Author Topic: bulk aging meads  (Read 1300 times)

Offline bluedog

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bulk aging meads
« on: March 29, 2010, 04:55:02 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

Offline enso

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Re: bulk aging meads
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2010, 01:14:31 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.
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Offline bbkf

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Re: bulk aging meads
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2010, 03:06:54 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. 

Offline The Professor

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Re: bulk aging meads
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2010, 03:10:18 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!).
AL
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Offline bluedog

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Re: bulk aging meads
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2010, 04:51:40 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.

Offline The Professor

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Re: bulk aging meads
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2010, 07:41:45 PM »
...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.
AL
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Offline bluedog

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Re: bulk aging meads
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2010, 05:00:36 PM »
So we're just going to go with "magic" :) for now.....