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  1. Default racking, secondary racking-THIRD RACKING? Bottling and siphoning?

    I finished my very first batch of mead and I think it came out pretty good. I was actually REALLY surprised that with the honey to water ratio I use my hydrometer only came out to say it was only 5.5 ABV so I thought that was REALLY low (finished, never tested before fermentation because it didnt come in in time). I did notice it was not sweet, and relatively mellow but not dry but it really has only been fermenting since the end of august so it still has some time to go for getting better.

    I ended up with a LOT more than I thought too. I was surprised because we just brought some back from Ireland and my GF said she thought ours was better, but shes not really a sweets gal. I will say she still thinks this is sweet as did one of her family members so they dont think its for them but I myself have a bit of a sweet tooth.

    Everything I used was food grade, and sterilized with Clorox and water then dried.

    Anyway my questions are thus

    1) My mead had A LOT of detrius on the bottom of the bucket and unfortunately some of it made it into the later bottles where its currently clearing and settling in those. I was wondering if leaving it in the bottles for a while longer would cause issues or is re racking it again something I should make priority so the wine doesnt get soured by it. It seems to be settling and clearing very fast. Im ordering an auto siphon off amazon this week before I attempt it again though as I just used to vynil tubing to siphon the old fashioned way...... which leads to my next question where I guess time will tell.

    2) in the process of siphoning "the old fashioned way" some of the mead def hit my lips when I had trouble getting the siphon started and more than likely made it back into the mead itself. Do you guys think this will cause issues? I dont think it should but Im just curious if anyone else has had this happened and what their outcomes might have been. Some of the bottles would be too small for the auto siphon so Ill prob have to old fashion it again to re rack it. I intended on bottling this all separate and then giving some of the bottles to friends and fam so my intention was never to re rack but with the debre even settling in the new bottles I dont feel comfortable doing that so I was thinking of disinfecting some larger wine bottle I have and re racking into one of those and ditching the current bottles until I know who wants what then just racking out a little bit at a time.


    Some things I had happen were of course my time getting sucked up into other things so instead of my first rack being after a few weeks it was months, and possibly temperature fluctuations during the fermenting due to changing seasons. One of my rentals actually has a root cellar in it so I think my next batch, during my next honey harvest might get fermented down there.

    The pics you see are right after the racking. The darker bottles are almost as clear as that gallon jug as the jug and one of the small bottles (you can tell which was first then last in the side by side) were the first two I did. I actually had to toss quite a bit at the bottom of my fermenting bucket as it was just way to filled with dead yeast to bother trying to keep, though I was tempted to try straining it through a coffee filter into something, maybe next time.


    sorry having trouble getting the pics to show by either uploading or hosting, not sure whats going on


    https://imgur.com/m88m2Hw

    https://imgur.com/NCOtlGv
    Last edited by evilnick; 01-06-2020 at 01:24 PM.

  2. #2

    Default

    Hi,
    I can't tell from the pics if you have rough lees, or just fine lees. Definitely a bit cloudy though. If it were me, I'd transfer it into a sanitized vessel (or 2) that held it all with very little head-space, and that had an opening large enough to use the racking cane. I'd use k-meta as needed for SO2 management, but essentially: cold crash, possibly use a fining agent, let it all settle to the bottom, rack again, and determine if I filter, then bottle.

    You ABV is essentially unknown, but your current reading likely puts you at an SG around 1.040, which is very sweet (beyond dessert sweet). ABV can also be important because a high ABV (along with PH, and SO2 management) helps keep some bad guys out of our mead. These factors would help avoid any issues with siphoning the old fashioned way.

    If you haven't already, I'd recommend the time investment of finding the podcasts here on GotMead starting with 9-5-2017 for learning a bit about more modern mead making protocols. Once you've been through that (likely a couple times), you'll have a better idea of the equipment needed and how to plan your next mead(s).

