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Old 02-28-2013, 01:51 AM   #1
Keithww
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Default Found my lees

I made a show mead with 11 pounds of orange blossom honey topped with RO water to 3 gallons on 1/21. I used White Labs Sweet Mead/Wine (WLP720) that I build up to a two liter starter over 3 days on a stir plate and had active fermentation in less than 4 hours. I used yeast nutrient and energizer in staggered additions. I had steady fermentation for four weeks and a slow fermentation the fifth week. I degassed by shaking the carboy by shaking it till it didn't bubble every day or two for the first three weeks, then once a week. I started to get a little bit of yeast on the bottom, less than 1/16 of an inch after not being shaken for 5 days.

My SG at 4 weeks was 1.020 and I haven't tested it since because I will test again when I stabilize and back sweeten to about 1.010 to 1.015 and so I'm happy with the fermentation to this point.

I would have let this sit in the primary a bit longer but wanted to use the yeast for a six gallon batch of Dragonsblood. So I used my vacuum sealer to do a vacuum racking of the mead on to 1 tsp of grape tannin mixed with a cup of water and now 8 hours later I'm looking at 3/8 to 1/2 an inch of lees. This is my first mead after making a dozen batches of beer and to this point I was amazed at the lack of lees/trub at the bottom of my fermentor.

So my question is should I rack again tomorrow, or wait and let the lees compact a little? I was also thinking of using a dose of sparkaloid once the tannin settled, should I do that next time I rack or wait a little longer? Once it gets a little clearer I was going to rack it on to a couple of ounces of medium toast American oak cubes for a few weeks and give it some oak as it did the final clearing.

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Old 02-28-2013, 03:34 AM   #2
fatbloke
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Ok first the semantics...... you haven't made a show mead youve made a traditional. There's a specific name for virtually every type and show meads are honey, water and yeast......nothing else. They are, IMO, a PITA in the making.......

Anyway, wine makers tannin is usually made from grape skins. Plus many recipes suggest about using it from the start which I presume is to do with it getting churned by the fermentation action. When you add it after primary it seems to have an effect a bit like sparkolloid and it drops out reasonably quickly but also helps to take some of the other solids with it. I don't actually add it unless a batch seems to need it.....

Personally I'd let it comapct down for as long as you want. You may find that you don't need to add any sparkolloid as it may work out that the tannin will have taken it clear too.

The stuff I have does pretty much the same thing, whether you find the same with liquid tannin I don't know.

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