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I have a silly question...

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Ferretlady

NewBee
Registered Member
Nov 17, 2004
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Hello all!
I'm still having fun experimenting with various recipes, the cyser and the concord pyment were great successes (notice the past tense...) and I still have various versions of plain meads aging-fermenting at this time.
My silly question of the day...
How long does mead stay good in the fridge?
Let me explain. I live alone, and I'm an occasionnal drinker. My mead are quite potent so far (15%+...) and a small glass is all I can take, and not everyday. I'm also storing an almost full bottle left over from my last bottling in there.
So I have various bottles containing various meads sitting in the fridge. They smell good, but how long until the taste goes off? My taste buds are still learning the subtleties of alcool.
Thanks!
 

JamesP

Senior Member
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Dec 3, 2003
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Brisbane Australia
The issue is oxygenation.

Refer to Dan's comments on the topic of "Is oxygen needed for aging"

Dan McFeeley said:
From my own experience, meads vary according to how they are affected by exposure to air. I've had carboys pop their corks and not be noticed for a week or two. One mead showed no change whatsoever. The other mead took on a bitter taste that further aging did not remove. .....
Make sure the lid is on firmly, or vacuum sealed like you do with wine bottles.

The issue is how long before the mead starts getting "sherry" flavours - a harshness that makes it undrinkable (so will vary depending on personal taste).

If there is little tannin in the mead (usually the case?), then probably they will last for a month or more, but I haven't tried this. I haven't had anything be undrinkable yet in a week.

Another option is to rack to smaller bottles to reduce the headspace, sort of like russian dolls, ..... You just need a collection of ever-smaller bottles (750mL, 600mL, 375mL, .... and you can use plastic juice bottles to go even smaller)
 

CosmicCharlie

NewBee
Registered Member
Nov 15, 2004
284
1
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If the bottles are capped, it'll last for years. True, the mead may reach it peak earlier, but I think it can be fun to sample one batch over the course of a couple years to see how the flavor profile changes.
 

Pewter_of_Deodar

NewBee
Registered Member
Sep 23, 2004
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Cedar Rapids, IA
I'd reiterate someone's suggestion to use the 375 mL bottles as a starting point. I have been keeping a bottle in the fridge door for an occasional glass and haven't had a problem with oxidation when I finshed things within a couple of weeks.

I'm not doing anything special other than resealing with a tasting cork between uses. If oxidation became a problem, the vacuum sealing someone suggested would help. How long are we talking about it taking for you to finish your bottle?

Pewter
 

Ferretlady

NewBee
Registered Member
Nov 17, 2004
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How long have the bottles been opened (I repeat, I keep them in the fridge)?
Well, I have a show mead leftover from racking (that's what happens when you transfer to a 4 litres carboy from a 5 litres...) at about 16% alcool and 9 percent sugar residual. I was hoping the refrigeration would clear it, but it's still cloudy after 3 weeks. It's being stored in a Grolsch bottle, and almost full. Last week it still tasted great, even if it's still a bit yeasty. Darn that Lalvin 1118! It's just about impossible to kill. The main batch of that one is still fermenting, at 22%.
The second bottle I have left is a maple mead leftover (I know, normally it would be long gone, but I've been on medication with no alcool permitted...) from 3 weeks ago. I'm finicky about sterilisation, so I know it's all been kept as sterile as I can, and the contents is at about 16%.
Would higher alcool meads keep for longer? All the spirits are left on the shelf in the closet, at room temp, and the half bottles don't go off?
The last one is a Hippocras I created from leftover bottling of my red concord pyment. It's been there a week. It stands at 15.5% with a high sugar content. I'm concerned I would not be able to detect if it had gone off, as the spice content is quite strong.
I really appreciate any advice thrown my way! I just wish I could share my successes with you... So far, most of it tastes pretty good!
 

