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    I was at 1034 last night so I went ahead and racked it into a carboy and locked it down. Question ... how do you guys rouse the lees in a carboy? Do you use the stir stick on the drill but just keep it slow? Is there a better method?

  2. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by TractorMan View Post
    I was at 1034 last night so I went ahead and racked it into a carboy and locked it down. Question ... how do you guys rouse the lees in a carboy? Do you use the stir stick on the drill but just keep it slow? Is there a better method?
    That works fine. Do it by hand or real easy with a drill.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

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    Tonight I'm at SG = 1007. I tried a very small taste ... tangy is the only way I can describe it, which I figure is due to acidity, right? Tastes pretty good actually, I could drink it as it sits. I'll keep rousing the lees for several weeks I guess. There are no off flavors or odors.

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    Brookline, NH
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    706

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    Quote Originally Posted by TractorMan View Post
    Tonight I'm at SG = 1007. I tried a very small taste ... tangy is the only way I can describe it, which I figure is due to acidity, right? Tastes pretty good actually, I could drink it as it sits. I'll keep rousing the lees for several weeks I guess. There are no off flavors or odors.
    You only need to rouse the lees for 2-4 weeks, but you can do it longer if you want......

  5. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    You only need to rouse the lees for 2-4 weeks, but you can do it longer if you want......
    He might be speaking about long-term aging. Sur Lie.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TractorMan View Post
    Tonight I'm at SG = 1007. I tried a very small taste ... tangy is the only way I can describe it, which I figure is due to acidity, right? Tastes pretty good actually, I could drink it as it sits. I'll keep rousing the lees for several weeks I guess. There are no off flavors or odors.
    Since this last update was at day #9 ... and I'm now sitting at day #17 ... I thought I'd give an update.

    Day 9 - SG = 1007. Still bubbling a lot. Rouse lees (I use the stir stick by hand)
    10 - SG = 1002. Bubbling every 3 seconds. pH by strip about 3.6 (I have a pH meter now, but I haven't used it yet, I will before sulfiting), rouse
    11 - Bubbling every 8 seconds. Rouse.
    12 - Bubbling every 18 seconds. Rouse.
    13 - Saw a bubble and counted 2 minutes without a bubble, gave up. Rouse.
    14 thru 17 Rouse.

    I still haven't checked SG since 1002, but I figure it must be under 1 now. Also, this stuff wants to clear. The last couple days, you could tell a difference all the way down to the first rib on the 3 gallon carboy. I just stick the stirrer in there and roll it back and forth and you can see the stuff come up and saturate it again. Pretty cool.

    I figure I'll rouse for another week and a half and then stop. I won't be cold-crashing, I'll just let it sit at the regular 72 degrees. Does that mean I will need to wait more than the talked-about 24-48 hours? At whatever point, I'll rack off and stabilize.

    This has been a truly fun science experiment. I hope something drinkable comes out of it!

  7. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by TractorMan View Post
    I won't be cold-crashing, I'll just let it sit at the regular 72 degrees. Does that mean I will need to wait more than the talked-about 24-48 hours? At whatever point, I'll rack off and stabilize.
    In my experience it will be pretty clear on its own. When you keep the yeast roused like that for a couple of weeks and then stop, they will settle down pretty fast. Keep it still for a few days. When I first started, I fermented in a closet and then carried the stuff to the kitchen when it was time to rack. Even the slight jostling when I carried it kicked up yeast, so I learned to move it a day or two before I planned to rack. That way the yeast settled back down. Now I ferment in the basement and rack it where it ferments, so I don't move it at all. I don't need to cold crash. Just keep them roused for a while and then stop and keep it still for a few days.

    Don't be discouraged if it tastes terrible when you rack. Give it time. It's tough to wait, but I find it helpful to start a new batch and forget about the old one for as long as you can.
    Raisins are NOT nutrients for yeast... but french fries ARE!

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    Thanks DPJ. That's good advice. I'll just put it in it's racking spot the last day I rouse. I've been keeping it on the floor of the basement because it's about 2 degrees cooler down there.

    I hear you about starting another batch! I'm chomping at the bit right now, but I'm going to wait until after I rack off the lees and sulfite/sorbate this one before I start another. But that's just a week and a half away! I think I'll make another traditional with a different honey varietal and probably a different yeast. With this first batch, I don't mind being patient. How long does it typically take to get to a point where you can conduct backsweetening trials? I'm thinking oak too, perhaps.

