View Full Version : bOTTLED TOO EARLY?

05-28-2014, 08:15 AM
Hi, I'm a new home brewer. sorry for the briefness and sloppiness of this post, I'm having a quick break before I get back to writing my dissertation.

I think I have bottled too early.

my recipe was 8 pots of honey mixed with water and a wine yeast sachet all chucked into a 5 gallon demijohn.

I bottled yesterday after 2 months into various bottles I had lying about. beer bottles, cider bottles a screw top wine bottle, a fizzy apple juice bottle... you get the jist.

I topped them all with plastic corks and i noticed that on the screw top wine bottle the cork was getting pushed out by the pressure within (although that cork went in easier than the others)

are my bottles going to explode? My airlock was bubbling only once a minute , when i tasted it it seemed almost fizzy But really nice!!

I didn't get a hydrometer cause I was being a cheapo but I'm certainly getting one for my next bach.

Marshmallow Blue
05-28-2014, 09:08 AM
If your airlock was still active, you definitely shouldn't have bottled. It was likely mostly fermented but if the weather warms up and re-vigors a stuck ferment, then yes, your bottles may shoot their corks or fail.

The taste is fizzy because by products of yeast fermentation is alcohol and CO2 (the stuff that carbs soda and beer). So you likely had a good deal of CO2 in solution and that's where the fizziness is coming from.

05-28-2014, 10:27 AM
Yes, you bottled too early. You also did not stabilize before bottling, nor did you degas. The degassing can be skipped, but not waiting for the ferment to finish is a big no-no.

Your safest bet at this point? Well, depends on how much trouble you'd like to go through. If you don't have too much of the stuff in glass, maybe let it ride, and see what happens. You might get some explosions, and you might not. I'd immediately drink the stuff in glass though, or transfer it to a different container. If it's all in glass, consider dumping it all back into the carboy to let it finish its ferment. Try not to splash it about too much though; at this point your mead is susceptible to oxidation.

A simpler option: place all the bottles in the fridge, and leave them there until drinking time. The temperature will keep the yeast from fermenting further, and will aid clarity to some extent.

05-28-2014, 12:15 PM
How difficult would it be to gently pour the mead back into the carboy? IMO the risk of oxidation pales beside the risk of bottle bombs and popped corks. If you have a bottling bucket I would sanitize the outside of necks and mouths of the glass bottles with K-meta (sanitizing, the dilution is, I think, 2 oz in a gallon of water) and then pour the mead so that the mouth of each bottle is just submerged in the mead you are pouring and then with a tube at the bottom of your carboy allow the mead to flow from the bottling bucket into the carboy. The risk of oxidation will be close to zero and the risk of exploding bottles will be zero. If you don't have a bottling bucket I would still pour the mead back into the carboy. I don't think that the risk of oxidation is significant as there appears to be so much CO2 in and escaping from the mead that the carbon dioxide will act as a protective blanket to prevent much of the air from reacting with the wine. What I might also do is add a dose of K-meta (1/4 t dissolved in a few CCs of water per 6 gallons) to the mead to further inhibit oxidation.

05-28-2014, 05:39 PM
I wouldn't say the risk of oxidation is close to zero since we really don't know what the mead's current SG is and what bubbling was occurring. I don't want someone new to mead making to take oxidation lightly because of my advice. Might have simply been degassing and the mead really was close to finished. Anyway, bernardsmith might be right and you might still get some fermentation going once you rack back into the carboy. The extra air which is introduced might also help restart fermentation if it was somewhat stuck. but these are all maybes.
If you intend to make more mead in the future I suggest you buy a hydrometer first. It's very cheap, it's your best investment. Take a reading and decide from there. If you don't intend to make more mead then both previous suggestions have their merits depending on how long you would like to age the mead (bernardsmith's advice is more long term perhaps).
However, just so you know, mead should ideally be aged for at least a year

05-28-2014, 11:15 PM
Most likely need to get it back out the bottles and under air lock again before doing the remedial stuff.....

Bottle bombs are no fun so chill then down well first.......

05-29-2014, 05:44 AM
Yeah put the mead back. I didn't consider the aging without stabilising or racking... Put the mead back and leave it there until just before drinking if you don't plan to stabilize or take hydrometer readings. Not the best practice but.. oh well

Chevette Girl
05-29-2014, 06:52 PM
You corked with the reuseable plastic corks? Then you can check on your mead... pop one open (over the kitchen sink). If it hisses, you might want to let off the pressure in all of them. If no hiss, cap it, give it a swirl, open it again. If nothing, cap it, give it a little shake, open it again. If there's absolutely no mess resulting from this, you're probably safe.

But if these corks don't come out easily, I'd recommend you either refrigerate it all like idedmetal suggests, or open it all and put it back in a carboy. The risk of bottle bombs way outweighs the risk of oxidation. In my experiences it takes either a concerted effort (ie, storing a finished still mead in a carboy with a gallon of headspace) or a lot of neglect (dry airlock for a to oxidize a mead. If it's still making any kind of fizz, then you're at minimal risk of oxidation.

I'm glad you already recognize that you need a hydrometer :)