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Thread: Ageing mead

  1. #1

    Default Ageing mead

    Hi all

    I have read that mead really improves with time. Many brews does but especially mead, it seems.
    Now, I have made my first batch of mead and it has now been fermenting for a good eight weeks or so. I have re-racked and all that.
    I tasted and checked gravity today and thats fine - about 8,5% alcohol by volume and still fermenting. I used a champagne yeast, which potentially can bring the mead up to 16%, which I do not want. I have split my relatively small batch into two 5 litre glass carboys.
    My question is now.....: if I kill off the yeast there will be no "activity"...no life... it will be....dead. I mean... if the fermentation stops and does not start for a couple of days or a week, it has really stopped, right? At present the gravity is 1.015. My thought is to kill off the yeast in one of the carboys but add some carmalized honey in the other and let it ferment a bit further and then stop it.....but...:

    Will it age and become better if the yeast is killed in such a way?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Brookline, NH
    Posts
    385

    Default

    Seems to be a lot of conflicting statements.

    Aging.
    Fermenting for 8 weeks.
    Still fermenting.
    Re-racked.

    How many times have you racked?
    Why would you rack in the middle of a fermentation?
    Why would you have racked if you had plans to add honey and let the fermentation continue?
    After 8 weeks I would think your fermentation would be over. What was you starting gravity?
    How do you plan on "killing off the yeast"?
    You start off by talking about aging mead, mention that it's been fermenting 8 weeks, but don't actually ask any questions about aging. Eight weeks is not aging......
    Have you read the NewBee guide (see link at top of forum page)?

  3. #3

    Default

    You're doing something wrong if your not finished within 3 weeks max. You need to look into SNA' s . Agreed, lots of conflicting info
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  4. #4

    Default

    Hi, thanks for your concerns about my proceedings.
    IŽll try to be more detailed and also talk about the rest of your concerns here (since they are also mine)...
    Ok, I agree, I did not ask a specific question since for me "ageing" is takin place for a year or more either bottled or in a carboy. So, what I meant was; if I bottle once the fermentation has stopped, and also back sweeten, the yeast will wake up and...bottle bombs...
    So, I have to kill the yeast by using a yeast stopper (I do not know the chemical term...metabisulfate?).
    Started out at gravity 1.076 july 9th.
    Added yeast nutrition and Lalvin EC1118 at 26 degrees C (78,8 F).
    Started to ferment almost immediately.....very slow though.
    I did stir the mixture once every day for three days (to oxidise).
    After 10 days I was at gravity 1.042.
    1st of august (about three weeks in) I was at 1.028.
    I ran to my local store (where they sell yeast and stuff) and asked them what to do with the slow fermentation and they said "re-rack and add bayous yeast".
    I went home and transferred almost all (leaving the sediment) to a 10 litre (2,64 US gallons) glass carboy and pitched some bayanus yeast into it.
    I also filled a smaller vessel (1 litre) and pitched some more bayanus yeast there (at least by the volume).
    Four weeks into the process (10th of aug) the large carboy did not ferment but the small one did. However, the larger carboy did start off shortly after but boy it was slow....(judging by the bubbles in the airlock).
    The 2nd of september the small carboy (1 litre) did not bubble any longer so I checked gravity (0,996). This was now very clear but tasted of yeast.
    Maybe I did something wrong today but I decided to split the 10 litre carboy in two 5 litre ones.
    Gravity is now 1.015 in that one - however it tastes much better than the small vessel did but it is not clear, more yellow.
    I will definitely read the newbie guide but would appreciate a guess on why the fermentation goes so slow....
    For your information I had an elderflower champagne going early june and it was also very slow....

