PDA

View Full Version : How soon should I rack?



Firestem4
01-26-2013, 04:50 PM
Hello all!

I have a few quick questions I would be grateful if someone could give me some advice.

My mead has been going for a few weeks now and I seem to be nearing my final gravity.

My O.G. was 1.102. I am at 1.024 right now. (I would like to let it go for a little more as the yeast seems to be still slowly chugging away).

When should I decide to rack it to a secondary? And right now the must still seems as cloudy as the day I mixed it together. Is this normal? I know that people use racking to help it clarify and age but I'm unsure if its supposed to clear up a little while you're fermenting.

My recipe is: 1 Gallon
Wyeast 4148
2.7lbs Orange honey (local/unprocessed)
Arrowhead water to 1 gallon
Have put some wyeast nutrient in it at the beginning.

The must has been around 68-72 degrees for the majority of time.

Also, it may just be because iI haven't tried a mead in a long time but the flavor seems to be missing something. Maybe this is the bit that needs aging too?

If you need anymore info please bonk me and i'll respond :)

Thanks!

Marshmallow Blue
01-26-2013, 05:02 PM
Well since its still cloudy, that means there's probably still some yeast chillen out in suspension. So if you racked you won't lose your fermentation. Racking helps clear up your mead and get it off the settled yeast at the bottom which can continue to ferment and make off flavors. So if there's a good amount of yeast at the bottom, I would rack it. My first mead was a traditional and I didn't rack it for 3 months, it was really clear by then and I bottled it a month later. It tasted pretty close to chaucers brand.

Firestem4
01-26-2013, 05:11 PM
There is quite a bit of yeast that has settled at the bottom but I still see some form at the top and bubble a little.

So would it be best to rack it off the settled yeast, and let it ferment a tad more so I can go down a few more points, and then rack it again to get it off as much yeast as possible? (Put it in the fridge to make them stop?) Or is that doing too much and all I need to do is wait a bit more, let it settle and rack it off?

Medsen Fey
01-26-2013, 06:38 PM
Your best bet is to let it finish. When the gravity stops dropping you can rack it. It can take a long time for clearing

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

Marshmallow Blue
01-26-2013, 06:55 PM
There is quite a bit of yeast that has settled at the bottom but I still see some form at the top and bubble a little.

So would it be best to rack it off the settled yeast, and let it ferment a tad more so I can go down a few more points, and then rack it again to get it off as much yeast as possible? (Put it in the fridge to make them stop?) Or is that doing too much and all I need to do is wait a bit more, let it settle and rack it off?

I'd say wait, like medson says you want the yeast to get finished strong so having that strength in numbers is good. Plus ever time you rack you're going lose some of the good stuff. I've left it in e primary for multiple months with no off flavors so I'd let it clear on out, then rack.

Firestem4
01-26-2013, 08:43 PM
Ok. Thanks for the advice. I must remember patience! hehe. I'll let it do it's thing and rack when the gravity stalls.

Firestem4
01-31-2013, 03:32 AM
Me again!

I checked my gravity today and I am at 1.018. It also tastes very good! :)

Per the recommendations here I was told to just leave it fermenting till it stops but I'm going to be going out of town from friday-monday and I am wondering what I should do.

I am using Wyeast 4148 which the alcohol range for it is 10-11% (stated by the mfgr) , I am at 11.03% right now (my O.G. was 1.102)

If I leave it on the lees and the alcahol gets too high for the yeast, will that cause any problems if I just leave it alone over the weekend? (I also wont really be able to manage the temperature).

Or should I put it into the fridge for the weekend and let the yeast go dormant and then rack when I get back? Most of it looks like it has settled at the bottom but theres still a bit of active yeast that is cropping up top.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated! if you need some more info please ask and I will fill in the details.

Medsen Fey
01-31-2013, 08:08 AM
You can let it sit. It can sit without being racked (in a sealed container with an airlock) for a few weeks without problem.

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

Firestem4
01-31-2013, 05:49 PM
Thank you again Medsen.

If I like the sweetness that it is at right now, should I fridge it.? I'm not sure how much a difference a few points of gravity make, but 1.024 to 1.017 was significant (the flavor really improved over the week).

Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk 2

Medsen Fey
01-31-2013, 06:36 PM
Just let it finish. When it is all done (and clear) if you want it sweeter you can add a little honey and make it sweeter.

Firestem4
02-08-2013, 03:20 AM
Well i believe fermentation has finally come to a halt at 1.014. I'm going to read the gravity tomorrow and see if it changes at all.

Since I am in a small 1 gallon jug i'm going to put it into the fridge for a week or more before I rack. Will this be an ok procedure since I'm at my yeast's alcahol limit? I understand from reading that some people may run into problems if they don't stabilize it.

If I do stabilize it, what should I use? I take it also that I should rack and then stabilize later?

And if I understand correctly, fining agents are meant to clear the mead. Can this be used at any time? (eg: if i age and it doesn't clear well, I can use a fining agent right before I bottle to let it clear up? It's not time dependant?)

Chevette Girl
02-09-2013, 07:45 PM
Fining agents aren't time dependent, although I often like to use them if something hasn't cleared by about a year in the carboy since if it hasn't by then, it's decided to be a problem. Budget a couple of weeks if you have a bottling deadline.

If you refrigerate it, it should drop nice and clear anyway, and if it's done, it shouldn't kick back up and go cloudy as soon as you warm it up again.

Stabilizing typically involves a one-two punch of potassium/sodium sulphite to knock out the yeast and potassium sorbate to keep any that wake back up from breeding. If you use just sulphites, you run the risk of something waking back up, if you use just sorbate, there's a chance that a normally harmless bacteria that could be present in your must can eat the sorbate and turn it into geraniol compounds which taste/smell just like a geranium and can't be removed from a mead. Or the few yeasties left could just keep slowly fermenting without breeding, like mine did the time I tried avoiding the sulphite package in a wine kit.