Back in November (3 months ago) I started a batch of JAO mead.
It began fermenting steadily, yeast started to cake on the bottom and for several weeks things looked great.
I got excited and started a second batch.
Below is a picture of the two batches side by side as they stand now. If you guessed which is the oldest (had the most amount of time to ferment) you might guess wrong.
Here's a hint (that might make you guess incorrectly): When a mead is nearing the end of it's fermentation process, it generally turns clear. Most of the time, clear enough to read a newspaper through. In fact, the mead on the left is clear enough to see through, you can see a wooden bee frame through the jug, even if it is a little distorted from the curves in the jug.
Don't let the hint fool you though, the mead on the right is the oldest by almost a full month, and is by far, looking like a failed batch or one that's going to take forever to clear.
I racked the mead on the right a week ago, long after the airlock stopped showing activity, trying to get the yeast to reinvigorate and finish their task, or help cause the sediment to fall out of suspension.
The mead on the right did neither. It did not restart fermentation, nor has it clarified.
The mead on the left is one month younger, has not been racked, and is almost crystal clear (aside from the sediment at the bottom, and fruit still floating at the top).
The two meads are identical in 'almost' every way, prepared using the same process, same equipment and same environmental conditions (temperature, yeast, containers, etc). Ah, you noticed I said 'almost' did you? I suppose I should clarify.
The mead on the right was made with store bought, Schnucks brand, cheap honey. The label clearly said "pure honey" but I have to wonder since I could buy a 24 oz bottle of it for half the cost of every other honey on the shelf, what it was really made of.
The mead on the left was made with pure honey, straight from the hive.
Now that the one with store brand "honey" is not clarifying the same as the one with honey straight from the hive, I wonder if that's why there's such a significant difference in clarity.
I suppose I'll give them both a few more weeks in the fermenter (they've both shown no more signs of activity) and then bottle them (along with a taste test of course!).