View Full Version : Bottling with Synthetic #9s

10-15-2007, 10:46 AM
Ok, I was sold some synthetic #9 corks, which I have used on about 9 bottles so far (strawberry melomel, and another batch which turned out poor, probably because it needs some ageing and never cleared (wasn't patient enough)).

Anyhow, since I am aging the one batch, in the synthetic cork'ed bottle, I read on one website, that they aren't as good for ageing than natural cork. Is that really true?

Also, do you have to turn the bottle on their sides, if you use a synthetic cork? I figured it woudln't dry up, because it is synthetic, so keeping it moist would be pointless. Anyhow, thanks for any tips, suggestions, or information!


10-15-2007, 12:37 PM
Dunno for the ageing capacities.

However for the 'moist' thing, to me, it makes sense to lay down the bottles and keep the cork in the liquid.

- The place where you have the most risk to have nasties and problem is in the 'bubble'. It makes sense to me to keep that bubble in contact with glass and your mead only. A synthetic cork is not as smooth/plane as glass, so the exposed surface is bigger - more risks.

- Should there be a leak, even tenuous (capillarity), I'd also rather have it in the liquid than in the bubble. Not only does it make it more noticeable (drops outside the bottle or bubbles inside) but it'll also reduce oxydation risks (no bubble contact)

Of course for a real cork, it should be kept drowned at all time.

I never used synthetic corks, does these slide well inside the bottler/bottle or are they more difficult than natural corks ?
How do you preparate them ? sanitize and rince ? insert moist ? dry before ? (just curious :tongue3: )

10-15-2007, 01:16 PM
There are so many things that affect the ageing process. Inside of the bottle; pH, alcohol %, residual sugar, tannins for wines, etc.

Then there the things outside of the bottle such as temp, variations in temp, size of the bottle, amount of light that reaches the bottle, color of the bottle if it is not in absolute darkness, vibrations around the bottle, and I am sure I missed a few more also.

And it seems that the only aspect that there is endless discussion about is the corks.

My 2 cents; I live in Phoenix and natural corks dry out even when the bottle is kept on its side. Therefore I use synthetic :icon_thumright:. My decision was made for me until I can get a refridgerated wine cabinet that controls humidity.

I would not stress the question of natural vs synthetic. Both are pretty good. Plus one to ehanuise's thought, 'I would always keep a bottle on its side where the cork is completely submerged with the wine'.

10-15-2007, 02:56 PM
I never used synthetic corks, does these slide well inside the bottler/bottle or are they more difficult than natural corks ?
How do you preparate them ? sanitize and rince ? insert moist ? dry before ? (just curious :tongue3: )

Since I am a complete New-Bee, I only have used the synthetic corks which were sold to me as the best I should use. I have had no problem inserting them into the bottles with my Gilda corker, however the first few attempts the cork didn't go all the way in, leaving about 2 cm of cork sticking up (didn't ever bother me).

I just sanitized the corks, rinse them and then insert them, they are hardly ever sitting in the sanitizing solution for more than 5 minutes.

My only problem with the corks I use is they have pictures of grapes on them, when I am putting them on Mead!

10-16-2007, 12:21 AM
Too funny about the grapes, I never noticed that mine have grapes on them also.

I have a floor corker and I have not had any problems with the corking process. the owner of the lhbs says other people have had the same diffuculty in getting the cork all the way inserted. I don't have the experience to help with the insertion issue, but i would say (within reason) that any cork 100% of the way in is better than any other cork 50% of the way in.

I just sanitize in a sulfite solution, no rinse, and put them in.

10-16-2007, 01:00 AM
You don't need to keep Synthetic Corks wet, storing them upright is fine. But always store real Cork bottles on their sides. I'll second that aging in a controlled environment will make more of a difference than your cork, I wouldn't sweat the difference between the two in most uncontrolled environments, unless you live in a very dry place like Liff. I'll disagree with ehanuise on the bubble issue in relation to the synthetic corks, oddly, for exactly the reason he states. Synthetic corks are not smooth at the ends, for the most part, this leaves the possibility that your synthetic cork might be harboring nasties, and if it is, it is direct contact with your mead, unlikely but possible. Also if you happen to have fermentation start back up... when the pressure pops the corks you will have a mess and lost most of your mead, if the bottle is upright and you loose a cork, you can still have that mead for dinner, nicely decanted to boot.