PDA

View Full Version : Bottling questions



jens183
02-27-2012, 05:51 PM
Hello.

I had a couple of questions about bottling. I'm using: manual handheld corker, natural carks, reusing empty commercial wine bottles of different sizes, color and shapes.

Some of this questions might be stupid, but I just must ask.

-Is it like different diameter on commercial wine bottles or do they follow a standard?
-Is it a problem that I get the cork only halfway in or to far in?
-Is it a problem if I get some sediment into the bottles when I rack?
-bottle storage temperature?
-I just started to use this small demijohns gallon carboys a couple of months ago, so I was wondering if I do I use siphoning equipment with this small carboys to or just pour over without/(or minimally) splashing the wine?
-Can I go directly from primary ferment into bottles?

Thanks:)

Soyala_Amaya
02-27-2012, 06:34 PM
-Is it a problem if I get some sediment into the bottles when I rack?

You just have to be careful when pouring it out later, and it doesn't look pretty if you give it as a gift to someone. But no, not really an issue.


-bottle storage temperature?

Stable temperature, usually in the low sixties, high fifties. Think wine cellar.


-I just started to use this small demijohns gallon carboys a couple of months ago, so I was wondering if I do I use siphoning equipment with this small carboys to or just pour over without/(or minimally) splashing the wine?

Check out bottle fillers, they are your friend, or a bucket with a spiquet, but those CAN host nasties if you don't wash them well. Pouring is probably the worst of the plans (siphong, spiquet, bottle filler).

-Can I go directly from primary ferment into bottles?

No. There is still lots of CO2 trapped in suspension in your mead. It can easily take 6 months or more for your mead to properly degas, and bottling early results in bottle bombs.

wayneb
02-27-2012, 06:38 PM
Commercial wine bottles do tend mostly to be made to international standards these days, so yes, if you get one of two standard diameter corks you should be able to cork virtually all the bottles you come across. #8 and #9 corks tend to both work in standard 750 ml bottles, no matter what the manufacturer or bottle style. #9 corks, being larger diameter, will seal more effectively and last longer. But #9 corks are also extremely difficult to insert with a hand corker. Some of the #9 synthetic corks are simply too stiff to effectively compress with a hand corker.

Halfway in - could lead to leakage problems or oxidation issues down the road. Too far in - could also lead to sealing issues (especially in bottle styles with gradually sloping neck profiles), and that could also make the corks difficult to remove. Generally it is best to cork such that the top surface of the cork is flush with the bottle neck top edge. I'd say that 1mm too far in, and likewise 1mm too far out, are generally not a problem but deviations much more than that could cause issues.

Sediment - it depends. If the sediment is from yeast lees and the yeast variety causes funky flavors when it autolyses, that could be a problem. Further, any lees sucked up and deposited into your bottle with the mead may cause problems if there is residual sugar in the mead, and if you haven't sufficiently stabilized it. Also, sediment tends to mix back in with the mead when you uncork and pour, so your mead won't be as clear as it could have been. I like to rack at least once from primary fermenter to aging vessel - often I'll rack into two or more aging vessels (with some months in between) before I get around to bottling. I like my meads to be clear, and stable.

Storage Temp - Cool is generally best (wine cellar temps, 12-15C), but if you can't achieve those temperatures easily, temperature stability (even up to typical room temperatures) is far more important than actual temperature, in my opinion. I used to make meads in an apartment in East Texas (typical temperature most of the year was around 27C), and I found that I could reliably store my meads in the room without supplemental cooling, and while they did tend to age more quickly, I still could expect a reasonable shelf life.

Yes, siphon and rack while taking care to mix in as little air as possible. That extends shelf-life by minimizing the chances for oxidation.

While you could conceivably rack directly from a primary to bottles, for all the reasons I cited in my third answer, I would suggest racking into one or more aging vessels before bottling.

Chevette Girl
02-27-2012, 06:41 PM
-Is it like different diameter on commercial wine bottles or do they follow a standard?


