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Thread: First meads - first racking

  1. #1

    Default First meads - first racking

    Hello All,

    Add me to the growing number of folks new to making mead. I figured I'd give it a try since beekeeping is a bit of a side job for me, and I typically have good honey to experiment with. I've been reading a lot of threads, listened to some of Squatchy on the recorded Live sessions, and a bit more studying. My apologies if this has been answered and I simply didn't find it put in terms that nailed it for me. I just wanted to make sure I got this right...

    I've started with 2, 1 gallon batches, which seem to be proceeding as expected. Both are near, or at, the end of primary fermentation based on SG readings. I'd like to age them both a bit (at least 6 months - even if drinkable early), and I plan on adding a vanilla bean to 1 batch in secondary. My understanding in the most general/basic terms and steps is that I can:
    1 - Cold crash
    2 - Rack to secondary
    3 - Add K-Meta and K-Sorbate

    I may want to rack either batch a second or third time, but my questions are:
    1 - Is the above generally the steps for the first racking?
    2 - Will I need to add more K-Meta or K-Sorbate at any time after these steps besides possibly previous to bottling?

    Thanks in advance for any consideration (and patience).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    Saratoga Springs , NY
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    1,379

    Default

    Hi 4give- and welcome - and a very happy New Year to you (and yours). IMO, and others may chime in with a different approach - cold crashing is really not something you need/want to do with first racking... You want to keep some of the yeast around to help tidy up after themselves. Certainly cold crashing should help to clarify the mead but if your plan is to allow the mead to age for 6 months you could avoid cold crashing without any problem.. But note that brewers and wine makers refer to cold crashing for very different purposes. For wine makers, cold crashing forces out of solution tartaric acid that forms crystals at low temperatures. Those crystals are viewed as cosmetic defects in grape wines. Honey does not have much (or any) tartaric acid - so reducing the temperature to create those crystals and so then rack off the crystals has no place with traditional meads. Brewers tend to cold crash to help clarify their beers by forcing the yeast to drop out of suspension. They can then rack their ales and beers off the lees and can - if they want - harvest the yeast for reuse. (Mead makers tend to avoid yeast harvesting because with high SGs and high ABVs the yeast is exposed to far more stresses than brewing is known for)..
    Now, unless your plan is to back sweeten there is really no need to add sorbates. K-sorbate in tandem with K-meta will prevent a mead from refermenting should there be any residual sugar or if you add any sugar to sweeten the mead. If there is no residual sugar then there is no sugar for the yeast to ferment...
    Now, there may be some advantage to adding a low dose of K-meta (the equivalent of the am,ount found in Campden tablets) to your mead each time you rack and/or before you bottle. The K-meta's sulfur dioxide inhibits oxidation so if your plan is to store the mead for some real length of time inhibiting a process that damages the flavors may be a good idea but there are many people who claim that at least by taste perception meads don't seem as susceptible to oxidation as fruit wines (the point being that if your plans include making melomels (meads with fruit), or pyments (meads with grape wine or grapes) you may want to inhibit oxidation).

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks bernardsmith. Good insight that I can use, and you've basically confirmed what I'm thinking (for now - LOL). I thought I had this figured out before I started my first batch of must, but more studying and reading (thankfully) showed that I needed more knowledge. Hopefully I have no major issues from here...

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