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Synaptoman
03-09-2010, 03:12 AM
Some advise would be appreciated;

My second batch;

12.5 lbs Fynbos Honey
4 gal water
2 tsp yeast energizer
2 tsp yeast nutrient
2 sachets of Lavlin D47

Sanitized must, pitched yeast at about 75F.

Into a 20L plastic bucket with fermentation lock.

OG 1.092 on the 15/02

By 06/03 the SG was 1.005

I racked to secondary, which is another 20L bucket because I don't have an appropriate size carboy. There was substantial lees and the mead that I racked was very clear and (and tasted fine) There were intially a few blurps through the lock after I racked, but this has now stopped.

Question : Can I age it in this plastic bucket? (with it's large surface area) It is almost right to the top. As mentioned, I don't have an appropriate sized carboy and I am not ready to bottle yet as I don't have any of my kit.

Wolfie
03-09-2010, 07:48 AM
what size carboy do you have?

jdw03n
03-09-2010, 09:15 AM
If you were worried about headspace, one suggestion I've seen is to get glass marbles, sanitize them, and rack onto them. This will fill up dead space.

Synaptoman
03-09-2010, 09:22 AM
what size carboy do you have?

I tested it with water and it measured 26L right up the neck

I'd say after racking, I had about 19.5L of mead.

Medsen Fey
03-09-2010, 10:56 AM
I would not let it stay in the plastic bucket. The amount of oxygen that penetrates though the walls of the bucket it far too high, to say nothing of leaky lids and extra headspace. While traditional meads are much less prone to oxidation than most wines/beers, it can be done (trust me :( ). What's more, all that oxygen allows spoilage organisms like acetic acid bacteria to have a perfect environment for their growth. It would be best to get the mead into glass or Better Bottles (or kegs) and top up (or eliminate the air in the headspace).

Medsen

Synaptoman
03-09-2010, 11:31 AM
OK, here's what I have been able to muster up.

14 x Red Wine Bottles - cleaned and sanitized with bleach solution
2 x 4.5L clear bottles - ditto

Comes to exactly 19.5 L !!!

I have hundreds of old corks (real and new-age plastic). Could I use these if I soak in the bleach solution as well?

Would it be safe to bottle at 1.005 and no apparent airlock activity?

Medsen Fey
03-09-2010, 11:52 AM
No, this mead is not safe to bottle yet. You would need to stabilize with sorbate and sulfite and wait awhile to make sure the gravity does not drop. With your starting gravity, you may not be quite done yet, and the gravity may drop down below 1.000.

You probably need a glass carboy (or a container that you can put an airlock on).

Synaptoman
03-09-2010, 12:48 PM
stabilize with sorbate and sulfite

I have Campden tablets. Can you recommend a dosage for 20L (say 5gal)?

Medsen Fey
03-09-2010, 02:47 PM
Campden tablets alone will not be enough to stabilize the mead. You need the potassium sorbate as well. Your best bet is to let this mead finish completely - I'm guessing that it isn't done yet and the gravity will probably drop some more over the next several days. Airlock activity, especially in buckets is unreliable as an indicator of fermentation activity as buckets lids tend to leak.

While it is finishing you have time to get a carboy. A couple of more 4.5 liter jugs would also be workable, but you really do need airlocks on them. You don't want this sealed in glass containers. If you don't have proper vessels to rack it into, you are better off just leaving it in the bucket and taking your chances.

Wolfie
03-09-2010, 07:14 PM
Another option to consider is being discussed in this thread right here. (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15755) If you have excess headspace you can flush carboys with nitrogen, argon, or carbon dioxide.
I found a system with carbon dioxide that just uses small paintball canisters on a gun available at www.Northernbrewer.com that has worked well for me for years and is a lower initial investment.

Kee
03-09-2010, 07:40 PM
Don't age in a primary bucket! I had a mead I was getting ready to rack to bottles but I didn't get to it because I thought it smelled a little unusual. The primary sprung a leak and I lost the whole batch of year+ old mead.

Bite the bullet and buy a carboy. You need to age mead longer than beer and wine. The money will go to good use; you'll want to age future batches of mead as well. :) It's better to bulk age since you have better control of the environment (especially temperature).

Honestly, mead takes a lot of patience. Rack to a carboy and forget about this for 6 - 12 months. It takes that long before it's any good.

Synaptoman
04-10-2010, 12:28 PM
Added 6L of white grape juice to fill up the head space about a month ago. I know I am sacrificing final ABV% but I had no choice. Tasted today and checked SG. Currently 1.003 with no airlock activity.

Tastes pretty good, even although I say so myself.

fatbloke
04-11-2010, 04:47 AM
Added 6L of white grape juice to fill up the head space about a month ago. I know I am sacrificing final ABV% but I had no choice. Tasted today and checked SG. Currently 1.003 with no airlock activity.

Tastes pretty good, even although I say so myself.
Hum? Well I wouldn't have thought you were sacrificing any % ABV, because the grape juice will probably ferment as well........

As for sulphiting/sorbating, well the stuff I use would be 1 campden tablet and half a tsp of sorbate per imperial gallon/4.5 litres, so it you did want to stop it before it's finished (potentially), then it'd be something like 5 campden tablets and 2 and 1/2 tsp's of sorbate (check the packaging instructions though)......

regards

fatbloke

wayneb
04-11-2010, 06:31 PM
Hum? Well I wouldn't have thought you were sacrificing any % ABV, because the grape juice will probably ferment as well........


That much is true - the juice will probably also ferment out, but don't forget that the initial gravity (and thus its potential ABV) are likely far lower than that of his original must. So, the net potential ABV of the juice/must mixture will be lower than that of the must alone.