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Carbonating Mead (was Re: Digest Number 957)

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  • eadriclongfellow
    This all brings up an interesting question: how do people add carbonation to make sparkling mead? I know with beer there are two ways. First, once fermentation
    Message 1 of 29 , Dec 1, 2004
      This all brings up an interesting question: how do people add
      carbonation to make sparkling mead?

      I know with beer there are two ways. First, once fermentation is done,
      you add a little corn sugar to reactivate yeast. By doing this you
      can control the exact amount of carbonation by the amount of sugar you
      add. This technique leaves a thin layer of yeast in the bottom of the
      bottle.

      I can see this being difficult for mead because very often
      fermentation has not stopped because the sugar is gone, like with
      beer. Instead, it has stopped because the yeast has died from the
      alcohol content.

      The second way to carbonate beer is to force carbonate by kegging,
      putting under C02 pressure, and letting sit for a week. You can
      control the exact amount of carbonation by the amount of pressure the
      temperature.

      This seems like an ideal way to carbonate mead as well, though I've
      never heard of anyone doing it. Has anybody tried this?

      I can think of a hypothetical third way that might not be ideal: to
      bottle before fermentation is complete.

      I can see this being difficult because you do not know how much sugar
      the yeast will consume before it stops. You will likey either end up
      with bottle bombs or flat mead. It would be very hard to hit your
      target level of carbonation.

      In addition, the mead has not had time to clear, so you will end up
      with huge amounts of sediment since it will clear in the bottle. I
      guess this can be solved by disgorging, but isn't that pretty
      difficult? Has anybody tried that?

      I'm curious how you mead makers do this.

      - Edric



      --- In sca_brew@yahoogroups.com, "Fionnghuala of the White Hands"
      <children_of_lir@y...> wrote:
      >
      > Well, as long as it's still fermenting, it should produce SOME,
      > right? My main fear was that I'd let it sit too long in the primary
      > fermenter, and that fermentation had stopped altogether.
      >
      > I just bottled them in Grolshes, so whatever new CO2 gets made from
      > here on out, should stick around long enough to give it SOME fizz...I
      > hope?
      >
      > --- In sca_brew@yahoogroups.com, "Holly Stockley"
      > <hollyvandenberg@h...> wrote:
      >
      > > I don't know about disturbed, but certainly not surprised. You
      > added quite
      > > a little bit of fat, which is going to affect surface tension -
      > much the way
      > > a greasy lasagne dish obliterates dishsoap bubbles in that old Dawn
      > > commercial. Same thing tends to happen when you throw in a vanilla
      > bean or
      > > two. Wonderful aroma, rotten head retention. Basically, it lowers
      > the
      > > ability of the liquid to hang on to the CO2 being produced.
      > >
      > > Femke
      > > >
    • Steven Sanders
      On Wed, 01 Dec 2004 19:28:31 -0000, eadriclongfellow ... I do this all the time. Works great. steven
      Message 2 of 29 , Dec 1, 2004
        On Wed, 01 Dec 2004 19:28:31 -0000, eadriclongfellow
        <hunahpumonkey@...> wrote:
        > The second way to carbonate beer is to force carbonate by kegging,
        > putting under C02 pressure, and letting sit for a week. You can
        > control the exact amount of carbonation by the amount of pressure the
        > temperature.
        >
        > This seems like an ideal way to carbonate mead as well, though I've
        > never heard of anyone doing it. Has anybody tried this?


        I do this all the time. Works great.

        steven
      • Lady Thalia
        I usually will ferment the mead then I mix a packet of yeast with the sugar and add it to the just syphoned batch, stir and bottle in beer bottles and cap.
        Message 3 of 29 , Dec 1, 2004
          I usually will ferment the mead then I mix a packet of yeast with the sugar and add it to the just syphoned batch, stir and bottle in beer bottles and cap.  They have to sit for about a week to get carbonated,  chill and drink. 
           Yes there will be sediment, but we leave that in the bottle when we pour the sparking mead into a glass.
          The other more expensive method as below will work to.
           
          Lady Thalia
           

          Steven Sanders <stevensanders@...> wrote:
          On Wed, 01 Dec 2004 19:28:31 -0000, eadriclongfellow
          <hunahpumonkey@...> wrote:
          > The second way to carbonate beer is to force carbonate by kegging,
          > putting under C02 pressure, and letting sit for a week.  You can
          > control the exact amount of carbonation by the amount of pressure the
          > temperature.
          >
          > This seems like an ideal way to carbonate mead as well, though I've
          > never heard of anyone doing it.  Has anybody tried this?


          I do this all the time. Works great.

          steven

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        • Chris Stanifer
          ... If you think that the alcohol level might kill off the yeast before it gets a chance to carbonate your mead, consider getting a packet/pouch of Champagne
          Message 4 of 29 , Dec 1, 2004
            --- Lady Thalia <thalia_thebrewer@...> wrote:

            > I usually will ferment the mead then I mix a packet of yeast with the sugar and add it to the
            > just syphoned batch, stir and bottle in beer bottles and cap. They have to sit for about a week
            > to get carbonated, chill and drink.
            > Yes there will be sediment, but we leave that in the bottle when we pour the sparking mead into
            > a glass.
            > The other more expensive method as below will work to.
            >
            > Lady Thalia


            If you think that the alcohol level might kill off the yeast before it gets a chance to carbonate
            your mead, consider getting a packet/pouch of Champagne yeast for the final conditioning. They
            can tolerate higher alcohol levels, if memory serves :)

            William de Grandfort

            =====
            Through teeth of sharks, the Autumn barks.....and Winter squarely bites me.



