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Yarmur
07-09-2006, 02:28 PM
Good Day All,

I am curious if there are any persons out there that age there mead in the mid 70's temperature range. I live in LA (lower Alabama or actually, it is really the panhandle of Florida but the rest of the state doesn't acknowledge us west of Tallahasse - a little tidbit of info). Anyway, back to the point. Temperatures right now are in the upper 90's with the heat index pushing it to the 105 degree range. Extremely warm!

I have a small room that I can put a window unit in and keep it around 75 degrees w/o killing me on the utility bill. Is it really critical to age the mead at the cellar temps that most of you do? The local winemaker I spoke to, when I inquired about his operation, told me that he ages at room temperature and makes sure the temp doesn't fluctuate a whole bunch.

Just curious what temp ya'll in the South age at. I have already investigated and old refrigerator with a temperature control module but I will quickly run out of room and rather spend the money on a window unit.

Before I go this route I wanted some input to be sure that I don't waste a whole lot of money on ingredients only to make a horrible product in the end. If I absolutley need lower temperatures, I will just cut back my on plans and only make enough that I can fit in the fridge.

Appreciate your comments; have a good day.


Chris

GrantLee63
07-09-2006, 04:53 PM
My basement temps up here in the Great White North runs between 68 and 72 degrees in the summer (thanks to central air) and about 10 degrees cooler during the frigid winters we get. Temperatures gradually flucuate depending on the season.

If you can maintain your temps with your window AC at 75 plus or minus 5 degrees, I don't think you will have any problems - your local winemaker is correct in that you do not want wild temperature fluctuations .....

JamesP
07-09-2006, 06:37 PM
I'm no chemist, but the higher the temperature the faster the chemical reactions occur.

Also, avoiding temperature fluctuations is important.

So, go for a lower temperature if you want your mead to change/age at a lower rate, but aim for reduced temperature fluctuations if possible.

Maybe, a smaller quantity in the fridge (lower temps), and the rest age at a higher temps in the room via the window unit.
Given that window units cut in and out (so does a fridge), you could be pedantic and keep them in a semi-insulated crate to reduce the air temp fluctuations, but you would then have to have the room temp cooler to compensate for the semi-insulation.

Just my thoughts.

Dan McFeeley
07-10-2006, 09:18 AM
Just a cautionary note -- aging in a refrigerator isn't a good idea. Aging wine is sensitive to temperature flucations and vibrations. Neither of them do the wine any good. Although a refrigerator can give you nice even temperatures, the motor vibrations may likely harm wine over time. I'm assuming (and open to corrections!) that mead and beer are the same.

matt_maples
07-11-2006, 05:13 PM
Dan;

You’re a knowledgeable man and I respect your opinion. Can you explain the vibration issue? I can conceptually understand about temp flux and its effect on maturation and oxidation but vibration???


Matt

Dan McFeeley
07-12-2006, 05:05 AM
Dan;

You’re a knowledgeable man and I respect your opinion. Can you explain the vibration issue? I can conceptually understand about temp flux and its effect on maturation and oxidation but vibration???


I haven't come across a comprehensive explanation for why vibrations can be detrimental to wine, mostly warnings about it with problems that may arise from stirring the sediment up.

http://www.exploringwine.info/2006/what-you-need-to-know-about-storing-wine.php

I'd guess that this mostly comes from observations of aging problems in wine cellars where there had been various kinds of vibrations, probably from nearby electric motors.

Here's a few other ones:

http://www.val-joanis.com/tips2.htm

http://wineracks.vigilantinc.com/wine-experts101.asp

http://ourhouse.ninemsn.com.au/ourhouse/factsheets/db/tips/02/227.asp

gnome
07-12-2006, 06:57 AM
So ageing, storing wine and mead in a wine cooler is probably a bad Idea? I currently have a 60 bottle wine cooler that I use to age the bottles. :-\

Oskaar
07-12-2006, 08:49 AM
Howdy,

Most good wine cellars are manufactured so that the vibration is not a concern. However on a piece of equipment that is not specifically intended for long term aging of wine I doubt the same spec is followed. Most enophiles that have invested in a good wine cellar are pretty much anal-retentive-huns about their wine and putting it into a device that would ultimately shake it to pieces is not a move they would make, especially since many of them hold and resell for profit.

Word would get out pretty fast in the afficionado community if someone had been using a certain type of cellar that caused the quality of the wine to degrade over time. Higher end wine stores like the one where I go sell a lot of these cellars and they're about as persnickity as they come. I think that a lot of these wine cellars are so pickin' heavy for precisely that reason; stability so as to minimize vibration.

As far as the vibration of the wine goes, it's my understanding that there's not a lot of consensus about exactly how bad vibration is for wine, or even why it's bad. I avoid vibration because I don't want to disturb a wine's sediment, in my mind it messes up the fine grain tannin character on the finish.

I feel that vibration over time will agitate a wine, which could speed up the chemical reactions going on inside the bottle. From a pragmatic standpoint vibration introduces kinetic energy into the bottle, and this added activity, in my eyes, will affect the process of aging. Vibration certainly won't help your wine, so I just factor it out of my aging strategy as much as possible and practical.

Hope that helps,

Oskaar

lostnbronx
07-12-2006, 12:47 PM
Question here for whoever,

Temp fluctuations are generally considered to be quite detrimental to wine and (I assume) mead in storage. Can anyone elaborate on the type of damage it causes?

-David

Dan McFeeley
07-12-2006, 01:03 PM
It can cause expansion and contraction of the contents, which can loosen the cork.

matt_maples
07-12-2006, 01:19 PM
Thanks guys.

Yarmur
07-12-2006, 04:33 PM
Thanks for all of the replies.


Chris

lostnbronx
07-12-2006, 07:24 PM
It can cause expansion and contraction of the contents, which can loosen the cork.


Is this the only problem caused by temp fluctuations? If so, then wouldn't alternative capping systems protect bottles?

-David

WRATHWILDE
07-12-2006, 08:08 PM
Some Articles to Consider...

How Temperature Affects the Aging of Wine (http://www.wineperspective.com/STORAGE%20TEMPERATURE%20&%20AGING.htm)

Cellaring: Myths and Realities (http://manageyourcellar.blogspot.com/2005/10/cellaring-myths-and-realities.html)

Heat might be slightly less of a problem with mead... but I haven't found any studies on effects of heat on Mead. Better safe than sorry, better to keep things cool.

Wrathwilde