Author Topic: Using Corks In Bottling Mead  (Read 2321 times)

Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Using Corks In Bottling Mead
« on: August 12, 2011, 05:25:54 AM »
I'm about to bottle my first batch of mead (brewed in July 2010) and I'm planning on packaging in 750 ml amber bottles with real corks.  Do folks sanitize corks prior to use?  Anything else I should be aware of going into this?
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Offline hamiltont

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Re: Using Corks In Bottling Mead
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2011, 07:23:56 AM »
Yep, I sanitize the corks in a container of starsan.  What are you using for cork size & corker?  Cheers!!!
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Re: Using Corks In Bottling Mead
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2011, 07:42:30 AM »
Yep, I sanitize the corks in a container of starsan.  What are you using for cork size & corker?  Cheers!!!

I have this corker: http://www.midwestsupplies.com/gilda-compresion-hand-corker.html

I bought #9 straight corks.  I may wax the tops for fun. Looks easy enough.
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Offline hamiltont

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Re: Using Corks In Bottling Mead
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2011, 08:20:24 AM »
Looks like you're good to go!!  Waxing sounds like fun. Tell us how it goes when you do it.  Cheers!!!
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Offline hokerer

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Re: Using Corks In Bottling Mead
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2011, 08:51:21 AM »
Waxing sounds like fun.

Waxing always sounded painful to me....  oh wait
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Re: Using Corks In Bottling Mead
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2011, 12:58:43 PM »
I steam my corks while prepping the bottles.  Waxing works very well.  Let it get pretty hot and liquid-y first, otherwise, the first 5-10 bottles will have little air bubbles in the wax.  Use a veggie can in a water bath.  Very easy clean up that way.

Have fun.

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Re: Using Corks In Bottling Mead
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2011, 07:20:35 AM »
Waxing sounds like fun.

Waxing always sounded painful to me....  oh wait

 ;D  Nice...
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Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: Using Corks In Bottling Mead
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2011, 07:21:52 AM »
I steam my corks while prepping the bottles.  Waxing works very well.  Let it get pretty hot and liquid-y first, otherwise, the first 5-10 bottles will have little air bubbles in the wax.  Use a veggie can in a water bath.  Very easy clean up that way.

Have fun.

Good suggestions.  I was planning on melting the wax in a tin can.  I like the idea of keeping it hot using a water bath.  I'll try to post some pics of my wax job... :P
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Offline realbeerguy

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Re: Using Corks In Bottling Mead
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2011, 09:12:16 AM »
I found a small potpourri warmer (looks like a mini crock pot) at the thrift store to heat the wax.  Worked great when I waxed the bottles for my daughter's wedding.
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Offline The Professor

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Re: Using Corks In Bottling Mead
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2011, 01:55:17 PM »
Congrats!  Mead is a beautiful thing.

If you're bottling & corking in wine bottles, you just want to be sure that the stuff has completely and totally finished its fermentation and that the yeast has gone dormant and settles out entirely.  If you left it in secondary long enough and the mead cleared on its own, you should be fine.  Cellar the bottles on their sides and check them regularly for the first few months to make sure corks aren't getting pushed out from the pressure of a continued slow fermentation. 

Other than that...enjoy.  There are only a few things that compare to a well made and well aged mead.  If your experience is anything like mine was with my first mead,  you'll probably want to get working on a second batch as soon as you've sampled a bottle that's mellowed for a few months.
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Re: Using Corks In Bottling Mead
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2011, 02:25:35 PM »
Bottling was a success!  Unfortunately, the packaging is much better quality than the contents. >:(

This was my first mead, which I brewed in July 2010 without any temp control.  Fermentation temp got as high as 75 and this thing has been a fusel bomb ever since.  It has mellowed considerably over the past year, but the heat/solventy fusel flavors are still present.  I've been very careful about sanitation and preventing oxidation, so I think this will have plenty of time to mature further in the bottle.  Maybe by this time next year it will be smoother.

Another issue with this batch was clarity.  It's got a slight haze, despite letting it clear in a tertiary fermentor for 7-8 months.  I have sparkelloid on hand, but I opted not to use it.

Anyway, I have a fermentation chamber now, so next mead I brew (and I plan on brewing more) will likely be much better.

Here are some photos of the bottle waxing.







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Offline hamiltont

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Re: Using Corks In Bottling Mead
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2011, 03:10:03 PM »
Bottling was a success!  Unfortunately, the packaging is much better quality than the contents. >:(

This was my first mead, which I brewed in July 2010 without any temp control.  Fermentation temp got as high as 75 and this thing has been a fusel bomb ever since.  It has mellowed considerably over the past year, but the heat/solventy fusel flavors are still present.  I've been very careful about sanitation and preventing oxidation, so I think this will have plenty of time to mature further in the bottle.  Maybe by this time next year it will be smoother.

Another issue with this batch was clarity.  It's got a slight haze, despite letting it clear in a tertiary fermentor for 7-8 months.  I have sparkelloid on hand, but I opted not to use it.

Anyway, I have a fermentation chamber now, so next mead I brew (and I plan on brewing more) will likely be much better.

Here are some photos of the bottle waxing.




Those look great!!
If Homebrew & BBQ aren't the answer, then you're askin' the wrong questions... Cheers!!!

Offline dhacker

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Re: Using Corks In Bottling Mead
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2011, 04:11:42 PM »
Bottling was a success!  Unfortunately, the packaging is much better quality than the contents. >:(

This was my first mead, which I brewed in July 2010 without any temp control.  Fermentation temp got as high as 75 and this thing has been a fusel bomb ever since.  It has mellowed considerably over the past year, but the heat/solventy fusel flavors are still present.  I've been very careful about sanitation and preventing oxidation, so I think this will have plenty of time to mature further in the bottle.  Maybe by this time next year it will be smoother.

Another issue with this batch was clarity.  It's got a slight haze, despite letting it clear in a tertiary fermentor for 7-8 months.  I have sparkelloid on hand, but I opted not to use it.

Anyway, I have a fermentation chamber now, so next mead I brew (and I plan on brewing more) will likely be much better.

Here are some photos of the bottle waxing.




Those look great!!


Indeed they do! . . The PVC shrinks I just put on 32 bottles of Cabernet look kinda pitiful in comparison . . .   :-[
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Offline hubie

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Re: Using Corks In Bottling Mead
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2011, 05:11:35 PM »
I have a mead to bottle now as well.  I hadn't thought about waxing.  Do you just heat it up and dip in the bottles?  Is one coat enough?  Where do you get the wax, is it regular old paraffin?  I was going to cork mine, let them sit upright for a few days, then put them on their sides.  Does it matter when in this process you do the waxing?  I would assume after they've sat a few days upright?

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Re: Using Corks In Bottling Mead
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2011, 05:28:31 PM »
I got the wax at my LHBS.  It's food grade wax -- not sure exactly what it is, chemically speaking.

http://www.midwestsupplies.com/bottle-seal-wax-beads-gold.html

I heated it up in the can directly over the stove flame.  When it was completely melted, I transferred it into the saucepan, which contained simmering water (this keeps the wax liquid).  One coat was all the bottles needed.  I bottled, corked, and waxed in succession.  It seemed to work very well.

I only wish the mead was better. :-[  Maybe with more aging.
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