View Full Version : how long bottle conditioning for still mead?

12-22-2012, 03:26 PM
Greetings all,

I am making my first batch of mead, and it has been in the secondary fermenter for at least three months...no remote signs of fermentation activity for ages (and a hydrometer check indicated what I believe to be a complete ferment).

I want to put it in bottles now, and...since I am new to this...I am planning to try some flavoring strategies at the bottling phase (to see what I get and to see what I like). For instance, some bottles will be just regular 'unflavored' still mead, but I will probably add a ginger tea to some other bottles. Also, maybe some bottles will get some peach extract or something like that if I can find it in the spice section of my supermarket.

In any case, I am PLANNING for my meads to be mostly uncarbonated. If I use honey-sweetened ginger tea, then I know I can expect some bottle carbonation (and I will be careful not to overdue it, for fear of exploding bottles).

If it is a flavored or unflavored still mead (not carbonated), how long should it ideally stay in the bottle before drinking? I am not even sure that it isn't perfectly drinkable right now, but I am sure some amount of bottle conditioning is universally recommended. If I do any carbonated bottles, how long should those stay in the bottle before drinking?



12-22-2012, 03:57 PM
What strength is it? What did you use in it? Just because it's done fermenting doesn't mean it's ready to go to bottle. If it's only 3-4 months from mixing, give it several more months to clear before you think about bottling.

I have batches made in 2010 (November of that year) that are really starting to become great. They were good after a year, but now... ;D

Personally, I would go as long as needed/possible before going to bottle. My current 'stanards' are up to 14% ABV gets a full year before being bottled. Stronger batches go even longer. I have one that's about 21% that's been aging for a year, and is about to get the flavor additions started. I don't expect to bottle that one for another 6-12 months.

Best thing (absolutely the best thing) you can do for your mead is give it time. It's the cheapest, and easiest to use, ingredient. ;D

12-23-2012, 11:05 AM
What golddiggie said. I've got meads from 2009 still sitting in the carboy because their flavor isn't just right yet. Bottling is a lot of effort, so you want that effort spent on something you can be proud of. Also, keep in mind your flavor additions will likely cause more sediment to drop in the bottle if you move forward with your plan.

Chevette Girl
01-02-2013, 12:00 AM
Bottle conditioning can take a few days if your yeast is really vigorous to a few weeks or even months if there are only a few yeast cells left.

Most people have found that you want at least six months aging, whether it's in the carboy or in bottles, but we all also find it only gets better with more age.