View Full Version : Champaign exploding mead!

06-08-2010, 08:54 PM
Hey everyone,

So I made a batch of JAOM in October '09 and watched it until about two months ago. The gravity haden't changed in a couple months at least, it started at 1.11 and ended at 1.024 (11.3% ABV). Today I wanted to open a bottle to taste it and i popped the cap on one of my 12 oz tasters (room temp) and WOOSH! I lost all the mead that was in the neck of the bottle to the countertop. I poured the rest and its so carbonated its like champaign.

While I'm not really opposed to having a sparkling mead, I'm very concerned about having a bunch of bottle bombs going off soon. Anyone have any advice. I'd just pop the tops and vent off some pressure, but then i'll loose a quarter of my mead. I have also given a few bottles (flip top) to friends/family and don't know if I should collect them or just have them refrigerate the bottles and expect sparkling mead.

On a side note it tastes worse now than when i bottled it, I'm assuming due to the extra fermentation.

Thank for the advice!

06-08-2010, 09:00 PM
Oh i used Wyeast sweet mead which is supposed to be 11% alcohol tolerance

Chevette Girl
06-08-2010, 09:38 PM
I'd start by carefully refrigerating the rest of the bottles immediately, that might help keep the whooshing in check and impede any further fermentation. (the lower a liquid's temperature, the more dissolved gas it can hold, so hopefully the less violent the release will be)

What I'd suggest after that is to pop the corks and pour it all back out into a carboy or whatever you used (you could make sure you sanitize the outside of each bottle and open them over a sanitized bucket you might be able to catch most of the overflow - goggles or a face shield might not be a dumb idea either), add a campden tablet (potassioum metabisulfite) per gallon, and then mix it till it stops fizzing, then it should be safe to bottle again (might want to let it settle out for a day or two first). And if you liked it better when it was sweeter, this is when you could add some more honey and backsweeten it, I'd start with a couple of teaspoons at a time if you had a one-gallon batch, either by taste or till it gets back to SG=1.024 again.

Good luck!

06-08-2010, 10:55 PM
It may be considered improper by the mead making community but I am only on my second batch and when I rack I do it to 2 or 3 liter pop bottles with screw on tops so I can keep a close tab on such "pressurized incidents". All I have to do is thump the bottle and the sound tells me if continued fermentation is occurring. The bottles are built for pressure as well. I did have to "burp" my first batch for nearly a month and a half before it settled down.

Chevette Girl
06-08-2010, 11:23 PM
:) Yeah, for the same reason I now bottle my JAO variations in screw-top bottles just so I can check...

Medsen Fey
06-09-2010, 02:17 PM
It isn't all that uncommon for something made during winter, with residual sugar, to wake up during spring/summer with warmer temps. If you don't follow Joe's recipe, and have a non-stabilized mead with residual sugar, even if you think you are at the yeast's ABV tolerance, you need to take great care before bottling. What storage temp were you keeping?

One reason JAO is less prone to this problem is that it uses a bread yeast and is done at a high enough temperature that refermentation is quite rare.

06-09-2010, 08:14 PM
I've been keeping it at room temp since I first made it, its been very stable at around 70 F.

06-10-2010, 05:12 PM
So you used something other than Fleishmann's?

Chevette Girl
06-11-2010, 11:53 AM
Oh i used Wyeast sweet mead which is supposed to be 11% alcohol tolerance

So, yeah, although it was a lower-tolerance wine yeast, it wasn't bread yeast, so it's not terribly surprising it's continuing to ferment, if it was happy yeast it may well have exceeded its suggested alcohol tolerance. I can usually get about 10-11% out of bread yeast...

Medsen Fey
06-11-2010, 11:55 AM
With JAO, the bread yeast will often get 13-14% ABV.

06-12-2010, 03:27 AM
It's also fair to point out that when it comes to live ferments, you can still end up with a bottle bomb, even with PET soda/pop bottles (screw top type).

I sometimes make a ginger beer recipe, normally you mix it all up in the bottle, add the yeast and then just leave it on the kitchen top for a day or so.

The idea is that when the small amount of airspace in the bottle top goes firm/hard and the plastic can't be depressed with a finger/thumb it goes straight into the fridge at about 1 or 2 degrees C

I left some on top of the kitchen cupboards so I wouldn't get nagged by "erindoors" - it was there for about 4 days. The bottles were deforming with the pressure and I carefully lifted them down to put them in the fridge before doing anything else.

While I was gently putting them in the fridge, on of them toppled over, exploding as it hit the floor.

Ginger beer everywhere and while it was less than would have been with glass, I still received some abrasion injury.

So the reminder in this......... a ferment is capable of producing vastly higher pressures than machine bottled soda pop's etc - even in plastic bottles, caution and close adherence to those kind of techniques is advised/suggested......