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View Full Version : Bottling Question (I want to bottle NOW!)



gheebee
07-24-2015, 10:52 AM
The simple recipe I used (honey + water + yeast) and added lotus to said to age in secondary for 2 months before bottling but after 3 months I still see the occasional bubble. In light of this I added some potassium sorbate and potassium metabisulfate to it on Wed. so that I could bottle later today but I still see the same amount of bubbles (not many, just 1 or 2 every 4 or 5 seconds). How do I stop this thing? Maybe if I put it in a cooler full of ice for a few hours or left it in the sun (clear jug) for a few hours? I want to bottle this today or, at latest, tomorrow.
I know what I'm asking is frowned upon and I don't mean to be rude or ungrateful for any help here but please do not try to convince me to wait longer. This is the batch from this post (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php/24585-Early-Bottling-Question?p=244423#post244423) and my ONLY concern here is bottling it without repeating what happened with the test bottles or having them explode on me (I figure they wouldn't if I just bottled as is since the ones I bottled immediately after primary did not explode but you never know and I don't want to take any chances...).

randall
07-24-2015, 11:04 AM
Cold crash it then add your sorbate . Sorbates won't stop an active ferment. Good luck, it will get better with age but patience is a virtue after all. If you're happy with the final results then that's all that matters.

EJM3
07-24-2015, 12:45 PM
As pointed out above there is no real way to stop a fermentation in progress, other than a cold crash followed by sulfites first then sorbate.

Cold crashing is when you place your entire fermentor into a refrigerator for at least 2 or 3 days to stun the yeast with cold, you can then safely sulfite & sorbate usually.

Heat would make the mead taste like you have poured it in a pan & boiled it for a few minutes. It would probably make the yeast stress & also lyse (explode) making strange flavors in the process.

Do you have a hydrometer to give us the SG (Specific Gravity) reading?? Time & bubbles are poor indicators most of the time as the bubbling may just be residual CO2 escaping, not continued fermentation.

We just need to know if it's done first so we can guide you a bit better.

Also pH if you have the capability as that is a function of how well the sulfites will work.

gheebee
07-24-2015, 12:47 PM
Cold crash it then add your sorbate . Sorbates won't stop an active ferment. Good luck, it will get better with age but patience is a virtue after all. If you're happy with the final results then that's all that matters.

When I was looking into how to stop a fermentation a few of the things I read said you could use either cold or chemicals to do it and that if you don't have room in your fridge for your fermenter, then to just use the 2 chemicals that I used. I don't have room in my fridge now but maybe I will in a few days and can remove one of the shelves to get it in there for a few days.
Does it matter that I added those two chemicals if I wind up just leaving this in the basement though? I'm not sure what to do now. I was all annoyed when I typed my first post because I had just checked the fermenter and saw that it was still bubbling a little. Also, as far as I can tell there is no magic bullet that will just completely kill off your yeast; is this correct?
Thanks for the reply!

gheebee
07-24-2015, 01:16 PM
As pointed out above there is no real way to stop a fermentation in progress, other than a cold crash followed by sulfites first then sorbate.

Cold crashing is when you place your entire fermentor into a refrigerator for at least 2 or 3 days to stun the yeast with cold, you can then safely sulfite & sorbate usually.

Heat would make the mead taste like you have poured it in a pan & boiled it for a few minutes. It would probably make the yeast stress & also lyse (explode) making strange flavors in the process.

Do you have a hydrometer to give us the SG (Specific Gravity) reading?? Time & bubbles are poor indicators most of the time as the bubbling may just be residual CO2 escaping, not continued fermentation.

We just need to know if it's done first so we can guide you a bit better.

Also pH if you have the capability as that is a function of how well the sulfites will work.

I have a hydrometer but I was trying to avoid using it since it is only a 1 gallon batch and they say you shouldn't pour the test jar back into the fermenter after you've checked the gravity. I would just sanitize the hydrometer and drop it in the fermenter, but I'm not going to be able to read it because of the stuff stuck to the neck of the jug. What if I just bottled everything and stored them all in the fridge right away (instead of at room temperature, occasionally putting one in the fridge)?
Sorry if I seem like I'm trying to be difficult, I do appreciate the advice though! FWIW, I'm used to beer where you just ferment for two weeks and bottle without worrying about additional fermentation.

