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View Full Version : Four bottle rocket after a year?



thecaleb
04-15-2011, 06:16 PM
I am absolutely perplexed about something. I made an acerglyn. Honestly I wasn't impressed with the flavor when it finished, it batch aged for almost a year in a one gallon carboy then I bottled it in hopes that aging it further might help. I had about four bottles worth all in my basement which stays around 50 to 55 degrees year round. They have been in the bottles for about six or seven months and I went into the basement after work to dig out some gardening tools to find that ALL four blew their corks today. I know it happened today because I was in the basement last night and it had not happened yet. So my question is why? Why after sitting a year in a carboy then sitting six months in bottles did they suddenly decide to blow their corks?

akueck
04-16-2011, 02:29 AM
It's certainly not unheard of. What was the FG of your mead? What yeast did you use?

Chevette Girl
04-16-2011, 02:36 AM
And all of them going together isn't unheard of either, especially if they were on a shelf such that one going might jiggle the others, I've had three corks blow in my basement so far and two were on the same day (by similar reasoning, my water heater wasn't sticky the day before I noticed two bottle mouths where corks should have been... and I think they'd been corked for at least 6 months.

thecaleb
04-16-2011, 12:38 PM
It's certainly not unheard of. What was the FG of your mead? What yeast did you use?

the yeast was lalvin k1-v1116. The FG I am uncertain of. I have it written down in a notebook somewhere.

thecaleb
04-16-2011, 12:40 PM
And all of them going together isn't unheard of either,

It was a whoa moment for me. I converted an old tool cabinet in the basement into a wine rack. The door was blown open and the shelf underneath it all sticky. It makes me feel better that others have had multiples go off. This was my fifth batch I believe. So still not a lot of experience under the belt.

TheAlchemist
04-16-2011, 12:49 PM
All this bottlerocket talk makes me think I'd better check on Pumpkin Pie. I bottled here when there might have still been a bit of live yeast...

AToE
04-16-2011, 12:50 PM
To give any idea of what happened a starting gravity and FG would be good (to know ABV and residual sugar) and also whether or not you stabilized (I'm guessing not?).

K5MOW
04-16-2011, 09:33 PM
Has any one had this happen after stabilizing the mead be for bolting.

Roger

Medsen Fey
04-17-2011, 11:48 AM
Has any one had this happen after stabilizing the mead be for bolting.


Yes.
There are no guarantees with yeast.

But we know for sure that unstabilized meads can wake up more than 2 years later.

Chevette Girl
04-17-2011, 12:37 PM
Has any one had this happen after stabilizing the mead be for bolting.

Roger

My popped corks were all unstabilized, but I did have a report of a bottle I'd given as a gift go off in the refrigerator (although I don't know how, it was dry, had been carboy-aged for 4 years and I'd sulphited it just in case AND stirred multiple times to degas). As Medsen indicated, sometimes yeast have a mind of their own...

skunkboy
04-17-2011, 04:00 PM
I would guess that you had a weather front move through and it change the atmospheric pressure enough that the corks blew out, after had been self pressuring for a while...

mklapheke
04-30-2011, 10:14 PM
Do I need to stabilize all meads before bottling. I am brewing first batch now. It is a strawberry (since in season). I pitched yeast this morning and already have activity. I used 18lbs of honey in 5 gals as well as 18lbs of strawberries and used 71b. With a tolerance of 14% I figure mead will finish on sweeter side but pretty sure I have enough sugar in there to reach alcohol tolerance level.

So do I still need to stabilize somewhere in the future before bottling?

Loadnabox
04-30-2011, 10:44 PM
Do I need to stabilize all meads before bottling. I am brewing first batch now. It is a strawberry (since in season). I pitched yeast this morning and already have activity. I used 18lbs of honey in 5 gals as well as 18lbs of strawberries and used 71b. With a tolerance of 14% I figure mead will finish on sweeter side but pretty sure I have enough sugar in there to reach alcohol tolerance level.

So do I still need to stabilize somewhere in the future before bottling?

Most people on the forums recommend for safety that you stabilize. The most common method seems to be using both sorbate and sulphite. A bottle rocket is the nice end, there's reports in the forums of full on shrapnel grenades.

Chevette Girl
04-30-2011, 11:32 PM
If it's fermented completely dry (ie, below 1.000, still, degased, and not changing SG for a year), it should be safe enough to bottle.

