A couple of weeks ago I wrote about making this year’s batch of elderflower champagne, which included my usual warnings (shared with anyone who’ll listen at this time of year!) about the hazards of bottling a rather wild, actively fermenting brew in glass bottles.
Here’s why –
The bottle on the right is the ‘donor’ bottle, containing half a litre of sparkling water. The bottles on the left are my elderflower champagne, about four days after bottling. They were filled, originally, to about 5mm below the neck of the bottle. You can see the pressure in the bottles – despite ‘degassing’ daily up to this point – has inflated the bottle like a balloon (it reminds me of one of those cartoon moon rockets!) creating a whole heap of extra headroom in the process. The bottom of the bottle is also noticeably pushed downwards. Perhaps a passing materials specialist will tell us what internal pressure is required to produce this sort of effect, one of these days!
The little bit of ‘give’ in the plastic has allowed this to happen without catastrophe, which is a luxury that glass doesn’t give you. So please, please, use plastic bottles for elderflower champagne. The reinforced sort that have held fizzy drinks (lemonade, tonic water, or sparkling mineral water, like these), not the sort designed for non-carbonated water or drinks. Yes, I know it looks a bit tatty, but really, why take the risk of a spectacular and dangerous bottle bomb?
And how’s the champagne, you might ask? Why, very nice, thank you! For all the hassle involved, I’m really pleased I just managed to make this year’s batch!
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