EJM3
07-24-2015, 01:33 PM
The sulfite & sorbate that you already added is nothing to worry about over the next few days. As you can see killing yeast is pretty tuff stuff to accomplish, on purpose. I've never managed to get the yeast to do as I want when it comes to them finishing on a deadline or gravity reading, temperamental little beasties that way. If the fermentation is still active you will have the darndest time just using sulfite & sorbate, plus just adding more of them will eventually make the mead taste weird or nasty.

The best way to start is cold crashing for at least a few days to get things all chilled down and get them yeasties all chilled out and falling out, then hit with sulfite & sorbate.

As for bottling, if there is still yeast in suspension and you bottle with residual sugars & did not hit them with the correct amount of sulfite they will not be stunned. You can calculate the amount of sulfites needed by correlating volume with your pH level, sulfites only work well if they are added to a solution with a pH of 3.5 or lower. I use this calculator here for that purpose. (http://www.fermsoft.com/sulphite.html)

The sorbate only stops them from budding, not living and continuing to ferment, or sporulating & waiting for the right conditions to continue the party. Without sterile filtration it is hard to get all the yeast out so chems are our friends as hobbyists. Also sorbates without proper sulfiting can lead to an infection that would metabolize the sorbic acid into geraniol, a flavor & smell like rotting geraniums, no way to get rid of it

EJM3
07-24-2015, 01:50 PM
Mead is very un-beer like, it takes a while to ferment, then to drop yeast & outgas the last of the CO2. I brew beer as well and they are related as far as making alcohol from sugars, but they differ in time frames.

Beer is ready in 30 days from grind to glass.
The BOMM is ready in 30 days (Look up the BOMM protocol by loveofrose).
Another mead is ready after 100-120 days (JAOM)
Almost all others a year or two at the minimum.

I'm lucky in that I came at both from a newbie perspective, lots of fun in both worlds.

When I only have a one gallon batch going is I sterilize everything with vodka, the hydrometer, the sample jar, the tubing, etc. I just sluice it all, pour the excess vodka back into the bottle (it's ONLY used to sterilize not drink, that's what mead is for!!), then I put on some gloves and rinse my hands in a little. I can safely put the sample back without infection worries, it's been working for almost 3 years now with no infections for me...

gheebee
07-24-2015, 02:41 PM
Well, it would be a shame to ruin 14 weeks worth of fermentation/ageing because I arbitrarily decided that I wanted to bottle today or tomorrow, so based on everything here I will try and get the fridge emptied a bit so I can remove a shelf and stick the fermenter in it; should have room by Sunday or Monday and then I will leave it until next Friday or Saturday where I will add a bit more of the two chemicals and then bottle the next day.
I'll also try and pick up some pH test strips before the end of the week as well but if I don't and can't use the calculator then the only thing I'm wondering now is how much potassium sorbate and potassium metabisulfate to add. I put 1 crushed potassium metabisulfate tablet and tsp potassium sorbate as per the directions on the packages initially, so I'm not sure how much more to add. Hopefully I will get the strips, but if I don't then should I just repeat the amounts I originally used?

This is somewhat discouraging, I bought the ingredients to repeat this batch two times and was going to try and bottle one of them right after primary fermentation because I liked the taste so much when I sampled it as I filled the jug for secondary, but it doesn't seem like this will be possible. When I have time later I will read up on the BOMM mead though.

Maylar
07-24-2015, 03:38 PM
If the hydrometer, test flask, and whatever you use to take a sample with are clean and sanitized, it's OK to pour the sample back in. Been doing that for years with cider.

Squatchy
07-24-2015, 11:06 PM
I have to agree with Maylar. I think once your ABV is high enough you wont have any problems. I do it all the time as well.

mannye
07-26-2015, 01:46 AM
Well, it would be a shame to ruin 14 weeks worth of fermentation/ageing because I arbitrarily decided that I wanted to bottle today or tomorrow, so based on everything here I will try and get the fridge emptied a bit so I can remove a shelf and stick the fermenter in it; should have room by Sunday or Monday and then I will leave it until next Friday or Saturday where I will add a bit more of the two chemicals and then bottle the next day.
I'll also try and pick up some pH test strips before the end of the week as well but if I don't and can't use the calculator then the only thing I'm wondering now is how much potassium sorbate and potassium metabisulfate to add. I put 1 crushed potassium metabisulfate tablet and tsp potassium sorbate as per the directions on the packages initially, so I'm not sure how much more to add. Hopefully I will get the strips, but if I don't then should I just repeat the amounts I originally used?

