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Rpche
07-29-2008, 07:11 PM
I have the equipment for bottling/corking in wine bottles. Is this the standard practice for mead?

I was thinking of also using the glass jars honey jars with the screw-on lid. Has anybody done this before?

Thanks!

:cheers:

GntlKnght
07-29-2008, 07:16 PM
I use wine bottles and nomacorc, mainly. I do some flip tops too. It really depends on where they're going and if I think I'll get the bottle back! I love the idea of the honey jars, but only if they would be consumed shortly after bottling. I'd be afraid of oxidizing the mead otherwise. It would be a very nice look, tho!!!

Have fun!

ucflumberjack
07-29-2008, 07:57 PM
i use a bottling cane.... its like a wine thief, it has a stopper in the bottom that stops the flow when its not being pushed in by the bottom of the bottle. i use 750ml bottles and some beer bottles. then I cork and cap as needed.

wayneb
07-29-2008, 10:12 PM
I bottle in whatever happens to be on hand at the time! ;) These days, that would usually be 750ml wine bottles and either nomacorcs or natural corks (depending on the aging potential I think the particular batch has). In days gone by, I've bottled in old honey jars, spaghetti sauce jars, beer bottles, bubble bath bottles -- as long as it was glass and either could be stoppered with a standard cork, or a crown cap, or a swing-top closure, it was fair game! ::)

These days I'd recommend that you use beer bottles for stuff that you want to drink sometime in the next 9 months (either swing-top or crown cap), and use wine bottles and corks for anything that you want to age. It is standard practice to bottle wine-strength meads in wine bottles, and sparkling meads in champagne bottles with appropriate closures.

Brimminghorn
07-30-2008, 09:52 AM
I use wine bottles and cork them with No. 9 natural cork and I use a floor corker to put them in the bottles. I also use beer bottles and cap them using standard crown caps and a bench capper. When using beer bottles for still mead that you want to age, I recommend waxing the the top of the bottle after its capped with bottle wax, bees wax ,or parafin, this will help keep the mead from oxidizing and you can age it longer without worry.

Cheers,
Jon

vanoob
07-30-2008, 10:01 AM
Since I'm learning and more focused on making good mead than bottling, I have settled on what I consider the easiest:

I now only use two types of bottles: 750mL champagne bottles, 12oz long-necks.

They both take the same crown caps and provide a long-term seal. When I bottle, I do about 1/2 and 1/2 each. Line them up with a sanitized cap resting on top and then come back and seal them all with the capper. I like having the 12oz when I want a glass or two or for friends who just want to try something. The best part is that in a pinch crown caps can be removed with almost any handy, hard object.

Summersolstice
07-30-2008, 10:08 AM
I rely primarily upon wine bottles, in whatever size I can get them. I came upon a great deal on seven cases of 375s a couple of years ago, and that's what I prefer since I primarily drink alone. I use standard corks and have never had a problem with my corks other than a very occasional "leaker". However, I also use swing tops and crown capped 12oz, 16oz, 22 oz, and sparkling wine bottles as well. These are for my own personal consumption and, due to esthetic reasons, not for gifts.

Medsen Fey
07-30-2008, 11:18 AM
I also use beer bottles and cap them using standard crown caps and a bench capper. When using beer bottles for still mead that you want to age, I recommend waxing the the top of the bottle after its capped with bottle wax, bees wax ,or parafin, this will help keep the mead from oxidizing and you can age it longer without worry.



I thought crown caps were supposed to be as good as screwcaps (and superior to corks)for preventing O2 exposure. Do you find bottles where your mead has oxidized through a crown cap that wasn't waxed?

wayneb
07-30-2008, 11:25 AM
Medsen, in my experience the effectiveness of crown caps is coupled to the elasticity of their inner seals. When new, they form a practically hermetic seal, but over time that changes. The seals tend to harden and shrink with age, and generally are only airtight for a couple of years, max. Still, they are a far sight better than the old agglomerated cork liners that used to be used in crown caps (and now I'm REALLY dating myself!!) which only held for 6 to 9 months under most conditions.

Brimminghorn
07-30-2008, 12:35 PM
Medson, I have had mead oxidize in 12 oz cappped bottles, but it could have the type of crown caps as Wayne noted. I have been told that crown caps are for carbonated beverages so they are not the best closure for still beverages, I guess the CO2 in sparlking beverages helps keep it from oxidizing. If I do bottle in beer bottles and plan to do some extended aging I always wax the tops it really does help, I also do this with barley wines that I plan on aging.The waxed tops look cool if you use a colored sealing wax and put a nice lable on the bottle they make excellent gifts for the holidays.

Cheers,
Jon

Oskaar
07-31-2008, 01:43 AM
I've had very good experiences with crown caps. I kept some mead for almost eleven years (unintentionally) that were crown capped and the mead was pretty stellar. It's a matter of what you're keeping, the type of crown cap (oxy adsorb, cork lined, etc) and your cellaring that in my opinion make a difference. Humidity, temperature and UV exposure swings will all really affect your mead over a number of years.

