View Full Version : D47 Batch Tastes So. Bad.

09-09-2012, 08:47 AM
I was hoping you guys could diagnose my mead; I recently started making it, my first batches simply used Allison's baking yeast and raisins as nutrient; one with orange following the Storm the Castle guide, another with English lavender, and one with apple, cinnamon, and tea. I used Youngs sanitiser from a beer brew set I got for Christmas, and they all came out pretty tasty (the orange was a bit bitter because I didn't remove the pith). Anyway from this success I decided to get a bit more serious; I got some tronozymol for nutrient, a hydrometer to know what I made, and some D47, K1V, and EC1118 to experiment with. I started them all going with just honey at SGs of 1.104, 1.102, and 1.106 respectively using 3tsp tronozymol.

Anyway the fermentation was incredibly fast and after just 10 days the D47 and EC118 look done. I measured the SG to check, and it they were both 0.993; around 15%, isn't this above D47 tolerance? The K1V was at 1.004 so about 14%. They all tasted and smelled really, really rough. I mean, not honey at all, it burned in the mouth and tasted like sweetened rocket fuel, not at all like the nice first three wines I made. I'd be inclined to think them infected but they were all prepared separately so I can't help but wonder if it's normal? Will it start to taste good in time? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

09-09-2012, 09:45 AM
A couple things. First, sweetness will hide a lot of the negative aspects of a youthful mead. Since these last ones were (Im assuming) quite a bit drier and higher in alcohol content, you can expect them to taste a bit more harsh.

With D47, you may get some extra nasty flavors if you fermented it at hot temps (>60-62F). Age will certainly improve the meads though. Its amazing what a year can do for them.

The alcohol tolerance isnt exact, so you cant count on a yeast stopping there...ever. My experience is that they always go over that, but even that depends on many factors like starting gravity and batch management. The best advice I got here was to ferment dry, stabilize, and backsweeten. I get much better control of what I want my mead to do this way.

So, wait them out and make some more of your "quick drinking" batches to help you through this ;D

09-09-2012, 10:08 AM
One word:


09-09-2012, 10:16 AM
Are you sure? I think Triarchy might be right about the backsweetening. I googled around and looked all over these forums and I'm reading 0.993 is going to make for a dry mead that will probably never become drinkable.

09-09-2012, 11:02 AM
You would be surprised by the changes a year or so will make. People have the whole range of preferences from bone dry to desert sweet (I tend to like dry for instance) but even a "dry" mead will often take on a bit of honey character over time.

09-09-2012, 12:20 PM
My experience with D47 is that it tastes bad until...suddenly it starts tasting good. So yes, patience is the key here. It might take a year. Mebbe more. :eek:

09-09-2012, 02:40 PM
Pretty much as the others have already suggested......

Young meads often taste bloody horrible. Ageing is the trick. I make mainly traditionals, and quickly learned that the one thing I really needed is the one thing I have by accident i.e. patience - mainly because I'm impatient for quick results, but also the laziest mead maker on the planet (medal winning laziness ;D ).

All my brews get a minimum of 6 months, but the laziness usually means they get 2 years or more.

What you can do, is either make batches with some fruit, or stabilise them with sulphites (crushed campden tablets) and sorbate. I've found that I've had the weirdness of back sweetening with honey i.e. you add a bit and end up with a haze (I think it's protein hazing), so I usually finish the ferment and measure, then rack off the first sediment and onto the stabilising chems, then I back sweeten with a mix of honey and water (mixed about 50/50). I add, say, about 100mls per gallon, gently stir it in to mix it, then take another gravity reading. I add the back sweetening "syrup" incrementally, because I've learned that a lot of the commercial meads available here, are very sweet i.e. at the "dessert mead" levels, with gravities in the 1.040 region - they taste fine, but are cloyingly sweet, so I back sweeten to about 1.010 - 1.015, only then do I worry about clearing the batch (worry ? bollocks! I just make sure that it's in a container that gives me the smallest airspace possible - a glass DJ filled to at least the bottom of the neck, then I just leave it to clear naturally).

The mention above about the temperature when using D47 is valid. If it's fermented above 70F/21C, then it's prone to producing fusels, which take forever to age out (sometimes they don't) and you get an off flavour from the higher alcohols.

If you're looking to make further batches, have a read of the NewBee Guide, linked in the left hand yellow box. Don't worry about some of the materials mentioned as they can seem a bit unusual, and hard to get. For instance, FermaidK and DAP additions for the nutrient. The easiest equivalent for FermaidK is Tronozymol and for the DAP, just use Youngs (or is it Ritchies) yeast nutrient. It contains pure DAP (di-ammonium phosphate) and the other ingredient is, I believe, an anti-caking agent.

If you're gonna just age it too see how it develops, that'd be fine too. If you have access to a cool storage location, then it's fine to bottle it once cleared and stabilised and bottle age, like the Pro's do (Ha! they have access to nice big, climate/temp/humidity controlled storage), but if not, then bulk in the DJ, as it's a good compromise to achieve consistency.

p.s. Oh and as for your attempt with the Storm the Castle recipe, I think that Will uses a wine yeast. It's pretty close to the JAO recipe, but if you use a wine yeast in that, it often ferments close to dry and that focuses the taste on the bitterness from the orange pith. If you made a JAO, but kept as close to the recipe as possible (allowing for equivalents locally, only), then you'd find that it comes out pretty good. The residual sweetness that results from the use of bread yeast, balances the bitterness rather well. I'm not convinced that it's drinkable once it's clear, as Joe suggests in the recipe, so I age mine for 6 months, then it's pretty bloody good......

09-09-2012, 08:14 PM
Yeah - an SG of 0.993 means pretty much all of your sugars were consumed by the yeast and made into alcohol ... the finished product will be dry, very dry. I had some come out that way (using a wine yeast) ... my son loves them, but his tastes are severely different than mine! I can't stand dry wines. I've started messing around with the JAOM recipe, and love the results - I'm not picky about tradition, just want a nice, still, sweet mead! Unlike fatbloke, I'll never win any medals!! :)