View Full Version : bottling

06-29-2004, 12:14 AM
I was just wondering what additives everyone uses at bottling time? How long before bottling do you add stablizers to the mead before? Is anyone getting any sediment afterwards. I mean if i let the mead ferment out to the tolerence of the yeast. Why should i add any kind of a stabilizer? And i would like to hear a little about how others go about sweetening there meads at bottling time. Which i know ties into this subject. Bottling is always a problem for me i always end up with some kinda sediment months afterwards. How can i avoid this. Other then realizing some of my first few batches hadn't fermented out completely. What a mess!!!!
Ken Schrams book is great but i think he needs a second book to tie up some loose ends from the first one.

06-29-2004, 10:37 AM
Some people use K-Meta (Potassium Metabisulphite ) or campden tablets to help preserve the mead. Not everyone does, though, one of the reasons being some people are allergic to the stuff.

If you decide to use it, some meadmakers recommend you add it a few weeks before bottling to prevent bottle bombs.

On sweetening, you can add honey awile after adding K-meta to sweeten. The danger of that is refermentation. But my knowledge is lacking. I suggest you hear more from the professionals before you try adding more honey.

If you want to sweeten a Cyser, you can add apple juice concentrate, provided there is Sorbate (another preservative) listed in the ingredients. For me, I have had alot of trouble finding AJC with Sorbate. If you add AJC with no sorbate, it might restart firmentation. Thirsty Viking recommends sweeting with Sorbate AJC after his cyser recipe. If you decide to make a cyser, make sure the apple juice you start with in your recipe has NO sorbate.

Again, in the case with sweetening, you should wait a few weeks before bottling to prevent bottle bombs.

It sounds like you are bottling too early. When making mead, you shouldn't let the mead be in contact with the sediment for more than 6 weeks or so. When you pitch the yeast, wait till the bubble stops or dramitcally slowed (after a few weeks) and then wait 6 weeks and rack. Wait another 6 weeks and if there is more sediment, which is often the case, rack again. There really is no hurry with bottling. If the mead hasn't produced any sediment for 3 or 4 weeks, then it's time to bottle. Mead always requires racking at least once, but sometimes it needs to be done 2 or 3, sometimes 4 times.

06-29-2004, 12:32 PM
i usually wait a full 6 months before bottling. And no matter how much i rack i usually end up with some sediment in the bottom of my carboy. I still don't have a definet recipie or procedure i am stilll experimenting with different yeasts and must prep. I began boiling and using just a nutrient with icv-47. But i couldn't ever get my fg below 1030 or so. But i have discovered energizer and i no longer boil. But i have changed yeast strains and i am getting a very low fg 1001. This batch is waiting to be bottled which needs to be soon i have to much air space in my carboy but the mead is going on 7 months old now. I haven't looked recently but i am sure there is probably some sediment. Do you think i am getting to much sediment from my rackings? I always try to get every last drop of clear mead from my rackings but i always end up with a little sediment transfer. Should i just take my loss?

06-29-2004, 01:36 PM
Some meadmakers recommend leaving your mead in the fridge for a few days to promote clearing and "harden" the sediment. That is, if you have room in the fridge. Some meadmakers also recommend you find a place to rack your mead, move the bottle to the place where you are going to do your racking, and just let it sit there for a couple days before racking, since moving the bottle stimulates the sediment.

Also, it depends on how hard you try to transfer as much mead as possible. If you get greedy, and try to save as much mead as possible from the bottom of the carboy, you are bound to transfer some sediment with it. Every time you rack you loose a little mead, but the trick is to sacrifice a little so you don't transfer sediment with it. In other words, you are getting sediment because you are trying to get every last drop.

If the mead keeps producing sediment don't bottle it. Wait it out and try to be sure it has stopped producing sediment. There are ways to do this, provided that you are sure it has finished with primary fermentation. You can take steps to help it clear (like putting it in the fridge for 3 days or so) and by adding clearifying agents you can get at a local brew shop. It's that sediment, floating around loose in the mead, that leaves the mead cloudy and unclear. Is the mead more cloudy after you rack it then before? If so, then some of the sediment was carried over in the mead itself because you agitated it too much before racking.

07-15-2004, 04:08 PM
Since I used to ferment and age in my corny kegs I would rack to the keg I was going to age the mead in, and then when I was ready to bottle I would put the bottles and my aging keg into the fridge for three days.

