View Full Version : Strong yeasty flavor in my mead--ugh

12-03-2006, 08:56 PM
I want to re-visit discussion on my mead that I made a year ago. Im really at the point of just dumping it out. A year ago, this is what I did:

I was aiming to produce a medium show still mead. First the recipe I used for 5 gallons:

14lbs of locally produced wildflower honey (Cleveland OH area)
2 tsp of energizer
2tsp of yeast nutrient
1 packet of rehydrated D-47 Lalvin Yeast
O.G was about 1.100 and gravity at time of first racking was about 1.005
Fermentation temp was between 58 F and 62 F

I used the no-boil method outlined in Compleat Meadmaker for 5 gallons. I fermented my must for about 3 weeks in a plastic primary fermenter. Based on the airlock activity I had very strong and healthy fermentation. I racked my mead after airlock activity seemed to stop and after racking I found very little yeast sediment on the bottom of my primary. After about 1 month a thick yeast sediment developed on the bottom and the mead was very cloudy. The mead never clarified on its own.

So basically I let the mead age in a carboy for about a year. About 3 months ago I cleared it with sparkloid and it did a fantastic job. After it cleared, the mead still had a strong yeasty flavor to it and the mead by this point was quite dry--drier than I wanted. So i added potassium sorbate or whater to it and I continued to let it age. Today I racked the mead off the lees and it's very very clear but still has that awful yeasty flavor. I'm afraid this mead is a goner bgut someone told me that racking it off the lees will make the yeast flavor go away. Can anyone enlighten me on what to do with this mead? Seems like a waste to dump something out that looks so good but but not good enough to drink.

Thanks to everyone who posts in these forums. It is useful advice to us lurkers and meadmaker wanna'bees'. (Ok, lame pun)

Thanks in Advance,


12-03-2006, 10:52 PM
Am I understanding correctly that your mead has been on a thick layer of lees for over a year? If so, than thats the source of your yeasty flavor, and to my knowledge theres no real way to reduce those elements.

12-04-2006, 09:58 AM
Yes it was sitting on the lees for just a little over a year. But even very early on this mead had the strong yeasty flavor which never seemed to mellow. I had read in a few other posts that Lalvin D-47 yeast can tolerate the mead without racking for a long time. So I kind of forgot about it. I'll wait another month with it I guess and sample it then. Otherwise I guess it's going down the sewer.

12-04-2006, 12:08 PM

I'd be tempted to add some other flavor componants that would be supported and enhanced by the yeast flavor.

Just thinking briefly about it I will throw out a couple of flavoring ideas. You are going to pitch it anyway, so what do you have to loose?

I'd seperate out a gallon and try any of these ideas that appeal to you. Then if it works, then do the rest of the batch.

- hops and other beer componants like some smoked grain; I think the yeast flavor would be a natural with more bitter flavors

- back sweeten and add some cookie flavors like anise (which I would toast first), vanilla, orange, etc; again I could see the yeast flavor really enhancing the baking flavor palate (choose your favorite baked good and use the spices from it)

- try various oakings; I don't have a local source for anything but oak chips - but I blend several different types of chips together and have had some wonderful results, they can really add a lot of flavor quickly so don't forget about them - check them every couple of days!

- go the greenpepper/chipotle/jalapeno route; I love a jalapeno and raspberry jam that I get at the farmers' market. Add a bag of frozen raspberries and a couple jalapeno peppers and back sweeten

- curry has a musty flavor that might cover and blend with the yeast taste; I'd make sure to get very fresh and stir in a little at a time maybe with some coconut milk to add another flavor element - it will probably get stronger with age so go a bit light at first

Well, I have to get back to work. But for my way of thinking, you are planning on tossing this anyway - why not add some additional flavor to it and then see what happens.

Oh, one last thought. If you have plenty of bottles and just plain don't want to mess with it much, I'd just bottle it up and set it to the back of the closet somewhere and "loose" it for 2 or 3 years. I keep hearing that age cures all with mead. :laughing7:

All the best,

12-04-2006, 01:38 PM
Yes it was sitting on the lees for just a little over a year. But even very early on this mead had the strong yeasty flavor which never seemed to mellow. I had read in a few other posts that Lalvin D-47 yeast can tolerate the mead without racking for a long time. So I kind of forgot about it. I'll wait another month with it I guess and sample it then. Otherwise I guess it's going down the sewer.

