View Full Version : Fruit in late secondary...will it clear....?

sparky beegirl
08-10-2008, 10:23 PM
Hi There
I have been making mead for a number of years, no problems with clearing.
I usually make a plain mead and add fruit and/or flavors to the secondary.
This time around I had a finished mead that was completely clear but dry & tart. I added a signifigant amount of fresh and dried fruits in an attempt to lower the acidity and sweeten it up. However I fear that because the fermentation was done this might prevent the mead from clearing. Does anyone have experience with this? My thought was that I might add yeast back in to ferment the now added fruit juices and this might help the clearing process.
* OK you technical folks out there will yell at me, but I didn't use a hydrometer--my yeasts get plenty of nutrients and clear naturally by the end of one year at which point I am pretty damn sure the fermentation is done. But on this mead I am not absolutely sure there was enough sugar in the original must to reach the alcohol level to kill off al the yeast--
Does this make sense?
Your thoughts appreciated.
And yes, on my newer batches I now do use the hydrometer!

08-10-2008, 11:39 PM

Welcome to Got Mead?

We'll need your exact recipe (both the original mead recipe, and the fruit you added later) including everything you added.

Without that information is basically just a shot in the dark at what the issue might be. You mentioned fruit both fresh and dry so we'll need to know what was fresh and what was dried, we'll also need to know if the dried fruit contained any preservatives or sulfite.



sparky beegirl
08-11-2008, 11:35 AM
Hi Oskaar.
Thanks for the welcome. I have been here for awhile. I just don't post that often.
It'a a long story. This was a test batch. It was 6 gallons of mead that I split into 6 parts to test 6 different yeasts. At various stages in the process it was very interesting to taste the young mead and try to understand the differences in the flavor notes. But in the end 5 out of the 6 gallons were not pleasing to me (the only one I thought drinkeable in th end was th montrachet, even though i have used the other yeats plenty of times). I used my standard recipe for a semi-sweet mead,(see below) which I am usually pretty happy with, but I think the failure was in the honey itself--wildflower honey from my own bees which I have found to make a somewhat less charismatic mead than a varietal honey. Usually when I make a big batch with my own honey I add fruits & spices to the secondary. But I usually do this much earlier in the process. So at this point, instead of just tossing the stuff out I tossed a couple of each of the bad (not off, but tart & acidic, like a cheap white wine) batches into a fermenter and added the fruit. They each are now drinkeable, moving towards tasty. But I wonder if they will clear, as I have never added fruit this late in the game.

Start date July 18, 07
6 gallons total
20 lbs honey
6 cups organic orange juice
6 tablespoons black tea
1 tablespoon nutrient

This fermented at normal room temperatures for the SF Bay Area (65-70) for a few months and was moved to the basement. I have done this exact process with 5 gallon batches the last 5 years and made a perfectly deliscious product.

I already said it was split into 6 batches with different yeasts.

What I have now is a 2 gallon batch
1 gallon with D47 + 1 gallon with 71b-1122
This one I added plums (about 3-4lbs) allspice & cardomom

And a second 2 gallon batch
1 gallon with Pastuer Champagne + 1 gallon Cotes de Blanc
This one I added Dried Raisons & Pears & caopped alomnds + 2 cups
6 fresh ripe pears, mashed

The plum seems to want to clear. The pear not.

Sorry I would have added all this info in my first mail, but I wanted to try to keep the question brief and general.
I realize this may all be totally uncoventional and not a purist way of working, but I like to experiment and hate to toss that much down the drain if there is a way it can become drinkeable!

Thasnk you,

Medsen Fey
08-11-2008, 06:27 PM
Welcome to the forums Ruby!

Actually, adding fruit into the secondary is done fairly often. Ken Schramm, in his book "The Compleat Meadmaker" talked about making large batches of traditional mead during the winter, and then adding fruits as they come into season. He commented on this making things a bit easier since you can split the fermentation management, and the "fruit handling" apart and do them at separate times.

I have added fruit into the secondary on several batches and have used, mangos, starfruit, tamarinds, various berries, plums, and several other types of fruit. They have all cleared without problems. I have read that pears can be slow to clear. Just keep in mind that with your recipe(s), some of the yeast (especially the champagne yeast) probably can still reactivate and start fermenting the sugars in your fruit. If you don't stabilize the mead, you will probably want to keep the batches under an airlock to watch for renewed fermentation after you add fruit (or any sugar source).

My other thought is that your mead is only one year old. More age might really improve the traditional meads. If you have not tried aging some longer, think about giving it a try.

Good Meading!

sparky beegirl
08-11-2008, 09:31 PM
Hi Madsen
Thanks for your response & input. I use the Ken Schramm book (what a wealth of info!) and as I said in my longer reply to oskaar (with the recipe) I often add fruit to the secondary...but not so late--usually around 6-8 months while this was mead that was already sitting a year.
I too have noticed that meads that taste awful somehow magically change into something approaching good at around the one year mark...
this batch may have well still changed but somehow I think that if the shift hasn't happened by the one year mark it might not get signifigantly better. Fortunately I did save one of the original batches (the one that was the most bearable) to see if it improves with age...
And I am willing to wait for the added fruit batches to clear--I just wasn't sure that it would if there is no more fermentation activity... thought I should perhaps add yeast to get the fruit sugars to ferment and that would help it clear.

08-12-2008, 11:23 AM

Welcome to GotMead?!

I have read in several posts about swirling the secondary to re-suspend the yeasts adn allow them to adhere to other yeasts hulls, particulates, etc... perhaps swirling once a week will aid in clearing. Type in "swirling" in the 'search' box and several good posts pop up. Oskaar has a very good post about it concerning times, etc... :notworthy:



Medsen Fey
08-12-2008, 12:12 PM
It is not necessary for there to be fermentation activity for fruit to clear. You can see this when you make cordials from fruit. Even though no fermentation occurs when you add fruit to vodka, the flavor leechs out, and the fruit residue will drop clear (usually). If you add more yeast to a completed mead, it will be difficult for those yeast to start and grow in a high alcohol environment, even if plenty of fruit sugar is available. Adding that extra yeast may just give you a yeasty flavor in your mead - which is okay if you like it that way.

sparky beegirl
08-12-2008, 05:52 PM
Thanks this is good info--especially about why not to add more yeast. and of course--I have made cordials before --
I will swirl and wait!