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  1. #1
    Anchorite Gotmead Visitor

    Default racking/lee hight??

    when u rack how big should your lees be...say for a 5 gallon batch?? half an inch(in hight)?? more...less?? or is it more a question of waiting for a dense lee so the ammount of mead taken out in the racking is as small as possible??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Independence, KY and Greenacres, FL

    Default Re: racking/lee hight

    It is more a question of time than lee height especially since all of the sediment may not be lees as in the case of fruit , juice or puree that may be added. ( you didn't say what you were making) I find it wise to let the lees compact some before racking. Typical primary times vary from 1 to 4 weeks before racking the first time. Still you will find those who rack sooner and those who go much longer. The best advice I ever received was not to rack too often or more than necessary. It makes less opportunities for potential problems. (infections, oxidation, etc.) In fact the advice I use is to rack when the mead tells me it is time. In other words when it displays that it is time. (My mead doesn't really talk to me though I do sometimes talk to my mead.) For example #1 I rack when ferrmentation has slowed to almost a stop ( bubbles less than one per minute but never longer than 4 weeks for the first racking ) #2 I rack when the mead first clears and sediment/ lees are on the bottom. #3 I rack if there is sediment and 60 or 90 days have expired since my last racking. #4 I rack when the mead is ready for stabilization and sweetening or bottleling.
    Hope this helps.

  3. Default Re: racking/lee hight??

    I have to largely agree with what was already posted here.
    I bucket primary with a shower cap to keep nasty things from falling in my primary bucket of mead. I move the primary to a carboy within 48 hours of the kraussen dissapearing. This typically happens in the 1.05 - 1.07 range in my experience. Im-mead-iatly befor i transfer i give the mead a good stir. This disperses the yeast throughout the must. I then move to my two carboys. Yesterday it was a 3 gallon carboy and a 1/2 gallon carboy. Both are under airlocks and side by side in my Fermentation Case. I'll Rack off lees in about 4 weeks from now. Even though Fermentation should be finished in another 2 weeks.

    My next racking after that will involve the mead dropping clear, or 2-3 months passing and my being bored :-)

  4. #4
    Anchorite Gotmead Visitor

    Default Re: racking/lee hight??

    lol...thanks for the other thing tho..when u say u rack when it only bubbles once per minute do u mean one bubble from the airlock or one small bubble coming out of the mead (hard to phrase...hopefully it makes sense)?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Independence, KY and Greenacres, FL

    Default Re: racking/lee hight??

    One bubble from the airlock.

  6. Default Re: racking/lee hight??

    Im-mead-iatly befor i transfer i give the mead a good stir. This disperses the yeast throughout the must.
    I've never heard of anyone stirring the yeast up before racking. I was always under the impression that you rack to get rid of the yeast.

  7. Default Re: racking/lee hight??

    Stiring up the yeast is only done when i move from my bucket to a airlocked carboy at about 10-17 days when the mead is still fermenting strongly but past the kraussen stage, typically 1.050 - 1.060 S.G.

    IMO the last thing i want to do at this stage is remove active yeast population. If i use an oversized carboy instead of a bucket, I wouldn't rack untill week 6 or so. FWIW I've never experienced a stalled/stuck fermentation after my move from primary bucket to primary carboy because the yeast is still all there.

    I could probably leave it in the bucket longer, but I feel beter getting it under an airlock while it is still expelling lots of CO2, this also allows me to start plotting the next batch if carboy's are empty.

    The only reason I use a bucket is so i don't get krausen in/through the airlock.

    Does this make sense now, when I make a fruit mead I do remove the Ingredient bag at this stage.

    Anyway this is why i specificly used the word transfer instead of Rack, i don't consider it racking.


    Oh yeah, one last thing. The other purpose the stirring serves is that the main carboy and the top off (little) carboy have almost identical mixtures in them. While Topping off with water is fine I'm sure... I don't like the concept of watering down the must. This method Gives me extra must i need to replace the volume lost to the lees in an almost identical state of fermentation. (It doesn't kick off a new ferment like topping off with honey would.)

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