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bishbish777
08-28-2013, 04:07 PM
Complete newbie here with a question regarding this strawberry mead recipe:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Strawberry-Mead/

Under Step 9, the author says this:

"But you have an interesting choice to make. Traditional Mead is basically a white wine. But if you taste this within the first couple of days that it's fermenting, it is absolutely delicious, and nothing like a wine! The yeast has been going strong enough to give it a great carbonation, but hasn't eat much of the sugar yet so it's still very sweet. If you'd like to keep it like this, sample it every day until it's about where you like it. But be aware that it's only this good for really up to 5 days. It's like a guy growing his hair out- it can be really good short, or really good long, but the in-between phase is usually terrible! If you try this when it's at, say 8% or 9% ABV, it's going to be strange. If you want to stop it after only 3-5 days, put it in your refrigerator. This won't actually kill the yeast, but they'll go dormant and stop future fermentation as long as it's cold. You'd have to take a hydrometer reading to be sure of the alcohol content at this stage, but it's usually around the same as a beer."

I was interested in trying to make something like this, especially since its only about 5-7 days from beginning to finish! My question, though, is how exactly does one prepare this for drinking? The author says that you can throw it in the fridge after 3-5 days, but its not clear to me whether this is in a secondary or in the primary. Also, would the usage of sorbate, campden tablets, or Super Kleer help at this point? It is my understanding that you cannot drink the mead until it has cleared...is this an exception since you are stopping it so early?

Thanks for all the help.

joemirando
08-28-2013, 06:24 PM
Complete newbie here with a question regarding this strawberry mead recipe:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Strawberry-Mead/

Under Step 9, the author says this:

"But you have an interesting choice to make. Traditional Mead is basically a white wine. But if you taste this within the first couple of days that it's fermenting, it is absolutely delicious, and nothing like a wine! The yeast has been going strong enough to give it a great carbonation, but hasn't eat much of the sugar yet so it's still very sweet. If you'd like to keep it like this, sample it every day until it's about where you like it. But be aware that it's only this good for really up to 5 days. It's like a guy growing his hair out- it can be really good short, or really good long, but the in-between phase is usually terrible! If you try this when it's at, say 8% or 9% ABV, it's going to be strange. If you want to stop it after only 3-5 days, put it in your refrigerator. This won't actually kill the yeast, but they'll go dormant and stop future fermentation as long as it's cold. You'd have to take a hydrometer reading to be sure of the alcohol content at this stage, but it's usually around the same as a beer."

I was interested in trying to make something like this, especially since its only about 5-7 days from beginning to finish! My question, though, is how exactly does one prepare this for drinking? The author says that you can throw it in the fridge after 3-5 days, but its not clear to me whether this is in a secondary or in the primary. Also, would the usage of sorbate, campden tablets, or Super Kleer help at this point? It is my understanding that you cannot drink the mead until it has cleared...is this an exception since you are stopping it so early?

Thanks for all the help.

I did something very similar recently. I had a traditional mead that was going to ferment to around 14%. I basically tasted it and decided that the 12% it was currently at would be good enough, and I wanted to avoid the harsh, hot taste of struggling yeast. Actually, I wanted to re-use the yeast and did not want it stressed due to alcohol tolerance issues.

So I cold crashed it. I put it in the freezer for 2 hours to bring the temperature fast, then put it in the fridge for a week.

As stated, the yeast stopped fermenting the must and sank to the bottom. Once it was as clear as I figured it was going to get, I racked it onto a crushed campden tablet and potassium sorbate to keep any yeast cells that remained inactive.

I think the reason the yeast settles is because it is no longer producing CO2. I'm thinking that, while they're producing it, they are buoyant and float around in the must, but when they do dormant, they are heavier and sink, content to wait for warmer temps.

I'm sure that someone with more experience than I will add to or correct to what I've said.

I hope that helps to answer your question.

Joe

ps: The cold crashed mead is coming along fine in the aging phase, and the yeast went on to have a successful career in another fresh must. <grin>

joemirando
08-28-2013, 06:31 PM
Oh, I wasn't exactly clear...

I put the primary in the freezer/fridge, waited a week then racked it to secondary on a crushed campden tablet and potassium sorbate and let it clear there at room temp.

I'm still quite new to this mead-making thing too, and I've only done the cold crashing like this once, but I was guided by the people here, and it worked for me.

I hope that answers it a little more clearly.


Joe

bishbish777
08-29-2013, 01:13 AM
Thanks for your response! Is there any reason in particular that you waited until you transferred to the secondary to use the sorbate and campden tablets? I just recently purchased these and have never used them before!

Also, seeing as how this is my first mead...does it actually have to be clear to drink? If it tastes good before refrigerating...why not just refrigerate, rack off the lees, and drink?

Chevette Girl
08-29-2013, 07:25 AM
A lot of things you can make fast and drinkable by leaving them a bit sweet or halting the fermentation early (if you can, sometimes the little yeasties are determined!), but a lot of things really get a lot better with some age. Even our favourite quick mead, Joe's Ancient Orange, is drinkable at two months but starts becoming awesome at 6.

No, it doesn't have to be clear to drink, but depending on the yeast you use, you may not want to bottle it until it's clear if it's going to sit around for any length of time because some kinds of yeast go yucky when left as sediment too long. If you used the yeast depicted in the photo from your link (this is why we ask for your exact recipe), it's one of the ones that is known to get yucky when left on the lees. You could always use a fining agent to convince the yeast to drop out, but if you do cold crash it, you will probably get most of the yeast to drop out anyway so you might not need it.

Refrigerate, rack off the lees, and drink poses a few problems - if there's residual sugars left and you don't stabilize it, you can end up with renewed fermentation, which makes bottling it a risk. If you drink it out of the carboy, you will eventually leave enough headspace to do it damage. This is why we usually refrigerate, rack, stabilize and bottle.

joemirando
08-29-2013, 10:58 AM
Thanks for your response! Is there any reason in particular that you waited until you transferred to the secondary to use the sorbate and campden tablets? I just recently purchased these and have never used them before!

Yes. The reason was that I wanted to re-use the yeast. Adding campden tablets and sorbate would keep them dormant and probably sterile. It would at least shock them, and I didn't want to introduce off flavors and dodgy fermentation in the new batch right off the bat. If I had added the stabilizing chems in the primary, I wouldn't have been able to use the yeast in another batch.

There's also the fact that there's a lot of yeast in suspension in the primary (it was still chugging along quite happily), and cold crashing it made most of them go nighty-night and curl up on the bottom with all their friends. This gives much less yeast to have to have to deal with stabilization-wise.


Also, seeing as how this is my first mead...does it actually have to be clear to drink? If it tastes good before refrigerating...why not just refrigerate, rack off the lees, and drink?

Nope. It doesn't have to be clear to drink. I've seen plenty of posts where people never fine it and it's still good. The main reason you want clear mead is that, after you bottle it, some of what's causing the cloudiness IS going to drop out and you'll end up with lees in the bottom of the bottle. You don't have to do anything other than mix it up again, but still....


Joe

Msarro
08-29-2013, 03:10 PM
Just FYI, the process you are talking about here is nearly identical to the method used for making fermented, homemade sodas. Relatively little alcohol will be produced, but you'll get carbonation as mentioned.