• PATRONS: Did you know we've a chat function for you now? Look to the bottom of the screen, you can chat, set up rooms, talk to each other individually or in groups! Click 'Chat' at the right side of the chat window to open the chat up.
  • Love Gotmead and want to see it grow? Then consider supporting the site and becoming a Patron! If you're logged in, click on your username to the right of the menu to see how as little as $30/year can get you access to the patron areas and the patron Facebook group and to support Gotmead!
  • We now have a Patron-exclusive Facebook group! Patrons my join at The Gotmead Patron Group. You MUST answer the questions, providing your Patron membership, when you request to join so I can verify your Patron membership. If the questions aren't answered, the request will be turned down.

1 Gallon Batches - should I bottle now?

VanHlebar

NewBee
Registered Member
Dec 27, 2012
1
0
0
So after a little over 4 weeks in primary I moved my 2 One gallon batches of mead into what was going to be my secondary. I thought they would be closer to the top then they ended up being and now I am not sure what to do? My plan was to leave in secondary for another month or two and then bottle, but now I wonder if I should bottle them up due to the excessive head space.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/QPsgd8AdDRLmre4A6

I couldn't get the picture to upload so I had to supply a link, sorry about this.

Thanks for any suggestions, I really don't want to lose the mead. I just recently got back into making mead and these 2 are test batches before I make 5 gallon batches.
 

EricHartman

Lifetime GotMead Patron
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Mar 4, 2019
312
15
18
Indiana
Bottling early will make any adjustments to flavor very difficult. You can add sanitized clear glass marbles to help fill up the extra volume and reduce the headspace. Also stabilizing your mead with KMBS (sulfite) will help protect it from oxidation as well.
 

4give

Worker Bee
Registered Member
Jan 1, 2018
284
3
18
Montrose, CO
Hi - I agree on the glass marbles. You'll need quite a few, but they do work. Just remember to clean and sanitize them before dropping them in.

It's not an aging solution, but I bought the 'All In One Wine Pump' kit that came with the 'head space eliminator'. I haven't tested how long it can go with that on there, but so far a couple months when I have probably 4 inches of 'space' in a gallon jug doesn't seem to have any negative impact. The mead should be stabilized before using it as well. I only mention this as a possible future consideration.
 

bernardsmith

Got Mead? Patron
GotMead Patron
Sep 1, 2013
1,610
18
38
Saratoga Springs , NY
This is not an unquestionable answer but if the airlock is showing pressure from inside the carboy I would argue that there is enough CO2 trapped in the headroom for you not to be over-anxious about oxidation. I have not performed any controlled experiments around this issue but my own experience suggests that you should be OK as long as there is enough out-gassing pressure.
 

Intheswamp

NewBee
Registered Member
Oct 9, 2012
257
1
0
South Alabama
Something else to consider is lead possibly being in the marbles. Some have it, some don't. I wouldn't want lead aging in my wine. Google it. :)

It is always good to make a bit more must than what your final volume goal is. If you're shooting for a gallon, then make 1.25 gallons of must up. When you transfer from primary to secondary you will leave the gross lees behind and your total volume will decrease. By starting with an "overage" you have some extra mead to "top off" with. And, if you have extra after topping off, then put it in a pint, half-pint, quart, beer, whatever bottle with an airlock for future topping off. If you're making traditional mead then you want need as much extra. But, if you're making a melomel or something else with fruit in it then you will probably have an abundance of gross lees to remove...thus reducing the volume of remaining mead even more.

Transferring from primary to secondary can cause a great deal of loss when trying to dodge the lees. I've about decided that the best route is to stick the racking cane in one spot, let it vacuum up the lees surrounding that one spot until clean and then let it pull the rest of the mead out of the jug from that cleared area. You *will* get lees sucked up in the transfer so why not save some time and clear a spot to siphon from. The one thing you *don't want* is to be wiggling your racking cane around in the jug as you siphon..that can cloud up the entire jug.

When you've siphoned all that you can while avoiding moving the cane around...stop. The lees/sludge/whatever in the bottom of the jug can be poured off into a quart jar or a wine bottle if no large pieces of debris are present. Place the jar in the refrigerator for a week or two and cold crash it. The sediment/lees should settle to the bottom and leave clear mead on top. Carefully pour the clear layer into a smaller container of some type or add it to whatever you've already saved if there is room.

Since you will be holding this "overage" for a short while as you rack from time to time I personally thinking saving them in PET bottles is good. Plastic Gatorade bottles are good for this. The caps can easily be drilled, a grommet inserted, and an airlock installed...multiple sizes, too.
 

Intheswamp

NewBee
Registered Member
Oct 9, 2012
257
1
0
South Alabama
Aw man!!!! I just looked at the pictures that you posted!!!! I *really* hope that you've done something by now to get rid of that headspace!!!

I would top off one of those jugs with mead from the other jug and look for a smaller bottle (a magnum 1.5L wine bottle?) to house the rest of the mead in.
 

Intheswamp

NewBee
Registered Member
Oct 9, 2012
257
1
0
South Alabama
Ah well, I see now that it's been ten days since the OP posted his/her first and only post. It would be interesting to see what course of action was taken.