I have a question.

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J Gill.

New Member
Jun 24, 2019
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Hello all.
First thread, but I’ve been lurking for a while.
Barely started making mead, about 3 months, loosely following recipes and experimenting, it’s been good fun.
Now I have a question.

I’m revisiting my first recipe, a spiced apple mead (Cyser?), with new knowledge and proper equipment.

I added bentonite clay prior to racking and was left a good deal of watery lees after siphoning off the all the clear booze. Wasn’t sure what to do with it, so I put it into a container and left it open in a refrigerator. Now, after a week or so, it’s settled down again in the container with about a cup of clear on top, decided to siphon that off and had a taste.
It was delicious.
Much better than the rest of my batch, which is coming along just fine, but this small amount was sweeter, more aromatic, and didn’t assault your nose when trying to drink it.
My question is, what happened? Why is the small amount, left on lees in the fridge, leagues ahead of what have still in a carboy.
When you say left it open in the fridge... you mean like an open jar? Well if that’s the case, it’s been able to degas even though it’s cold, and the exposure to air sped up the oxidation (aging) process. It won’t be as balanced as bulk or bottle aged, at least that’s what they say with wine. Though I’ve heard that a straight mead (no fruit) doesn’t oxidize as easily as wines, which would of worked in your favor. Kind of the same idea as letting a wine breath for a while in a glass or decanter at room temp or slightly chilled. That’s my guess at least.
Yes, in a typical measuring glass with no top.
I figured it had something to do with degassing and oxidation, but such a major difference caught me by surprise I wondered if it could be that simple.
Another thought- You didn't say how long the fermentation was and if you had taken an SG reading to make sure it was finished before racking. It's possible that the sample you put in the fridge didn't ferment further, therefore was sweeter, while the rest completed fermentation. Just a guess.
Started the batch about 2 months ago, I did not get a reading, unfortunately. There was very little to no activity in the carboy when I racked it, I sampled it then as well and while the flavor was good, the alcohol burn was right up front, not nearly as smooth as what sat in the fridge.
Since then I’ve also put a small amount in the fridge from the main batch and it’s already smoother and sweeter just after a day.
Yea, it’s the degassing and oxidation. The effect of letting it breath and opening up the flavor. It happens faster in warmer temps, so try pouring a glass and letting it sit for 30mins or so before drinking (cover with a napkin to keep flies out). Younger products would need to breath longer than ones already aged for a while, but most wines taste better after letting it breath.