View Full Version : Lip Numbing Sensation - Is it just the alcohol?

04-04-2015, 10:56 AM
I've been brewing about 1-2 meads / year for the past 6-7 years. I consider myself a novice meadmaker but have plenty of experience with beer fermentations. One of my meads in the past, and one of my high gravity homebrews in the past, developed something during fermentation (presumably fusel alcohol), that gave me an INSTANT headache, the kind that ruins your day and the next morning. Fast forward to the mead that I brewed last October. About 4 times over the last two months, I've tasted and dosed this with acid blend to get it to a point where I like. Each time I have tasted it, one thing I have noticed is an INSTANT lip numbing sensation. Is that just the ethanol, or is that characteristic of something else? I don't brew many high gravity beers and I never encountered this before, except perhaps when drinking spirits.

The mead tastes promising and I don't taste anything off. It is highly perfumy with a little bit of residual sweetness, and with the acid blend additions, it reminds me more of a semi-dry or semi-sweet Riesling. If I didn't know, I'm not sure I would be able to detect the apple. Perhaps this has to do with the acid blend, which has some tartaric acid in it. Even though it is not what I was going for, it is a pleasant surprise. I was thinking I would backsweeten, but I have changed my mind and am content to have a Riesling-like mead. Here's the recipe.

a 3.25 gallon cyser: OG 1.119 FG 1.012

2.5 gallons of cider from 3 Wisconsin sources (unpasteurized, no chemicals added)
9lbs, 4 oz of wildflower honey (approximately 7 lbs from 2 local source and the remainder from a friend who kept bees in Maine a couple years ago and still had honey)
Lalvin 71B, 2 packs.

I used a staggered nutrient addition based on articles from BYO magazine - if my notes are right, it was 2 tsp of a yeast energizer/yeast nutrient blend.
Acid blend to taste. (Wish I had better records on this).

Chevette Girl
04-06-2015, 02:00 AM
I've had a couple batches that have been like that but most of them aged nicely and grew out of the mouth-numbing stage. I think it probably is fusel alcohols. These instant headache ones of yours, have they gotten less headache-inducing over time?