Bottling 7 year old traditional mead??

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sour_grapes

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Not sure where you stand at the moment, but I think you can bottle essentially right after adding k-meta. As long as it is well-dispersed, there is no problem.
 

Intheswamp

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I would add kmeta to a bottling bucket, rack mead into it, and bottle. All in one go, but racking out of the carboy avoids any sediment, and mixes the kmeta as mead is racked. Just wait until you have time, it's not a rush. I wouldn't do it before work, my first time was a mess and took lots of time working the corker, etc.
Unfortunately I don't have a bottling bucket, I've got buckets but not one with a spigot on it. I was planning on using an auto-siphon with a bottling wand...will that work? It probably would be good to rack it to another container, though. Doing it that way would mix the k-meta and I could concentrate on staying out of the lees and not concern myself with getting into the bottles at the same time. Then all I'd have to do is fill bottles. My concern was the mead hitting so much oxygen...will that short of a time exposed to the air matter? Of course, all of this concern may be irrelevant if the mead isn't good. We'll find out in a day or two! Thanks for the feedback.
 

Intheswamp

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Hey Paul. No progress. As I mentioned to franc1969, I was planning on adding the k-meta to the carboy and going straight from carboy to bottle. It beginning to sound like I need to rack to another container onto the k-meta and then bottle from there. Is that the correct routine?
 

Brettanomyces

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Is all that racking really necessary? What kind of buildup of lees/sediment do you have in the carboy?
 

Intheswamp

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I'm thinking it's 1/8" to 1/4" of lees. Not much really. It was traditional mead so only honey, yeast, and water...no fruit. The problem that I see is getting the k-meta dispersed throughout the mead without having to stir it in the carboy. Racking to another container would take care of mixing in the k-meta but would also expose the mead to more oxygen. Now, if the lees are a solid cake I could probably stir gently without stirring the lees up...but you only get one shot to find that out...if it stirs them up then it's another waiting game for things to settle.
 

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You need to rack it off the lees, add kmeta then bottle. You can bottle immediately after adding the kmeta.
 

sour_grapes

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I was planning on using an auto-siphon with a bottling wand...will that work? It probably would be good to rack it to another container, though. Doing it that way would mix the k-meta and I could concentrate on staying out of the lees and not concern myself with getting into the bottles at the same time.
That is what I would do. I always rack off the lees before bottling for exactly the reason you cite. (Although I do use a bottling bucket, so I have a reason to rack anyway.) I have never filled bottles from a siphon+wand, but I believe it is not an uncommon practice.
 

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I'm thinking it's 1/8" to 1/4" of lees. Not much really. It was traditional mead so only honey, yeast, and water...no fruit. The problem that I see is getting the k-meta dispersed throughout the mead without having to stir it in the carboy. Racking to another container would take care of mixing in the k-meta but would also expose the mead to more oxygen. Now, if the lees are a solid cake I could probably stir gently without stirring the lees up...but you only get one shot to find that out...if it stirs them up then it's another waiting game for things to settle.
You're making a mountain out of a mole hill. K-Meta is an anti-oxidant, it will protect your wine / mead from oxidation. Mix it up with a little water and dump it into the target vessel, rack your mead off of the lees and into the target vessel. Clean your old carboy and rack the mead back into it. If you have an extra carboy, you don't need to transfer twice, just rack straight into the new carboy after adding your sulfite.

I bottle all of my wines with my auto siphon and a bottling wand on the end of the tubing, works like a charm, have done thousands of bottles that way. If you bottle within a week or two, there will be no need to add any more sulfite to your wine.
 

Intheswamp

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Thanks for the feedback, Paul. Looks like I'll be racking to a bucket and then on to bottling. I'm hoping the auto-siphon works well with the wand...with the small orifice of the wand I'll go slow and easy with the siphon's pump until I get the mead down to the wand.

Racking to the bucket won't be a problem, but bottling might be an interesting operation. Let's see...I need to hold the siphon's outer tube stationary, pump the plunger, and hold the tip of the bottling wand against the bottom of a bottle or bucket. Hmm, I ran out of hands. I guess I'm going to need to sanitize a foot, too.<grin> I wonder if I should trim my toenails first...
 

