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Thread: I'm starting to think that re-bottling was a bad idea

  1. Default I'm starting to think that re-bottling was a bad idea

    Made a chamomile sweet mead. Hit your tongue and almost tastes sparkling with it not being sparkling. Taste is a nice sweet honey, can tell it's an alcoholic drink with no burn, then the essense of chamomile at aftertaste.

    Well... we only had 1500ml bottles when we bottled, "ah, they'll be fine". Guess not, I can't drink the bottle fast enough and end up wasting the last quarter of the bottle (wife's not a drinker). So decided to re-bottle the 3 1500's into 6 750ml's (much better).
    Note: they had sat in the 1500's for 2 weeks before I rebottled.

    Was really careful to try and not to disturb or aerate the mead when rebottling.

    Opened up a bottle tonight and it tastes good, but flat, not just 'still', but a flat. Also noticed little floaties in the glass. They are very small, kinda like pencil eraser shavings, but smaller. I thought it was cork at first, but don't think they are due to how small they are. If you roll them between your fingers they roll up and actually feel like pencil eraser shavings.

    No noticable floaties at the bottom of the bottle before I opened it and didn't notice them the first time bottling or when I rebottled. Suppose I could've missed them. Do you think they are just yeasties? We didn't use anything like sorbate when we bottled and the cork popped nice when removed from the bottle the first time. Maybe it did a little bit of settling and fermenting after we bottled the first time.

    So, did I do bad by re-bottling? I'll try another bottle this weekend and see if it has the same results... I hope not.

    Any info or guesses as to what the floaties could be are welcome
    Last edited by tribal; 01-07-2011 at 11:20 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Ottawa, ON
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    Hi Tribal, and welcome to the addiction! Congrats on making something that sounds so tasty.

    Presuming you used sanitizer and all that, it shouldn't have made any difference, I've had to rebottle a few times... that said, I still get the odd batch where something weird happens, although I get white flakies instead of eraser dust and it has nothing to do with rebottling

    I have two theories on why yours might have been almost sparkling the first time and not at all after the second bottling:

    1) it wasn't thoroughly degassed before the first bottling and the agitation of being moved from one bottle to another released the trapped carbon dioxide

    2) it's an unstabilized sweet mead and it wasn't indicated how long it aged or what % alcohol it is, it might not be completely finished fermenting and this caused mild carbonation in the two weeks it was bottled, which flattened out when transferred but might come back in another few weeks, if this is the case, be very careful because you've got the potential for bottle bombs, a serious safety hazard. If the next 750 ml bottle you open is almost sparkling again, I'd sugest refrigerating the whole batch

    Others with more experience around her might have some ideas about your floaties, but they'll probably want to know some things like when was this mead started, what was your starting and finishing gravity, what was your recipe, and how long ago did you rebottle it?

    Also, if you find you can't drink your mead fast enough (I have the same problem being pretty much the only drinker in my house and being a lightweight at that) and you really like making meads, I'd advise you to look into blowing the $10 or so on a vacuum pump that comes with a couple of rubber corks so you can remove the air from an opened bottle.
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

  3. Default

    Thanks for the welcome and the info
    It's encouraging to hear others rebottled with success.
    To be honest, that batch was our very first batch and we had forgotten to take the initial gravity reading. We used Wyeast sweet mead yeast. It seemed like a really slow ferment, we got bubbles every 30 seconds at best. After a couple months when bubbles were at 1 minute apart we racked it into carboy. In there it sat for another 6 months. Cleared crystal clear and there were no longer signs of fermentation that we could see.

    It very well could've started to ferment again after the first bottling. When we were bottling I happened to glance at the temp sticker guage on the side of the carboy and it was like 57F (stored under stairs in basement - winter in MN so gets chilly under there). That may have slowed the yeast down and then when we bottled upstairs in 68F that could've woke some of the yeast up.
    Ah well, if the floaties don't seem to affect taste then I'll ignore 'em Not like that will be my last batch of mead
    You couldn't be more right when you said making mead is addicting. I've got 1gal of JAO going, and 1gal cyser. Gonna start a 2gal blueberry tomorrow. If any of these smaller batches turn out I'll end up making 5gal batches of them.
    I'm a lightweight also, so half of the bottles will end up as gifts and the other half will just have to age to perfection.
    I learned my lesson with the chamomile batch and have been writing all the steps and observations for these new batches. And I have the right sized bottles to begin with

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by tribal View Post
    Thanks for the welcome and the info
    It's encouraging to hear others rebottled with success.
    To be honest, that batch was our very first batch and we had forgotten to take the initial gravity reading. We used Wyeast sweet mead yeast. It seemed like a really slow ferment, we got bubbles every 30 seconds at best. After a couple months when bubbles were at 1 minute apart we racked it into carboy. In there it sat for another 6 months. Cleared crystal clear and there were no longer signs of fermentation that we could see.
    Sorry, but that probably does demonstrate that airlock activity really is a poor guide to fermentation status. Your only real way ahead with that would be a hydrometer.
    It very well could've started to ferment again after the first bottling. When we were bottling I happened to glance at the temp sticker guage on the side of the carboy and it was like 57F (stored under stairs in basement - winter in MN so gets chilly under there). That may have slowed the yeast down and then when we bottled upstairs in 68F that could've woke some of the yeast up.
    Ah well, if the floaties don't seem to affect taste then I'll ignore 'em Not like that will be my last batch of mead
    You couldn't be more right when you said making mead is addicting. I've got 1gal of JAO going, and 1gal cyser. Gonna start a 2gal blueberry tomorrow. If any of these smaller batches turn out I'll end up making 5gal batches of them.
    I'm a lightweight also, so half of the bottles will end up as gifts and the other half will just have to age to perfection.
    I learned my lesson with the chamomile batch and have been writing all the steps and observations for these new batches. And I have the right sized bottles to begin with
    Couple of points there, because wyeast sweet mead yeast is notoriously finicky to use. It has quite a low alcohol tolerance for a wine yeast (11% ABV from memory), plus it does seem to react quite poorly if presented with too high an initial gravity - presumably that's osmotic shock from too high a sugar level for it.......

    It does also seem to need quite cautious use of nutrients so as not to leave much, if any, unused during ferment.

    I'm thinking that it might be more along the lines of further sediment dropping out of the mead, caused by the increased surface area ratio of mead to glass in the 750ml bottles attracting some of the fine sediment, which might be why you can actually feel some texture to the floaties and that there was still enough CO2 in the mead when it was still in the 1500ml bottles and has been disturbed enough to start to come out of solution.

    Don't forget, a wine/mead that hasn't been properly/correctly degassed won't necessarily be effervescent. It might just have a slightly sharper taste as the carbonic acid can still be in solution.......

    The above isn't really an answer, just some guesstimates as what might be going on. And no, I don't favour the wyeast sweet mead yeast, it's never worked well for me..... I prefer Lalvins K1V-1116 and D21.

    regards

    fatbloke
    here's me home brewing blog (if anyones interested....)
    and don't forget
    What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away! Tom Waits.....

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