This is somewhat discouraging, I bought the ingredients to repeat this batch two times and was going to try and bottle one of them right after primary fermentation because I liked the taste so much when I sampled it as I filled the jug for secondary, but it doesn't seem like this will be possible. When I have time later I will read up on the BOMM mead though.

I went through the "don't want to wait" thing as well. If you stick with it you will learn that patience is a delicious virtue.

gheebee
07-27-2015, 07:42 AM
I got the fermenter in the fridge this morning. As I removed the shelf I figured that it was a guarantee that there would only be enough room for it to almost fit but it fit with about .75” clearance. Figure I will hit it with the chemicals again on Thursday and bottle on Friday.
Glad to hear about being able to re-use the sample, I figured it wouldn't be a problem if I just sanitized everything like I would already do but I know I have read not to multiple times. Maybe I will take a reading when I bottle. I know that it would be better to wait but I am kind of anxious to see what I have now and a the other of it is that I based mine off a recipe that said only 2 months of secondary, so from the beginning I've had it in my head that this would be bottled already. I'm somewhat surprised I went just over 3 months with the secondary too. :]
Anyway, I'll report back once the next steps are taken. Thanks again!

JayH
07-27-2015, 12:08 PM
As you get into this hobby you will discover that yeast can be kinda cat like occasionally. With proper care and feeding you can often coax them to do exactly as you want. But sometimes despite your best efforts they just want to lie around and sleep. Other times they just want play (often in the middle of the night) and sometimes they just like to sleep and then for no apparent reason jump up and run around like all the hounds of hell are at their heels.

Welcome to the wonderful world of mead:)


Cheers
Jay

mannye
07-29-2015, 10:04 AM
You will also learn to wait. The flavor benefits are worth it.


Sent from my TARDIS at the restaurant at the end of the universe while eating Phil.

gheebee
09-23-2015, 12:03 PM
I meant to reply to this a while ago like I said I would but wound up forgetting all about it. After a week in the fridge I bottled the mead and everything appears to be OK, the bottle I opened was still and tasted pretty good. I can see why you would want to let it age a little more and will probably do this next time, but I could also see myself doing the same thing in the future as well because I was pretty happy with what I made. Ironically, I've drank about two glasses of this mead so far because I just haven't been in the mood to drink mead (any mead...) lately, the first bottle I opened is still in the fridge. Wound up with 9 bottles and gave 3 away, no comments yet though.
Anyway, thanks again for all the advice! I felt a little bad when I realized that I forgot all about this thread once I got everything bottled. I got the makings of 2 more batches and I'm going to do 1 with the same yeast and another with a different yeast when I get a chance!

mannye
09-23-2015, 01:01 PM
You will enjoy the mead making a lot more if you learn to have a "this will take a long time" mindset.

I suggest you try the BOMM. Especially if you have been brewing beer for a while. This is a true 30 day mead. What that means is it's drinkable in 30 days. Very drinkable. But even BOMM improves 100% with 6 months to a year of aging. Keep in mind that the clock starts when you've finished primary. So add 30 to 60 days to that.

My new protocol is to ferment in primary until the yeast decides it's done. That means measuring (I usually drink it, but I'm working with 5 gallons) it until I get no change in gravity for two to three weeks. At that point it's safe to day it's done. Then I transfer to secondary and start counting the aging. I usually get a lot more yeast on the bottom than I thought I would in secondary. If it's a lot (more than 1/4 inch) I'll rack again into a third and top up with neutral traditional or dry white wine if needed. By the 10th month I'm getting ready to bottle.

So if you think, "I won't bottle this until a year from now." when you start, you won't experience the bottling anxiety syndrome. I know this because I used to be you. Now once the first week of vigorous fermentation is over, I wrap the carboy in craft paper and put a "check after" date on it. Then I forget about it until my iPhone beeps 20 to 30 days later with a "time to rack" reminder.