Originally Posted by jpog
How come your not suppose to rack the JOA recipe?
One purpose of racking is to To remove the Mead from the Lees (layer of yeast on the bottom of the fermenter) so as to avoid a yeasty flavor imparted by the breakdown of yeast cells before bulk aging and to clear it faster.
Wouldn't it make sense to rack after say 4 weeks to move the mead along faster? Is it just to make the recipe simpler or is there an actual reason for not doing it.
Racking does indeed, remove the "gross lees" from the batch, but that's more to do with clearing it. Because some methods and types of wine processing, leave the wine on the lees for Batonage/sur lie ageing. The whole point being that some of the flavour aspects come from the ageing on the lees/sediment.
Yes, there are some yeasts where this isn't appropriate, 71B being one of them. With that, it's suggested to rack regularly as any autolysis that occurs over time, will give "off flavour" notes.
Off the top of my head, I can only recall this (the batonage/sur lie ageing) being done with red wines, so I'd presume that it's about mellowing the tannins and stuff like that. I don't know if there's actually been any research for this being done with meads, other than anecdotal.....
With JAO, the recipe/brew isn't actually on the lees long enough for this to be a problem. It reads like an A = B = C type recipe development, and as we know, it's not that good as a dry recipe as the pith bitterness is too prominent (hence not using a wine yeast which will take it dry).
Once the recipe has taken it's course i.e. fermented, cleared, fruit dropped etc, there's nothing to stop you carrying out some controlled racking to make sure that you don't end up with any sediment and that the bottled product is completely clear. Whether that means just straight racking, or a bit of cold crashing to drop any of the lee's that might have been taken up when it was racked/siphoned off the gross lees, is entirely up to you.
Personally, I just wait until the fruit has dropped etc, then carefully rack from mid-level to get some bottles that are gonna be good, then as I get lower down the level of liquid, if I pick up a bit of sediment, then those bottles will go into the fridge for a couple of days, and they're in turn, siphoned off any sediment. The last bit of the liquid will be racked into a 1 litre pop/soda bottle (with 4 blow molded feet). That definitely goes into the fridge for a couple of days, then once the sediment has dropped out of it (into the molded feet part) I then carefully cut the top off the bottle, and the high point of the internal molding will act as a stop for the base of the racking cane. This reduces any racking losses to a minimum.