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How does one typically blend their meads & wines? Do I need to worry about layering because of different S.G. levels or ABV levels?

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2 Answers 2

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Never had a problem with layering when I blended, but both "brews" were within 0.010 spec grav of each other. Blending each at a relatively high temperature (100o F) should help reduce any layering. After the mixture is made (and homogeneous), there shouldn't be any separation. I've made quite a few mixtures of two liquids at significantly different spec grav in my career and warming seemed to reduce any separation on cooling.

Essentially, you are mixing two solutions of alcohol and water and ethanol has one of the largest suitabilities in water. Vigorous swirling of the warmed "brews" should do the trick.

some additional info: Elevating temperature increases the kinetic energy of the molecules (in this case) and also increases the distance between the molecules. This allows other molecules, especially large bulky flavenoids, to more easily fit in the spaces between the molecules (solubility). Specific gravity is a measure of relative density (can be thought of as molecules per unit volume though the formal def is weight per volume) and when two liquids have very different densities, they will not mix easily unless mechanically stirred.

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I would be very hesitant to heat my brews after the secondary fermentation. I already don't like to heat my meads at all even during the primary. I fear that by heating them up, I will strip the aromas & flavors –  Atom Kawlness Oct 13 '11 at 0:39
    
Temperature control is the key. Keeping the temp between 70 and 100 F for a short time will avoid any negative effects. These temps are well below the boiling point of the flavenoids that give the mead/wine flavor. –  drj Oct 13 '11 at 2:16
    
Come on! I am a scientist too, and you are looking at two liquids that are largely water, and the final density post fermentation is close to the same. You are right about temp and its effect on solubility. But two room temperature meads/wines/ciders/beers will mix effortlessly when combined. They might need a quick aggitation, but nothing more than a couple stirs. You are making this more complicated than it is. The energy hurdle is extremely low to get these things to mix. Go get a red wine and a white wine, pour on top of another in a glass and tell me if they layer! Down-voting now. –  brewchez Oct 13 '11 at 12:14
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There will be zero layering. You are combining two water based solutions, they mix completely as mixed. Gravity is meaningless in this example as is temperature. Ethanol is completely dissolved in the water component of mead and cider. Remember too that mead, cider, wine and beer are mostly water!

Just blend away.

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There has to be some threshold about when not to blend though.. similar to how some shots can be layered. It may not be at the sugar thresehold or ABV measures we see with wines & meads (under 20% ABV).. but there has to be some science behind this. –  Atom Kawlness Oct 13 '11 at 0:38
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Not really (threshold). I'm a chemistry prof and what I wrote above is the science. Brewchez is correct in the comment about layering. Layering shots is a prime example of the effect of spec grav, but in what you are asking doesn't apply. Elevated temps increase the ability of the molecules to mix and stay in solution. –  drj Oct 13 '11 at 2:20
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You can't layer rum and vodka together. You can layer rum and certain sugary liquors or creme liquors, there density is helping you to do that. Most of those flavoring liquors are almost syrups. But two wines or meads are almost the same density. Regardless of ABV they mix effortlessly and will come to equilibrium in short order. Ethanol has such a low surface tension its not really the ABV that matters in the case of shots or blending wine. –  brewchez Oct 13 '11 at 12:16
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