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Old 09-04-2011, 09:16 PM   #1
EricFriedman
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Default Problems bottling my mead

Hello,

I made a 5-gallon batch of regular mead, and almost every time I try to bottle it, something goes horribly wrong.

http://i.imgur.com/VQJco.jpg

As you can see, there is this horrible haze and some garbage floating around in there. When I put the mead into the bottle it's perfectly clear.

I'm soaking the bottles in a bleach solution and thoroughly rinsing before bottling too.

Has anyone seen this before? Any clues as to what I may be doing wrong? The cork is still in tact, so it's not eating away at that.

Thank you,
Eric

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Old 09-05-2011, 12:08 AM   #2
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Out of curiosity, does the bottled mead taste ok?

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Old 09-05-2011, 12:11 AM   #3
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Oh, and did you backsweeten at time of bottling? I've seen something like that once...probably coagulated protiens from the backsweetening honey...

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Old 09-05-2011, 12:31 AM   #4
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Did you use hydrometer readings to see if the yeasts were done and/or use sorbate and campden/k meta to stop fermentation? A clear wine does not necessarily mean the fermentation is done. So I'm going to guess that after you bottled your mead, you stored the bottle on its side. Then, when you picked one up and moved it upright, the lees from the still-active yeast moved into the middle of the bottle.

If this is the case (check the other bottles to see if lees has accumulated), I think it would be best to uncork your mead and put it back into a carboy, or else in a short amount time, you will have exploding mead bottles on your hands.

This is just an educated guess based on my research and the little bit of wine making I've done, so I guess you can take it for what it's worth.

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Old 09-05-2011, 08:42 PM   #5
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You have one of 3 things:

A) A mead that had not been cleared adequately (or fined), which dropped protein sediment after bottling. This may have been exacerbated if the bottle was heated and/or cooled.

B) A mead that wasn't through fermenting, in which case the mead will be a little bubbly/fizzy. If this is the case, put the bottle in a fridge to prevent bottle bombs and empty them back into a carboy and put it under airlock.

C) A mead with spoilage organism at work. They may be fizzy, but will generally stink when you open the bottle. If this is the case, you'll probably wind up pouring them out.

If you give use the recipe details, the starting gravity, final gravity, and the gravity from a bottle you open, along with the yeast type, any stabilizing and so forth, we may be able to give more specific info.

Medsen

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Old 09-06-2011, 09:33 PM   #6
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Biochemic,

I did not taste the mead, as I am a little worried of what the hell that is. I can give it a taste if you think that will help find out the problem. I did not backsweeten.

MeadHorn,

I did use a hydrometer. It had a starting gravity of 1.104 on May 8th. On June 30th, I transferred to secondary and it had a gravity of .997. I have seem to lost the gravity reading of when I bottled the other day, but I will retest. I would think it should be finished fermenting by September, no?

Medsen Fey,

Thank you. I will provide more details tonight when I get home.

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Old 09-07-2011, 11:12 AM   #7
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With those gravity readings, I too can't imagine that you weren't done.

I would definitely taste it. Nothing pathologic can live in mead/wine/beer. Certainly spoilage organisms that can make it taste bad, but nothing that can hurt you.

Even without the backsweetening, it still kind of looks like coagulated protien to me. I'd give it a taste, and if it tastes OK, let it ride as an unfortunate cosmetic defect. As Charlie Papazian said, if your brew is cloudy and it really bothers you, get a solid glass to drink it out of!

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Old 09-07-2011, 07:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biochemedic View Post
-----%<-----
As Charlie Papazian said, if your brew is cloudy and it really bothers you, get a solid glass to drink it out of!
An excellent quote........
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Old 09-07-2011, 08:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricFriedman View Post
I did use a hydrometer. It had a starting gravity of 1.104 on May 8th. On June 30th, I transferred to secondary and it had a gravity of .997. I have seem to lost the gravity reading of when I bottled the other day, but I will retest. I would think it should be finished fermenting by September, no?
It certainly sounds like it was done. What you are seeing is most likely protein and yeast particles that are continuing to drop out of suspension. Even when a mead appears clear it is still full of particles and yeast cells that can gradually bind together until the clumps get big enough to precipitate forming the sediment you see. This can even occur after filtration as even sterile filtration will not remove proteins. To prevent this sort of thing from developing, you can do several things including longer bulk aging (after a couple of years, it generally stops), cold storage prior to bottling, and fining to eliminate residual protein/sediment with agents like Bentonite and Sparkolloid.

If you leave the bottle upright in a fridge for a couple of days prior to serving, the sediment should all drop to the bottom and you can decant the mead leaving the sediment behind when you serve it. The good news is that all that "junk" tastes bitter and as it drops out, the flavor of the mead usually improves.
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Old 09-26-2011, 07:55 PM   #10
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Default Same thing happened to me....

Agree with above posters. The exact same thing happened to me with my first batch of mead. While the cloudy - crud looks unsightly it does not effect the taste in the least. My mistake was that I back sweetened at bottling time and did not allow it to rest before hand. I am about to back sweeten a current batch, however I will let it rest than cold crash it before I bottle it.

On a side note I have used a coffee filter to get the crud out, but usually I just let the bottle sit in the fridge for a day and then carefully pour it so the sediment does not become disturbed.

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