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Thread: Idea for Bottling

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Lightbulb Idea for Bottling

    So I've got a moderate amount of experience making beer, so confronted with the challenge of making an alcohol that I can't touch for quite some time I've become rather impatient with experimenting so I came up with an idea for the bottling phase:
    I've got a 5 gallon batch (sack mead) on the way and in a little bit over a week will be ready to bottle it:
    In each bottle I want to place a different ingredient
    In one bottle acai, another cloudberry, orange in another, etc.
    I will heat each of these ingredients enough to kill any competing yeast or bacteria.
    As of right now I can't think of any reason that this will not work.
    Sediments aside, do I have a good idea or am I dooming myself to swill a year from now?
    Thanks for any advice, this is my first time making mead.

  2. #2

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    If you don't stabilize the mead first, you risk bottle bombs. Any yeast that's still around (without stabilization) will do their thing on the additions, and it's hard or impossible to predict how much pressure that will build up.

    If you do stabilize, I'd think you'd be fine.

  3. #3
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    +1 for stabilizing before bottling. You'll also have to wait for around a week after stabilizing to make sure the yeast isn't waking back up. Using random sugars like fruit to bottle carb is a horrible idea, since you have no idea how much sugar is being added, thus making bottle bombs a very likely scenario.

    I say go for it, with the understanding that a "sack mead" (high ABV) needs a bit longer to age and mellow than a standard mead. So, it may be a few more months (don't know how long you've been bulk aging, but I assume not that long from your statement about being impatient ) before the flavors that you add have a chance to integrate.

    The other potential "fault" that could come from bootleg early is a bunch of sediment in the bottles. I used quotes, because if you don't care, then it's not a fault!

    While I understand the feeling of wanting to do something, often times the best thing to do is wait and make more beer in the meantime. Patience is a wonderful ingredient in mead making.

    Oh yeah, and Welcome to GotMead!!!
    Find what you like, and hone it to perfection.

    And don't serve dodgy mead!

  4. #4
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    Stabilise yes, but don't heat the fruit. Rinse it in a 10% sulphite solution, chill it and then 24 hours later add it into the bottles.

    That way, you won't be risking getting any "cooked" flavour that is sometimes imparted by the heating process, unless of course, you've got the kit to pasteurise it at the correct temperature and not get a "cooked flavour" problem.....
    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.....

  5. #5
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    1) Stabilization, thats basically starving the yeast out? So, I'm going to have to slow down and be patient enough for the secondary fermentation to run its course(drat!).
    2) As far as eventually wanting carbonated mead, seeing that I don't want miniature bombs exploding in my cabinet, are champagne bottles with corks going to cut it?
    Otherwise I might just convince my wife I need to buy a nice soda keg specifically for holding onto Mead!
    3) And I roger the 10% sulphite wash, but where can I buy sulphite?

    Thanks for the all the advice everyone!!!

  6. #6
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    Hi, and welcome to the addiction! Er, I mean, hobby!

    1) Stabilization means to chemically stun the yeast (usually potassium metabisulphite), it generally won't kill all of them so you also need to add some potassium sorbate as well to keep any remaining viable yeast cells from replicating.

    Even if you do go and wait until everything's stopped and clear, adding fruit could still restart fermentation if you haven't used the sulphite/sorbate one-two punch, and sometimes even that won't always do the trick but it does very much slow down any further yeast activity.

    What I would suggest in your case if you can't refrain from experimenting (trust me, I understand!) is to stabilize the batch, give it a week or two to make sure nothing else is happening, then try your experiment of adding fruit directly to the bottle, but I would highly recommend either using screw-top bottles so you can check each one after a couple days and see if you get the hiss of escaping gases (which means it's fermenting the sugars it found in whatever fruit you've given it), or use plastic wrap and rubber bands on each bottle for a couple weeks before corking

    2) When you want to experiment with carbonated mead, you do need bottles that can handle it. I've used a number of different things, usually I crown-cap it in Bacardi Breezer cooler bottles (my in-laws drink a lot of them, the labels come off easy, they're clear and they take a cap nicely), beer bottles, screw-top bottles from carbonated beverages (usually sparkling grape juice but lately I've been using Jones Soda bottles but the labels on those are a pain in the arse), or the plastic pop bottles.

    3) If the place you get your beer supplies also carries wine supplies, finding potassium metabisulphite sanitizer should be easy, or you could use any non-rinse sanitizer, what do you use for sanitizing when you make beer?
    "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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Gotcha on the bottles, I think S Pellegrino bottles I drink- errr my wife drinks should do nicely.
    As far as sanitizing for beer making I keep it simple, all equipment gets to hang out in water with a few tablespoons of bleach for half an hour and get rinsed out with boiled water or some distilled water from the supermarket.
    All the ingredients in the beer find themselves boiled at one point or another so the yeast has no competition; haven't added anything into the 2ndary stages of the beer yet so i haven't run across that problem yet.
    Was originally just going to put and late stage adjuncts in ziploc bags and dump them into boiling water for awhile, but i like the idea of just washing them more.

    Thanks for the advice!

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