View Full Version : Bitterness in Meads

12-26-2015, 08:27 PM
I was wondering if someone knows what causes a bitterness in meads? I find it in a lot of meads commercially and homemade, high and low alcohol. Guessing maybe a yeast derived issue?

12-27-2015, 02:58 AM
Would need a lot more info to go on. Can you cite some commercial examples? Also, in home made meads, what styles did you find this in? What were the recipes and processes involved? Could have many sources.

12-27-2015, 11:05 AM
Mazer828 was right in saying this bitterness could be a result from many factors. For newer palates this bitterness might also actually be something other mead makers would describe differently. However, there is a tendency for some yeasts to produce bitterness. For example, Lalvin's Dv10 yeast has the following in its product details: "Lalvin DV10TM is well known for clean fermentations that respect varietal character while avoiding bitter sensory contributions associated with other more one-dimensional ‘workhorse’ strains such as PM."
You might be someone sensitive to this bitterness. If your meads are tasting bitter maybe you might want to switch to a yeast such as Dv10 to eliminate yeast as a culprit

P.s I think PM might be 'Prise de Mousse'. An example of such a yeast would be Ec-1118 which is well known to be a workhorse yeast (a bit too much IMO) and is also lowly regarded in the meading community, except to restart ferments or carbonate meads. Ec-1118 would need a lot of aging and although I never tried it myself I would suspect it produces bitterness at least under some circumstances

12-27-2015, 12:08 PM
I don't have a lot of commercial mead's available in my area, but i get this bitterness in everything from leaky roof meadery and even in a bottle of schramms blackberry (though it was a lot less noticeable). Its hard to to explain further than a bitterness on the tongue (like hops in beer, but not as enjoyable). That said i don't get in every mead and the style doesn't seem to really matter, Traditional, fruited, spiced (that i have noticed anyway). I did get something similar in a red wine once and was able to fine it with egg whites and remove it. So maybe left over phenolic compounds from fermentation?

12-27-2015, 12:50 PM
What you perceive as bitterness could be tannin, which can be used in meads as part of providing desired "structure" and has a similar type of astringency. Blackberry is among several possible sources of tannin, along with black tea, oak, etc. You could try to ask Leaky Roof whether they use tannin to add the complexity to their mead.

12-27-2015, 07:00 PM
It might be your yeast in suspension. My first batch was downright awful right out of secondary, with a very bitter taste. I was afraid I blew it but I let it clarify more and racked it again off the yeast cake that formed in tertiary. It was a completely different mead when I tried it again only a few days later. It still needed aging but it actually tasted good.

12-28-2015, 12:06 PM
It's also a possibility that the perceived bitterness could be related to Ph and acidity.

12-28-2015, 12:51 PM
Fermaid O also seems to reduce the bitterness. Check out chart 3:
This pdf also compares fermaid E (euivalent of fermaid k). But bitterness was eliminated from the chart: