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beninak
04-07-2007, 07:02 AM
Hi guys sorry for such a basic question, but i notice alot of ppl here talk about "bulk aging". I assume it means aging in the secondary fermenter, is this right?

If so, how does bulk aging affect a mead differently than aging in the bottle? I know for my first batch, i might have bottled it a little too soon because i was anxious to free up my carboy to start a new batch, but am hoping it will age well in the bottles. (Hoping if i keep myself busy/distracted making new batches i'll forget about my bottles and they'll have a chance to age!)

wayneb
04-07-2007, 07:59 PM
Yes, you are correct. Bulk aging means aging in a large vessel, and for those of us without access to oak barrels it usually means aging in a carboy. Bulk aging has the benefit of introducing less oxygen into the mead during the aging process, along with allowing the mead to rest on fine lees a little longer than when quickly bottled as well as allowing some time to introduce a little oak (via chips or cubes), which results in a flavor profile that is different from that of a mead bottled quickly and aged in the bottle.

However, as long as your mead has completely cleared there is nothing wrong with bottling early. I think you'll be satisfied with the result if you can remain patient enough to allow your currently bottled batch to age for a year or so! ;D

ucflumberjack
04-07-2007, 09:44 PM
another thing is that your mead is less resistant to changes in temperature when its in one big batch as aposed to when its in bottles. also when you mead starts aging and you taste it you can add oak or spices or fruit or whatever, if its bottled you really cant change it at all. but, as previously stated, it ages well in bottles too.

Oskaar
04-08-2007, 12:44 AM
Bulk aging presents several key benefits to the home mead maker, which in my estimation are:

1. Visualization: it is much easier to see what is going on in and around your carboy than it is to inspect each bottle of a batch you bottled several weeks earlier. Airlock activity, sedimentation, stratification, infections and secondary fermenations are all easier to visualize in bulk storage (kegs would be an exception)

2. Manipulation: it is easier, safer and more convinient to treat your mead in bulk vessels than in bottles, growlers, etc. By treatment I mean, oak, tannin, spice, fruit, pH, etc. Blending is also easier from bulk vessels into another bulk vessel.

3. Stabilization: in a couple of senses of the word, stabilization is simpler. The bulk vessel is less susceptible to temperature swings than bottles. It is easier to stabilize a batch in bulk because it's all in one place, and any stabilization steps you take will affect the entire batch instead of a portion of the batch. Bulk aging is also less susceptible to vibrations due to the size and weight of the vessels, whereas bottles on a shelf will transmit vibrations more readily, while the rack may even amplify vibrations.

4. Relaxation: more gradual esterifcation, phenolic evolution, oxydation, oak character extraction (if used or stored in oak) The volume of the mead will tend to act as a control in many cases.

4. Comparison: less mead is consumed when thieving samples from bulk than when opening a bottle. (that is unless you're planning a spillage party, then all bets are off!)

Cheers,

Oskaar

Arjan
07-11-2007, 05:51 AM
besides quite a few glass carboys i got quite a few of those plastic fermenters (2x60L and 8x25L) .. (yep i know.. i bought ALOT..but it was for an egg ;) )

so my question is, should i use the plastic fermenters for bulk aging (with or without an air lock) or stick to bulk aging in the glass carboys?

cheers
Arjan

Oskaar
07-11-2007, 09:13 AM
besides quite a few glass carboys i got quite a few of those plastic fermenters (2x60L and 8x25L) .. (yep i know.. i bought ALOT..but it was for an egg ;) )

so my question is, should i use the plastic fermenters for bulk aging (with or without an air lock) or stick to bulk aging in the glass carboys?

cheers
Arjan



Stick with glass, over time (more than several months or a year) the alcohol will eventually begin to leech flavor from the plastic. I've done it for as much as almost two years and really not noticed any off flavors, but I prefer and use glass.

Oskaar