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Old 01-07-2013, 02:30 PM   #1
Bluespark
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Default Bottling mead. Cork questions.

I have several batches of mead going. I got a floor corker for $20 on kijiji(yay), and now I've started pondering what to do this spring when I need to bottle. Questions are;

1) are there different sized corks, or do all corks fit all bottles?
2) I've seen synthetic corks in many wines, including some pretty expensive bottles. Are these advisable for long term aging?
3) I have tons of shelf space, but my actual wine rack is a tiny counter top one, holds maybe 9 bottles. I would ideally like to store the bottles upright, but I've heard the liquid should be touching the cork for a good seal. Can I use real corks and store them upright?

Thanks

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Old 01-07-2013, 02:37 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Bluespark View Post
I have several batches of mead going. I got a floor corker for $20 on kijiji(yay), and now I've started pondering what to do this spring when I need to bottle. Questions are;

1) are there different sized corks, or do all corks fit all bottles?
2) I've seen synthetic corks in many wines, including some pretty expensive bottles. Are these advisable for long term aging?
3) I have tons of shelf space, but my actual wine rack is a tiny counter top one, holds maybe 9 bottles. I would ideally like to store the bottles upright, but I've heard the liquid should be touching the cork for a good seal. Can I use real corks and store them upright?

Thanks
Most bottles will fit a #9 cork, there are a few that use #8 but they aren't as popular.

Synthetic corks will keep a better seal than natural corks and have a lower oxygen seeping rate than natural so your mead will last longer with synthetic corks, and they don't won't dry out so there is no need for them to be stored cork down. If you will be storing them for long periods of time I suggest the synthetic ones, they seal better and don't need to be stored with wine touching them.
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Old 01-07-2013, 02:43 PM   #3
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Only a partial answer, but I can share from personal experience that the agglomerated natural corks (i.e. the cheap ones) are *not* good for long-term aging. After 2-3 years, they start to degrade and I have busted a couple on opening. If I go back to doing more meads and wines, I will likely do synthetic corks.

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Old 01-07-2013, 02:53 PM   #4
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Beware though of reports of the synthetic corks being "creased" by hobby floor corkers and causing leaks later on. Some vendors recommend their upper level corkers ($1000+) for these corks. It is the way the jaws compress the cork that causes the "crease". Look up cork grades...there are definitely differences in quality among corks. All natural are good. As abrix mentioned, the agglomerated ones may not be good long term closures. You might also look at "Zork" corks. It appears that there is a movement among large wineries to move away from corks, though. As for me, I'll be using a middle-of-the-road cork for my little bit of corking. If I can come up with enough champagne bottles and crown finish beer bottles I will be crown capping for long term storage (and don't have to lay on side). Might even sink a cork in the bottle and then crown cap over it. The natural corks indeed need to be stored on their sides to keep the corks moist...though for the first week or so the bottles need to be sitting upright to allow any compressed gases out (without pushing wine out in the process)...then laid on their sides.

Anyhow, I'm a newbee so take all that for what you paid for it.

Ed

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Old 01-07-2013, 03:08 PM   #5
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Good point on the creasing -- I can see exactly how that could happen with my cheapo corker.

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Old 01-07-2013, 03:15 PM   #6
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I've had my floor corker crease some synthetic corks. I won't use them again for home brews on the floor corker. It let enough oxygen in that the wine was pretty much ruined. Don't risk it.

Use natural, or just put it in beer bottles like I've started doing with my meads. Caps are much cheaper.

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Old 01-07-2013, 10:49 PM   #7
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I'm a fan of natural corks, maybe it's because I'm just old but they have stood the test of time.

Cork corks come in a few basic forms:

- Agglomerated are little pieces of cork all packed together, only good for a year or 2 or else they crumble when you try to remove them. Sometimes a little piece will break off into your wine when you cork your bottles...the good is they are cheap.

- Technical corks or 1+1 / 2+0 use a solid piece on top and bottom, or two on bottom and and agglomerated center. They seal like a solid cork but are cheaper and rated for 3-4 years.

- Colmated are lower grade natural cork with the pores filled with cork dust and glue. I would say equally as good as 1+1 corks.

- Natural cork, available in a range of qualities...hard to beat.

The thing is you are going to pay about 8 cents for a cheap cork that will last a year or two and 30 cents for a 10 year cork...just remember...it's only money.

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Old 01-08-2013, 06:54 AM   #8
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Zorks, they dont seem to be well know here, you dont need a corker, your beer capper slams them in just fine, store upright, comes in different colors.

For corks even if you get the good ones they can leak, break off when you remove them, storing on the side takes a lot more room than storing upright. We also use normacorks in our corker, it has a one piece jaw so everything goes in smoothly with no creases.

WVMJ

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Old 01-08-2013, 02:14 PM   #9
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Zorks, they dont seem to be well know here, you dont need a corker, your beer capper slams them in just fine, store upright, comes in different colors.

For corks even if you get the good ones they can leak, break off when you remove them, storing on the side takes a lot more room than storing upright. We also use normacorks in our corker, it has a one piece jaw so everything goes in smoothly with no creases.

WVMJ
Zorks are nice. You don't need a capper though, I just push them on with the heel of my palm at work, isn't too bad until the 50 case mark haha.
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Old 01-08-2013, 03:00 PM   #10
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When I bottle my mead I am going to get some nice blue swing tops as I am mainly a beer brewer and don't want the extra expense of buy corks I will hardly use and corker.

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