This weekend, I racked (transferred) the cherry mead from the fermenting bucket into a glass carboy, to get it off the fruit and start clarifying. I started with a bucket because it has more room top for bubbles while fermenting and it is easier to get all 12 pounds of cherries in and out.
- airlock and rubber stopper
- racking cane
- siphon hose
- 2 stainless steel bowls
- stainless steel strainer
- bucket for sanitizer
- clean towel (to place sanitized items on)
With all brewing projects, it is important that everything be clean and sanitized. I start by filling the carboy with sanitizer. After the carboy was sanitized, I transfer the sanitizer to a 5 gallon bucket. I’ve learned is that you don’t dump out the sanitizer until you are done, even if it means that you need an extra bucket.
Once everything was sanitized, I started with a standard siphon. This is a great time to collect a sample for tasting, and I had a cup handy. While siphoning, it is possible to lift the racking cane up, off the bottom, allowing clear mead from the middle of the bucket to flow. It was a very nice pink, nice aroma and tasted great. It was just on the dry side, with some tartness and some fruit flavor.
When I had all I could siphon (and taste), I put the strainer in the really large metal bowl and began dumping from the bucket into the strainer. The bowl was filling so I stopped and dumped the liquid into the carboy and then continued until the bucket was empty.
After emptying the really large metal bowl into the carboy, I used the smaller bowl to squeeze the cherries and collect any remaining juice. This worked really well and netted about 1/2 gallon of liquid.
This process stirs up the mead quite a bit, which is not a good thing. I didn’t want to stir in oxygen or bacteria, so I worked as gently as I could. After everything was in the carboy I stopped it up with an airlock and moved it to the basement. The yeast and sediment that was stirred up is already beginning to settle.
The next part is the hardest, even though it requires the least amount of work from me, waiting until it’s ready to bottle.