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Thread: Clarification on clarification

  1. #1

    Default Clarification on clarification

    Bad joke, I know. My first mead turned out stunning and my test batches all cleared in a timely manner, but one of my meads is taking forever to clear. My first batch cleared in 2 weeks and my test batches, all quart sizes, cleared in less than that, but I have a mead that hasn't cleared in 3 weeks and after 2 rackings. Recipe:
    7 Arizona Sweet oranges,
    zest of 3 oranges,
    1/2 of a pomegranate,
    less than 1 gal water,
    2 1/2 lbs honey
    I boiled it all together and pitched baker's yeast. it fermented for 2 weeks and is a 1 gal size.

    The fermentation stopped on the mead and it has been in the fridge for several days. Am I expecting it to be done too soon, or is it actually taking a long time? Do all orange meads take so long to clear?

  2. #2
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    O no, a punster. You don't know what you've unleashed.

    I've actually had orange meads clear fairly quickly. Boiling fruit, however, is usually not conducive to clearing. Fruit pectins are set by heating and may cause a persistent haze. Pectic enzyme may clear that up.

    On the whole though, 2 weeks is way too early to be worried about clearing. If it's not clear in another few months, then start to worry. Don't cloud your mind with hazy thoughts.
    Want to see something added to the GotMead Glossary? PM me! Didn't know we had a glossary? Check the top row of links.

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks for the advice. I boil everything to make sure it is clear of foreign bacteria, but I'll start leaving the fruit out. I was starting to get worried, so it is nice to hear that my first mead was done super fast. Patience has never been my strong suit, unfortunately. As for the puns, well, my boyfriend is a champion punster, so I find them kinda cute.

  4. #4
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    Welcome to the forum!

    And try not to give the other punnsters around her TOO much fodder, huh? The rest of us have to put up with it too!

    You don't really have to boil your honey either, it's pretty antibiotic as it is... and unless you have worries about your water, even that's not necessary for wines and meads. Beers, yes, but not so much with the stronger stuff. I used to boil my sugar or honey in my water too and scald my fruit for the same reason, now I honestly find it too much trouble for something generally uneccessary! The yeast kicking up its fermentation will also usually put a quick stop to any bacteria's ideas on taking over.

    If you have a brew supply store anywhere near, pectinase or pectic enzyme (same thing) is pretty inexpensive and may be necessary to clear this one eventually, I use it in the cooled must 24 hours before pitching with most fruits just in case...

    That said, Akueck's right, clear at two weeks is the exception rather than the rule, at least with most of my batches. Most of mine take a couple of months to clear. Every now and then there's a batch that flat out refuses to clear at all, then you might need to think about using a fining agent of some type on it. Or two. Or three. <glares at that dang banana wine which is still cloudy after bentonite and Sparkolloid>

    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "Good grief! If someone wanted to murder you, all they would have to do is ship you a 55 gallon barrel of honey and watch you document working yourself to death!" - Vance G
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Undead View Post
    Thanks for the advice. I boil everything to make sure it is clear of foreign bacteria, but I'll start leaving the fruit out. I was starting to get worried, so it is nice to hear that my first mead was done super fast. Patience has never been my strong suit, unfortunately. As for the puns, well, my boyfriend is a champion punster, so I find them kinda cute.
    Bacterial and fungal infections are two entirely different issues.

    Honey is one of natures most anti-biotic substances. Plus, to make it ferment i.e. deliberately infect it with fungus (yeast), it's a waste of time just trying to hit a honey with yeast, it just doesn't happen. We have to water it down, to a level where it's possible for the yeast to do it's thing.

    Of course, if you want to boil the hell out of it, it's up to you, but earlier recipes would have been heated as it wasn't the honey that was unsafe (it was used medicinally - and still can be) it was the water that wasn't often safe (location/source dependant).

    What you will be doing by heating a must, is boiling off a lot of the aromatics and some of the more subtle flavouring elements - so it'd be a waste to get a nice, varietal honey. You might as well use cheapo store bought stuff, blended for eating/baking.........
    here's me home brewing blog (if anyones interested....)
    and don't forget
    What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away! Tom Waits.....

  6. #6

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    Thank you all soo much! I picked up the habit from my dad who used to make beer. From now on I will just boil the teas and the upside is that I don't have to wait for it to cool. Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Undead View Post
    Thank you all soo much! I picked up the habit from my dad who used to make beer. From now on I will just boil the teas and the upside is that I don't have to wait for it to cool. Thanks!
    Not cooling is a huge upside. Once you experience the glory of room temperature processing, you'll regret having to boil beer. Turns out there are some no-boil beers if you like sours.
    Want to see something added to the GotMead Glossary? PM me! Didn't know we had a glossary? Check the top row of links.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by akueck View Post
    Not cooling is a huge upside. Once you experience the glory of room temperature processing, you'll regret having to boil beer. Turns out there are some no-boil beers if you like sours.
    When I was introduced to homebrewing it was through a guy who made what my current FNHS owners called a "Prohibition Style Beer" -- a 3.3 lb can of hopped John Bull Extract and a bag of corn sugar. Boil the extract, add the sugar, cool, toss the yeast and let it do its thing. Ta da!

    One day when I was making this recipe I looked at the pot of water on the stove. It was taking a while to boil and I was feeling particularly lazy that day. "What's this need to be boiled for anyways?" I asked my know-it-all self. So I opened the can, dumped it into 5 gallons of tap water, added the sugar and the yeast and let it do its thing.

    Not too surprisingly, because this was such a simple beer, it turned out just fine. In fact, I couldn't detect much of a difference between this and the boiled wort version of the beer.

    In the years since I have become a more sophisticated homebrewer and have learned better. Boiling wort does a great many good things to beer and I wouldn't wouldn't consider making a decent beer without it.

    "I said it was good eats, not fast eats."
    -- Alton Brown

  9. #9
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    Citrus fruit are full of pectin. If you boiled them, you probably have a pectin haze. You can test by mixing a couple of tsp of mead with a tsp or 2 of methylated spirits or isopropyl alcohol. Pectins will clump.

    I haven't the FOGGIEST notion why anyone boils honey.


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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medsen Fey View Post
    I haven't the FOGGIEST notion why anyone boils honey.
    Simple. Because their judgement has been muddied by the mists of the past... using old recipes and such...
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "Good grief! If someone wanted to murder you, all they would have to do is ship you a 55 gallon barrel of honey and watch you document working yourself to death!" - Vance G
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014

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