Author Topic: aging mead  (Read 870 times)

Offline jimrod

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aging mead
« on: May 15, 2014, 08:48:35 AM »
My mead is 6 weeks old and fermentation seems to be finished. It started at 1.150 and ended at 1.058.
I've racked into a carboy and I'm not sure if I should refrigerate or leave it out at room temperature?

It has been hot lately and I wasn't sure if 85* mead would change the taste. I can put it in the refrigerator at 40* or outside in the garage at 85* but i wasn't sure if 40* would stop any residual fermentation?

Any advise ?
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Online dkfick

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Re: aging mead
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2014, 08:51:31 AM »
Man that's super sweet.  I wouldn't be trying to stop fermentation I would be trying to get it to continue on.
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Offline jimrod

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Re: aging mead
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2014, 09:05:04 AM »
I wanted it to end at 1.035 but it just would not come down. I started with WLP Bourbon yeast then added 4 packs of dry Lav 71b and then tried re pitching with WOP high gravity yeast at the end but it didn't want to continue, the ABV was already 13%. OG 1.150 FG 1.058.

Do you think its done completely or can I squeeze a couple of points out over the next year?

I never tried to stop fermentation it did that all on its own.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2014, 09:06:46 AM by jimrod »
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Offline udubdawg

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Re: aging mead
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2014, 09:36:07 AM »
you don't need to refrigerate, but unless room temperature is also 85F just leave it at room temp and forget about it for a while.  perhaps make a dry version in the meantime...

also, I see from the other thread that this a cyser.  Did you research the nutrient requirements of the yeast?  How about pH; have you been keeping track?
« Last Edit: May 15, 2014, 09:42:53 AM by udubdawg »

Online dkfick

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Re: aging mead
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2014, 10:34:20 AM »
Sorry I misunderstood.  I thought you were looking to put it at 40 to stop fermentation.  If your options are 40F or 85F I would store it at 40F personally.  If you have some place you can set it in your basement or a closet or whatever that is 55-70ish I would just keep it there.
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Offline pete b

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Re: aging mead
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2014, 01:19:41 PM »
FWIW we leave our mead upstairs in a hallway (62-70) for 3 or four months then put it in the cellar (50-60) for a year then bottle and leave in cellar.
I should mention that we never sulfite so its important to leave fairly warm for a longish time to finish fermenting. The only problem we ever have is that very rarely a sweetish mead will carbonate a tiny bit in the bottle, and even more rarely one of those will blow a cork if it gets into the upper 90's for a week and the cellar warms up. But that's worth not putting sulfites in.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2014, 01:24:15 PM by pete b »
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Offline The Professor

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Re: aging mead
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2014, 06:59:06 PM »
I wanted it to end at 1.035 but it just would not come down. I started with WLP Bourbon yeast then added 4 packs of dry Lav 71b and then tried re pitching with WOP high gravity yeast at the end but it didn't want to continue, the ABV was already 13%. OG 1.150 FG 1.058.

Do you think its done completely or can I squeeze a couple of points out over the next year?

I never tried to stop fermentation it did that all on its own.

If you give it time, it will still go down.  The fermentation often continues, albeit very slowly. Even my standard, wine strength  meads stay in the fermenter for up to six months...and my stronger ones get 1 racking after about 8 months, and then stay in a secondary vessel for up to 2 years before I even think of bottling some off.  And then I age them for a couple years more before consuming.

Decent mead can be made quickly enough.  Really, really great meads need more patience.
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Offline pete b

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Re: aging mead
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2014, 07:21:47 PM »
I wanted it to end at 1.035 but it just would not come down. I started with WLP Bourbon yeast then added 4 packs of dry Lav 71b and then tried re pitching with WOP high gravity yeast at the end but it didn't want to continue, the ABV was already 13%. OG 1.150 FG 1.058.

Do you think its done completely or can I squeeze a couple of points out over the next year?

I never tried to stop fermentation it did that all on its own.

If you give it time, it will still go down.  The fermentation often continues, albeit very slowly. Even my standard, wine strength  meads stay in the fermenter for up to six months...and my stronger ones get 1 racking after about 8 months, and then stay in a secondary vessel for up to 2 years before I even think of bottling some off.  And then I age them for a couple years more before consuming.

Decent mead can be made quickly enough.  Really, really great meads need more patience.
Yes, I forgot to mention racking into a new carboy before going into the cellar. Also, Honey ferments slowly so it needs a lot of time in primary.
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Offline jimrod

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Re: aging mead
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2014, 06:06:23 AM »
The temperature in my part of California yesterday was 105* and its been hot all week. We don't have cellars, 85* is the coolest I can keep liquids right now.

