It’s “racking” day at the winery for the first batch of Hot For Peacher! Once fermentation is complete and all of the sugar has been turned into delicious mead, we separate all of the liquid from the “lees” in a process called racking. The lees is all the byproducts of the fermentation process that we don’t want in our tasty mead. After fermentation is done, we let the lees settle to the bottom of the fermenter, then we move the mead into a new container where we age it for about a month before bottling. “Racking” is the process of moving the mead into a new container, separating out all of the lees sediment.
The connector to the hose leading out of the fermenter has a see-through section called a sight glass. You can watch the liquid as it flows out of the fermenter, and stop it once it starts to get cloudy with sediment. We’re shining a flashlight through this connector in the picture above.
Part of the racking process for Hot For Peacher includes adding a “fining agent.” Fining agents help pull sediment out of solution, making the mead look crystal clear. We use a 100% vegan friendly fining agent with our mead. In this picture, I’m pouring the fining agent into the new container where we’re racking the mead into. We started the racking, poured in the fining agent, then finished the racking. That way as the mead flowed in, it would mix evenly with the fining agent. When making this at home you just shake the carboy a bit to mix it up. It’s not so easy to shake a 1000-gallon fermentation tank unfortunately!
Once the majority of mead was racked into the new fermenter for aging, we pulled out the shop vac to get every last drop of tasty peach jalapeño mead before dumping the lees.
The whole time we were working, we had some classic rock playing on a small Bluetooth speaker. Guns N’ Roses came on and I just couldn’t help myself to a little air guitar as we were wrapping up the day. It wasn’t the Van Halen that would have really tied the room together, but we made it work.