Most of 'em are the same, or close enough. Every now and then I find one with a really small opening, but even the screw-top bottles seem to be the same mouth diameter as regular corked bottles.



-Is it a problem that I get the cork only halfway in or to far in?

Before you do your bottle run, cork a bottle or two to get a feel for it and make sure your corker's set properly, if it's the double-lever style (http://www.weekendbrewer.com/images/corkse2.jpg)like mine, the nut at the top is how you adjust how deep the plunger goes. Usually getting them in too far isn't a problem as there's only so much compression the contents will take before the cork slides back out again, and if it's sticking out a few mm or less I will try to push it in with my thumb but if it won't go I won't bother to recork it, I will just drink that bottle first.



-Is it a problem if I get some sediment into the bottles when I rack?

I usually get a little bit in the last bottle, but for the most part it's aesthetic. If I do kick up some sediment in one or two bottles they get drunk first in case it affects the quality but I haven't found it to.


-bottle storage temperature?

Try to keep them cool and in the dark, minimize significant temperature changes if possible. A wine cellar is awesome, mine seem to do OK in my basement covered with a sheet to keep the light out.



-I just started to use this small demijohns gallon carboys a couple of months ago, so I was wondering if I do I use siphoning equipment with this small carboys to or just pour over without/(or minimally) splashing the wine?

If you try pouring from a gallon jug you'll find pretty quickly that it's not a great pouring spout and dribbles all over, especially when full, pouring from large diameter to small never ends well (for me, anyway), and every time you change the tilt of the jug (ie, going from bottle to bottle) you will kick up sediment. I just find it so much easier to siphon it... especially when you get a bottle filler tip (http://www.brewps.com/springless-bottle-filler-wand-1-2-inch.html)on your racking hose. I also like those because I can stick the racking cane into the carboy gently, then put the filler tip on the hose, then fill the hose with water, and use that to start the siphon into a sanitized mason jar, you can tell when it stops being water and starts being mead, then stick it in a bottle and away you go.



-Can I go directly from primary ferment into bottles?


I'm a total klutz with the racking cane and always stir up the crap on the bottom, so I almost always rack it to a fresh carboy a week before I bottle (gives anything I kicked up time to settle out again) and I generally regret not doing it if I decide I'm too lazy. But if you've got a steady hand with the racking cane it can be done. The biggest problem with racking from primary is you need to make absolutely sure it's done fermenting, the only one I've ever bottled straight from primary was JAO and now I rack those too, it just makes it easier for me.

Once you've gone through it a couple of times, you'll figure out what works for you.

jens183
02-28-2012, 05:14 AM
Thanks. Very informativ answars.:)


... #8 and #9 corks ...
The corks #8 and #9 what is that in mm? The one I can get seem to only say "38mm" and "X-long 38mm".


Sediment - it depends. If the sediment is from yeast lees and the yeast variety causes funky flavors when it autolyses ...
Does any of the yeasts k1v-1116 Ec-1118 causes funky flavors when it autolyses?



...bottle filler tip ...

Those Bottle Filler(bottle filler tip) is that like an extension of the basic ones where you suck on the end going into the bottles?


The reason I asked about going directly into bottles from primary is because When I rack into secondary I get a lot of room on airspace on the top of the secondary demijohn(especially if its fruit/spices/etc in the primary). And when I fill in more honey must it restarting fermentation and build up more sediment (And I'm right back where I started)...
Should I make an extra high gravity in primary and just pour water til top after transfering into second? I saw somebody talking about aquarium rocks ... Whats like the "normal" procedure when doing several rackings?

How far( mm ) should the bottom of the cork be from the top of the liquid for optimal storage etc?

Reusing screw top bottles and corks is that possible or does the brooken sealing change something?

Loadnabox
02-28-2012, 10:06 AM
Thanks. Very informativ answars.:)


The corks #8 and #9 what is that in mm? The one I can get seem to only say "38mm" and "X-long 38mm".


