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View Full Version : Oops! - I wanted to carbonate a bottle!



Woldie
05-23-2009, 03:30 AM
So I am preparing to bottle my first batch of mead (Papazian's traditional Antopodal Mead). I did my last racking into my bottling bucket, in which was waiting 3 Campden tablets and 1 1/4 tsp of Potassium Sorbate. Right after I completed racking, my girlfriend asked if I would make a few bottles of the mead sparkling (carbonated)! Is this possible after killing off the yeast? Can I add sugar and a bit of fresh dry yeast (which is all I have) to a few bottles as I fill them and carbonate that way? Is there any way to accomplish this?

Thanks in advance for your assistance.

-Woldie

wildaho
05-23-2009, 06:27 AM
Yes you can! But it involves force carbonating! You've effectively stopped the yeast so you can't expect it to carbonate your bottles. Forcing high volumes of CO2 will get you there. I've seen some bottle carb kits, you might want to check out some of the brew supply sites. I can't remember the name of the kits but they do exist.

BBBF
05-23-2009, 10:29 AM
I've added a new package of yeast and corn sugar to a 5 gallon batch to carbonate.

Woldie
05-23-2009, 08:18 PM
Yes you can! But it involves force carbonating! You've effectively stopped the yeast so you can't expect it to carbonate your bottles. Forcing high volumes of CO2 will get you there. I've seen some bottle carb kits, you might want to check out some of the brew supply sites. I can't remember the name of the kits but they do exist.
So adding some fresh yeast and some form of sugar to a few selected bottles will not result in carbonation? I ask only because I want to carbonate 5 bottles of out the 30 total. Thanks for your reply!

akueck
05-24-2009, 10:23 PM
Adding yeast and sugar may or may not work, depending on the specifics of your mead. If you could tell us more about it, we might be able to guess whether it will work.

The most helpful information would be the OG, FG, and type of yeast you want to use for carbonation.

Woldie
05-24-2009, 10:49 PM
I followed Papazian's Antipodal recipe fairly closely.

7 kg honey (I used acacia.)
1 Tbsp Gypsum
1/4 tsp Irish Moss
4 tsp acid blend
Yeast nutrients added prior to pitching and twice during 5-week fermentation period.

I used Red Star Premier Cuvee (dry yeast) for the fermentation, and was considering using that as a bottling yeast (to compensate for my mistake). I also have access to Lalvin EC-1118 and Red Star's Montrachet and Pasteur Champagne.

OG was 1.125. I was planning on taking the final gravity today, but one week ago the gravity (I'm away from my notes at the moment) was about 1.025, if I recall correctly.

Thanks so much for your input. I'm really happy with my still mead, but would love to have honey champagne to serve to my lady.

:confused:


Adding yeast and sugar may or may not work, depending on the specifics of your mead. If you could tell us more about it, we might be able to guess whether it will work.

The most helpful information would be the OG, FG, and type of yeast you want to use for carbonation.

akueck
05-25-2009, 12:16 AM
Hmm. Well in my opinion this one is not a good candidate for bottle priming. With a FG of 1.025, there is enough sugar left to carbonate the bottles several times over if you put active yeast in there that can handle the alcohol level/pH.

The most likely sceario, if you add yeast, would be that nothing happens. It's hard to get yeast going in a finished mead. You might coax a small amount of activity out of them, which might be enough to give the bottles a very slight fizz.

If, however, you succeed in getting a healthy and hungry bunch of yeast in there, you will probably end up with exploding bottles. Once the mead starts refermenting, it will be hard to control the endpoint inside the bottles and it could go way past your intention of "sparkling". Like I said, 1.025 is enough to create several times more pressure than you need, and will definitely be enough to crack glass.

If you want to give it a try, I suggest you do the sparkling bottles in something like a plastic soda bottle (2L size works well). Mix in the yeast, you can skip additional sugar, and fill the bottle. Squeeze out the extra air and cap. When (if) the bottle becomes firm from the gas pressure, refrigerate immediately. Consume promptly, as you won't guarantee that the yeast will quit in the cold. If you are dead-set on using glass bottles (which I HIGHLY recommend AGAINST), be sure to put them in a secondary container (like a plastic bin with a lid) in case of detonation. Handle with extreme care, preferably with safety goggles and thick rubber gloves too. I would suggest long pants and long sleeves. Flying glass shards are bad. Don't risk serious injury for a few bubbles.

If you have an alternate way to carbonate besides "natural" carbonation via yeast, that would be a better way to make this mead bubbly. Force carbonation with a keg setup or bottle carbonators are good options, like Wade said.

In the future, if you would like to make sparkling mead, plan for a must that will reach about 11-12% ABV and ferment completely dry. You can prime and bottle to create a dry sparkling mead. Sweet sparklers are more difficult, and you can search the forums for lots of opinions and attempts at those.

Woldie
05-25-2009, 12:29 AM
Thanks for your advice. I wasn't aware that dry meads are better candidates for carbonation. I may try one plastic bottle of sparkling mead with this batch, but I doubt it. The still version is just too good on its own, and I'd hate to waste even a drop.

Thank you so much for taking the time to post all of this information, help and advice. It will undoubtedly prove to be invaluable.


Hmm. Well in my opinion this one is not a good candidate for bottle priming. With a FG of 1.025, there is enough sugar left to carbonate the bottles several times over if you put active yeast in there that can handle the alcohol level/pH.

The most likely sceario, if you add yeast, would be that nothing happens. It's hard to get yeast going in a finished mead. You might coax a small amount of activity out of them, which might be enough to give the bottles a very slight fizz.

If, however, you succeed in getting a healthy and hungry bunch of yeast in there, you will probably end up with exploding bottles. Once the mead starts refermenting, it will be hard to control the endpoint inside the bottles and it could go way past your intention of "sparkling". Like I said, 1.025 is enough to create several times more pressure than you need, and will definitely be enough to crack glass.

If you want to give it a try, I suggest you do the sparkling bottles in something like a plastic soda bottle (2L size works well). Mix in the yeast, you can skip additional sugar, and fill the bottle. Squeeze out the extra air and cap. When (if) the bottle becomes firm from the gas pressure, refrigerate immediately. Consume promptly, as you won't guarantee that the yeast will quit in the cold. If you are dead-set on using glass bottles (which I HIGHLY recommend AGAINST), be sure to put them in a secondary container (like a plastic bin with a lid) in case of detonation. Handle with extreme care, preferably with safety goggles and thick rubber gloves too. I would suggest long pants and long sleeves. Flying glass shards are bad. Don't risk serious injury for a few bubbles.

If you have an alternate way to carbonate besides "natural" carbonation via yeast, that would be a better way to make this mead bubbly. Force carbonation with a keg setup or bottle carbonators are good options, like Wade said.

In the future, if you would like to make sparkling mead, plan for a must that will reach about 11-12% ABV and ferment completely dry. You can prime and bottle to create a dry sparkling mead. Sweet sparklers are more difficult, and you can search the forums for lots of opinions and attempts at those.