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Blackberry mead sediment

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JamesB

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Oct 6, 2003
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A 15 gallon batch of blackberry mead has been fermenting on the sunporch for the past month. It was made with a few gallons worth of blackberry puree, all of which look like a clear liquid when first mixed in with the honey.

Last night I racked it. Unfortunately, there was about 2 to 3 gallons worth of sediment at the bottom. It was almost like small chunks of blackberry custard-type jello. Is there any way to avoid all this sediment in future batches? ??? ???
 

dogglebe

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Oct 14, 2003
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hbd.org
Sediment can't be avoided. To make racking easier, wrap the bottom of your racking can in a stainless steel or copper scrubbing pad (no soap). This will prevent the sediment from blocking up the siphoning tube.


Phil
 

JamesB

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Oct 6, 2003
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Sorry, but could you clarify that? Should I put the siphoning tube in a certain way? Either way, it still comes into contact with the sediment and sucks some of it up. :eek:
 

dogglebe

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The copper/stainless steel pad will act as a crude filter, preventing sediment from entering and blocking the racking tube. Attach it to the racking cane and rack as usual.


Phil
 

ronjohn55

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Oct 10, 2003
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I agree about using a filter - I usually use the little plastic lint guards for the laundry tub. The local hardware store sells them in 2 packs pretty cheap.

As for avoiding the sediment next time, there will always be some, but I prefer to not puree the fruit. I did that with blueberries and swore I'd never do it again. Freezing the berries to rupture the cell walls is one alternative.

John
 

frob23

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Dec 5, 2003
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In reply to the last response about preferring not to puree... because I was about to mention just that.

Is most of the sediment fruit particles? Probably if you have several gallons of it. Many wine sites recommend straining the must a week or two into the proccess to remove fruit (squishing the bag to get all possible juice). You are obviously too far in to bother with that -- you would risk aerating and ruining the whole batch or contaminating it in some other way. But, on the plus side, every site that mentions using fruit talks about the fact of volume reduction after removing the gunk. So no matter how you did it you could have expected a couple of gallon drop when you removed the fruit. The sites just tell the wine maker to add water up to the level they want. You may or may not choose to add water -- depends on how much you NEED 15 gallons when done.

I don't think I would add water now... not if you have hydrometer readings... I have no idea how bad this would screw up your measurements.
 

JamesB

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Oct 6, 2003
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Even if I hooked up some sort of strainer on the racking tube, it would get clogged up real quick with sludge, so I doubt it would do the job. Isn't there some other way to avoid pouring a couple of gallons down the drain? ??? :'(
 

JoeM

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Jan 9, 2004
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I used to have the same problem with blueberries...now i just strain the must through a nylon filter sack before it goes into primary.
 

JamesB

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The cans of blackberry puree were already pretty clear when they went into primary. It seems that all the sludge formed during fermentation. Next time, I'll filter it before primary, but I doubt it will do much good. :-[
 

dogglebe

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Oct 14, 2003
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"Even if I hooked up some sort of strainer on the racking tube, it would get clogged up real quick with sludge."

No, it won't. This is how I do it; it works great.


Phil
 

ThistyViking

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Nov 15, 2003
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ok, i think it is important to differentiate some here. the scrubbing pad prevents CHUNKS from blocking the Racking tube, it isn't intended to filter out yeast. yeast will not block the racking tube. I would expect to lose almost 1.5 gallons from a 15 hallon process on a home scale. Based from my losses on 6 gallon batches of just over 1/2 gallon. YMMV
 

ThistyViking

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Nov 15, 2003
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JamesB said:
Last night I racked it. Unfortunately, there was about 2 to 3 gallons worth of sediment at the bottom. It was almost like small chunks of blackberry custard-type jello. Is there any way to avoid all this sediment in future batches? ??? ???
Ok not where you are, so i don't see what you see. I take sediment like that and put in Jars and refrigerate. Tyically I can recover 25% or more as the sediment compacts and liquid rises. process takes a couple days. sometimes I'll combine and repeat for another 10% or so.

This can be stored for toping off, or dusposed of by drinking :)
 

JamesB

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Oct 6, 2003
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Results

I finally racked it a second time. A fine mesh-clothe was attached hose to catch the sludge as it went into the racking bucket. After setting it up, I first pumped some CO2 into the racking hose, enough to fill up the racking bucket.

After racking, I filtered it into the keg for artificial carbonation. Filtering required the use of double the number of filter pads since the pads kept getting clogged up. The next time around, I will use the fine mesh clothe the first time I rack it.

Thanks everybody for your suggestions and input!! ;D ;D ;D
 
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