Not sure to be honest



Does any of the yeasts k1v-1116 Ec-1118 causes funky flavors when it autolyses?

All yeast contribute some flavor when they break down. This can be good or bad depending on what flavors you want or already have in your mead. Look for threads on Sur Lie aging for more info on this.



The reason I asked about going directly into bottles from primary is because When I rack into secondary I get a lot of room on airspace on the top of the secondary demijohn(especially if its fruit/spices/etc in the primary).

This is something everyone contends with. The methods for dealing with it are numerous. You can come up with your own solution as long as it reduces the amount of air to contact the mead during aging, and the products used are non-reactive (Things without chemicals that can affect the taste)

Commons solutions are:

As you noted marbles or smooth aquarium stones (this can be fairly expensive and are very heavy) be sure to sanitize them first. Smooth is important as rough surfaces provide a place for bacteria to hide.

Place a layer of inert gas such as CO2 or Argon into the container. I purchased a computer duster that uses disposable CO2 canisters meant for air rifles (pellet guns) or small paint ball guns.

Purchase new mylar balloons (the type that has a shiny metallic looking surface) Inflate them inside the carboy and hold in place with the stopper.

Ferment in a bucket in primary, aiming for it to fit into a specific size later

Have multiple sizes of carboys, so that as you just start having too much space in the last, it will just fit into the next size down.

Wingnut
02-28-2012, 10:43 AM
-Is it a problem if I get some sediment into the bottles when I rack?

You just have to be careful when pouring it out later, and it doesn't look pretty if you give it as a gift to someone. But no, not really an issue.


-bottle storage temperature?

Stable temperature, usually in the low sixties, high fifties. Think wine cellar.


-I just started to use this small demijohns gallon carboys a couple of months ago, so I was wondering if I do I use siphoning equipment with this small carboys to or just pour over without/(or minimally) splashing the wine?

Check out bottle fillers, they are your friend, or a bucket with a spiquet, but those CAN host nasties if you don't wash them well. Pouring is probably the worst of the plans (siphong, spiquet, bottle filler).

-Can I go directly from primary ferment into bottles?

No. There is still lots of CO2 trapped in suspension in your mead. It can easily take 6 months or more for your mead to properly degas, and bottling early results in bottle bombs.

Soyala Amaya,
Please forgive my ignorance, but what is a "spiquet" ?
I have Mr. Websters little book out here and I am hard pressed to find reference...

Jim

Soyala_Amaya
02-28-2012, 10:47 AM
That is migraine talk for spigot apparently...spelling skills, sometimes I have them, sometimes I don't.

Guinlilly
02-28-2012, 10:48 AM
Soyala Amaya,
Please forgive my ignorance, but what is a "spiquet" ?
I have Mr. Websters little book out here and I am hard pressed to find reference...

Jim

I think she means 'spigot'.

jens183
02-28-2012, 12:42 PM
...marbles or smooth aquarium stones...

Are you meaning toy store mables (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marble_(toy)). Dont they contain reactive thing like led etc?
Can I use like heavily rinsed and boiled smooth river rocks?



Ferment in a bucket in primary, aiming for it to fit into a specific size later

Have multiple sizes of carboys, so that as you just start having too much space in the last, it will just fit into the next size down.

Ok.

Chevette Girl
02-28-2012, 01:15 PM
Those Bottle Filler(bottle filler tip) is that like an extension of the basic ones where you suck on the end going into the bottles?

It's just a rigid tube with a valve on the bottom that opens when you press it against the bottom of the bottle you're filling, I like it because I can put it on the hose, fill the hose with water at the sink or with my bottle rinser and then attach that to my racking cane and don't need to suck on anything that's going into a bottle. There's also a bottle filler contraption (http://www.amazon.com/Buon-Super-Automatic-Bottle-Filler/dp/B0064OEHPU/ref=sr_1_2?s=miscellaneous&ie=UTF8&qid=1330448159&sr=1-2)(I hate mine, it won't hold a prime and it wastes a fair amount of wine for no reason I can see but other people love theirs, maybe mine's just crappy) with a tube that doesn't go into the wine, which you suck on to get it started, and it stops filling the bottle when it gets to the top...