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 4give View Post
    Hi,
    I can't tell from the pics if you have rough lees, or just fine lees. Definitely a bit cloudy though. If it were me, I'd transfer it into a sanitized vessel (or 2) that held it all with very little head-space, and that had an opening large enough to use the racking cane. I'd use k-meta as needed for SO2 management, but essentially: cold crash, possibly use a fining agent, let it all settle to the bottom, rack again, and determine if I filter, then bottle.

    You ABV is essentially unknown, but your current reading likely puts you at an SG around 1.040, which is very sweet (beyond dessert sweet). ABV can also be important because a high ABV (along with PH, and SO2 management) helps keep some bad guys out of our mead. These factors would help avoid any issues with siphoning the old fashioned way.

    If you haven't already, I'd recommend the time investment of finding the podcasts here on GotMead starting with 9-5-2017 for learning a bit about more modern mead making protocols. Once you've been through that (likely a couple times), you'll have a better idea of the equipment needed and how to plan your next mead(s).
    Are you saying abv is still unknown since it's still fermenting? This is going to be a simple first time for and if it turns out decent I'll start really researching harder. For right now I'm trying to go with the most basic instructions as possible. I keep bees so honey isn't a problem for me. I have 4 more gallons sitting in my kitchen right now waiting to see if I'm going to do this again. I'll try to find that podcast for tomorrow though. I've been watching allot of YouTube stuff. If you like I can take a few close ups of the bottles from most dietrus and you can get a better look?

  4. Default

    Sorry if you get three posts, for some reason I tried posting twice but it didn't show for me. I'm gonna sum this one up.
    Are you saying abv is unknown because it's still fermenting?
    I'm buying the racker this week.
    Can I get the k meta anywhere locally?
    I'd prefer to avoid any fining agents since I've read they can affect taste.
    I'll look for the podcast but honestly this is the test for me to see if I enjoy this enough to start researching heavier. I'm following basic instructions for this batch.
    Thanks.

  5. #5

    Default

    Hi,
    Regarding ABV, I understood you to say that you didn't have a reading for your starting gravity before fermentation. I'm also assuming that you're looking at your hydrometer reading and it's at the 5.5% mark, or approx 1.040 specific gravity. If that's true, how can you know with certainty what your ABV is? Starting at a specific gravity (SG) of 1.120, or 1.095, and ending at 1.040 are very different ABVs.
    I don't know what yeast you used, or temps that you fermented at - I don't have much info at all in terms of how you got where you're at. Generally speaking, your ferment should be done after 4 weeks if everything went well. The longest ferment I had was 23 days.
    K Meta = Potassium Metabisulfite. Your local home brew shop may have it, or you may need to order it. You need to know how to use it though, and that's why I suggested the research. This helps protect and stabilize the mead. Potassium Sorbate is also used to stabilize mead and prevent further fermentation (doesn't stop an active ferment).

    I'm not ultra-experienced with mead, but I've made enough to know that recommended fining agents for mead don't hurt the taste - at least not in the long run. Bentonite has been known to temporarily cause a slight mineral taste, but not a permanent one as far as I know. You don't have to use fining agents, but it sounds like you have the intent to share your mead. Some folks have a palate that really picks up on yeast (like my wife) that they don't like. Fining agents may help you with less racking, and lose less mead in the process.

    If you're harvesting honey, I'm assuming you keep bees to some degree, is that correct?

  6. #6

    Default

    So if you're trying to decide if you're going to like this. You better learn how to make a mead first. I doubt much of anything you will make prior to some study will taste worth the time to pour it. Personally. I wouldn't like doing this if it taste like shit
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 4give View Post
    Hi,
    Regarding ABV, I understood you to say that you didn't have a reading for your starting gravity before fermentation. I'm also assuming that you're looking at your hydrometer reading and it's at the 5.5% mark, or approx 1.040 specific gravity. If that's true, how can you know with certainty what your ABV is? Starting at a specific gravity (SG) of 1.120, or 1.095, and ending at 1.040 are very different ABVs.
    I don't know what yeast you used, or temps that you fermented at - I don't have much info at all in terms of how you got where you're at. Generally speaking, your ferment should be done after 4 weeks if everything went well. The longest ferment I had was 23 days.
    K Meta = Potassium Metabisulfite. Your local home brew shop may have it, or you may need to order it. You need to know how to use it though, and that's why I suggested the research. This helps protect and stabilize the mead. Potassium Sorbate is also used to stabilize mead and prevent further fermentation (doesn't stop an active ferment).

