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MADBADGER
08-01-2012, 11:22 AM
Is there any adverse effects from aging (assume one year) in the primary fermentor?

Research i've done indicated that the lees may influence the flavor of the mead, for better or worse, depending on the type of yeast. But i havn't been able to get any more information than that.

I have a 4 gallon pottery jug (its glazed so food it can handle food) I intend on adding 3 gallons of water, about 15 lb honey, and some fruits and spices.
I want my finished product to be a sweet mead.
I'll be leaving for school soon and I want to make it and just forget about it for a year while the mead does it's thing.

Generally I have used Lavlin 71B, Any insight on a yeast I can pick up from my local supply store that better suits my plans?

Thanks!

Msarro
08-01-2012, 12:59 PM
Greetings! First let me say i'm far more eperienced brewing beer than brewing mead, so this may not be completely accurate.

Basically as the yeast begin to run out of nutrients, some will die or flocculate at the bottom. The enzymes inside of them will eventually start to decay them and they'll dissolve. This process is called "autolysis," but you can really just think of it as decomposing yeast bodies. As they decompose, they release a bunch of chemicals, many are inert. However they will create a rubbery, almost undrinkable flavor given enough time. Here is more info:
http://www.bacchus-barleycorn.com/catalog/article_info.php?articles_id=15

fatbloke
08-01-2012, 02:41 PM
Greetings! First let me say i'm far more eperienced brewing beer than brewing mead, so this may not be completely accurate.

Basically as the yeast begin to run out of nutrients, some will die or flocculate at the bottom. The enzymes inside of them will eventually start to decay them and they'll dissolve. This process is called "autolysis," but you can really just think of it as decomposing yeast bodies. As they decompose, they release a bunch of chemicals, many are inert. However they will create a rubbery, almost undrinkable flavor given enough time. Here is more info:
http://www.bacchus-barleycorn.com/catalog/article_info.php?articles_id=15
Autolysis is possible with wine and mead, but it depends on the yeast strain.

The OP hasn't chosen the best strain as yeast of choice. 71B is one to avoid. It will impart off flavours if the batch is left on the lees.

The terms to search for are "sur lie" and batonage/batonnage (unsure of the correct spelling). As I understand it, you'd rack off the gross lees, then just leave it alone to clear and absorb the flavour(s) from the remaining yeast......

That's about all I can remember ATM. I might have got it wrong, but the terms are correct, it'd just be a case of confirming the correct method and deciding on the yeast of choice.....

Robusto
08-01-2012, 02:43 PM
A few things- First, you are correct; aging on the lees is ok, and even beneficial depending on the yeast and style of mead desired. 71B, however, is not one of the yeasts that you can do this with. Generally speaking, champagne yeasts can be used for aging sur-lie. I have left mead on EC-1118 for 4-5 months with no ill effects.

15lbs of honey in 3 gals is going to give you a O.G. of 1.18 according to the GotMead calculator. This is way too high, IMHO, for your yeasts to get a foot hold and start fermenting.

akueck
08-01-2012, 05:31 PM
The total volume will be closer to 4.25 gallons if he's using 3 gallons of water.

Sur-lie aging is not quite the same thing as "set it and forget it". It involves periodic maintenance--this is the "battonage" or however that's spelled. If you want to forget about it, it's better to do that on the fine lees you get after you rack out of primary. At least then you'll have less total solids down there.

One of the issues with long aging on lees without proper battonage is that any bacteria living in the lees layer can multiply and eat the dead yeast, since they are shielded from the killer conditions in the liquid. These can eventually cause off-flavors in the mead ranging from "hmm, interesting" to "I can use this as paint thinner".

Choosing one of the strains noted for lees aging will help. EC-1118, DV10, etc. Anything out of the Champagne region will do.

MADBADGER
08-02-2012, 10:37 AM
It appears as though i will need to rack it atleast once before I bulk age.

shucks

illuveatar
08-02-2012, 02:49 PM
Has anyone tried aging sur lie over D47 ? I've read that it imparts a citrus flavor after a while. I've got two meads with D47 going and I intended on letting them sit in the secondary for several months, any thoughts on how long would be safe ?

Deacon Aegis
08-02-2012, 08:05 PM
Has anyone tried aging sur lie over D47 ? I've read that it imparts a citrus flavor after a while. I've got two meads with D47 going and I intended on letting them sit in the secondary for several months, any thoughts on how long would be safe ?

I just racked off my first mead, a 5 gallon traditional (well I spiced it so I guess it is a methylgen now). Anyway, I racked it over from Primary to secondary in early March and it has been aging on the lees that have settled out of it until late last week. I did use D47 for this batch. I'd have to say that this has turned out to be quite a fine mead and the flavors are very good. I did backsweeten just a touch, so sadly the nice clarity that I had going on this now has the protein haze from the backsweetening. I hope this settles out pretty soon, but we'll have to see. I'd say after letting my batch sit on the sur lies for four months, I see no problem aging on D47 for several months. Just my experience though.

Medsen Fey
08-02-2012, 09:23 PM
D47 & K1V are also good for aging on lees (if you like that). D47 lees aging gives me yeasty, bread-like, and somewhat nutty flavors but I don't get citrus with lees aging with any yeast.

There are mead crafters who will age on gross lees with the "set it & forget it" approach. There is a chance you'll get sulfur odors & flavors - moreso if you have fruit.

As Oskaar might say,
TAKE A CHANCE... Custer did.

-Medsen

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Chevette Girl
08-05-2012, 11:13 PM
My favourite "set and forget" recipes have been variations on Joe's Ancient Orange, using bread yeast. I don't know if I've gone as long as a year but I do know I've gone at least six months and there's nothing in the finished product that I'd attribute to the yeast.

MADBADGER
08-06-2012, 07:15 AM
I've decided that I need to rack atleast once. Since no one has experienced a year long static lees I don't want to be the first to attempt it. Not with the large quantity I plan to make atelast

Chevette Girl
08-06-2012, 08:06 AM
You should be able to get a decent fermentation in a couple of weeks and then rack it, THEN leave it alone as long as you like, just make sure the airlock doesn't go dry!

Medsen Fey
08-06-2012, 09:54 AM
Since no one has experienced a year long static lees I don't want to be the first to attempt it.

It has been done before, and folks have had success with it. Still, the idea of testing it for yourself using a smaller batch is probably wise.


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