View Full Version : My black cherry melomel is weak and wimpy across the board. Is it a lost cause?

05-27-2008, 04:10 PM
About a year ago when I first started aging my black cherry melomel, I was concerned that it was far too light in flavor, body, and mouthfeel. The alcohol content was fine, and the flavor profile wasn't bad (though it's not stellar), but it almost seemed as though the batch had been deliberately watered down. I was advised that my apprehension was just newbie jitters, and that some bulk aging time would make everything right.

Alas, it seems a year in a corny keg hasn't helped the situation much at all; my melomel, while a bit smoother than it was previously, still has a watered-down taste and feel to it. It's not undrinkable, certainly, but I'd probably only drink it after first having consumed a few glasses of something tastier. It's certainly not something I would like to give to others as an example of my *ahem* meadmaking prowess.

Is there anything that can be done at this point? Or should I just bottle it, drink it myself, and chalk the whole thing up to experience? I must admit, as this is one of my very first meads, I'm loathe to give up on it, but perhaps I have an unreasonable emotional attachment to the stuff...

Thanks in advance for the advice; you folks always come through. :)

05-27-2008, 04:26 PM
Please post your exact recipe (or provide a link) and include any treatments you've made to the mead as it has been aging.



05-27-2008, 04:50 PM
Please post your exact recipe (or provide a link) and include any treatments you've made to the mead as it has been aging.

Being aware that such is standard practice when asking for help, were I able to recall my exact recipe, I would do so. Alas, the notebook which contained my original recipe has turned up missing.

What I recall for certain is this: I used clover honey (the quantity of which I can not recall), and boiled the must. Once cooled, I pitch Cote de Blancs yeast, and added approximately three pounds of black cherries in a mesh bag. Once the primary was done, I added approximately one gallon of fresh, raw black cherry juice to the secondary, along with a cinnamon stick (or two?), and some orange zest. I racked two, perhaps three times, eventually into the corny keg where it sat undisturbed for a year. I do not recall adding sorbate or sulfite, but to be honest...I can not be sure. :(

Having learned a lot since first making this batch, I would now make entirely different choices in ingredients, procedures, and *ahem* record keeping. But, hey, that's what newbies do, right? :)

05-27-2008, 10:05 PM
Any guesses about the OG or the current alcohol % and SG?

05-28-2008, 02:34 AM
I've a couple of suggestions for you.

The easiest is to blend the mead with some other things and make a punch. Invite a ton of people over and serve it forth. I brewed a fairly icky "quick mel". So I added some cans of cran-raspberry consentrate and sparkling water and served it as a low alcohol mead punch. Folks loved it as they could drink a lot of it and not get hammered. I get a couple of requests a month for it. I just smile and look abstracted and say - it's on the list and change the subject.

The other thing you could do is do another ferment with your existing mead as the base. I do a double ferment with my braggots so I know it can be done. Make a giant starter and introduce some of your base into it gradually to minimize the shock. Temper your yeasts, as it were. Add a reasonable amount of honey to your base and try it again. You'll most likely want to think about how to amp up the flavor with herbs/teas/juices. Or I'd think hard about using dried sour cherries as the fresh ones are mostly water and it sounds like you have enough of that.

Read every one of Oskaar's recipes using dried fruit. To do that you will have to become a Patron. But it is well worth the $25 to get all the proven recipes in the Patrons' section.

Good luck with your salvage operation.


P.S. Don't be discouraged - tweak it! I managed to tweak a terrible dry thin braggot into something quite delish by tweaking. It took about 3 months, but it's worth the time.

05-28-2008, 11:57 AM
Also, you can give it a little more oomph by simply carbonating it. What started out as an anemic still beverage can often become interesting with the addition of some sparkle.