    I'm not ultra-experienced with mead, but I've made enough to know that recommended fining agents for mead don't hurt the taste - at least not in the long run. Bentonite has been known to temporarily cause a slight mineral taste, but not a permanent one as far as I know. You don't have to use fining agents, but it sounds like you have the intent to share your mead. Some folks have a palate that really picks up on yeast (like my wife) that they don't like. Fining agents may help you with less racking, and lose less mead in the process.

    If you're harvesting honey, I'm assuming you keep bees to some degree, is that correct?
    Yup, I have one hive, setting a second up this spring. My buddy has 2 now. I Have almost 4 gallons of honey still from this year left so I was thinking of trying this again. I thought the ABV mark on the hydrometer WAS pretty much the ABV. I wanted to get the specific but the meter just didnt come in in time and I kind of had to take the day I had to start the project. So tech the ABV could be higher (or lower)?

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatchy View Post
    So if you're trying to decide if you're going to like this. You better learn how to make a mead first. I doubt much of anything you will make prior to some study will taste worth the time to pour it. Personally. I wouldn't like doing this if it taste like shit
    I looked up a bunch of vids and directions on just creating the basic stuff with water+honey and letting it ferment. I bought a kit to start with first that was cheaper and came with the yeast to use, air trap and food grade uria yeast food. It seemed to work, since like I said I actually like the end product. When its fully done and I decide if Im going to do it again with this years honey Ill really delve into it and worry about spending more cash on better gear.

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by evilnick View Post
    Yup, I have one hive, setting a second up this spring. My buddy has 2 now. I Have almost 4 gallons of honey still from this year left so I was thinking of trying this again. I thought the ABV mark on the hydrometer WAS pretty much the ABV. I wanted to get the specific but the meter just didnt come in in time and I kind of had to take the day I had to start the project. So tech the ABV could be higher (or lower)?
    Yes, the ABV could be higher or lower. If your SG is currently 1.040, we can get a better estimate if you know the weight of the honey that you used and the total # of gallons. For example, if you have a 1 gallon batch with 3 lbs of honey (usually about a quart), you'd be close to 14.5% potential ABV to start if you fermented to dry (SG 1.000). Where you're at now would put you approx just over 9% ABV in this example.

    If this batch doesn't turn out just right for you, I'd still encourage you to do the research to get the basics down. Even if you just occasionally make a batch of mead, why not give yourself the best chance of success? You'll learn a lot too

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 4give View Post
    Yes, the ABV could be higher or lower. If your SG is currently 1.040, we can get a better estimate if you know the weight of the honey that you used and the total # of gallons. For example, if you have a 1 gallon batch with 3 lbs of honey (usually about a quart), you'd be close to 14.5% potential ABV to start if you fermented to dry (SG 1.000). Where you're at now would put you approx just over 9% ABV in this example.

    If this batch doesn't turn out just right for you, I'd still encourage you to do the research to get the basics down. Even if you just occasionally make a batch of mead, why not give yourself the best chance of success? You'll learn a lot too
    If I remember correctly it was probably about 3 (maybe more lol) lbs of honey and 1.5 gallons of water. I ended up with all those bottles so It was a fairly good amount of each. Ill keep researching but in the end I have so many hobbies, my job, my own business, etc etc lol it makes researching and remembering things super tough at times. I will keep doing more research. I just looked up the actual way to get ABV and yes you need the pre and post readings and there is an equation. I guess the instructions with my meter and the few vids I watched werent very clear. Id prob just assume mine is around 10% just to keep it on the low end.

    I did enjoy doing it, I dont think Ill get crazy and start making recipes or anything though I was thinking of trying a vanilla flavored. I just like having the novelty of some home made booze lying around!

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