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  1. #1

    Default The mead is fine!

    The corks less so... I bottled my Liquorice and Orange-Ginger meads about a month ago, and when I went into my closet the other day I noticed that some (by no means all) of my corks were oozing a very small amount of sweet liquid. On tasting it, it's very condensed mead. I asked in rec.crafts.meadmaking, and the folks in there figured it was because my corks were too small? Oh and for reference, they're proper cork type corks, not synthetic ones.

    Any input? I'd rather not have to recork the whole blinking batch.

  2. #2

    Default Re: The mead is fine!

    No ideas? I can post a picture this afternoon if that'd help?

  3. #3

    Default Re: The mead is fine!

    I am not that knowledgeable with corks and that type of situation, but my thoughts are that the corks just didn't seat properly and you may have to re-cork those particular ones... either that or the mead is still degassing and forcing liquid through the cork rather than the CO2...

    Talon.

  4. #4

    Default Re: The mead is fine!

    Mynx,

    Years ago, I had a couple of bottles do this to me. What I ended up doing is dipping the ends in paraffin wax, and storing them upright. The wax kept the corks from drying out, and the standing up part was just in case the mead wanted to "ooze" through a small crack or spot I didn't cover properly. Dip them more than once, and liberally, to avoid this (admittedly paranoid) concern, and wipe off any seepage on the cork first. This was an easy fix, and the bottles kept nicely.

    They make special bottling wax you can buy from some of the homebrew suppliers in a wide range of colors -- but I had the paraffin on hand, and it worked fine. A candlemaker I met once used to melt Crayola crayons in paraffin in order to make different colors, if that matters to you -- the white wax really wasn't pretty, but it was only me drinking it. If you were so inclined, I imagine bees' wax would also work very nicely for a mead!

    -David

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    The OC
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    Default Re: The mead is fine!

    Mynx,

    How did you prepare your corks before you bottled, and did you let the bottles stand upright for two days to allow the corks to expand in to place and seal correctly?
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

  6. #6

    Default Re: The mead is fine!

    I'm with you, David, I used parafin wax on my very first batch of mead. It was actually very good. I have only one bottle left of it at my house and we plan to open it on our 10th anniversary at which point it will be 12 years old.

    I do currently use the specially made bottling wax and have had awesome results in keeping the cork moist. I let my bottles sit upright for a week to a month after bottling, depending on life and it's craziness that occurs. The only time I have ever had a problem was when I had bottled a little early and the bottles popped their corks due to renewed fermentation. Wasn't fun as a few bottles were lost.

    Talon.

  7. #7

    Default Re: The mead is fine!

    Quote Originally Posted by Oskaar
    Mynx,

    How did you prepare your corks before you bottled, and did you let the bottles stand upright for two days to allow the corks to expand in to place and seal correctly?
    Hey Oskaar. I soaked my corks in warm water for about 30 minutes before bottling (this was advice from a meadmaking friend of mine, as she said it would make her hand-corker easier to use). The bottles were left upright for about 1.5 weeks before I got around to putting them sideways in the closet.

    And LnB/Talon, thanks for the idea about the wax!! I may just have to play around with some crayons and parrafin

    -Mynx

  8. #8

    Default Re: The mead is fine!

    And if you get to those fancy shmancy stores that sells letter sealing wax with the little stampy thingies, you can put a nice little monikar (sp?) on the top... I do on the ones I save.

    Talon.

  9. #9

    Default Re: The mead is fine!

    Funny you mention that I'm not planning on labelling many (if any) of my meads...I'm in the process of getting a stamp made (with a celtic knot my boyfriend and I designed) to use to label my meads. The types will be differentiated by different coloured ribbons around the neck of the bottles. Just a matter of getting the stamp made now (looking at about $30 CDN).

  10. Default Re: The mead is fine!

    I have this problem too where the corks raise a little and a little mead seeps out. What's with that? I started using beer bottles just recently and since they have an airtight seal, I had a couple of them pop on me! In all of these cases I was very sure that there was no fermentation going when I went to bottle.

    Anybody have any idea of why this could have happened? I'm thinking that since that particular batch had just come out of the fridge, that they popped when the heat from the room temperature made the mead expand. Or maybe I need to research into degassing?

  11. #11

    Default Re: The mead is fine!

    Norskersword,

    Sorry, but despite how many pains you took to ensure that fermentation was over, I'd have to say that it almost certainly wasn't. Neither degassing nor expansion due to warmth would otherwise explain burst bottles or popped corks/caps. Gases will compress under pressure, but liquids will not. It would take a lot of pressure to pop off a cap, and renewed fermentation is the only explanation I can think of.

