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ndbrewlady
05-14-2009, 01:07 PM
I do not have the ability to fill headspace. So I need to understand:
What does oxygenation taste like or do to a mead?
I have meads that need to age for flavor, I understand that bulk aging is best, but since I cannot fill the headspace should I just bottle them when they have cleared? ???

Thank you.

shunoshi
05-14-2009, 01:36 PM
If we're talking about a primary here, headspace is no worry. The fermentation will blanket the surface of the mead with CO2. If this is a secondary (or tertiary), I'd bottle it. Oxydization can have a stale/metallic flavor and it isn't pleasant (I haven't tried oxydized mead, but I have had oxydized beer...not good).

Just my $0.02 :)

Medsen Fey
05-14-2009, 01:50 PM
I usually flush the headspace with inert gas (or CO2) to keep the air out, and I flush it again each time I remove the airlock.

This Thread (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12441)discusses some other options.

If your mead gets oxidized it will take on a distinctive aroma like a sherry with a bit of a "nutty" character. It is generally considered a big flaw in a table wine. If you like sherry/Madeira style wines, it may be okay. I intentionally oxidize some of my mead to get this character. Smell a bit of sherry if you want to get the aroma.

Medsen

Edit - oxidation will also tend to reduce/flatten the aroma and flavor. It may also lead to excessive acetic acid/ethyl acetate.

ndbrewlady
05-14-2009, 01:57 PM
Medsen, I have read that everyone does that, I don't have any way to flush my headspace, and until I can start making stuff that people would like to drink, I find it hard to put more money into a project I already have quite a bit of money in and not a lot of luck with good tasting brew.

That is why I was wondering if I should just bottle the stuff that needs to age, I wont be able to backsweeten or anything but I would have any other issues....

Medsen Fey
05-14-2009, 02:10 PM
You can bottle things, but if in 1 year you decide they still don't taste good, you will have spent a lot of time and effort to bottle something you don't like. I suspect you are probably going to want to sweeten some of these batches a bit at some point so I think keeping it in bulk probably makes some sense.

If you don't have a bottle of private preserve to flush with, try some of the other options. Take some of the plain mead and top up your fruit batch. Or get some glass marbles or some such to fill up that space. I'm testing the mineral oil on a batch now. These are not high cost approaches. Keeping it in bulk allows you to keep your options open, and if you have a batch of mead that isn't particularly good, but isn't spoiled, you can use it for topping up other batches.

If you know it is a batch from a recipe you know you are going to like, then bottling early works just fine.

While I know you are feeling a little skeptical about mead making at the moment, now is the time to have patience. It will take your meads (other than JAO) a while (read that months) to mature. I truly believe you will see the difference around Thanksgiving.

Medsen

ndbrewlady
05-14-2009, 02:13 PM
OK, the JAO didn't work either, too cold here for that type of recipe. I am going to try another gallon of that but with a cold ferment yeast and see how that goes.

How much headspace can I have on a non-fermenting batch? I have been trying to keep them right below where the neck flares out.

Medsen Fey
05-14-2009, 02:15 PM
I'd get them up to the neck.

And as for JAO, you should be able to ferment it up there during the summer - both weeks of it! LOL.

shunoshi
05-14-2009, 02:20 PM
Or get some glass marbles or some such to fill up that space.

Marbles. That's a really great idea! I'm going to keep that one in mind.

Sadly, my JAO failed because of that same predicament; making JAO in a MN winter isn't a good idea.

Medsen Fey
05-14-2009, 02:37 PM
Yes, JAO likes it warm. Perhaps a warm corner near the furnace or water heater can be found; otherwise a brewbelt or similar device is very handy.

huntfishtrap
05-14-2009, 02:45 PM
If you don't have a bottle of private preserve to flush with,

$10 at midwestsupplies.com
http://www.midwestsupplies.com/products/site_search.aspx?SearchStr=private%20preserve

No personal experience, but they claim you can protect several carboys with it.
I'm going to try it on an order I'm placing this week for some other handy things.

