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Cleared Lord Rhys Mead going cloudy again...

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WildBill357

NewBee
Registered Member
Jan 4, 2017
3
0
0
I was downstairs in my man cave/workshop/brewing room and saw my chocolate mead that's been bulk aging had gone cloudy after being pretty well cleared last year...Not sure why or how this happened. I followed the Lord Rhys Chocolate Mead recipe pretty closely.
Currently I'm not too worried: it doesn't taste rancid or bad, just like it needs more time. I'm just wondering why a cleared mead would go cloudy again, and if there's anything I should be worried about. I'll be racking it sometime in the next couple months and adding another vanilla bean or two. I probably won't bottle until it's been a solid 3 years aging.

Brew notes:

Started 2/12/18
20.5lbs honey
20 oz unsweetened Cocoa powder, 6ish oz dark cocoa powder
Water to ~6 Gallons
EC-1118
Standard SNA
OG: 1.130

2/16/18: SG 1.040
6/3/18: SG 1.000
1/12/19 Racked off lees to sanitized carboy, added K Meta, Sorbate, and 2 split vanilla beans. Mead is a dark brown......flashlight will shine through, giving a dark, brownish reddish light.
12/31/19: SG 1.000, starting to get a little cloudy, flashlight comes through somewhat
2/20/20 SG 1.000, no light will come through.
 

Toxxyc

Worker Bee
Registered Member
Dec 21, 2017
364
3
18
Pretoria, South Africa
If it's lying on some kinds of lees or sediment, that could be going off or disintegrating into the mead. That would explain the cloudiness. One thing I've learned with mead is to let it age clean, and on no sediment or lees.
 

WildBill357

NewBee
Registered Member
Jan 4, 2017
3
0
0
If it's lying on some kinds of lees or sediment, that could be going off or disintegrating into the mead. That would explain the cloudiness. One thing I've learned with mead is to let it age clean, and on no sediment or lees.
that's the thing, in Jan of '19 I racked the mead off the lees. It's been clear and bulk aging for almost a year and all the sudden I can't get any light to come through the carboy.
 

bernardsmith

Got Mead? Patron
GotMead Patron
Sep 1, 2013
1,584
8
38
Saratoga Springs , NY
Hi WildBill357 - and welcome. I don't have answers but I do have some questions. You say when you racked 6/3/18 the gravity had dropped to 1.000. That means that there is still sugar in the mead that COULD be fermented. Have you checked to see if the gravity has dropped a few points since then? Now, it's possible that it's not yeast that is eating the sugar but bacteria. If it is then they might increase the acidity of the mead but the gravity might not change (if the gravity of the acids the bacteria produce is similar to the gravity level caused by the sugars in solution). Would you have measured either the TA or the pH of your mead when you racked it back in 2018?
Last question: I am somewhat surprised that your mead was bright and clear so quickly if you used cocoa powder. My experience with powder is that it takes a lifetime to drop out of suspension and when it does it tends to take just about all the flavor with it. For chocolate flavors I now tend to use cocoa beans or chocolate malt (brewing) but cocoa I leave for hot chocolate. When you shone a light through the carboy before was there no scattering of the light? (I am not sure how useful a flashlight is as a check for turbidity, I would use a laser light and if the light goes through to the other end and I can see that the diameter of the light is virtually unchanged then I call that clear). Was there no scattering or some scattering?
 

WildBill357

NewBee
Registered Member
Jan 4, 2017
3
0
0
I checked the gravity in the last week, and it's still hovering around 1.000. Unfortunately I don't have any way of measuring the pH or TA (not sure what that is).
As far as the clarity goes, during the first racking i was very careful to leave the lees undisturbed. Once in a carboy, it was clear enough to see my iphone light through it (I could see a dark reddish, brownish circle from the light through the carboy in a dark room). However, now I can't see any light come through no matter how bright of a flashlight or how dark I get the room. I surely hope this isn't caused by bacteria, it'd be a shame to have to pitch this batch for as long as I've waited. I've tasted it multiple times in the 2 years it's been going, it doesn't taste rancid or nasty, and no weird smells or floaters: just tastes like a young mead in need of aging. From everything I've read, Lord Rhys chocolate mead doesn't start getting good until 3+ years, so in general I'm not super worried but the cloudiness has me confused.

At any rate, I'm going to try racking again probably this weekend. I added an in-line filter to my vacuum racking system, in hopes it'll pull out some of the floating stuff, whatever it is.
 
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