View Full Version : Ok to use beer bottels?

06-14-2005, 12:42 AM
My batch of Joe's Ancient Orange is on its way to being done. The bubbles in the airlock have slowed and it is starting to clear. If you look in the Hive in topic pitcure time you can see it. I am the only one in my household that is intrested in drinking mead. My wife has no likeing for any wine. I also don't drink very much so if I open a 750 ml bottel it takes me so long to drink that the tast changes and not for the better.
So I was wornding if botteling in to beer bottels would be a problem? I could drink it in one setting and not wast any. Thanks for any advice.
Mel W.

06-14-2005, 04:08 AM
If you have capping equipment... go for it.

see this post - http://www.gotmead.com/smf/index.php/topic,1078.0.html

it's a fairly recent and reoccurring topic.


06-14-2005, 11:43 AM
No problem using 12 oz. beer bottles. I do it all the time. I'll be lucky to get 6 to 8 bottles out of my Joe's Ancient Orange batch, after removing the fruit, raisins, etc. For some psychological reason, the more bottles I end up, the better I feel about my efforts.

Not only that, but you probably don't want to drink any more than one bottle at a time. Very potent stuff!

06-14-2005, 11:59 AM
Thanks for the feedback. I have a dim memory of the need for O2 blocking caps. I ges most bottel caps will do that.
Mel W.

David Baldwin
06-14-2005, 12:20 PM
Caps and a hand capping machine are cheap and readily available at your online or LHBS.

I was determined to cork not cap - until I really needed to do something with all the beer bottles I had collected. The capping setup was much cheaper. It works great, and the seal is excellent.


06-20-2005, 08:26 AM
Really? I'm totaly the oppisite I swore never to cork because I'm totaly unable to uncork a bottle properly. So I cap all recycled beer bottles and use ghrolsh bottles that the local beer store sells back to me at they 10c deposit price. Good Deal. But now and then I consider the mistique of a corked bottle.... and promptly say Nahhh, too much fuss for me. ::)

06-20-2005, 09:07 AM
I use beer bottles for brews that my wife doesn't like. For example, she doesn't like rasberry or apple flavors, so any wine or mead with apples or rasberries goes into beer bottles.


06-25-2005, 09:07 PM
I am going to try it this weekend. I have 12 slightly used beer bottels and two defrint capping machines to try. The bottels are sitting in hot water right now to remove the labels and to soften any remaines inside.
I am only botteling a one gallen batch of Joe's Ancient Orange. Will tell how it goes afterwords.

06-26-2005, 12:46 AM
As long as the bottles are not twist off tops you'll be fine.

I like the Budwiser longnecks from bars (inside connection from time to time) and the Sam Adams bottles.



07-03-2005, 01:36 PM
Well I ran in to a snag that stoped me from botteling last weekend. (wrong type of bottel brush) ???
Got the right brush and will bottel this weekend. Bottels are clean and wating for sanitizing. I have to rack my other meads so I will try to get it all done in one afternoon. :)
Mel W.

07-03-2005, 11:35 PM
I did get all done. Used a hand capper on the ancient orange it worked well. I filled eight bottels and some in the sampleing tube for me and my wife to try. I quite liked it. It was a lot stronger then I expted. Probably just needs to age some more. My dogs where very intrested in what I was doing and they got to tast some that missed the bottels. Thay liked it as well! ;D I thought I was going to have to fight them off with a stick. :D
Racked the plane mead and tryed some. Tasted more like some of the wines that I have had. Not finished yet so time will tell. The cyser was next racked it and toped off with more juice from trader joes. Forgot to get a sample from the first flow so I am wating for some of the stirred up lees to settel in the fridge to try it.
My wife was helping and she joked that the kitchen smelled like a brewrey.
Gee I have a empty one gallen carboy and space in the cupboard. What ever am I to do with it. ;)
Mel W.

08-05-2005, 12:27 AM
Does anyone know if mead stored in a 12oz bottle ages out faster than one in a wine bottle?

