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Old 10-17-2012, 02:59 AM   #1
lpsumo
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Default Dead space?

Hey all

I made JAOM and thought it was kinda fun so I'm going to try to pursue mead making.

I have a question about head space, or whatever the term may be. I live in a small apartment, I have two 3 gallon carboys and one 1 gallon one. I currently have a modified version of JAOM in the 1 gallon and I plan on racking it off into the 3 gallon one with some frozen blackberries in it.

The question: Is having 2 gallons of air trapped in the carboy detrimental to my mead?

A side question would be, how long should it sit in secondary?

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Old 10-17-2012, 03:04 AM   #2
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The answer: so long as it is actively fermenting, not so much.

Once it is done fermenting, however...that's a different story, and you should rack your mead into container(s) small enough that you don't have much surface area exposed...basically you want it in a container such that it is filled all the way up to the neck, to shrink the surface area exposed to gas exchange.

As to how long to secondary...well generally speaking people age their meads for months. I know some people that go a year or a year and a half before bottling. My own personal policy is to stick it in a corner andn forget about it for a long, long time. Eventually, I'll be cleaning up or doing something else and I'll run across that carboy and think, "gee I wonder how long that's been sitting there now?" Then I will go look up my notes and figure out if it's time to do something with it. Apart from that, I make sure the airlock is filled up whenever I run across it.

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Old 10-19-2012, 02:03 AM   #3
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Thank you for the reply.

After reading your post, I am under the assumption that people age their mead in the carboy. Is there a reason for this? With my first (and only mead) I waited til it cleared up, racked it into another container, then once that cleared I bottled it, thinking it could age in the bottle. Is that correct?

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Old 10-19-2012, 02:27 AM   #4
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Mead can age in the bottle just fine but most prefer bulk aging for a few reasons. Firstly, the mead will really clear out well if it's given several months before bottling, if you bottle too soon you may find sediment at the bottom of your bottles. Second, a large vessel is less prone to temperature variations and so it tends to age better and when it's all aged together you tend to get less variation from bottle to bottle. Also, as the mead ages it's flavor will change and after several months you may find that it is missing a little something, perhaps an acid addition or some oak or a bit more honey to sweeten ect. these things are all easily done if you haven't bottled the mead yet.

Maybe there are a few more bulk aging advantages but these are the ones that come to my mind easily.

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Old 10-19-2012, 11:32 PM   #5
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Thanks for the answer, I guess that makes sense.

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Old 10-20-2012, 09:44 AM   #6
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The bulk ageing thing mentioned already, is the home brew compromise. Most of us don't have access to large scale climate controlled storage like professional wine makers tend to have.

The removal of sediments through time is a bonus as it makes the process less hassle for the home brewer.

Plus the pro's have better methods for filtration, so they can get rid of the gross lees with either settlement, or multi-stage filtration that isn't injurous to the wine, yet removes enough of the sediment to be of practical use......

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