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When to rack?!

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WRATHWILDE

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With that yeast, I'd probably go ahead & rack it off the lees at this point. EC-1118 can impart some bitterness that takes awhile to age out, if the mead is left on the lees too long. Other yeasts like D-47 you could leave on for a year and it would be fine. I generally wait until its 1 blip every 10-30 seconds or more for my 1st racking, usually about 2-3 weeks. (edited to include the following) I tend to rack again just before it finishes fermenting... for those of you who think I'm racking too soon. I like to get it off the majority of the lees as soon as I can, just a personal preference.

Wrathwilde
 

Brewbear

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As I have been told by more experienced brewers, 30 sec interval between blips (or longer)-> time to rack!!!!

Ted
 

scout

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Really? Is that for wines, too? I have a strawberry wine that has slowed to one blip every minute and a half that I just racked into a secondary 6 days ago. I'm using a recipe from Jack Keller's site, and he says not to rack it again for 45 days. Should I go ahead and rack it again now instead?
 

Brewbear

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Silly me!!! Please allow me to correct myself, it was supposed to be 1 blip in 30 minutes not seconds. I guess sampling beer in typing do not mix.
The idea of racking off fruit is that sometimes the fruit will get a *funk* and you do not want your mel. exposed to that. The way I see it, the fruit is soaking in alcohol so no bugs will get in there. Leaving things be for a 45 day secondary should be OK, after all, Jack Keller has tons of experience, most people on this forum have more experience than I. My personal experience along with advice from people on this forum is what i am relating.
I am certain that people like Oskaar, Wrath, Da, Lostnbronx, Joe (both of them),Pewter and others will be able to answer your question more completely, they forgot more thanI hope to learn :-[

Ted
 

Oskaar

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Thirty seconds is right.

Generally, waiting until thirty minutes is not necessary, and will increase the risk of yeast stress in the primary vessel.


Cheers,

Oskaar
 

lostnbronx

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Brewbear said:
I am certain that people like Oskaar, Wrath, Da, Lostnbronx, Joe (both of them),Pewter and others will be able to answer your question more completely, they forgot more thanI hope to learn :-[

Ted
Oh, I forgot to learn what I hoped to!

Can't speak for others, but just about all I know is that the more I learn, the more I know I don't know.

Racking can be a job, or it can be an art. Learning how to do it is fairly easy, as we know. Following a rule of thumb is also easy, and generally safer than second guessing yourself. After a bit of experience with particular recipes and yeasts, you get a better sense of when to pull the must/mead off the lees, and when to let it sit. A good start is to read up on the yeast variety you are using. Nearly every manufacturer has this information readily available, or free for the asking via a friendly letter.

As Wrath points out, the yeast type can make a large difference in your approach. I tend to obsess over my batches far more than I should. My goal is to become a "set it and forget it" kind of mazer. Jack Keller's advice is good. So is Wrathwilde's. Would you be able to tell the difference between an EC-1118 mead that sat for two weeks, and one that sat for 45 days? Maybe. Maybe not. I've let meads using that yeast go several months between 1st and 2nd rackings, and I can't say as I had a noticeable problem in the flavor profile. Does that mean it's a good idea? Maybe for me it is, and for you it isn't. Or vice-versa. Or maybe not at all. We're talking about personal taste, remember, even though some things are just plain good procedure and a good idea to follow. These are not necessarily the same things for everyone, though.

If you're fielding opinions (and I assume you are), I'd rack it now. It's what you had in mind from the start, and your gut feeling is your best friend in the meadery, followed very, very closely by good information. (Actually, good sanitation techniques should be #1, but we're not talking about that right now. ;D) Wrath is dead on about EC-1118, but you might want to read up on it yourself:

http://www.lallemandwine.us/products/yeast_chart.php

Eeep! Sorry to eat a lot of your time just to say, "Rack it, baby, rack it!"

-David
 

WRATHWILDE

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lostnbronx said:
(Actually, good sanitation techniques should be #1 ;D)
I'll second that if I can get a fifth! ;) My first batch with EC-1118 was on the lees for about a month and was very bitter and took a while to age out. I don't know if it was the yeasts fault or not, but as impatient as all nubees are... if I can save him a couple of weeks aging. 8)

Wrathwilde
 

scout

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Thanks for the responses, guys. I'll see about racking tonight. I was really wondering about this because not only is it bubbling so slowly (compared to the cranberry mead sitting next to it) but it has over an inch of sediment on the bottom of the jug. Hopefully I will be moving this weekend and I don't want all that crud to get swirled back into the wine.
 

Oskaar

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I generally rack when the airlock activity is down to between 4 and 1 beat per minute. Sometimes there is a bunch of lees, sometimes there aren't. To me it depends on the yeast I'm using and what I'm going for tastewise.

I don't use a certain level of lees depth as a gauge like Pewter does because each yeast is different, and each yeast will impart favorable or unfavorable flavors accordingly. ICV D-47 is a good yeast to let lie on the lees in the primary, secondary or anywhere along with way. 71B-1122 is not good for extended lees contact so I rack when the fermentation has slowed to about 3 or 4 beats per minute.

Racking is a function of your desired end product and the yeast you are using in my opinion.

Cheers,

Oskaar
 

scout

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So whether I am looking at blips per minute or amount of sediment, I should go ahead and rack it tonight. Good to know. Think I'll pick up a couple of pounds of strawberries when I go to the store tonight to rack on top of - get some more strawberry flavor. :)
 

MacLupine

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Thanks again for all the good info!!!
I'm planning a peanut-butter mead this weekend, and then the weekend of halloween, I'm planning to do a pumpkin pie mead... that'll be three batches one right after the other for bottling in a few months, but no matter...
I'll post in the brew log so you folks can check them out.
 

scout

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Oooh, ooh! Post your Pumpkin Pie Mead recipe first so people can point out all the things wrong with it and all the things right with it. I wanna to start one in early October, and am not yet sure where I want to start. *big grins*
 

scout

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Thanks, Wrath, I looked at both of those already, and they were what was fueling my desire to make the stuff! *grins*

Hmmmm, Mac - perhaps I will then. :p Or we can make a collaborative post about it. *grins*
 

MacLupine

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Hey, how does one know when to rack for the second time? is the airlock activity any indication this time? or is it simply time and taste?
 
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