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View Full Version : Tired of mopping!!!



GntlKnght
08-20-2004, 06:42 AM
We’ve been having so much fun with our new hobby!!! ;D I would like to thank all of you for the help you’ve been whenever we needed it. And, guess what?! We need help again! ::)
We have bottled 6 different variations of mead into 53 bottles. Most of them had a Camden tablet added to them a few weeks before bottling. We sweetened them shortly before bottling too. You guessed it! 6 of the bottles have popped their corks. Sadly, 4 of them were of a divine pear melomel that we were very sad to lose! :'(

So, I have come up with some ideas on how to avoid this in the future. Perhaps some of you can comment on what you do to keep from mopping!

1. add Potassium Metabisulfate (powder, instead of tablet) and Potassium Sorbate a few weeks before sweetening. Then wait a few more weeks before bottling to make sure fermentation does not start back up.

2. chill newly bottled meads to 40 degrees or less for 3 days after bottling

3. use heat shrinkable PVC capsules on bottles to try to keep the corks in

Let me know what you think.

Jmattioli
08-20-2004, 07:12 AM
(snip)
1. add Potassium Metabisulfate (powder, instead of tablet) and Potassium Sorbate a few weeks before sweetening. Then wait a few more weeks before bottling to make sure fermentation does not start back up.

2. chill newly bottled meads to 40 degrees or less for 3 days after bottling

3. use heat shrinkable PVC capsules on bottles to try to keep the corks in

Let me know what you think.

#1 will work fine. It is a good practice to be done when you sweeten up a mead before bottling.
#2 will do nothing for you. The yeast will go dormant temporarily but it will not kill them and prevent what happened to you.
#3 will blow up the bottles instead of the cork.

Unless you have fermented to the alcohol limit of the yeast you simply must stabilize with Potasium Sorbate and metabisulfite or use some other method to kill or get rid of the yeast. That is unless you want to carbonate in the bottle in which case you need to add only enough sugar to carbonate without blowing corks. To stop fermentation some use expensive filtering systems to get rid of the yeast. Some use pastuerization heat as in canning to kill any yeast left and some just make bottle bombs. Now you have first hand experience with bottle bombs. I would recommend you decork and stabilize the other ones you sweetened before they do the same. That's a tough lesson to learn the hard way. I'm sorry you had the experience. I knocked over a bottle once and am familiar with the mess and cleanup.
Better days and more mead is ahead.
Joe

Norskersword
08-22-2004, 11:14 PM
1. add Potassium Metabisulfate (powder, instead of tablet) and Potassium Sorbate a few weeks before sweetening. Then wait a few more weeks before bottling to make sure fermentation does not start back up.

When adding campden tablets they need to be crushed into powder first. That's just the way they are meant to be used. Did you crush your campden tablets?

I'm new myself and my first lesson was to be very patient with bottling. It may be tempting when you are excited to start another batch when you already have mead taking up space in your carboy, but I realize now that if you bottle too early you are not only more likely to have bottle bombs, but you are much more likely to have lees in your bottles (as in my case).

There is a way to test and make sure fermentation is complete before you bottle. Get a hydrometer and measure the gravity of the mead. Wait a week or so and measure it again. If it hasn't changed, fermentation is complete.

ScottS
08-23-2004, 02:47 AM
I'm new myself and my first lesson was to be very patient with bottling. It may be tempting when you are excited to start another batch when you already have mead taking up space in your carboy, but I realize now that if you bottle too early you are not only more likely to have bottle bombs, but you are much more likely to have lees in your bottles (as in my case).
The best way to prevent bottle bombs IMHO is to bulk age 9-12 months. You can always buy more carboys. ;)

Oskaar
08-23-2004, 09:38 AM
Hi Scott,

Bulk aging is a great way to let the yeast kill itself off and complete its life cycle to flocculation and death.

I agree with Joe that it does need to be stabilized before bottling. I've had stuff sitting on small amounts of yeast for the better part of a year that kicked back up when transported to the bottling area from the brewhaus to my garage where the capper and filler are. I dun blowed up a few bottles learning this the hard way.

So I'm mighty careful about stabilizing first. I generally put my kegs and bottles into cold storage for a few days before I charge them with C02 and start bottling. Note: the C02 charge is only enough to move the mead from the corny keg to the bottles, not to force carbonate.

Oskaar

ScottS
08-23-2004, 06:27 PM
I've heard of people having that problem, but I never have. <<knock on wood>> I've gotten in the habit of bulk aging on a table, so that I can rack without stirring up the lees. That way, after 9-12 months and a couple careful rackings, there is no yeast to be stirred up.

Anyway, I don't use any stabilizers and have never had a problem. I have a thing against chemicals, especially sulfites. So it can be done.

Pewter_of_Deodar
09-28-2004, 02:16 AM
The engineer in me needs to ask this question...

If I pick a yeast with the right alcohol tolerance (let's say 14 percent), sweeten sufficiently to achieve that level or more (let's say 18 percent ABV if all honey was converted), allow the mead to ferment to completion (ABV reaches 14 percent), then bulk age before bottling (let's say at least 6 months past final racking), should I have to use a stabilizer at all?

JamesP
09-28-2004, 04:12 AM
As Oskaar said, still stabilise, unless you are going to drink it soon, or unless you are going to store them in your fridge, or you could bottle in PET plastic and keep an eye out for swollen bottles, or ...

A change in temperature can trigger some resident yeast and result in bottle bombs.
Having said this, you may not have a problem in 10 years, but avoiding bottle bombs is worth it for the minimal hassel of stabilising.

I've aged some for over 6 months, then decided to sweeten it some more, and it started fermenting again, so 6 months isn't a guarantee.

Jmattioli
09-28-2004, 05:10 AM
What you can do is after the 6 months rack and move it to a warmer temperature to see if it starts back up. If not, they are dead and you should have no problem with bottle bombs. Some even cold stabilze a week or so before racking to put any remaining yeasts to sleep on the bottom. Then moe to a warmer temperature to see if it restarts.
Joe

plaztikjezuz
10-12-2004, 11:24 AM
I age some of my meads in cornie kegs. makes it easy to bottle them, plus i do like a little sparkle, from the carbonation in certian meads (mainly cyser).

i find its very easy to age it here let it do its little trickle of fermention it does in the 9 to 12 months cool it and bottle it.

the kegs have pressure release valves that blow before burst.

but as for the alcohol tolerance of yeast it can mutate and ferment more, but i know in wine the malto-lactic fermation is more likely to blow your corks. which is why some 90% of vinards use sulfates. plus it helps with oxicadition in aging and shippping