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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings ye meadmakers,

I started a mead batch on Feb 6. Primary fermentation seemed to go along at a decent speed. The must quickly developped an inch of foam and was burping the air lock about 20 times a minute. Now (Feb 23) the burping is down to about 5 per minute and the foam is receeding. There's about 2 inches of cloudy material on the bottom. At what point should I rack it into another carboy? How many burps per minute?

Cheers,

Luc
 

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No rush. Best IMO to wait until the action settles down and only the occasional bubble comes through. That way you get less junk into the secondary.

Without knowing what you are making and how, it is hard to advise.

If you are making a true mead and have not added sufficient nutrient, the batch can often get "stuck" and sit half-done for a long time. A hydrometer is useful to verify that most of the fermentation is over. A SG near water (1.00) is an indication that is the case. Sweeter meads will have higher SGs when finished than very dry meads.
 

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I'd go ahead and rack it today or tomorrow. A lot of times I lift my carboy onto the counter top the night before I'll rack to ensure all that lees settles well to the bottom. I've racked plenty of fruit meads after a primary fermentation of 10 days. The bubbles per minute will decrease significantly, but your mead will still continue to bubble as there will be residual yeast consuming sugars until the alcohol content becomes too toxic for the yeast of your particular strain. Then I'd rack again in another 2 to three months. I usually bottle after 6 months in the carboy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
... A lot of times I lift my carboy onto the counter top the night before I'll rack to ensure all that lees settles well to the bottom.....
OK. When I rack I will be using a rigid plastic tube (sorry I don't know what these are called) and some flexible plastic hose to siphon from one carboy to the other. Do I let the rigid tube go to the bottom into the lees or should I suspend it above the lees so as to not disturb it?
 

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dont disturb the lees-the point of racking is to leave them behind. clean them out of your fermenter before they dry too, they get like concrete. good luck,mike
 

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That is why it is a good idea to wait until the fermentation slows. The lees settle, even if there is still turbidity.

Also, in the early stages, oxygen is not harmful, but once the fermentation slows, a sealed environment is required and also bacteria and other invaders must be excluded.

Don't worry though, there is not just one right way. There are many variations.

As mentioned, though, clean everything thoroughly after use. the stuff gets hard to remove later.
 

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Good points on oxygenation and lees etc. Don't agonize over avoiding lees; whatever you incidentally schloop up will re-flocculate and settle out; since you'll be aging for a while in secondary (right?) they'll settle out firmly and you can bottle off them easily in a few months. There is a doodad for the end of the racking cane you can buy, basically an inverted cup, to hold the intake up out of the lees so you can just sit the racking cane in the sediment. Or just hold it.
 
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