How many times to rack mead?

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jdr01

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From what I have read so far it is beneficial to transfer a number of times for clarity.
I did my first mead in April using a fermenter. I transferred to a keg about three weeks ago. I just did a pressure transfer into another keg.
I was surprised when it looked fairly clear and no sediment transfering. I also took a tiny sample to taste. It was not sweet. That was what I wanted. I expected it to be a bit hot because it is so fresh. It was not.
Is this normal for a mead? I thought it would have to age for nine to twelve months.
Thanks
 

CKuhns

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To rack or not to rack that is the question.... I believe racking is beneficial and I rack until clear - Read a newspaper through it clear. But certainly not required. My sons prefer a cloudy session mead as they like the flavor profile a little better. I personably prefer a clean clear higher ABV mead mostly because it just looks nice.

Mead with proper protocol's and low alcohol <8% or there about certainly can be ready to drink in 30 - 90 days. If higher alcohol and somewhat questionable protocols then yes can take a year or more. I have had 15% mead taste OK at 6-12 months but really good at 42 to 48. (Just a few taste OK after a month or two that were Amazing at 2 years.)

Just some thoughts...
 
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jdr01

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Thanks for the input. What would the be average number of times to rack? Mine is in its third vessel.
How long in each?
 

CKuhns

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Again, I don't think there are any definitive guidelines. I defer to more general practices.

For me 3 or 4
After Primary Fermentation (8 - 45 days)
After Secondary Fermentation (10 - 60 days after primary)
If I add fruit, spices, chiles etc then I often do an extra after or during secondary. (7 - 14 days)
After clarifying prior to bottling or kegging (30 - 90 days after secondary)

The wide variety in times really depends upon a lot of factors. Amount of sugar, Yeast, temperature, air saturation, Nutrient Additions, CO2 release, clarity, additions to the mead like fruit, spices, chiles etc, etc, and then when i just cant stand not messing with it any longer. :)
Using the protocols I now practice and somewhat have perfected in large part due to the vast amount of knowledge on this forum and from other sources...
- Session meads can be ready to keg and drink on average in roughly 30 days (Yeast pitch to keg)
- High ABV more "traditional" meads typically take 120 days. (Yeast pitch to bottling)
 

Seamonkey84

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I always rack 3, maybe 4 times. First time is just before fermentation is done, so it’s still primary but finishing in a carboy. I transfer everything from bucket to a carboy, leaving behind only solids (fruits and stuff). Then once the batch is done, and basically completely cleared, I rack off the lees into secondary, getting as much of the wine/mead as possible, I don’t worry if i get a little lees in. Once it’s completely done clearing, I’ll then rack off lees again to either bulk age or to bottle.
 
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jdr01

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Thanks again for the good info.
This gives me a better understanding of the process.
 

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