    Thanks again

  5. #5

    Default

    All meads improve by aging. You said this yourself, yet you then ask in the same post whether your mead will improve by age. Some meads reach their peak before others and usually the better your practises the less aging you need.
    The time a ferment has stood idle without ferment is no indication of whether or not your yeast have died. Yeast can wake back up months... perhaps years after ferment has stopped. Killing, or rather incapacitating, the yeast in an effective way is your only guarantee that the ferment doesn't restart
    "Shouldn’t we say wine is a mead-like beverage made with grapes substituted for the honey?" - Steve Piatz

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatchy View Post
    You're doing something wrong if your not finished within 3 weeks max. You need to look into SNA' s . Agreed, lots of conflicting info
    Well, with a ~9%abv mead perhaps he could get away with a single nutrient addition. But sna or staggered nutrient additions are generally better. Whatever the case, your yeast need some form of nutrient to reliably ferment cleanly, completely, and in a reasonable amount of time
    "Shouldn’t we say wine is a mead-like beverage made with grapes substituted for the honey?" - Steve Piatz

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Saratoga Springs , NY
    Posts
    1,062

    Default

    Hi Flexhammer - and welcome.
    Not sure whether the information is conflicting and contradictory or whether there is not enough hard data in what you posted. You said that the mead is still fermenting after 8 weeks and that the SG is 8.5%. OK. We know that your volume is 10 liters. What we don't know is how many kilos of honey you dissolved. It's far less important at this point knowing what the tolerance for alcohol your yeast might have... and far more important to know what the actual potential ABV of your mead is. Knowing how much honey is in solution will provide that. Did you dissolve enough honey for the ABV to be 8.5% or 10% or 15% or ??

    You also say that despite the fact that your mead is STILL fermenting that you have racked it several times (re-racked is what you wrote) but typically one would rack when almost all the honey has been fermented... so it is unclear what you mean when you write that the mead is STILL fermenting. Do you mean ACTIVELY fermenting and does that mean the gravity is STILL dropping? Or did you mean that the mead is now under an airlock and is quietly sitting and gently aging?

  8. #8

    Red face Clarification on my question

    Hi all and thank you for welcoming me

    I tried earlier to reply but I can't see where that reply went...? Never mind, to the point.
    I added about 3,2 kg of honey, if I am not completely wrong...did not know that was important. I only checked gravity which was 1.076 the 9th of july.
    After having pitched the yeast (Lalvin EC-111 and yeast nutrient (2 grams) I stirred with electric mixer for a couple of minutes once a day for three days (to oxidise).
    After 10 days my gravity was 1.042.
    After about three weeks (1st of aug) it was 1.028.
    Since I was worried about the slow fermentation I went to my local "brewshop" and they advised me (wrong or right) to put it into a new container and pitch some bayanus yeast (I was requesting nutrient and he said it was...).
    I now (3rd of aug) separated my batch into one 10 litre and one 1 litre carboy and pitched bayanus yeast in both (more by volume in the small one).
    Already the day after both airlocks were bubbling, however the small one much quicker.
    2nd of september (a month later) it stopped bubbling out of the airlock in the small one.... the FG was now 0.996 in that one (10,74% alc.vol). It did taste bitter and of yeast...
    The large one still bubbled but I wanted to control it so I racked it into two 5 litre carboys (9th of sept).
    Gravity in large one was 1.015, the colour was more yellow (not see through as the little carboy at 0.996 before). It tastes much better.....
    But why is it so slow fermenting?

    Main question, to you all was about ageing. If I now want to keep one of the 5 litre carboys at this 8,34% IŽll have to add some metabisulfate (?) to kill the yeast before letting it age.... however, IF I kill the yeast will the mead not become dead in a way.... not ageing as if the yeast still was there? That is my main question. A fully fermented mead with an FG of about 0.996 which is bottled with live yeast should be able to change the character of the mead better over time, right? Since the yeast is there, active but without suger...only byproducts that it can do its magic on.....

    A killed off mead I imaging would age like lemonade.... no ageing....it will still be lemonade when you open it up after a year or two (if not rotten)....

    Sorry for the long reply but I see you guys read in a lot of info before replying...

    Thank for your time

    /FlexHammer

  9. #9

    Default

    EC-1118 (stored it all in 20 degrees C during fermentation).

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