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Old 04-23-2009, 03:36 PM   #1
wendelgee2
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Default Summer is Coming - Effect of Heat on Mead Conditioning

Hey folks,
I have a mead that's about 2 months into its ferment. If I leave it to continue to ferment/condition through the summer is it 100% necessary that I keep it chilled? Or, is the summer heat not a big deal in terms of production of fusel alcohols at this point?

I realize that I'm risking oxidation due to the increase in temp, but after two months, I assume it's still producing some CO2 and protecting itself to some extent...maybe??

Also, do you have to be more wary of autolysis in warmer weather?

Thanks.

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Old 04-23-2009, 04:02 PM   #2
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I was just about to post this same thing. Such as I know it is a fairly big deal when actively fermenting but how does it effect bulk aging.

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Old 04-23-2009, 04:17 PM   #3
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Warmer storage temperatures will influence the aging of mead in the same way that it does wine. In general, there are two classes of chemical reactions that take place in a sealed wine bottle -- those that are accelerated by higher temperature, and those that are not much affected. So you can in generally expect your meads to age not only slightly faster, but differently, if kept in warm rather than cool conditions.

That said, I used to live in Houston and I kept some of my traditional meads for upwards of 6 to 8 years in my apartment (never below 80F); they did not suffer overly much. I had no climate controlled cool storage samples to compare them against, but qualitatively at least if they are kept at a near constant temperature, even as high as 80-84F, they should last a while without degrading.

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Old 04-23-2009, 06:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wayneb View Post
Warmer storage temperatures will influence the aging of mead in the same way that it does wine. In general, there are two classes of chemical reactions that take place in a sealed wine bottle -- those that are accelerated by higher temperature, and those that are not much affected. So you can in generally expect your meads to age not only slightly faster, but differently, if kept in warm rather than cool conditions.

That said, I used to live in Houston and I kept some of my traditional meads for upwards of 6 to 8 years in my apartment (never below 80F); they did not suffer overly much. I had no climate controlled cool storage samples to compare them against, but qualitatively at least if they are kept at a near constant temperature, even as high as 80-84F, they should last a while without degrading.
Is it possible that you have an article about wine aging and temperature effects you could link me to?
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Old 04-23-2009, 07:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wayneb View Post
So you can in general expect your meads to age not only slightly faster, but differently.
I don't mean to be needy, but what do you mean by "differently." Do you, or anyone else out there have more details?

(I'll look for an article on wine aging in the meantime, but I don't think wine is usually in direct contact with this much yeast when it is being stored.)
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Old 04-24-2009, 05:09 PM   #6
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Ahh, wendelgee2, now I see what you're after. You're going to leave this in a secondary carboy, and there will be yeast lees in the bottom of the carboy, throughout the storage interval.

That is an entirely different matter from what I had been thinking with my earlier reply. You will, at higher temperatures, accelerate the rate of yeast autolysis. That is the breakdown of dead yeast cells, and they will add to the flavor of the mead. Depending on what yeast strain you used, and how the lees are managed during the storage time, that can be either good or bad. Some yeasts are just foul when they autolyze, and you should never leave mead on their lees. 71B is noted for tasting particularly bad when it breaks down. Others, like D47, actually add citrusy, peppery, and other interesting flavors to the mead. As I said earlier, higher temperatures will make this happen faster. The trouble is, without regular monitoring of the flavor, and semi-regular mixing of those lees back up into the main must (search on the term batonnage), you run the risk of getting off-flavors from those yeasts, too.

What you'd like is a simple answer, and I'm afraid I can't give you one. Sorry about that.

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