First Mead...need some bottling opinions
Good afternoon all,
I'm working on my first mead and have come upon a rather pleasant predicament. I sampled some of my mead today after taking a gravity reading and found it tasting much, much better than I thought it would. Now, originally I had planned to leave it in the secondary fermenter at least 6 months to mellow (per all the advice I could find on the web). After the tasting today (and the gravity reading, which yielded about a right-on-the-money 12% reading), I'm considering bottling early. If I do, I'll have mead to share for Christmas.
However, there is one problem: it hasn't cleared fully yet. I can see through the carboy fairly easily, but it's definitely still a bit cloudy. This all leads to the question: Will mead clear in the bottle? Even if it doesn't clear in time for Christmas (which is most likely the case), will it eventually clear?
Also, I have a fermentation question. My OG was 1116. I took a gravity reading on 09/20 and it was 1055. Today's gravity reading was 1027. I have not witnessed bubbles in the airlock in over 2 months, but it still did a fair amount of fermentation in those two months. Is it possible that it's still fermenting? I used Cotes Des Blanc yeast, which I know is a long, slow fermenter, but shouldn't it be wrapped up after 3 months? Would this possibility keep any of you from bottling?
I listed my recipe below for S&Gs. Thanks in advance to anyone who replies to this.
15 pounds Wildflower Honey
4 Gallons Distilled Water
2 tsp. Yeast Nutrient
1 tsp. Yeast Energizer
2 packets Red Star Cote Des Blancs Wine Yeast
Pasturized the must.
OG 08/19 - 1116
FG 11/16 - 1027 = 12.13%
Welcome to HBT!
We have some real expert meaders on here and I'm sure they will pop in soon, however, you are stuck with me for the moment. I have never had a mead that didn't drop below 1.000 using any wine yeast. I would be concerned that it is not finished yet. Are you planning on stabilizing it?
It is much better to let it clear in the carboy. Who wants a bunch of gunk on the bottom of their bottle of mead? You could use something like Sparkloid to help clear it before bottling. Personally, I would just wait for it to finish in the carboy but it's your call.
Thanks for the welcome, Nurmey. Do you typically use Champagne yeast in your meads? I'm definitely going to use it in my next batch. This one's a sweet mead, next one's going to be dry.
I was doing some more research, and I think Cotes Des Blanc is advertised to max out at around 12%. So, I guess if fermentation hasn't fully ended yet it will any day now.
Thanks for the advice!
I've use Montrachet, Champagne, D 47, and I think there is a Cuvée in there too. The darn batches just keep going to or below 1.000. One of these days I'm going to end up with a mead that's sweet enough for my taste. :D
I wasn't really kidding about us having some mead experts here and they really will have much better advice for you. Having never successfully made a sweet mead that was actually sweet, I don't know all the ins and outs.
Callout for Big Kahuna or SummerSolstice!
My Ears are ringing. :D
Q #1. Yes it will clear in the bottle, but it will be very unattractive in the bottle, as the sediment doesn't really compact the way Beer sediment does, and thus is very easy to disturbe. Also, You will not have very good mead to share at Christmas....this year. Next year you'll have some of the most treasured gifts people will receive.
As for your Q#2. Mead as I'm sure you've read is a pretty slow fermenter. I would not bottle at 1.027 It's extreme sweet there....Nurmey might love it. I would be very cautious of that cotes taking off again and finishing those last 2 points, and blowing corks all over the Christmas tree. It is essentially D-47, and capable of hitting 14%. That said, If it clears and is still at 1.027, I'd not be afraid of it...but I mean CLEAR, like 6 months from now, and you've racked it at least one more time.
It's all one of those time things. It just takes time for mead....LOTS of time...but it's SOOOOO worth it.
I love using champagne yeast for mead. It's VERY clean, and there is no question as to weather it's finished or not. To make sweet, I'd prefer to make a 10% mead, stabilize and back sweeten than to make some 18% MONSTER that craps out the yeast, and has some funny flavors from doing so that is going to take 5 years to mellow out to a drinkable state.
Awesome. Thanks for the advice, Kahuna. I'm going to let it age.
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