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  1. Unhappy Safety - Bottle Bombs from Fermentation

    I have a concern on the safety of a batch of mead I've made, and whether or not it poses a significant risk for popping off the corks or shattering the bottles. I gave a few bottles to some friends, and I don't want the mead making a mess or the bottle shattering.

    I have made about 20 batches at one gallon per batch of mead. My latest batch was the following:

    • 1.5lbs Wildflower Honey
    • 1 gallon distilled water
    • 2 oranges, crushed
    • 25 cherries, crushed
    • 1 pod of star anise, crushed
    • 1 packet of Lalvin EC-1118 yeast, rehydrated

    I gave the batch about 14 days to go from an OG of 1.098 down to 1.008. It is a tiny bit sweet, and tastes pretty good, considering how young it it. As it begins to clarify on it's own, I added a packet of boiled bentonite, 0.5 teaspoons of potassium sorbate, and 1/15th of a teaspoon of potassium metabisulfite. After 3 days of waiting, the mead isn't bubbling at all, and I haven't seen any bubbles in the regulator at all. I've racked it twice, and the mead is very clear.

    I was talking with a fellow wine maker at a local store today who told me that the potassium sorbate's effects wear off after a year, and she lost a batch of dry white wine when all the corks started popping off a year later. Is the only safe way to ensure the bottle won't break or pop the corks by using a filter system? Should I ask my friends to consume the mead sooner than later?

    My key concern is that although the fementation appears to have stopped, I was using Lalvin EC-1118 yeast, which can go up to 18% ABV before it stops. Since this mead was at 14% ABV when bottling, I'm worried that if somehow the fermentation starts again, they could be hurt by glass flying everywhere.

    Are my concerns legitimate, or can I calm down a bit?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Between Jackson and Detroit


    I've never heard of potassium sorbate wearing off after a set period of time.

    The following is from Jack Keller's website :

    "A few words of caution about potassium sorbate are in order. It does impart a taste to the wine, however slight, and you might want to avoid it if you intend to enter your wine in competition. Also, avoid sorbate if you intend to keep your wines a very long time. The "slight" taste tends to get stronger over time and after several years can be quite disappointing."

    Would be curious if anyone else has heard of the effect on the yeast stopping after a year...
    Bees stole my signature file!

  3. Default good

    Well, that calms me down a bit.

    Is there any chance the bentonite scooped up the sorbate? Since they were all present at the same time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Between Jackson and Detroit


    Depends on the electrical charge of the potassium sorbate, but I rather doubt that would have total removed it from solution before it could be processed by the yeast cell walls?
    Bees stole my signature file!

  5. Default

    I'm not so worried anymore.

    First of all, the mead was almost dry, just shy of 1.000, so there is hardly any sugar left to consume to piss into alcohol and fart into CO2. Even if it went on uncontrolled, not a lot of gas can be produced.

    Second, although the yeast can go up to 18% ABV, it won't get that change due to the first point, a lack of fuel.

    Third, a lot of the yeast is gone since I racked it, then re-racked it onto bentonite to get rid of most of the proteins, yeast, and particulate matter.

    Finally, since it had three days to soak in potassium metabisulfite and potassium sorbate, the yeast that was alive was likely killed, and all the yeast is now unable to reproduce thanks to the sorbate.

    The cork of a week old bottle made a slight "popping" noise when uncorking, but that was from my sweetest bottle, and was less than popping open the odd specialty beer (which is corked), and far less than a champagne bottle.

    Next time I think I'll just be a bit more patient before bottling.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Great Falls Montana


    Such an appetizing appraisal of your lovingly produced product.
    Mac An Breatannuich

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