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View Full Version : Blackberry mead in trouble--help



swampbee
11-18-2006, 01:00 AM
Fifteen months ago I made a blackberry mead that fermented like mad! I used no sulfites. I racked it, aged with oak for three months, and it's been sitting in my 50 degree basement for more than a year and I want to bottle it. The last time I tasted it, it was acidic--I would describe it as "sharp" on the tongue and the gut. Did I leave it on the fruit too long, making it too acidic? Or perhaps, did it just need to age? Will I find it improved after the aging? Is there anything I can to to save it? Help!

WRATHWILDE
11-18-2006, 01:24 AM
Swampbee,
First Off, Welcome to the forums!!

Second... When Asking Questions about a batch Remember the GotMead Mantra... Recipe & Process!

To Answer Your specific batch related Questions we need as much of the following information as possible...

What was the Original Recipe?
What type of yeast did you use?
How did you rehydrate the yeast?
What was the Temperature of the must when you pitched the yeast?
Exactly what steps did you take while making the batch?
Did you aerate/oxygenate the must during the first 3 days?
Did you use any nutrients?
What was your airlock activity like?
What is the temperature of the room you ferment in?
Did you sanitize ALL of your equipment just before making the batch?

Cheers,
Wrathwilde

swampbee
11-18-2006, 02:56 PM
Wrathwilde:

Thanks. Here's the recipe/process I used:

12lbs orange blossom honey
1tbsp yeat nutrient
2.5tbsp yeast energizer
3gal cold tap water (good tap water from Mt. Hood Oregon)
1gal boiled tap water
2 packet Lavlin EC-1118 yeast
Everything sanitized (this is my first mead, but I brew beer regularly)

14 day fermentation @ 65degrees
Racked onto 8lbs frozen blackberries (thawed)
14 days fermentation @65 degrees
2months in cellar 50-56 degrees
racked onto 3 oz of white oak cubes for 3 months
racked off of oak and cellering at 50-56 degrees for 11 months.
all aging was done in glass carboys, fermentation locks checked regularly.

I'm going to do a pH test and acid test this weekend, and taste the meade to see if it's aged to take away the sharpness. If not, is there anything short of blending with another meade to take the sharpness out? Do you think I left it on the fruit too long, losing the sweetness and adding acids from the fruit?

Thanks for your help.

Swampbee

WRATHWILDE
11-18-2006, 04:14 PM
From the looks of the recipe I'm pretty sure your batch ended dry, probably less than .99, do you have Gravity Readings? The Blackberries are probably responsible for some of the acidic bite, but EC-1118 probably contributed to it as well. The Dryness of the batch would account for this being the dominant characteristic... You can back-sweeten to help counter it, I'd try bringing it up to at least 1.010 if you still feel it's too acidic/sharp. Although it's done fermenting EC-1118 is a tenacious yeast, you'll have to sulfite/sorbate before you back-sweeten to guard against renewed fermentation.

Wrathwilde

fundrunk
11-19-2006, 08:16 PM
this is just a suggestion but i say mix it with a little ale or maybe a porter since you make your own beer mmmmmmmmmm blackberry ale.

Pewter_of_Deodar
11-20-2006, 10:15 AM
Swampbee,

I have a blackberry melomel I am about to bottle that sounds very similar to yours. I also had a blackberry wine that was about 20% ABV that sounds like it tastes like what you are experiencing.

I think WW is probably correct about the need to backsweeten as my dry blackberry wine has the same bitterness you describe. When I have friends taste it they say that blackberries generally have a somewhat bitter taste. It's only when sweetened, such as in preserves, that this bitterness is masked by the sweetness. Try pouring a glass and adding a tablespoon of sugar to it, stirring and tasting. Does it improve? Add another tablespoon. Better? Don't be afraid to experiment with it a little bit. Add a little more until it is so sweet you don't like it. How much did it take? You can learn a lot with little things like that...

You left the must on the blackberries for 2 1/2 months according to your description. Personally, I am now going to try no more than two weeks on fruits unless I purposely want the batch to absorb the tannins or some other characteristic specifically from the skins of the fruit. Tannins also have a "bitterness" to them that one of the experts on Gotmead might be better able to describe. Maybe you are tasting the skins? The flavor and sugar from the fruits will be imparted to the must within two weeks.

I'd also be interested in seeing what your pH is for the batch. Aren't blackberries one of the more acidic fruits?

Good luck,
Pewter