View Full Version : I will chop this mead into two half meads!

12-02-2011, 10:50 PM
So recently i had some caffinated yeast go berserk and turn a gallon of mead into racing fuel. It's rocking aproxx 18% abv, which is downright painful to even sample. I've hit the yeast with a combination two week cold-crash, campden, and potassium sorbate which seems to have knocked it out finally. I felt like the space marines on the aliens movies ("I NEED A TACTICAL NUCLEAR STRIKE").
My plan now is to split it down, make another unfermented batch, and go halfsies of each gallon. The question is, when, and is there any preferred method?
A. I want to try and dilute the alchohol without diluting the other flavors (coffee, hazelnut, and vanilla).
B. This is the drunken viking invader of yeast, and i want to make -damn- sure it doesn't kick back up again, it might decimate all life on earth.

Should i age it, and then split it up later? or is there no time like the present for this sort of thing? Any pointers would be helpful

Much Obliged

12-03-2011, 11:55 AM
The best way to dilute ABV without diluting flavor is the mix with an equal amount of the same must. Mix up the must EXACTLY as you did before, hit it with a couple of campden tablets, let it sit overnight to soak all the flavors through, then mix it. It's the best bet I have for you.

On the other hand, 18% WILL age out, I promise. What you're tasting right now are 'higher alcohols'. More phenols and such, which are VERY harsh right out of the gate. If you wanted my real advice on what to actually DO, let it age for 4-5 months, taste it again, then decide if you want to backsweeten it with a 'honey syrup' (mix just enough water into the honey that it'll pour and mix into the mead).

As I've learned, the hard way, trying to 'fix' a batch that tastes scary right out the batch is a TON of effort when the best you can do is give it some time and see what happens after everything smooths out a bit. I'm firmly in the ballpark of no 'drastic measures' until my mead is at least 4 months old, that's a minimum. I'd prefer 6 months before I started tinkering with it, and I know some people on the board (you know I'm talking about you) have let some things sit in the bottle for 5+ years waiting to see if age will fix it.

12-03-2011, 08:56 PM
+1 on waiting.

Time heals most, if not all, meads.

I am learning that meads are just coming into their own at 1 year. :p

12-05-2011, 04:56 PM
it's going to age no matter what, but in my experience, anything over about 12-15% in wines and whatnot taste only slightly better than just drinking distilled spirits. Chalk it up to tastes, but it's not the current flavor i'm concerned with, it's more that the end result will still be something i'm not interested in drinking.

12-06-2011, 01:32 AM
This is your second batch from what I can tell looking at your profile, yes? How many meads have you drank? Do you know the ABV and approximate SG of the ones you have tried? (I.e. at least labeled dry or sweet?)

I don't like (most) wine. Love grapes, but wine tastes like blech and urgh to me. I do enjoy some sweet fruit wines (first time I learned that wine usually comes in 16-18% ABV was when a delicious blueberry wine kicked my butt just after my 21st bday and no one told me it was stupid to drink the whole bottle just because it didn't TASTE like alcohol).

It had nothing to do with ABV and everything to do with residual sugar and the fermented ingredients.

Mead is not wine. It has a LOT more perceived sweetness than wine. One of my first meads was a big hit with some of my friends...looking back on it, I cringe. It basically tasted like dull honey in a bottle, I completely oversweetened it and as it aged, it got sweeter and sweeter to the tongue even though nothing changed. I'm not sure what it will taste like when I break out the final bottle I have hiding in the back corner of my basement.

I also have a lemon-ginger still in carboy that I haven't backsweetened at all, but has a lot of sweet notes to it. I can't wait for it to age and mellow out some of the higher alcohol characters. It will be fantastic if what it is now is any indicator!

Just take some of the advice you've seen on the board. Let it age for a while, taste it later, THEN decide what you're going to do with THIS particular product. Each batch will be different from every other batch, and mead is different from anything else you can drink.

You can always add more honey later, you can't take it out again.

12-08-2011, 12:29 PM
Mead is not wine. It has a LOT more perceived sweetness than wine.
I think mead is wine. It is honey wine, rather than grape wine, which is what most people think of when you mention wine, but it's still wine. It's just like wine made from other fruits is still wine; the difference is just that the fermentable sugars come from fruits other than grapes.

As far as sweetness, you can take your mead dry during fermentation, just like you can stop fermentation of grape/fruit wines before they go dry and end up with sweetness.

While you can't take honey out, you can sometimes restart fermentation if you haven't stabilized before adding it...that will add more alcohol, of course, but will cut down on any "excess" sweetness you feel you've accidentally added.

Chevette Girl
12-08-2011, 03:54 PM
...certain fruits can also have a perceived sweetness... my dry red currant wine doesn't taste anywhere as dry as the SG says it is, so it's not unique to honey... I'm tending towards the "mead is wine" but there are differences requiring attention between a honey wine and a grape wine, just like there are differences requiring attention between a grape wine and an apple wine.

And Ounitron, maybe give it at least a couple of months before you do anything to it... and when you do, take a bottle's worth of it, stabilize and put it away and see if you like the softened result once it's had a year or two to mellow out. Even if you still dislike it later, it's good information to have about your own tastes as they pertain to mead versus grape wine... and maybe with one bottle's worth removed from your gallon, it'll leave you enough room in your carboy to make some additions to see if it will work out the way you want.

12-08-2011, 10:08 PM
it's going to age no matter what

That being the case, I vote for don't mess with it until you taste it AFTER the aging. It will change a lot from aging and it may be more to your liking after aging out. Consider it research time to evaluate different approaches to "fixing" this problem.

Chevette Girl
12-10-2011, 02:58 AM
Consider it research time to evaluate different approaches to "fixing" this problem.

If, in fact, it still is a problem by that time :)

12-20-2011, 12:15 AM
@ Soyala - this'll be my fourth (5th if you count the extra i had left over from my last batch that I put in a champagne bottle with a -really- bizzarre recipie). I only post when i have questions. If i'm quiet for a while, it probably means whatever i'm poking at is working :) I don't want to beat it to death, but for the record i have almost no sense of smell. For me, alchohol is detectable not by it's taste, but by the nasal burn. I can't really smell anything else, and i can feel that, so it overpowers. I liken it to inhaling the fumes from the gas pump. I can "taste" the alchohol in a sturdy doppelbock if that puts it in perspective.

In the end run, I'm just gonna take the majority advice and leave it sit. Ultimately, i'm proly gonna split it down, or give it away if somone just goes gaga over it. Thanks all for the input. :)

12-20-2011, 10:32 AM
I would blend it for no other reason than I can't handle that high of alcohol. When I want wine I want more than a shot glass.
The 2 year old 15.5% cyser I had from a previous batch is great after 2 years but I can't enjoy it.

I think your idea is right but math is off.
I'm assuming you weren't expecting the mead to end at 9% alcohol and 9% residual sugar. That is what you'll get with your proposed mix (assuming the 18% is dry).

Right now I'm thawing some cider to blend with a 16% cyser. At 1.050 it's about 44oz of cider to end up with about 2 gallons of 13.3%/1.010FG cyser.