What determines how long a ferment should be bottled?

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What determines how long a ferment should be bottled?

Postby FermentedBeard on Thu Sep 29, 2016 1:21 pm

Hello, I am new here so please forgive any unorthodox behavior on my part.

So with that out of the way, this is my first ferment and it has been a learning process for me. I am following a fairly basic recipe for Colonche (Fermented Prickly Pear).

The recipe called for the pears to ferment in honey and water for about 5 days, and then to strain and bottle it. Now, all that is done and it went fairly smoothly :? I hope.

The problem is that the recipe doesn't give any other instructions on how long to bottle and the conditions that the bottles should be in. Thus far, they have been bottled for a full 24 hours in a dark cool pantry.

After some research it seems like the bottling process varies quite a bit depending on the ferment, so I was wondering if anyone would be able to fill in the blanks here?

Thanks all.
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Re: What determines how long a ferment should be bottled?

Postby khoomeizhi on Thu Sep 29, 2016 3:39 pm

depends on what you've got.

with something like what you're talking about, where you don't let fermentation finish, but bottle earlier, you're going for some degree of carbonation - so you want to drink it before the pressure gets too high and blows your bottles. what's it bottled in? bail-top bottles will let some pressure out, so the timing is a little less important than with corked or capped bottles. when they gets to a good level of carbonation, you'll probably want to stick them in the fridge to slow the process down.

i know christopher recommends the technique of bottling one plastic bottle along with glass in cases like this - then you can feel on the plastic one how much pressure is building up, and use that as a key for the others. makes good sense, i just don't really do carbonation.

most of what i make is dry still mead, and the answer for that is 'at least a year if you can be that patient'. but that's aging, and not carbing.
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Re: What determines how long a ferment should be bottled?

Postby FermentedBeard on Thu Sep 29, 2016 5:10 pm

Overall this was a very make-shift project for me and I had to get creative to make it work. Therefore, I ended up using glass soda bottles which I sterilized and re-used the screw-on style caps. I know it's not ideal but it was my only option for the time being.

Also, thanks for the reply, it's very helpful.
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Re: What determines how long a ferment should be bottled?

Postby FermentedBeard on Sat Oct 01, 2016 11:42 am

So today I opened one of the bottles. The moment I opened it, it was clear that the pressure was very high, I let the air slowly seep out to avoid it exploding. It tasted very carbonated, which is great.

Though, I have two questions: 1. Should I release the air from all the bottles since the pressure is fairly high? 2. or should I move them to the fridge and leave them until I'm ready to drink them?

Any help is really appreciated, thank you.
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Re: What determines how long a ferment should be bottled?

Postby Christopher Weeks on Mon Oct 03, 2016 9:23 am

CO2 dissolves more readily in a cold liquid, so refrigerating will both make them more carbonated but less gas-pressure, and also slow down the fermentation process that is still adding CO2 to the mix. So probably do that. And then test. Of course, exploding bottles can be genuinely dangerous so you need to be careful and assess what level of risk you think your at and what you're willing to deal with.
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