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Racking to the bucket won't be a problem, but bottling might be an interesting operation. Let's see...I need to hold the siphon's outer tube stationary, pump the plunger, and hold the tip of the bottling wand against the bottom of a bottle or bucket. Hmm, I ran out of hands. I guess I'm going to need to sanitize a foot, too.<grin> I wonder if I should trim my toenails first...
It's actually pretty easy to start the siphon with the bottling wand in the loop. Insert the auto siphon into the wine and insert the wand into the bottle, making sure the valve is depressed in the bottle. Hold the bottle neck and outer tube of the auto siphon with one hand, pump the auto siphon with the other hand. Once the tube is full of wine, and you have some wine in the bottle,the system is primed, and the bottle won't continue filling because it's above the level of the wine. Allow the valve to release, and the flow will be stopped and the system will remain full of wine / primed. Sit down in a comfortable spot with all of your bottles withing hands reach and bottle away.
 

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You're making a mountain out of a mole hill. K-Meta is an anti-oxidant, it will protect your wine / mead from oxidation. Mix it up with a little water and dump it into the target vessel, rack your mead off of the lees and into the target vessel. Clean your old carboy and rack the mead back into it. If you have an extra carboy, you don't need to transfer twice, just rack straight into the new carboy after adding your sulfite.

I bottle all of my wines with my auto siphon and a bottling wand on the end of the tubing, works like a charm, have done thousands of bottles that way. If you bottle within a week or two, there will be no need to add any more sulfite to your wine.
John, thanks for the feedback! I'm a bit confused here, though. If I rack from the carboy into a bucket (containing k-meta) why should I rack back into a carboy...can't I simply bottle straight from the bucket? Is it the additional racking to a carboy from the bucket to allow any suspended lees or whatever to settle for a day or so and the carboy is to lessen the oxygen contact with the surface (filling up into the neck)?

I do have another 3-gal carboy. So, rack from the current carboy onto k-meta in the clean carboy, wait a day or two to allow a bit of settling, then bottle straight from the new carboy. Is that the routine?

I'm glad to hear that bottling with the auto-siphon/wand combination works good! I'm really happy about that! Any tips on doing this without having three hands available?

I appreciate all the feedback from everybody!!! Much, much help!!!! I'm just hoping when I check the SG and pH and then do a taste test than it doesn't invoke an involuntary gag reflex. It looks might fine and clear with a nice color...but, I've seen some nice looking vinegar, too. And, if it is vinegar I've learned a lot of things for my next batch of wine. Thanks a lot for all of your patience and support!!!

Maybe at least by noon tomorrow we will have a verdict on the mead.
Ed
 

Intheswamp

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It's actually pretty easy to start the siphon with the bottling wand in the loop. Insert the auto siphon into the wine and insert the wand into the bottle, making sure the valve is depressed in the bottle. Hold the bottle neck and outer tube of the auto siphon with one hand, pump the auto siphon with the other hand. Once the tube is full of wine, and you have some wine in the bottle,the system is primed, and the bottle won't continue filling because it's above the level of the wine. Allow the valve to release, and the flow will be stopped and the system will remain full of wine / primed. Sit down in a comfortable spot with all of your bottles withing hands reach and bottle away.
Wow, you answered before I could ask you my question! Thanks! I'm taking it that the weight of the siphon hose will be enough to keep the bottling wand's valve opened...???

Next question :) ... Is it best to fill a bottle and then cork it? Fill several bottles and then cork? Or, fill all the bottles (I've got 11 750ml and will finish up with 375ml bottles) and cork them all in a single pass? I'm thinking that filling a few and corking them might work best for me...I know I've got a clumsy streak in me and it seems to be getting worse.<g>
 

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John, thanks for the feedback! I'm a bit confused here, though. If I rack from the carboy into a bucket (containing k-meta) why should I rack back into a carboy...can't I simply bottle straight from the bucket? Is it the additional racking to a carboy from the bucket to allow any suspended lees or whatever to settle for a day or so and the carboy is to lessen the oxygen contact with the surface (filling up into the neck)?

