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SippyCup
07-29-2013, 11:21 AM
Hi all, I'm new to the forum. :) I've done a bit of digging around regarding my problem, and I'm pretty resolved on a solution, but I want to ask a few particular questions before I move forward with it.

I brewed up my first batch of mead, 5gal of plain mead, two or three months ago. It cleared pretty quickly, and has been stable at ~1.028 for a couple of weeks. I bottled it last night. There was a little bit of sediment in the bottom of the carboy that got stirred up, and ended up in my last 10 bottles. Lesson learned, be patient and rack multiple times to get that sediment out! Hindsight is 20/20. The flavor of the cloudy mead is not bad by any means, if just a bit duller than the clear stuff (and after tasting the clear stuff, I'm finding it hard to imagine why anyone would want to drink anything else ;)). It's just the perfectionist in me that wants all the bottles clear.

So, I'm now faced with fixing the problem. It seems easy enough to uncork the bottles and move them back into a carboy to clear out again, then try bottling again (or rack a few more times if necessary, then bottle). I know oxidation is one danger of trying this, so here are my questions:

What can I do to minimize oxidation?

I have just under 2 gallons in those 10 bottles. Is it okay to put that back into a 5gal carboy, or should I opt for a smaller vessel to reduce the headspace?

Should I just pour the bottles in? Decant them? Attempt some kind of siphon?



Your help and expertise are appreciated!

vulcan500rider
07-29-2013, 11:33 AM
If you have a smaller vessel (or vessels--I've typically got a few 1 gallon bottles about) use it, but I don't think it will take long to clear, so if you've got to go with the 5 gal, that's OK.

The goal will be to minimize splashing (and the oxidization that goes with it), so don't just pour it into the top of the carboy. You'll want to siphon, if possible, or VERY gently pour it in, with the carboy tipped so that it gently runs down. If you can manage to siphon, try to leave any sediment on the bottom of the bottles alone to make it all clear more quickly once you have it back in the carboy.

Alternatively, just leave it in the bottles, and let the lees settle to the bottom. Then, just drink those bottles yourself, and be careful to leave the dregs in the bottle when you're pouring.

I'm lazy, so I'd pick the latter option, but it's up to you.

SippyCup
07-29-2013, 10:09 PM
If you have a smaller vessel (or vessels--I've typically got a few 1 gallon bottles about) use it, but I don't think it will take long to clear, so if you've got to go with the 5 gal, that's OK.

The goal will be to minimize splashing (and the oxidization that goes with it), so don't just pour it into the top of the carboy. You'll want to siphon, if possible, or VERY gently pour it in, with the carboy tipped so that it gently runs down. If you can manage to siphon, try to leave any sediment on the bottom of the bottles alone to make it all clear more quickly once you have it back in the carboy.

Alternatively, just leave it in the bottles, and let the lees settle to the bottom. Then, just drink those bottles yourself, and be careful to leave the dregs in the bottle when you're pouring.

I'm lazy, so I'd pick the latter option, but it's up to you.

Sounds good! That confirms my suspicions about what I was up against. I do have a spare 1gal carboy lying around, and another extra couldn't hurt. The lazy route would be preferable, but I don't think the perfectionist in me will allow it. ;)

I appreciate the input!

rmccask
07-29-2013, 11:28 PM
An alternative is to use a filter on the bottles when you drink them like this: http://www.amazon.com/Wine-Pourer-with-Built-in-Filter/dp/B000U85UGG

mannye
07-30-2013, 01:20 PM
An expensive fix if you don't already own the setup is to get a little 5 pound tank of C02 (you can rent one for peanuts) and a 20 gallon fishtank... they cost about 30 bucks for a plain tank without accessories)

You fill the tank with C02 displacing all the oxygen, then quickly transfer to a one gallon carboy which you have also pre-filled with Co2.. no oxidation. put a cap on it and done.

Co2 is heavier than air and sits in a vessel just like a liquid essentially shielding the precious mead from oxidation while you transfer from the bottles to the carboy.

fatbloke
07-30-2013, 03:28 PM
An alternative is to use a filter on the bottles when you drink them like this: http://www.amazon.com/Wine-Pourer-with-Built-in-Filter/dp/B000U85UGG
Nice idea, but even allowing for the rubbish quality of the picture on my phone, you'd still need a filter gauge of something like 1 to 5 microns max to remove enough of the sediment like that....

The pic makes it look like its just a fine metal mesh which is only good for coarse fruit type debris......

fatbloke
07-30-2013, 03:32 PM
I'd just say to carefully transfer the sedimented bottles back to a 1 gallon jar......no splashing.

Cold crash it for a week or so and then carefully rack off the sediment, just to a bottling bucket, so you can focus on a very careful rack, then just re-bottle from the bucket. You'll likely lose a little to racking losses........

mannye
07-30-2013, 04:31 PM
Nice idea, but even allowing for the rubbish quality of the picture on my phone, you'd still need a filter gauge of something like 1 to 5 microns max to remove enough of the sediment like that....

The pic makes it look like its just a fine metal mesh which is only good for coarse fruit type debris......

yeah that's not the kind of filter that would do it.. the complicated and expensive beer filtering equipment stuff would make short work of it, but for a few bottles it's just not worth it..

They will clear up in the bottle, but without finings the slightest nudge will put the silt right back into "solution." You could try some gelatin in a carboy large enough to hold the content of all the bottles, then let it do it's job over a few days.

The gelatin not only helps precipitate the yeast and other clouding agents out, but it also holds them in a "cake" (at least better than no gelatin) on the bottom of the vessel.