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miss_rach
05-11-2016, 11:01 AM
Guys,
Its been a long time since I used wine bottles for my meads. I got a few cases of new free wine bottles and trying to figure out what cork I can/need to use? This batch of mead I plan to setup for a good amount of time...5 - maybe 10 years. I see there are all different types an styles of corks out there these days.
What kind/type of cork do I need to get? Also, I don't need 1000 corks at a few hundred dollars..ouch!!!

Looking to bottle apx 30 bottles of mead or so.....



Cheers!

valverij
05-11-2016, 11:16 AM
5 or 10 years? I'd probably use 9's (real or synthetic) or Zorks (if you have the right bottles).

With Zorks and synthetics, you can leave the bottles upright. With regular corks, you're supposed to lay them on their side, but I've some stuff from some wine experts that have said that it doesn't matter, since the relative humidity is high enough in the bottle to keep the cork swelled without the wine making contact with it.

On Midwest Supplies' site, you can get a 30 pack of 9's for $5 - $10 (regular = $5, premium = $8, synthetic = $10), and a 30 pack of Zorks for ~$18.

Mazer828
05-11-2016, 12:46 PM
+1 on the #9s. Tighter fit for a longer cellaring. Also try to avoid the agglomerated corks, and go with straight punch. They're a little pricier, but I think they're worth the peace of mind.

pokerfacepablo
05-12-2016, 02:40 AM
I started bottling with crown caps a couple years ago and haven't looked back. Easier to bottle. Lasts longer than any cork. Not to say they're the answer every time. Sometimes you want a little micro oxygenation. Otherwise, synthetic corks are the way to go in my opinion. Enjoy your mead.

pwizard
05-12-2016, 10:38 PM
Third vote for #9. You can't go wrong with those, since inferior #8 cost nearly as much (and #7 aren't worth considering)

I just use regular agglomerated but I'm not going to fool myself into thinking a bottle of mead is going to be around for 10 years unless I straight forget about it (fat chance). If you're absolutely sure you're going to cellar for that long, it's worth paying premium for natural corks because those won't come apart on you.

Keep in mind that only higher ABV meads are likely to cellar that long and still be good at the end. Personally, I wouldn't save anything under 14% ABV long-term, (3 years tops under ideal conditions).

miss_rach
05-13-2016, 12:48 PM
So for 3 years what corks do you use? Do you use natural or the other type?
Again,
I haven't used wine bottles in close to 20 years, have only been using returnable beer bottles but since I made a good amount to mead I wanted to go with the wine bottles.

Maylar
05-13-2016, 02:43 PM
I use natural corks, and with a hand corker I can't use the #9's. But my meads rarely last more than a year - they tend to disappear at the holiday season.

pwizard
05-13-2016, 07:18 PM
So for 3 years what corks do you use? Do you use natural or the other type?
Again,
I haven't used wine bottles in close to 20 years, have only been using returnable beer bottles but since I made a good amount to mead I wanted to go with the wine bottles.

Agglomerated #9 corks are fine for 3 years or less. You could probably do up to 5 years with those and be ok. The conditions you age the mead under are more important than the cork you use; a dark cool cellar with a bad cork is better than a 90-degree sunny window with an excellent cork.

I've never had to buy virgin wine bottles, either. I've gotten several cases of very decent 750ml bottles in a fairly short time by asking co-workers for their empties. If that option isn't available for you, check out a bar or a recycling center to see if they will give you some. Taking the labels off and cleaning the empties can be a pain but it gets easier the more you do it. When you use wine bottles, don't bother with screw-top type. Even if they can take a cork, those bottles have a weaker neck that can break under a corker's force and ruin a perfectly good bottle of mead. If you can, avoid empties from cheap wine (Charles Shaw, and other brands in that grade) since they are lightweight and just not as nice, though they will do the job in a pinch. A decent burgundy or bordeaux bottle is sturdy and has a nice punt on the bottom.

Shelley
05-18-2016, 06:40 AM
I haven't used wine bottles in close to 20 years, have only been using returnable beer bottles but since I made a good amount to mead I wanted to go with the wine bottles.

I sometimes bottle a large batch of mead in wine bottles (for sharing at dinner), with a couple dozen 10-ounce (or 16-ounce) beer bottles -- perfect for two, or to take camping. Fits quite nicely in the cooler in and around the ice.