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Onyxrune
01-18-2009, 12:28 PM
Hello, all. I'm new to the forum.

I have a young sweet mead that tastes/smells unpleasant after about a month and a half. It seems strong in ester flavor, rather medicine-like, almost bandaid-ish, harsh.

I used a standard sweet mead recipe as follows:

One Gallon Mead Recipe
3 1/4 lb Clover Honey
7 pts Spring Water
2 tsp Acid Blend (pH 3.6)
1/4 tsp Tannin
3/4 tsp Energizer
1 Package of Lalvin D-47
2 Campden Tablets (*see below)
SG = 1.105

I followed the instructions to the letter. After 6 days in the primary, nothing was going on. Someone suggested that the recipe seemed to call for too much Campden, and that I should pasturize the batch on low heat (about 145 to 150F) for fifteen to remove the excess SO2... then cool and re-pitch a package of Red Star Champagne yeast to debunk the stalled ferment.

The next day it began to ferment away like mad. It could have been a big mistake, but, I left the must in the primary bucket for almost three weeks, on top of the sediment, before I finally transferred it to a secondary one gallon bottle. By that time, the must had fermented out completely, SG 1.000. I believe I left the must on top of the sediment too long (yeast autosys may have caused off flavors). And there was two different packages of yeast in my batch to boot.

Anyhow, is it common that mead taste nasty and harsh when it's young? Could the off flavors dissipate when aged in bottles after a year or more, or did I just create a bad batch that likely cannot be salvaged?

Thank you!
Onyxrune

Leonora
01-18-2009, 05:58 PM
Onyx,

You had the misfortune to choose an older style recipe. I don't know where you got it, but with a bit of study in the forum on this site, you'll see there are better ways to make mead.

It is important to study up because there is a lot of out-dated information around. People who were primarily wine makers (like this recipe - acid blend and tannin) or primarily beer makers (boiling and irish moss) put out recipes that don't make good mead. Mead is a brew all it's own and needs to be handled in that manner.

You made some mistakes as well, which you admit.

My suggestion to you is to bottle it and let it age a long time, like a couple of years and try it then. In the mean time, look at brewlogs on this site and do some studying.

Nothing worth doing can be done without effort.

Making good mead is worth the work.

A good short cut is to join the site as a Patron where you get access to award-winning recipes and techniques.

Live and learn!

All the best,
Leonora

akueck
01-18-2009, 08:50 PM
Do you know what temperature you fermented at? High temperatures can lead to funky flavors.

How did you use the Campden tablets? Did you add the yeast immediately afterward?

capoeirista13
01-18-2009, 10:27 PM
I was a victim of a beer brewer's advice when I first started (boiled and used irish moss), but mine turned out OK after some time, in fact its quite pleasant now, especially when you're drunk. I'm sure this will be ok with time as well.

Medsen Fey
01-19-2009, 10:01 AM
Welcome to GotMead? Onyxrune!!!


Hello, all. I'm new to the forum.

I have a young sweet mead that tastes/smells unpleasant after about a month and a half.
It seems strong in ester flavor, rather medicine-like, almost bandaid-ish, harsh.


Actually with a gravity of 1.000, you have a young dry mead. Typically dry meads do take longer to come back and be pleasant. Residual sugar can mask many harsher flavors.




Someone suggested that the recipe seemed to call for too much Campden, and that I should pasteurize the batch on low heat (about 145 to 150F) for fifteen to remove the excess SO2... then cool and re-pitch a package of Red Star Champagne yeast to debunk the stalled ferment.

One of the more extreme measures for restarting a stuck fermentation is to pasteurize it first. There are many simpler ways to deal with a bit too much SO2 - and keep in mind that after 6 days, much of it will already be gone. Aeration can eliminate more, and in extreme cases hydrogen peroxide can be used to remove excess SO2. Most of use would be hesitant to pasteurize with the potential loss of flavor and aroma.




Anyhow, is it common that mead taste nasty and harsh when it's young? Could the off flavors dissipate when aged in bottles after a year or more, or did I just create a bad batch that likely cannot be salvaged?


It is common for young meads to taste harsh. A lot of medicinal/band-aid like aroma may also be indicative of too high fermentation temperature or stressed yeast. I doubt that autolysis is a factor here unless you left it sitting on the lees for 10-12 weeks.

Aging it for a year or two may do it wonders.

Good luck.

Medsen

Onyxrune
01-19-2009, 09:14 PM
Do you know what temperature you fermented at? High temperatures can lead to funky flavors.

How did you use the Campden tablets? Did you add the yeast immediately afterward?

The temperature has stayed at a consistent 65F. I'm lucky to have a home with good controlled temperature, and I keep all my fermentables covered from the light. I added the 2 campden tablets the day I made the must, waited 24 hours before pitching the D47. It just didn't take off. I thought the SO2 was likely just too high. So, I pasteurized the must 6 days later and added Red Star Champagne yeast.

I also thought, maybe since its a one gallon batch, that 2 packages of different yeast may have been too much or conflicted. But since I have no experience with mead, I'm not sure if mead is just natural harsh when its young.

I guess I'm trying to calibrate my own understanding of how young mead should or should not taste, so I can determine if I pooched a batch or if it's worth bottling and aging.

PS you're absolutely right, Medsen... it IS now a dry mead at 1.000. I neglected to recognize the obvious reading. It was my intention to make it a sweet mead, but, man-o-day, is that RS Champagne yeast prolific. It dried it out thoroughly. All I can hope for now is stabilizing and back sweeting at bottling.

Thank you!
Onyxrune