[/QUOTE]The reason I asked about going directly into bottles from primary is because When I rack into secondary I get a lot of room on airspace on the top of the secondary demijohn(especially if its fruit/spices/etc in the primary). And when I fill in more honey must it restarting fermentation and build up more sediment (And I'm right back where I started)...
Should I make an extra high gravity in primary and just pour water til top after transfering into second? I saw somebody talking about aquarium rocks ... Whats like the "normal" procedure when doing several rackings?[/QUOTE]

Or you could make a separate gallon of traditional mead (usually pretty resistant to oxidation) and use that to top up your other batches. When I've done this, I move it into wine bottles with plastic wrap on top once there's too much headspace to leave it in the carboy.


How far( mm ) should the bottom of the cork be from the top of the liquid for optimal storage etc?

I use the bottle filler tip's displacement as a guide. Too little room and the cork doesn't want to go in easily because you have to compress that airspace to get it in, too much room and you risk a small amount of oxidation. I'm not sure what the official regulations are but the wine should at least be higher than the "shoulders" of the bottle, I think usually end up about an inch up from there, leaving at least an inch of space before the bottom of the cork, otherwise my corks slide back out.


Reusing screw top bottles and corks is that possible or does the brooken sealing change something?

I do it. The opening's the same size as other bottles. When I'm doing JAO's or something unstabilized, I sanitize and reuse the screw tops too, that way if fermentation kicks up again I don't have to pull a cork to find out.



All yeast contribute some flavor when they break down. This can be good or bad depending on what flavors you want or already have in your mead. Look for threads on Sur Lie aging for more info on this.

EC-1118 and any other yeast that's listed as a champagne yeast should be good for sur lie aging (which is hard to do a forum search for because the search engine doesn't like three-letter words). Most often I see the description of what it adds to a wine is "nutty" flavours. K1V I believe is also pretty neutral, but 71B is to be avoided for lees aging, you don't want to leave anything on it longer than about 6 weeks before racking out of primary. I've left stuff on the fine lees with EC and K1V for years with nothing funky going on.

Loadnabox
02-28-2012, 01:28 PM
EC-1118 and any other yeast that's listed as a champagne yeast should be good for sur lie aging (which is hard to do a forum search for because the search engine doesn't like three-letter words). Most often I see the description of what it adds to a wine is "nutty" flavours. K1V I believe is also pretty neutral, but 71B is to be avoided for lees aging, you don't want to leave anything on it longer than about 6 weeks before racking out of primary. I've left stuff on the fine lees with EC and K1V for years with nothing funky going on.[/QUOTE]

More or less what I was getting at. There are times when a nutty flavor might not be desired though. For instance, I can't imagine that a nutty flavor would go well with a cranberry flavored mead.

Chevette Girl
02-28-2012, 01:52 PM
Are you meaning toy store mables (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marble_(toy)). Dont they contain reactive thing like led etc?
Can I use like heavily rinsed and boiled smooth river rocks?


Specifically NOT toy store marbles for exactly that reason, you want pet store aquarium marbles which are formulated to be safe for fish so they're safe for us. They're more expensive.

Smooth river rocks might be OK but without knowing what they're made of, you won't know what might leach out in the acidic environment of your must. If you know for sure that you can get some granite or marble pebbles it'd work, but limestone or anything like that would raise your pH... and you never know what trace metals might be present in a given rock...

wayneb
02-28-2012, 03:04 PM
And for reference:

#8 corks are 7/8", or 22.23mm diameter.
#9 corks are 15/16", or 23.81mm diameter.

jens183
02-28-2012, 03:49 PM
Or you could make a separate gallon of traditional mead (usually pretty resistant to oxidation) and use that to top up your other batches. When I've done this, I move it into wine bottles with plastic wrap on top once there's too much headspace to leave it in the carboy.

