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drunkmonkey
12-21-2010, 12:41 AM
Hey mead gang, well my first batch of mead was a hit, turned out awesome and that's not just me bragging, I had complete strangers try it, without telling them I made it and they all agreed, it was very nice.

One problem did arise however, the tops of four of my bottles popped, not all at once but over the month or so they were in bottles, it made a big mess to clean each time too.

I didn't do a specific gravity reading for my last batch and I didn't do it again for the batch churning right now, sure sure, I know I should but do any of you battle-worn mead soldiers know how I can make sure the bottles from my new batch don't pop their tops?

YogiBearMead726
12-21-2010, 01:37 AM
I didn't do a specific gravity reading for my last batch and I didn't do it again for the batch churning right now, sure sure, I know I should but do any of you battle-worn mead soldiers know how I can make sure the bottles from my new batch don't pop their tops?

Take a gravity reading. ;) The only way to prevent this is to take gravity readings for several weeks in a row to ensure no fermentation is still going on. Otherwise when you bottle, you'll blow the tops (or if you're using crown caps, te bottle could explode...not good). Still, that's no gaurantee. If there's residual sugar and the mead isn't at the yeast's ABV tolerance, when the bottle moves to a warmer temperature, the yeast could wake back up...back at square one.

If you want to carbonate, you should do so under more controlled conditions. This means fermenting dry and then adding back a specific amount of sugar/honey. Plenty of threads here discuss the nitty-gritty of it.

Congrats on the first mead being a success! Sounds like you're on your way to a wonderful habit, er, hobby. :p

AToE
12-21-2010, 01:56 AM
Even if using corks bottles can explode, it's extremely dangerous. Taking hydrometer readings and understanding what they mead is very important.

akueck
12-21-2010, 02:10 AM
Chill the bottles you have now. Colder = less pressure. If you can get the temperature down to about 30 F, you'll probably stop further yeast activity too. Don't go too much colder or you risk freezing, which comes with more cleanup.

drunkmonkey
12-24-2010, 02:39 AM
What about adding some chemical to stop all fermentation for sure.

recommended?

Medsen Fey
12-24-2010, 11:02 AM
What about adding some chemical to stop all fermentation for sure.


When dealing with yeast, the only thing that is for sure is that they are unpredictable. If your hydrometer says they are below their alcohol tolerance, and still have sugar, it is highly recommended to use the chemicals to stabilize the mead before bottling.

mccann51
12-27-2010, 05:23 PM
I found Medsen's points in post #18 (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16974) to be very helpful.

drunkmonkey
12-28-2010, 01:20 AM
You guys are the best, that's why I come here. Thanks

drunkmonkey
12-29-2010, 07:46 PM
The local beer making guy said that when it comes to stopping the yeast its very hard if not impossible with meads, he suggested I take a hydrometer reading and when its at 1.01 - 1.03 that I bottle it then and keep them cold.

Medsen Fey
12-30-2010, 10:20 AM
The local beer making guy is giving very poor and possibly dangerous advice.

kudapucat
12-30-2010, 10:36 AM
The local beer making guy is giving very poor and possibly dangerous advice.

Yah, bottlebomb in the making!

drunkmonkey
12-30-2010, 12:40 PM
The local beer making guy is giving very poor and possibly dangerous advice.

Please elaborate ?

wayneb
12-30-2010, 12:56 PM
The strategy of letting meads go to 1.010-1.030 and then "cold crashing" in the bottle doesn't necessarily stop fermentation, and with no stabilizing chemicals added the mead may continue to ferment in the bottle (especially if those bottles are subsequently warmed up for any reason), creating excessively overpressurized containers. Those are classic bottle bombs, which could explosively decompress without warning.

Medsen Fey
12-30-2010, 01:11 PM
And even if no bottle bombs develop, you'd still be bottling a cloudy mead that would drop a ton of sediment in the bottle which may produce some skunky odors.

AToE
12-30-2010, 01:59 PM
Just to add to that - he's right that STOPPING the yeast is difficult. Which is why his method for attempting to do so is indeed so very dangerous, because it's likely to fail.

What is not so difficult is letting the yeast finish on their own, then adding some sulphate and sorbate to chemically stabilize to make sure they never start back up. This is the advice he should have given you. (Doing this you can even add more honey to make it sweeter if you think it finished too dry).


I know it's hard to let go of the advice you get from the people who sell you your gear, but they almost never have any idea how to work with mead, beer is a totally different thing to work with. I love the guys that work at my local home brew stores, but if I'd followed their advice I'd have gotten some terrible results!

EDIT: and like Medsen said, bottling with all that sediment will ruin your mead, mead needs to clear before bottling, which requires aging after fermentation is done.

drunkmonkey
12-31-2010, 01:36 AM
Just to add to that - he's right that STOPPING the yeast is difficult. Which is why his method for attempting to do so is indeed so very dangerous, because it's likely to fail.

What is not so difficult is letting the yeast finish on their own, then adding some sulphate and sorbate to chemically stabilize to make sure they never start back up. This is the advice he should have given you. (Doing this you can even add more honey to make it sweeter if you think it finished too dry).


I know it's hard to let go of the advice you get from the people who sell you your gear, but they almost never have any idea how to work with mead, beer is a totally different thing to work with. I love the guys that work at my local home brew stores, but if I'd followed their advice I'd have gotten some terrible results!

EDIT: and like Medsen said, bottling with all that sediment will ruin your mead, mead needs to clear before bottling, which requires aging after fermentation is done.

How would I even know when its totally done?

