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Old 03-08-2013, 09:29 AM   #1
Karaya
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Default Question regarding bulk aging

Hello everybody,

I have just recently finished some 1 gallon batches and after having clarified them with Kieselsol I am planning to bulk age them. Do I still need to have the airlock on or can I just put a rubber plug on? Fermentation should be well over as it has now been 3 months till the end of primary fermentation!

Also I really hope that the mead mellows out over time, it already is quite sweet but does not have a characteristic smell/taste of honey, also the fruit (I've only made melomels so far) is not really noticeable and it has some weird underlying taste that is hard to describe.

Here's a picture of 2 of my batches (left Orange, right Plum). Theres no airlock on because it's right after clarification and a subsequent racking.

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Old 03-08-2013, 12:20 PM   #2
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Somebody will have a more professional response...but you want the residual co2 to slowly escape thus an airlock is perfect. Although I have aged many wines with a natural cork stopper and no airlock. My theory was that it would allow the co2 to escape.

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Old 03-08-2013, 05:04 PM   #3
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Some of it may depend on the temperature fluctuations that you will experience...if you age a brew with an airlock you will notice a definite ebb and flow of the fluid within the airlock corresponding to ambient temps. Whether this would be enough to "pop the seal" on a solid airlock, I don't know...I would say that you'd be better off making the seal when the brew is relatively warm so that if anything is going to happen, it would just make the seal tighter (as it cooled off).

I would think that if you were well done with fermentation, and if you gave the mead a good degassing, having to allow additional CO2 to diffuse out wouldn't be an issue.

I'll admit I've thought about this before, and have considered buying some solid bungs for cold crashing, and also as a means to seal bulk aging mead...I've just never actually tried it before since I have so many regular drilled stoppers and airlocks. I also see my mead every day when I pass through my bar/basement, so airlocks drying out aren't an issue...

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Old 03-09-2013, 05:31 AM   #4
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While I am not an expert here. I've started using solid stoppers to avoid having the airlocks dry out. I usually wait several months and then have the same SG reading a month apart.

I also do not secure the stopper since they are in a stable storage area, just make sure it is snug like with an airlock. This is just in case there was something I missed and fermentation was still building up. I would rather risk the stopper pop off than a bottle bomb with too much pressure.

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Old 03-09-2013, 07:17 AM   #5
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Either is probably fine.......

More importantly, if the liquid levels in the pictures are "as finished", then you wanna think about getting them topped up. All the other processes may have removed enough of the carbonic acid/dissolved CO2, that it won't come out of solution to give that level of liquid protection against oxidative damage.

If you've got gaseous bottled/compressed CO2, then you could flood the airspace with it, it's heavier than air so will displace any air/O2 in the air space/void.

Otherwise, you need to think of how to raise the liquid levels.

Apart from that, they look excellent. Hopefully they'll taste good too.......

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Old 03-13-2013, 11:20 AM   #6
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Thanks to everyone for their input!

Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbloke View Post
More importantly, if the liquid levels in the pictures are "as finished", then you wanna think about getting them topped up.
Regarding topping up: Is there really too much headspace in the bottles? And what level would you suggest increasing volume to? Also how would you top up, simply by using water or with a honey/water mix?

I'd guess that using pure water would not be optimal since that just dilutes everything but on the other hand an addition of honey solution might restart fermentation, right?
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Old 03-13-2013, 11:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karaya View Post
Regarding topping up: Is there really too much headspace in the bottles? And what level would you suggest increasing volume to? Also how would you top up, simply by using water or with a honey/water mix?

I'd guess that using pure water would not be optimal since that just dilutes everything but on the other hand an addition of honey solution might restart fermentation, right?
When you moved primary fermentation was probebly complte and it it had residual co2 in it..

What I have done is hit it with some CO2, I keg, and put a stopper on in.

Then give it a swrill to release some of the CO2 and vent by loosening the stopper.

I would think you should still have a blanket of CO2 to protect it... Or at least have more CO2 than O2...

I i would not add anything...
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Old 03-14-2013, 06:30 PM   #8
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I've heard of using marbles to top up. I've never tried it because it would take a ****load of them for a 5 gallon carboy, but I bet it'd work pretty well in a 1 gallon batch.

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Old 03-14-2013, 09:59 PM   #9
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I am doing some bulk aging right now. Bought 5 packets of marbles from wally world. $1 each. put them in muslin bags and put them in some star san to sanitize. Dropped them in the carboy and they displaced the liquid nicely.. Looking at your level you could probably get away with 2 1/2 packets of marbles(60-70 total)

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Old 03-15-2013, 12:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tally350z View Post
I am doing some bulk aging right now. Bought 5 packets of marbles from wally world. $1 each. put them in muslin bags and put them in some star san to sanitize. Dropped them in the carboy and they displaced the liquid nicely.. Looking at your level you could probably get away with 2 1/2 packets of marbles(60-70 total)
Just make sure the glass marbles are lead-free. It takes 3# of marbles to displace one liter.
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