using a hand corker

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using a hand corker

Postby gfoster » Sun Jul 16, 2006 9:34 pm

I just bottled and corked 2 gallons of mead (in 375 ml bottles) and used a hand corker for the first time. I'm using synthetic corks and am not really sure what I'm doing with this hand corker.

I put the cork in the corker, put it over the bottle and seat the cork all the way... it leaves a bit of the cork protruding up out of the top of the bottle and has a lip where the lever on the corker smooshed down the cork (so there's a thin ridge around the outside sticking up out of the top of the bottle.

Is this normal? Am I supposed to trim this off or just wait or what? I'm a little out of my element dealing with corks and stuff here :)

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Re: using a hand corker

Postby usmcruz » Sun Jul 16, 2006 10:14 pm

gfoster wrote:I just bottled and corked 2 gallons of mead (in 375 ml bottles) and used a hand corker for the first time. I'm using synthetic corks and am not really sure what I'm doing with this hand corker.

I put the cork in the corker, put it over the bottle and seat the cork all the way... it leaves a bit of the cork protruding up out of the top of the bottle and has a lip where the lever on the corker smooshed down the cork (so there's a thin ridge around the outside sticking up out of the top of the bottle.

Is this normal? Am I supposed to trim this off or just wait or what? I'm a little out of my element dealing with corks and stuff here :)

-- Gary F.


Hand corkers are kind of tempermental. Hand corkers will also leave a circular imprint on the top of the cork. Using synthetic corks you can wet them right before inserting to help fight the friction and help them seat better. A dry insertion of synthetic corks with a hand corker will smash the corks. I use a tiny tiny bit of glycerin and it works great, but if you use too much of the glycerin the cork will just slide right out do to the pressure build up in the bottle. If most of the cork is inserted then you can trim off the excess that is sticking out for asthetic looks. Unlike the hand corkers, on floor corkers you can adjust the depth of cork insertion.
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Postby mr.so.brewer » Wed Jul 19, 2006 2:24 pm

The hand corkers I have seen are meant for #7 corks, but I have seen someone put a #9 in split champaign bottle which the neck has a smaller diameter that a wine btl.

I have only had good luck with synthetics using the floor corker, if you do more than a couple batches a year I spend the money on it. It will save you time and pain. Go for the Portuguese its cheaper and in my opinion better unless you want to use belgian corks for beer you are suppose to be able to the Italian one for wine and Belgian corks for beer.
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Postby StuBrew » Mon Aug 07, 2006 6:20 pm

Sorry for the late post, this thread might be dead...

Sounds like you might need to adjust the height of the bottle in the corker, there shouldn't be any protruding cork beyond the finish. If the base platform is on a threaded nipple or something then spin it up a few revolutions and try an empty bottle and see if you like the cork depth. Ideally a cork should sit 1 mm below the finish so any capsule or wax will sit flush.

What kind of synthetic cork are you using, is it the Supremecorq molded cork or the 2-piece extruded cork? I'm a giant fan of bark-alternatives but synthetics have a few drawbacks, in that they allow on average more O2 permeation than a high quality cork, and they also have a high affinity for TCA-type molecules. In other words if you are storing the corks (or the corks were ever stored) near any potential source of TCA (wood, cardboard, moldy environments) they could have adsorbed atmospheric TCA that they could impart to the wine or mead. I know, weird, a synthetic cork imparting "cork taint", but it is possible. Screw caps too have the same possibility as their liner (I think it's polyethylene) is a molecular magnet for TCA.
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