I was thinking about doing a very long-term aging on a batch of mead. The original idea was that when I have children in the future, I'd brew a batch as soon as Jr. comes home, and age it until Junior's 21st birthday (legal drinking age here in the US).

I know almost nothing about aging for extended periods. What do I need to learn in order to have this be successful?

EDIT: Since it appears this idea was poorly thought out, I'll probably try to do something else. Thanks for the answers/commentary!

3 Answers 3


21 years is a really long time. My ~11-12% abv meads start going downhill after about 2 years. I agree with what the top poster said, but it still may not be enough to keep it for 21 years and still have it taste good.

Another thing to think about ... age it about a year. Taste it. If it's good, freeze some of it. ;-) That'll slow down all the reactions almost completely. Just be careful if you try and freeze it in glass.


I think your chances of success are slim -- 21 years is a long time. You'll want a very high ABV to reduce the viability of spoilage organisms. I'd even consider fortifying the mead with neutral spirits to bring the ABV to 20% or higher. (This is also a good way to halt the fermentation at a point where the residual sweetness from honey is to you taste.) When bottling, exercise great care in sanitation and exclude oxygen as much as possible. Use the longest, densest, most expensive corks you can find. Or use a Stelvin cap, or similar, to eliminate atmosphere exchange entirely. If using corks, consider sealing the cork with foil or (and this is mostly to look hardcore), wax. Adding the correct dose of sulphur to when bottling is a very good idea.

One last thing -- consider moving to Canada where the legal drinking age is 19.

Good luck.

  • when you rack, add 1/8 tsp of ascorbic acid (Vitamin A) which can also help mop up any oxygen inadvertently introduced.
    – mdma
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 11:23
  • 1
    @mdma, ascorbic acid would be Vitamin C. Not sure how well Vitamin A would work for that...
    – fire.eagle
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 22:42
  • @fire.eagle, oops, yeah, I meant vitamin C...Vitamin A (Retinol, beta-carotene and a few others) might not do much for the mead apart from make it see better!
    – mdma
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 8:16

In addition to careful sanitation keep it away from heat, light and oxygen.

Heat: At least keep it to room temperature, even better, a cool cellar or refrigerated storage

Light: Brown bottles, or in a closed container (cellar/box/fridge)

Oxygen: Make sure whatever container you use is sealed properly. They make oxygen absorbing bottlecaps, I don't know about corks. A wax seal could help, too.

It's worth saying twice: sanitize carefully.

  • 1
    I thought beer was light-sensitive because of the hop oils. Do wines/meads also have this problem, even though they have no hops in them?
    – Pulsehead
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 1:18
  • I think he's thinking about beer. Wine gets corked so it can breath someone. Capping it solidly like beer bottles might make for some overpressurized bottles at some point if you don't pasteurize the yeast.
    – brewchez
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 2:21
  • Hops are the main reason beer is light sensitive. If you're trying to get something to last 21 years, UV can't be good for it. I've never heard of wine "breathing". If fermentation is finished it won't overpressurize.
    – jcs
    Commented Feb 2, 2012 at 1:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.