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I have a mead that has been sitting bottled in a cool underground closet for about a year, and the corks appear to have some mold growing on the outside. Apparently the closet is a bit more moist than it should be.

I was hoping to age this mead for quite a few years, so swilling it is not the preferred method of dealing with this.

What is a safe way to remove the mold from the corks? Will I need to open and re-cork all of the bottles?

What can I do to prevent this in the future? Will a wax coating help?

EDIT

I've looked around online a bit, and now I have another question... Is a moldy cork actually bad? Will filaments from the mold eventually dig in to the body of the cork deep enough to reach the mead?

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2 Answers 2

I'm not sure you can "easily" be assured that you have destroyed all of the mold spores embedded within the cork. There are chemicals that are used where interior flood damage has occurred to completely destroy mold spores in wood and other porous materials, however they are expensive, and not always available to "the public". Using anything like bleach, hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, ect, will eliminate most of the spores but not all. AND it will contribute to the total moister content of the cork. Without solving the issue of high humidity in your closet or storage space, the problem will continue to return again and again. Because the cork is porous you will never be able to destroy all mold spores without compromising the condition of the cork and/ or mead.

Not sure what to suggest as a solution to the bottle problem, I'm thinking replacement of the corks is the only way to go, but I have no experience as to what it will do to the over all condition of the mead. However you need to solve the issue of the "high moister content" of your closet. If you want to be really safe, I would also clean the closet space and wash the walls and ceiling with a mild bleach solution.

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I'd say brush most of the mold off the corks and then clean them with some sulfite solution or other strong sanitizer.

Solve the moisture problem in your closet, or store the bottles elsewhere. If you keep the exterior of the corks dry; it will be difficult to impossible for any residual mold to continue growing without water.

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Isn't the mead itself giving of a slight amount of moisture if the temps are right, through the cork? –  brewchez Apr 17 '12 at 23:07

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