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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > Bottling, Corks, Corkers
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Old 02-16-2011, 08:33 PM   #1
PBruske234
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Default Bottling, Corks, Corkers

Ok guys so I just bought a corker, corks, and started bottling my mead. I must say, I need your guys advice and knowledge.

Questions:

1) What type of corker is best? Especially if im going to keep it for a lifetime. Im thinking about a floor corker since the one that I have leaves a deep inprint on the top of the cork and the cork doesnt always go all the way in. OR it will go to far in!

2) What are the tips when corking? Should I get the corks wet?

3) Corks...? I have heard of champagne bottles being recovered from ship wrecks hundreds of years ago and the champagne being still good and very expensive. Now im hearing that corks only last like 18 months? Is this true? Sythethic the way to go? How did they do it a hundred years ago?

4) Books. Do you suggest any books that can help me throughout the years?

Thanks guys.

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Old 02-16-2011, 09:23 PM   #2
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Floor corkers are a good investment, though the ones with the metal jaws can be repaired/serviced etc.

Corks ? Only need moistening if they're natural, uncoated ones. A lot of them have been sprayed with silicone for ease of use. Ask before you buy.

Me ? I just spray them with sulphite solution.

Champagne corks are just tapered when new and are usually inserted with a machine that forces them in, then capping and caging. Giving max density of seal.

Part of what protected champagne that's been recovered from wrecks is the pressure in the bottles. It's why you should only use the right bottles (or beer bottles) for carbonated meads etc.

As for books ? Ken Schramms "The Compleat Mead Maker" is a good start.

Oh and check places like gotmead forums as there's often questions about what's best. Though why cork and sealing wax would only last 18 months is a good question. It's normal for forked bottles to be kept on their side to keep the cork in contact with the wine.

dunno if that's any help....

regards

fatbloke

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Old 02-17-2011, 12:33 PM   #3
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I love my Italian floor corker: http://www.midwestsupplies.com/itali...or-corker.html
I've never had a problem with it. I also use synthetic corks (usually Nomacork) There were some issues with the Portugese floor corker scoring nomacork, this is why I went with the Italian instead. I've heard those problems were solved with the Portugese model, but the Italian is a much better corker IMHO. Regards, GF.

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Old 02-17-2011, 04:43 PM   #4
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Yes the Italian floor corker was exactly what I wanted, my birthday is tomorrow, maybe I'll buy myself one lol. Thanks guys.

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Old 02-17-2011, 05:41 PM   #5
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A floor corker is a must if you plan to cork bottles. Doing it without one is an exercise in frustration. I like the Italian model, but the Portuguese works well, and even using the Italian you can have problems with synthetic corks.

Synthetic corks let the most oxygen through of any of the closures in the trials where they have been tested. In wines they are generally used for things that won't be aged more than a year or two. Since meads tend to be less prone to oxidation than wines, your traditional meads may be okay for quite a bit longer - I'd be concerned about using them to age any delicate fruit melomels.

Natural corks will last longer, but many corks you can buy are not winery-grade, top-quality cork (they are nearly impossible to get). Mostly they are several steps below that, and they tend not to be fresh unless you have a place that turns them over very quickly. You need the #9 corks for aging (the #8 won't have enough of a seal). Longer is generally better - 1 3/4 inches is about the longest you will find unless you purchase bags of 1,000 from the manufacturer. The really good corks are really expensive. If you are using lesser-grade corks (which most home-brew places sell) the corks should still be able to last for a few years (perhaps 5, but the number is widely variable). Putting a wax seal over them may help them survive much longer, but I'm still not certain about that.

Medsen

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Old 02-18-2011, 03:17 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MedsenFey View Post
A floor corker is a must if you plan to cork bottles. Doing it without one is an exercise in frustration.
IDK...I use a hand lever corker like this, and have since day one, and I don't really feel it's that bad...I have to admit I've never used a floor corker like the OP is interested in, but it's not like I dread bottling 2 cases every time I finish a batch of mead! It's certainly helluva cheaper than the floor corker! The downsides listed in my link are true (more the asymmetric insertion than the depth issue.) I find that if you're careful to set where the pushrod is on the cork, you can get it put in nice and straight without any problems.

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Originally Posted by MedsenFey View Post
Putting a wax seal over them may help them survive much longer, but I'm still not certain about that.
I really wish we could get some more definite info on this one...In theory it makes quite a lot of sense...if you dip the bottle top in wax that hardens into what should (theoretically) be an airtight seal, it *should* make the "perfect" seal. I actually have 2 bags of bottling wax, but have yet to try using it.
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Old 02-18-2011, 06:16 PM   #7
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I have some aging now that are split between waxed and non-waxed. In a few years I hope to have something more definitive to say.

I have tried both hand corkers and floor corkers. Spending the cash on the floor corker is worth every penny and then some.

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