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Old 09-07-2013, 03:30 AM   #1
zeg
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Default Brown spots on inside of mead bottle after aging

Haven't been around in a while, but thought I'd see if anyone can help me with this. I have a batch of sweet mead that was bottled last June, so has been aging in a closet for about 15 months at this point. It was a simple recipe, just honey, water, yeast (71B-1122) and nutrients. Fermentation went smoothly, and it wound up at 13-14% ABV. We have had a few bottles of it and they were very good with no serious flaws.

The storage is in a dark closet with the bottles stacked in their carboard cases on their side. The temperature is not regulated except for the heat/AC of the house. The closet is near the center of the house and is virtually always closed, so it probably holds pretty close to 68 in the winter and 75 in the summer. (I have no practical option for holding dozens of bottles at proper cellaring temperatures, unfortunately.)

I pulled a couple bottles out of the closet to put in the fridge tonight and am worried about each from what I saw. The one that worries me the most has a bunch of small (few mm diameter) light-to-medium brown circular spots scattered on one side of the bottle, and a couple of irregularly shaped, lighter-colored patches near the neck. These are on the side that was down while in storage.

It occurs to me that these might be mold, although after looking at them again I can't convince myself that they're not just sediment. I don't really know what sort of sediment to expect from 71B, though I find it odd that it's only in this one bottle (so far). I suppose it might be that this was the very last bottle filled and got a bit of the dregs...

The other bottle had some drops of sticky material on the sealing wax over the cork. It looks like this may be dried liquid that oozed out through an air bubble in the wax. There are no spots on the side of this bottle.

Both may have faint, very light/translucent "dust" floating in the mead. It's only visible if you hold it up to a lamp and get just the right angle. It reminded me a bit of descriptions of floaties I've heard about in beer, but I'm not convinced it's not just a bit of sediment.

Anyone seen this before? I have not opened either bottle yet---I'm a bit wary of the one with the spots in particular. I did chill the other one and will probably open it tomorrow to see what's going on. I've got a few other bottles to check, but I want to cling to the hope that all the others are A-OK at least until tomorrow...

Any advice, or at least sympathy, would be most appreciated.

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Old 09-07-2013, 07:38 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeg View Post
although after looking at them again I can't convince myself that they're not just sediment. I don't really know what sort of sediment to expect from 71B, though I find it odd that it's only in this one bottle (so far). I suppose it might be that this was the very last bottle filled and got a bit of the dregs...
This is my guess, but a pic would be helpful
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Old 09-07-2013, 07:41 AM   #3
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Well its occurred to me that its fine sediment.

Meads, other brews for that matter, can often drop very fine sediment for some time.

Batches may seem cleared etc, but I do like to filter as it it gives a final polish that seems to remove this issue (no guarantees but it does seem to work).....

The fine sediment cand drop out but congregate where there are tiny faults in the glass like where bubbles form in champagne glasses.

Well, that's my hypothesis anyway.....

There may be others.

Plus, if it tastes and smells ok, its likely fine....

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Old 09-08-2013, 07:11 PM   #4
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Partial update: the one that I thought may have leaked was a false alarm. Not sure what the crud was, but the cork was dry on the top under the wax and the air bubble didn't go through.

Still haven't opened the spotted one. I'll try to get a picture before I do and update when I pop it open.

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Old 09-09-2013, 05:09 PM   #5
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I'm with FB on this one, definitely some extra yeast

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Old 09-24-2013, 11:44 PM   #6
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Follow-up with the outcome, and a picture for posterity. The mead is fine. The cork was wet through, but the wax was still intact and there is no sign of any off flavor at all. Happy ending, paranoia. Maybe this thread will reassure someone who has a similar question in the future. Thanks for the responses.

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Old 09-26-2013, 02:55 AM   #7
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Are they only one the side that it was resting on in the closet? Totally looks like sediment by the way (or measles lol). It was probably one of the last bottles that you racked and sucked up some fine lees from the carboy.

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Old 09-27-2013, 01:41 AM   #8
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Yes, it's only on one side and it was on the bottom. You can see a faint ring on the other side where the mead level was while it was in storage. I reached the same conclusion you did---must have been the last bottle and it got the crud. The speckled appearance was what had me worried, it looked a little too much like mold spots to be completely comfortable.

But it was ok. The cork was wet all the way through, though, so I think I may need to get moving on the remaining (many) bottles. I wax sealed the bottles, so I'm not too concerned though. I'm thinking I may invest in a floor corker so I can use the larger corks and hopefully get a better seal for the next batch.

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