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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > Finishing a Mead
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Old 11-19-2008, 04:46 PM   #1
DubbelDach
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Default Finishing a Mead

I was hoping I could get some tips here on finishing up my mead. It's a high ABV mead made from clover honey. It was made on June 1, and fermented out in 2ndary. I moved it to a tertiary a week ago and it's crystal clear. Doesn't really seem like long enough, but I'm in no rush to bottle it. I'm going to take a gravity tonight and see exactly where it is. No problem leaving it for up to another year if it will help.

I intend to bottle this in 750ml cobalt bottles with corks and wax. I want it to be a still mead. It's going to be my yet-to-be-born daughter's birthday mead (expected 4/7/09), so I want to have a bottle on each of her birthdays up through the time I can start sharing with her. I'll keep the last bottle for her wedding day. I will bottle it all now, but label them with a picture of her each year.

The questions:

1) To make this a still mead, will I have to stop fermentation? What chemicals do I add, and what is the process?

2) Will a mead hold up over time? We're talking maybe 25 years here. I am thinking this is going to be around 15-18% abv... I used a lot of honey!

3) Should a corked, waxed, still mead be stored on it's side like wine? Serving temp for a still mead? Refrigerated or room temp?

First mead here... Sorry if the questions are pedestrian!

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Old 11-19-2008, 04:49 PM   #2
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GREAT IDEA!
1. Bulk age, no need to stabilize. It will stay still as long as fermentation is completely finished.
2. Charlie P. Recently did an article about a mead tasting with meads that were produced up to 60 years ago....ya it ages very well.
3. If it's a natural cork, on it's side. If it's a Nomacork, or other synthetic...it really doesn't matter.

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Old 11-19-2008, 05:03 PM   #3
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1. Bulk age, no need to stabilize. It will stay still as long as fermentation is completely finished.
OK.... I still get a random bubble every half hour or so. I'll just let it be for a while then.

Yeah, it was going to be a mead for a girl or a barleywine for a boy. Coincidentally, our girl name starts with an "M" and the boy would have started with a "B"... Will make labelling easier! I love alliteration.
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Old 11-19-2008, 05:07 PM   #4
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One thing I might suggest is you do label it, but as most wines have a front and a rear label, you could create a "rear" label for the brew. This way you could create a mainly text based label that tells the story of the mead. I love the story, so having it on each bottle could be very cool. Especially to read as a toast on her wedding day. That way you could create a new label each year with her picture and place it on each year. What about using a picture from the year before, for each year. For instance, for her 1st it could be her first picture as a newborn or even the first ultrasound could also be cool.

Next, what is your recipe? Do you have any notes on it? What was your original SG and current SG? That way we can get a better idea of its abv %. Keep in mind that high alcohol brews should age better over time, but could be harsh for the first birthday or two.

When the time comes for me to consider this, I love hearing all these stories.

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Old 11-19-2008, 05:22 PM   #5
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Great ideas! And I actually like the idea of the year before being on the bottle... Then we can drink and compare, then take the pic for the next year... So many possibilities!

I have the recipe at home... Will look for it tonight. I used 18 lbs of honey, lol.... Yeah, jumped right into that! The first yeast crapped out, and I had to condition some more yeast with apple juice and nutrient... Which worked great. Anyway, it will age beautifully like her... Which is the point.

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Old 11-19-2008, 06:00 PM   #6
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I have heard that with long aging meads what helps cure them up and make them taste fabulous is Oak chips. If you are planing on aging in the carboy, I recomend putting in 1 oz of oak wood chips. Possibly light toast on it. This is why many of the meads of the past were put in oak barrels to age. It smooths out the mead.

What you describe sounds wonderful. Pesonally, I would save the last 2 bottles, share one on the wedding day and the other share at her childs birth, when and if it should happen. I may consider doing the same. I was also thinking on planting a tree or 3 in my yard upon my childs birth, haven't gotten that lucky yet. Sort of my kid's tree. and the reason for 3, one might die. Weather is unpredictable in CO. But Mead sounds great.

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Old 11-19-2008, 06:10 PM   #7
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I had it recomended that only 1 oz of oak chips would be sufficent for a 5 gal batch. Sorry that I wasn't more specific earlier. Not sure on the aging, I would do it at least 3 months with it in. But I gather longer would be better.

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Old 11-19-2008, 06:31 PM   #8
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My only input on oak is the one I did is terrible....in direct comparison to the 1/2 that did not get oaked.

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Old 11-19-2008, 09:06 PM   #9
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I'm not a big fan of heavily oaked wines or beers done on oak. Think I'll pass there, but I think I got all my questions answered there...

Still open to ideas on how to do the labels or execute the tradition I have planned though!

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Old 11-19-2008, 11:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DubbelDach View Post
OK.... I still get a random bubble every half hour or so. I'll just let it be for a while then.
that doesn't mean anything. random bubbles do NOT indicate fermentation.

they indicate CO2 coming out of solution for one of twenty reasons.

hydro test it. that's the ONLY way you'll know.

I've had mead ferment and never bubble the airlock. Not one burp of CO2...but i lost 0.090 points of gravity...12% ABV.

I'd wager that mead finished fermenting 2 months ago...at least...and is just aging/clearing this whole time.
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