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tex.houston
08-17-2013, 02:34 PM
I just started making mead 1 month ago. I did 3 different batches at the same time. 1 gallon raspberry honey mead, 1 gallon mesquite prickly pear mead and 3 gallon orange blossom honey (but that one will be another post). The problem that I think I have with the 1 gallon batches are that they have a hot alcohol flavor and not very sweet at all. Not real hot but more than I wanted. I've heard about back sweetening and things like that but I'm not sure if this is what I need to do or even the right way to do it. I have extra bottles of both kinds of honey if I need to use them. By the way I used no heat. Recipes and procedure are as follows.

1 Gallon Raspberry Mead:
3 lbs Raspberry Honey
Spring water to fill 1 gallon
1 packet Lavlin 71-B yeast added to warm water for about 20 min before pitching
.5 tsp yeast nutrient added to yeast
.5 tsp yeast energizer added to yeast
OG= Brix 23, 1.097
FG after 3 weeks = Brix 11, 1.011
Transferred to secondary

1 Gallon Mesquite Prickly Pear Mead:
3 lbs Mesquite Honey
About 1 lb (before cooking) Prickly Pears boiled in water then added to fermeneter
Spring water to fill 1 gallon
1 packet Lavlin 71-B yeast added to warm water for about 20 min before pitching
.5 tsp yeast nutrient added to yeast
.5 tsp yeast energizer added to yeast
OG = Brix 26, 1.11
FG after 3 weeks = Brix 11, 1.003
Transferred to secondary

I took readings with refractometer and hydrometer. Hope this is enough info. Any help is greatly appreciated because I am itching to make some more right away but want to make sure I'm getting it right. Already bought more honey at the farmers market today.

tex.houston
08-17-2013, 06:06 PM
Btw I kept the temperature between 60-66 Fahrenheit during fermentation in a converted freezer.

Riverat
08-17-2013, 06:26 PM
Well at a month old these are just past newborn and will likely change flavor quite a bit over the next several months (some of us don't consider bottling anything less than a year plus old) Sounds like you have them off the "gross lees" and ready to age awhile, these may drop in gravity over the next month or so.
If you really like sweet you may be back sweetening these but they do seem to get a perception of honey back over time so if dry to semi dry is OK for you perhaps hold off on that.

tex.houston
08-17-2013, 08:46 PM
I do plan on bulk aging them for close to a year before I bottle them. Also I do not want them too sweet. Probably semi sweet or semi dry. Maybe I am just worrying too much this early in the process. First time with mead and I went all out on the ingredients. I homebrew beer regularly so I have plenty to drink while I'm waiting. On the other hand though, the 3 gallon batch of Orange Blossom that I made had an OG of 1.11 and an FG of 1.044 at 3 weeks. Fermentation stopped completley under the same conditions as the other two. Different yeast though. Cotes de Blanc. It tastes great right where its at even with the high FG so I may just leave that one alone too. I wonder if it was just the different yeasts?

fatbloke
08-18-2013, 04:09 AM
I do plan on bulk aging them for close to a year before I bottle them. Also I do not want them too sweet. Probably semi sweet or semi dry. Maybe I am just worrying too much this early in the process. First time with mead and I went all out on the ingredients. I homebrew beer regularly so I have plenty to drink while I'm waiting. On the other hand though, the 3 gallon batch of Orange Blossom that I made had an OG of 1.11 and an FG of 1.044 at 3 weeks. Fermentation stopped completley under the same conditions as the other two. Different yeast though. Cotes de Blanc. It tastes great right where its at even with the high FG so I may just leave that one alone too. I wonder if it was just the different yeasts?
The 66 point drop you allude to, only equates to just under 9% ABV. 71B and Cotes de Blanc are both capable of much more than that. 71B is rated at 14% ABV and I believe the CdB will do 12-14% too.

Below 10% there's not much in the way of prevention from the alcohol from spoilage organisms.

I'd say that if these gravity numbers are stable then they're most likely stuck, and the two reasons for that are generally either nutrients or pH problems.

Either way, virtually all meads are best made in a wine-like way, and not as a beer. Beers need much stricter hygiene techniques, but less nutrition and pH issues arise. Wines with fruit ingredients can have less pH issues but are often fine with less nutrients than meads.

Honey has virtually no nutrient value or pH buffering ability. Hence fruit for flavour is good for nutrient but many fruit can add both acid (not so good) but also adds some buffering ability (good).

pH swings are common issues, especially with traditionals as you get the weirdness of the gluconic acid (glucono lactone or something like that) as well as the carbonic acid from the actual ferment - which is easier to sort out by early stage aeration to get more air/O2 into the ferment for yeast health/development and has the side effect of nucleation for the carbonic acid to attach too and come out as gaseous CO2.

that's the direction I'd be checking in anyway.

It's up to you, but with higher FG like you mention and even when clear, there's gonna be some yeast cells in there, you'd have to make sure about stabilising before bottling, otherwise it's a recipe for bottle bombs......

tex.houston
08-18-2013, 09:29 AM
The recipe for that particular batch is as follows

Orange Blossom Mead 3 gallons:
9 lbs Orange Blossom Honey
Spring water to fill 3 gallons
1 packet Cotes de Blanc yeast aded to warm water for about 20 min before pitching
1.5 tsp yeast nutrient added to yeast
1.5 tsp yeast energizer added to yeast
PH before pitching yeast was 4.66
I also aerated all batches with pure oxygen same as when I make beer.
I forgot to mention before that I also recorded the PH of all batches right at the beginning. I think the PH was kinda high maybe for this batch and I also only added the nutrient and energizer at the beginning instead of the staggered additions that I've read about. And I knew the yeast could handle more alcohol than that I'm just not sure why it stopped. Probably PH or nutrient issue like you said.
I never thought about the bottle bombs. The flavor is pretty good right now even though it is sweeter/higher FG than I was expecting so I may not try to restart fermentation. Maybe I like my mead sweeter than I thought? I will definitely stabilize it first though before bottling. Does that only apply to meads with high FG or should I worry about the other batches that finished low too?

Chevette Girl
08-25-2013, 12:30 PM
Maybe I am just worrying too much this early in the process. First time with mead and I went all out on the ingredients.

;D Sounds like new parent jitters to me!

At a month old, you're really not going to get much of an idea what it's going to be like once it's aged. I've had a few that tasted pretty gross right off the line but after a few months, became quite nice. It just takes a bit of time for the alcohol to mellow out and for any harshness to blend in with the rest of the flavours.

Lizol
12-14-2013, 06:42 AM
According to what i have heard its a bit inappropriate thing because that causes thing that aren't right.
Its better to avoid that thing and be in the things that are good.

fatbloke
12-14-2013, 09:47 AM
according to what i have heard its a bit inappropriate thing because that causes thing that aren't right.
Its better to avoid that thing and be in the things that are good.
wtf ?.........