PDA

View Full Version : Bottling worries



Somethingfunny
10-06-2017, 04:05 AM
Hi everyone! I'm new to mead making and new to this forum, so I apologise for my probably very stupid question... even if it is stupid, I'm genuinely concerned and trying to learn though so please don't get mad at me :-/

In mid-May I started making some mead for my wedding at the end of this month (October). I took a recipe from the internet but can no longer find the same link. I used 3 regular jars (340g) of honey in a gallon demijohn with water, a packet of winemaking yeast, and also added (not in the recipe) around 400g (unweighed) of syrup made from cooked down fruits (raspberries, blackcurrants etc) from my garden. The recipe stated it would need 2 months in the demijohn and could then be bottled. As I had added more sugar through he fruits, I left it longer.

On Monday, at around 3 and a half months, the mead had completely cleared and the yeast was settled. We decided to try some so siphoned some out and it tasted great, so we then bottled it. It is bottled in ~50 small screw-top glass bottles for the guests at the wedding. We never racked it into a secondary demijohn or anything first.

Last night, I came to open a bottle and when I did it hissed. There was definitely pressurised gas. Not so much as, say, a bottle of Coke, but like a very lightly sparkling water. I'm now worrying. Have I inadvertently created 50 ticking time bombs?

There may still have been bubbles in the airlock... I must admit I don't think I paid enough attention as we were so excited it had settled and tasted good.

I've now read up more on this and am unsure if the mead is still fermenting or just naturally degassing from being transferred? The mead still looks crystal clear and I can't see any actual bubbling in the bottles. There's a tiny layer of sediment but I think it's just from yeast that settled after being agitated in bottling it rather than new yeast.

If I loosen the caps a few times a day for the next couple of weeks before the wedding to release the gas will this make it safe? will it also ruin the mead? Equally, is it safer to just leave the caps a bit loose? Or will this risk contamination/oxidation as well?

I know the mead is supposed to taste better the longer it matures, but at this stage I'm more concerned about safety. But also, I'm unsure if I'm being overly worried (I have awful anxiety at the best of times) or if I have actual cause for concern here. I left it almost twice as long as the recipe called but it seems other recipes suggest 6 months.

The wedding is in 2 weeks. :( Please advise!?

VikingBear
10-06-2017, 10:44 AM
Hello, and welcome to the forums!

Long story short, either your mead was/is still fermenting, or there is enough residual CO2 (did you degas it before bottling?) that it's building up when the cap is on (like a soft drink). Without gravity readings over time, it's hard to tell which. You can certainly open the caps up each day until the wedding, but you may be exposing your mead to air over time and it's not going to guarantee that they won't be bottle bombs later if people take them home and they are placed in the right conditions. I actually do the same with the ginger beer that I make in closed containers, until I put it in the fridge later for drinking. I will gas it off once a day, by simply loosening the cap for a few seconds.

Personally, if I was in your position, I would put them somewhere really cold (fridge with the temp way down) which will help if you have active yeast. Then just make sure everyone knows to drink up at the party or they may have a surprise later. I'm sure someone else will come along with some more advice.

In any case, congrats on the wedding!

Shelley
10-10-2017, 07:06 AM
The flavor is going to change slightly as well - as the yeast continues to ferment, you'll lose some sweetness. (Since you do have sediment in the bottles, I'm leaning towards "it's still fermenting" myself.) Test it before the wedding, to make sure you still like it. Sparkling mead is tasty, so you may end up with something surprisingly good.

I would also refrigerate the batch and test the fizz levels. If you decide to keep it carbonated, serve it cold, if you can. It'll probably have a better perceived taste.