PDA

View Full Version : Am I ready to bottle?



phtsantanna
02-10-2014, 06:19 PM
Hey guys,

You have already helped me with some other questions I've placed in this other thread, which I'm very grateful for: http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=21979

Since my concern now is not really troubleshooting the mead, I thought I should start a new thread for my other question (please let me know if it's not a good practice).

The complete recipe/method can be read in the other thread (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=21979), but I'll just brief you again:

[5 gallons]
6.4kg (14.10 lbs) Orange Blossom Honey
5 grams Fermax (this was all I could get for nutrients/energizer)
2 packets Lalvin 71B-1122 (10 grams)
Enough spring water to complete 5 gallons
O.G. Aug 25 2013: 1.096

Other gravity measurements:
G. Sep 12 2013: 1.034
G. Sep 20 2013: 1.022
G. Oct 20 2013: 1.006

I've managed to take a new sample and measured the current gravity:
Current Gravity Feb 08 2014: 1.002

For a while I was concerned knowing it wasn't a very healthy fermentation, but once I've tasted the new sample I took, I'm quite happy with the results so far. It turned out to be a Medium/Dry mead, with no apparent off flavors and a very pleasant aroma. It is certainly not clear yet, so I intend to use some bentonite before bottling.

Another observation that might be helpful: I've kept the 250ml sample in the fridge for about 48 hours and there are no signs of lees or anything else at the bottom of the small jar I used.

Considering the gravity dropped from 1.006 to 1.002 in almost 4 months, I thought it'd be safe to bottle. What would you say?

Thanks a lot.
Cheers

GntlKnigt1
02-10-2014, 06:46 PM
Always a good idea to stabilize and clarify before bottling....in my practice, anyway.

Sent from the Nexus of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy which has been infected with Vogon poetry, some of which leaked out here.

fatbloke
02-11-2014, 12:13 AM
Plus 71B is excellent yeast that often produces a mead that can be drunk earlier than others, just its known not to be good with long term aging on the lees.

if you haven't already, id get it racked off tbe gross lees.......

phtsantanna
02-11-2014, 01:05 PM
Thanks guys.

I do have bentonite and intend to use it very soon.

1 - Although I know bentonite is not a stabilizer, would it help decreasing the chances of any fermentation activity after bottling? I don't really want to use sorbates or sulfites this time. As far as I understood, a very clear mead is mostly yeast-free.

2 - The usage instructions are clear to me. However I'm not sure about one thing: Should I (1) rack the mead to a new carboy and only then add the bentonite? Or (2) should I add the bentonite first and then rack? (3) Should I add the bentonite to an empty carboy first, and then rack the mead onto the bentonite in the carboy?

fatbloke
02-11-2014, 02:22 PM
Thanks guys.

I do have bentonite and intend to use it very soon.

1 - Although I know bentonite is not a stabilizer, would it help decreasing the chances of any fermentation activity after bottling? I don't really want to use sorbates or sulfites this time. As far as I understood, a very clear mead is mostly yeast-free.

2 - The usage instructions are clear to me. However I'm not sure about one thing: Should I (1) rack the mead to a new carboy and only then add the bentonite? Or (2) should I add the bentonite first and then rack? (3) Should I add the bentonite to an empty carboy first, and then rack the mead onto the bentonite in the carboy?
Clear mead will still have yeast cells, unless its been "sterile" filtered.

plus option 1 would be best.

fining agents don't do anything for preservation. Sulphites are produced naturally, just that we use them in a more concentrate form so they are of some use.

I would suggest that you use your number 1 point to fine it, then add 1 campden tablet per gallon and bulk age it......

GntlKnigt1
02-12-2014, 03:30 AM
Thanks guys.

(3) Should I add the bentonite to an empty carboy first, and then rack the mead onto the bentonite in the carboy?

I would agree with this statement and with Fatbloke....put your bentonite AND crushed campden tablets into an empty carboy and then rack into it and let it age before bottling.

phtsantanna
02-13-2014, 08:35 AM
Ok, you may have convinced me then :) I will probably use some sulphite prior to bottling.

Unfortunately, they don't sell Campden tablets where I live, but I could buy some Sodium Metabisulphite (I read it works just the same way the Potassium does). Would it be fine? How much (in grams or OZ) should I add?

Thanks!

fatbloke
02-13-2014, 03:21 PM
Ok, you may have convinced me then :) I will probably use some sulphite prior to bottling.

Unfortunately, they don't sell Campden tablets where I live, but I could buy some Sodium Metabisulphite (I read it works just the same way the Potassium does). Would it be fine? How much (in grams or OZ) should I add?

