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Old 02-23-2013, 07:47 AM   #1
ThirstyVine
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Hi everyone,

This is my first time making mead and I have recently just made my first batch of JAOM. I followed the recipe without making any changes, but I have some questions about the future process.

1. When the 2 month period is up do I just siphon it into bottles and drink it or should it be aged for a period of time?
2. If ageing in a second container should it have an airlock or should I just cork it in my second carboy?
3. What is secondary fermentation and why do people do it?
4. Is there anything I should add when ageing to make it tuen out better?
5. What is racking and why is it used and should I do it?

I have a heap more questions but these would help for starters. Thanks in advance.

Cheers,

ThirstyVine


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Old 02-23-2013, 08:31 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThirstyVine View Post
Hi everyone,

This is my first time making mead and I have recently just made my first batch of JAOM. I followed the recipe without making any changes, but I have some questions about the future process.

1. When the 2 month period is up do I just siphon it into bottles and drink it or should it be aged for a period of time?
2. If ageing in a second container should it have an airlock or should I just cork it in my second carboy?
3. What is secondary fermentation and why do people do it?
4. Is there anything I should add when ageing to make it tuen out better?
5. What is racking and why is it used and should I do it?

I have a heap more questions but these would help for starters. Thanks in advance.

Cheers,

ThirstyVine
Most of your Q's are answered over at the gotmead forums, front page left hand side yellow dialogue box the link is "NewBee guide".

Because once the fruit has dropped in a JAO its usually an indicator that the ferment has finished and that its degassed enough, and that the yeast has reached its alcohol tolerance, so you should be able to carefully siphon a.k.a. rack it off the sediment, either straight into bottles or another container. Yet you'd have to have an idea of the quantity of cleared liquid for another container as you don't want to leave it for any real length of time with air space as that could lead to oxidation or access to spoilage organisms etc.

I tend to use a racking cane/siphon tube with a cup or inverted inlet/mouth as that helps prevent any sediment getting picked up from the bottom of the fermenter.

Plus I move the fermenter the day before I'm gonna rack as bread yeast can come back into solution very easily. Then I carefully rack lowering the tubing into the liquid to siphon off the cleared part down to maybe an inch above the sediment. To reduce racking loses I then cut the top off a 2 litre pop/soda bottle and then rack down to the sediment into that. I then cover that with some cling wrap and put it in the fridge for 24 hours. Any sediment should drop into the molded bottle feet and the last bit of liquid can be carefully be racked off.

It can be drunk at that stage, personally I like to age my meads for a minimum of 6 months. JAO is an unusual recipe in this respect, generally, young meads-especially traditional recipe ones, are not that nice to drink when just finished, they can often taste of various faults/off flavours, but age them and its like a different drink.


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Old 02-23-2013, 11:19 AM   #3
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Also, a great overview of the basics, glossary of terms, and explanations can be found at http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/ Many people tend to start there...very recommended reading. Mr. Keller also posts recipes and has a blog.
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:35 AM   #4
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Thanks for your responses. I have had a good read of the information but I still have a question. When I am bulk ageing in a carboy should I have the airlock in or should I have my stopper in the bottle so that it is air tight. Plus they mention keeping some of the must to top up the mead when you transfer it to a second carboy. If I didn't keep any would some waster be fine or just some water mixed with honey.
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Old 02-24-2013, 05:03 AM   #5
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As for your first question you should definitely use the air lock. You might have unfermented sugars and/or dormant yeast. The racking process can rouse the yeast and cause a secondary fermentation that would mean your stopper might blow. Also the main reasons to use a secondary are, it helps with clarity, and you're removing the product from the yeast cake so that you don't get autolyzed yeast ( off flavors). Not sure on the keeping some unfermented must to add to secondary. I'm no expert but I haven't read about that technique. I would suggest getting a copy of The Compleat Meadmaker by Ken Schraam.
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Old 02-24-2013, 10:30 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThirstyVine View Post
Thanks for your responses. I have had a good read of the information but I still have a question. When I am bulk ageing in a carboy should I have the airlock in or should I have my stopper in the bottle so that it is air tight. Plus they mention keeping some of the must to top up the mead when you transfer it to a second carboy. If I didn't keep any would some waster be fine or just some water mixed with honey.
Air space can give rise to oxidative spoilage, so the aim is to remove as much air/O2 as possible.

The actual topping up (removing airspace) can be accomplished literally by topping up.......with a number of liquids, each has its plus points and down points. Some provide fermentable sugars, so if the yeast hasn't reached it's alcohol tolerance, the act of racking can, as f0xtr0t suggests, start a referment. Other liquids, vodka for example, will "dry" the brew out a bit more but also can reduce "body" in the batch. Water will just dilute. A similar brew is likely the best option as long as it's not strongly flavoured as that can alter the flavour/taste profile.

There is also displacement. Using something that will raise the liquid level, sanitised childrens marbles are a good example. Yet it's often quite surprising how many you'd actually need for raising the level of the liquid 1 inch. Plus if you're using a glass fermenter, there's some breakage hazard in getting the marbles in safely, not to mention the racking losses that their presence can incur.

Equally, displacement could also be with an inert gas, especially if it's a "heavier than air" gas. This is where a handy source of CO2 comes to mind. If you have it available, you can flood any airspace with CO2 which will blanket the liquid in a protective layer and push any air/CO2 out. It can be a bit "hit and miss" as it's invisible at normal temps, but something like a tiny piece of dry ice could be dropped into the batch and you'd see the white gaseous CO2 coming out and filling the airspace and you just let it finish "dissolving" before putting an air lock or even a solid bung stopper in.

I'd guess that if you have a vacuum pump facility, you could just use that to de-gas the batch and careful removal of the pumping kit would also leave a blanket of CO2 sitting on the surface of the liquid......

See ? Lots of ideas and methods that will/could/might work. You just have to work out which is likely to suit you best and is the easiest to do given the kit and materials you have available.
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:06 AM   #7
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Dried ice seems like a cool idea. Will this harm the mead in anyway or leave any undesirable flavours?
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:06 PM   #8
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Dried ice seems like a cool idea. Will this harm the mead in anyway or leave any undesirable flavours?
Dry ice isn't easy to get here but the theory is correct i.e. a small piece dropped in then the air lock placed, the dry ice melts/dissolves into gaseous form filling the airspace and pushing any air/O2 out. Any liquid in the airlock will bubble like hell until the pressure equalises.

Aging completeted, like with any brew its best to degas (I like vacuum for that) which would remove any CO2 that remained in solution leaving you with just the to drink/bottle.
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Old 03-05-2013, 05:36 PM   #9
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My understanding of dry ice is that I would not want it in my beverage. It's not sanitized and it has a lot of particulate matter. Like sand dirt and gravel. Maybe the alcohol would offer an environment not conducive to bacteria growth. But why chance all that expensive honey?


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