I could keep the mostly fermented mead in the fridge until the weather breaks then move it back out in the garage were it would stay at 75*-78*

This mead is 6 weeks old and stuck at 1.058 very sweet. It is 13% ABV now.

Professor, I'll be on medicare if I wait as long as you suggest.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2014, 06:20:56 AM by jimrod »
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Offline udubdawg

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Re: aging mead
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2014, 06:44:48 AM »
if the 1.150 and 1.058 numbers are accurate you're barely above 12%.  I often wish I could get mead to stop at such a low ABV.   ;D
85F is not great but won't ruin your mead over the time period you are talking.  I'd still have it inside rather than in a constantly varying temp garage.  You've already racked it (you completely filled the carboy, right?) so I suppose I'd forget about it for a while and start figuring out what you're going to blend in.  The stuff I've enjoyed that has been this high or higher on FG has been very high alcohol or aged several years and usually both.

other than the sweetness, how's the honey/fruit balance?

Offline erockrph

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Re: aging mead
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2014, 08:14:02 AM »
I made a maple wine a while back that stalled out at 1.058. I tried everything I could think of to get it to keep fermenting. Finally I made a small starter using maple syrup and champagne yeast. I pitched it at peak activity, then set the whole thing in my up stairs closet (ambient ranges from 68-75). 10 months later I came back and it had dropped to 1.051. It is still quite sweet, but it's a lot better than it was at 1.058.

So maybe a honey/champagne yeast starter might help you out a bit. If this is a Cyser, then you could also think of adding a few quarts of apple juice when you pitch the champagne yeast. That might dilute your abv enough to keep the yeast active longer and chew down to a more reasonable level.

Also, 6 weeks is pretty early to give up on a sweet mead. I think 10 weeks is the earliest I'd even think about my first racking. Those last few points come down really slowly.

I must say that I'm glad I waited a year to package my maple wine. A seven gravity point drop could lead to some serious carbonation.
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Offline jimrod

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Re: aging mead
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2014, 10:46:02 AM »
Yes 12% is more accurate
The balance is on the honey side ( too sweet ). 

Or I could re oxygenate and feed the whole 5 gallons and hope it re starts
I could pull off a gallon, re oxygenate and pitch champagne yeast to mix it back in when its down to 1.000. 
Or make a 1 or 2 gal dry cider (6%) to mix back in. Which would be the best way?

Mixing 1 gal of 6% 1.000 cider would give me a 11.% 1.048 mead.
Mixing 2 gal of 6% 1.000 cider would give me a 10.3% 1.042 mead.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2014, 10:52:00 AM by jimrod »
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Offline Jeff M

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Re: aging mead
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2014, 11:57:39 AM »
I wonder if pitching High Tolerance Distillers yeast is an option?  I understand these kind of yeasts dont usually taste as good as brewers yeast, but the lions share of the fermentation is done.

Anyone with any info?

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Offline udubdawg

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Re: aging mead
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2014, 12:44:44 PM »
dry cider would help with the sweetness, though probably not with the relative lack of apple compared to your honey character. 

also, we really don't know why it stopped.  I still haven't seen any pH posted, or any mention of nutrients added during this fermentation.  I don't pretend to know alcohol tolerance for WLP070, but I've never had 71B stop that early which was one of the yeasts pitched.  (granted they weren't exactly pitched into a friendly environment)

It's a bit late now that 3 yeasts have been tried and the mead racked away from them, so, if it were up to me I'd probably chock this one up to the learning process and decide to do a few different things with it.  Store a gallon in a jug - it is amazing how time can mellow what initially seemed like excessive sweetness in a well-aged sweet mead.   Take another couple gallons, water the alcohol down with some apple juice, adjust pH if necessary, add some nutrients, and pitch some 71B.  Mix another gallon with dry cider to taste.  etc, etc.



Offline jimrod

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Re: aging mead
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2014, 12:47:29 AM »
I used a good nutrient program so I don't think that's the problem. I moved the 5 gal of mead to a 7 gal carboy and added 2 gal dry apple cider, FG 0.998

The addition brought the gravity down to 1.044 but the whole batch started back up and the FG is now down to 1.038 and is still churning. Maybe it hit its alcohol toxicity limit at 12% and when I lowered the ABV to 10% by diluting with the 6% cider it started back up. 

The taste has completely changed for the better.  The cider was fermented with Lalvin D47 and what a difference compared to 71b. The apple flavor really pops with the D47.

I asked this forum "what is the optimum pH range for sweet mead" and no one could answer the question. How will knowing the pH help? This pH is 4.5

https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=19041.msg242686#msg242686

 
« Last Edit: May 21, 2014, 01:20:30 AM by jimrod »
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