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View Full Version : let the questions begin!



mead_monkey
12-31-2004, 06:44 PM
Hi all,

I have a whole slew of newbee questions :)

first off, I値l be racking pretty soon and I知 wondering what is best to top of my carboy with or if I even have to. I saved the mead from the primary ferment that wouldn稚 fit in the carboy in mason jars in my fridge. Would this be the best thing to top off with? or should I use cider as I知 making a cysler.

I知 also wondering what my cysler will look like when it has cleared... and how i will know when its good to bottle.

when i bottle is it ok to not use sulfites and stabilizer? will bottles left to age without these turn out ok? I don稚 like the idea of having mead some people are allergic to, but I like the idea of a ruined bottle even less :-\

well, that looks good for starers, im sure there will be more to come :)

thanks!
8)

jab
01-01-2005, 05:12 PM
first off, I値l be racking pretty soon and I知 wondering what is best to top of my carboy with or if I even have to. I saved the mead from the primary ferment that wouldn稚 fit in the carboy in mason jars in my fridge. Would this be the best thing to top off with? or should I use cider as I知 making a cysler.


I don't see a problem with toping off with the part you saved in the mason jars, but only if you paid the same attention to sterilization of the jars as you did everything else. If that isn't an option I would probably top off with more cider/apple juice. Another option is to sterilize some marbles and put them in the carboy to take up the extra space.



when i bottle is it ok to not use sulfites and stabilizer? will bottles left to age without these turn out ok? I don稚 like the idea of having mead some people are allergic to, but I like the idea of a ruined bottle even less :-\


The use of sulfite and stabilizer is entirely up to you and your situation. In my experience as long as you are sure fermentation is done it isn't needed. Leaving them out will have no affect on your cyser. There are times I suppose when they may be needed but that would be before bottling to stop fermentation to leave some residual sugars.

Good luck!

-jb

David Baldwin
01-01-2005, 10:59 PM
If you aren't going to add supphites, think about a bit of potassium sorbate which will prevent the yeast from multiplying, so as the yeast dies off, fermentation will stop. You can also cool the carboy in the fridge to make the yeast go dormant, and then sorbate it .

Best bet is to bulk age the batch for several months to make sure you don't build a bottle bomb.


Good luck and enjoy!

David

GntlKnght
01-02-2005, 09:30 PM
when i bottle is it ok to not use sulfites and stabilizer? will bottles left to age without these turn out ok?
If you are not going to use sulfites, be sure to let it age in the carboy!!! I had a peach melomel that seemed finished. I let it sit in the carboy for almost two months with no activity and no change in SG. I bottled it, even tho it was a tad too sweet at 1.045. I guess bottling it was all I needed to do, cause it started right back up and blew corks (not to mention mead) all over the kitchen! I lost 1 of 3 gallons that way! So, be careful not to bottle too early!

Of course, if you are bottling a dry cyser at .996 SG or so, you won't have to worry about it! Anything above that may still have fermentable sugars and changes, such as temperature fluctuations, can start the fermentation right back up.

If you are going to not add any sulphites, I agree with David that bulk aging for at least 6 months will help!

By the way, my Cysers, when done, have looked like Motts apple juice. Cysers clear very nicely and have a wonderful amber color.

Dan McFeeley
01-03-2005, 10:32 AM
first off, I値l be racking pretty soon and I知 wondering what is best to top of my carboy with or if I even have to. I saved the mead from the primary ferment that wouldn稚 fit in the carboy in mason jars in my fridge. Would this be the best thing to top off with? or should I use cider as I知 making a cysler.

I知 also wondering what my cysler will look like when it has cleared... and how i will know when its good to bottle.

when i bottle is it ok to not use sulfites and stabilizer? will bottles left to age without these turn out ok? I don稚 like the idea of having mead some people are allergic to, but I like the idea of a ruined bottle even less :-\


I don't use sulfites or sorbate, so I'm not very experienced with how to guidance on them. My preference has always been to let the mead sit in the carboy for a good long time. The hydrometer has the last word on whether it's safe to bottle, but you can get a good idea by looking at the carboy. Once it's clear enough to read newspaper print through it, you can consider bottling the mead/cyser.

I've used different methods for dealing with carboy headspace. Glass marbles, purchased from a pet store (the safest option, you don't want hobby marbles in your mead, which may have toxic chemicals used to color the glass), can raise the height but racking off the lees may be a little more difficult. You're more likely to loose that last bit of good mead when the bottom of the carboy is filled an inch or two with lees covered marbles.

Topping off is also a good option, but you're going to alter the final gravity of the mead, especially if you rack more than once. Interestingly, the taste of the sweetened mead will seem a little different, if you simply add honey to it rather than a little bit of a finished mead. Joe Mattioli has also noticed this and commented on it at the meadfest. The reason for the taste change is because yeasts prefer glucose over fructose, and as a result will alter the ratio of glucose to fructose in the honey as they work their way down the gravity scale. Topping off with honey is adding sweetness in the original ratio of glucose to fructose.

Another thing I like to do is add a puff of CO2 from a handheld dispenser, using CO2 cartridges especially meant for the food industry.

Hope this is helpful!

mead_monkey
01-04-2005, 12:47 PM
Thanks all!

This is very helpfull :)

I'm thinking i will probably try either the marbles or the extra from the primary ferment.

I'm think im going to try and do the bulk age, but as this is my first mead theres a good chance i will break down and sorbate... that way i can start enjoying it a bit earlier ;) (will still wait for fermentation to stop)

mead_monkey
01-05-2005, 06:08 PM
Got another one,

So its been a month since I transferred from my primary to secondary fermenter, and there is about a half inch of lees at the bottom of my carboy. My only carboy and there in lies the problem.

Would it be riskier to wait till a second carboy arrives in the mail, possibly giving an off taste to my cysler; or would it be riskier to transfer from my carboy into a bucket, clean the carboy, then transfer back to the carboy, possibly exposing the mead to too much oxygen. ???

*(makes note to start a carboy collection and avoid this sort of problem)*

Thanks!
DigitalDruid