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cabeasle
01-30-2012, 10:09 PM
Well, my JAO is finally done. Technically, this is my second mead, but it finished up a lot quicker than the first. Cleared up nicely, and the fruit all dropped out as of this morning. I am thinking of using grolsch style bottles since I don't have a capper and this seems the easiest solution for now.

When I made this JAO, I didn't know what a hydrometer was, and so did not take an initial reading. Since it has cleared and the fruit dropped, it's ok to bottle right? No real chance of continued fermentation? I am terrified of bottle bombs.

Also, how long does it take a bottle to go from safe to popping? Does it take a few weeks for pressure to build up (assuming it isn't bottled during the height of fermenting), or is it a much faster process?

fatbloke
01-31-2012, 05:40 AM
Well, my JAO is finally done. Technically, this is my second mead, but it finished up a lot quicker than the first. Cleared up nicely, and the fruit all dropped out as of this morning. I am thinking of using grolsch style bottles since I don't have a capper and this seems the easiest solution for now.

When I made this JAO, I didn't know what a hydrometer was, and so did not take an initial reading. Since it has cleared and the fruit dropped, it's ok to bottle right? No real chance of continued fermentation? I am terrified of bottle bombs.

Also, how long does it take a bottle to go from safe to popping? Does it take a few weeks for pressure to build up (assuming it isn't bottled during the height of fermenting), or is it a much faster process?
Why would it start refermenting if the yeast has pooped out. While there might be usable sugars still in there, bread yeast poops out earlier than wine yeast, which would seem to be the intention with JAO (it doesn't make for a good dry recipe - I've tried it).

Meads are more wine like, hence it's normal to bottle them in wine bottles, but as Ken Schramm points out in his book, there's nothing to stop you putting it in beer bottles, as they're easily obtained and also of a more convenient size if you don't know whether you're gonna like it or not, or if you end up drinking it yourself and don't want to drink a whole 750mls every time you open a bottle.

Swing top bottles are fine for short to medium term storage - long term usage usually means that it's best to replace the rubber seals with silicone ones as the rubber will perish - what ? a year or two ? something like that.

While there's nothing in the recipe to say that it's wrong to de-gas it once it's done, well you can still do that, like-wise if you're worried, you can stabilise it - though thorough hygiene processes of the bottles would remove the possibility of any "wild yeast" that might be floating around.

You will probably find that the biggest problem is likely to be that bread yeast doesn't flocculate very well, and it's likely that you will get some of the yeast brought back into suspension by just moving the fermenter to where you're gonna position it for bottling.

I either move it the day before, or I move it very gently and just bottle/rack off the part that is still clear - actually I rack it into another container for the cleared part, the rest is racked off the sediment into a long, thin container (pop/soda PET bottles are ideal), which then goes in the fridge for a day or so, then I can just cut the top off the bottle and rack it right down to the moulded feet of the bottle, any sediment drops into the feet and I reduce my racking loses.

So with that lot in mind, you should be good to go. Oh but I would suggest that you do age it for at least 6 months. Taste a little.....while the recipe suggests it's fine now, I've never found that it's good at this stage, whereas 6 months to a year down the line, and it's marvelous (IMO of course)

Penguinetti
01-31-2012, 08:47 AM
...the rest is racked off the sediment into a long, thin container (pop/soda PET bottles are ideal), which then goes in the fridge for a day or so, then I can just cut the top off the bottle and rack it right down to the moulded feet of the bottle, any sediment drops into the feet and I reduce my racking loses....

Pure. Genius.

Chevette Girl
02-01-2012, 02:51 PM
I always bottle my unstabilized JAO's and JAO variations in something swing-top or screw-top just so I can check on them, I did have one that was degassing and another 3-gal batch that started fermenting again in the bottles.

I like to check mine at about a week, then every couple of weeks for a few months after bottling, then I assume they're safe.

The nice thing with the swing-top bottles is they can handle some pressure AND you can just pop a lid and check on it, if it goes POP when you open it, let the rest air out too :)

cabeasle
02-02-2012, 10:53 AM
I figure I know the answer to this, but I haven't actually read it anywhere, so I'll go ahead and ask anyhow :)

Is it really all that damaging to a mead to just bottle using a bucket with a spiggot? For instance, fill the bucket, tip it over ever so slightly, place the bottle you are filling right up against the nozzle and angle it to prevent much splashing, and ease open the spiggot so it doesn't pour or create too much motion. When bottle is full, just close the spiggot.

If you are careful, this seems so much simpler and efficient than using a hose/bottle filler attachment, and it doesn't seem to me like it will get all that much more oxygen into the mead/bottle. Is the process really that sensitive? Or am I just overlooking something obvious that will throw one huge flaw into the plan? I mean, I assume everyone uses the hose method for a reason, so like I said, I figure someone will just state the obvious and make me feel like a fool for not considering it :)

Chevette Girl
02-02-2012, 01:56 PM
I'd use wedges of some sort to keep your bucket tilted so you don't have to move it each time, but that's a valid way to do it... the reason most of us don't is because by then we've already racked to a glass carboy, and if I'm going to rack it back to a bucket at bottling time, I might as well just use the racking hose and bottle filler tip and skip having another container to scrub out. I'm all about the laziness, but you can define convenience however you see fit... just remember there's half an ounce or so that's going to keep coming when you close the spigot :)

Dan McFeeley
02-02-2012, 03:12 PM
I figure I know the answer to this, but I haven't actually read it anywhere, so I'll go ahead and ask anyhow :)

Is it really all that damaging to a mead to just bottle using a bucket with a spiggot? For instance, fill the bucket, tip it over ever so slightly, place the bottle you are filling right up against the nozzle and angle it to prevent much splashing, and ease open the spiggot so it doesn't pour or create too much motion. When bottle is full, just close the spiggot.

With all things honey, YMMV -- same thing with mead. Some people have reported accidents with carboys popping the stopper but the accident not being found for several days, with damage noted to the mead. Others report oxidation problems. It really depends on the varietal honey, some will resist oxidation, others are vulnerable.

It's best to take general precautions and not cut corners too closely. Bottling is pretty easy, just pick up a food grade vinyl hose from your local home/building supply store, aquarium size is just about right. Line up your bottles, insert hose in the carboy, and then gently siphon into the bottles.

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