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RyanB
11-20-2009, 12:32 PM
Hello everyone. I recently got interested in mead and purchased a startup kit and was looking for recipes on the internet. I happen to like low alcohol stuff and I came across an "old time" recipe that used all natural ingredients and was 'ready' in what looked to be 4 days. Here is the recipe:

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Add one. pound of honey to 5 quarts of water, bring the mixture to a simmer and skim the foam as it rises, until there is no more foam, approximately 30 minutes. Add approx. 2 tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh ginger, the juice of one lemon, and 8 cloves, stuck into the lemon peel for easy removal. Boil for 15 minutes, then remove from the heat and cool to lukewarm. Place the wort in a jug, straining the ginger and lemon pieces out. Add 1/4 tsp. ale yeast, and fit a fermentation lock.

After 48 hours, bottle and store at room temperature. After 48 hours in the bottle, refrigerate.
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I followed the instructions except for the Ale Yeast. When I asked for Ale Yeast at my local brew store they strongly recommended I use a Wine yeast instead. Being new I took thier advise. And I also didnt record which one it was sadly. Anyhow, like I mentioned I followed the instructions. During the 2 days it was in the 1 gallon carboy it was bubbling like mad. At least a bubble a second or more. On the second evening I siphoned into bottles (I have the flip top kind) and left out for another 2 days.

Here is where it got interesting of course. I expected there to be carbonation of course. however what I got was nothing less then an eruption when I opened a bottle to try it. At least 3/4 of the mead violently exited the bottle in a Turbo Foam Exhaust! I sampled what was left and it had an interesting taste with only a hint of alcohol.

My worry is there are still 9 bottles I haven't opened in the refrigerator. The bottles are well made so I am hoping I dont have a ticking time bomb. However is there anything that can be done at this point to minimize the eventual heart stopping and mead wasting rush to freedom the carbonation will force upon me as I open each bottle now?

Thanks,

~RyanB

fatbloke
11-20-2009, 01:08 PM
Hello everyone. I recently got interested in mead and purchased a startup kit and was looking for recipes on the internet. I happen to like low alcohol stuff and I came across an "old time" recipe that used all natural ingredients and was 'ready' in what looked to be 4 days. Here is the recipe:

--
Add one. pound of honey to 5 quarts of water, bring the mixture to a simmer and skim the foam as it rises, until there is no more foam, approximately 30 minutes. Add approx. 2 tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh ginger, the juice of one lemon, and 8 cloves, stuck into the lemon peel for easy removal. Boil for 15 minutes, then remove from the heat and cool to lukewarm. Place the wort in a jug, straining the ginger and lemon pieces out. Add 1/4 tsp. ale yeast, and fit a fermentation lock.

After 48 hours, bottle and store at room temperature. After 48 hours in the bottle, refrigerate.
--

I followed the instructions except for the Ale Yeast. When I asked for Ale Yeast at my local brew store they strongly recommended I use a Wine yeast instead. Being new I took thier advise. And I also didnt record which one it was sadly. Anyhow, like I mentioned I followed the instructions. During the 2 days it was in the 1 gallon carboy it was bubbling like mad. At least a bubble a second or more. On the second evening I siphoned into bottles (I have the flip top kind) and left out for another 2 days.

Here is where it got interesting of course. I expected there to be carbonation of course. however what I got was nothing less then an eruption when I opened a bottle to try it. At least 3/4 of the mead violently exited the bottle in a Turbo Foam Exhaust! I sampled what was left and it had an interesting taste with only a hint of alcohol.

My worry is there are still 9 bottles I haven't opened in the refrigerator. The bottles are well made so I am hoping I dont have a ticking time bomb. However is there anything that can be done at this point to minimize the eventual heart stopping and mead wasting rush to freedom the carbonation will force upon me as I open each bottle now?

Thanks,

~RyanB
Now I'd seriously suggest, that one at a time, you put them in the freezer for a couple of hours to chill down as much as is practical before you attempt to open them.

Then I'd be putting them into a sanitised bucket that's big enough to hold the height of the bottle, have the lid of the bucket handy, then put a bottle into the bucket, carefully, but quickly flip the lid and slap the lid onto the bucket straight away, holding it in place while the fountain subsides....

seriously.....

because it's only about 6 weeks ago, that I made a batch of ginger beer, the recipe said as soon as the plastic bottles felt firm, to get them into the fridge quickly. I didn't, I'd put them on top of the kitchen cupboards so I didn't get moaned at by my partner (she tells me off for leaving my home brew stuff laying around). They were only on top of the cupboards for 3 days and I'd used bread yeast......

