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Secondary / Aging Vessel -- Airtight?

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Crazy Martian Cat
GotMead Patron
When mead is transferred to secondary or to the container for bulk aging, does it have to be airtight (well, there should be as little headspace as possible)? Apparently the ancients used olive oil on top of the wine to keep the outside air out -- the idea being that the oil will sit on top of the wine, creating a barrier against outside air... I'm just wondering whether anyone has tried this before and/or whether it's even a good idea...


Registered Member
Jul 5, 2012
I've considered putting olive oil in my airlock to prevent it from drying out. Water tends to evaporate after a few months and if you're bulk aging it's easy to forget to check it. I'd be curious to see if anyone else has used that trick. Putting olive oil directly on top of the mead sounds like it would work but I wonder if it would effect the flavor in any way. Seems unnecessary when you could just use an airlock.

I wouldn't seal the mead off airtight in the secondary since there could be gas buildup. I've got a mead in tertiary that I've put a solid cork over but that's only because my 7 airlocks are in use. I'll have to buy more when I go to my home brew shop.

Chevette Girl

All around BAD EXAMPLE
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Apr 27, 2010
Ottawa, ON
I've read some threads around here where folks have tried it with mineral oil (so no flavour transfer from the olive oil).

In secondary, you want to minimize oxygen exposure. Airtight would imply no pressure release and you don't want that, could get dangerous... although I am kind of intrigued with the thought of putting an oil in the airlock, thank you for that idea! Maybe I'll try it with an old airlock on a long-term aging must...
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