Bottling mead – Get ready to get old
Our mead finished fermenting awhile ago and we are finally ready to bottle. Even though the mead could have been bottled as early as last December, we left in the carboy allowing the mead more time to clarify. Aiming to simplify the mead making process, we decided not to use a clarifying agent such as sparkolloid, which would have given us clear mead sooner.
We realize that mead isn’t the most popular drink of choice at parties, so we didn’t want to put it in bottles so large that they would not be fully consumed. We opted for beer bottles instead — an optimal size for an aperitif.
The bottling game plan
- Mix up a plastic bucketful of Saniclean tosanitize all equipment, bottles and bottle caps. We used pry top bottlesbecause they are easier to seal than screw tops.
- Thoroughly rinse the bottles with hot waterusing a jet bottle washer.
- Invert bottles on the bottle tree to dry.
- Rinse the remaining equipment with hot water andlay it out to dry.
- Siphon the mead from the carboy into the6-gallon bucket with the spigot using a racking cane, being sure not to disturbthe sediment on the bottom of the carboy.
- Set the bucket on a counter and attach a 1-footlength of vinyl tubing to the spigot.
- Open the spigot and fill each bottle abouthalfway up the neck.
- Place a cap on the bottle, place the capper overit, and push down on the capper’s arms to seal.
- Store bottles in a cool (60-70°F), dark place foraging.
At this point, our mead is ready to drink, but it will notreach its prime for at least another few years. Until then, we will crack open a bottle every so often totaste how the flavor is progressing.
Sometimes the capper and the bottle don’t get along. Usually the capper wins.