Anyhow, this was in plastic pop/soda bottles, they were starting to deform in shape, and as I was carefully putting them into the fridge, one of them fell over and "went off". Luckily, as I say, it was in plastic. So apart from my ears ringing (worse than usual - I have tinitus) and drenching 2 of our cats in ginger beer, I only suffered minor cuts to one hand (I still have the scar's).

remember, your stuff is in glass so be very careful with it (safety glasses, ear defenders and sturdy gloves are probably not a bad idea).

I would have said that it should have gone into the bottles and straight into the fridge, not left the bottles out for the 2 days.

Yes, it does sound more like a ginger beer recipe than a mead one, but if you make it again, please, please, please, use plastic PET bottles. The kind of pressures you've probably got in there are "champagne plus", and thats not really safe, even for champagne bottles. Don't forget, "proper" champagne making is controlled refermentation. What you've got there isn't controlled..... anything but.....

regards

fatbloke

Medsen Fey
11-20-2009, 03:28 PM
remember, your stuff is in glass so be very careful with it (safety glasses, ear defenders and sturdy gloves are probably not a bad idea).


I second that suggestion. Ryan, what you have done is create potential bottle bombs. I assure you that the yeast are capable of exploding whatever glass bottle you are using.

Icing them down and opening them, then rebottling in PET bottles would be much safer than keeping them in their current state. If you chill them down below 0 C you should be able to open them without a shower.

RyanB
11-20-2009, 03:47 PM
Thank you very much for the suggestions and information! Into the freezer they go.

So, the possible root of the problem was me using a yeast it did not call for? Assuming the Ale Yeast might not have caused as much of an issue?

Many thanks!

~RyanB

AToE
11-20-2009, 03:56 PM
Higher ABV tolerant yeast certainly made the issue worse, but bottling before fermentation had finished is what caused the danger.

Medsen Fey
11-20-2009, 03:59 PM
So, the possible root of the problem was me using a yeast it did not call for? Assuming the Ale Yeast might not have caused as much of an issue?


Actually ale yeast can cause the same problem. When people make beer or Champagne, they normally let the fermentation complete and go fully dry. Then the add a carefully measured amount of sugar in the must (or beer) knowing that 4 grams of sugar per liter the yeast will turn into 1 atmosphere of pressure in the bottle. Beer bottles aren't designed to take more than 3-4 atmospheres, and even Champagne bottles may not be able to tolerate much more than 6 atmosphere. By carefully determining how much sugar the yeast is given, you can have the pressure level fall in the range you want.

If you try bottling an active fermentation in many cases you may well have enough to exceed 6 atmospheres creating the risk of exploding glass. This may occur with any yeast strain.

To follow a recipe such as you have outlined, you really will be safer if you use PET plastic soda bottles. If one of them ruptures, you'll have a fine mess to clean, but at least the risk of injury is very low.

DoomChain
11-20-2009, 04:15 PM
I really feel for you. An incident like this finally got me motivated to try mead myself. Two PET water bottles with unpastuerized apple cider got pushed to the back of my refrigerater for about a week. When I remembered them I first pulled out one with about 2 oz of cider left in it. the bottle was very firm and when i grabbed the cap to relieve the pressure it blew off as soon as i touched it. And with so much force it bruised my thumb and dented my drywall ceiling, while narrowly missing my face. So anyway, be careful even with plastic bottles.:)

akueck
11-20-2009, 04:24 PM
If you chill them down below 0 C you should be able to open them without a shower.

Just a word of warning here. Because the pressure-freezing point line is backwards for water, when you chill below the normal freezing point of your solution, it will still be liquid due to the pressure. When you open it, you could experience some rapid solidification. Solid water is bigger than liquid water, which means you could still blow up the bottle even if the liquid doesn't shoot out. Safety equipment is a great idea.

JimSar
11-23-2009, 01:37 AM
Personally, I won't risk serious injury or death just to salvage a few beer bottles. I'd treat them as bombs and dispose of them accordingly. It's just me, though.