I've been an all-grain beer brewer for a couple years. I had the opportunity to pick about 13 pounds of wild blackberries over the summer. I decided I would finally give mead a try. I was targeting a Big Semi Sweet, to Sweet.
Here is the rundown of what I have done so far.
20# Clover honey
4.5g each of Fermaid K, DAP, K2CO3
2 Gallons DI water
1.5 Gallons of filtered tap water
1.5 L/min of O2 for 4 minutes
Pitched Wyeast 4184 Sweet Mead yeast.
That resulted in about 5.5 gallons of must at 38 brix. No heat, No SO4.
added 2.8g Fermaid K, and DAP
Another 4 mins of O2
pH was 3.25
Added 1.5g K2CO3
pH was 3.3
Added 1.5g K2CO3
1.8g Fermaid K, DAP
Fermentation had begun to shown signs of slowing down. I put the 13 pounds of frozen blackberries into a large pot and brought them up to about 120 or 130 degrees while I smashed them up best I could. After allowing them to cool, I added to the fermentation bucket. The blackberry juice was about 10 brix.
That's where things started to go south! It started foaming like crazy after about 8 hours or so. I transferred about 1/2 the mead into a carboy to give more space in the bucket with all the fruit.
about 21 brix in each container.
Ph of 3.3 on both
Added 2g K2CO3 to each one
pH of both is about 3.6
Fermentation is slowed to a crawl
Transferred both into a 3rd single carboy leaving as much sediment and fruit as I could. Topped up to the curve of the neck with boiled and cooled DI water. Pulled a vacuum to degas as much as possible and purged the headspace with CO2.
That was 2 weeks ago. I am still seeing small bubbles in the mead, so there is still some fermentation going on.
Now that I've given you every possible detail of what I've done this far, here is my question:
There is a layer of sediment about 3 or 4 inches thick on the bottom of the carboy. I feel like I need to rack off this sediment but that would lose an awful lot of volume. I don't have any simple mead available to top up with, so I would either have to use water, honey water, or marbles.
Should I wait longer and allow the sediment to compact some, or go ahead and rack and top up? Is it possible to filter out some of the sediment some how? I'm worried to do too much straining for fear of oxidation.