Mead Made Easy: Bottling

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First you need to clean the bottles. Again, there're a number of ways to do this. I'll cover a couple of them. The first, and easiest, way to clean the bottles is to use your dishwasher (if you have one). Make sure they're all empty and clean first, and then just run 'em through with Electrosol dishwashing stuff. Most dishwashers will hold the three cases of bottles you'll need. If you don't have a dishwasher, you can use B-Brite (according to the directions on the bottle) or use chlorine bleach. If you use bleach, just mix up a bucket of sanitizing solution using about a cap-full of bleach for a gallon or so of water. Fill each bottle to the rim with bleach-water, and then rinse it at least twice making sure to get all the bleach out. If the bottles smell of bleach, you haven't rinsed 'em enough. You can reuse the bleach-water that comes out of the bottles, and the rinse water goes down the drain. The plastic tubing you'll be using to siphon your mead around needs to be sanitized at this point, too. I find that siphoning one bottle's worth of bleach-water through it works well. Make sure to rinse the tubing thoroughly. Also sanitize the bottle caps. If you've got a bottling bucket, sanitize the bottles, caps and tubing in the bucket, and then rinse it twice, too.

Okay. Everything's clean now. Siphon the mead into the bottling bucket using some of your plastic tubing, being careful not to splash it around too much. If you don't know how to siphon liquid, ask one of the neighborhood juvenile delinquents, or check out the Appendix 3 - Siphoning. Also try to avoid getting any of the sediment from the fermenter into the bottling bucket. You'll want to add about a half-cup of sugar of some kind to the mead--either corn-sugar from your homebrew supply store or honey will work. Dissolve it in a couple cups of boiling water and add it to the bottling bucket.

Now fill the bottles. Siphon the mead into the bottles one at a time, leaving about an inch or so of head-space in the bottle. This is to allow room for the carbon dioxide to expand into and not blow up your bottle. If you're using a bottle-filler, it'll leave about the right amount of room in the bottle for you. As each bottle is filled, cap it. When you've got them all filled and capped, sit back and relax. In about a month it'll be ready to taste and check for carbonation. If it's still too flat, don't worry, just let it sit a little longer. It'll get there.

Copyright 2009, Dave Polaschek. Last updated on Mon, 15 Feb 2010 14:09:07.