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Old 01-16-2012, 09:48 PM   #1
Jan 2012
Santa Rosa, California
Posts: 1

About a month ago I started my first batch of mead. I was originally planning to do something beginner friendly like MAOM but I got some beautiful, dark Croatian honey from my father (who had recently traveled there) fed on chestnut & blackberry flowers and I immediatly knew I wanted to make a traditional mead with it. For a one gallon batch I used 3. pounds of the honey, a handful of raisins and pitched 3 grams of Lalvin EC-1118. (The lady at the local brewstore recommended it or mead.) Fast forward three weeks, bubbling has stopped completely and there's a good 2 inches of lees on the bottom of the jug. I knew it was time to rack so I went out, bought a racking cane and got to work.
My first ever attempt at racking was at best badly researched beforehand and at worst farcical. I had to restart the flow two or three times and at some point disturbed the lees and later discovered that I sucked up almost all of them. (Hey, at least I got the raisins out. Needless to say I've since invested in an autosiphon.) I didn't take any gravity readings but the sample I tasted was completely dry.
So, I have to questions for you all. First, would it be better to wait for the lees to drop again and try racking again or cut my losses and avoid any further oxidization/contamination by aging on the lees? EC-1118 is a champagne yeast so it shouldn't produce the same sort/degree of off flavors as other yeasts would.
Second, if I do age on the lees how will it affect the flavor profile of the mead? Will it just give it some yeasty characteristics or will other flavors develop? I'm planning on ageing this one for at least a year.

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