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Old 11-06-2011, 01:48 AM   #1
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Default Question about long term storage and aging of mead in keg

I'm working with some assumptions that may not be correct, so please correct me if I'm wrong.

Does bulk aging a mead in a corny keg and purging headspace with CO2 prevent or slow the good bits of mead aging? Racking off the lees to glass each time isn't a problem but putting it in a keg for final storage and aging (and eventually serving and packaging) is just more convenient.

Does a slight oxidizing reaction play a role in the aging process like wine? Should I not purge the headspace?

Thanks in advance for any advice. I'm planning to make a straight orange blossom mead to which part will be packaged as gifts, some portioned off as a base for small melomels, and whatever is left is just a bonus.

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Old 11-06-2011, 04:10 PM   #2
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I do most of my aging in kegs. It works without problem and meads age fine in them. Some meads (think heavy-tannin berry melomels), like some red wines, may benefit from some oxygen uptake during the maturation process. Usually, racking it a few times as it clears suffices in my experience.

Most wines and most meads do not benefit from oxygen exposure after the fermentation is finished. The normal aging process does not require oxygen if you don't have a lot of tannins to polymerize, and most meads don't.

I normally flush the headspace in my kegs to eliminate oxygen, but I typically use Argon or Nitrogen so I don't get a carbonated result.

If if a keg is pressurized and seal with the air still in it, depending on how much air is in there, you could have excess O2 pickup. If your keg has 5 gallons in it, with minimal headspace, flushing the keg probably makes no difference. If you have 1 gallon of mead, and 4 gallons of headspace, flushing is probably necessary to minimize the chances of spoilage (which may be a bigger risk than direct damage) or oxidation. Some meads, particularly delicate fruit melomels, probably need to have the space flushed more than a traditional mead.

One potential negative about flushing headspace is that you do flush out a lot of aromatic elements that fill that space. How important that is, I'm not sure, so I try to limit flushing to the time I am transferring batches.

Medsen

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Old 11-06-2011, 06:13 PM   #3
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Right on thanks. I wasn't sure how important oxidation was to straight meads. I appreciate your quick reply.

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