Good Luck

Paul

afdoty
05-14-2009, 04:11 PM
No personal experience, but they claim you can protect several carboys with it.
I'm going to try it on an order I'm placing this week for some other handy things.

Paul, I've been useing a "Cornelius Keg CO2 Charger). Works great.

http://www.homebrewit.com/aisle/p/4990

Jason Frantz
05-14-2009, 04:35 PM
it is cold up here in Duluth to keep my JAO good and warm I kept it in a warm bath in the laundry tub. I was suprised how long water will hold its temp.

wildoates
05-15-2009, 01:11 AM
I was thinking about using my bike tire CO2 inflater...haven't tried it, but I can't think why it wouldn't work, and it's cheap, too.

afdoty
05-15-2009, 04:24 AM
I was thinking about using my bike tire CO2 inflater...haven't tried it, but I can't think why it wouldn't work, and it's cheap, too.

I just pulled out a box CO2 cartridges. They make a point that that they're 99.95% pure.....like Ivory... Maybe food grade CO2 is filtered?

huntfishtrap
05-15-2009, 02:35 PM
Maybe the food grade cartriges would fit into the bike tire inflator? I just went ahead and added one to my order. Only $10 + gas more than the private preserve. Maybe I can take a cylindar to the bike shop and see if it fits.

Paul

wildoates
05-16-2009, 12:28 AM
Heck, I don't even know what the definition of "food-grade" is!

afdoty
05-16-2009, 05:26 AM
Heck, I don't even know what the definition of "food-grade" is!

LOL, I'm not so sure what it means either. But I tend to error on the side of caution, even when it doesn’t make any logical sense. The CO2 I buy from the local brew supply place. For my nephew’s paint ball guns, I get it at the paintball gun place...and never the two shall meet.

wildoates
05-16-2009, 04:07 PM
Really! Carbon dioxide is...CO2, can't be anything else or it wouldn't be carbon dioxide, so...

afdoty
05-16-2009, 04:22 PM
Really! Carbon dioxide is...CO2, can't be anything else or it wouldn't be carbon dioxide, so...

Filtered..... unfiltered? Who knows what the differance is. For teh couple cents differance, I'll keep buying the co2 at teh brew shop and be safe.

akueck
05-16-2009, 05:38 PM
I would guess it has to do with all the other stuff that touches the CO2, most especially compressors. Some amount of oil & whatnot is bound to wind up in the gas, and there are probably different regulations on what kind of oil you can use for "food grade" compressors and "no one cares" ones. You would probably not die from using air gun CO2 for your mead headspace, but it can't hurt to use the food-grade stuff either.

Dan McFeeley
05-16-2009, 06:40 PM
Marbles. That's a really great idea! I'm going to keep that one in mind.

Sadly, my JAO failed because of that same predicament; making JAO in a MN winter isn't a good idea.

Be careful to use marbles from a pet store -- ordinary hobby or game marbles may use chemicals to color the glass that can leach into the mead.

Food grade CO2 -- try a forum search but I'm pretty sure the difference is a gas that's free from oil or other contaminants that can come from the processing. Otherwise, CO2 is CO2

huntfishtrap
05-16-2009, 08:21 PM
Food grade CO2 -- try a forum search but I'm pretty sure the difference is a gas that's free from oil or other contaminants that can come from the processing. Otherwise, CO2 is CO2

My friend used to work in a place that captured CO2 from the exhaust from an Ethanol plant. I don't know what stage it came from, but they had charcoal beds and other filters. They had to take samples for testing, and they would get in trouble if the tests didn't come out good enough, because the company got less money from lower grade CO2. I think it would be very wise to stick with food-grade.

By the way, my kid's definition of food-grade is if it can fit in their mouth, or they can gnaw off chunks, then it's food-grade.:eek::D

Paul