There are a variety of ways to clarify mead or home-made wine, including bentonite clay and egg whites (not used together). However, these methods also strip out some of the flavor. Since I was experimenting with a boutique yeast designed to keep the fruity flavors in, I didn’t want to use them. Time will usually get it done, but the mead had been sitting for a month, and the hard cider for two months, with no fermentation and no clarification at all via natural sedimentation. I’m not a patient person at the best of times and felt enough time had gone by with no results when I read about “cold shocking.”
Cold shocking is simply chilling the brew. Some articles said it killed the lingering yeast, others that it caused clumping. None of them described freezing the brew…
The mead had been sitting for a month, and the hard cider for two months, with no fermentation and no clarification at all via natural sedimentation.
I had plenty of cold outside, mostly in the forties. I put both carboys outside and there no clarification over several days. Then the temperature dropped for 48 hours with the nights down to 10 degrees F; both the cider and mead turned slushy. When I brought them inside and they thawed, the cider was totally clear.
Both carboys were racked (liquid transferred into a clean carboy, leaving most of the sediment behind) since it’s impossible to fill clear bottles with a heavy sediment layer in the carboy. In a few days, the mead was also crystal clear.