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Bolo Head
08-29-2012, 07:01 PM
I've been making sweet meads, but my wife only likes dry wines, so... now I'm trying to make dry meads. I'm about 10 months into letting one age and I think it's terrible! and my wife thinks its terrible! I understand that dry meads take longer to mellow out and be drinkable, but...? I used Rudesheimer yeast (which smelled wonderful while fermenting) and enough honey to have my OG at 1.075 and ended up at .996. My intention is to add fruit to it after stabilization so it won't be bone dry, but what should my expectations be? How long until something this dry becomes drinkable?

akueck
08-29-2012, 07:18 PM
My, that one would be dry.

My "recent" nearly-dry (1.003-ish?) mead is now 2 years old, and I think it's turning out fairly tasty just in the last few months. 7 months is pretty early for dry mead, I'd wait at least until you hit the year mark.

You could try a light dose of oak to mellow out some of the harsh edges.

Chevette Girl
08-29-2012, 09:39 PM
And it may be that your wife doesn't like bone dry mead even if she likes her wines dry, so if all else fails, you could try backsweetening it to 1.000 or maybe even 1.005 and see if that helps. But depending on the mead, it can take a year or two.

Daisyatthedairy
09-04-2012, 03:49 AM
Hi Bolo Head

Don't take anything I say as a useful comment as I'm talking about my second ever batch. However, i can express supportive solidarity regarding this problem. My SG history is pretty much exactly the same as yours and my, it's dry :eek:! In my case I think a poor choice of yeast, and ignorance, was to blame. Glad to know from akueck that oak might be good as that was what I had in mind. That plus lots of waiting.
Let's not despair. If it doesn't work we'll have a great batch of paintbrush cleaner in a couple of years ;)

Chevette Girl
09-04-2012, 10:45 AM
Hey guys. How dry your mead ends up isn't a completely uncontrollable factor (you can always backsweeten), and your choice of yeast generally has a lot less to do with it than your starting gravity. With the possible exception of one of the "sweet mead" yeasts that's notoriously finicky and often stalls out early, most yeasts WILL take anything with a starting gravity of anything under 1.100 to bone dry unless you abuse them enough to make them stall out early (which may SEEM like a good idea to keep it sweet, until you get other problems like sulphur from stressed-out yeast).

Rocket fuel (harsh alcohol flavours) can result from poor yeast selection (ie, using a yeast like D47 which is known to prefer cooler brewing temps when your brewing area is 90F), but often that can age out, or it can be moderated with some backsweetening or oaking and other tricks. But a lot of young meads and even melomels taste like that (especially high alcohol or dry ones) even if you did everything right, so don't pass judgement on them for the first year.

Chevette Girl
09-04-2012, 10:51 AM
Hey guys. How dry your mead ends up isn't a completely uncontrollable factor nor is it a fault (you can always backsweeten), and your choice of yeast generally has a lot less to do with it than your starting gravity. With the possible exception of one of the "sweet mead" yeasts that's notoriously finicky and often stalls out early, most yeasts WILL take anything with a starting gravity of anything under 1.100 to bone dry unless you abuse them enough to make them stall out early (which may SEEM like a good idea to keep it sweet, until you get other problems like sulphur from stressed-out yeast).

Rocket fuel (harsh alcohol flavours) can result from poor yeast selection (ie, using a yeast like D47 which is known to prefer cooler brewing temps when your brewing area is 90F), but often that can age out, or it can be moderated with some backsweetening or oaking and other tricks. But a lot of young meads and even melomels taste like that (especially high alcohol or dry ones) even if you did everything right, so don't pass judgement on them for the first year.

Daisyatthedairy
09-04-2012, 11:16 AM
My, that one would be dry.

My "recent" nearly-dry (1.003-ish?) mead is now 2 years old, and I think it's turning out fairly tasty just in the last few months. 7 months is pretty early for dry mead, I'd wait at least until you hit the year mark.

You could try a light dose of oak to mellow out some of the harsh edges.

Hi. How much counts oak as light dose please?

ScotRob
09-04-2012, 12:35 PM
to be honest, mead with a below zero SG isn't usually a very pleasant drink (contrast this with wines and in particular with bone dry fino sherries which ARE delectable)...even a tiny bit of sweetening (enough to bring it to 1.000 or just above) will make a huge difference, and will bring out the flavour and bouquet...when meads are bone, bone dry they often lack flavour and complexity and always seem a little harsh. A mead with an SG of 1.000 or just above will still be very dry but will be vastly superior to one with an SG of 0.999 or below. It is possible, if you're cautious, to backsweeten a very dry mead just enough to bring out the flavour without perceptibly increasing the sweetness of it.

Bolo Head
09-04-2012, 03:55 PM
Thanks for all the replies! In full disclosure, my intention was to go BONE dry before the yeast was done to keep the ABV a little lower, then treat and add fruit in a secondary. I have 100 lbs of apricots;D in the freezer waiting to go into this batch, so there will be some new sweetness added and I'm not afraid to backsweeten (even if just a little) but I was very surprised at how undrinkable below 1.0 is at this age. My plan now is to rack it onto as many apricots as my 7 gal bucket will hold and let it go a couple months. I'm hoping that the sugars from the fruit will bring up the SG over 1.0 and the harshness will go away with a little more time. I had hoped it would be drinkable prior to adding fruit to the secondary, but thanks for all the confirmation that it's not just my palate that doesn't like less than 1.0!

Chevette Girl
09-04-2012, 04:08 PM
Nothing wrong with a low ABV, just make sure you stabilize first or the yeasties will eat the sugars right out of the apricots!

akueck
09-04-2012, 09:01 PM
Hi. How much counts oak as light dose please?

I dunno, maybe 1/4 oz of cubes per gallon. Leave them in there for 4-6 weeks.