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Old 09-27-2012, 09:14 PM   #1
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Default Sparking Mead Questions?

Hey all --

My first post here, but have used this site as a great reference for years now. I've looked around for the answer to my questions, but didn't find anything satisfactory. I do apologize if I missed it.

I'm made a pretty basic mead with good Minnesota honey, and D-47 yeast. After approximately 3 months, I racked it to the secondary, and added 2 crushed campden tablets, and 2 tsp of potassium sorbate to stabilize it (5 gallons total volume). I've brewed a lot of beer, but this is my first mead, and my first attempt at stabilizing. SG was 1.090 and gravity at rack was 0.997. It's pretty dry, but does some some nice sweetness left. Problem was, when I added campden and sorbate, I was running late, and I don't know (err remember) if these were in solution. I want to say that campden didn't go into solution, but maybe the potassium sorbate did.

About 3 months after racking, the mead is clear, and I want to bottle it to free up some carboy space for cider. It is still approximately the same gravity (0.997).

I'm a bit afraid that I didn't stabilize it properly. Potassium sorbate is very soluble in water, so even if it wasn't perfectly in solution when it was added it should have gone into solution and be fine now? What do you think?

If I didn't stabilize properly, is this dry enough to be of little concern (i.e. little sugar left to explode bottles). I am planning on kegging, force carbonating, and bottling into sparkling wine bottles with crown caps.

That leads to my last newbie question: how many volumes co2 to people typically use for sparkling mead. I want this to be champagne like, so should I use the 5-6 volumes CO2 or less.

The end result is that I want to make this for my wedding toast, but do not want an exploding bottle to injury my soon-to-be-father-in-law. My mother-in-law on the other hand... (kidding)... Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 09-29-2012, 07:24 AM   #2
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you wouldn't use champagne pressures with beer bottles and crown caps. that'd be a cause for concern.

but champagne/sparkling wine bottles, stoppers and wire cages should be fine.

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Old 09-29-2012, 04:32 PM   #3
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I was planning on champagne bottles with crown caps. I've seen some sparkling wines, and very carbonated beers (e.g. New Glarus Belgium Cherry Red) come in these bottles with crown caps. My understanding that the crown cap can take the pressure as well as a stopper / wire hood.

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Old 09-29-2012, 07:09 PM   #4
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The issue is what will happen if the pressure gets too high. With a champagne cork and wire setup, the worst that will happen is the cork will pop out and you lose a bottle. That's as opposed to the bottle blowing. Crown caps may hod it in a little TOO well, if I understand correctly.

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Old 09-29-2012, 11:27 PM   #5
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Ok, I've been wondering this for many months. What's a crown cap? Searches on the internet return nothing.... is it just a normal beer bottle cap?

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Old 09-29-2012, 11:41 PM   #6
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I'm just excited about this mead. Sounds tasty. And congratulations on your marriage.

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Old 09-29-2012, 11:57 PM   #7
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Crown caps are the proper name for crimped beer bottle caps as they were invented by the Baltimore based Crown bottling company. I agree about taking care with using crown caps, but since you're not using natural carbonation, I would not be as concerned about bottle bombs.

Let us know what happens.

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Old 09-30-2012, 03:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tedclev View Post
I'm just excited about this mead. Sounds tasty. And congratulations on your marriage.
Thanks.

I'll definitely let you know how this goes. Very likely I will force carbonate in the keg, fill one bottle with the beer gun (at very cold temperatures), and let it warm to our cellar temp in heavy containment (likely make a strong plywood box to contain it, just in case it does blow). If that goes well, I will fill the rest of the bottles a week later. I know there is still a chance of bottles blowing later, but hopefully it is minimal.

I will definitely let you know how it tastes. Thanks for the input so far.
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