The bottled mead was very clear, and if it wasn't clear at bottling time, within a day or two at the outside it was crystal clear.


07-15-2004, 10:59 PM
I've been wondering about the cornys. I am rather new to kegging i just got my mine last november or so. And have just been kegging ale. But i have been considering to use them as fermenters. But i have a few questions.
1. Does your cane reach the bottom of the keg? If not how do you rack? Just a hose huh!
2. Have you bought one of those fancy lids to put on for an air lock ,that costs way more then my corny?
3.When do you rack to the corny? After the primary or secondary? I usually rack 3 to 4 times in carboys before bottling.
4. Do you think this is the best way to make a melomel? I have always added my fruit in the primary. Due to the fact i always do primary in a bucket and seem to think of adding fruit to the carboy to be a big mess. And i haven't been brave enough to make a 5 gallon melomel. I always seem to have an off nasty flavor when i have used berries. Usually make 1 gallon melomels.
5. I am sure the rest of the questions will come to me later!
6. Oh yeah 1 more. Do you serve the mead from the corny or bottle from it?

07-16-2004, 12:15 PM
Once you get them down, using corny kegs to ferment is no big whoop!

Here’s how I do primary and secondary in cornys:

Note: Make sure that you clean enough kegs to do both primary, secondary and aging. So, for a 5 gallon batch you would clean three kegs.

Nota Bene! Your beverage down tube should be trimmed off at the point just a hair above where it would normally start it’s bend (this in effect makes your keg a "bright-tank" which is used quite a bit in brewing). So in effect the tube is straight, and will not reach all the way to the bottom where all the trub, dead yeast and smuck is. This will keep you from transferring it into your secondary, so this is in effect your racking cane for each vessel.

I dispense from my kegs mostly (I have lot's of parties at my place) and I have modified a refrigerator which resides outside in the barbeque patio so people can walk up and tap from one of the four nozzles on the door. I also bottle a lot of mead before the holidays for gifts, door prizes etc. They are always very well received.


• Disassemble the kegs completely and put the o-rings, keg-lid, gas-in tube (short one), disconnect posts, poppet valves, and disconnects into a hot water bath with a moderate dish soap solution (or PBW, Oxyclean or whatever you like).
• Set the long down tube aside.
• Soak the kegs in HOT water for a few hours to begin with to loosen up any chunks or large particulate matter.
• Empty the keg and fill with hot water and moderate dish soap, PBW, Oxyclean or whatever you like. Put the beverage tube (the long one) into the keg.
• Use a corny brush to scrub it good and hard
• Use a smaller brush to get through the disconnect post holes.
• Use a carboy brush to get under the inside top of the keg.
• Use a small bore rifle barrel cleaner with a cloth to clean the long down tube.
• Scrub, scrub, scrub!
• Rinse, rinse, rinse!
• Sterilize all with idophor solution for the proscribed amount of time.
• Put your sterilized, small pieces-parts into a colander and place into a larger mixing bowl, cover with stretch-seal wrap.
• Keep your cornys full of the idophor solution and reassemble the keg (o-rings, tubes, posts), but not the lid, leave the lid in the colander.
• Give the kegs the old rattlesnake-shake.
• Empty out the kegs.
• Drain your cornys on a drying rack (basically a 2x4 “I”-shaped base with some 3 foot dowels attached so you can place the inverted kegs on the dowels to drain)
• Once the kegs have drained, have a buddy pull them up off the rack and keep it inverted.
• Cover the tops with stretch seal wrap.
• Place the kegs aside. At this point I usually have some cloths in the idophor solution and I place those over the plastic wrap.
• Set aside