That said, I still prefer corking.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Brimminghorn
07-31-2008, 10:04 AM
So I talked to our head QC guy at work yesterday about crown caps. He said that the crimp on the bottle and the type of material that the seal is made from will determine how much oxidation can occur. Also as Oskaar noted temperature and storing conditions are also factors.

With beer, oxidation mainly steems from( D.O. or dissolved oxygen )in the beer before bottling. We test for dissolved oxygen with a D.O. meter and try to keep the levels low during racking, filtering,and etc,this is done by purging with CO2.

Cheers,
Jon

CBiebel
07-31-2008, 11:17 PM
I've had very good experiences with crown caps. I kept some mead for almost eleven years (unintentionally) that were crown capped and the mead was pretty stellar. It's a matter of what you're keeping, the type of crown cap (oxy adsorb, cork lined, etc) and your cellaring that in my opinion make a difference. Humidity, temperature and UV exposure swings will all really affect your mead over a number of years.

That said, I still prefer corking.

Cheers,

Oskaar


What about the longevity of mead in Grolsch bottles? My nephew made a really nice batch and put it in Grolsch bottles. He is thinking of trying to keep it a very long time, sampling one each year (on his birthday. It's a symbolic thing). I wasn't sure about the seals keeping up for extremely long times, though.

Brad Dahlhofer
07-31-2008, 11:30 PM
At first, I used beer bottles because I started as a homebrewer. But after I really got serious about mead, I switched to corks and wine bottles. They have a much better presentation if for no other reason. There's something much more satisfying when you break out the corkscrew.

Brad Dahlhofer
07-31-2008, 11:34 PM
What about the longevity of mead in Grolsch bottles? My nephew made a really nice batch and put it in Grolsch bottles. He is thinking of trying to keep it a very long time, sampling one each year (on his birthday. It's a symbolic thing). I wasn't sure about the seals keeping up for extremely long times, though.


I'd avoid using swing top (Grolsch) bottles for long term storage of mead. Those rubber gaskets have a reputation for drying out. Many you'll talk to will say its okay, but I'd personally use some good quality corks and dark bottles. But as Oskaar said, there is much more than just the closure to be concerned with when aging mead for a really long time.

skunkboy
08-01-2008, 08:49 PM
I've had a couple of grolsch bottles last for 4 years and a I have two left, but I'm not sure I would use them again.
I mostly bottle in wine bottles, and 1/4 wine bottles, and beer bottles at this time...

mickwallion
02-15-2010, 05:18 AM
I don't have the equipment or even space to put equipment for kegging or carbonating, so all of my stuff is always bottle conditioned. I was hoping to make a sweet or semi-sweet sparkling mead, but given these limitations, is it even possible?

The only method I can think of would be to let it ferment to close to the alcohol tolerance of the yeast, throw in extra honey/sugar, bottle, and then let it continue to ferment out. However this has some serious drawbacks, such the yeast being unpredictable and causing bottle bombs anyway, and possibly too much sediment ending up in the bottles and causing off flavors.

But I'm a complete n00b and would love to hear experienced opinions and advice.

ash
03-03-2010, 12:36 AM
I would like to know more on using sulfites to prevent glass bombs (but I would prefer not to use more chemicals than needed). And is it neccesary to sanitise all bottles and corcs ?

sry if this sounds nooby but without asking, no one learns, right ?

wayneb
03-03-2010, 11:23 AM
If you bottle a mead with any residual sugar content, it is wise to ensure that there are no more viable yeast in the bottles. This can be done one of several ways. First of all, make sure that all active fermentation has stopped. You may have dormant yeast in there, but if you have actively fermenting yeast (such that the SG is still dropping over time), then most methods to inhibit fermentation are prone to fail. Make sure that things are dormant.

The most common method to stabilize mead or wine, is to add some sulfite and some potassium sorbate shortly before bottling. The sulfites will generally prevent most dormant yeast cells from ever waking back up, and will also inhibit infection organisms and wild yeasts from taking hold. The sorbate will prevent any active cells that happen to get into your bottles from ever reproducing, so even though a few stragglers may still ferment some sugar, they usually don't amount to much, and then they quickly expire from the combined stress of ethanol and sulfite. It is important to use sulfites with the sorbate, since sorbate alone can cause other problems. You can search on the terms sorbate and geraniums to find out exactly what. ;-)

Alternately, if you have access to a wine filter and some sub-micron filter pads you can remove all the yeast from your mead. This is a rather expensive option for home winemakers, and in order to be absolutely sure that no yeast have found their way around the filter it is still a good idea to add sulfite and sorbate, so I would only filter if you have the equipment to do so.

Finally, pasteurisation is an option, but since that generally changes the flavour profile of the mead, I don't recommend it.

And yes, it is always a good idea (which means that I always do it!!) to rinse your bottles and corks with a sanitising solution. I use the no-rinse sanitiser, Star-San, since I don't want to compromise the state of my bottles by having to rinse them after treating them. However in years past I successfully used chlorine bleach, followed by a thorough rinse of plain water, with no ill effects. The Star-San is simply easier to use!