Thats what all this is about, I want to avoid having any bottles pop their top, I thought my last batch was done fermenting but from what I learned even moving the carboy may have reactivated the yeast the first time around.

Im not worried about sediment, I wont be bottling with sediment in the carboy.

Im still not really clear on this, so by adding some stabilizing agent I will stop fermentation? I may stop fermentation? I will slow fermentation? all of the above? and may cause pigeons?! Im not clear on this point.

AToE
12-31-2010, 02:30 AM
Adding stabilization will stop fermentation from starting up again when it has stopped or paused (probably... nothing is ever 100% certain, but if done right then maybe 99% successful would be right).

You need to take regular hydrometer readings, and when you see a day or two go by without change it means it's probably done. Then you rack into secondary for aging - let it age for as long as you can, maybe racking again maybe not. Seems like you're good with this whole part of the process.

When you're ready to bottle (it should be clear) then you add the stabilizing chemicals, add more honey if it seems to need to be sweeter, then watch it for a week or so to make sure the chemicals worked (if you backsweetened) before bottling.

When someone says it's hard to stop fermentation they generally mean it's hard to stop one that's in the middle of going strong, and this is indeed very difficult (and far too early to bottle anyways).

We can all help with specific recipes too, just post a brewlog as you go and we'll all keep tabs on what's happening and help you decide what to do and when to do it.

pavo6503
08-13-2011, 03:21 PM
We have a few batches going and I had a disaster this week. One of the batches (maple syrup) EXPLODED and we lost 66% of our batch. I know why it happened, and I know how to clean everything BEFORE make mead, I just need to know the best way to clean up AFTER such an explosion. The mead has soaked into the plywood floor of the cabinet and I need a good way to get rid of the smell. It's sickeningly sweet and the wife is unhappy. The bottles are a complete loss except for the flip tops. Any suggestions? Steam cleaner? Bleach? Boric acid and a flamethrower?

AToE
08-13-2011, 03:51 PM
No idea, but lucky thing you weren't in that room or you might have wound up looking like a landmine victim! What was the batch and what were your thoughts on what went wrong?

I only ask because there are a lot of people that float through here really unconcerned about bottle bombs, not realizing at all that they're actually very easy to create, and can do serious damage!

Chevette Girl
08-14-2011, 06:13 PM
Ugh, what a mess. I think repeated moppings/wipings might be the only way to get some of it out of the wood, wipe with wet then dry it, repeat until no longer sticky, along with a lot of leaving it open to air, maybe with a fan blowing past it, so the moisture and smell can dissipate (once it's thoroughly dried out the aroma will lessen, but a round with bleach or maybe pink cleanser at the end of the rinsing and drying might not hurt). A steam cleaner might warp the wood worse than repeated rinsings... but then, I'm not certain of that, it's just my instincts. It'd be good to get it out of carpeting though, if it leaked out of the cabinet.

And here we all thought flip-top bottles were likely to leak before they exploded... :o guess not! Sorry to hear of your loss, maple mead is precious...

AToE
08-14-2011, 11:51 PM
And here we all thought flip-top bottles were likely to leak before they exploded... :o guess not!

Really? I've always been very sure they would explode!

Chevette Girl
08-15-2011, 12:31 AM
I'm too lazy to hunt down the links but I'm sure I read more than once that the flip-tops were more likely to have a looser-fitting seal than a cork and weren't so hot for long-term use because of this (that and the rubber seals eventually break down). That said, if I'm incorrect, it wouldn't be the first time.:rolleyes:

Medsen Fey
08-15-2011, 04:14 PM
Although they might be more prone to having leaks, I can testify from personal experience that it is quit possible to explode Grolsch bottles. :(

pavo6503
08-15-2011, 10:56 PM
No idea, but lucky thing you weren't in that room or you might have wound up looking like a landmine victim! What was the batch and what were your thoughts on what went wrong?

I only ask because there are a lot of people that float through here really unconcerned about bottle bombs, not realizing at all that they're actually very easy to create, and can do serious damage!


What went wrong? Quite a bit...

We used a very simple recipe to make our first batch and followed them closely. It was a simple as dump a quantity of agave nectar in a gallon jug, throw in 23 raisins, pour in clean water, add baker's yeast, put on airlock and let 'er rip. After about 8 or 9 days we added about another gallon of water and a little more nectar. Bottle.

The agave went so well that we got creative right away and decided to use up that giant jug of maple syrup with basically the same process. We didn't let it go long enough in the first fermentation (it wasn't finished) bottled it right away in too warm a space. Kablammo.

The wife came to bed and remembered to tell me "I think one of the bottle exploded, the floor was wet." Thanks hon'... :rolleyes:

So we were too inexperienced, uninformed and impatient. Pretty easy to fix all three, really. Turns out the recipe we had was also a little TOO simple so we'll do proper research for the next batch.

Vinegar, tea tree oil and a little soap seem to be taking care of everything but if the smell persists Ill try the baking soda. We also have plans to pick up some Coleman coolers to store the bottles during racking.

Luckily we kept the bottles in a dark, wooden cabinet during racking to prevent shrapnel injuries!

Thanks

kudapucat
08-15-2011, 11:10 PM
<snip>
So we were too inexperienced, uninformed and impatient. Pretty easy to fix all three, really. Turns out the recipe we had was also a little TOO simple so we'll do proper research for the next batch.
<snip>

yep, been there, in fact, in many ways, still there. I just hope I know enough to know what to ask now.

AToE
08-16-2011, 12:47 AM
Ah, yeah flying blind without a hydrometer gets pretty dangerous!