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Thread: Question on Mead aging

  1. #1

    Default Question on Mead aging

    Hello! Complete Noob here!
    Every resource I come across says to stabilize, bottle and than age. What if I was to rack it from secondary into the carboy slap a airlock on it and age it like that? Just keep my brew in teriary indefinately... or to the time I decide to drink it. It seems to me that aging is done by few yeast that are still alive in brew, If you kill them off what is there to do aging?
    Thanks for answers

  2. #2


    Not sure what you are trying to ask or to say. The reason you want to at least add SO2 in a managed way is it is insurance against long-term oxidation and also protect from undesirable microorganisms. You don't need a single yeast cell in there to benefit from all the things that take place over time to make your mead much more desirable. Even if you employ the best modern science. This will make extremely drinkable meads as soon as it's finished fermenting. You will still get a much more complex and integrated finish profile that only extended aging can provide for you.

    BTW welcome to our community.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  3. #3


    For centuries wine has been aged in barrels. Originally they had no way to kill the yeast but they fermented to dry using wild yeast. Usually this worked out ok but why not take three insurance coverage and kill the yeast?
    However they were not using glass bottles and did not have quite the seal we have now with oak barrels. So they had no worries about explosions (Bottle bombs) like we do now.

    Bottom line: where you age it (carboy, barrel, bottle) does not matter as long as you take proper precautions:
    Sulfite, sorbate, keep it covered to prevent oxygen exposure.
    You can heat to 120F to avoid chemicals but it kills the honey aroma

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Saratoga Springs , NY


    Hi BeerHog - and welcome. Not sure I completely agree about the need to add sorbates. Adding sulfites each time you rack - and perhaps every two or three months during aging (better to measure the amount of free SO2 and top up when needed but that is fairly complex) makes good sense but if you are not back sweetening and your mead is brut dry then I don't know that I would say adding sorbates is necessary. Sulfites inhibit oxidation but that is a separate issue from the mead being "exposed" to oxygen. In other words, you might think the bottle or carboy is sealed but hermetically sealed it ain't and oxygen can still get through. Pasteurization (caduseus' post)... does not address the effects of oxidation..

  5. #5


    So... Glass carboy with airlock on it does not prevent oxygen from getting to your mead? And adding sulfites is only to prevent oxidation? Also, how can i tell if mead was oxidized? What does oxygen do to fermented mead? Thank you for replying

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Saratoga Springs , NY


    It's not so much that a glass carboy does not "prevent" air getting to the mead. What fills the space between the surface of the mead and the bottom of the bung? If it is a vacuum then the liquid in the airlock will be sucked in and if it is not a vacuum then the yeast is no longer producing CO2 so air is filling this gap. The amount of air is small but it is not zero. But this is true for any container. Even bottles allow some egress of air. The only alternative is to fill these gaps with an inert gas but you will need to refill the headroom constantly.
    How can you tell if mead is oxidizing? I think the color will tend to become more brown and the flavors will change. With grape wines the flavors become more sherry-like. I don't know how an oxidized mead might taste except that it won't taste quite as "bright".

  7. #7


    To clear something up: do you plant to backsweeten?

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