Thanks!
Campden tablet is just a generic name for wine making sulphite tablets.......

some are sodium metabisulphite some are potassium metabisulphite. Depends whats common where you are.....

just make sure you use the appropriate amount for 50ppm as too much of the sodium ones can give a metallic off flavour........

MJ7
02-14-2014, 12:01 AM
Campden tablet is just a generic name for wine making sulphite tablets.......

some are sodium metabisulphite some are potassium metabisulphite. Depends whats common where you are.....

just make sure you use the appropriate amount for 50ppm as too much of the sodium ones can give a metallic off flavour........

Campden (potassium meta, we already have enough sodium in our diets) is just a sulphite, it will not do anything to free yeast, it is an antioxidant that will work to destroy some forms of bacteria and free radicals...keeping your meads color and taste intact. If you are worried about yeast you need to use sorbate, potassium sorbate. Sorbate stops the reproduction of yeast, and is best used with sulphites (although not necessary). Many wine makers will use both campden and sorbate before bottling, but if you just had to use one I would suggest sorbate, because MEAs or bottle bombs would be a bigger concern to me than losing coloring.

danr
02-14-2014, 01:46 AM
but if you just had to use one I would suggest sorbate, because MEAs or bottle bombs would be a bigger concern to me than losing coloring.

Adding sorbate without sulfite can lead to a 'geranium' odor/taste due to malolactic fermentation.

fatbloke
02-14-2014, 03:01 AM
Adding sorbate without sulfite can lead to a 'geranium' odor/taste due to malolactic fermentation.
Well stated danr, suitably clear.

I'll add to that a little.

Towhit......

Malolactic fermentation is the metabolism of malic acid. This converts the harsher malic acid to lactic acid which is "softer" tasting (sorry couldn't think of a better description).

The same bacteria that does that can also metabolise potassium sorbate i.e. the chem used to prevent further budding of yeast cells and their subsequent fermentation. If sulphite levels are lower than 20ppm, then the presence of the bacteria can cause the sorbate into chemicals known as geraniols (due to their distinctive smell of geraniums). A bit of a search will give you the sciencey info.....

A standard sized campden tablet (irrespective of whether its KMeta or NaMeta) provides 50 ppm free sulphites in 1 US gallon and 44 ppm in 1 imp gallon. Both of which are enough to inhibit the bacteria if they're present (and they can be naturally or introduced).

Which is why, as danr points out, that these 2 chems are routinely used together.....

Use of sorbate along is considered, in almost all situations, as poor technique.

YMMV........

Midnight Sun
02-14-2014, 09:47 PM
I have heard mentioned that sodium metabisulphite can be tasted at a lower concentration than potassium metabisulphite, but have never tested this myself. The sulfur component of both is volatile, but the sodium and potassium ions will remain in the mead.

Godly drink ours to keep
02-14-2014, 10:25 PM
Hello! so my mead/cyser has pretty much completely stopped fermenting after 2 and a half months, I've racked twice and I am wondering if I should bottle or let it sit with the air lock. My recipe for 1 g was half apple juice half water, about 3 1/2 pounds of raw honey and Champaign yeast. after about a month and a half I racked it and added raisins. after that it slowed down significantly and I wasn't too concerned due to honeys slow ferment. it really started clearing up and tasting amazing but two weeks later it had almost no bubbling, maybe once every two or three minutes. so I racked it on more time and added half a pound of more honey and more yeast to try and kick start it again ( I'm avoiding adding any chemicals, also I don't have money for hydrometer ) now its one of the best tasting meads I have ever had but there is zero bubbles in the air lock or around the rim of the mead. is it really ready to bottle or do I just let it sit with an air lock for a few more months? any thing helps.

GntlKnigt1
02-15-2014, 04:15 AM
Hard to reply with good advice here as we have such limited info. On the one hand, you say you used champagne yeast, and after 2 months, you say it tastes great. Usually, something fermented with that yeast will be dry and need a year or more to age, unless the pH dropped to below 3.0 and you have a stalled fermentation but you don't have a hydrometer to check SG, and you don't want to add sulfite and sorbates to stabilize, which would allow you to bottle.....

You've backed yourself into a corner here.....

phtsantanna
03-15-2014, 12:41 AM
Hey guys,

An update:

On the 8th of Feb, about a month ago, I added K-meta (50 ppm) and bentonite (according to manufacturer instructions). The problem is: I was stupid enough not to stir the bentonite thoroughly and actually get it to dissolve properly. I guess I was overcautious about getting O2 into the mead. It turns out my mead didn't clear at all, and I have a very distinct layer of sediment sitting at the bottom of the carboy (I assume it's mainly bentonite since I had just racked off the lees prior to adding it).