07-16-2004, 12:18 PM

• Once your must is ready to decant into the primary corny, and your yeast is ready to pitch. Position your keg so you have ample room to decant the must into the kegs.
• Take a gas quick-disconnect (gray) and attach a 2.5 – 3 foot piece of tubing to it. You’re going to use this as a blow-off spout. Get a small clean bucket, and mix some idophor and water into it. Fill to 3/4 full.
• Remove the cloth from the top and stick the tube you’re using to drain your must vessel right through the plastic.
• Fill the keg to your heart’s content.
• Get your lid out of the colander BEFORE you pitch your yeast and have it ready to attach. Wrap it in one of the idophor cloths.
• Pitch your yeast into the must and seal that sucker up! (this is a two person effort)
• Pretend you’re two football players fighting over a fumble. Invert the keg, shake it, and roll it around. This is also a great way to see if there are any leaks! Or just take the lazy man's way and use a lees stirrer like I do.
• Place the bucket with the idophor solution in it next to the keg.
• Attach the blow-off valve to the gas-in post on the corny keg.
• Run the hose into the bucket so that the end of the hose touches the bottom of the bucket, and is well beneath the surface level of the idophor solution. This is where the bubbling will occur.
• Attach the hose to the bucket with a tie wrap (I usually use the handle of the bucket to do this)
• Smile and know that this is the last time your mead will see any air until you drink it!
• Relax and have a nip of the fine mead you’ve been rat-holing away for a while.

07-16-2004, 12:21 PM

• Take one of the vessels that you cleaned about three months ago and remove the plastic wrap from the top. Wash with Idophor and give a cursory sterilization inside and out.
• Drain and set next to your primary fermentation keg.
• Your bubbling should have either stopped completely, or to the point of where you would rather watch a boring documentary than wait for the next bubble.
• Here’s the fun part. First disconnect the blow-off-hose and bucket. Then de-pressurize your primary keg by tripping the pressure-releif valve on the lid. There should be little to no pressure to relieve.
• Next Get your CO2 and connect a gas line and gas (gray) quick disconnect to your secondary vessel gas in post.
• Charge the vessel with CO2, and use the pressure relief valve on top of the lid to de-pressurize the keg. Do this twice. You’ve effectively removed the air from the keg, and your mead will not take a deep breath of anything bad when you push it over from the primary keg.
• NOTE: Do not move your primary keg if at all possible. This upsets the trub in the bottom and increases the likelihood that you will transfer it to your secondary and foul your batch with off-tastes, etc.
• Attach the gas line to the gas in post on your primary. Make a connector hose with a beverage disconnect (black) on both ends and about three feet of tubing in between. Move your secondary about one foot away from the primary
• Run your transfer hose through a coat hangar so it hangs evenly on both sides.
• Connect one end of your transfer hose to the beverage (out) post on your primary and connect the other end to the bevereage (out) post on your secondary.
• Hoist that coat hangar up and attach it to the hook you have in the mead-house.
• Very slowly open the gas valve on the CO2 canister and watch your mead climb the mountain that you’ve made. Eyeball how clear the liquid is. Most of my batches have been crystal clear right up till the end.
• Use just enough pressure to keep the mead moving, but not enough to force the trub into the mix. You’ll have to learn by trial and error. Good news is it's not real hard to do.
• When you see a little snake of sediment beginning the climb to the top of the connector hose mountain, turn off the gas pressure and remove the disconnect from the secondary.
• Remove the hose from the primary and cut it off about one foot from the disconnect that was on the secondary.
• Put put the open end of the hose attached to the beverage disconnect into a pitcher, and attach the beverage disconnect to the beverage out post on the secondary keg. The residual pressure from the transfer process should push enough mead out for you to taste and get and SG reading.
• Put a date tag on the keg and give it some time.


• Repeat the process above and rack to your aging vessel. Put a date tag on the aging vessel.
Be patient!
• Drink mead! ;) ;) ;)

Hope this helps,


07-16-2004, 12:22 PM
Ok, if you actually read all this you have way too much time on your hands.

I recommend that you start drinking heavily! 8)


07-21-2004, 04:52 PM
Methinks mayhap I scared him off ???


07-22-2004, 09:16 AM
You big bully! lol

Joshua Thomas
08-06-2004, 02:11 PM

I am getting ready to bottle this weekend, and I would like to get some suggestions, or at least clarification on some of the ideas that are still foggy to me.

1.) While slow boiling will obviously kill all remaining yeast, will it cause any major catastrophic changes to the mead itself?
2.) Slow boiling to kill the yeast should be done before corking the bottle, right? (stupid question, I know)
3.) Does anyone have a suggestion for a method they prefer with reference to corking? (ie. cork and then waxing, champagne wire, etc?)

Any and all help will be greatly appreciated.


Joshua Thomas

08-06-2004, 07:46 PM
i usually cork and then wax for still meads, or use regular beer bottle type crown caps for sparkling. Personally i would suggest not boiling your mead before bottling...why do you think its necessary? if you are that worried about fermentation in the bottle you are probably much better off using some metabisulfite at bottling.

