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General Category => Other Fermentables => Topic started by: theDarkSide on April 01, 2011, 07:22:57 am

Title: Better Bottles and Mead
Post by: theDarkSide on April 01, 2011, 07:22:57 am
A few years ago I made the mistake of buying 5 gallon Better Bottles.  It didn't take long to realize they were not adequate to use for a batch of beer because I'd end up with only 4 gallons finished ( unacceptable! ).  I now have 2 6 gallon BB and rarely do secondary, so I'm looking for a use for these 5g BB. 

I want to try my hand at making mead.  I figure I can put it in these BB's and forget about them for a few months.  Several postings on the internet say that long term aging in BB is fine and some say not.  I'm hoping to get 2 batches together and let them be for a few months.  Gordon's Cinnamon Vanilla Metheglin is catching my eye.

Will leaving mead in a primary for several months work, or will I need to transfer to a secondary like I've seen several people do with their recipes? 

Anyone else use Better Bottles for mead?

Gordon - how long do you primary your Cinnamon Vanilla Metheglin ( I realize it will be different for everyone, but looking for a ball park )?



Title: Re: Better Bottles and Mead
Post by: gordonstrong on April 01, 2011, 07:37:52 am
"Primary" is a little hard to define since I tend to bulk age my meads.  I rack off the lees when the fermentation subsides and they start clearing, although I tend to let them continue to naturally clarify.  I might rack a few times, or I might just hit it with sparkalloid once and be done with it.  You lose so much volume with racking that I'm trying to minimize those.  But I almost always leave it in a carboy until I need it.  With modern techniques, my fermentations are typically done in about 2 weeks, 3 tops.

Many of my meads are variations of a straight tupelo mead.  Metheglin, melomels, braggot, cyser, pyment, etc.  Figure out how to make a good straight mead and then think about the flavor combinations.

I don't always rack off the lees in a timely fashion.  I can let them go for 6-9 months.  Depends on when I need them.

I almost never think about my meads for the first 6 months.  The flavors can be a moving target and I don't want to start fiddling with something that's in the process of changing.

Curt Stock is more aggressive with his meads.  I've seen him get them ready to drink in 6 weeks.  He's an animal.  I remember him giving a 6 week old melomel to Charlie Papazian.  Charlie couldn't believe it was that young, because it tasted so good, clean and finished.  But that's how Curt rolls.  He read Ken Schramm's book and just put it into practice.
Title: Re: Better Bottles and Mead
Post by: blatz on April 01, 2011, 08:12:50 am
do you have an extra corny keg?  you could primary for 2 months or so and then rack to corny for bulk aging?
Title: Re: Better Bottles and Mead
Post by: johnf on April 01, 2011, 11:11:14 am
But I almost always leave it in a carboy until I need it.


Do you do anything to mitigate oxygen exposure? Purge the head space periodically with inert gas? Keep the volume up to the neck by adding marbles?

Beer making has made me very anal about oxygen to the point that I'm pretty close to buying an argon tank/regulator so I can keep meads oxygen free in kegs without carbonating them. Am I over estimating the danger of letting them sit in carboys for extended periods? More to the point do I want minor oxidation? Kai makes a convincing argument that minor oxidation is required for the characteristic doppelbock fruity character, for example.
Title: Re: Better Bottles and Mead
Post by: gordonstrong on April 01, 2011, 02:39:59 pm
The biggest thing is to not let the airlock run dry...

I don't do anything special as long as the airlock is on it.  But if I get into it (racking, sampling, fiddling, whatever), I always blow some CO2 back on top of it before I put the airlock back.

You don't want mead to oxidize unless you're trying to do a Polish style mead or using sherry yeast, I guess.
Title: Re: Better Bottles and Mead
Post by: Brewdogz on April 20, 2011, 11:27:33 am
I am not an animal!  ;D

Better bottles shouldn't be an issue with mead and primary fermentation.  At least the way I do it.

I do my primary in buckets.  Makes it easier to do a staggered nutrient addition technique and less likely to blow all over the place when stirring and releasing CO2.

Once promary is complete, about 3 to 6 weeks, I rack to a glass carboy for clearing.  After a couple months or when it is clear I rack it to a keg.  I bulk age in a keg so I don't have to worry about those darn air locks going dry.

The biggest problem - sampling the mead from the keg from time to time!  Okay that's not the probelm, but with a year or so of sampling there isn't much left to bottle!   :D