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Priming

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longarm

NewBee
Registered Member
Jan 12, 2005
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I'm new to making mead, but I've been brewing beer for years. I have about 10 gallons of mead in secondary fermenters that I'm ready to bottle. In general, do I want to prime or not and if so, what should I use to prime and how much? Thanks in advance for any advice.
 

jab

NewBee
Registered Member
Mar 15, 2004
557
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radiofreeomaha.net
Priming is only needed if you want a 'sparkling' mead. If you want a still mead then there is no reason to prime. Unfortunately I am not fond of sparkling meads and have never primed myself, so that is about the extent of my information on the subject.

Don't worry though, I know there are others on the board who do/have prime and will be able to better inform you than I. I will also check my books as home and see if they have any advice to offer.
 

Oskaar

Got Mead Partner
Administrator
Dec 26, 2004
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The OC
Priming depends on if your mead is dry or sweet. If it's a sweet mead then you will have a difficult time priming it unless you force carbonate it in a corny keg.

If it's dry just use 5 oz corn sugar like you would to prime your ales. If you are going to prime then you should use bottles that are made specifically for sparkling wine (American sparkling wine bottles use different size caps/corks than European sparkling wine bottles) or beer/ale.

Cheers,

Oskaar
 

JoeM

NewBee
Registered Member
Jan 9, 2004
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I agree with Oskaar except that for 10 gallons of mead i would use 10-15 oz of corn sugar to prime, depending on how much carbonation you are looking for. I usually add about an ounce of priming sugar per gallon for beer like carbonation and closer to an ounce and a half per gallon for champagne like carbonation. Any more than that and you risk exploding bottles. But beware that if your mead is not fermented to dryness it will not carbonate no matter how much priming sugar you add. Of course, as Jab said if you're looking for a still mead there is no reason to prime.
 

Aggie4You

NewBee
Registered Member
Oct 29, 2004
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This brought up an interesting idea...

Fermentation would stop in a sweet mead because the yeast had reached their alcohol concentration threshold. Would it then be possible to add a bit of the original (unfermented) must to each bottle (obviously not very much) to achieve a sparkling sweet mead? This seems reasonable to me.

For instance, let's say that you started with a must at OG = 1.120. This stopped fermentation at 1.02. Could you then add a bit of the 1.12 SG must (thereby slightly lowering the alcohol percentage) and get it to sparkle, or would this be too risky? I'd assume that if you only added enough must to equal the amount of sugar you would be priming with anyway that you'd be fine. Am I missing something?
 

Oskaar

Got Mead Partner
Administrator
Dec 26, 2004
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Good Catch Joe!

I only carbonate beer and I usually make a five gallon batch of beer so I whiffed on the volume and amount of the corn sugar.

Oskaar
 

Lagerman64

NewBee
Registered Member
Oct 17, 2003
155
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NY
I usually split my batches, 10 gallons still and 10 sparkling. I carbonate artificially using a corney keg and CO2. ;)
 

storm1969

NewBee
Registered Member
Jun 13, 2005
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Columbia, MD
I've made sparkling wine by:
1: starting with a low brix must, say 18 brix.
2: fermenting it dry.
3: clearing/finishing it.
4: making a yeast starter with ec-1118.
5: adding sugar to the wine
6: adding the starter to the wine, and bottling.

I assume a similar process would work with mead.

I am going to try and start this process this week.

Brian
 

Angus

Lifetime Patron
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Aug 19, 2005
908
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Milwaukee, WI
I am reviving this topic from the far distant past.

I recently blended an overly sweet Mead with a dry Mead to acheive a balance that is palatable. I was left with about 1.5 gallons of sweet Mead (Orange Blossom) that was too cloying to be enjoyable. So, rather than try to restart fermentation, I decided to keg it in a corny keg and see how it tastes. As mentioned in this post, it is difficult to get a sweet Mead carbonated. But, using a psi of 15, I actually managed to get a very slight fizz in my Mead.

Tasting notes: It is sweet, that does not go away. But, the carbonation adds an effervescance that takes away the cloying thickness of the sugar, lightens the body so the flavor of the honey comes through, and takes the alcohol straight to the head. It makes you feel light, happy. Think of a honey flavored soda, crystal clear, cold and refreshing, with a kick.

If you can, try kegging. It is a fascinating and delicious drink that allows you to save an overly sweet potential loss by giving it a whole new persona.

Angus
 

skunkboy

NewBee
Registered Member
May 30, 2005
2,003
7
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Between Jackson and Detroit
I had one odd batch when I started, made using "Sweet Mead" yeast, that started up again in the wine bottles - yeast nutrient, whats that?! ;D

It produced over an inch of lees in each bottle, and only managed to carbonate the bottles to a little under
cork popping pressure. So they were still sweet, and carbonated, and when chilled the top 1/2 of the bottle
when poured off quickly was very nice. And kicked you in the head like mule if you drank more than one glass of it. :drunken_smilie:

Not something I'd like to try replicate the same way on purpose.
 
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