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Old 03-08-2011, 08:52 PM   #1
Pumper
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Default another newbie with questions

i jumped in head first and within the first few weeks of deciding to make mead, i now have 3 batches going: 1 gal Metheglin- 5 gal Braggot- 1 gal Cyser

i keep the primary fermenting room @73F ( based off of the temp likings for Red Star Cote Des Blancs and Lalvin D-47) and just moved a secondary to a 60F room as i heard that is a better temp for long term storage.

my 1 gal metheglin looks like pineapple juice, but i noticed that when i took out a sample to test the SG when racking and left it in the fridge for 2 days it cleared significantly and looked more like white wine. (2/19/11 OG 1.109- as of 3/2/11 SG 1.010)

so, should i cold crash it now and then rack it in 2 days?.....does that affect how it conditions? would that affect my ability to prime and bottle to make it carbonated? how long can i bulk condition it before priming and bottling?

on my other batches, do i go ahead and rack to secondaries after about a week and put it at 60F?

How often do i need to rack when bulk conditioning for extended periods of time?

Thanks for the input

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Old 03-09-2011, 02:56 AM   #2
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If your mead is still fermenting (as 1.109 to 1.010 would indicate), there is no need to rack; your must can get below 1.000. Depending on the yeast you use, bulk conditioning can be indefinite. I'm not sure if Cotes de Blanc is okay to age on, and I'm not sure about D-47, though I seem to recall reading that aging it on the lees will bring out some spiciness in the mead. That said, a month is not a long time to let the mead sit on the lees, and won't be an issue Bulk conditioning does not effect bottling and priming.

73F is a kind of high ferment temp; you might consider lowering that or moving the meads to the 60F room.

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Old 03-09-2011, 05:01 AM   #3
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i guess i kinda jumped the gun a bit.....couldn't wait, so i cold crashed the 1 gal metheglin at ~36F about 4 hours ago.

i plan to rack it in 2 days, and let it sit at ~60F for about a month before priming and bottling.......unless that is a horrible thing to do for some reason

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Old 03-09-2011, 08:30 PM   #4
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Pumper, when you want to carbonate meads, the safe way to do it is to choose a yeast that has an alcohol tolerance higher than your starting gravity. Then you let the yeast finish. You don't cold crash it as that will leave residual sugar that can create bottle bombs. You let it finish bone dry.

Then, if you want to put it in a fridge to clear, that's okay - but you want it finished first. After that, you can prime and bottle accordingly. So anything that you plan on priming, you should take out of the cool area and let it finish completely.

One caveat here - you chose yeast with low ABV tolerance and have taken them pretty close to the limit of their ABV tolerance. In fact, these batches may not go dry. If you do not get them below 1.000 for gravity, you probably won't be able to carbonate them as the yeast will have already petered out.

If that is the case, you can acclimate and pitch a high ABV yeast like EC-1118 and let the batches finish out dry. Then they can be primed and carbonated. 14% ABV will make doing this a bit challenging but it should be possible. Typically with Champagne production they like to have the ABV around 12% prior to priming.

Also worth remembering - D47 and Cote des Blancs will both produce better results if you keep the temp below 70F.

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Old 03-10-2011, 06:32 AM   #5
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Thanks for the info.

I read that Cote des Blancs can operate between 65F and 84F, so i figured 73F would be a good middle of the road. It would be awesome if there was a place where I could get a list of optimal temps for popular yeast strains.

at the last racking i was near 89% attenuation, and haven't seen bubbles for a good week or so, so i figured i was mostly done fermenting. (maybe a newbie mistake) i have heard that most beer brewers shoot for 75% attenuation......is mead that different to where i should expect 100%?

so, since i cold crashed this already, is priming and bottling a no go? or would racking it and sitting it ~60F for about a month/ month and a half be enough to ensure complete fermentation and allow me to then bottle it relatively safely?

thanks again for your help

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Old 03-10-2011, 06:54 AM   #6
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Pumper, I would recommend going with Lalvin yeast more in the future. I've used it so far with solid results. I do like the information that's available on Lalvin's site too.

While many yeasts have a decent temperature range where they work, optimal temperatures, depending on what you want from the yeast are more narrow. Sometimes you need to reach out to the manufacturer of the yeast, or search deeper. I would highly recommend checking out the Got Mead? site for more specific mead making knowledge. MedsenFey is there as well as many other very skilled, experienced, and wise mazers.

