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General Category => Other Fermentables => Topic started by: bluedog on March 29, 2010, 11:55:02 AM

Title: bulk aging meads
Post by: bluedog on March 29, 2010, 11:55:02 AM
Is it better to bottle age or bulk age meads, cysers, pyments etc? It would seem to me that a large volume of mead would take more time to develop the desirable characteristics aging brings versus a small volume. Also, isn't aging a process of oxidation? In theory, if a bottle is sealed no oxygen can be absorbed. So how is it that hot alcohols and "green" flavors become that mellow warming and complex character?
As always thanks in advance
Title: Re: bulk aging meads
Post by: enso on March 31, 2010, 08:14:31 PM
I have always understood that bulk aging (in most any type of ferment) is most desirable. 

Aging is not oxidizing.  Your mead (cider, wine...) should be stored under airlock with no headspace.  Topped up to the brim.  The aging is about the yeast, alcohols, and other fermentation by-products melding and under going chemical changes.  Oxidation can occur as part of the process but it really is not desirable per se.
Title: Re: bulk aging meads
Post by: bbkf on March 31, 2010, 10:06:54 PM
I'd have to say that if you are unsure of what you are doing, that bulk aging would be your best option.

Mainly because, it's really hard to change your mind or do something to you mead once its in the bottle. 
Title: Re: bulk aging meads
Post by: The Professor on March 31, 2010, 10:10:18 PM
Bulk aging is definitely desirable for meads...I do so for all the reasons enso mentions, but since mead ferments rather slowly I also keep it in a topped up, airlocked carboy for an extended time to make sure the fermentation is absolutely complete so no carbonation develops when it is eventually bottled...I don't want my mead to be fizzy at all, and I don't want corks to be popping out of the bottles, especially since the bottles will usually continue to cellar for several years after being filled (trust me...a Sack Mead at 10 years old is a truly joyous thing to behold!).
Title: Re: bulk aging meads
Post by: bluedog on March 31, 2010, 11:51:40 PM
OK, so I have a few meads approx 6 months old in sitting in carboys. They have each been racked 2 times once out of the primary and once again off the secondary. They are all crystal clear and have a tiny 1mm amount of sediment in the bottom. Gravities are in range & no airlock activity. As of last month they still taste hot for lack of a better description. I have some 3 year old mead that was bottled tasting hot after 6 months in the secondary. It has since become very nice. So what happens on the molecular level or otherwise that creates this change? I mean, I get that it happens but what's the process that occurs.
Title: Re: bulk aging meads
Post by: The Professor on April 01, 2010, 02:41:45 AM
...I have some 3 year old mead that was bottled tasting hot after 6 months in the secondary. It has since become very nice. So what happens on the molecular level or otherwise that creates this change? I mean, I get that it happens but what's the process that occurs.

Oh, I'm sure there are scientific explanations for some aspects of what occurs (and probably no real explanations for other aspects).  You can probably find a lot of it covered in writings on Fermentation Science.

Frankly I never sought out the info myself,  because it's just one of those things I'm just happy to attribute to miracles of nature. 

I figure, why spoil the magic with rational explanations?

But,  happy hunting for the info nonetheless...and  also, maybe someone here with a science background will eventually weigh in on the subject.
Title: Re: bulk aging meads
Post by: bluedog on April 02, 2010, 12:00:36 AM
So we're just going to go with "magic" :) for now.....