For those who have recently started to follow this blog (welcome!), here are the previous posts about our second attempt to make mead. All links should open in new tabs, so you won’t lose track of this page. 🙂
Since then, we have been monitoring the Baby closely. While there has been virtually no visible activity in the air lock, when we looked at the liquid itself, we could see that it was clearing up, and there was a steady stream of tiny bubbles of carbonation moving upward. If the temperature dropped to 16C, we would turn on the warming pad, which would typically bring it up to about 18-19C.
Recently, its temperature would drop to 16C a lot faster, and we could no longer see the carbonation. It was looking a lot clearer, and we could see a fair bit of sedimentation at the bottom.
However, it was less than 2 weeks since we started the second fermentation. While I’ve read a mead can be ready in that time, most videos and websites I’ve been looking at showed active fermentation for about a month, and gave advice on how to reactivate fermentation if it stopped to early.
Since that was the problem we had with our first attempt, we debated. Is it done and time to bottle it? Should we rack it into another bottle to get it away from the sediment and leave it longer? Do we add something to boost the fermentation?
I’ve read various ways to boost fermentation in mead, including those that recommend adding a chemical that is used in wine making.
Or we could just add some raisins.
So that’s what we decided to do.
With a 1 gallon carboy – and it’s not full – not a lot of raisins would be needed.
We added three.
Here are photos, taken a day apart, showing before and after we added the raisins.
As you can see in the photo on the left, the mead had gotten quite clear, and there’s a pretty thick layer of sediment on the bottom. It’s hard to tell with the reflections, but in the second photo, you can actually see a couple of the raisins floating at the top. The mead is cloudier, but when we shine a light into it, we can once again see that steady stream of bubbles going up to the top.
We’ve been checking its temperature regularly and, aside from an initial warm up after adding the raisins, it’s been keeping its own temperature at 19C.
Right now, the plan is to leave it until we can no longer see those bubbles, rack it into another carboy to get it way from the sediment, then leave it for a while longer before bottling it.
A lot of the information about mead making I’m finding is conflicting, but one thing that all our sources agree on is, the longer the mead sits after bottling, the better it tastes. Most recommend at least a year.
I doubt we’ll wait that long, but with bottles at 750ml, even with having less than a gallon in the carboy (and I expect we’ll lose more after racking it again), we should still be able to get 3 – 4 full bottles out of it, so we can have one right away, then try the others at different ages.
So if we want to start a malomel (mead made with fruit) as we planned, we should pick up another air lock and two, so we can have multiple batches going at once.
You know, for someone who doesn’t actually like alcohol all that much, I find the process of making it quite enjoyable!