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TheGiantGinger
03-24-2013, 09:54 AM
So first of all... I understand the addiction problem people seem to have with mead. A month ago I had one demijohn and bread yeast... now I've got 4 fermenting vessels, 5 different yeasts at my disposal (3 thanks to Kudapucat) and I'm also trying to find an extra fridge... even though I'm yet to bottle any of my own (did a show mead with my brother in law though).

But my current concern is that I have a raspberry mead fermenting away in a 5L demijohn and the raspberry pips and beginning to pile up. My guess is that they are going to take up almost a 3rd of my container when they've all dropped.

Now in a couple of weeks, I plan to rack this into another carboy with stabilisers and back sweeten this because although the recipe is supposed to end up sweet... I used EC1118... which will probably eat up everything and bring the abv up to 18%... which is more than I think I really want from this.

Recapping; I want to get as much mead out of this as possible; I'm going to add more sugars; I'm happy if this drops in abv. My plan for next time is use a nice big fermenter where I can dump the fruit in a bag, brew more than I need to rack etc etc.... but what are my best options now? This is what I've come up with...

As to how I do the racking I think I have these options:
1. Rack from the top of the raspberry sediment (lose a lot of volume).
2. Try to rack as close to the bottom as possible to get rid of the berry seeds... and then rack a second time at a later stage to get rid of the yeast that would've been caught up.

And as to what I can add to it to fill up the space left over:
1. Be happy with the 100-150g of honey I add and just layer CO2 on the top or something.
2. Mix an appropriate amount of honey with sterilised water which will also bring down the abv but possibly dilute the flavour?
3. I have another 300g of frozen raspberries that I could add to water and honey to make another must with to top off the mixture with.

Any thoughts would be appreciated!

Soyala_Amaya
03-24-2013, 11:25 AM
As to how I do the racking I think I have these options:
1. Rack from the top of the raspberry sediment (lose a lot of volume).
2. Try to rack as close to the bottom as possible to get rid of the berry seeds... and then rack a second time at a later stage to get rid of the yeast that would've been caught up.


Both of these are appropriate, also pour your lees into a soda bottle with 'feet' then cold crash the bottle. The lees will compact into the feet, then you can pour the cleared mead back into your carboy.

Also, in the future, brew bags for fruit are a big help. You can suspend the bag over another bucket for a while so all the liquid falls out when you pull it, but the bag keeps all the seeds and little bits contained. I won't brew without them anymore! Not after the coffee grounds of madness incident...

Third point, include the poundage of fruit in your recipe as sugar, but build the rest of your recipe to your gallon amount, THEN add the fruit on top. IE fill the bucket to 3 gallons with honey and water, then drop your fruit in. The fruit will release some liquid (be careful with this way, some fruit actually releases a LOT), but it's better to have a touch too much then to have to worry about topping off later in my opinion.



And as to what I can add to it to fill up the space left over:
1. Be happy with the 100-150g of honey I add and just layer CO2 on the top or something.
2. Mix an appropriate amount of honey with sterilised water which will also bring down the abv but possibly dilute the flavour?
3. I have another 300g of frozen raspberries that I could add to water and honey to make another must with to top off the mixture with.


Since you already have to worry about topping off, do number 2 or 3, but mix it to the same OG as your recipe. That way there's no dilution or change in flavour, it's just adding in the exact same thing that there was before. Just don't stabilize or anything before you rack! ;D

WVMJack
03-24-2013, 01:48 PM
Dont hang around that Kadapucat, he will have you moving furniture out of your living room to make space for more carboys!

An easy solution would be to just dump what you have now through a straing bag, rinse out your carboy with water, rack your must back into the carboy and top off with a mix with honey similar to what you started with. Raspberries only need a few days in the primary to give up their flavor, after that the seeds can start to give some bitterness.

Good luck and keep any eye on Kadapucat, dont let him bring his pet wombat over, it likes to dig.

WVMJ

kudapucat
03-24-2013, 04:36 PM
LoL @ Mountaineer Jack.
I will have the same issue with the elderberry brew I'm doing.
Traditionally, like wine, it's fermented, then pressed. You could put the lees in a cheese cloth and squeeze the buggery out of it. I prefer to use a brew bag rather than a cheese cloth though. It's less effort.

smertz001
03-24-2013, 08:23 PM
Good luck and keep any eye on Kadapucat, dont let him bring his pet wombat over, it likes to dig.

WVMJ

I do have some holes I need dug for my orange tree, and possibly others, maybe I should invite him over with his wombat (=

I don't have much mead right now, but lots of quality beer on hand (=

TheGiantGinger
03-25-2013, 12:51 AM
Dont hang around that Kadapucat, he will have you moving furniture out of your living room to make space for more carboys!

An easy solution would be to just dump what you have now through a straing bag, rinse out your carboy with water, rack your must back into the carboy and top off with a mix with honey similar to what you started with. Raspberries only need a few days in the primary to give up their flavor, after that the seeds can start to give some bitterness.

