Bottling and Aging Mead

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Depending on the recipe and the style of mead you are making, you have several options to consider before bottling your mead. The mead can be sweetened by adding additional honey or enhanced by adding flavorings. If no fermentation occurs after bottling, the mead will remain still. If you bottle mead while it is still fermenting, and adequate sugar remains, you will end up with sparkling mead. Both still and sparkling varieties of mead are delicious; it is merely a matter of personal preference.

The level of alcohol in your mead will help to keep unwanted microbes at bay, but sanitization remains important when bottling. Clean and sterilize bottles, corks, utensils, and all bottling equipment before bottling your mead.

Bottles can be filled using a racking cane or auto-siphon and some plastic tubing. The mead should be transferred to the
bottles slowly causing as little aeration as possible. Introducing oxygen during bottling can negatively impact the final flavor of your mead. Seal your bottles with corks for a very appealing and traditional look. Personally, I use Grolsch type ez-cap bottles since the stoppers are reusable and require no special tools.

Make sure to choose the right type of bottle and style of closure for your mead. Lighter and commercial wine bottles are fine for still mead, but when making a sparkling mead use a heavier bottle and a champagne-style cork with wire-tie down. If excessive fermentation occurs, the building pressure can blow the cork out of a bottle. Even worse, if the cork doesn’t blow, bottles can explode which is very dangerous.

Store your mead in a cool dark place and let it age. It can be hard to judge when a mead will reach its peak so have fun sampling your wares from time to time. Congratulations on brewing your first batch of mead at home!

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