View Full Version : Ack! Not a total loss, but it's a kick-you-in-your tongue kind of batch (cyser)

07-22-2014, 03:42 PM
I've done this recipe a few dozen times, but my latest batch http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php/23099-Brewlog-Mike-s-Famous-Christmas-Cyser is "different".

Only thing I can think is the cloves have done this. I get nothing but a bitter, astringent, knock-your-tastebuds-into-submission kind of bitterness, and this warm, fuzzy, all-over kind of lethargy that's pretty quick and pervasive. I'm guessing it's the cloves. We had had a bottle of cloves in the spice cabinet for years (and I mean decades, really). Well, I bought all new, fresh, organic ingredients for my latest batch, and it's come out like this; so completely different from previous batches.

I decided to err on the side of caution and only use 1 tsp of acid blend, and I usually use 3 tsp for my recipe. Well, the only thing I didn't do was reduce my cloves usage. I could've sworn that at the time of bottling, the taste wasn't that much different, but, after all, it was just a taste. But, it had the same astringency, almost too-dry finish, and I attributed it to a very full and complete fermentation of my yeast this time. Although it was the same strain yeast and basic conditions as far as ingredients and amounts go, it finished very quickly and completely in record time. I attributed that to a complete pre-fermentation aeration, which I had never done before.

So, does anyone have any experience with over-using cloves? Would it go past fragrant and floral and licorice-like, and just go straight to crazy-bitter? It's the only thing I can think of. It's not a total loss, but it's nigh-on undrinkable to all but the most adventurous of us. Me and my 2 eldest sons will have no trouble drinking it, but definitely not in the same quantities as history would suggest. One 8 oz glass and my face feels like it's going to melt right off, and I'm overcome with a surreal lethargy and hot-flash level of flushing that's very unusual after the first test glass.

24 cloves is a lot, I know, but I have a dozen recipes over the years where I used 4, then 12, then 20, then 24 cloves, and my wife was always the same in her reaction: "MORE CLOVES!! I love them."

Any thoughts?

07-22-2014, 03:51 PM
If you read the comments Joe makes in the JAO recipe, it's quite believable.

I made one batch with too many and it wasn't nice.

They're one of those flavours, that when done correctly, is wonderful. Too much and it's not good.....

Marshmallow Blue
07-22-2014, 04:01 PM
I use about 2 whole cloves per gallon usually.

I did recently make a saison mead and had the wondeful idea of adding a bit of pepeprcorn. Turns out I used way too much (1.5tsp for 2 gallons). It's still aging out, and it may be another year before the pepper recedes.

Over-spicing happens to the best of us and it's part of the learning process.

07-22-2014, 04:43 PM
In the patron area, Oskaar has a list of recommended quantities for spices. Check it out....

07-22-2014, 06:23 PM
Ok, cool. Thanks guys.

I am guessing that's what it is. I would have thought I could smell it in the final batch, but it's a perfect-smelling, sweet honey-apple, with no cinnamon or cloves that I can tell. Not even when it's warmed to room temp do I smell it or taste it.

And, this is weird... my wife added a tablespoonful of raw honey to a small glass of the stuff (about 4 oz) and it tastes almost exactly how I would want the final concoction to taste like.

It just HAS to be the cloves though. Has to be.

07-22-2014, 06:33 PM
Ok, straight up newbie question here. Please be kind all. :D

Mine was bitter and astringent tasting too and it turned out to just need degassing. If you've used 24 cloves in the past could the off/harsh taste just be CO2? It may have been the stirring as much as the honey that improved the taste for your wife.

07-22-2014, 07:14 PM
I have no idea, PapaScout, as degassing isn't in my mazering vocabulary. Not intentionally, anyway.

Chevette Girl
07-22-2014, 08:18 PM
Sometimes dissolved carbon dioxide can make things taste more acidic, think about the difference between soda water and plain water? or any kind of carbonated beverage that's gone flat, it's waaaay too sweet without that acidic bite from the carbonation.

Degassing just means stirring up a finished must to encourage the trapped carbon dioxide to vacate.

But yeah, the cloves could definitely be the culprit, I can see how they could become bitter, maybe it's like boiling hops? You might want to try a long steep rather than a slow boil with those cloves just to see if it makes a difference... I use like 6 cloves in my JAO and it's still not too much because they're really, REALLY old.

Two things that might help are age and backsweetening, as your wife already discovered. Smart lady :)

I'm thinking my over-spiced sage metheglyn will be pretty good in another year! Yep, we've all done it...

Medsen Fey
07-25-2014, 06:54 AM
Do you use KMeta in batches? Spoilage organisms can cause nasty bitterness and astringency.