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View Full Version : Possible Stupid Question: Gross Lees?



Lberry6595
05-17-2015, 01:33 PM
So I've been searching and I can't seem to find the answer on here or anywhere:
If you're working with a yeast that doesn't mind being on the lees, why rack off of the gross lees? I know that everyone says you're supposed to, I just can't find a reason why? What am I missing?

Swordnut
05-17-2015, 01:47 PM
No question is stupid. Ask and learn, experiment and learn.

To your question: it's not the yeast that's so much adverse to the lees it creates (it's mostly dead yeast cells which drop out) but your taste buds. See, lees doesn't taste that great and if you leave it in there it will impart an off taste to your mead. You prevent this by racking the clear(er) upper part of the must, off the lees (i.e. you leave the lees in the previous vessel).

This way you prevent off tastes the lees may impart on your mead. :) Better taste.

Squatchy
05-17-2015, 07:55 PM
The gross less have many more things than just yeast in it. Once you separate your mead from the gross lees, the fine lees are made up of mostly dead yeast cells. They impart a different taste than decomposing fruit left overs and such. You will want to stir the less every other day and only use certain less in that process. Some yeast will ruin your mead if you leave any lees in there very long.

mannye
05-19-2015, 08:35 PM
Gross lees for a traditional mead are just the yeast, and depending on the yeast, you can let it sit on the gross lees if you want. It's a method called "sur lie" and winemakers use it especially with white wines. A good layman's explanation is here: http://winemakersacademy.com/sur-lie-aging-explained/

Now, wine and mead are different, so it's not correct to categorize mead as "white wine" just because of the color. Sur lie aging tends to leach tannins out and we seem to forever be looking for ways to add tannin, so take that for what it's worth. Also, if you do a search for "sur lie" on here you will find several conversations about it and what yeast they like to use, what it does to the flavor, etc.

Also even if you are going to try sur lie aging, if your gross lees have fruit or other adjuncts, you will want to rack off them (probably) so you can leave it in secondary only on yeast and not leaves and twigs and bees...lol

Lberry6595
05-20-2015, 12:37 AM
Thanks for the responses everyone. Very much helpful.

Kansas Mead
05-20-2015, 12:15 PM
What type of yeast did you use?

Lberry6595
05-21-2015, 09:59 AM
My current batches are in primary on bread yeast at the moment.

mannye
05-21-2015, 10:36 AM
I would get them off bread yeast once it's done.


Sent from my TARDIS at the restaurant at the end of the universe while eating Phil.

Lberry6595
05-21-2015, 10:44 AM
Really? I've had fair success sur lie aging on bread yeast (on fine lees in secondary).

mannye
05-21-2015, 01:12 PM
I left a batch on gross Fleischman's (sic) lees a little too long once and really didn't like he result. Maybe I'll try it in secondary and see. Maybe I blamed the lees for something that was really operator error. I think I've heard that D47 yeast is good for sur lie but I'm not sure. A little research is needed.

Swordnut
05-23-2015, 06:30 PM
If it's intended for dry white wine sur lie then you're kind of meant to also use it like that. But bread yeast is not.

Lberry6595
05-23-2015, 08:00 PM
I've still had excellent results sur lie aging on bread yeast. YMMV, but from what I've seen, bread yeast likes sur lie aging just fine. But then, mannye had the exact opposite results, so it's hard to say.

Kansas Mead
05-28-2015, 05:57 PM
How long are you planning to age the mead on the lees?

pokerfacepablo
05-29-2015, 02:53 AM
I left a batch on gross Fleischman's (sic) lees a little too long once and really didn't like he result. Maybe I'll try it in secondary and see. Maybe I blamed the lees for something that was really operator error. I think I've heard that D47 yeast is good for sur lie but I'm not sure. A little research is needed.

I've had great results with D47. Left it on for four months without any issues.

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Lberry6595
05-29-2015, 12:16 PM
How long are you planning to age the mead on the lees?

I don't have any plans specifically, more of a general question. But generally speaking I've liked the stuff that I've left on lees better than the stuff I haven't, so generally at least several months.

mannye
05-30-2015, 05:23 PM
Bob had some delicious mead I tried at his house once that was sur lie and he was doing battonage and everything. I don't remember if it was D47 or not. But I did like it.


Sent from my TARDIS at the restaurant at the end of the universe while eating Phil.