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Old 11-02-2012, 11:47 PM   #1
Nov 2012
Posts: 2

So my first mead batch I made a bit of a mistake. I made a 5 gallon batch and only had a 6 gallon carboy on hand to use as a secondary. This is a dry mead which I had in primary for a month. Post racking I have been reading about possible issues with oxidation in this case. My mead has been in secondary for close to a week now.

I have been doing some reading and was considering adding a gallon of apple cider into secondary. From what I have read there are no issues with doing so but I wanted to get a bit more information on this.

Also, I will have this mead in secondary for 3 months. I have read that over a 3 month time there is not much worry of oxidation so another thing I was considering doing is doing nothing at all.

Or course I could just bite and buy a 5 gallon carboy but would like to avoid another transfer.

If I could get some input on the options I've outlined I'd appreciate it. The way I am angling now is going with topping the mead off with a gallon of cider.

Thanks in advance!

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Old 11-03-2012, 01:05 AM   #2
Mar 2012
New York, NY
Posts: 23
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This post is particularly enlightening. Quoted below:

Originally Posted by nitack View Post
There seem to be all sorts of myths floating around here about head space that I'd love to clear up. If your mead is doing even a small amount of fermenting, which I assume so since you have air locks on them, then they will not oxidize as long as you are not shaking them or moving them often. In a closed system like that there is no turbulence and the gasses will settle out based on molecular weight. You remember in chemistry class when your teacher layered multiple liquids to show you how density works in non soluble liquids? Well it is a bit like that. So for the purposes of this discussion we are only interested in two specific gasses carbon dioxide CO2 and oxygen O2. O2 has a molecular weight of 32, each oxygen molecule has an atomic weight of ~16, times 2 atoms per molecule. Now the CO2 has a molecular weight of 44, 32 for the two oxygens and 12 for the carbon. In a closed system (your carboy with an airlock) the heavier CO2 sits on the surface, protecting your mead from the O2. Now this only works if there is (or was) fermentation still going on to some degree since you last put the airlock on, and you are not disturbing the container often. Hope that helps.

Personally, I wouldn't add apple cider because it's going to add flavors that I didn't intend. At such an early stage I'd much rather add water.

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Old 11-03-2012, 01:13 AM   #3
Feb 2011
suburb of Louisville, KY
Posts: 1,743
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Racking one more time to transfer to appropriate sized carboy will not be hazardous to your mead's easy. I vote no to topping up with juice. Perfect reason to always have simple mead on hand..especially if you love to make mead and are limited on carboys.
You say you only plan to keep in secondary for three months...why the rush to bottle? Will your mead be clear, no longer dropping sediment and degassed that early?

Congrats on the first batch!
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Old 11-03-2012, 01:15 AM   #4
Golddiggie's Avatar
Dec 2010
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I would get some CO2 and just squirt some into the carboy and leave it alone. You could use one of the pocket chargers they make for serving corny kegs without any other way to get CO2 into it. If you're set up for kegging, then just use some CO2 from your tank/bottle. You don't need much here, just enough to blanket the mead.

BTW, the above except about fermenting and producing CO2 is all well and good. BUT, I always wait to rack (the first time) until the batch is 100% finished fermenting. I rack depending on the yeast and how it's actually been doing. Sometimes that's a month after pitching, sometimes it's 3-4 months after pitching. It all depends on the yeast.

Also, I wouldn't rack again until at least a month has gone by. Between now and then, get a vessel that's closer to the size needed. I would also put some CO2 into the vessel the mead is going into, and rack to under that.

Personally, I'm using adapted sanke kegs for all my fermentations. That's for beer, mead, skeeter pee, anything that I pitch yeast into to get alcohol content. With this setup, I simply hit the receiving keg with some CO2, unseal it, install my racking cap (TC cap with a liquid ball lock post and dip tube fitted) and transfer into that from the source vessel (fitted the same). Depending on which racking this is, I'll either use a full length dip tube, or one cut to leave something behind. When the batch is aging, they get fitted with solid TC caps over the sanke valve opening. I then use the gas post (fitted to each vessel) to vent excess CO2 periodically. With this setup, I don't worry about much of anything. When a batch is aging, it can even get kicked over (if someone wants to hurt themselves) and it won't leak out, the vessel won't break, and I don't have to worry about anything unwanted getting into the mead/beer. Since I've long since gotten past the 'need' to see what's going on inside the vessel, not seeing inside doesn't bother me.
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Old 11-03-2012, 02:49 AM   #5
Nov 2012
Posts: 2

Thanks for all the info guys! Really appreciate it!

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