View Full Version : Once in the bottle...

12-17-2005, 12:38 PM
Hey peeps

Thinking about bottling already (must is fermenting nicely...) and have a few questions.

1. While Im not overly concerned about presentation just yet (hehehe, this is number one of hopefully many many brews) what type of bottles do you guys recommend? I have access to a few such as the PET plastic bottles, king brown type long neck beer bottles, green cider bottles (actually Strongbow bottles) - which are better to use for preservation sake? Im guessing not the plastic ones. There are bound to be plenty that I have not listed so is there a concensus on which is best?

2. On that note of preservation, how long does mead last in a bottle, all things being equal (or sterile...)?


12-17-2005, 01:29 PM
Hey Crom,

The first thing that came to mind reading the subject line, "It's hard to get out".

I prefer cork finish wine bottles for still mead and have been using pet bottles for sparkling mead. There's at least one person here who prefer screw cap finish bottles. Pretty much a matter personal choice.

I've started collecting "Sparkling" wine bottles for the Big meads I make and would like to carbonate.

In my experiance, mead doesn't last longer 6 months in a bottle. At least thats the longest I've had any bottle of mead. ;)

Happy mazing,


The 500ml amber pet bottles come 24 to a case for about $13.00 & the caps are around $4.00 for 2 dozen. 6 gallon fills about 36 of these bottles.

12-17-2005, 01:41 PM
Glass seems to be more popular, though I like Dmntd's idea of using soda bottles for sparkling meads -- safe, cheap, and easy. :)

All things being correct, with regards to stabilizing, prevention of oxidation, etc., there seems to be no upper limit on the aging time of mead. This may not be true in actuality, but there are annecdotes aplenty to this effect (for what they are worth), and several commercial meads available in Poland that are aged for a long time before being offered for sale -- one in particular is supposedly aged for 25 years!


12-17-2005, 02:42 PM
25 years? Who can hold out that long??? Anyone know if the Bank of Zurich stores perishables? :) Hiding it in a Swiss bank would be the only way for me to be able to age it longer than one or two years I think.. I guess making many batches is the only way around this.

PET bottles sound like a good alternative for carbonated brews. Do they have the problem that plastic fermenters do with letting in O2?

12-17-2005, 03:12 PM
Yo Crom,

I don't know if there's a gas exchange problem with PET bottles or not. The only thing I've used these bottles for is Braggot, which we start drinking a week or two after it's bottled. For long term storage I would go with glass.

Happy mazing,


12-18-2005, 12:00 AM
I prefer wine bottles with a cork finish for still meads, and American style champagne or beer bottles (both with crown tops) for sparkling meads or braggots.

I’ve aged meads as long as 5 years in the bottle without a problem and as far as I’m concerned, as long as good sanitation practices are followed, there is no real upper limit.

12-18-2005, 01:07 AM
Could you use old beer bottles that you cap? Id rather not have to buy a corker at the moment, but ill start putting away old wine bottles. Oh and in regards to the plastic bottles, you can buy new caps with seals, I use them for my beer. You can get 15 plastic 740ml bottles here with caps for about $10. Coopers make them, and you can get them at Big W in Australia, designed for home brew.


12-18-2005, 03:02 AM
I'd say it depends on how long you want to keep them for.
For the plastic bottles, I'd wouldn't keep them for longer than 6 months.
You could use the long neck beer bottles and they should be fine for awhile (1 or 2 years maybe).
I think I saw on a beer brew site that beer could be kept for 2 years in glass, but wasn't recommended for over a year in plastic.
On all this, I'm not too sure. I haven't even gotten to the bottling stage yet. I'm going to try aging my first couple of brews for about a few months (4 to 5) and then bottling in old red wine bottles.

12-18-2005, 05:49 AM
I think in most cases that I have seen (I'm speaking specifically of glass bottles now) caps and corks are the best two solutions for aging past a couple of years. I've gifted bottles to friends in the past who have kept the bottles for several years. The longest I know of has been 10 - 11 years with crown capped bottles of a sweet mead I made in 1994. That was until this year when a buddy of mine uncorked a bottle of stuff I made in 1988 that had a cork in it. The cork was fine, but I could tell that a couple of more years and it would be ready to go the way of the dodo.

The mead itself was pretty great to say the least. I think my friends know that if they don't save bottles of the stuff I make, there's a good chance that I probably won't. Anyhow the mead was a loquat melomel and boy how it had matured into something magical. Anyhow, I wasn't in a position to jot down any notes on how it tasted because the whole thing took me off guard because it was at the birthday party of my buddy's son (18) so it was kind of a surprise to see the bottle, and to try and evaluate it in a crowd of people.

Anyhow, hope that helps. I am skeptical of long term aging with the nomark corks, along with the wine industry. If it going to be short term (2 years) then I don't think it would be a problem, but, anything past that and I'll need to see some research with at least a decade test run before I trust my mead long term to it.

Hope that helps,


12-18-2005, 06:20 AM
PET is available at Kmart to (in WA) - 24 for ~$12 from Coopers.

What end of the continent are you Mu?

12-18-2005, 10:51 PM
Im in Victoria, so the South end…Perhaps I should edit my post in the Lochac Brewing area, and add in were to pick up some bottles. Oh I think I found honey for $8.50 a kg as well from a local bee keeper…I will have to investigate, Red Box honey, and White box I think…


12-19-2005, 02:04 PM
Im on the look out for suppliers too :) It seems that everywhere I go, and everyone I meet I ask if they know of an apiary nearby...

12-19-2005, 08:43 PM
I must be lucky. One of the fruit and vegetable shops near-by has, at the moment, honey for sale. Some different tastes that could be interesting, My ancient orange is using iron bark and I've got a kilo (soon to be two) of macadamia nut honey. It's only about $6 au per kilo and it's the cheapest I've found so far.

12-19-2005, 11:06 PM
macadamia nut honey

That was one of my favourite honey flavours - nice and nutty. I haven't tried it yet in a mead.

Give leatherwood a try, for a super-aromatic mead.

12-20-2005, 01:17 AM
Ohhhh I have only been able to find honey in the $8kg <Australian Dollars> range…. That’s not in Victoria is it?


12-20-2005, 07:56 AM
Sorry, but no. Brisbane Queensland.
Had a look in the local fruit and vegetable shop. They have a different supplier with even more variety. Saw Tasmanian Leatherwood in there, but only in 500g bottles.
It was tempting, but I'll be tryig a straight mead to see what flavours come out from tne macadamia honey first. With at least five different types of honey, it could be interesting. Just have to wait until after christmas as I'll have a spare 5 litre demijohn by then.

12-20-2005, 06:43 PM
Brisbane Queensland.

Have you been up the coast to try a free sampling of the honey at the SuperBee ? Too expensive to buy, but you can try about thirty honey varieties.

12-22-2005, 02:06 AM
No, I haven't been there yet. Strangely enough I had been thinking about going up there sometime next year. Also checking a couple of fruit and vegetable shops up around the area. From memory they used to sell home grown honey at resonable prices as well. There's also the Buderim Ginger factory.