View Full Version : Smokey Mead

04-25-2011, 11:32 AM
We pitched 15 lbs of honey and a packet of Lalvin K1V-1116 yeast with nutrient and energizer into a 5-gallon batch back in December. We racked a month later and let it age about a month in the carboy. But then we needed the carboy for another batch, so we bottled the mead to age in the bottles.

We looked at our mead in the bottle the other night, and there is what looks like veins of smoke floating at the top of the bottles. The mead is still cloudy, but it's definitely clearer than when we started. There is no visible sediment at the bottom of the bottles -- only the whisps of "smoke" at the top of each bottle.

What is this? Is it something I need to do something about, or will it resolve itself? We have the carboy available again -- would it be worth pouring the mead back into the carboy to let it finish aging there?

Help! Thanks!

04-25-2011, 01:31 PM
It's probably what I call reverse-sediment, the bits of yeast and wax and such that float at the top of a mead while it ages rather than settles out (it usually resolves itself after a few rackings).

I personally would gentley pour those all out into a bucket, then rack out of the bucket into the carboy (make sure no headspace) and let it clear.

If you leave it that cloudy in bottles it's going to end up with a much more unpleasant taste/aroma, and it's just not going to look as nice as if it's clear.

If you're in a rush you can even do everything I mentioned above, but add some fining agents to clear it, then rack it one more time after a couple weeks, and bottle immediately from that racking.

Personally though I like to try and let things stay in bulk for at least a year, otherwise it all gets drunk before it's really turned into the best product it could have been!

04-25-2011, 02:05 PM
Floating sediment. That sounds like an oxymoron if I've ever heard one! That is what it seems like to me. I shook a bottle and smoke cleared, but the mead got a little more cloudy (of course, that could just be from the introduction of air).

I'm desperately trying to stay away from adding anything to this mead (I want a pure show mead for this one), and so I'll only use fining agents if I absolutely have to. It's only been pitched 3 or 4 months ago, so it's still got a ways to age.

04-25-2011, 02:38 PM
What was the final gravity out of curiousity?

I also like to avoid fining agents, it takes some extra patience, but can be well worth it. After another couple of rackings and 7 or so more months I'm sure you'll get a nice clear mead. Just make sure to get rid of headspace after each racking!

04-25-2011, 02:43 PM
I wasn't aware that headspace after racking was an issue. How come?

04-25-2011, 02:59 PM
Oxidization. Traditional meads with no fruit are pretty tough when it comes to resisting O2 damage after fermentation is done, but they're not invincible (a wine left open in the fridge over night will probably be ruined the next day, traditional meads take much longer - but during aging we are talking about long times indeed).

There are multiple ways to deal with headspace, try some forum searches and if you can't find what you need post here and I'll give you some suggestions.

Still curious as to what your final SG was on this mead before bottling though!