I usually carboy-age my creations for more than a year, so often even if there's residual sugar, I can be reasonably assured that the fermentation is DONE. If there's any chance that it could wake up again, I sulphite and sorbate. Every now and then you get something weird, like my strawberry wine that was a relatively low ABV (9%), dry dry dry, and still continued to bubble in the carboy for over 4 years before I finally got tired of waiting and sulphited it. It also needed a lot of degasing.

akueck
05-01-2011, 12:11 AM
You can "get away" with not stabilizing a mead with residual sugar, but really you're playing the odds game. Since the downside of a mead waking up is a glass grenade, I would strongly recommend stabilizing anything that finishes above about 0.990. Even then I'd probably dose it with a little sulfite to extend shelf life.

mklapheke
05-09-2011, 06:11 PM
New question about stabilizing. How? I have campden and potassium sorbate. The bottles recommend 1 tablet per gallon and 1/4 tsp per gallon. Are these the right quantities or does it depend on what your recipe.

Recipe
18 lbs wildflower honey
18 lbs of strawberrries
water to 3 gals to start (will add more later, was forewarned about leaving room in primary)
71B
energizer and nutrient

AToE
05-09-2011, 06:26 PM
What was your SG reading after adding the water? That might be a lot too much headspace, not because headspace isn't good, but because with that much honey in such a small total volume you've created a very stressful environment for your yeast most likely!

Also, this should really be in it's own thread for your specific recipe. But just leave it for now I think, a mod may move it if they feel necessary.

mklapheke
05-09-2011, 06:48 PM
I havent added the water yet. I pulled the first of the strawberries out today, and had a SG of .995. I broke my strawberries out into 2 batches a 10lb batch for adding to the primary andd 8 lbs more for adding to the secondary. I was going to rack in the morning onto the second batch of strawberries and see how much head space I had and add a little water. I have 2 primary buckets so my racking tomorrow was just from one bucket to another and in another week or so move it into a carboy and let it age.

With the second batch of strawberries I knew I was possible adding more yeast with the wilds possibly be present so I was going to stabilize and backsweeten before moving to secondary.

Also I froze all strawberries for a week at -10 F before adding to adding to must. With primary strawberries I mixed warm water 125 f, honey, strawberries and 3 campden for 24 hours prior to pitching yeast

AToE
05-09-2011, 06:50 PM
I meant after adding water to 3 gallons, seems like the SG would have been very high, unless the strawberries diluted it down enough.

mklapheke
05-09-2011, 06:56 PM
Sorry just realized what you were asking my SG was 1.250 with 3 gals and as strawberries aged I slowly added water during fermentation when I had room in bucket to keep head space down. Didnt take readings as dillegently as I should have but after 48 hours after pitching and an additional gallon of water I had 1.085.

Current total is 4 gals

AToE
05-09-2011, 07:01 PM
Wow, 1.250 is insane high! That additional water was a good thing for sure, 1.085 (even with another gallon of water) means either some further dilution from the berries (likely) and/or some decent fermentation though, which is good.

mklapheke
05-09-2011, 07:24 PM
There was some very active fermentation. Did it open top with good cotton towel on top and a week later I have Pres. Obama and I am hoping to have spare bath declared disaster area and maybe he can call in National Guard to help me clean it.

mklapheke
05-09-2011, 08:42 PM
So are the rates listed in previous posts the ones I need to use to stabilize?

AToE
05-09-2011, 11:01 PM
I'd help you out, but I'm not qualified for that (most of my meads are dry and never needed stabilizing so I never really memorized the amounts needed per gallon).

PitBull
05-10-2011, 07:40 AM
So are the rates listed in previous posts the ones I need to use to stabilize?
The manufacturer's recommendation for Potassium Sorbate is 1/2 tsp. per gallon to prevent renewed fermentation. However, for an aggressive yeast like EC-1118, you would most likely want to add a little extra.

For Potassium Metabisulfite it's 1/4 tsp. for 5 gallons to prevent oxidation.

Medsen Fey
05-10-2011, 09:13 AM
Your best bet is to go by weight. Volume measurements can be different depending on the form of the sorbate. If you use 250 mg/L of potassium sorbate you should have enough, as long as you have adequate sulfite as well.