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taldridge
11-21-2016, 10:17 PM
I racked a 5gal batch 3 times from the initial fermenter to keep it off the lees. When fermentation was complete and I thought all lees had fallen, I moved the carboy to a dark closet and left it there for the last 8 months. I pulled it out today to have a look and it appears that another layer of lees as settled and my mead has been sitting on it for a while now. Is this batch ruined?

darigoni
11-21-2016, 10:38 PM
Does it taste ruined?

pdh
11-21-2016, 10:40 PM
Short answer off the top of my head: it's almost definitely not ruined. You didn't provide a lot of detail, but this doesn't seem unusual to me.

Some questions if you want to discuss the situation in more detail: what was your recipe, including what kind of yeast did you use? What temperature has it been stored at? Has the temperature fluctuated or has it been reasonably constant? Was there a fermentation trap on the carboy and if so, has it been bubbling at all over the past 8 months? What is the history of your hydrometer readings, if you've taken them and kept track?

Then, about the mead itself: is it clear, or cloudy? Is there any kind of visible crud on top? And -- what does it taste like?

My main concern, depending on the type of yeast that you used, is that it's been stored in a closet in Louisiana all summer long. Depending on the yeast strain and the actual temperature, you may have exposed the mead to more heat than is desirable. That might result in some off-flavors which may require more aging, but unless something else went wrong too, it shouldn't ruin the mead.

taldridge
11-21-2016, 11:41 PM
Thanks for the replies and sorry for the lack of info. I'll start with the recipe I used.

For a 5 gallon batch:
15 lbs of local (northwest Louisiana) raw honey
4 gallons of spring water
5 teaspoons yeast nutrient (LD Carlson)
5 teaspoons yeast energizer (LD Carlson)
2 packets of Lalvin 71b-1122 yeast
Fermenting in a 5 gal plastic carboy
Everything is use has been sanitized with Star San

Storing temp in the closet has stayed between 68-73 degrees (not the best but it is Louisiana). Airlock bubbled good the first 4-5 days before dwindling down and just about stopped after 10 days. After 16 days I transferred to a secondary fermenter to get it off the lees and checked the SG. My initial gravity was just over 1.12 and took a gravity reading of exactly 1.000 after transferring to the secondary. It seemed like there were some bubbles from carbonation in the cylinder when I tested the SG and a little taste proved that. I left an airlock on the secondary just in case but never saw any action. After a month in the secondary, I racked again trying to keep it off the lees and could tell the carbonation was just about gone and the mead was clearing up. Now the mead is very clear (prior to me moving it today). The is a layer of lees that I wasn't expecting and what appears to be a very thin film on the surface. I haven't tasted it yet as I was waiting on the sediment that was stirred up to settle from the move.

Let me know if there's any other info I may be able to provide. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Squatchy
11-22-2016, 12:35 AM
There's a good chance the film on top is just protein from the honey or from the autolysed yeast. Your nose and taste buds will tell you more than any of us can. The good thing is you had already racked it twice and weren't left with much after that.
Just taste it and smell it. That's really the only way to know what you have.

pdh
11-22-2016, 09:17 AM
So the consensus is -- taste it! :-) It may well be fine, or maybe OK but still in need of more aging.

One side question about the recipe: Carlson recommends one teaspoon of nutrient per gallon, or 1/2 teaspoon of energizer per gallon. You used a *lot* more than that -- in total it's three times the nutrients they recommend. I think their advice is based on wine musts, and meads need more nutrients than wine does, but still that seems like a lot of nutrient to me. Have you used a recipe like this before? I mean, a recipe with this much nutrient and energizer?

I don't think the nutrient would affect the taste at this point, unless there's still some un-eaten nutrient in solution that you could taste, but I don't really know if that's a realistic concern or not. Anyway -- taste it and let us know what you think...

taldridge
11-27-2016, 12:20 PM
Smells like honey and stout. Taste a little sweet and can taste the honey flavor, but it's pretty strong from an alcohol perspective. SG is still 1.000.

I got the recipe from another website and followed those ingredients for the nutrient and energizer.

Will it get smoother the longer it ages?

caduseus
11-27-2016, 12:59 PM
Smells like honey and stout. Taste a little sweet and can taste the honey flavor, but it's pretty strong from an alcohol perspective. SG is still 1.000.

I got the recipe from another website and followed those ingredients for the nutrient and energizer.

Will it get smoother the longer it ages?

The recipe you used: was it exactly the same ingredients? Any change in ingredients can change the nutrient requirements a little or a lot. For example grape wine musts, especially those with skins, require no nutrients.

Most off tastes improve with age.

pdh
11-27-2016, 01:03 PM
> Will it get smoother the longer it ages?

Mead almost always does. Unless there's something really fundamentally wrong with the batch, which doesn't sound like it's the case, you'll probably find that it gets smoother and smoother as the months (or years) pass. Be sure to put a few bottles away for extended aging -- many of us have had the experience of tasting every few months and noticing gradual improvement, until finally the mead is really good -- just about the time that there's none left :-)

If you're interested in learning more about how to improve your technique, you can make mead that doesn't take so long to age. And it's not that hard. My first few batches weren't very pleasant to drink until they were about 2 years old, but I'm doing a lot of small things just a bit differently now, and it shows in the finished product.

Squatchy
11-27-2016, 04:34 PM
Adding oak does a fantastic job of smoothing out the heat from the higher alcohol.

taldridge
11-28-2016, 12:35 PM
The recipe you used: was it exactly the same ingredients? Any change in ingredients can change the nutrient requirements a little or a lot. For example grape wine musts, especially those with skins, require no nutrients.

Most off tastes improve with age.

I used the exact recipe with not exceptions. I wouldn't say it has an off taste. It's actually pretty good, just a little strong right now.

Squatchy
11-28-2016, 02:24 PM
[QUOTE=caduseus;260455]The recipe you used: was it exactly the same ingredients? Any change in ingredients can change the nutrient requirements a little or a lot. For example grape wine musts, especially those with skins, require no nutrients.

I'm not sure I would agree to this statement. In my opinion it would depend on the gravity. I wouldn't buy a wine kit and run the gravity up to 1140, or more, and still try not to feed it. I have never tried to not feed this situation. I have done this many times making port style pyments and feed them every time.

Have you got away with not YAN in this situation Caduseus?

Squatchy
11-28-2016, 02:26 PM
Here is a good paper on oak. http://morewinemaking.com/public/pdf/oakinfopaper09.pdf

And I have tried almost all of these in different trads. http://www.blackswanbarrels.com/honey-comb-barrel-alternative/

caduseus
11-28-2016, 03:52 PM
[QUOTE=caduseus;260455]The recipe you used: was it exactly the same ingredients? Any change in ingredients can change the nutrient requirements a little or a lot. For example grape wine musts, especially those with skins, require no nutrients.

I'm not sure I would agree to this statement. In my opinion it would depend on the gravity. I wouldn't buy a wine kit and run the gravity up to 1140, or more, and still try not to feed it. I have never tried to not feed this situation. I have done this many times making port style pyments and feed them every time.

Have you got away with not YAN in this situation Caduseus?

Yes but it was straight grape juice with no additional sugar added

Squatchy
11-28-2016, 04:35 PM
[QUOTE=Squatchy;260501]

Yes but it was straight grape juice with no additional sugar added

I kind of thought so my man :)