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Old 04-27-2010, 01:57 PM   #1
ZenBrewer
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Default Force Carbing a Dry-Mead

I have a traditional dry mead fermenting for ~4 months now. I would like to carbonate this mead, but I'm not sure if there are any yeasts around that will carb a %15+ abv mead. I could use some champagne yeast, however I would then increase the aging period and loose some of the wonderful clarity that has developed over the last 4 months.

My thought is to transfer from the tertiary vessel into a corny keg then carbonate to some level (not sure how many volumes atm., input here would also be appreciated) then after a couple weeks in the keezer, transfer to bottles.

Thoughts, comments, ridicule?

OG 1.115
FG 0.998
ABV ~%15

Thanks, -ZB

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Old 04-27-2010, 10:11 PM   #2
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carb it a little on the high side, and sample it until its just slightly more carb'd than you'd like.

then you can bottle it with a beer gun or a DIY setup and that little extra carb will fill the headspace of the final bottle.

my raspberry mead in my signature is carbed at 12psi and 43F...about like a typical beer CO2 volume. however it's more of a dessert mead with a much higher FG so it needs enough carbonation to keep it from being cloying.

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Old 04-27-2010, 11:33 PM   #3
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malkore what would you recommend for carbonating a mead that's not going to be in a keg? do carb tabs work? I'm assuming that after it's done fermenting and clearing that the yeast won't be very active, so I'd have to boost it somehow. I think the carb tabs are my best bet, but haven't ever bottled/carbonated mead before.

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Old 04-28-2010, 09:41 PM   #4
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i haven't done one but a bottle carb'd dry mead is easier to pull off than a sweet one.

what I myself would do is formulate a recipe with a real workhorse yeast (like champagne or EC-1118) so that you're attenuation of the OG yields a finished gravity at or below 1.000 but doesn't exceed the alcohol tolerance.

You may end up needing to repitch the same strain at bottling after all the secondary to clear (just depends how long it takes) and then either normal priming sugar, or carb tabs, should work along with extended bottle conditioning.

I would hydrate the 2nd yeast pitching, maybe even make a little starter for a day to ensure its rolling, as dry yeast won't likely wake up in 16% abv mead.

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Old 05-17-2010, 04:32 AM   #5
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Malkore, thanks for the input. I decided to go for it and Xfered to a keg and put 15 psi on it. Tasted pretty good. I think it could use a bit more time to mello, but surprisingly smooth for it's age.

I think I'll drop it to 10 psi after a week then bottle after another month or two.

-ZB

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Old 07-16-2010, 05:10 AM   #6
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Update::

So, I'm a bit confused now... I carbed the mead in a keg for another 2 months at ~15psi. The mead comes out of the tap _very_ bubbly then proceeds to loose all carbonation in a matter of seconds. After the initial foam dies down, there are no bubbles "nucleating" and falling out of solution. I can swirl the mead around and nothing else falls out of solution... I may be doomed to a still mead here.

Here comes the question, I am mostly a beer brewer and brewed this mainly for fun. Is there anything that can be done to improve "head retention" on a mead? I assume mead has very little if any proteins to keep the carbonation in solution longer. I have had some sweet mead that sparkled for a long while. What's going on here?

Many thanks,
-ZB

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Old 07-16-2010, 03:40 PM   #7
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Forcing a wine to hold carbonation can be challenging to say the least. It's the only thing in wine/mead making that has made me upset enough to stand there cussing.

That's one reason that Champagnes get all that lees aging - the mannoproteins and other whatnot that are released as the yeast undergo autolysis help hold CO2 in solution. You can either do lees aging, or you can use a big dose of a product like biolees and that may help. I've read that gum arabic also can help - I just got some but haven't tried it yet.

Medsen

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