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Old 04-12-2010, 09:08 PM   #1
Worthog82
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Default Aging Melomel- Too much head room?

I've been making a blackberry melomel and it was in the primary 3 weeks then I racked the blackberries onto it and left it for 4 weeks. I just racked it off the fruit into a 5 gallon carboy for bulk aging. There's exactly 4 gallons of mead in the 5 gal carboy. Should I worry about oxidation during the bulk aging? I plan to leave in at least 8 months. Would it be better to bottle and age it that way?

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Old 04-12-2010, 10:10 PM   #2
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what about purging the headspace with some CO2.

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Old 04-12-2010, 10:47 PM   #3
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for that duration that's too much headspace. put something in the carboy to displace the mead like sanitized stainless steel ball bearings or food safe glass marbles you can even float them in a hop sock or grain bag.

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Old 04-14-2010, 04:59 PM   #4
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Good idea. That's going to be alot of marbles! How do you know if there food safe marbles?

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Old 04-14-2010, 05:28 PM   #5
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Any marbles that have a clear glass coating over the color layers are most likely food safe. Those that have color coming all the way to the surface layer are not to be trusted, since pigments of any kind, unless specifically called out as food-safe, are notorious for having heavy metals that can leach into your liquid.

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Old 04-14-2010, 05:31 PM   #6
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You're talking about hundreds of marbles to make up a gallon of headspace!

To make it easier, you could buy a 3 gallon carboy and a bottle of cheap Carlo Rossi wine (4L). Drink the wine, and rack the mead into the carboy and jug. A #6 rubber stopper will fit the jug. Or, go totally ghetto and do 4 one-gallon jugs that way.

You don't want ANY headspace. You want to top up past the neck of the carboy, just an inch or two below the bung. Many recipes have an allowance for topping up built into the recipe, but if not you'll either have to make more must or rack into smaller containers. Since it's ready for aging, I'd go with the smaller containers.

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Old 04-15-2010, 10:56 PM   #7
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One of the best ways I've heard to take up headspace in a carboy was to blow up a balloon into the carboy. It won't displace the mead, but it will make the volume of open air in the carboy much less. You want to be careful to make sure it will NOT leak any rubbery flavor in, though. It was a specific kind of balloon, I just don't remember. I believe it was posted on GotMead a few times. Does anyone remember what I'm talking about, or am I crazy?

As YooperBrew said, you want as minimal amount as headspace as you can. However, I've let slip a few times and have had batches with as much headspace at 1gallon, and they've all been fine. If you're racking the mead right after primary into a carboy or whatever for aging, the CO2 that was still in the mead is going to be released, and since it's heavier than O2 it should form a blanket of CO2 across the top of the mead, theoretically protecting it. I wouldn't exactly say this is ideal or recommended, but it's been fine with me when I did that.

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Old 06-29-2014, 02:23 PM   #8
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Just bottle it and age in the bottle....much easier than worrying about marbles!

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Old 06-30-2014, 04:09 AM   #9
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Has anyone had a mead that has over-oxidized? I understand why it would happen in beer, for sure, and to a lesser degree wine, but I'd be interested in some experiences with oxidized mead - if it really even exists

Sorry - for sure with any melomels or braggots, I'd surely be wary of oxidation in bulk aging, but for a traditional, I do question the reality of over-oxidation.

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Old 06-30-2014, 01:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IJesusChrist View Post
Has anyone had a mead that has over-oxidized? I understand why it would happen in beer, for sure, and to a lesser degree wine, but I'd be interested in some experiences with oxidized mead - if it really even exists

Sorry - for sure with any melomels or braggots, I'd surely be wary of oxidation in bulk aging, but for a traditional, I do question the reality of over-oxidation.
Yes. I've had oxidized mead & cyser, they smelled a bit like a combination of soggy Wheaties & wet cardboard. they tasted like a foul wet cardboard. Once it's that bad NOTHING can save it; you can't even cook with it. I once dumped 9 gallons (one 6 gallon & one 3 gallon) down the drain. That was a very sad day. 27 pounds of honey & 6 gallons of $9/gallon apple cider & over a year of time just GONE. Yes, oxidation is real & it does happen.
Regards, GF.
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