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Old 01-13-2013, 02:23 PM   #1
kathy2472
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Default Help..No idea what I am doing

Picked up some used beer equipment from a friend who was moving. he also included two carboys full of aged mead. (3 + years ) He taste tested and checked gravity reading and said all was good and I should bottle. I am new to home brewing and was actually planning on bottling my first batch of cherry wheat beer today. So basically I have no idea what I am doing.

Do I need to do anything before bottling given the age. He said something about reactivating yeast...but I couldn't find anything on the Internet about that. I read something about siphoning to a new carboy for clarification purposes. Is that a good idea? He included eight 375 ml clear bottles. how many do I need for a 3gallon carboy and for a five gallon carboy. I have plenty of beer bottles and caps. Can I use them? Can I bottle 1/2 a batch and leave the rest in carboy for another day? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Kathy

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Old 01-13-2013, 02:30 PM   #2
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I usually get 5 750ml bottles from a gallon of wine, you need more bottles. I recently bottled several 5 gal carboys, I got 18-750ml and 12-375ml bottles from each one.

I would not recommend leaving a half filled carboy sitting for any length of time, too much headspace in the carboy and you will have oxidation problems.

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Old 01-13-2013, 02:37 PM   #3
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Pretty much as BB says. Though if the carboys are both full to the top with only a tiny amount of head space, then they'd probably be fine to leave alone until you decide what you want to do.

Hell, if you're not sure about meads, you can even bottle it into smaller beer bottles, with crown caps. Though if you don't know how long the mead might stay in them, it would be sensible to use oxygen absorbing caps, then fill the bottles to just below the top of the glass, so the liquid won't touch the cap when the bottle sits up right.

I won't suggest how many bottles you might need, you'd have to work that out somehow else - I make my meads to multiples of imperial gallons, which are about 20% larger than a US gallon (1 imp gallon is 4.55 litres, whereas 1 US gallon is about 3.78 litres).

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Old 01-13-2013, 02:51 PM   #4
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How long can you keep the mead in beer bottles. I also have some swing top 1liter bottles. WOuld they be better for long term storage. He said something about reactivating yeast do you know anything about that. bought some books on home brewing beer so I have some resources clueless on the mead other then the fact everything I read says it tastes great. Thanks for all your help

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Old 01-14-2013, 01:55 PM   #5
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It appears to me that for a newbee (like me) that the simplest and least expensive closure system will be crown capping with a capper and oxygen absorbing caps. Crown caps are also good for long term storage if the bottles are stored in an area of low humidity...to keep the caps from rusting on the outside. Corks can be a little more complex to work with but completely doable if enough effort and study is included. Capped bottles can be stored upright whereas corked bottles should be stood up for a few dates after corking but then laid on their sides for storage (to keep the cork moist). I'm not sure about swing-top bottles...I've heard mention that they're not that great for long term storage but do fine over the short haul.

As fb mentioned, if the carboys are full you really don't have to be in a rush to bottle...mead makers age in bulk to produce meads with more consistent quality/taste rather than individual bottles that can have different qualities and tastes.

3+ years? I'd say it's ready to bottle.

I'm not sure what to tell you about stabilizing or whether to stabilize a mead that old...I'm a newbee, too.

Ed

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Old 01-14-2013, 02:06 PM   #6
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As fatbloke said, the silver oxygen absorbing caps would be best for a mead that may be stored long term. I would not trust the swing-tops for that. The only reason to pitch more yeast or "re-activate" is if you want a sparkling (i.e. carbonated) mead. If you want a still (non-carbonated) mead, you don't have to worry about it. To make it a sparkling mead, pitch more yeast (it would be best to find out which kind he used) before bottling, and use this calculator to find out how much corn sugar to use for priming. http://www.tastybrew.com/calculators/priming.html

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Old 01-14-2013, 02:16 PM   #7
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I wonder if the OP's friend's remark about "reactivating yeast" was aimed at cautioning her about the possibility of restarting the fermentation once the mead is stirred up a bit from racking or bottling? Thus my mention of stabilizing.

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