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  1. Default Allowable Headspace for Bulk Aging

    Hi folks!

    I've got three or four inches of headspace in a gallon jug. The mead has been stabilized. Is that excessive for bulk aging? I know about adding marbles, but I would rather not.

  2. #2
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    Default

    Others may disagree (because their experience suggests otherwise) but IMO, you want to reduce head space to zero square inches because that space is not going to be a vacuum but be filled with air and air is full of oxygen and oxygen oxidizes. So, if you don't want to use marbles - and here I could not agree with you more, you still have a few options.
    1. Rack to a smaller container with less headroom (worse comes to worse you could use wine bottles - it is relatively easy to find drilled bungs that either fit inside the necks of bottles or fit both inside and outside the neck.
    2. Fill the space with a similar mead;
    3. Fill the space with more fermentable honey/water solution
    4. Fill the space with a noble gas (argon?) or CO2

    For future mead making the best option is to make a larger batch than can be held by the secondary and so when you rack from the primary you simply have excess mead rather than an insufficient quantity to fill the carboy - and that means that you want to use a bucket, for example, as your primary, rather than a carboy and your target volume is more like 1.125 or 1.25 gallons rather than a single gallon.

  3. Default

    Got it. Thanks!

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    Default

    Why are you bulk aging? Not to say it's a bad thing, but what are you trying to accomplish? That will drive the answer to this question. If you're aging to allow time to clear, that could happen rather quickly, or over a lot more time, depending on what kind of particulates you're dealing with. If this is why you're "bulk aging" I would recommend you cold crash, which is very easily done with the volume you're dealing with. Just put it in the fridge, and set the temp just a hair above freezing. I like 37F. If you're bulk aging for some kind of long-term maturation of the mead, then you might consider that a good portion of aging is allowing the slow creep of time to "breathe" tiny bits of oxygen into your mead. This is why there are different diameters of corks for bottling. Tighter corks let less oxygen in, and are intended for wines and meads to be laid down for quite a while. Wines intended to be drank while still young are typically bottled with narrower corks, or screw tops. There is more that goes on during aging than this, but my point is this: If you're looking for aging, a little oxygen in your headspace may actually be a good thing. A LOT of it, like regularly putting new air in there and frothing it up, would be a bad thing. But what you've described, I wouldn't worry too much about. If you're that concerned, like bernard suggested, blow a little pure CO2 in there to purge the oxygen, and you should be fine.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    "Then glory in battle to Hrothgar was given, waxing of war-fame, that willingly kinsmen obeyed his bidding, till the boys grew to manhood, a numerous band. It burned in his spirit to urge his folk to found a great building, a mead-hall grander than men of the era ever had heard of, and in it to share with young and old all of the blessings the Lord had allowed him, save life and retainers." - Beowulf

  5. Default

    The reason for bulk aging is to speed up the process by allowing it to breath. I'm really not happy with how it turned out and I am hoping that aging will make it more to my liking.

    What I don't like about it is that it turned out much sweeter than I was expecting, so it either stalled or I misread the original gravity. My plan now is to let it age to see if I like it. If not, I will set it back for blending.

  6. #6
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    But you say you stabilized this wine. Aging is not going to make it any less sweet. You really only want to stabilize a mead when you see that the gravity has not dropped at all across three readings you have taken over the course of many days...

  7. Default

    Right. I'm not expecting it to be any less sweet. I'm just hoping that some of the other flavors will come forward and take away from the perceived sweetness.

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken2029 View Post
    Right. I'm not expecting it to be any less sweet. I'm just hoping that some of the other flavors will come forward and take away from the perceived sweetness.
    Almost all the time, adjuncts fade over time. Not the other way around.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  9. Default

    No adjuncts this time. Straight traditional. By "other flavors" I mean anything other than sugar.

    Not sure what went wrong on this one. I've been having real good luck with clean and complete fermentations. I was so confident that I did not take any intermediate SG readings, so There's no way to know for sure. One thing I did different this time was that I did not use oxygen. I ran out right after I pitched. I used an imersion blender instead.

    Regardless, my wife loves it.

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken2029 View Post

    Regardless, my wife loves it.
    When it comes right down to it, that right there, is what really matters.

  11. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rb2112br View Post
    When it comes right down to it, that right there, is what really matters.
    It doesn't hurt!

  12. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken2029 View Post
    Right. I'm not expecting it to be any less sweet. I'm just hoping that some of the other flavors will come forward and take away from the perceived sweetness.
    Add some oak cubes or spirals. American medium. That will add some complexity and also the tannins will make the perception a little dries and not so flabby sweet
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  13. Default

    I just happen to have a spiral of medium toast American oak. Should I sanitize it first?

  14. #14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken2029 View Post
    I just happen to have a spiral of medium toast American oak. Should I sanitize it first?
    I don't. Unless it's set on a shelf in the garage for a year outside of the plastic
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  15. Default

    I'm thinking half a spiral in 0.75 gallons for six weeks. Sound about right?

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