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Unicorn Unchained Meadery - Basic Bottling Instructions

blue sphere You may or may not want to rack the mead before bottling. Reasons to rack include a thick layer of sediment on the bottom of the carboy, or if we want a sparkling mead (or both). Either way, let the must settle before siphoning. If racking, first start sanitizing the bucket and racking cane. To sparkle start boiling some corn sugar in water.

purple sphere Carbon dioxide is a natural by-product of the fermentation process. Bubble locks and blow off tubes allow the carbon dioxide to escape, but once the mead is sealed in a bottle it can build up to explosive levels. We have seen these glass grenades leave bits of glass embedded in concrete. Don't bottle too soon.

blue sphere Fermentation will stop naturally when the yeast has eaten all the available sugar or when the alcohol level kills off the yeast. With a stuck fermentation neither of these conditions are true. We had a place where we stored our carboys that was too cold, resulting in stuck fermentation, where the mead appears to be done, but the yeast is just dormant, waiting to warm up and start going. We soon learned to keep our carboys a little warmer and haven't had problems with stuck fermentation since. However, there was one batch where added sugar to get a sparkling mead and then forgot to stir it well. A couple of those bottles got too much sugar and exploded. If fermentation has stopped because there are no more available sugars, adding a small amount of sugar to the bottle will allow the yeast to start up again briefly, just enough to give the mead some sparkle. If the yeast is truely dead then a bit of sugar will sweeten the mead a bit.

purple sphere We find that the risk of glass grenades is relatively low, especially when compared to a delicious light, dry, sparkling mead. So we often use yeasts with a high tolerance to alcohol and add sugar at bottling time to hopefully achieve a sparkling mead. Typically we use 3/4 cup of corn sugar boiled in 1 cup of water for about 15 minutes to sparkle a five gallon batch of mead. The sugar water will be poured into the sanitized and rinsed bucket and mead racked in after. Did you remember to stir?

Bottling (still or sparkling)

Sanitize:

Boil the caps for 15 minutes. Rinse the strainer and pour caps into strainer. Rinse racking cane and filler tube and attach filler tube to the end of the racking cane hose. Rinse bottles. Fill bottles. Cap bottles.

Wash out the empty carboy and fill it with bleach water. Cap with orange carboy cap. Store the carboy until needed. Label the bottles and store to age.

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