Almost bottling time for varietal mead

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Jul 23, 2007
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I have about 7 gallons of gorgeous looking mead almost ready for the bottle. Hard to believe I started this in early May of 2008! I was planning on bottling it in summer of this year (well, actually, in spring of this year to coincide with the birth of my daughter, but I never got around to it lmao.gif ) but after stirring vigorously to degas, I ended up kicking off a second round of fermentation which lasted another two months. It finally stabilized about 2 months ago, and I think will soon be ready for the bottle.

I would like to do a final racking on this batch, and let it sit for another month, maybe with a couple of degassing stirs just in case. I have potassium metabisulphite and potassium sorbate on hand -- can I add both of these at racking time, or are they added right before bottling? How much sorbate do you add per gallon (I have never used sorbate before, but I had a peach wine which ended up fermenting a bit in the bottle and left me with about 40 bottles of weirdly spritzing wine -- which is slowly but surely being used up as cooking wine :re )?

BTW I have posted this recipe before, but in case anyone is interested here it is again:

I prepared two batches, A (+/- 4 gallons) and B (+/- 3 gallons)

- Linden - 300 g (B)
- Beechwood Honeydew - 0.5 kg (A)
- "Hundred Flowers" - 7.2 kg (4.8 kg A, 2.4 kg B)
- Sumac - 300 g (B)
- Ilex integra (aka Japanese Holly) - 2.1 kg (900 g A, 1.2 kg B)
- Tannin Powder - 2.5 tsp (1.5 tsp A, 1 tsp B)
- Nutrient Powder - 8 tsp (4 tsp A, 4 tsp B)
- Acid Blend - 7 tsp (4 tsp A, 3 tsp B)
- Campden tablets - 11 (6 A, 5 B)
- Starting Gravity: 1.100 A, 1.095 B (approx.)
- Yeast - DC-47 (1 pkg A, 1 pkg B)
- 2 starters were made (2 cups water, 150 ml honey for each A and B)

- Must was kept in an air conditioned room at a constant 18 C.
- Added additional "Hundred Flowers" 500 g honey to B to bring up SG a bit.
- racked from primary (buckets) to secondary (glass carboy and demijohn) after 2 weeks, 1 day
- A was 1.070, B was 1.090 - possible stuck ferment on A?
- 6 gallon carboy ended up with all of bucket A and most of bucket B
- 1 gallon demijohn had rest of B; added 1/2 tsp yeast nutrient to demijohn
- managed to keep almost 2 litres of extra in a PET bottle (for future top-up purposes)
- after 5 days, vigorous secondary fermentation on carboy
- nothing on demijohn -- added nutrafine to jug and PET bottle
- after another 5 days, fermentation on all 3 strong!
- 1.5 months later, bubbling slowing substantially
- started bringing up room temperature 2 degrees every 2 weeks, from 18 C up to 26 C
- 5 months after starting this project, racked 6 gallon carboy and 1.5 litre top-up
- there was scary looking black sediment in 1.5 litre top-up -- maybe from tannin powder or nutrient??
- threw "dregs" in the fridge "just in case". :D
- 3.5 months later, racked 6 gallon carboy and 1 gallon demijohn
- "rubber smell" present in 6 gallon carboy :(
- very sweet smell for 1 gallon demijohn!
- 2 weeks later, tasted dregs -- AWESOME! :h
- slight manuka taste, no sparkle (no manuka was used...maybe from combination of light and dark honeys?)
- slight "whiskey" fragrance
- 1 year, 1 month after starting this project, stirred large carboy to degas, which started another 2 rounds of fermentation
- rubber smell is completely gone!! :h:h:h
- almost 1 year, 5 months after starting this, ready for final racking and then bottling at 1 year, 6 month point.

The colour of both batches is a deep, rich amber. Absolutely gorgeous! :r
Sounds wonderful.. how long are you planning to cellar it?

You can add both the sorbate and k-meta at any time after fermentation has finished. Did you add any k-meta while this wine has been aging for so long? Sorbate is usually 1/2 tsp per gallon but check the instructions on your product as some are different, the bottle I have is 1/4 tsp per gallon.
Wow. Somehow my carboys just sat for the almost 2 years, waiting for me to "get around to" the final racking. Last night my wife threatened to dump everything if I didn't get my *** in gear.

Somehow this stuff didn't turn rancid! It is quite fantastic, in fact!!! I did a final racking from 7 gallons into a single 6 gallon carboy, and poured the rest into a decanter. Having a glass of it now...a single glass and I'm already feeling very fine.

If my hydrometer understanding is correct, my potential alcohol finished at about 12% ABV. I racked with 6 campden tablets and 1 teaspoon of K-sorbate (I decided to cut back due to suggestion that it was like unnecessary, and also because I saw a posting by Jack Keller who warned that it tends to impart undesirable flavours.

In another month, I'll bottle it. The final step! But actually a bit of a painful one, because I need to design an attractive label to honour my daughter (the mead is now older than she is!!) -- I'm a better drinker than I am an artist, however.
You can skip the sobate you wont need it after waiting this long to bottle

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