View Full Version : First time racking question

11-14-2004, 02:36 PM
First time with mead and first time here.

I used this recipe and made only 5 gallons of melomel.

12.5 lbs flower honey
12.5 lbs bagged black cherries (smushed up really good)
30 pts water
10 tsp acid blend
2.5 tsp pectic enzyme
3.75 tsp energizer
5 campden crushed
1 pkg red star champagne yeast

As you can see I didn't make enough extra to keep my carboy topped off after racking using the same stuff.

It has now been 25 days and i get one bubble every 40 seconds through the airlock. SG is 1.000 and I have about 1.5" of dead cooties on the bottom and i want to rack it off said cooties.

Question.... What should I use to bring the level back up in my carboy after racking? Should I use more honey, cherry juice, cherry concentrate or just water?

I'm sure I will have this problem several more time as I rack this batch and don't want to ruin it if I already haven't done so.

Next time I will make a gallon or so extra!

Thank you and this is a great forum!!


11-14-2004, 02:45 PM
Yes, Now is a good time to rack. Use a honey water mixture to top off. You already have enough cherries and it needs a bit sweetening up since cherries are so tart especially since you added additional acid to start. It will probably take back off a bit and convert a bit more of the honey water to alcohol.

11-14-2004, 02:48 PM
:o Sounds like a pretty good batch of cherry Mead, If you need help drinking it let me know!!!

11-14-2004, 02:54 PM
Thank you Joe, now should I use this each time i rack or should I start doing some taste testing and adjust from there. I don't want to dilute the taste or alcohol.

vy-king.... I wouldn't trust my first batch, It might make you go blind, but on second thought, I might need someone to see if it's safe to drink ;D

11-14-2004, 05:45 PM
You won't be diluting it when you use honey water. Its not done fermenting yet. Leave it for up to 3 months and you can bottle it for aging. No need to top off again unless you are bulk aging and racking off lees every 3 months. It should be done fermenting and clear up fine in a month or so. Let it sit until it is brillant and you can read a magazine through it. Then bottle. I only rack once and then again at bottling time.

11-14-2004, 08:40 PM
Note too, quite a few people will put marbles (sterilized) into the carboy to take up the extra space after racking. That is also an option if you are worried about diluting. Though like Joe said if you use honey or honey/water you aren't really diluting. Heck, I usually top off with plain old water for that matter.

11-15-2004, 12:11 AM
Hey Joe, Are you saying that you bulkage and never rack your mead off the lees. How long do you usually let your mead sit on the lees? And as for clarity. I haven't had a batch of mead i could read a magazine through the carboy since I was still boiling my must. Is yours that clear from age or is it from finings?

11-15-2004, 06:26 PM
Hey Joe, Are you saying that you bulkage and never rack your mead off the lees. How long do you usually let your mead sit on the lees? And as for clarity. I haven't had a batch of mead i could read a magazine through the carboy since I was still boiling my must. Is yours that clear from age or is it from finings?
Only when I make Ancient mead which you will find the recipe on this site do I not rack at all. I go straight to bottle. Takes 1 to 2 months and others will attest that it is not hurt by leaving on the lees. Only one batch out of 36 needed a clarifier (fining agent) to read newsprint. I Don't boil here either. Always use ~1/2t of Grape tannin in must preparation. Adds character and aids in clearing naturally. Kind of like tea. That quantity will not add harshness if put in prior to the beginning of fermentation. With all my meads, I leave it on the lees til fermentation is done and it is clearing. Most fermentations are done in 3 weeks unless something is wrong or I am using a slow yeast like cotes de blancs or heavy acid in my English Mead. 3 months is the maximum I leave it on the lees. I rack once and the lees are negilible for the next 3 months if I am bulk aging. Don't use a primary anymore either except for beer. Used it only once for mead. Glass carboys are my fermentor of choice. The less you mess with a properly prepared must, the better off you are in my opinion.
If I want to stop a fermentation prematurely, I cold stabilize it in a big empty refrig for a couple days and the yeast go to sleep on the bottom. I can then rack and stabilize and get minimal lees and after 1 week you can read the newspaper through 5 gallons.
I don't bulk age over 6 months since I need the carboys and am ready to bottle. Most all (90%) of the meads I make don't need over 3 months aging. I have 3 recipes posted here that you can drink early that I believe are reaLLY GOOD. Quick Grape Mead, 3 week no age CW Mead, and ancient mead. Long aging times are only needed for meads that are harsh to start with. Keeping them at 12% OR LESS ALCOHOL and balanced will make them very good in 3 weeks to 3 months and great in 6 months. Regardless, they normally clear 1 week after stabilization and remain that way while aging. is that unusual?

11-16-2004, 01:44 AM
I'm practicaly doing the same thing you are. But not having the same results. >:( I believe I am using about the same amount of tannin I'd have to look, maybe 1tsp. I do my primary in a bucket. Thats about the only difference between our methods I rack at the same perscribed times for traditional wine making. But the carboys never become really clear. I should just make a thread and post it with a bunch of details for everyone to examine. Because I just about wrote everything out and it was starting to get cluttered and took a life of its own. So I think i will start a thread in a day or so and get my thoughts about it straight. I have a mead I'm getting ready to bottle and I think I want to do some major experimenting with my bottling procedures and get some advice.

11-16-2004, 07:28 AM
I'm sorry I should have specified 1/2 t PER GALLON which is 2 1/2t of tannin per 5 gallon batch. Also I just use plain tap water.
My latest 5 gallon batch of CW sweet mead which is usually ready to drink in 3 weeks was cold stabilized SG 1.020 on Nov 12th for 2 days and then racked into a clean 5 gallon carboy for the first time over Sorbate and Sulfite. Here it is Nov 16th and it is clear and bright able to read print through the carboy. In a couple weeks I will bottle it to take to Florida this winter to drink. (part of it)
I'll instant message you and see if we can't get to the bottom of the clearing issue.