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View Full Version : Unintentional Sparkling Mead, what to do?



Wingnut
09-09-2012, 01:50 AM
I just couldn't help myself and pulled a bottle of my first mead batch bottled in July this year. Much to my horror when I pulled the cork it bubbled right up. It looks like like Ginger Ale and fizzed like heck. Unfortunately it was bottled in standard wine bottles.
Any advice as to how to stop the sparkling fermentation process would be greatly appreciated. I don't want any Bottle bombs...
I thought placing them in the fridge might solve the problem.

fatbloke
09-09-2012, 04:22 AM
I just couldn't help myself and pulled a bottle of my first mead batch bottled in July this year. Much to my horror when I pulled the cork it bubbled right up. It looks like like Ginger Ale and fizzed like heck. Unfortunately it was bottled in standard wine bottles.
Any advice as to how to stop the sparkling fermentation process would be greatly appreciated. I don't want any Bottle bombs...
I thought placing them in the fridge might solve the problem.
Gravity readings ? Recipe used ? Process/method ?

Chilling the hell out of it will just stabilise the CO2 some, but it sounds rather like you'd need to get it back into a fermenter, with the smallest amount of airspace you can get away with.

Take a gravity reading, give it 3 or 4 days, then take another gravity reading to see if it's moved a little (even 1 point would suggest it's still fermenting).

Or

Get some champagne/sparkling wine bottles and transfer it over to them, stoppers and wire cages etc and then leave it in the coolest location you can manage.....

akueck
09-09-2012, 08:09 AM
If you don't plan on rebottling, or at least recorking after letting the pressure out, definitely keep these cold. Very cold. And if you gave any bottles out, provide a warning to open while pointing away from people. And drink them sooner rather than later.

First batches are usually small, so I'm assuming you've just got a handful of these around. Chill, open, enjoy, and adjust your techniques for the next batch.

wildoates
09-09-2012, 12:13 PM
I had this happen a few months ago, opened up a bottle of what was supposed to be a still trad to find it had carbed in the bottle even though it was one of the few batches that I had actually stabilized before bottling. The entire 5 gallon batch had carbed, so we just carefully opened up all of them, poured the still sparkling mead off the yeast into beer/champagne bottles, and crown capped them. We lost a bit of sparkle, but not much, and it tastes fantastic, way better than champagne despite its accidental manufacture.

Wingnut
09-09-2012, 02:48 PM
Gravity readings ? Recipe used ? Process/method ?

Chilling the hell out of it will just stabilise the CO2 some, but it sounds rather like you'd need to get it back into a fermenter, with the smallest amount of airspace you can get away with.

Take a gravity reading, give it 3 or 4 days, then take another gravity reading to see if it's moved a little (even 1 point would suggest it's still fermenting).

Or

Get some champagne/sparkling wine bottles and transfer it over to them, stoppers and wire cages etc and then leave it in the coolest location you can manage.....

Sorry about not providing the information. I didn't think it was going to be useful.
This was my first batch. Right out of Mr. Schramm's book. 15-16 lbs. Blackberry Honey
4 gal water (boiled and cooled)
2 tsp. yeast nutrient (GoFem)*
1 tsp. yeast energizer (FemaidK)*
2 packets of the Lalvin 72b-122
*Local Homebrew Store folks recommended both for use.

S.G @ bottling was 1.002 07/04/12

Wingnut
09-09-2012, 02:57 PM
If you don't plan on rebottling, or at least recorking after letting the pressure out, definitely keep these cold. Very cold. And if you gave any bottles out, provide a warning to open while pointing away from people. And drink them sooner rather than later.

First batches are usually small, so I'm assuming you've just got a handful of these around. Chill, open, enjoy, and adjust your techniques for the next batch.

Just 20 bottles. I kept them and haven't given any away. I wanted to ensure it was fit to drink.
I'll go ahead and re bottle either in champagne or lg beer bottles. I'd hate to have an accidental detonation.

Wingnut
09-09-2012, 03:07 PM
Again everyone has provided great advice and I gain much from your experiences. That is what makes this forum so darn good!
Thank you fatbloke, akueck and wildoats for the help. I know there is always good advice here.
I don't have an available carboy right now or I would go that route so I am going to re-bottle and hope for the best. I am also watching the batch I have in process a little closer. I don't want to do this again. That sparkling stuff isn't really appealing....I'll keep you posted.

Regards,
Wingnut

fatbloke
09-09-2012, 03:07 PM
Just 20 bottles. I kept them and haven't given any away. I wanted to ensure it was fit to drink.
I'll go ahead and re bottle either in champagne or lg beer bottles. I'd hate to have an accidental detonation.
Probably an excellent idea. I had a 2 litre plastic pop/soda bottle explode on me last year. VVV glad it was plastic, as it still hurt like hell when it hit me.

Though in truth, the biggest nuisance was cleaning up the 2 litres of Ginger Beer that was fermenting in the bottle at 0500 in the morning, when I was due at work at 0530 (and we didn't see any of our cats for the rest of the day;D)

I'd guess that while your FG was pretty low when you bottled, the actual act of bottling would have allowed a tiny amount of air/O2 into the batch, plus even if it was as clear as a bell, there'd still be an imperceptible amount of yeast cells present, etc etc. Plus you may claim to be in "the Evergreen State", but if it's been as warm up there as it's been in a lot of the US this summer, then QED, bottle carbonation.

Chevette Girl
09-09-2012, 09:48 PM
I had the same thing happen with my first mead too, thought it had stabilized at 1.015 but no... I called everyone who'd gotten a bottle and warned them to refrigerate it and drink quickly, and I uncorked the ones I had and gave them a gentle stir before recorking... most were fine aside from the one that shot its cork across the kitchen and about 2/3 of its contents under the freezer, but one of the bottles I stirred was my first MEA, *FWOOOSHHH!* all over me, the table, the carpet, the kitchen floor all the way to the sink...

And at a wine tasting, we opened a bottle and treated it as two separate entities - sparkling and flat (after stirring with a knife). Very different.