It stands to reason for me, since the smaller bottle has more of its surface area exposed to the air left in the bottle, that the chemical reactions of aging would happen on a quicker basis. But I could be mistaken.

Anyone have any experience to offer?

08-05-2005, 11:30 AM
yes it will.
I don't know it to be a fact with mead, but it is for sure with wine. half bottles of wine age nearly twice as fast as full bottles.

08-05-2005, 12:27 PM
I'm going to be Oskaar's acolyte here...

The aging process is not an oxidative process and does not require the mead to be in contact with air or oxygen. It would be better if it wasn't at all. The aging process is reductive and mostly consists of molecules like phenols and tannins linking to each other. Besides, most of the oxygen in the ullage will be used up quickly once bottled, but aging will continue for years. Also, corks don't, or at least, should not breathe at all. Oxygen should not be getting into a bottle through the cork and if it is, this isn't why it is aging. If it was, it would stand to reason that bottles with synthetic corks, screw caps, or crown caps would not age at all.

08-05-2005, 05:24 PM

I have to disagree with you there. Microoxygenation clearly plays an important role in the aging process, interacting over time with tannins and other proteins in the bottle or barrel. Here's a link that Oskaar posted recently to an article which goes into recent efforts by the major wineries to simulate this aspect of the aging process -- presumably because modern screw-on caps and synthetic corks don't breath, and therefore, will not allow for proper aging.

http://www.stavin.com/stavin_microox_report.pdf (http://www.stavin.com/stavin_microox_report.pdf)

And here's a link to the thread where the issue was brought up.

http://www.gotmead.com/smf/index.php/topic,1399.msg10999.html#msg10999 (http://www.gotmead.com/smf/index.php/topic,1399.msg10999.html#msg10999)

All natural corks will breath to some degree, unless sealed with wax or some other product (such as agglomerated corks made from cork chips pressed into a standard shape, and held together with epoxy), and, indeed, it is a vital part of the aging process. Of course, some wines and meads do not do well with extended aging, but that's another issue. Also, it's important to understand that while it's a big aspect of the process, microox is not the only thing going on inside the bottle over time. Aging will occur in a completely sealed environment, but at a slower rate, and with a different result.


Freedom Foundry
09-11-2005, 03:44 AM
Something that sounds relevant to this thread: in the Compleat book, the author recommends aging with bottles upright for a while (6 mo?) for breathing and O2ization, then tipping for a seal.

09-11-2005, 03:57 AM

It's been my experience that once you cork your bottle 72 hours is plenty to leave them upright. Once that's behind you lay them down on an angle so that the bottom of the cork is wet. I don't do horizontal storage most of the time because I prefer just to keep the bottom of the cork wet and let any sediment thay may form (mostly in sparkling or petulant meads) work it's way to the bottom of the bottle.

Also, I've had one too many bottles of wine that had wet corks and corked wine. So a nice angle but not horizontal is my preference.



09-11-2005, 10:43 AM
Of course, some wines and meads do not do well with extended aging, but that's another issue.

The question I have for those who have aged Mead is how can you tell which of your batches will do better with aging? I have read that the taste of fusile alcohol, off flavors, unpleasant smells etc. will age out (sometimes or always?). So if you taste any of these, age it and see what happens. But what are the signposts for a Mead that will not do well with extended aging?


09-11-2005, 01:55 PM

I got to wondering about mead and aging recently myself, and posted about it here:

http://www.gotmead.com/smf/index.php/topic,1583.0.html (http://www.gotmead.com/smf/index.php/topic,1583.0.html)

No proper definitive test I know of has been conducted regarding mead aging, but annecdotes here and there seem to indicate that it has a long aging profile across the board -- that is, meads of all kinds, if properly stabilized and protected from oxidation, appear not to "over-age" at all. I've read in books and articles about lighter meads aging like white wines, but more and more it's seeming like that's only an assumption and not a proven fact.