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Thread: Racking

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Great Falls Montana
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    Default Racking

    I racked my mead about two weeks ago after the primary fermentation had effectively ended. My difference in hydrometer readings adjusted for temperature worked out to about 18 1/2 % alcohol. I have watched 15 minutes for a bubble thru the lock and not had one vent so I think it is pretty well finished fermenting. It no longer tastes funky, it just tastes real yeasty. Now that it is in a carboy, the clarity is still really poor but there is a whitish foam substance in a lacy pattern accross the top. The bottom two inches are quite white and cloudy. It does not appear to be a solid cake of yeast. Should I rack it again now or give it some more time before racking it again? I think God is teaching me patience but I am having fun and want to do this right.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Racking

    At 18 1/2% alcohol...I'm thinkin' that your fermentation is pretty complete. There's no way air is getting inside...right? Othewise I might be concerned about that whitish foam substance across the top. A vinegar mother could be described that way. On the other hand, at that alcohol level it would take a brawny acetobacter to get cranked up very quickly.
    So, I'd leave it alone until it has cleared. As long you keep fluid in the airlock it can stay in the carboy....for many, many months, if need be.
    Last edited by beemandan; 10-28-2011 at 04:59 PM.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
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    3,027

    Default Re: Racking

    How long since that rack? Racking is one of the reasons that airlock activity is a poor metric of fermentation (there are lots of others); the racking degasses the mead. Then even if it's fermenting, there appears to be little airlock activity since the CO2 has to saturate the mead again before offgassing re-begins. Frequent and frantic racking, which comes to us from the wine industry where it's important to drive off sulfites or oxidize or etc., isn't nearly as important and can even be harmful to meads. I'd let it sit... age accomplishes the clarification it sounds like you're lookig for much more safely.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Racking

    About two weeks since I racked it. I am satisfied to wait. So if the white lacing on the top keeps growing I am making vinegar? How do I figure that one out or kill it if necessary? I do not need six gallons of vinegar. I indeed have a fermentation lock with vodka in it kept filled.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Racking

    BIG MEAD THERE!

    Another way to tell if it is done is to look at the yeast alcohol tolerance compared to the current level. Also, if your reading is near 1.000 you can have greater confidence it is done.

    I do not count bubbles. I just let the thing sit a long time. I've found that racking stimulates further activity.

    If you are impatient there are things to do to clarify faster. God might want you to learn those things instead of patience. Then again, maybe God does not want you drinking. I like to think that I am turning water into wine for the wedding!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Racking

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    About two weeks since I racked it. So if the white lacing on the top keeps growing I am making vinegar?
    If you are over 18% alcohol and racked it two weeks ago....it ain't forming a visible vinegar mother that quickly. As I said earlier, an acetobacter that can survive and thrive in that level of alcohol will be very slow growing, in my experience.
    And if the carboy is sealed and has an operating airlock, those acetobacters won't be a problem.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Townsend, TN
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    206

    Default Re: Racking

    put it in a fridge to hasten clarification. only rack it again after it is 100% clear, being very carefull not to get any lees from the bottom......the yeasty taste will go away after aging, some meads take months, some years.

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