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View Full Version : Bottling For Gifts (Avoiding Explosions)



Yakra
11-27-2009, 03:42 PM
I recently finished my first two gallons of JAO, and I'm happy to say that they went great! I'm now brewing several more gallons, that I plan on bottling and giving as Christmas gifts (I've got my bottles, hand corker, and all).

I'd prefer to not add chemicals to stop the fermentation - but I'd also not like to give away bottles that will explode.

How can I be reasonably certain that these gifts won't go off? Would putting them in the fridge help (to stop fermentation)? Should I do that before or after bottling/corking? What are other options?

(Potential?) Factors...
I'm using the JAO recipe to the letter.
The jugs are brewing in my closet, which is 75-79 degrees.
The last batch took about six weeks to clear.

Thanks!

TheRabidKumquat
11-27-2009, 04:25 PM
You are giving away the batch you had just started, or the batch already bottled?

You're cutting it awfully close if you're giving the new batch away, or you're extremely lucky. My JAO usually takes a few months to clear.

If you're going to cold crash it to let the yeast settle, then you would want to do that before bottling. I would think that if you bottled then cold crashed, you would still have potential grenades unless you, and whomever receives them, in the refrigerator until consumed since the yeast could potentially wake up and decide they want a little something to snack on.

fatbloke
11-27-2009, 04:49 PM
I recently finished my first two gallons of JAO, and I'm happy to say that they went great! I'm now brewing several more gallons, that I plan on bottling and giving as Christmas gifts (I've got my bottles, hand corker, and all).

I'd prefer to not add chemicals to stop the fermentation - but I'd also not like to give away bottles that will explode.

How can I be reasonably certain that these gifts won't go off? Would putting them in the fridge help (to stop fermentation)? Should I do that before or after bottling/corking? What are other options?

(Potential?) Factors...
I'm using the JAO recipe to the letter.
The jugs are brewing in my closet, which is 75-79 degrees.
The last batch took about six weeks to clear.

Thanks!
Has it definitely finished fermenting ? The same gravity/brix measurement on 3 consecutive days or 3 identical measurements across a week will tell you.

I'd be racking it off the sediment and then de-gassing it as that can help it clear quicker. Then cold crash it if you want to try and clear it quicker than normal, but before bottling.

Finally (thinking about your comment about "no chemicals") if you have access to, or know someone who does, then once it's cold crashed and you've left it as long as you dare allow to clear naturally, then you might consider filtration. It would depend on how clear it already is, as to whether this is likely to be possible. If it's nearly there, then you could run it through the filter using progressively finer grade filters, ending up with a "sterile" size filter (which would be something like .25 of a micron).

That will remove all of the yeast cells, but it can also reduce the flavour/colour a bit as well, so it's worth weighing up the pro's and con's.

If it's still got a fair way to go towards clearing, don't even bother about filtering as it will just keep clogging the filter elements.

Yakra
11-27-2009, 08:02 PM
The batch that's in has been in for a few days, and the target is just to have it out by the end of the holidays (I won't see most people till New Years or later).

It looks like the plan will be to rack it off, cold crash it (any suggested length of time in the fridge?), and then bottle it.

I don't have access to any specific tools for measuring the gravity - would it just be enough to see that the airlock has stopped?

(Sorry to ask so many questions - you guys are awesome, and this is really helping!)

akueck
11-28-2009, 01:02 AM
I don't have access to any specific tools for measuring the gravity - would it just be enough to see that the airlock has stopped?

Most certainly not. Airlock activity is a very poor indicator of fermentation speed. Even slow fermentation can build up enough pressure in a bottle to blow it. If you could keep the bottles cold, that would minimize the risk. But really, why risk it?

Medsen Fey
11-30-2009, 12:08 PM
Indeed!

Not worth risking it. Chilling the mead will put the yeast into hibernation, but when it warms up again they can restart. It is better to follow Joe's recipe. Let everything sit until it is clear and keep it at the nice warm temperature. That way you can be sure it is finished.

If you do want to deviate from Joe's recipe, make sure the first thing you do is buy a hydrometer. That will be the most important $15 that you spend.