Why is a traditional mead pretty resistant to oxidation?
Whats too much headspace in the carboy( for normal mead and for traditional mead ) ?

Chevette Girl
02-28-2012, 03:57 PM
Typically there's no such thing as too much headspace if you've got an active ferment going on. But once it's going into secondary, you don't want the liquid level to be below the shoulders of the carboy (ie, you want it in the narrow neck, not down in the wider part).

For some reason traditionals resist oxidation far better than something like Classick's strawberry mango (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?p=184246)in the Patron's section... It's probably that honey is not subject to oxidation anywhere near as badly as fruits are (take a bite of an apple or banana, see how long it takes what's left to turn brown, that's oxidation) .

I've always found the best way to avoid not having enough in my carboy is to do my primary fermentation in a bucket so I don't have to contend with fruit volume losses. Barring that, you want to top it up with something or add a layer of an inert gas to it, or add aquaruim marbles until the level is good (not dollar store marbles, those might leach chemicals into your must, you want aquarium grade marbles). I've topped with water, honey water and apple juice, I don't find racking losses anywhere near as much as you lose from the first racking so a well-topped batch of mine is usually OK for one racking before it needs topping off again, so any yeast produced and dropped if I give the must a little more sugar to play with isn't really an issue for me.

Dan McFeeley
02-28-2012, 08:01 PM
Why is a traditional mead pretty resistant to oxidation?
Whats too much headspace in the carboy( for normal mead and for traditional mead ) ?

Do a 'net search for honey and antioxidants, and you should turn up researching showing that honey has a fair amount of them, generally, the darker the honey, the higher the antioxidant content.

It's still best to observed general precautions against oxidation in mead -- much of what is being reported is anecdotal evidence, or extrapolation from the research on antioxidant content in honey.

--

Wingnut
02-29-2012, 11:19 PM
That is migraine talk for spigot apparently...spelling skills, sometimes I have them, sometimes I don't.
__________________
Angry Viking Hedgehog say "Give me mead or I poke ya!"



Well, OK. Thanks. I was thinking it was French....I never doubted your spelling skills, especially knowing what mine are like!

huesmann
03-03-2012, 10:41 AM
I would think that toy store marbles would be required to contain absolutely no lead...

Loadnabox
03-03-2012, 12:05 PM
I would think that toy store marbles would be required to contain absolutely no lead...

no lead, but there are other chemicals which are in the paint or lacquer which can leach into a liquid solution.

jens183
03-03-2012, 01:35 PM
Thaks for all the answars in this thread.:)

Since you are having a chemical/lead discussion:
I got an old round goldfish bowl that I was wondering if I can use for making/storing vinegar. Do anybody know if the bowl will leach any poisons/chemicals etc when in contact with alcohols, acids, and other products of fermentation?

Ps those "marbles or smooth aquarium stones" were to expensive("drug prices"), but thanks for tip.

Loadnabox
03-04-2012, 12:47 PM
Thaks for all the answars in this thread.:)

Since you are having a chemical/lead discussion:
I got an old round goldfish bowl that I was wondering if I can use for making/storing vinegar. Do anybody know if the bowl will leach any poisons/chemicals etc when in contact with alcohols, acids, and other products of fermentation?

Ps those "marbles or smooth aquarium stones" were to expensive("drug prices"), but thanks for tip.

Indeed they are. Check out getting some mylar balloons instead as mentioned before. Much cheaper! :)

jens183
03-07-2012, 05:45 AM
-Can I go directly from primary ferment into bottles?

No. There is still lots of CO2 trapped in suspension in your mead. It can easily take 6 months or more for your mead to properly degas, and bottling early results in bottle bombs.

Ok. Thats a very good idea!
I guess I've just made myself a prime example. 2 days ago I had a bottle spraying down the kichen(walls,roof,tables) ...What a mess:BangHead:!!(It was a dark colored one a well)
I'm going to rack them a few times and waiting a few months before bottling in the future.

