View Full Version : Question on when its safe to bottle

06-21-2012, 01:09 PM
Hello all, just found this site and it looks very solid. I am a NewBee mead maker on my first batch. I followed a recipe I found at instructables and it is going along very smoothly. It is almost ready to bottle and I am just curious as to what SG it will be safe to bottle it at. The recipe said it would be slightly bubbly, but I want to avoid the bottles blowing up. It has settled very nicely, is very clear and the airlock has slowed to about a small pop every 20 seconds. I am planning on bottling it in about 5 days and just want to be sure it is safe when I bottle it.

The recipe is as follows:
6lbs of Pure Wildflower Honey
4 Cans of Frozen Lemonade Concentrace
2lbs of Corn Sugar
1 Package of EC1118 yeast
1 Package yeast nutrient added at start
Filled 23L carboy to about 80-90% with Water(could have added a little more)

Here is a link to the recipe:

I never took a SG reading at the start because I didn't have a Hydrometer, but I will in 2 days. It has been going for almost a month now and the original recipe said it would be ready in 4 weeks and I am sure my mead is much clearer that his was in the pictures of him bottling. I would like it to be slightly carbonated, but don't want to risk bottles blowing up. I will be bottling it in a mix of 500ml and 1L EZ Cap Bottles.

Any advice would be appreciated and any questions fire away and I'll answer as best as I can.

06-21-2012, 02:48 PM
Hi, jimmydatwin! Welcome to "Gotmead"!!

I'm glad that you found us, and the first thing I will advise you to do prior to starting any other batches of mead, is to read our NewBee Guide to Meadmaking (find the link over on the left side of this page). It will tell you a lot more about what to do, and why to do it, than I can in just a few paragraphs here.

That said, I want to advise you to be careful about the "instructions" you've been given at that instructables website. Although the basic recipe and fermentation technique are reasonably well described, I have some problems with the instructions near the end. That business about leaving the mead to set for a period of time (4 weeks in this case) and then bottling without any real knowledge of whether fermentation is finished or not, is dangerous. In the vast majority of cases, using that recipe, all (or nearly all) the fermentable sugar will have been used up prior to bottling, BUT YOU CAN'T BE CERTAIN OF THAT without taking some hydrometer readings to see if there are any residual sugars in your mead. If you happen to bottle while there are significant amounts of sugar still left, then the yeast may produce enough CO2 in the bottle to severely over-pressurize them, leading to bottle bombs.

Here is what I would suggest that you do instead, with your mead where it is at this point in time. Siphon out a small amount of the mead into a sample tube that is big enough to float your hydrometer (once you get it). Then take a reading of the specific gravity. For your given recipe, if the SG is at or lower than 1.000, then you are probably safe to bottle. By my quick calculations, a fully dry (i.e. all sugars are gone) mead made with this recipe ought to finish at a specific gravity of around 0.997-0.998. You should still be safe at 1.000. Much above that, and you'll have too much residual sugar to bottle safely. If your SG is in that safe range, then go ahead and bottle this batch. Don't worry about trying to produce a sparkling beverage at this point - if it does develop a little carbonation and if you decide that you like it that way, then fine. If not, then enjoy your "still" mead this time. You can work on things like conditioning with fermentables in subsequent batches, once you have a bit more experience.

06-21-2012, 06:10 PM
On a slightly different note.
I recklessly bottled an apple cidre, that I am now concerned may not have finished.
I want it to carbonate, so I primed it too :-(
How should I store the bottles to minimise carnage, should the worst come to pass.
Note: refrigerating or leaving outside in this weather is not on, as I want the cidre to carb, just not pop ;-)

06-21-2012, 06:19 PM
I'd keep them in a cooler, only with no ice. That way if there is any explosion, it is contained.

The way to get 'em carbed without blowing is to sample one every week with that cooler kept at room temp, see if it is at the carb level you'd like, and then when they get there chill the rest down to near freezing and keep them there until they're consumed. You're doing effectively a cold-crash that way, and unless you've used a lager yeast strain that should keep subsequent yeast activity to a minimum. Most wine and ale yeast strains slow way down below about 10C so normal fridge temps are good enough to keep them from blowing their tops.

Yo momma
06-21-2012, 06:21 PM
Keep them standing up so the cork will and the fluid will blow up instead of out. Other than that I would say watch the orks for raising. If they start to raise pull it carefully. OH boy bottle bombs.

I only did it once and the bottles were on there side. WOW what a mess. My dog liked it though. LOL

06-21-2012, 06:33 PM
Thanks Wayne, I picked that recipe because in my "googling" it was nicely detailed in the making with pictures and simple step by step. I knew all along that the bottling of carbonated mead could be tricky, but was hoping I could get this far along without wrecking it before I worried about bottling it (seems silly now it was so easy to make) I found this site and decided I'd ask those with experience. Pretty much confirmed my suspicion that anything under 1 would be fairly safe and I was actually thinking I would go down to .998 just to be safe.

Timed the Airlock on lunch and it is about every 40 seconds now. Fermentation seems to be grinding to a halt quickly and I can read anything I put on the far side of the carboy it is so clear now. I am not overly concerned about carbonation because my brother recently picked up a carbonation kit to make non alcoholic ginger beer so if I really want I can force carbonation.

I am on about chapter 7 of the NewBee guide and I like what I am reading. Alot of it I had picked up in my random searching, but is nice to find it all consolidated and well put together. I was actually looking to buy a book, but I think the guide will keep me going until I get some experience.

Thank again and look forward to reading more and hopefully one day contributing to help newbees like myself ;)

06-22-2012, 09:12 AM
I used crown seals.
I have them in plastic tubs. Stacked.
Standing them up tonight.
It was a wild yeast ferment, because it took off before I was finished juicing.
My mate's batch was kept at < 40F and never took off, so the fridge, or just outside may be ok.
I'll test every week.
I bottled some as 'still' so I'll have a benchmark.
Thanks for the advice guys.

06-22-2012, 09:13 AM
Oh. You were using centigrade. Hmm and I went to the effort of converting it ;-)
<10C is easy this time of year. It's bloody cold.

06-22-2012, 12:16 PM
Oh. You were using centigrade. Hmm and I went to the effort of converting it ;-)

Oops! Yeah - I'm a Physicist/Engineer. I'll pop into metric or English units as needed, and I can think equally in either terms (most times - depending on how much mead I've had to drink, of course!).