View Full Version : Finishing tips!

08-10-2015, 08:24 PM
Hi, I have just racked my first batch of mead to 5 gallon glass carboy for aging. Thought I would poll for tips on how best to finish it to perfection. Here are the details :

15 pounds white honey
4 gallons water
5 cinnamon sticks
5 whole cloves
1 oz dried orange peel
Hand full of raisins chopped
2 - 5g packets of ec-1118 yeast.

I used a staggered nutrient addition schedule. I could provide details but needless to say started at 1.105 and finished at 0.994 after 3 weeks. Have just racked to carboy.

Should I cover or otherwise place in dark location? (will light cause any concerns... Was fermented in stainless steel. Fermentor)...

How long best to age in carboy before bottling? I want to carbonate with priming sugar.

There we have it!

08-11-2015, 12:43 PM
As a rough rule of thumb, let it sit until it clears. That lets yeast fall out of suspension. You want to bottle carb, so you don't want to use sorbate/sulfite to knock the yeast out. You could just bottle now with whatever you're using to prime, but that will likely lead to a lot more lees in the bottles. Some is unavoidable, since you're fermenting in the bottle, but if you want your mead to be mostly clear when you pour, letting it sit (possibly with a cold crash in the fridge if you have the space) will help.

08-11-2015, 01:36 PM
I home brew a lot of beer so will use some of my tools to calculate priming sugar - probably just use dextrose. Guess will play by ear and see how much settles and how quick. Just wasn't sure about peoples experiences with dry mead and whether there were other conditioning or additives that are recommended.

Thanks for responding!

08-11-2015, 06:18 PM
the addition of oak and tannins are sometimes used to add more complexity to the flavor and mouthfeel..

08-11-2015, 06:21 PM
I believe that dextrose will help with mouth-feel (fullness) but has few fermentables in it. I'd use corn sugar for priming.

Revoking - because I might be wrong. :-o Off to do my research, but leaving the original comment

08-11-2015, 06:57 PM
Dextrose is 100% fermentable, will add no body, and will thin the flavor ever so slightly (though with that concentration of honey it's not a big deal, if it had an OG of something like 1.070, then it'd matter).
Just a warning, totally dry carbonated meads can taste very harsh if not thoroughly aged, normally you'd want to sweeten it up a little, but then you'd need to keg it. I have used lactose with interesting results (as a sweetener), and it's not fermentable so you could try that.
I'd let it sit for at least 9 months, then bottle up a single 12oz bottle, carb it and see if you like it. Too harsh, sweeten it with something unfermentable; too light, add some oak and carb with a dark honey instead of sugar.

08-11-2015, 08:47 PM
Thanks Bob1016... That is the kind of thing I was wondering about. I will likely let a lot age. What difference would there be with aging in bulk vs in bottle after it has cleared?

08-12-2015, 07:48 AM
So if you rack off of the main yeast cake will there be enough in suspension to bottle condition or would it be wise to add a "touch" of fresh yeast? I plan to be conservative on the carbonation. Just want a light bubble so as not to accentuate the dryness

08-14-2015, 01:18 AM
Bulk aging is slower and is slightly more reductive (in the technical sense), and also allows for even aging, whereas bottle may develope slightly different characteristics depending on where each one is stored.
I'd run a test to see if there' enough yeast in suspension, you want as little as possible so that the bottles do not have large amount of yeast in them giving you overly yeasty favors as they bottle age.
There's always the method de champegnoise (or something like that) to carbonate, sweeten, and clear out the yeast. Maybe mannye can chime in, or Fatbloke, but it's a very complicated procedure.

08-14-2015, 08:53 AM
From reading that term it seems akin to typical bottle conditioning in home brew. Will probably use 3oz of dextrose (corn sugar - for neutral flavour impact) in 5 gallons of mead. This will. Produce 2 volumes of pressure. A noticeable but lighter carbonation. May rehydrate and add 1g of the same yeast (ec-1118) To ensure enough yeast is present to actually referment in the bottle. Will probably leave it to bulk age for couple months then bottle and age, progressively sampling to give me a comparison of aging effect.