View Full Version : Mead went water-clear after fortification

05-19-2017, 09:01 PM
I've been working on a program that calculates the approximate amount of booze to add to a mead to fortify the ABV to a desired level. Basically, if you start at 14.4% natural ABV but want 17%, the program works out how much booze to add for your batch size, right down to 1/4 tsps. I made an overly-sweet batch of 14.4% orange blossom a few months back; the ferment stalled for some reason near the end and it stopped at 1.030 instead of being a high-gravity mead like I wanted. I racked it into secondary, added some oak, and set it aside because life happened and I got busy.

Last week I added 1/2 cup of 190-proof grain alcohol to raise it to slightly over 17% (I ended up with about 0.9 gallons). This mead had been cloudy and had refused to clear much since I racked it about two months ago, but I noticed that it somehow went water clear a few days after I fortified it. Anybody else ever had this happen? Does raising the ABV promote clarification (due to liquid density changes) or is something else at work here?

05-19-2017, 10:03 PM
Don't know. But what does it taste like? Is it good? Did the color change? Did you rack it off the lees that dropped out? Tell us more! And what was the 190 proof booze you used? Everclear?

05-20-2017, 06:16 AM
I've observed that there are many things that help clear a mead. its really weird. one of my last batches was a capiscumel. when i added the peppers, it started to sediment all the things in suspension like a fining agent (albeit a slow one). I dont know how the abv could make that change but perhaps its the concentration or the SG. when the SG is lowered it might cause for things to precipitate faster. Other choice is concentration. The haze is usually proteins from the honey, the volume increase might have promoted the clarification. same way sometimes i have backsweetened to make a sweet mead, and it ends up cloudy, but when i backsweeten to under 1.010 i usually dont get haze.

05-20-2017, 09:34 AM
I mixed two meads together a while back that had been cloudy for a while and they cleard fairly well after I combined them

05-20-2017, 04:14 PM
Don't know. But what does it taste like? Is it good? Did the color change? Did you rack it off the lees that dropped out? Tell us more! And what was the 190 proof booze you used? Everclear?

I just pulled a small sample for a taste. It's very good, basically a sweet high-gravity dessert mead (almost like a liqueur but not quite that strong). My sample was room temperature, but this would be better slightly chilled. Lots of orange blossom taste and aroma coming through. I used Clear spring 190 because it was cheaper than Everclear (and at 95% ABV it's pretty much all the same). That booze has integrated into the mead well. You can taste the alcohol in this, but it's not hot (no fusels) or too boozy.

I plan to rack off the sediment before I bottle, though I'll give the oak a bit more time to work. No real color change. There's some oak essense coming through up front but not quite enough yet to suit me (the finish is still too sweet). All the yeast is gone, that sediment is mostly proteins from the honey that were suspended when I racked it out of primary.

06-18-2017, 01:28 AM
Just to add some info. Adding high proof alcohol may have helped clear the mead because it finished off any remaining living yeast.

In making Madeira wine, I read that the addition of "neutral grape spirit" which is a high proof product distilled as high as 190 proof, is added to the wine to stop the fermentation (among other reasons) at a certIn sweetness.

Maybe there was some of this going on?

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06-18-2017, 10:01 AM
Of course that's what happened. :)