I do have another 3-gal carboy. So, rack from the current carboy onto k-meta in the clean carboy, wait a day or two to allow a bit of settling, then bottle straight from the new carboy. Is that the routine?

I'm glad to hear that bottling with the auto-siphon/wand combination works good! I'm really happy about that! Any tips on doing this without having three hands available?

I appreciate all the feedback from everybody!!! Much, much help!!!! I'm just hoping when I check the SG and pH and then do a taste test than it doesn't invoke an involuntary gag reflex. It looks might fine and clear with a nice color...but, I've seen some nice looking vinegar, too. And, if it is vinegar I've learned a lot of things for my next batch of wine. Thanks a lot for all of your patience and support!!!

Maybe at least by noon tomorrow we will have a verdict on the mead.
Ed
If you're going to bottle immediately, you can rack into a bucket and bottle from there. If you intend to do it at a later time, keep it in a carboy under airlock until you are ready to bottle. If you do a good job racking, you shouldn't have any additional lees to worry about. If you suck some up when you rack initially, you should wait for them to settle out and rack again before bottling. Personally, when bottling with the autosiphon, I find it easier to do out of a carboy, if you had a bucket with a spigot, that's even easier, but it's your choice either way.
 

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Next question :) ... Is it best to fill a bottle and then cork it? Fill several bottles and then cork? Or, fill all the bottles (I've got 11 750ml and will finish up with 375ml bottles) and cork them all in a single pass? I'm thinking that filling a few and corking them might work best for me...I know I've got a clumsy streak in me and it seems to be getting worse.<g>
I find it easier, when I'm working alone and using the autosiphon, to bottle all of the wine and then cork them. It's hard to set the bottling wand down without either losing the prime (if you raise it too high), or activating the valve (squirting wine all over the floo), and in a sanitized place before you finish your bottling. It won't take long to fill the few bottles you are doing.
 

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Thanks for all the good info, John. I may opt to bottle from the first container I rack to and not rack back to a third container. What I may do is rack within a couple of inches of the lees and bottle that up. Then return to the original carboy and rack the rest of the mead from there. That way if I do get some lees it will only affect a couple of bottles and I can save those for myself.

I will follow you lead and fill all bottles and then cork them. Seems like one chore at a time is less problematical.

Here's hoping I have something good to bottle! :)

Ed
 

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Intheswamp

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OG: 1.1080
SG: 1.0060 Hydrometer#1
SG: 1.0070 Hydrometer#2
ABV%: around 14%
Apparently did not ferment all sugar out. ???

pH taken with my little yellow, un-calibrated, POIT brand pH tester bought off of eBay read 4.05.
pH strips (blah) read either 3 or 4, yes...worthless more or less.

Now the question...what the heck do I do about the pH? Tartaric acid?
 

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Ok. I'm working with three gallons here.

I found 1 g/L (0.13 ounce/gallon) to move the ph .1 units. I need to move roughly .5 units.

So far 3 gallons that figures .39oz per .1 unit.
Moving .5 units I would need 1.95oz of tartaric acid (amazing, I've got a 2oz bottle).

Understanding now that pH really needs to be addressed before fermentation starts I need to move cautiously. I am going to add half of what I've calculated, so will be going with .95oz...may cut that back to an even .90oz. Hopefully this isn't too much...and maybe enough.
 

sour_grapes

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Two things:

(1) pH is not a linear scale. It is logarithmic In principle (but cf. point 2 below), it takes 10 times as much acid to move from 5 to 4 as it does to move from 4 to 3.
(2) But this does not matter anyway, because of the buffering capability present in a complex solution. You really cannot extrapolate from small changes.

Bottom line: Assuming you do indeed want to change your pH, your proposed plan is a good one. I would probably even cut down the added acid even more. Then check after adding.

Finally, I am not convinced that you should change the pH. Why are you insistent on that? How does it taste? How does it taste if you add some acid?
 

Intheswamp

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I'm thinking the pH needs to be longer for storage purposes. More prone to spoil with the high pH...?? :?

Taste...it actually tastes pretty good. The alcohol is there. It warms you nicely. No sting to the tongue...really smooth. :db

Maybe leave it alone?
 
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