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Thread: Newbie seeking advice on racking and mead clarification

  1. Default Newbie seeking advice on racking and mead clarification

    Hi all! I'm a homebrewer who is somewhat new to meadmaking. I've been lurking a bit in these forums seeking out answers to my first-time meadmaking venture. And now I've decided to ask a couple of questions. I am aiming to produce a medium show still mead. First the recipe I used for 5 gallons:

    14lbs of locally produced wildflower honey (Cleveland OH area)
    2 tsp of energizer
    2tsp of yeast nutrient
    1 packet of rehydrated D-47 Lalvin Yeast
    O.G was about 1.100 and gravity at time of first racking was about 1.005
    Fermentation temp was between 58 F and 62 F

    I used the no-boil method outlined in Compleat Meadmaker for 5 gallons. I fermented my must for about 3 weeks in a plastic primary fermenter. Based on the airlock activity I had very strong and healthy fermentation. I racked my mead after airlock activity seemed to stop and after racking I found very little yeast sediment on the bottom of my primary. At the time of this racking I did keep a small sample in a glass jar and refrigerated it over night. The mead did not clear (though a lot of yeast seemed to settle out) and the next day it had a horribly strong yeasty flavor to it.

    About a week later there was about an inch of lees sedimented in my glass secondary. It's been a little over two months now and my mead still hasn't even begun to appear to start getting clear.

    My first question: Do I need to rack again to remove the mead off the lees? I read a post on here somewhere that said that D-47 yeast wasn't picky about needing to be racked right away. But I know from my brewing experience that the dreaded autolysis needs to be kept at bay.

    My second question: Why isn't my mead beginning to clarify I'm not in any hurry to drink this and am willing to wait 6 months, 2yrs etc or whatever it takes. I'd rather not resort to bentonite, egg white, or other 'heroic' measures to clarify my mead. But, I somewhere got the impression that the no-boil method will create a clearer mead quicker (this could be false). The current room temp in my fermentation area is about 59 degrees. I would think that would aid clarification.

    Thanks to everyone who posts in these forums. It is useful advice to us lurkers and meadmaker wanna'bees'. (Ok, lame pun)

    Thanks in Advance,

    WortSwiller

  2. #2

    Default Re: Newbie seeking advice on racking and mead clarification

    Well from what I have read on d47 here you can leave your mead on it for 6 months or so and it should be fine. I noted :


    “When left on lees, ripe spicy aromas with tropical and citrus notes are developed.” <Hope I got that right>

    http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?opt...03&topic=650.0
    There is some information on D47 there

    I did a search for recipes that used D47, it seems to take about 3 months or so to finish out, depending on temperature and so forth. Im a beginner myself so don’t take my word for it, have a look at other peoples recipes who used this yeast, you can get an idea of how long it takes by seeing how long there’s took to clear.

    Hope that’s of some help,

    Mu.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Newbie seeking advice on racking and mead clarification

    Leave it on the lees until it has cleared. D47 is a great mead for lees aging, and you won't harm your mead by leaving it on the D47 lees. The horrible yeasty flavor you tasted is because the yeast was still almost fully in suspension and actively fermenting. D47 throws a goodly amount of lees, and floccs very well so based on what I've read you were still in active fermentation regardless of the airlock activity. I've said in other threads that D47 is a "creeper" yeast and in this case it seems to be living up to it's reputation.

    It sounds to me like maybe your airlock and bung did not have a good seal since you were not seeing much airlock activity. This is not uncommon so my advice is to be fanatic about ensuring that your bung and airlock have a tight seal.

    Cheers,

    Oskaar
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

  4. Default Re: Newbie seeking advice on racking and mead clarification

    Thanks Oskaar and Mu for your replies. It's been about 3 months now and still no sign of clearing but I can be patient. What exactly is the source of the haze anyway? Is it yeast in suspension? Protein particles?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Newbie seeking advice on racking and mead clarification

    Quote Originally Posted by wortswiller
    Thanks Oskaar and Mu for your replies. It's been about 3 months now and still no sign of clearing but I can be patient. What exactly is the source of the haze anyway? Is it yeast in suspension? Protein particles?
    If fermentation is over (ie. no activity in the trap) and you still are not clearing, you might want to look at chilling the batch to encourage it to drop clear. Depending on where you live, just sticking it outdoors or in your garage for a few days can help but you do NOT WANT THE MEAD TO FREEZE. A refrigerator is perfect for this though most of us do not have one with enough room for carboys amongst the food...

    Good luck,
    Pewter

  6. #6

    Default Re: Newbie seeking advice on racking and mead clarification

    Quote Originally Posted by Pewter_of_Deodar
    just sticking it outdoors or in your garage for a few days can help but you do NOT WANT THE MEAD TO FREEZE.
    I stuck my mead outside overnight, about 10 (f), for about 10 hours to try and get it to clear, didn't help and the mead never even began to slush up, this despite about 3 gallons of water around the outside of the carboy that froze solid.

    Wrathwilde (Who makes some strong meads)

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Newbie seeking advice on racking and mead clarification

    WW,

    You know when you do that you need to post the little three color warning labels on the wall next to the batch to warn people about flammable rocket fuel being present so they can avoid lighting a cigarette...

    With a grin,
    Pewter

  8. Default Re: Newbie seeking advice on racking and mead clarification

    In regards to chilling the mead to encourage it to clear, could putting the container in an esky full of ice do the trick. It shouldn't freeze but you would get a least 3 days of cold temperature that might help. I haven't tried this but I have no hope of there ever being enough space in the fridge to keep it for a couple of days.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Newbie seeking advice on racking and mead clarification

    Quote Originally Posted by wortswiller
    What exactly is the source of the haze anyway? Is it yeast in suspension? Protein particles?
    I'm not 100%, but I believe it is primarily yeast in suspension. However, the clarification of mead varies wildly based on a variety of factors including type of yeast, water, honey and other additives. About half of my meads clear brilliantly within 2 months of pitching, half seem to clear in about 4 months, though a couple have yet to clear after 6+ months. They'll be bulk aging for some time anyway, so I'll wait and consider other means of clarifying if they're not clear in a few more months.

  10. Default Re: Newbie seeking advice on racking and mead clarification

    Since I originally started this thread, I want finish it even though it was months ago. In the end, the mead never clarified on its own and after many many months it didn't even seem like it was even close to even starting to clear. Someone at my LHBS told me that if the honey I used was 'autumn honey' instead of 'spring honey' then it was likely pollen and other proteins. Sounds plausible to me but then I'm a mead newbee in every sense of the word.

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