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joemirando
07-15-2013, 12:21 AM
I've got a 6+ gallon batch of plain mead that took forever to ferment. Now that its mostly clear, it has a sour smell, and I fear its getting stronger. Not a vinegar smell, just sour.

Here are the particulars:


18 lbs store brand clover honey
About 150 raisins as nutrient
Spring water to about 6.5 gallons
Red Star Cote Des Blancs yeast proofed and pitched


OG 1.110
FG 1.000

It fermented at about 65 degrees. It took a very long time (about 4 months in all) to finish fermenting.

After 8 weeks, i racked to get it off the thick lees that had piled up.
It continued to ferment to 1.000, stopped finally, at which point i racked again and waited for it to clear. Once I was sure fermentation had stopped, I added bentonite, and it did clear it up in a week or so. I racked again, and lo and behold, more lees on the bottom. The mead is clear, but not 'incredibly clear'.

As I said, it smells just sour. Not spoiled or vinegar'd.

The killer is that, most of the way thru the fermentation, it smelled wonderful. Right up to dry, it smelled very good. Now, I don't know if it can be salvaged, if the sourness can be counteracted or removed, if it'll 'age' away or what.

Someone please tell me i didn't just spend four months making vinegar feed.


Thanks,

Joe

Marshmallow Blue
07-15-2013, 10:33 AM
4 months old huh? If it doesn't taste like vinegar, then its probably not vinegar. It may be some Lactobaccilus or equivalent bacteria got into your batch.

I am doing an experiment on that + other bacterias (brett and peddioucus) here. http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=21367&page=3 . I wouldn't dump it just yet. Especially since we don't know whats wrong (or right) with it.

I would think, worst case scenario would be to blend it with another mead and drink it on the quicker side.

joemirando
07-15-2013, 10:53 AM
4 months old huh? If it doesn't taste like vinegar, then its probably not vinegar. It may be some Lactobaccilus or equivalent bacteria got into your batch.

I am doing an experiment on that + other bacterias (brett and peddioucus) here. http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=21367&page=3 . I wouldn't dump it just yet. Especially since we don't know whats wrong (or right) with it.

I would think, worst case scenario would be to blend it with another mead and drink it on the quicker side.
Marshmallow Blue,

Thanks. No, its not a vinegar smell. The closest I can come to it is a bottle of apple cider (american apple cider... unfiltered apple juice) that had gone 'off' after being left unrefrigerated for a while.

I just checked the pH (hadn't even thought of it earlier) and its around 3.0 if my cheap-o test strips are to be believed.

There's nothing floating in the carboy, no fuzzies, no blobs, nothing growing on the lees, nothing in suspension, nothing floating on top. It is... a puzzlement. <grin>

I've got to rack this badboy off the lees that are left. Its dry, and I was considering backsweetening, but now I think I'll just let it age as-is and see what happens.

I have considered taking some of one of my less tasty meads and making vinegar, but not six effin' gallons worth. At its current abv, I figure it would make about 15 gallons of vinegar.

Since I mentioned it, I've been thinking about vinegar lately. There was an "Old Country Doctor" from Vermont, I believe, who believed that arthritis could be cured or at least managed by administration of a tablespoon each of honey and apple cider vinegar in a glass of water about four times a day. His theory was, I guess that the low pH of the elixir would translate into a lower blood pH (I don't know if that's ever been tested or not), which would help dissolve the calcifications around inflamed joints. Perhaps making vinegar FROM honey would kill two birds with one stone.

Heh heh, just look for Doctor Joe's Travelin' Medicine Show. ;D


Thanks,

Joe

fatbloke
07-15-2013, 05:27 PM
Vinegar ? Dunno. Just that with poncey bottles and labels it could be sold at a premium....even more if you oxidise it so it looks more basalmic.......

But, it sounds to me like is just displaying the sort of characteristics of a young, dry mead. Young meads, particularly dry ones, can taste bloody horrible. The time needed to mellow them, might be as short as 6 months. Some take a number of years.

Of course as you already said, back sweetening might just mask the young taste enough (especially if its sitting at about 3.0 pH). Equally, just degassing the hell out of it (vacuum degassing ?) might do the trick. Or possibly degas then a little sweetening but also a little acid (not citric) or maybe a bit of tannin, etc etc. There's many ways to improve a young mead, but time is usually the best. If it tastes a bit wine or cider (hard) like, then I'd say time and mellowing is likely the best bet......

joemirando
07-15-2013, 06:08 PM
Vinegar ? Dunno. Just that with poncey bottles and labels it could be sold at a premium....even more if you oxidise it so it looks more basalmic.......

But, it sounds to me like is just displaying the sort of characteristics of a young, dry mead. Young meads, particularly dry ones, can taste bloody horrible. The time needed to mellow them, might be as short as 6 months. Some take a number of years.

Of course as you already said, back sweetening might just mask the young taste enough (especially if its sitting at about 3.0 pH). Equally, just degassing the hell out of it (vacuum degassing ?) might do the trick. Or possibly degas then a little sweetening but also a little acid (not citric) or maybe a bit of tannin, etc etc. There's many ways to improve a young mead, but time is usually the best. If it tastes a bit wine or cider (hard) like, then I'd say time and mellowing is likely the best bet......
Fatbloke,

This is a batch I'd been degassing, and I stopped and just let it sit with an airlock. I racked it off the lees that were left into my sanitized bucket, washed and sanitized the glass carboy, added 6 crushed campden tablets and 1.5 teaspoons of sorbate, and siphoned back into glass.

I noticed a lot of suspended bubbles, so paid attention when I swirled it around a bit. The airlock went nuts. Do sorbate and K-Meta cause bubbling, or is this dissolved CO2 that I 'missed' d'ya think?

Anyway, I've got it sitting there, airlocked, aging for now.

Thanks for the info. Why is it that I seem to be aging faster than THIS stuff? <grin>


Thanks again,

Joe

WVMJack
07-15-2013, 07:58 PM
Bloke is right on, young and gassy. Find a way to degass it, that is one reason why the bentonite might not have worked, it wont all settle out unless its degassed first. Your flash of bubbles after adding the chems is another indication its gassy. WVMJ

joemirando
07-15-2013, 09:04 PM
Bloke is right on, young and gassy. Find a way to degass it, that is one reason why the bentonite might not have worked, it wont all settle out unless its degassed first. Your flash of bubbles after adding the chems is another indication its gassy. WVMJ
Ok, live and learn.

The bentonite worked quite well. And I had degassed after fermentation had stopped by swirling or gentle stirring a couple of times a day until no bubbles presented themselves. I'll keep moving it gently and see what happens.

If this is 'just' dissolved CO2, will removing it remove the sour taste/aroma?


Thanks,

Joe

WVMJack
07-16-2013, 03:42 AM
Swirling and gentle are not terms used in degassing, a long time in a carboy or stirring until you get cavitation or using some kind of vacum pump, especially on a young wine are degassing methods. If the bentonite worked well it would be crystal clear, you should see your fingerprints on the other side of the carboy with a strawberry. WVMJ