The original questions in this thread resolved from that bottling session.

Gespacho
03-07-2012, 11:17 AM
I've found a pretty neat solution to the head space issue. I take a standard drilled carboy bung, and stick a short length (2 inches) of 1/4" siphon tube into the bung hole. Then I take a vacuum cap for wine bottles and seat it over the other end of the tube. There are several types that will form a tight seal over the tubing, you just have to shop around until you find one. Then just stick the bung into the carboy and pump the air out.

TAKeyser
03-07-2012, 01:09 PM
I've found a pretty neat solution to the head space issue. I take a standard drilled carboy bung, and stick a short length (2 inches) of 1/4" siphon tube into the bung hole. Then I take a vacuum cap for wine bottles and seat it over the other end of the tube. There are several types that will form a tight seal over the tubing, you just have to shop around until you find one. Then just stick the bung into the carboy and pump the air out.

Sounds like a great idea. Do you do this once and forget about it or do you need to repeat it every so often?

Chevette Girl
03-07-2012, 11:28 PM
I've been sticking a vacuum-cork over a bung as a de-stinking attempt on a still and degased wine and I checked it every day and it would lose its vacuum. But getting it on tubing might work better. It's one of those things you'd have to check every couple hours at first to see whether it holds or not... I had one of those in a bottle that kept its vacuum for 6 months. The wine was still a little oxidized as it was a LOT of headspace and not much wine left and it's by no means a perfect vacuum, but it was definitely still under vacuum.

I'm currently using a handful of these to degas some wine I kind of, er, rushed to the bottle and I'm too lazy to pour them back into a carboy and let them do their thing for a while. Even despite pulling gas out of the solution they're still under a little bit of vacuum if I don't check for a couple days. Speaking of which...

TAKeyser
03-07-2012, 11:31 PM
Sounds like a plan, now I just have to remember what I did with that thing (no such thing as a half a bottle sitting around here), maybe it'll be with the D.A.P. that I suddenly can't find even though I used it yesterday.

Gespacho
03-09-2012, 01:32 PM
Sounds like a great idea. Do you do this once and forget about it or do you need to repeat it every so often?

You can just pump out the air and leave it. I wouldn't honestly do it until your ready to bulk age, though. Every time you break the seal you can see the air rush in a disturb the surface of the mead. I just put the pump/bung in once I'm ready to stick the carboy in a corner and leave it.


I had one of those in a bottle that kept its vacuum for 6 months.

I've found that I had to buy the good quality vacuum caps, or they just leak the air back on. I'm hoping that the CO2 will leak out of the new mead and dilute what little oxygen there is in the head space, but I've only done this with 2 batches and they're still aging.

TAKeyser
03-09-2012, 01:48 PM
I thought it would be best for bulk aging. Still need to find that vacuum cap thing, I know it has to be around here somewhere. I did find the D.A.P. though.

JohnS
03-09-2012, 09:09 PM
Ive been following this thread for a while and its interesting. I am presently in the same dilemma. Having made approximately an extra 1/2 gallon to fill the carboy after racking, I have discovered that its not enough.

I tried the balloon trick and it did not work, because the balloon only inflates to the point where the liquid rests and then it too difficult to blow any further. I also forgot this basic physics lesson. Its too difficult to move liquid by using air alone, or pure lung power.

I should preface this by saying that, there is only about 1/2 gallon or slightly above the shoulder, but not exactly to the neck of airspace. I went to the pet store and bought about 10 dollars worth of aquarium glass rocks, but now I also found out that its still not enough. I also tried putting sterilized knives in there and even that was not enough to add to the displacement. Now I am having second thoughts about the knife trick, since I have been worrying about containments entering from the knives (the knives I use were slightly grooved in the handle).

Tomorrow I will go back to the pet store and by more of the glass rocks and add them to the carboy, In the future though, I will make about and extra gallon of must to cover the difference. I know thats a lot, however I also used a lot of fruit in the primary.