View Full Version : Chilling before racking...

05-27-2005, 01:51 AM
I've read, to remove the sediment from sparkling wine, mead, cider etc. you chill the bottles (cap down) in rock salt and ice until the sediment is frozen. I've seen chilling the mead seems to help settle the sediment.

It seem's logical that chilling a carboy before racking would, help settle more of the sediment out of the mead and freeze it in the bottom of the carboy reducing the amount that can be siphoned out.

Has anyone tried this?


05-27-2005, 09:37 AM
Freezing the sediment in the neck of Champagne bottles is done after riddling the yeast into the neck of the bottle. Then the bottle is oppened, and the ice plug is forced out by the pressure in the bottle. The process is refered to as disgorging. I know many people, myself included who refrigerate their carboy to aid in clearing. I most often do it when trying to clear naturally fermented ciders, as the ones I make rarely clear on their own. It certainly helps in clearing, and also helps to keep the sediment down. I think actually freezing the base is pretty unnecessary. What type of mead are you considering using this method for?


05-27-2005, 09:54 AM
Straight honey mead (3lb honey/1 gallon water) fermented with Red Star pasteur champagne yeast. The sediment seem's very fine, is disturbed easily.


05-27-2005, 10:13 AM
If fermentation has completed, and you are ready to bulk age of bottle, then you should not encounter any problems with refrigerating the mead, and then racking. Hope all goes well for you.


05-27-2005, 06:32 PM
If you want the lees to drop faster then yes, refrigeration will help. If you are trying to get the lees to compact more (less fluffy) I do not believe that refrigeration will help with that. What you want to do is pick yeast that is more flocculent. That is, a yeast strain that has a greater tendency to clump together and drop out. Highly flocculent strains tend to also compact more than non-flocculent ones (but not always).

As for the freezing, how would you freeze just the bottom? The whole salt and ice trick works well because it is done to the narrow part of the bottle. Freezing the bottom of a one-gallon jug would require you to freeze part of the sides as well and you would probably waste just as must mead in ice as you would if you did it unfrozen.

Cool idea (pun intended) but I do not think it would be worth the effort. If you really want your lees to stay put, try bentonite or better yet try a different yeast.

06-19-2006, 01:43 PM
I thought I would resurect this as my question folows this discussion:

Chilling a carboy will stop any lingering fermentation, but will it kill the yeast, or just put it to sleep? Has anyone tryed this, or is the only sure thing to do is use that chemical to kill off the yeast?

06-19-2006, 03:11 PM
Chilling will not kill the yeasties, it will only put them into a kind of "stasis", allowing them to precipitate faster than is usual with time alone. Even freezing the must is ineffective in killing yeast, and it can damage your mead. Heat (pasteurization) and/or chemicals are the only ways to go to be absolutely certain -- though fermenting to completion and letting it bulk age before bottling (to be sure the yeast have really given out) works most of the time too. It's entirely possible to bottle safely without chemical or heat stabilization, but it takes close monitoring of your mead and careful attention to procedure.