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Old 12-26-2011, 10:29 PM   #1
brewsochist
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Default Whens a good time to bottle?

I brewed some mead back in August. 15pounds of honey 5 gal of water and then later during the secondary I added close to 2 gal apple cider 3apples and 3pears. It's close to filled the 6gal carboy. I was wondering when would be the best time to bottle. It's been about Four months already and I'm prepared to wait at least another six to nine months. Attached is a picture of how it looks now

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Old 12-26-2011, 10:51 PM   #2
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that looks pretty close to bottling. I dont know what your thoughts are on racking but id rack it before i bottle.

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Old 12-26-2011, 11:00 PM   #3
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Rack again into a 5 gallon vessel (keg, carboy, etc.) and let it sit for a couple of more months and check on it. Pull a sample and taste it at that point. Without knowing what yeast you used, and what SG it's at, it's hard to say if it's a good time to bottle yet, or not. Personally, I wouldn't go less than 6-9 months in bulk before bottling it. You could go a full year (get it off the fruit though) or more before bottling it.

I have a couple of 14% ABV meads/fermentations going that I won't even think about bottling until they've gone 6-8 months in bulk form. Even then, I'm going to taste it before deciding. I also plan on cold crashing them for a couple of weeks before bottling, to get them to be even more clear in bottle.

If your mead (or whatever it actually is now) is at/under 14% ABV, then you could be ok at 6-8 months from mix to bottling. If it's 14-18%, I'd go 9-12 months before bottling. Above 18%, go 12+ months. I have a batch that's target is 21%. I'm planning on waiting 16-18 months before that goes to bottle. It might even be longer. I'm also planning a batch that will use yeast that's good to 25%. That will probably wait a full 24 months before it gets bottled (or at least I'm planned it that far out).

Be patient with your mead. Letting it go longer can do wonders for it. Sample it every month, or so, IF you're itching to bottle it up. WHEN it tastes great, then it's safe to bottle. Until then, I'd leave it in bulk. Look at it this way, you can easily make changes while it's still in bulk form. Once you bottle it, you're done tweaking it.

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Old 12-26-2011, 11:14 PM   #4
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Cool. Thanks for the advice! I'll rack it again in a little while before bottling it and taste it too. I used lavlin ec-1118 for the yeast

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Old 12-26-2011, 11:23 PM   #5
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Since that can go up to 18% (or a bit beyond) I would make damned sure it's done fermenting before you bottle it up. I would also say you'll want to stabilize it if you wait less than a year to bottle it. If you cold crash it (at a year or so) then you shouldn't need to stabilize it (might not be a bad idea to first though). Cold crashing it, after stabilizing, will get all the extra fine particles out of the mead. With something as clear as what you made, you'll want as little sediment as possible in the bottles.

Personally, I stabilized one of my traditional batches from last year. I was eager to bottle, and it was starting to get warm out (it was about 6-8 months in bulk). Since it finished sweet, I probably didn't need to, but I did anyway. In all of those bottles, there's a small amount of very fine sediment in the bottles. In the portion that was bulk aged for a full year (part of that time on oak), then cold crashed (in a keg) before bottling, there's no sediment at all.

If you have a way to, once you've racked to the other/next vessel, get some CO2 in there to blanket the mead. Since I'm also kegging my beer, I have CO2 on hand. I'm also using it to rack what I've made into other vessels (either kegs, or fermenters). I purge the head space of air before I start racking. That way I have as small a risk of oxidation as possible.

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On Tap: Caramel Ale, Mocha Porter II, MO SMaSH IPA
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Fermenting
K1:
K2: Epic mead
K3: TripSix
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