    What measures did you take to ensure that the fermentations were over?

    -David

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    Independence, KY and Greenacres, FL
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    1,200

    Default Re: The mead is fine!

    Like David said. Plain and simple, fermentation restarted. Failing to degass will not produce a bottle bomb, only fizz. Never had a bottle bomb yet and I am an early bottler with most batches and am not afraid to use Sorbate. Refrigeration doesn't stabilize, it just puts the yeast to sleep temperarily. When I use refrigeration to settle yeast, I rack immediately after and use Sorbate and wait at least a few days or a week to bottle. Sorbate has never failed me.
    Joe

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Cedar Rapids, IA
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    1,867

    Default Re: The mead is fine!

    I had a bottle that spit some through the cork on the way down to a get-togther in Iowa City. I had the bottle laying on it's side and it got a little warmed up by the floor of the car as I drove. The heating was enough to force the mead around the cork since heat creates pressure.

    I normally allow the mead to warm to 70F or so before bottling. Now I also try to hot rinse my bottles right before bottling. My storage room is more like 55F. I figure they cool after being corked and so I am less likely to have heat related pressure forcing liquids out. I suppose I might have the opposite affect of drawing air in. I also leave the bottles upright for about a week for the corks to resume shape after being squished by the floor corker I use.

    I am thinking about all the recommendations here about sealing with wax since upright storage is a lot easier. Anyone have a good link on sealing bottles with wax?

  14. Default Re: The mead is fine!

    I added 1.5 tsp of sorbate and a campden tablet. When I added these the mead came out of the fridge and I racked into an empty jug with these ingredients. Afterwards the sg didn't change.

    I think this is what happened. Although I believe I added enough ingredients, I think the mead stayed in the fridge the entire time from the racking to the bottling. I think I should have taken it out for a few more days to let the yeast adapt to the sorbate and sulfite. It was in the fridge for a few weeks but that entire time the yeasts were asleep. So I guess that makes sense.

    This idea also makes sense when I consider that most bottle caps started bulging but never popped. If fermentation restarted, every bottle would have eventually popped right? The mead seemed to produce just a little gas and then stop.

    If it turns out I'm wrong and this happens again with a later batch I will be sure to ask you guys!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    Brisbane Australia
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    654

    Default Re: The mead is fine!

    Quote Originally Posted by Pewter_of_Deodar
    Anyone have a good link on sealing bottles with wax?
    For Olive oil:
    ... dip the bottles upside-down into hot wax, about an inch past the cork. When cooled, dip again. (Be sure to use a double boiler for the wax!)

    Also allow lots of ventilation to remove the aromas from the melting wax.

    This should apply to mead/wine bottles also.

    I note that some LHBS sell wax beads by the pound.

  16. Default Re: The mead is fine!

    Going back to Mynx's leaky corks...

    What kind of cork did you use? A popular brand for "winery-grade" corks is Altec. A popular brand for "agglomerated" corks is First Quality. The agglomerated corks - quite frankly - stink. They leak. If you used agglomerated then I would bet my mortgage that's your problem.

    Mynx, I recommend trying the synthetic corks from Nomacorc. Your LHBS should have them or be able to order them from LD Carlson. I've never had a problem with them.


    Cheers,
    Jay

  17. #17
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    Sep 2004
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    Default Re: The mead is fine!

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesP
    ... dip the bottles upside-down into hot wax, about an inch past the cork. When cooled, dip again. (Be sure to use a double boiler for the wax!)
    Excellent advice. Thanks, James!

  18. #18

    Default Re: The mead is fine!

    Thanks Jaysbrew...I think I'll be going with synthetics from here on in. As it stands right now, I've put the bottles upright so they can degas more, and I'll be dipping em in wax this weekend. That should hopefully solve the problems for these batches! Not to mention solving the pesky problem I was having of telling the 2 meads apart!

  19. #19
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    Default Re: The mead is fine!

    This may sound really stupid but are we talking about regular old candle wax or does it have to be something special? I love candles and have a bunch where the wick burned down long before the wax was gone. Can I just melt this wax down and use it or does it have to be a special parafin?

    *typo corrected 5/31/05*

  20. #20
    Join Date
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    Default Re: The mead is fine!

    Common household wax is fine to seal wine bottles, as is the stuff they sell on the homebrew sites. Candles should be fine, although they tend to pick up some discoloration from the burning wick. Also it's a good idea to avoid scented candles.

    The sealing wax used for letters and personal stamp designs should be avoided because it contains a chemical (collophonium) that can irritate your throat and nose.


    Cheers,

    Oskaar
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

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