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Filtering and Aging

ddavis1979

NewBee
Registered Member
Dec 30, 2017
35
0
0
Virginia
I have read that some mead makers like to filter their mead. Is that common practice and what kind of filter do you use? I ran a small portion through a coffee filter, and it was still pretty cloudy, although there was a noticeable difference in clarity. I put that filtered mead in a bottle with a screw cap and put it back in the fridge for a week. There was still some sediment at the bottom of the bottle at the end of the week, and I poured a taste test off the relatively clear top. WOW! Super strong alcohol taste, VERY dry, and not very pleasant. I left a portion unfiltered which I did a side-by-side taste test, and I found the unfiltered rather enjoyable. Maybe I like the taste of old yeast? What are your thoughts.

Now, this mead has not aged much at all, which I understand it gets better with age. I also understand that the aging process is best in a cool dark environment. I do not have a cellar, is aging the mead in the refrigerator a bad idea? What are the effects of aging in fridge opposed to aging in a closet at 70degreesF? Fridge is 40-42degreesF.
 

Stasis

Honey Master
Registered Member
Jan 10, 2014
1,123
9
38
Malta
Age it and not in the fridge

Forget everything else you mention. Forget using coffee filters in mead unless you're filtering herbs or something. The super strong alcohol is fusels and it's probably throughout the whole batch. Don't try tweaking much, don't try taste testing much. It needs to age. My guess would be at least 1-2 years... :(

Btw you don't mention the gravity, what type of mead this is and how long ago it stopped fermenting
 

ddavis1979

NewBee
Registered Member
Dec 30, 2017
35
0
0
Virginia
Hi Stasis, thanks for the response. I was using a specific example for a more general question, and I wasn't trying to filter out fusels but yeast that was still suspended.

I didn't get the OG (typical noob) but mixed 3 lbs clover honey into 1 gal container and filled rest with water. The SG at this time was a perfect 1.000. I used the Red Star Premier Cuvee Yeast which has a reputation for staying suspended. I pitched the yeast on 18 December, I check gravity when bubbler activity slowed to 1 bubble per 45 secs (previously 5-6 secs) and got the 1.000 reading which I read was a good time to be done with initial fermentation. I racked the mead, added potassium sorbate and let sit in the fridge for 5 days. The must was still pretty cloudy and I read about some folks filtering. So I filtered some of it, separated it, and left the rest in the bottom of the bottle after some back sweeting, and left in fridge for another 3-4 days and gave it a taste test. I wasn't expecting greatness at all, I assumed that some of it would be off due to fusels, but I was pleasantly surprised at the good flavor from the unfiltered must that still had lees in the bottom, and surprised at the strong taste of the filtered mead......but all of it is still a little cloudy, and its aging right now out of the fridge, but its still pretty cold in the garage where its aging....50-55 degrees F at the most.
 

Stasis

Honey Master
Registered Member
Jan 10, 2014
1,123
9
38
Malta
I wouldn't try filtering anything with coffee filters, not even the yeast. How could you use them as a filter anyway, passing your must through the filter would introduce way too much air into your mead. Even while racking I'm super careful that I splash the least possible. It's impossible to filter fusel alcohol since alcohol is less dense than water so that never crossed my mind.
It seems to me you're fretting about this batch too much way too soon. Your ferment was probably not even really over before you racked. Then you added sorbate to an active (albeit slow) ferment without adding sulphites? Then backsweetened.... slow down there.

If I started a mead on the 18th of December it would usually take 3 weeks for the ferment to really finish. That means it would be ready towards the 10th of January. After that I'd have to wait for the yeast to settle down, form lees and become compact. However, I would also be gently stirring the mead in the meantime. This should take a minimum of 2 weeks which means the 28th of January... So by now I *might* have just racked the mead for the first time and had a small taste to gauge how much I want to age before I start tweaking. With a bunch of fusels I would have left it for a couple of months before tasting again. I wouldn't cold crash, I wouldn't anything because it's pointless since I have to wait so long anyway. When the lees start piling up I would rack gently and add some sulphites to counteract oxidation. No sorbate until just before I sweeten and I don't sweeten until just before I bottle.

