A tried-and-true method for producing crystal clear homebrewed beverages more quickly is by cold crashing it. Almost all brewers are familiar with the cold crashing technique.
The process of precipitating the yeast or tartaric acid crystals in wine, this procedure used for centuries. However, most mead brewers utilize cold crashing for a purpose that is slightly different.
Before trying to stabilize secondary fermentation, and bottling or kegging homebrew mead, the heat is quickly lowered through the process of cold crashing.
To cold crash your mead, all you have to do is quickly cool it to a temperature that is as close to 33° F as you can.
What Exactly Is a Mead Cold Crashing?
After the brewing process is finished, you can cold crash your beer by lowering the temperature to just below freezing. Before kegging or bottling, it should be the final thing you do.
After completing fermentation, you want to give the yeast enough time to clean up. There are other techniques but cold crashing is the most effective method to maintain the flavours and clarity of your mead.
The cooler temperatures will preserve a variety of advantageous volatile compounds and stop the metabolisms from producing undesirable flavours.
It is the least invasive way to stop a mead fermentation!
The Right Time to Cold Crash Mead
Most people cold-crash their beer when it is in the final stages of primary fermentation, and yet before all the sugar has been consumed. You should begin the process when the mead attains desired sweetness.
However, relying on the desired level of taste and flavour, the type of yeast used, and the brewing heat used, the period of cold crashing mead may change.
Brewers usually don’t initiate the process before the SG level drops below 1.030 because it becomes more difficult to cold crash the further sugar is left.
A final SG of around 1.020 indicates 4.5% alcohol for a good sweet preliminary step, but it varies depending on how much honey you’ve added to your mead!
The best thing users can do is to taste your mead even as fermentation progresses to figure out when precisely to cold crash it! Take a sample each day and decide if it is too sweet or just too dry for your taste.
You might want to wait to cold crash your mead till after secondary fermentation if you decide to go ahead with it. Alternatively, you will need to repeat the process. Two cold crashes won’t harm your mead.
How to Cold Crash Mead: Explanations with Multiple Steps
Cold crashing is an excellent method for producing cleaner mead and is ideal for yeast strains that are difficult to flocculate. But how to cold crash mead?
Well, it’s also very simple and doesn’t involve any crashing, except if you slip the container. The steps for the cold crashing procedure are as follows:
Allow Your Mead to Ferment
You must first wait for your mead to complete fermenting. Based on the yeast strain utilized, this could consider taking one to three weeks.
Observe reliable gravity readings over a week with a hydrometer or refractor to confirm that your yeast has finished fermenting.
Put Your Fermentation Vessel in a Cool Place
Place the fermentation container or glass carboy with the mead still inside into the refrigerator or a freezer with a temperature regulation that is just above freezing once your mead has finalized fermenting.
33–40°F ought to be the ideal temperature range. Place it in the fridge for 3-6 days. Mead can be stored in the refrigerator for a few weeks if it isn’t cleared.
More sediment will settle just on the bottom as you wait longer. This will end up causing the yeast to stop brewing, flocculate, and fall underneath the fermenter.
Put Your Mead in a Separate Vessel
Use an auto-siphon and carefully pour your mead into a new container once the yeast has settled to the bottom.
It is the best technique because it reduces the possibility of disturbing the yeast and starting a second fermentation.
You can either wait for mead to end stabilizing at this point or start the bottling procedure.
Why Is Cold Crashing Preferable?
The major advantages of cold crashing are, it stops fermentation and stabilizes the mead, and can clear it up. There is a science behind this but the basic understanding is that it facilitates yeast flocculation.
The process eliminates some unwelcome flavours, lessens acidity levels, and softens the mead’s harshness. It offers more residual sugar, results making the mead sweeter.
It can lessen the concentration of tannins and causes yeast cells to precipitate. It may also lower the concentration of fuel alcohols.
In bottles, your beer will undoubtedly gradually clarify over time, but cold crashing will avoid packaging a lot of sediment in the first place.
Cold crashing doesn’t influence the final product’s flavour more. After primary fermentation, cold crashing brings the temperature of the mead to almost freezing. Secondary fermentation is still possible despite this.
Your mead may contain yeast, resulting in a cloudy final product or an unpolished flavour. It’s important to keep in mind that cold-crashing mead can help with the issue but it does not prevent yeast growth.
Cold crashing is the concept of clearing mead or stopping fermentation by putting mead in a refrigerator. Mead is coldly crushed to clear it up and get rid of bothersome yeast strains.
So, let your mead finish fermenting, put the container in the refrigerator or another area with nearly cold temps, and then slowly pour or siphon the mead into a new container.
Keep in mind that yeast is not killed by cold crashing mead. Mead which has undergone cold crashing has a better flavour.
Mead is cold-crumbled to maintain the mead’s flavours. The method is greatly influenced by the type of yeast used and the stage of fermentation at which the cold crashing is carried out.
You can get excellent fruity flavours and sweetness in your mead by cold crashing.