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View Full Version : Another noob question, this time about clearing.



mead
08-11-2014, 10:56 AM
Why is it so important for it to "clear"?

Is it just a visual thing or is something happening that is beneficial to the flavor also?

For example; if I have two separate meads and the only difference between them is one is so clear you can easily see right through it and the other is cloudy, would they taste different?

The reason i ask is i had a traditional over the weekend that was only two weeks old that tasted delicious. Honestly one of the best traditional meads I've tasted. (And I've had quite a few) but it was super cloudy still.

It confused me cause I didn't think such a new mead that cloudy could taste so good. Then I realized I didn't actually understand why clearing was important.

mannye
08-11-2014, 12:22 PM
It is both a visual and taste thing. I can taste the difference. Maybe it's in my head but these is a "yeasty" flavor in cloudy mead. The only thing I can recommend is to pour out a small quantity of your cloudy mead into a tall thin glass or test tube and cold crash it then pour off the clear mead and taste it along with a glass of the same mead that's cloudy.

fatbloke
08-11-2014, 01:56 PM
+1 on that.

Besides, it looks like manky dish water when cloudy, clear and it looks marvellous.

Think of it like a wine. You wouldn't buy or drink a cloudy wine, so why drink cloudy mead. It's part of the process of making. Fermentation is just another part of that etc etc......

mead
08-11-2014, 04:35 PM
I like that idea mannye, I might try that.

Fatbloke, honestly if i tried a wine that was cloudy and it tasted good to me i would buy it all day long. The visual aspect of drinking is very low on the list of things that matter to me.

A friend of a friend started a mead over a year ago and never racked it once. We tried some the other day and it was terrible. The yeasty flavor was terrible but it was as clear as mead gets. The flavor from the yeast just soaked into it.

fatbloke
08-12-2014, 08:07 AM
I like that idea mannye, I might try that.

Fatbloke, honestly if i tried a wine that was cloudy and it tasted good to me i would buy it all day long. The visual aspect of drinking is very low on the list of things that matter to me.

A friend of a friend started a mead over a year ago and never racked it once. We tried some the other day and it was terrible. The yeasty flavor was terrible but it was as clear as mead gets. The flavor from the yeast just soaked into it.
Which is probably some autolysis off flavour or he just used a yeast that isn't recommended for "sur lie" aging.

Don't forget, even lees aging, it's been taken off the gross lees first. So if the one you friend made was still on the main sediment, that'd explain the off flavour.

It is, of course, fair to point out that clearing is, part aging and part cosmetic/marketing.....

Medsen Fey
08-12-2014, 08:24 AM
Most yeast add bitter and unpleasant flavors and meads will usually taste better with the yeast gone.

mead
08-12-2014, 11:02 AM
So basically the cloudiness adds yeasty flavors but there are rare exceptions which explains the cloudy mead i tried over the weekend that was delicious. But, i shouldn't expect all meads to do this.

Thanks guys. I'm glad i found this forum. You've all been very helpful so far.

mannye
08-12-2014, 11:04 AM
So basically the cloudiness adds yeasty flavors but there are rare exceptions which explains the cloudy mead i tried over the weekend that was delicious. But, i shouldn't expect all meads to do this.

Thanks guys. I'm glad i found this forum. You've all been very helpful so far.

Yes. But I'll bet that even that delicious cloudy mead will taste even better if clear.

mead
08-12-2014, 11:47 AM
Ha. I don't think it lasted long enough to find out. We were at a family function with probably over a hundred people. Me and my dad both brought some mead to share with everyone.

It's getting to the point now where people are asking where the mead is before they even say hello.... haha.

Chevette Girl
08-13-2014, 07:48 PM
The cloudy mead you tried was also new, so it hasn't had a chance for any off-flavours to develop (even with the yeasts that do not want to sit on the lees, it can take at least 4-6 weeks for autolysis to start). I've had some meads that tasted better at two weeks than they did at 6 months because they still had some sugar in them, but once they'd aged over a year they were better than at the 2-week mark.

Generally, once it's done fermenting, it's less active so a lot of stuff will settle out (gross lees) and unless you have a good reason to leave it where it is (the exception being a JAO, as bread yeast seems to do just fine for aging), it's best to rack it off into another carboy pretty soon after it stops so it can finish whatever little bit of fermentation's left, start aging, and clear the rest of the way.

That said, I've had a few that've sat on their lees for a bit longer than they should have that were fine, and a few more that were racked and then sat around and didn't clear after a year or more and are fine. At that point, it's aesthetic, but the reason I wouldn't likely buy a cloudy wine/mead unless I'd tasted it first is because of the possibilities 1) they bottled it before it was ready and if they were that careless as to bottle cloudy mead, would they have stabilized it or made sure the SG was stable enough that it's not going to be a bottle bomb? or 2) it's had all this time to develop off-flavours because it wasn't clarified or racked off the lees.