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jiggsy
02-01-2009, 10:36 PM
I've got 3 meads from November 2003 through spring 2004 birth dates,
if you will, and while I'd racked them once way back when, each has
sat on its sediment, corked with an airlock, for years.

They are clear, rather high octane from champagne yeast, and appear
to have solid, albeit varying, tastes to them. I did a sip and spit test,
because of the following question:

Can I have, through mild neglect of not tending them beyond storage,
pathogens in the meads? Can I test for problems? I'd really rather not
quaff and serve a bunch, then take a group visit to poison control! ;)

I know fermentation kills off pathogens when it's active, but with old
mead, sitting in the 14 to 17% alcohol range, could I have some issues
or should these be safe?

Thanks for any suggestions,

Cheers!

TheRabidKumquat
02-02-2009, 12:31 AM
Unless your seal was poor, or you had some nasties sitting on the airlock/stopper, you should be fine. That much alcohol should keep it safe.

Were the airlocks routinely checked/refilled w/ a sanitized solution (vodka, sanitized water, what have you) or did you switch the containers over to a solid stopper at some point in their aging? If they ran dry, that would be the only point of entry for nasties, including oxygen, which would then oxidize your meads.

Medsen Fey
02-02-2009, 09:31 AM
Welcome to GotMead? Jiggsy!

Mead is essentially a pathogen-free zone. Potentially toxic organisms cannot survive in it. Spoilage organisms are another matter. If there has been oxygen exposure you may get the smell and taste of vinegar from acetic acid bacteria, and the if you see mold growing on the surface, it usually means it will not taste good.

Feel free to sip and savor. If it still tastes good, you've got not problems. If it smells/tastes like vinegar, you'll be able to make a lot of salad dressing and marinade. If it has turned foul from other spoilage organisms, you probably won't like the taste enough to drink it and it will make fine drain cleaner. If it has oxidized over time, it will have a nutty/sherry aroma and flavor, and this may or may not be to your liking - but if you do like sherry, then it may be just fine.

I hope that helps.

Medsen

CBBaron
02-02-2009, 09:32 AM
Mead, like wine and beer is acidic and alcoholic. The combination of low ph and alcohol ensures that no known human pathogen can survive in the mead.

This was one of the main reasons for fermented beverages in ancient times. Water sanitation was not understood but it was clear that people who drank water got sick while those who drank only beer or wine did not.

Quaff away without concern.

Craig

jiggsy
02-02-2009, 10:38 AM
Good info, thanks to all. Yes the airlocks were sealed with vodka along
the way. There were a few times they almost got dry, it was over 5
years after all, and they had some brown tint to the liquid, but not backflow
that I know of, no scum atop the liquid to get rid of, and the worst sip
was the one sitting on the most yeast [go figure! ;)]

I think I'll rack and bottle these, and perhaps let the one on the most
yeast sit longer before bottling.

Cheers!

Poobah58
02-05-2009, 10:04 AM
There are no pathogens in honey and at 14-17% alcohol, you have nothing to worry about. You might get some off flavors for sitting on the lees for all that time, but that's about it!

osluder
02-05-2009, 01:12 PM
There are no pathogens in honey ...

Not necessarily true especially if the honey has crystallized, but that is more a potential issue at the beginning of fermentation. -- Olen

General Meade
02-07-2009, 03:11 AM
Not necessarily true especially if the honey has crystallized, but that is more a potential issue at the beginning of fermentation. -- Olen
Hi, Olen.

If you've only been making mead since 2008 -- how come you know so much about both Honey and Meadmaking? Huh? Something doesn't wash here...

osluder
02-07-2009, 03:57 AM
If you've only been making mead since 2008 -- how come you know so much about both Honey and Meadmaking?

Just a "new bee" with meadmaking, but four years of beermaking so I know most of the equipment and much of the fermentation management procedures. I also did some research before I started my first batch last November including reading Ken Schramm's The Compleat Meadmaker cover-to-cover a couple of times. Unfortunately, I came across Got Mead? after I started that batch or I would have done a few things differently. I've been able to apply one or two items I learned here and know I'll learn much more at the keyboards of the forum Mead Mentors. ;D -- Olen

Medsen Fey
02-07-2009, 09:03 AM
Hi, Olen.

If you've only been making mead since 2008 -- how come you know so much about both Honey and Meadmaking?

Also, don't forget that Olen has drank deep from the flowing spring of mead knowledge that is the Patron's section. Behold what it can do for a new mazer. :)