Everything you did could have been too soon which sometimes can be worse than doing nothing at all.
P.s About that taste test, were they backsweetened to the exact same gravity and did they both keep that exact gravity? If not the taste test might just stating that sweetness covers defects which for most people it does.
 

ddavis1979

NewBee
Registered Member
Dec 30, 2017
35
0
0
Virginia
You know, you can get a lot of different advice from a lot of different people. The dude at the brew shop, who also makes mead, said that sulfates were not necessary and just use sorbate to stabilize yeast. I tried following instructions on that about adding the sorbate and cold crashing and waiting for 4-6 days. Other mead makers were filtering, but I am finding that to be very different, very expensive filters (not coffee filters) and I wasn't real sure about the introduction of air with the filter. And yes, the back sweeten with honey was to cover defects and I am not sure it was the same gravity at this point.

I have a 2nd batch that I am being more disciplined with and trying more improved procedures. What do you do if its taking a super long time for the yeast to settle down? Do you rack anyway?
 

Stasis

Honey Master
Registered Member
Jan 10, 2014
1,123
9
38
Malta
You know, you can get a lot of different advice from a lot of different people. The dude at the brew shop, who also makes mead, said that sulfates were not necessary and just use sorbate to stabilize yeast.

This is why taking advice is good but you should not take it blindly, not even my advice. If you're still unsure of what role sulphites have google it up and find some good articles on the subject. Sulfites aren't only used to stabilize anyway, they're used to counter oxidation especially after racking. Even if the mead still tastes good after not using sulfites, perhaps it would have tasted better if you did. Make sure the article isn't just a page uploaded by a hobbyist because hobbyists have a tendency to do something their own way even if it's the wrong way and they also expect that it should work for everyone. Meanwhile it will be impossible for you to replicate what that hobbyist does and your different technique (or different ways/reasons for causing stalled ferments) might mean sorbate isn't enough. Try to find something a bit official.
 

Squatchy

Lifetime GotMead Patron
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Nov 3, 2014
5,272
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Denver
. The dude at the brew shop, who also makes mead, said that sulfates were not necessary and just use sorbate to stabilize yeast.

So this is living proof that you really need to either find someone you know that is an informed mead maker. And/or find proof yourself. This guys advice is totally wrong. If you do this you will get an off flavor at some point that smells like Geraniums. This won't happen if you use sorbate and sulfites together properly.

Some batches clear faster than others. It won't clear very fast at all if you have CO2 still left in suspension. I'm guessing you do because you are overly concerned about oxidation. BTW. If you understand and do the proper protocol with Sulfites. You won't need to worry about oxidation. Once again an area too many people have never learned the truth about. Coffe filters won't do crap for mead other than large particulates. Every flavor and every fault will flow right through them.
 

ddavis1979

NewBee
Registered Member
Dec 30, 2017
35
0
0
Virginia
So you bring up a very interesting philosophy and mindset....also I guess why some of the words are thoughtfully chosen as "Modern" mead making.

On one hand, you have the idea that mead making has been around for thousands of years where special honey and special yeast, and hydrometers and all those modern concepts weren't part of the issue and people still had mead. However, its also true that we don't really know how long it took or how good it tasted, or how many batches failed with no sanitizer.

I am a hobbyist of many hobbies, and I know that similar communities of getting aquariums and fish tanks up and going with nitrogen cycles and water testing can be overly technical and OCD at unnecessary levels. Didn't know if this was the same. Given the recipes and styles of mead making and the vast difference, it lends itself in the direction. You have you tubers using plastic milk jugs and bread yeast and claiming to drink wonderful mead beverages in 30 days. In stark contrast you have special yeast, special honey, degassing, racking and sulfates, and 18 month aging processes before you have anything remotely drinkable.

I am a curious person who likes knowing the right way and sometimes trying my own methods anyway, so I really appreciate your patience and advice. I already have purchased more honey for future batches and as I do more and learn more and listen more, I will get different and more successful batches of mead. Thanks squatchy and statis and others, and I will keep the newbee questions coming.
 