  9. #49

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    I don't think there's a set time. But in my experience the mead will change a lot over the first month or two. You can add oak and honey now but the mead will mellow a lot on its own. So it might be best to let it settle for a few months and then see where it is. But if you add honey, it will probably get cloudy again, which is annoying if you've already waited for it to clear. So sometimes I add honey a few days after I stabilize and let that dissolve over time. Keep it under airlock while you do this (as apposed to capping it) in case it kicks up fermenting again.
    Raisins are NOT nutrients for yeast... but french fries ARE!

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    Day 20 - I roused again. Out of curiosity, I checked SG which is 0998.

    I gave it a tasting tonight. It's got a bit of alcohol heat, but not too bad. It also has a bitter back end. Not much else going on. Just tonight I found Bray's recipe for his sweet meadowfoam BOMM. He says ...

    Meadowfoam is a wonderful varietal honey with a distinctive marshmallow flavor. Meadowfoam honey with the BOMM protocol yields extremely strong marshmallow flavor that intensifies with age ... It has to be sweet in order to get the marshmallow character (if dry, a bitter character is apparent). Here, I take a minimalist approach to get a stellar traditional sweet mead.
    So despite it not tasting great like something I want to drink right now, I'm optimistic that it has potential to improve significantly with backsweetening.

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    Day 24 after pitch ... still rousing every day. It's time for me to get serious about stabilizing. I've listened to the podcast diligently, taking notes, just like the others. Since I will be in this for the long haul (this first batch certainly might be wrong, but I'm optimistic I'll be able to figure it out over time) ... I'm thinking about going ahead and getting a Vinmetrica to test sulfite levels. I already have a pH meter. When I started, I promised myself I'd go all-out and do it right ... plus, anything that can be measured and/or calculated is right in my wheelhouse and makes this fun. Do I need the $600 version or will the $280 version be OK? Haha!

  12. #52

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    I didn't know about the cheaper version. Do you have a link?
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Squatchy View Post
    I didn't know about the cheaper version. Do you have a link?
    Vinmetrica SC-100A SO2 Analyzer Kit

    https://morewinemaking.com/products/...hoC8pwQAvD_BwE

  14. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by TractorMan View Post
    Vinmetrica SC-100A SO2 Analyzer Kit

    https://morewinemaking.com/products/...hoC8pwQAvD_BwE
    So this will work. But it is only an SO2 machine as it sits. You will either need to buy the pH wand from them. Or by a digital one somewhere else as pH is critical to your proper SO2 management.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

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    Great. I picked up a digital pH meter off amazon.

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    The last time I roused the lees was Monday, 3 days ago, day 31 since pitch. It's not clear by any stretch, but there's a lot of yeast on bottom. I was planning to rack it off the lees this weekend, but I only tonight remembered to order the Vinmetrica sulfite meter. It won't be here until Tuesday. So my questions is ... should I go ahead and rack it this weekend and sulfite later or wait to rack off the lees until I can sulfite it directly afterwards? Will it matter much?

    I also picked up some hungarian med+ oak cubes, also here Tuesday. I'll being aging on those and backsweetening.

  17. #57
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    Saratoga Springs , NY
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    1,400

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    Hi TractorMan, You need to be a little cautious with the oak (IMO). "Aging" on oak suggests a rather long term process but you might find that after a week or two there is more than enough "oakiness" in your mead. Barrel aging (not something I have ever done - the cost is beyond my budget) places very little oak in contact with the total volume of mead. Oak cubes , on the other hand seem to mean that far more wood per gallon of mead is in contact with the liquid and so the action is faster and stronger (I think). Moreover, barrel aging is often (always?) done in barrels that have held spirits and so the complexity of flavors being pulled over time is what is being sought. If you haven't yet, I would do some reading about oaking before you add any... Of course, this you may have done and you may be far more familiar with oaking than I will ever be.. so take what I say with a large dose of um... oak.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Devin Petry-Johnson View Post
    ...It's tough to wait, but I find it helpful to start a new batch and forget about the old one for as long as you can.
    DPJ - yes, this. I finally started more mead. I went the JAOM route, I started 2 one-gallon batches tonight. I was the happy recipient of 8 one-gallon glass jugs in a shipping error, they told me to keep them. I thought I'd put them to use and play around with some JAOM, BOMM, etc., while I wait on the meadowfoam to do it's thing. Both JAOMs were bubbling away within an hour.

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