Posting up questions there will get you solid answers before you stumble in the dark.

I was fortunate in that I discovered that site before I started diving into making mead, so I was able to select solid products from the start. Plus, practice more good methods than I might have otherwise.

As for attenuation, it really comes down to what the OG is, from honey, and the yeast tolerance. Of course, how you take care of the yeast is also important. You can get the must to ferment to 100% of the yeasts potential if you work with it. I have two batches with EC-1118 that are at damned near 18% ABV (they were last time I checked, they could have gone a hair past that since then). I have a batch that used D47 and it was on the edge of 14% when last checked.

For the temperatures, D47 is happy in the 59-68F range... Going to 73F is far enough outside that to possibly get some off flavors. Depending on how long it was at those temps, you might need to age the batch for a significant amount of time, if that will even resolve them. Just like with beer, fermentation temperatures are very important.

You can also have mead ferment down to below 1.000... There are plenty of people that have batches ferment down to .998, or even all the way to .990... If you plan to carbonate the batch, without going through the work outlined by MedsenFey, then you would be better off ensuring that you've not gone beyond the yeast's tolerance at those FG's... You can always add a bit of honey at the end, you can't get yeast to ferment more once it's done. Well, not without introducing new yeast, which IMO is probably more work than it's worth for just a few bubbles. Personally, my mead will be still, like a good wine. I am debating carbonating a batch of hard lemonade, but that's another story.

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Old 03-10-2011, 08:44 AM   #7
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Golddiggie,

thanks a bunch for the info......i have so much to learn......while i'm soaking this all in, let me run my immediate action plan by you to see what you think

the 1 gal metheglin will have to be still (unless i cough up the cash for a corny keg and force carb it at a later date).........seems like i should rack it tomorrow and let it bulk age at ~60 F in a glass carboy for about 3 months, then bottle.

i really want to save my 5 gal braggot, so i just turned the fermenting room down to 65F. it has been at 73F since i pitched it 8 days ago.(i am hoping the 6lbs of Wheat DME and 6oz of Hops (should be ~60 IBU's) will be enough to mask any possible off flavors) As fermentation has slowed quite a bit on this batch now, I am planning on racking it off the trub in the plastic fermenting bucket tomorrow, and over to a glass carboy that will sit at ~60 for the next 3 months, then prime and bottle.

my 1 gal cyser batch is about 3 days behind the braggot, so i plan on doing a similar action.....keeping at ~65F for 3 days, then racking to glass and bulk aging at ~60F for approx 3 months, then bottling. OG of 1.139 on this one, so it will either be still or force carbed as i made it sweet enough that the yeast (cote des blancs) will die out and leave enough sugar so the wife will drink it

i am slightly limited as i will be "out of pocket" for a while, so i have to either bulk age it, or bottle it in the next week or so, as everything will be sitting all by it's lonesome here pretty soon.
how does that sound? would you change aything?

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Old 03-10-2011, 01:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pumper View Post
Thanks for the info.

I read that Cote des Blancs can operate between 65F and 84F, so i figured 73F would be a good middle of the road.
In most cases, you'll get great results if you stick to the lower end of the temperature range.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pumper View Post
at the last racking i was near 89% attenuation, and haven't seen bubbles for agood week or so, so i figured i was mostly done fermenting. (maybe a newbie mistake) i have heard that most beer brewers shoot for 75% attenuation......is mead that different to where i should expect 100%?
Virtually all the sugar in a mead (other than a braggot) are fermentable, so attenuation really doesn't apply. The only limit on how much sugar will be fermented is the ABV tolerance of the yeast (and the other fermentation conditions).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pumper View Post
so, since i cold crashed this already, is priming and bottling a no go? or would racking it and sitting it ~60F for about a month/ month and a half be enough to ensure complete fermentation and allow me to then bottle it relatively safely?
Let it sit at 73F, that will make sure the yeast have eaten all the sugar they can. If the batches are dry, you have a shot at carbonating them - it may or may not work so you may want to test it with 1 or 2 bottles first. If sitting at 73 F doesn't let them go dry, you'll be stuck with force carbonating.

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