Squatchy

Lifetime GotMead Patron
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Nov 3, 2014
5,272
95
48
Denver
, and 18 month aging processes before you have anything remotely drinkable.


With todays modern practices like what I teach in the podcast. You can have very drinkable mead right after it gets done fermenting. I took a brand new guy who had never made a single batch in his life. He followed my instructions to the t. He wond 2 medals out of 2 meads only 11 weeks after pitch.

You tube is the last place to find anything good about mead making. Except for a very rare few. Look up the Gotmeadlive podcast and start at 9/5 if you want a step by step rundown on how to do make great meads in very short order.
 

northstar

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 2, 2021
2
0
1
Vancouver, British Columbia
Can you filter mead after back sweetening? I have filter it a few times with a Buon vino filter and it really improves the optics, it gets a nice sparkling clarity and more rounded flavour, I have a back sweetened mead that has been bulk aging for 3 months, it is clear and nice, but I was thinking about filtering to see if it makes any difference, someone said the high sugar content will block the pads (I back sweetened with honey), any thoughts on this?
 

Maylar

Got Mead? Patron
GotMead Patron
May 23, 2015
604
53
28
Connecticut
If it's been sitting for 3 months then most of the honey haze has probably settled. Yes, you can definitely filter it.
 

Merry Mead Maker

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 12, 2021
1
0
1
roberts creek bc canada
My lid fell off my carboy of mead last night for 12 hours and I just put it back on this morning. It has been working it's magic for 6 months now and is ready to bottle. Will it be OK? It tastes fine but I am worried about it turning to vinegar now.

It is a beautiful Peach elderflower rose mead.

I was hoping to get it out to friends on Valentines Day... will they need to drink it straight away?

Thanks for your guidance!
Renee
 

EricHartman

Lifetime GotMead Patron
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Mar 4, 2019
488
148
43
Indiana
My lid fell off my carboy of mead last night for 12 hours and I just put it back on this morning. It has been working it's magic for 6 months now and is ready to bottle. Will it be OK? It tastes fine but I am worried about it turning to vinegar now.

It is a beautiful Peach elderflower rose mead.

I was hoping to get it out to friends on Valentines Day... will they need to drink it straight away?

Thanks for your guidance!
Renee

Its probably going to be ok. Your ABV is likely high enough to give most single celled organisms a VERY bad day. On top of that is that there is still a very healthy amount of your original yeast to put a beating on anything new that shows up. Acetobacter is a concern, as it can tolerate higher ABV, but that would be pretty bad luck on some long odds!
 
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ChipSmith

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 25, 2021
19
1
3
Midland, Michigan
I’m 2 weeks into a second fermentation of a one-gallon batch made with commercial honey (2#) and a ‘champagne‘ yeast supplied with my kit from Homebrewohio. This is my first ever attempt at mead-making and I’m mother-henning it. I did not get an OG, but after racking into a sterilized gallon jug I got an SG of 1.03. The batch is still bubbling and may be clearing slightly ( or I’m wishful thinking it). My instructions say to racking in to a third fermentation a three weeks, but I would like a better indicator of when it is time for a third racking. Please enlighten me, O Master-Meaders! Thanx.
 

EricHartman

Lifetime GotMead Patron
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Mar 4, 2019
488
148
43
Indiana
So what you want to do is wait until the sg, in your primary vessel, is stable over a few readings taken over a week or more. Once this is done place your vessel in a fridge or some other cold, non freezing, location for a 10-14 days. This is called a cold crash. It will help with clearing dramatically. Then gently rack into your second vessel and you are now in the secondary.

So what I would do with where you are is treat this as primary and cold crash once your sg stops changing as directed above. Once you've completed the cold crash and rack you don't need to rack a bunch or on a schedule. Every racking leads to losses so try not to do it unless there's a purpose to it (after using fining agents or added some fruit and need to get the mead off the fruit, etc). Dusting on the bottom of the vessel is expected.
 
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