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Old 04-01-2012, 05:08 PM   #1
Aquavitae
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Long story short: I ended up with lees in a couple of bottles and I don't want that. I racked to secondary, let it sit and clear, then bottled. I was wondering if you fine people had any tips or tricks to prevent bottling lees. I tried using a coffee filter, but that made the siphoning take FOREVER. The aquarium tubing I used for siphoning had a fairly small diameter, though. Should I use larger diameter hose? Or something else entirely?

 
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Old 04-01-2012, 05:17 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquavitae View Post
Long story short: I ended up with lees in a couple of bottles and I don't want that. I racked to secondary, let it sit and clear, then bottled. I was wondering if you fine people had any tips or tricks to prevent bottling lees. I tried using a coffee filter, but that made the siphoning take FOREVER. The aquarium tubing I used for siphoning had a fairly small diameter, though. Should I use larger diameter hose? Or something else entirely?
By "filtering" through a coffee filter, you risk oxidizing the mead. I use a larger diameter tubing for siphoning, but that doesn't fix having lees.

The key to not having lees in the bottle is to wait longer before bottling. When you have no lees after at least 60 days in the carboy and the mead is perfectly clear, then it can be bottled. And no new lees will form in the bottle.
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Old 04-01-2012, 06:09 PM   #3
Aquavitae
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No new lees were forming, I just sucked the old ones up when I bottled. I haven't yet refined my mead tasting skills, so lees in the bottle isn't going to kill me, I just wanted to know if there was a way to keep them out other than being meticulous with siphoning. Thanks for the heads up about the coffee filter.

 
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Old 04-01-2012, 06:47 PM   #4
Insomniac
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Basically, only bottle from a carboy with no lees at the bottom. If you have lees, rack again. Each time you will take less lees during the siphon until there nothing left to pick up. Then its safe to bottle without worrying about where the racking cane is sat.

 
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:34 PM   #5
Taise
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So you wouldn't recommend trying to put a filter or something on the source side of the siphon?

 
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:58 PM   #6
tinman1
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I transfer my meads at least 4 times. 30+ days in primary, then rack 3-4 more times onto gelatin until crystal clear and no lees (about every 2-3 weeks).Even when making sparkling mead this works. Brewing beer teaches patience- mead takes it to the next level....

 
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taise
So you wouldn't recommend trying to put a filter or something on the source side of the siphon?
I use a small piece of a paint straining filter rubber banded to the source end of my siphon hose when I'm bottling my JAOM, but this only keeps large particles from being sucked up. Also you should use a racking cane with a clamp on the top of the carboy to keep the end from sitting on the bottom and agitating the lees. A chip clip works good for this.
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Old 04-02-2012, 01:06 AM   #8
ExoticMeadMaker
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Time, gravity, rackings are your best filters. To reduce lees being transferred, keep your carboy tilted, I use a couple layers of cardboard wedged under 1 side. this keeps the lees on the down hill side. so when you rack, gently level out the carboy, give it 5-10 mins for the little swirlies settle down and then rack from the previous uphill side. It also helps to rack just below the surface following the surface level down as you rack,. Also slow the suction down some when you reach the bottom by pinching the siphon hose.
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Old 04-02-2012, 07:15 AM   #9
TheBrewingMedic
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Agree with Exotic, while some argue that the more times you rack the more opportunities you give yourself for oxidation or contamination, not leaving a ton of headspace and thorough sanitizing greatly reduces the risks.

3-4 rackings seems to be the average I've found to get to crystal clear batches with no sediment. I also use an autosiphon it provides a less turbulent start to the siphoning, less splashing in the receiving container both help prevent unnecessary aeration, plus the cap on the source end keeps you up off the lees so you're not carrying any into your clean container.
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