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View Full Version : How long can you truly age mead?



fathand
07-15-2010, 09:40 AM
I have a batch of mead that made and split between 4 other guys that I bottled in 12 oz beer bottles back in March with crowned bottle caps. I would really like to give away the last few bottles I have to a friend for his impending wedding in September. In hindsight I should have bottled this batch in wine bottles but I going to work with what I've got.

What I would like to do is to give him 4 bottles, one to be consumed on his 1st anniversary, one on his 5th, 10th and 20th.

My question is how will it hold up past the 10th year? Is there need to wax the bottle caps?

The basic recipe is below...

15 lbs. Wildflower honey
Tap water to top off to 5 gallons
3 tsp Yeast Nutrient
1 pack Lavlin K1-V1116

Sorbate and Sulfate prior to bottling.

Medsen Fey
07-15-2010, 09:45 AM
It definitely has the potential to survive. I haven't aged anything that long, and I don't know how modern crown caps hold up. I do know that Champagne makers uses a crown cap system and they sometime do very extended aging (decades) before disgorging and corking so some of them can last for a very long time. Waxing them certainly wouldn't hurt though.

AToE
07-15-2010, 10:32 AM
One thing to maybe consider, I've heard that for home-capping, the twist off bottles don't give as good a seal as the ones with the big lip on the glass, not sure which you used or how accurate that information really is.

fatbloke
07-15-2010, 02:57 PM
It definitely has the potential to survive. I haven't aged anything that long, and I don't know how modern crown caps hold up. I do know that Champagne makers uses a crown cap system and they sometime do very extended aging (decades) before disgorging and corking so some of them can last for a very long time. Waxing them certainly wouldn't hurt though.
The local vineyards, who make "sparkling white wine" (champagne is a "protected" name), make/ferment and then clear in bulk, it's then bottled for ageing with crown caps as you say Medsen, they will them age for between 1 and 4 years before carbonating with "methode champenoise".....

How long they might do it that way in France I don't know......

regards

fatbloke

p.s. and the local stuff must be quite good, they've won prizes/medals/awards against the champagne makers and get to charge between 18 and 40 a bottle (I'll let you do the exchange rate ;) )

wayneb
07-16-2010, 08:56 AM
FWIW, I have a "sample of one" experiment that I can report on. A very long time ago (ca. 1985) I gave a case of bombers filled with a very nice porter to my Dad and he kept that case in the basement of his house in Ohio, sampling one of the bottles every so often and reporting on the brew's progress. He passed away in 2002 and when we went to sort out stuff in the house I found one of those bombers, still sealed, down in the basement.

Of course I had to know if the brew had survived -- so I popped the cap, and the bottle was still pressurized. While the contents were definitely past prime -- "funky flavored" which I attribute to extended yeast autolysis, the brew was still carbonated, so the cap held pressure for nearly two decades.

skunkboy
07-17-2010, 11:54 AM
I have had to pleasure to sample some older meads, I don't know what percentage survive for how long, but the ones that do get nice and mellow....

wildoates
07-17-2010, 03:56 PM
Beat this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-10673322

skunkboy
07-18-2010, 11:42 AM
I seem to recall that some old beer was recovered from wreck, possibly in the baltic, a couple of years ago, and was still described as drinkable as well. My google skills are failing me right now, but I swear someone cultured the yeast to try and recover a historic strain.

jtolleridge
07-18-2010, 04:17 PM
I don't know about a couple of years ago, but just this month some 230-year-old champagne was recovered from a Baltic shipwreck, making it the oldest drinkable champagne known. The taste was described as "fabulous". The story notes that "a sample of the champagne has been sent to Moet & Chandon for their analysis". See, e.g., http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100717/ts_afp/finlandarchaeologywine_20100717174328

wildoates
07-18-2010, 04:44 PM
I seem to recall that some old beer was recovered from wreck, possibly in the baltic, a couple of years ago, and was still described as drinkable as well. My google skills are failing me right now, but I swear someone cultured the yeast to try and recover a historic strain.

Yep, there's a California brewery that was making beer from it, as I recall. Too lazy to try to find it at the moment...I'll bet Aaron remembers it!

jkane
07-19-2010, 10:36 AM
It depends on the mead flavor. A traditional mead might do better than some fruits. Higher alchol (sack) would also help it age longer. A bit of acidity and tannin are other items to help in aging.

Oxidation will happen, but that might not be a bad thing. Think Port style.

Not many meads make it that long in our house. Maybe 5 years. I have some 15 year old wines that I sampled this weekend. Only a couple survived to be called good. A couple others are drinkable. The just fruit wines (no grapes) are all yucky. The only fruited one that made it was an apricot. That really surprised me! Not sure why it is still good.

skunkboy
07-19-2010, 09:13 PM
Oxidation will happen, but that might not be a bad thing. Think Port style.

Not many meads make it that long in our house. Maybe 5 years. I have some 15 year old wines that I sampled this weekend. Only a couple survived to be called good. A couple others are drinkable. The just fruit wines (no grapes) are all yucky. The only fruited one that made it was an apricot. That really surprised me! Not sure why it is still good.

Any impressions as to what went bad with the wine? Oxidized or something else?