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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > Mead for wedding gift
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Old 01-02-2012, 03:03 AM   #1
bryanjints
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Default Mead for wedding gift

This was made for my daughter back in February. She was born in March. It has been sitting in secondary carboy after getting it down to .998 which took 3 months or so. I saved a small amount in another container and tasted it now and again till it was gone. It is 17% abv and was very alcoholic and dry.

I am going to transfer it to another carboy soon. Probably do it closer to March or even on her birthday. I wanted to know if I should do anything else besides transferring it. It is very clear. I wanted to back sweeten it at some point. When should I back sweeten? I am not afraid of it fermenting any further I used champagne yeast and 16-17% is pretty much the end of their abilities.

I plan to bulk age for several more years. Not sure how long but at least 5 years. I am thinking I will wait longer and may add some fruit at some point. The fruit will have some meaning to my daughter. I don't know what it is going to be yet but I am leaving open the possibilities.

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Old 01-02-2012, 06:28 AM   #2
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All sounds good, just curious as to what kind of honey you used? If you plan to bulk age your mead (I am assuming 5 gal?) for extended periods you should probably look into picking up some Argon (WineSaver) or some Co2 equipment to keep at least a small blanket of dense gas to shield the Mead. If it is clear I would go ahead and rack it off of any lees it may be sitting on, and be sure not to pick up any sediment when you rack.

The yeast may be at their 'Stated' alcohol tolerance, but as long as it was a healthy colony they will ferment any additional sugars that you introduce, even if the Mead has appeared to clear out. You can chemically stabilize your Mead, though. You just need some Sorbate and Sulphite, both available at you LHBS, you just follow the directions on the bottle (or ask an expert for more knowledgeable advice on stabilizing and extended aging) and you will be good to go. I you plan on adding fruit, however, I would plan on adding that soon so that it may 'secondary ferment' and then Stabilize and backweeten. There may be a lot of bugs on fruit so you'll probably want to allow a renewed fermentation on the fruit additions. Be careful with your exposure during and after fruit additions, melomels tend to oxidize a little easier than traditionals.

Also be sure to bulk age in a dark and, relatively, temperature stable environment. A dark closet towards the center of a home or, preferably, a basement. Basements are next to perfect as they will remain roughly the same temp. all year round providing a wonderful place for honey wine to mature.

Need anything else don't be afraid to post up a question. Lot's of good people here to help however we can.

Jonas

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Old 01-02-2012, 03:40 PM   #3
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This is a 5 gallon batch. It is in a 5 gallon glass carboy that is filled near the neck.

I have beer kegging equipment so a Co2 blanket is not a problem. Except for the fact I ran out of Co2 but thats besides the point.

I am afraid of oxidation so maybe I will leave the fruit out of it. How about some vanilla beans instead, everyone like vanilla?


It is in my basement and has been since primary fermentation has been over. I was reading if there are 1/4 inch of lees you should transfer, wish I read that months ago. I will transfer as soon as I get some Co2.

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Old 01-02-2012, 09:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryanjints View Post
I was reading if there are 1/4 inch of lees you should transfer, wish I read that months ago. I will transfer as soon as I get some Co2.
Depending on the yeast used you should not have to worry much about autolysis. I have meads that have been sitting on the secondary lees for 9 months and the longer they sit on the lees, the smoother they taste. I will rack off the lees after 18 months, however, just to be on the safe side. I believe that unless you have hundreds of pounds of mead pressing down on the lees (like in a meadery/winery/brewery) it will be just fine and the yeast will continue to metabolize undesirable compounds in the mead.

Jonas
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Old 01-02-2012, 10:04 PM   #5
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I agree with you that autolysis is not a worry at the homebrew level. I will leave the mead till the summer if you think 18 months is best.

My original plan was to bulk age this mead for 5 years then bottle it. If I stick to that timeline when should I backsweeten?

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Old 01-03-2012, 12:15 PM   #6
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I'd use campden to protect it from oxidation during racking.
Regards, GF.

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Old 01-04-2012, 06:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryanjints View Post
I agree with you that autolysis is not a worry at the homebrew level. I will leave the mead till the summer if you think 18 months is best.

My original plan was to bulk age this mead for 5 years then bottle it. If I stick to that timeline when should I backsweeten?
I would backsweeten at least 3 months in advance.
Honey will produce a haze when backsweetening and can take quite a while to clear out. I've never had to fine, or filter, after backsweetening as it usually clears out again after 1 - 2 months.
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