It will mostly likely clear on its own if you give it some more time.

...and you think I should wait until it clears to bottle? I like seeing clear - not cloudy - so I didn't like the idea of bottling it looking like this. (Yes, I'm biased!)

If I do end up using an agent to clear it up in a few months, would I still be able to bottle condition/carbonate it? I know a lot of the agents precipitate out proteins and yeast have lots of proteins in their cell walls. If I use an agent to help clarify it, are there still yeasts in the cleared liquid to carbonate the bottles? It shouldn't take many, of course. ;)

Thanks again!
KJ

akueck
08-02-2012, 08:07 PM
I tend to not worry that much about clearing if you're bottle conditioning. You get sediment in the bottle anyway, what's a little more?

I haven't yet fined and then tried to bottle condition, so all I can say is "it might work, give it a shot!"