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Old 04-30-2012, 08:34 PM   #1
amrmedic
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Default Clarifying Mead

Ok, I am over a month into my first mead and I already transferred to secondary.

I have never used a clarifying agent even in in my beers, but when I tasted this batch, I was amazed at how well it came out. I am thinking of entering it in competition.

So my question is what clarifying agents are recommended, how to use them and when to add to the mead.

Also, I am into my secondary now and was wondering how much temperature will play into the conditioning. When it was fermenting it was held at a nice solid 67 F, but now it has been sitting in my house at around 76-78 f.

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Old 04-30-2012, 09:42 PM   #2
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I have yet to use a clarifying agent in my meads too. But I find that after about 2.5 months and about two rackings the mead clears by itself. Even when using tricky bread yeast with horrible floculation. Time cures all it seems. "if you have the patience."

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Old 05-01-2012, 01:19 AM   #3
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enetering your first ever mead into a competition? pretty impressive. what type did you make? check the competition rules about fining agents so you enter it in the right category

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Old 05-01-2012, 01:33 AM   #4
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In my experience, mead is something that needs TIME to become truly great. Time also makes it super clear. Rushing it will not be of any service to it. Unless it's a really LOW OG mead (under 8% ABV) I would give it a minimum of 6 months. At 12-14%, 9 months or more. At 14-18%, a year minimum is better. Over 18%, plan on a minimum of 18 months before you even THINK about bottling it...

IF you decide to bottle it now, you'll not only need to artificially clear it, but you'll also have to stabilize it to prevent bottle bombs.

Best advice I can give you is to plan on entering it next years competition when it's even better. One thing about mead is it WILL get even better as it ages.

Something else, do not confuse the mead process with brewing beer. The time scales are completely different. Where you can have a beer go from grain to glass in a matter of weeks (depending on your hardware and the recipe) chances of going from yeast pitch to bottle/glass in under 6 months is pretty much nil with mead. Even then, reference above, it's better if you give it longer. I have two 14% batches that I started in early December. I've racked them twice, and will probably rack again soon. I'm not looking to bottle these until at least 9 months from when they were started. More likely, I'll check them at 9 (or 10) months in to see where they're at. IF they're ready, I'll consider bottling them up. If not, I'll simply give them more time. You NEED to be patient with mead. That is, unless you don't want to get the best results possible.

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Old 03-10-2013, 09:10 PM   #5
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I just bottled my first mead; made it back in November, so it had about 5 months in the primary. It was still kind of cloudy, but not terribly, smelled great, still tasted a little hot but I'm not planning on drinking it for at least another three to four months anyway. What is the benefit to racking it several times? Is it just removing the sediment as it settles?

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Old 03-11-2013, 06:39 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by offthewagon View Post
I just bottled my first mead; made it back in November, so it had about 5 months in the primary. It was still kind of cloudy, but not terribly, smelled great, still tasted a little hot but I'm not planning on drinking it for at least another three to four months anyway. What is the benefit to racking it several times? Is it just removing the sediment as it settles?
5 months from pitch to bottling is about 7 months too short for anything at/under 14%. If it was stronger, then the time you cut it increases.

If it's not CLEAR, and I mean read through it clear, for a non fruit mead, you don't bottle it. Depending on the yeast strain and how you worked it, you could need several/many months before it becomes clear. Unless you want to rush things by using agents, which won't actually help you in the other steps.
If it's hot, then you need to let it age. In the order of many months. 1-2 years is pretty normal for going from pitch to bottling for batches of mead.

There's more than a few threads about this already, do a bit of searching and you'll get a ton of information.

If you want mead fast, then just buy a bottle. If you're not going to give it the time it needs to become great, then don't waste money on honey. Thinking that you can get mead to bottle even close to where a beer would be ready is just... Well, the word I want to use gets the mod's in a tizzy.

I started a batch of mead today (Sunday) that I don't expect to bottle for at least 2 years. Yes, that's 24 months I'm talking about. I'm going to push the yeast (WLP099) to it's limits with a goal of at least 25% ABV. Even if it goes to bottles in 2 years, I won't be pouring any into glass for at least 3 years from now. I might even just hold off and open one in 4-5 years to see how it's developing. I'm ok with it going even longer before it's really ready to go to glass. I would like it to be ready by the holiday season of 2020 though.

Be patient with mead, or don't bother.
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Old 03-11-2013, 03:04 PM   #7
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GD,


Your advice is sound and waiting multiple years will make anyone happier with the results. I think you should consider the fact that as someone who has been doing this for years, you have a supply of aged mead on hand. For someone new to this your suggesting that they have three years before they see any fruits of their efforts.

Perhaps a better suggestion for newer mazers is that they also make some lower ABV batches that will be ready sooner that they can drink while the higher ABV stuff ages.

It is understanding or that a first time or relatively new mead maker would want to be able to taste their product after six months of time invested.

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Old 03-11-2013, 03:16 PM   #8
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nitack, ANY mead that's under 14% goes a full year before being bottled. I might consider less time for something under 10%, but I don't make anything that weak (or lame). 14-16% goes 12-14 months as a minimum. Above 16% goes at least 18 months.

If you're not patient, then look to make something else.

Also, I waited for my first batches. When they were almost two years old, they were really getting good (18% batches). The blackberry melomel, at only 14% took even longer to develop.

Rushing a mead almost never ends well. At best, you'll have to let it sit for many months if you bottle it too soon (as offthewagon did).

BTW, I'm planning on making up a lower ABV batch with some of the honey I have left (~25# remains in the bucket). Not yet sure if I'll make a larger ~18% batch, or a couple of smaller batches.

ANYONE thinking about making mead should go over to the Got Mead? forums and read up on how people do this. Some of us are over there as well. One common thing you'll see, though, is giving mead TIME.

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Old 03-11-2013, 03:20 PM   #9
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thank you nitack, I've been trying to think of a polite way to say "thanks for being a know it all while not answering my question" all morning. You summed it up best. This is my first batch, I know its not going to be the greatest mead ever made, I know there were some things I probably could have done differently. I tasted it, it was a little hot, but not terribly. I think it will be thoroughly drinkable by the end of summer. I do plan on getting a new batch started that I hope to be ready for Christmas of *gasp* 2013.

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Old 03-11-2013, 03:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by offthewagon View Post
thank you nitack, I've been trying to think of a polite way to say "thanks for being a know it all while not answering my question" all morning. You summed it up best. This is my first batch, I know its not going to be the greatest mead ever made, I know there were some things I probably could have done differently. I tasted it, it was a little hot, but not terribly. I think it will be thoroughly drinkable by the end of summer. I do plan on getting a new batch started that I hope to be ready for Christmas of *gasp* 2013.
Ever hear of the term "anything worth doing is worth doing right"?? Cutting corners, getting a meh product as a results is beyond foolish. Spending the money on good (or great) honey and then doing this to it should be criminal.

Rushing the batches through is NOT wise/smart/being intelligent. If you're not going to give it the proper amount of time, then don't bother making it in the first place.

I bet you're also the kind of person that thinks they can make a 16%+ barleywine and have it ready to drink in under 3 months. While it won't kill you, it won't taste all that good. Give that same batch the time it needs and it's completely different.

Do what you want, but making mead like this is a word that starts with "s" and ends in "d"...
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