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Old 05-08-2011, 09:28 PM   #1
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Default Stabilising Mead

Hi all, my first batch of mead (which when last opened/tasted was rocket fuel) has been sat in tertiary for a little bit and is finally starting to clear (yay!).
I've just managed to find a bee keeper whose local, and have ordered enough honey for my next 3 or 4 5L batches which I will go pick up from him in about 3 weeks.

I figure that another 3 weeks is probably enough time for it to have got pretty clear and I should be able to stabilise and bottle just in time for my honey to arrive.

My question how ever is how exactly do you do the whole stablilisation process?
I hear of people using "bottling buckets", is this just another fermentation vessel that you put other stuff in the bottom of before racking on to it? Once mixed in do I just rack again to bottles or should I leave it to settle a while first, how long? I only have carboys (no buckets), is that ok? I aleady have campden tablets and have ordered "youngs fermentation stopper", which I believe is sorbate. Is that all I need? What sort of quantities for my 5L batch?

Thanks in advance!

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Old 05-09-2011, 04:33 PM   #2
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Can you provide the recipe details?

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Old 05-09-2011, 04:43 PM   #3
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Sure
I followed the instructions here:
http://www.stormthecastle.com/mead/brew-1-gallon-of-honey-wine-mead.htm
Pretty much to the letter.

So:
4.5lb honey (4 cups blossom, 2 cups acacia)
2 tsp nutrient+energiser
Bottled water up to 5L
Yeast: D47

Racked it once the yeast at the bottom stopped getting any deeper and the rate of bubbles in the airlock calmed to the 1 every 5 seconds mark (Then again, once the rest of the yeast had settled again). But havent touched it since.

It's been going about 2 months now I think.

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Old 05-09-2011, 04:47 PM   #4
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Did you check the starting gravity? What is the current gravity?

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Old 05-09-2011, 06:55 PM   #5
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I didn't have a hydrometer at the time I started it and haven't opened him up to take an SG yet, figured I would do that when I open it to stabalise it. Using the mead calculator on gotmead though I get an OG of 1.118 assuming 18% moisture.

At this point I'm more interested in exactly how you go about stabilising though (rack on to powder? disolve powder in boiling water? pour on top?).

I also have a Cyser that has just gone over the 15% ABV mark and would really like to stop it about there to give it some residual sweetness without having to backsweeten. (1.112 -> 1.018). I don't realy have the fridge space to put them in there.

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Old 05-09-2011, 07:46 PM   #6
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I like to dissolve the stuff in a little warm water, but deciding if it is ready to be stabilized, and deciding how much stuff to used depends on gravity readings and ABV.

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Old 05-09-2011, 08:13 PM   #7
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Ah! I get you.
I just moved all 3 of my batches to the fridge. After taking out all the shelves I managed to get them all in (who needs food anyway?!).

My traditional and my banana mead I'm pretty sure are done fermenting for the most part, and now I've got them in the fridge I'm hoping to ensure it. From that point of view cyser is more risky, as it IS still fermenting (its only just about 2 weeks old), but it has reached the ABV I want for it. The first two I would like to have bottled if possible in 3 weeks, though if they need an extra week I can always use my empty jar (used for racking into normaly) untill my next batch needs to come out of primary. I only have plans currently for my next two brews so I'm happy for the Cyser to stay where it is for a bit longer but I would like to stop if fermenting if possible!

So are the basics for campden and sorbate:
Disolve 1 capden per US gallon (so ~1.5 in 5L) and 1/16th tsp sorbate per US gallon (so... a bit more than that in 5L) into a small amount of water (boiling). Cool to room temp and put in bottom of new jar, then rack on to it. Leave in jar for a week or so to make sure its stopped and then bottle?

Thanks for the help so far

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Old 05-10-2011, 03:42 AM   #8
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Theres no special routine to this.

It just depends on the kind of kit youre using.

If its in a DJ, just rack it off the lees to another one, the it's usually 1 campden tab (crushed) per gallon and I seem to recall that the fermentation stopper from youngs is 1/2 a tsp per gallon.

You can dissolve then a a little must or water before adding, I don't bother, I just chuck them in the top and stir gently.

Its up to you how you handle any headspace i.e. top up with a similar wine, water, or even vodka, or use something to increase the level of liquid like sanitised marbles..... just be careful with them as they break DJ's easily.

If you want it cleared quickly the kwik clear should do the job. Just follow the pack instructions.

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Old 05-10-2011, 07:53 AM   #9
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Cheers fb! Cool think I've got an idea of what I've got to do now, I've not ordered anything to help clear yet, still hoping it will happen naturally!

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