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          • eadriclongfellow
            ... it gets a chance to carbonate ... the final conditioning. They ... When alcohol kills the yeast, that usually means that there is sugar left in the must
            Message 5 of 29 , Dec 1, 2004
              >
              > If you think that the alcohol level might kill off the yeast before
              it gets a chance to carbonate
              > your mead, consider getting a packet/pouch of Champagne yeast for
              the final conditioning. They
              > can tolerate higher alcohol levels, if memory serves :)
              >
              > William de Grandfort
              >

              When alcohol kills the yeast, that usually means that there is sugar
              left in the must because the yeast died before it could consume it
              all. If you pitch a more alcohol tolerant yeast, it might not only
              consume your priming sugar, but the also the sugar that the previous
              yeast did not consume. The result could be over-carbonation (bottle
              bombs). I could see this method being problematic for sweet meads.

              -Edric
            • Marco Vachon
              I have done the third no so hypothetical way of carbonating mead a few time with various level of succces. However, keep the following in mind: - I do that
              Message 6 of 29 , Dec 1, 2004
                I have done the third 'no so hypothetical way' of carbonating mead a few time with various level of succces.

                However, keep the following in mind:

                -  I do that with my 'beer yeast base' mead.
                Once most of the fermentation is done and there is a little now and then bubbles raising, I bottle. Usually my alcool content has already reach 6-7 %. Since the beer yeast won't go that much higher, It won't go to much toward a 'bomb bottle' quickly and it does remain sweet to some level. But yes, that is pretty much a guest when to bottle..

                - I do that with mead that I plan to drink in the next 6 month and sample a bottle every once in a while. That way, I can see overcarbonation coming or wait for undercarbonation. In short, I gage the progression of carbonation.

                Of course, I bottle in beer bottles.

                Out of 4 times I can remember (slighly blueberry mead, methylgen and adaptation of 'gutten met' twice), 3 times it went well and I was very please with the mead. Some even survive more that a year and are only slighly overcabonate now but still good..

                About the one time it didn't went that well: For some reason, I had no excuse to drink the batch 1 month to 3 months after bottleling (???) when the carbonation level was perfect. So I forgot them about 3 others months. Now they are very much overcarbonate (but do not explose yet). If I open one at cold temperature, I "only" lost a third of it content and wait for 5 minutes for it to stop bubbling.
                So I now "cheat", I took the bottles out, unscreew (loud pouf noise) them quick and retwist then it under .222 sec. Not the best solution, but it has work for me.

                Ludwig
                 



                eadriclongfellow wrote:
                This all brings up an interesting question: how do people add
                carbonation to make sparkling mead?  
                
                I know with beer there are two ways. First, once fermentation is done,
                you add a little corn sugar to reactivate yeast.  By doing this you
                can control the exact amount of carbonation by the amount of sugar you
                add.  This technique leaves a thin layer of yeast in the bottom of the
                bottle.
                
                I can see this being difficult for mead because very often
                fermentation has not stopped because the sugar is gone, like with
                beer.  Instead, it has stopped because the yeast has died from the
                alcohol content.
                
                The second way to carbonate beer is to force carbonate by kegging,
                putting under C02 pressure, and letting sit for a week.  You can
                control the exact amount of carbonation by the amount of pressure the
                temperature.
                
                This seems like an ideal way to carbonate mead as well, though I've
                never heard of anyone doing it.  Has anybody tried this?
                
                I can think of a hypothetical third way that might not be ideal: to
                bottle before fermentation is complete.  
                
                I can see this being difficult because you do not know how much sugar
                the yeast will consume before it stops.  You will likey either end up
                with bottle bombs or flat mead.  It would be very hard to hit your
                target level of carbonation.
                
                In addition, the mead has not had time to clear, so you will end up
                with huge amounts of sediment since it will clear in the bottle.  I
                guess this can be solved by disgorging, but isn't that pretty
                difficult?  Has anybody tried that?
                
                I'm curious how you mead makers do this.
                
                - Edric
                
                
                
                --- In sca_brew@yahoogroups.com, "Fionnghuala of the White Hands"
                <children_of_lir@y...> wrote:
                  
                Well, as long as it's still fermenting, it should produce SOME, 
                right?  My main fear was that I'd let it sit too long in the primary 
                fermenter, and that fermentation had stopped altogether.
                
                I just bottled them in Grolshes, so whatever new CO2 gets made from 
                here on out, should stick around long enough to give it SOME fizz...I 
                hope?
                
                --- In sca_brew@yahoogroups.com, "Holly Stockley" 
                <hollyvandenberg@h...> wrote:
                
                    
                I don't know about disturbed, but certainly not surprised.  You 
                      
                added quite 
                    
                a little bit of fat, which is going to affect surface tension - 
                      
                much the way 
                    
                a greasy lasagne dish obliterates dishsoap bubbles in that old Dawn 
                commercial.  Same thing tends to happen when you throw in a vanilla 
                      
                bean or 
                    
                two.  Wonderful aroma, rotten head retention.  Basically, it lowers 
                      
                the 
                    
                ability of the liquid to hang on to the CO2 being produced.
                
                Femke
                      
                
                
                
                
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