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MitchSmit
04-08-2013, 12:50 PM
Was wondering if any of you knowledgeable folks could guide me in the right direction with my batch thus far. Heres what I have:

12.5 lbs of local clover
4.5 Gallons of distilled water
Done adding nutrients

I am 8 days into fermentation at this point. I have scoured this forum for information but I am unsure still with a few things....

1. In a few days, I am going to start taking hydro readings so I can find out when fermentation has ceased in order to do the first rack. I have read various posts about using CO2 in order to prevent oxidizing during 1st rack. Is this necessary or can I just rack carefully and plug it up with an airlock once completed?

2. Once the mead clears after the 1st rack, is there any guideline for knowing when I can go ahead and start bottling? I want to be careful and not create glass bombs. I would also like to avoid bottles with sediment build up once I let them age a bit.

3. After fermentation is completely done, does oxigen exposure effect the mead in any undesirable way? I thought once its done, its done with no more worries.

Anything else I should be considering please chime in. Thanks,

Marshmallow Blue
04-08-2013, 01:25 PM
1. I have read various posts about using CO2 in order to prevent oxidizing during 1st rack. Is this necessary or can I just rack carefully and plug it up with an airlock once completed?

2. Once the mead clears after the 1st rack, is there any guideline for knowing when I can go ahead and start bottling? I want to be careful and not create glass bombs. I would also like to avoid bottles with sediment build up once I let them age a bit.

3. After fermentation is completely done, does oxigen exposure effect the mead in any undesirable way? I thought once its done, its done with no more worries.


1. If you have the ability to blanket your new vessel with CO2 after you rack, then go for it. The real oxidation issue from racking is after you rack there is more headspace which increases the risk because there is more air in the vessel and in contact with your mead. You can also top off using marbles, however you need a LOT of them and it may be more trouble than its worth. You may be able to move into some smaller containers. Maybe a 3 gallon carboy a one gallon and a growler. And use the growler to top off after subsequent rackings.

2. Once the fermentation is done, as long as you don't add sugar your bottles should be safe. If there is greater concern, you can stabilize with sulfate and sorbate to kill yeast and stop their ability to reproduce. To avoid sediment, you need to let it clear for a long long time. The slightest cloudiness in you mead will eventually drop out, and if it's in a bottle at that time, it will go to the bottom of the bottle.

3. Oxidation becomes a factor after you move it from the primary fermenter. When you bottle it will be less of a risk depending on if you bottled them right. But even then it can still happen over long periods of time, however I wouldn't lose sleep over it once you've bottled.

YogiBearMead726
04-08-2013, 01:28 PM
1) Just rack it. There should still be plenty of CO2 in solution that it will naturally release during racking, thus filling the headspace with CO2. No need to add more.

2) Bulk age for as long as you can. If you want to avoid sediment in the bottles, don't consider bottling until you can read a newspaper through the carboy. When you think it is time to bottle, take gravity readings for consecutive weeks and if the gravity remains constant, you should avoid creating bottle bombs. Be especially careful if you're bottling a mead that isn't completely dry as fermentation can restart if the yeast isn't at its limit (what yeast did you use, btw?)

3) Yes, too much oxygen exposure after the mead has degassed (ie no more CO2 in solution) can cause your mead to change, for better or worse. To limit this, keep as little headspace in the carboy during bulk aging as possible. Some people use aquarium marbles to bump up volume, some people use inert gas like argon (something like this (http://www.amazon.com/HomeAndWine-com-Private-Preserve-Preservation-Spray/dp/B001AS4NCM/ref=pd_sim_sbs_k_3/178-8776946-0801847)) to blanket the must, and some people (myself included) will rack into several smaller carboys after multiple rackings cause volume loss.

You also might want to consider dosing the batch with sulfites and sorbate in conjunction to help preserve your mead during bulk aging and before bottling. I'd do a few forum searches to get acquainted with the process involved and any pitfalls to avoid, such as adding sorbate without sulfite.

Hope that helps.

Edit: Since Marshmallow hit on some of the same points, I wanted to point out that you can't blanket something with CO2. It disperses way too easily and isn't heavier than air. You can flush the vessel with CO2 to evacuate the air, but air mixes back in so quickly that it is more of waste of time and money than it is helpful. If you want to actually create a barrier that sits on top of the mead, a heavy inert gas like argon is what you'll need. But if the CO2 flush helps you sleep better at night, then by all means go for it. Just wanted to clarify.

YogiBearMead726
04-09-2013, 12:03 AM
Just wanted to amend my earlier clarification. CO2 is technically denser than O2, but it is more often used by wineries to flush headspace/empty vessels of O2 than to blanket the wine. And even this is met with varying degrees of success.

Honestly, I wouldn't sweat oxidizing a traditional or metheglin all that much since mead and wine are two different beasts. You should be more concerned with oxidation when making a melomel or pyment since those fall more in line with oxygen concerns of vintners.

Didn't want to upset any chemistry buffs out there by saying CO2 was lighter than air, specifically O2. ;)

MitchSmit
04-09-2013, 07:51 AM
Alright thanks for the help. I was a bit concerned after reading several posts on the forum but everything stated makes sense. Looks like I will be buying more carboys than originally anticipated (so this is how the addiction begins).

So heres what I am thinking:

I will purchase a 3 gallon carboy to rack into and another 1 gallon for a spare. Ideally, I would like to leave the must in the primary fermentation carboy as long as possible. Should I be taking a hydro reading before racking for the first time, or should I wait until after its been racked?


I used D-47 and Fleischmann's Bread yeast. Being new and impatient, I added the bread yeast after I added the D-47 during pitching because I wasn't sure how healthy the yeast looked. Regardless, the mead is looking good thus far.

MitchSmit
04-09-2013, 08:23 AM
Just wanted to add a little more:

Ideally, I would like to leave the primary ferment in the original carboy as long as possible. I understand that leaving it too long will create off taste because of the lees, etc.

I would also prefer to avoid taking more hydro samples than needed so I may ballpark the completion of the primary fermentation. That way when I rack I will still have some CO2 pressure created so I will not have to worry about oxygen exposure.

After racking for the 1st time, I would then begin taking hydro samples a few weeks into it to determine if the fermentation has ceased completely. Honestly, I am not thrilled about adding more chemicals to the mead if not necessary (ex: using sulphite/sorbate to kill off remaining yeast in 1st rack).

Once this has been determined, I can decide if I would like to rack again or just bottle it from there.

Sound pretty solid?

randomguy18840
04-09-2013, 08:53 AM
Lalvin D47 doesn't impart bad flavors if left for extended periods of time, neither will the bread yeast.