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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > Almost bottling time for varietal mead
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Old 09-30-2009, 03:40 PM   #1
yaeyama
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Default Almost bottling time for varietal mead

Hi,

I have about 7 gallons of gorgeous looking mead almost ready for the bottle. Hard to believe I started this in early May of 2008! I was planning on bottling it in summer of this year (well, actually, in spring of this year to coincide with the birth of my daughter, but I never got around to it lmao.gif ) but after stirring vigorously to degas, I ended up kicking off a second round of fermentation which lasted another two months. It finally stabilized about 2 months ago, and I think will soon be ready for the bottle.

I would like to do a final racking on this batch, and let it sit for another month, maybe with a couple of degassing stirs just in case. I have potassium metabisulphite and potassium sorbate on hand -- can I add both of these at racking time, or are they added right before bottling? How much sorbate do you add per gallon (I have never used sorbate before, but I had a peach wine which ended up fermenting a bit in the bottle and left me with about 40 bottles of weirdly spritzing wine -- which is slowly but surely being used up as cooking wine )?

BTW I have posted this recipe before, but in case anyone is interested here it is again:

I prepared two batches, A (+/- 4 gallons) and B (+/- 3 gallons)

Ingredients:
- Linden - 300 g (B)
- Beechwood Honeydew - 0.5 kg (A)
- "Hundred Flowers" - 7.2 kg (4.8 kg A, 2.4 kg B)
- Sumac - 300 g (B)
- Ilex integra (aka Japanese Holly) - 2.1 kg (900 g A, 1.2 kg B)
- Tannin Powder - 2.5 tsp (1.5 tsp A, 1 tsp B)
- Nutrient Powder - 8 tsp (4 tsp A, 4 tsp B)
- Acid Blend - 7 tsp (4 tsp A, 3 tsp B)
- Campden tablets - 11 (6 A, 5 B)
- Starting Gravity: 1.100 A, 1.095 B (approx.)
- Yeast - DC-47 (1 pkg A, 1 pkg B)
- 2 starters were made (2 cups water, 150 ml honey for each A and B)

Procedure:
- Must was kept in an air conditioned room at a constant 18 C.
- Added additional "Hundred Flowers" 500 g honey to B to bring up SG a bit.
- racked from primary (buckets) to secondary (glass carboy and demijohn) after 2 weeks, 1 day
- A was 1.070, B was 1.090 - possible stuck ferment on A?
- 6 gallon carboy ended up with all of bucket A and most of bucket B
- 1 gallon demijohn had rest of B; added 1/2 tsp yeast nutrient to demijohn
- managed to keep almost 2 litres of extra in a PET bottle (for future top-up purposes)
- after 5 days, vigorous secondary fermentation on carboy
- nothing on demijohn -- added nutrafine to jug and PET bottle
- after another 5 days, fermentation on all 3 strong!
- 1.5 months later, bubbling slowing substantially
- started bringing up room temperature 2 degrees every 2 weeks, from 18 C up to 26 C
- 5 months after starting this project, racked 6 gallon carboy and 1.5 litre top-up
- there was scary looking black sediment in 1.5 litre top-up -- maybe from tannin powder or nutrient??
- threw "dregs" in the fridge "just in case".
- 3.5 months later, racked 6 gallon carboy and 1 gallon demijohn
- "rubber smell" present in 6 gallon carboy blink.gif
- very sweet smell for 1 gallon demijohn!
- 2 weeks later, tasted dregs -- AWESOME!
- slight manuka taste, no sparkle (no manuka was used...maybe from combination of light and dark honeys?)
- slight "whiskey" fragrance
- 1 year, 1 month after starting this project, stirred large carboy to degas, which started another 2 rounds of fermentation
- almost 1 year, 5 months after starting this, ready for final racking and then bottling at 1 year, 6 month point.

The colour of both batches is a deep, rich amber. Absolutely gorgeous!

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Old 10-28-2009, 03:37 PM   #2
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Pictures please. This sounds like an awesome project.

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Old 10-28-2009, 03:58 PM   #3
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I believe it's 1/2 tsp Sorbate per Gallon. Wayneb (respected meadmaker) mentioned in another thread about 2 1/2 tsp in a 5g batch. The dosage should be right on the bag/bottle depending on how you got it.

Although after sitting for more than a year and multiple rackings, I figure you probably have very little yeast available. If you're not backsweetening, I don't see the need as the sorbate is supposed to only prevent the yeast from multiplying and starting to ferment new sugars. If it's completely dry and all that racking - I'm thinking sorbate may not be necessary at all.

I would certainly add them to an intermediate carboy and rack onto it prior to bottling. This would ensure adequate distribution and allow time for it to "work" prior to bottling. Doing so at bottling time might cause the finally done yeast to settle in the bottle leaving you with a bit of sediment in each bottle.

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Old 06-27-2011, 02:41 PM   #4
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Wow. Somehow my carboys just sat for the almost 2 years, waiting for me to "get around to" the final racking. Last night my wife threatened to dump everything if I didn't get my ass in gear.

Somehow this stuff didn't turn rancid! It is quite fantastic, in fact!!! I did a final racking from 7 gallons into a single 6 gallon carboy, and poured the rest into a decanter. Having a glass of it now...a single glass and I'm already feeling very fine.

If my hydrometer understanding is correct, my potential alcohol finished at about 12% ABV. I racked with 6 campden tablets and 1 teaspoon of K-sorbate (I decided to cut back due to suggestion that it was like unnecessary, and also because I saw a posting by Jack Keller who warned that it tends to impart undesirable flavours.

In another month, I'll bottle it. The final step! But actually a bit of a painful one, because I need to design an attractive label to honour my daughter (the mead is now older than she is!!) -- I'm a better drinker than I am an artist, however.

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Old 06-27-2011, 02:45 PM   #5
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BTW I'll post a photo of this before bottling -- just tried now, but as it is night time the amber colour doesn't show up very nicely under flash.

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