Good luck and keep any eye on Kadapucat, dont let him bring his pet wombat over, it likes to dig.

WVMJ

So with that in mind, I should rack everything now (I started this a week ago) even though it's still fermenting and then top it off when I've racked it the second time?

Also, I wouldn't worry about the wombat, the kangaroo I use to get to work with doubles as a pretty good guard dog.

Chevette Girl
03-25-2013, 12:51 AM
I had a frut bag spill into my must once (I think the knot I tied it shut with came undone), I ended up straining it through a sanitized colander lined with a sanitized cotton dishtowel, I have a colander that fits right over my fermenting buckets... a stock pot would work if you don't do the bucket thing yet... Took a few washes to get the towel back to its original colour (I think it was wild grape wine?) but no seeds got stuck in my racking cane and there was not much loss of liquid. This will NOT catch the yeast, so you'll have to let that settle out and then rack off it later. If you use anything finer than a loose cotton dishtowel, it will take too long to strain and the longer it's out, the higher your risk of oxidation or contamination.

WVMJack
03-25-2013, 03:48 AM
Yes while its still fermenting, thats a good time to addd more honey or to just top off with honey water, dont add any more nutrients. I like the green attitude you Aussie dudes have, using kangaroos for double duty saves our planet from pollution and I have heard kang poo is great in an orchard. WVMJ


So with that in mind, I should rack everything now (I started this a week ago) even though it's still fermenting and then top it off when I've racked it the second time?

Also, I wouldn't worry about the wombat, the kangaroo I use to get to work with doubles as a pretty good guard dog.

Medsen Fey
03-25-2013, 07:19 AM
I will have the same issue with the elderberry brew I'm doing.
Traditionally, like wine, it's fermented, then pressed.

You may want to think twice before pressing those elderberries. It is always very tempting, but the tannin load from pressed elders can leave you with bitterness that will take a decade to mellow. My approach is to allow all the free-run liquid into the batch, but I keep the pressed liquid in a separate container. If my batch needs a tannin boost, I add some of the pressed liquid back in.

kudapucat
03-25-2013, 09:02 AM
Good advice Medsen, I shall do as you say.

bigdan110
03-25-2013, 10:30 AM
i just put a fruit bag over my auto siphon. need to get a bucket so i can use it properly :rolleyes:

skunkboy
03-25-2013, 12:40 PM
You may want to think twice before pressing those elderberries. It is always very tempting, but the tannin load from pressed elders can leave you with bitterness that will take a decade to mellow. My approach is to allow all the free-run liquid into the batch, but I keep the pressed liquid in a separate container. If my batch needs a tannin boost, I add some of the pressed liquid back in.

OOoooo...thats a good idea... I should have done that with one of my previous batches...

Soyala_Amaya
03-25-2013, 02:20 PM
You may want to think twice before pressing those elderberries. It is always very tempting, but the tannin load from pressed elders can leave you with bitterness that will take a decade to mellow. My approach is to allow all the free-run liquid into the batch, but I keep the pressed liquid in a separate container. If my batch needs a tannin boost, I add some of the pressed liquid back in.

I wonder if this might be the issue I had with the elderberry concentrate I used in a batch I just bottled...hmmm.

WVMJack
03-25-2013, 07:02 PM
Pressing vs squeezing. Our favorite way to get the juice from the elderberries is to first freeze them, then thaw and give them a gentle smush and macerate them with pectinase overnight then place the berries in a strainer bag a few pounds at a time and give them a good strong squeeze and repeat. What is left is the seeds and some skins. The squeezins go into another bucket with an equal volume of water to soak for a while and squeeze again and save to make a topper wine or add it back into the must and continue. All the juice, just enough tannins, if you want more tannin toss the squeezins in for a couple of days and squeeze out again. I think a lot of people follow the general rule to leave berries in the primary for a week and then they wonder why something like elderberry can take a long time to age out. This way you get the nice elderberry flavor and just enough tanins to balance it out. You can do 100% elderberry juice like this, or 4 gallons of elderberry juice and a gallon of honey even better! WVMJ

TheGiantGinger
03-27-2013, 09:41 AM
Ok, thanks for the advice everyone.

The other day, 8 days after I started brewing this one, I racked it into another carboy... probably aerated it a bit by accident though... but it's still fermenting so it's not that much of problem if I understand correctly.

I've got a 600ml bottle of mead squeezings in the fridge. Not too sure if I'll use it though as the recipe originally called for tea (probably for tannins anyway).... but it's there if I decide to use it.

Since I've got about 250g of raspberries remaining (about a third of what the original recipe called for)... and the yeast I was given (EC1118) was going to ferment it all the way to 18%... I ended up topping it off with another litre of boiled water (making the potential abv only 15% now). I figure I have more than enough raspberries to add in more flavour when I'm backsweetening.... and I've stuffed up enough things on this process already to worry about sticking to the book. Next time I'll do it right...

Eitherway, it's a nice dark red colour... still fermenting and is tasting pretty good... even though it's still very sweet right now (S.G. at 1.109). Thanks all again.