Joshua Thomas
08-07-2004, 12:14 AM
The main reason I am considering boiling is that my wife is allergic to some sulfides and some sulfates. Also, I have gotten away with not using any additives/chemicals up to this point, and would like to continue down that road.

Thank you for your suggestions though.


Joshua Thomas

08-07-2004, 07:53 AM

I am getting ready to bottle this weekend, and I would like to get some suggestions, or at least clarification on some of the ideas that are still foggy to me.

1.) While slow boiling will obviously kill all remaining yeast, will it cause any major catastrophic changes to the mead itself?
2.) Slow boiling to kill the yeast should be done before corking the bottle, right? (stupid question, I know)
3.) Does anyone have a suggestion for a method they prefer with reference to corking? (ie. cork and then waxing, champagne wire, etc?)
Any and all help will be greatly appreciated.
Joshua Thomas
1 & 2. If you must use this method because of your wife you only need to pastuerize it. Do not boil. Read up on how they do it in canning in mason jars and do it similiarly in your mead bottles at the minimum temperature required. (Remember it only has to be done if you have a sweet mead with residual sugar. A dry mead with some yeast poses no problem) When you cool it it will draw oxygen back in the mead. This is not desireable but you may be able to just start your cork while it is still at pastuerization temperature and as it cools it will draw the cork in a bit with some finger help and leave a little vaccuum. ( thats good)
3. No need for wiring with this method. It will not create a pressure. Corking should be sufficient but wax if you will store a long time or prefer it.

Joshua Thomas
08-07-2004, 02:09 PM
Thank you all for your suggestions. I will be bottling sometime tomorrow, and hopefully in 6 months to a year I can let you know if it worked out alright. ;D

Joshua Thomas

08-07-2004, 10:07 PM
You could also cap the bottles and save some cash on corks, a corker, bottle sleeves along with time and hassle.

Personally I like the corks since I have a lot of champagne bottles and like the asthetics, but it is an investment for the correct corks, corker, wire hoods, wire tightening tool and champagne bottle foil to dress it up. Much of the time if I'm making a normal sized batch of 15 gallons, I just cap it because I know it will go fast. For the seasonals, gifts, etc. I do the corks.

Also, you'll want to make arrangements to get the bottles back from your friends if you're giving any as gifts. Buying a couple hundred bottles at a time can leave one with sticker shock.



08-09-2004, 10:29 AM
In addition to what Oskaar said, you can also get the bottles for free just by going to a restaurant and asking for their used bottles. From there it's just a matter of delabeling them and cleaning them. ;)

If you are planning on aging your mead, and not just drinking them right after bottling, you might want to consider corks. The reason I say is because you are much more likely to be patient and wait if there is a cork stopping you than a bottle cap. At least that's the way it is for me.

I'm a newbie still and I havn't aquired the meadmaker's patience yet. My corks have slowed me down a bit from opening the bottles to see how far along the aging is.

With a cork you have to dig out the bottle opener, peel off the foil/wax (if there is any) screw it in and fight the cork. Now if I had used bottle caps instead of corks. Well, let's just say I keep a bottle opener on my keychain. ;D

08-09-2004, 11:42 AM
The mead will age better in a corked bottle too. It's not just that you leave it longer, but the chemical reactions that take place are different. A cork is very slightly breathable, so you get an extreemly slow oxidation which is actually what you want. It's not the same thing at all as what people normaly mean when they say their mead oxidized. What they are refering to is an oxidization that happens much more quickly and gives a sherry taste to the mead--probably something you want to avoid. This was all explained to me once in great technical detail, but that's all I remember at this point.

Champagne corks are less breathable, if at all, since they are designed to keep things carbonated under pressure. And caps aren't breathable at all.

08-09-2004, 03:55 PM
I just posted these links in another area of the forums, but I thought I'd post them here too since corks are in discussion.






08-09-2004, 07:48 PM
Thanks for the links Oskaar. Great info. Who is selling the bottles and screw tops? I didn't see them for sale on the rhphillips link.

08-09-2004, 07:58 PM
Still tracking that one down. There are a few companies, one of French origin, one from Australia, and a couple from here in the US. I'll post some links when I track them down.