Realize that most of the discussions about aging on the yeast we have had have been related to whether a certain type of yeast will "ruin" a batch by "rupturing" and putting a sulfurus taste into the batch. 71B is a notoriously bad yeast for doing this and so racking off of it is generally recommended as soon as fermentation is complete. When a yeast like D-47 is talked about being able to be aged on, it has to do with the ability of the yeast not to impart this sulfurousness (word?) into the must. D-47 is a good yeast in this regard...

I believe that someone (possibly Oskaar) has talked in the past about the fact that D-47 is noted for imparting this yeastiness during aging. I am guessing that the taste will mellow with time but I like the suggestion of trying to find a taste combination that either goes well with the yeastiness or possibly one that masks it. I have found that dryness tends to dull those things I consider positives (like fruitiness) and sharpen those thing I consider negatives (like bitterness and astringency). So something as simple as backsweetening the batch with a moderately strong flavored honey might help. But use this as an opportunity to experiment rather than tossing the batch...

12-04-2006, 11:43 PM
When you first tasted it it was the floating yeasts. Now when you taste it its the left over aftertaste of the yeast being in there for so long.
I'd use one of Leonora's ideas for an extra flavor to help cover up the yeast. Think of this as a chance to experiment.

12-05-2006, 10:06 AM
Well, fiddlesticks! Those are grim assessments indeed. I guess I might try oak chips and maybe play around with some of the suggestions. I will definitely back sweeten it with some honey. I guess I'll start with a cup and see what that does. And Leonora's suggestions of spices sound intriguing. I think I will try orange or vanilla or even cinnamon. But I suppose I'll wait a month or two before I try anything in the vain hope that maybe this yeastiness may dissapate some with aging. I'll think long and hard before I try making mead again. I have much better success with beer.

12-05-2006, 10:20 AM

Don't give up on mead. Just do a batch where you rack at the end of fermentation and then again when the batch drops clear.

Good luck,

12-05-2006, 11:48 AM

A suggestion. Grab a couple of beer bottles and rack some mead into them. Cap them, and pop them in the post to the more experienced mazers on the forum (IM those whose oppinions you would like to see if they can accomodate). Let them have a taste and provide you with some input. You may find that a) they can give you suggestions for a cure, b) they can provide suggestions for additions to mask the yeast flavor, or c) they will tell you that the yeast taste is not bad. From this, you can decide if you want to continue making Mead, or if you prefer the taste of beer alone.

Good luck,


12-05-2006, 05:44 PM
I wouldnt give up. Mead for me at least is easier to make then beer. I have found it pretty forgiving of mistakes at least more so then beer.

12-05-2006, 05:54 PM
Yo dude--I had a batch with a persistant yeasty taste as well. As an experement I tried adding a small quantity of vanilla. I didnt steep it for long at all (in the 1/2 c. sample I used just the tip of a bean and left it for less thatn a day) while the vanilla flavor was very subtle the yeasty flavor seemed to vansih. I dont understand why it works, my only recomendation

It can be easy to overdo vanilla, if you are a vanilla feind this wont be a problme, but for me the falvor is too rich, nobody can finish a glass.

Good luck dude ;)

12-05-2006, 06:00 PM
Yes be very careful with vanilla and give it time. I made the mistake of making a vanilla mead once. mixed it in waited a couple days and tasted. added more and repeated until I got it where I wanted. Then it continued to appear. It was a rather undrinkable vanilla overload at the end.

12-06-2006, 07:21 PM
Thanks. All good advice. I think I'm going to try the vanilla route. Do I use a vanilla bean? Or do I buy good vanilla extract? How do I actually go about imparting the vanilla flavor? I have probably about 4.5 gallons left of the mead. I'm going to pour a cup or two of raw honey into the mead also to sweeten up some. I'm still considering the oak chip route but I have to say I don't like 'oakey' wines so I'm not sure I would like an 'oakey' mead either....and certainly not an oakey, yeasty mead.

12-06-2006, 09:08 PM
Use whole bean, not extract.

12-06-2006, 10:46 PM
Do I boil the bean or sanitize it in any way? I've read conflicting information on whether to use a whole bean or extract.