From time to time, I still see some slight fermentation activity, which is bothering me -- it's been more than 6 months. Although it's not what I had in mind initially, I've decided to use some K Sorbate since I'd like to have a bit of residual sugar.

Question 1: Should I simply try to stir my mead and have the sediment/bentonite go into suspension and dissolve? Or should I repeat the bentonite preparation process and add the same recommended amount into the carboy?

Question 2: Considering I want to (1) clear my mead, (2) stabilize and (3) bottle, what is the recommended procedure in terms of timing and order? I was thinking, I should probably clear it first. Then add K-Meta and K-Sorbate right before bottling? How long should I wait in-between these additions?

Thanks a lot!

wayneb
03-18-2014, 12:18 PM
Hmm... if you used "traditional" bentonite and not the quick dissolving version, unless you pre-hydrated it with boiling water for 12 hours before adding it, it won't do anything to clear the mead - it needs to hydrate in order to be at a density that will allow it to stay suspended in the mead long enough to attract the other microparticles it is designed to clear. Did you hydrate your bentonite before using it?

If you did (or you used the quick dissolving version) then just stir it back up into suspension and let it try to clear again. If that doesn't work, I suggest using something like hot-mix Sparkolloid as a secondary fining agent. Sparkolloid does wonders, and it attracts the particles that are oppositely charged from those that bentonite grabs, so if the bentonite didn't work, the Sparkolloid is likely to do the job.

Once your mead is clear, rack off of the lees and then add K-meta and sorbate. Make sure they are completely dissolved and stirred in to distribute throughout the mead. You can bottle shortly thereafter. I've bottled within the same hour, or within a couple of days of the stabilizer additions, and have seen no problems doing it either way. Don't wait too long, because eventually the SO2 released by the K-meta will go out of solution and you'll lose the protection that the K-meta provides.

phtsantanna
03-22-2014, 10:36 AM
Very helpful stuff Wayne. Thanks a lot!

I did pre-hydrate the bentonite and leave it in the fridge for about 24 hours prior to adding it. Now I just hope that stirring it into suspension will work out since I can't really find Sparkolloid for sale where I live :-\

Will let you guys know how it goes.

Cheers

wingedshadowwolf
03-23-2014, 03:52 PM
You can probably order the sparkolloid online for a reasonable price. I know it's available on eBay.

phtsantanna
04-08-2014, 04:00 PM
@wingedshadowwolf -- Thanks for the tip. Unfortunately, I'm not in the US and the international shipping costs charged by those ebay sparkolloid sellers are really high.

It turns out I've re-racked and added some more bentonite and it worked well! Got a clear mead, finally. However, I've run into a new issue now. I'm hoping you guys can give me some more insight.

I bottled my mead shortly after getting it clear. Roughly 24 hours after bottling, I re-corked 3 or 4 bottles that hadn't been corked properly (cork not completely inserted into the neck). While opening those bottles, I noticed some slight pressure being released, which caused a pop sound. Now, I'm 99% sure fermentation have not, and will not restart. I've racked the mead off the lees quite a few times, and added recommended amounts of K-meta and Sorbate prior to bottling. The FG was 0.998 (13.1% ABV). Plus, it had been only 24 hours.

The thing is, I haven't really made any effort to degas the mead. It is not fizzy at all, but I'm assuming there is still some dissolved CO2.
Question: should I worry about this? I've read that lack of degassing is not really enough to cause bottle bombs or popping corks. I have been considering Vacu Vin (http://www.vacuvin.com/270/Wine_Saver.html) to degas each bottle then re-cork. But then I wondered whether that would compromise the protection provided by the K-meta (removing some SO2 as well). What I'd really like is to stop being paranoid and enjoy this first batch ;D

Thanks!

GntlKnigt1
04-09-2014, 01:57 PM
Sounds like you are okay.. so quit being "...paranoid and enjoy this first batch". And, you can put your home city and country in your label under your profile.

phtsantanna
04-18-2014, 03:17 PM
Strange... It seems like our latest posts have disappeared. Probably has to do with the recent site updates.
Anyways, thanks again GntlKnigt1 :) My location is updated now

Cheers

GntlKnigt1
04-18-2014, 03:57 PM
Very cool... Yes, strange things with the upgrade

Sent from Arthur Dent's towel smothering a volume of Vogon poetry, some of which just leaked out.

mannye
04-18-2014, 06:40 PM
Just in case you haven't bought anything yet, I highly recommend Super Kleer. That stuff works miracles. Available on Amazon and Ebay and at almost every online retailer.