Pewter_of_Deodar

NewBee
Registered Member
Sep 23, 2004
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Cedar Rapids, IA
Sorry that I wasn't clear. An "open bottle" refers to one that has been uncorked or uncapped, not one that is not closed. Hope that makes better sense and you did answer the question I intended for each of bottles you have.

I guess I could give the following summary.

1. The smaller the headspace in a closed bottle, the less chance of oxidation.
2. As long as you are diligent/careful (ie. don't leave open bottles setting on the counter for hours and then close them and put them back in the fridge), and since the bottles are refridgerated, you are doing everything you can to minimize the chances of spoilage (bacteria, mold, etc.).
3. There is not a fixed time frame for oxidation/spoilage and the only true method for determining it would be visual or taste. If you start seeing formations on the surface or start having off tastes/odors, then it's probably time to throw it away.

Have fun and just be a bit more diligent in your consumption practices! ::)
Pewter
 

Norskersword

NewBee
Registered Member
May 19, 2004
683
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Bacteria may be a concern, but may not be due to your high alcohol levels. Even so, avoid drinking directly from the bottle (you might already know this) because if you do, you may want to toss it after 4 days or so.

Why do I mention this? Because when I started I drank a few sips from a bottle, recorked, and then drank some more a week later...

Needless to say, this was bad practice and resulted in me becoming very sick. This was a cyser with a ~17% ABV.

Be careful!
 

GntlKnght

NewBee
Registered Member
Jan 9, 2004
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Ferretlady said:
The second bottle I have left is a maple mead leftover
Ooo!!! Please share the recipe!

As you can tell from the previous posts, "your results may vary". I have had several half full bottles in the fridge for a few months. Most taste fine. Some develop a harsh taste. I am sure some of it has to do with alcohol content, and much has to do with what ingredients are in it. I think, for the most part, you will be fine to leave a partial bottle in the fridge for a month or two.

I guess the best advice I can add to what has already been said is:
if it tastes good to you, drink it!
it it doesnt taste good, stop drinking it!

Enjoy and have fun!
 

jab

NewBee
Registered Member
Mar 15, 2004
557
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radiofreeomaha.net
GntlKnght said:
I guess the best advice I can add to what has already been said is:
if it tastes good to you, drink it!
it it doesnt taste good, stop drinking it!
The sage hath never spoken truer. Heed his words for they are the blood that floweth through the veins of sanity. FNORD!
 

Pewter_of_Deodar

NewBee
Registered Member
Sep 23, 2004
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Cedar Rapids, IA
Ummmmm....

I disagree with the great sage!

Not drinking things that do not taste good would eliminate a lot of things that are "good" for you, like vodka on the rocks, straight scotch, etc. You get the idea...

With a big Friday grin,
Pewter
 

jab

NewBee
Registered Member
Mar 15, 2004
557
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radiofreeomaha.net
Bah, if they don't taste good to you then maybe your pallet needs some refining. I sentence you to 17 jiggers of scotch, and 1 liter of vodka!
 

Oskaar

Got Mead Partner
Administrator
Dec 26, 2004
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The OC
Well,

I usually chase the vodka and single malt appetizer with a sterno neat, two snorts of gunpowder and a habanero shooter!

Yeeeeeeeeee haaaaaaa!

Oskaar
 

Pewter_of_Deodar

NewBee
Registered Member
Sep 23, 2004
1,867
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Cedar Rapids, IA
Oskaar said:
I usually chase the vodka and single malt appetizer with a sterno neat, two snorts of gunpowder and a habanero shooter!
No wonder you have turned all sorts of funny color shades and have big ears... Stick to things that put hair on your chest... ::) ::) ::)
 

Dan McFeeley

Lifetime Patron
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Oct 10, 2003
1,897
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Illinois
Oskaar said:
Well,

I usually chase the vodka and single malt appetizer with a sterno neat, two snorts of gunpowder and a habanero shooter!

Yeeeeeeeeee haaaaaaa!

Oskaar
I take it your avatar is a self portrait? ::)
 
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