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WayneG
02-20-2017, 05:11 PM
So, my first batch of mead I started last November is in bottles. It is traditional mead, 14% abv and is somewhere between sweet and semi-sweet.
It tastes like what I am use to mead tasting like, so here is the gist of this topic:

One thing I have been afraid to mention when I taste a mead is that it has a slight taste that is similar to the aroma (if you want to call it that) of a urinal cake. You know the chemical hockey pucks you aim your stream at in commercial bathroom urinals.

It is not just my mead, it is commercial and regional mead. My mead has a somewhat subdued "UC" flavor compared to the two others I have tasted. (I am a new bee, so I dont have a good range of comparison)

I did a online search for Mead & urinal cake, and I got some hits, one even on this board!
http://www.gotmead.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-11134.html
They are all referring to using Irish spring soap to wash your hands and then drinking mead, then you get the urinal cake "flavor".

I dont mind this unusual flavor, because I am use to it, but it is a BIG TURNOFF if you mention it to anyone who is trying mead for the first time.

So, for those of you who have been drinking/making mead for longer than I have, what do you think?

Is this the norm, a mega mead secret, or have I only been exposed to "UC" mead here in the Northeast?
Inquiring taste buds want to know ;)

darigoni
02-20-2017, 06:35 PM
Northeast? What state? I'm in NH.

When it comes to urinal cakes, I think you have a more experienced and discriminating palate than mine :-)

Dadux
02-20-2017, 07:24 PM
Hm it took me some time to understand what you ment by urinal cake, tbh
I'd say my meads dont taste like that but i have never had the pleasure to taste such cakes, my friend.
Jokes aside, it could be from inproper sanitation and/or yeast-y problems. I dont find in my meads smells related to bathrooms, unless somebody cleans them with citrus-smelling chemicals.
Check your sanitizing procedures. do you use bleach or other chemicals to sanitize the buckets? maybe you are over-sulphiting?
On the other hand the only comercial mead I have tried was a polish Dwojniak, and i can tell you, that is like heaven made liquid. So...no, no UC flavour.
However, many people have different palates. I once shared a mead with 8 people. 1 of them said it had a "bleach" off flavour. nobody else noticed it. However, for that mead i had used bleach to sanitize the bucket. I dont do that anymore but when i did, i was very very careful not over using it, and rinsing it a lot so it wouldnt affect flavour. Did my friend taste the bleach or was just because he had never tasted mead before? I dont know. So maybe your yeast is just producing off flavours and you have a very sensitive palate, or it comes from your chemicals. Some people have been reported to taste sulhpites at half the normal concentrations... Have you shared your meads with your friends and asked them?

WayneG
02-20-2017, 07:49 PM
Several years ago, my first taste of Mead came from a local wine maker. He sold me his mead before it was fully matured, it had a heavy UC flavor/aroma.
The mead I just bottled was done to spec. PBW to sanitize everything and Iodophor to sterilize. It also has a lighter UC component.
Maybe my taste buds are over sensitive, but the winemakers mead had a heavier UC flavor than mine.

I just bought a commercial mead, that will remain nameless, and it also has a somewhat heavy UC flavor (along with heavy oak).

I am not looking to find fault in this flavor, only trying to understand if any one else can taste this?

For me I cant smell or taste parsley, but cilantro is wonderfully aromatic. Others tell me they can smell/taste parsley but cilantro does nothing for them.

I do believe that some of us the aromas/flavors are processed differently, and I wonder if mead may provide different experiences for each of us?

Dadux
02-20-2017, 07:59 PM
Of course. Each one of us associates different flavours and aromas with certain things. That alone changes your perception.
And also some people are more sensible to some smells/flavours than others. They detect them in lower or higher ammounts. Or not at all.
You can even get something like smell/flavour "daltonism" (for example you can eat an omelette and the taste you feel be the same i feel when i eat, lets say, a steak). Not saying its necesarily your case but...

bernardsmith
02-20-2017, 08:13 PM
Would you share the ingredients you used? Did you feed the yeast nutrients? If so, what kind? Did you use DAP? (DAP in fact contains urine - albeit purified) Could you give us an idea of the time table you used? Thanks WayneG.

HeidrunsGift
02-20-2017, 08:31 PM
I just bought a commercial mead, that will remain nameless, and it also has a somewhat heavy UC flavor (along with heavy oak).

If you provide the name of the commercial mead and I am able to buy it, I can determine whether I also detect the UC flavor. At a minimum, we can then determine if its something unique to your tastebuds, or something that is truly in that mead. At which point we can debate whether its a flaw, or something that perhaps the meadery intentionally wants for some reason.

WayneG
02-21-2017, 08:16 AM
For my first mead batch, the full day one notes are below.
In short it is traditional mead 15 pounds honey (grade A filtered, store bought from BJ's) 4 gallons spring water
10 grams Lalvin 71B 1122 started with 1 gram of Go-Firm (I should have used 12 grams)
4 grams Fermaid-K mixed with 8 grams DAP divided into 4 servings for staggered addition.
Everything went as it should have and the underling UC taste is the same taste I get from the other mead's I have tried.

The commercial mead that I tried is from Helderburg Meadworks. It is an apple mead but the apple flavor is slight, I get more oak flavor than apple but the UC flavor/aroma is higher than my batch.

The mead from the local winery had heavier UC flavor than the others. He has sediment in the bottom of his bottles, and I dont think his aged long enough.

Dont get me wrong, I love the flavor of mead, this UC taste/aroma is only on the first and maybe second sip.
I keep my mead in the fridge and usually use a tall rim glass so that I get aroma and taste at the same time.

To analyze it by ingredients, all I have in my batch is yeast, water, honey and the small amount of energizer & nutrient previously mentioned.
I am not sure of the ingredients in the other mead's. The only known common ingredient is fermented honey.

I guess I will need to have someone with mead experience try mine. The cherry mead batch with wildflower honey should be ready to bottle in a few months.

I will order a bottle or two from Moonlight Meadery and compare the results. I always wanted to try the apple pie mead anyway.
It is pricey at $18 for 375 ml. As long as I am ordering from them, what others should I try?
Thanks for indulging my confused taste buds!
Wayne


Day 1: 11/23/16
1) Clean & sanitize everything to be used for Day 1 list
a) PWB cleaner: cup = 5 ounces for 5 gallons of warm water. 30 minute soak time.
b) BTF Iodophor ounces (1 tablespoon) per 5 gallons cold water
c) Soak for 10 minutes, drip dry for 10 more.
2) Prep Energizer
a) Mix 1 teaspoon (about 4 grams) Fermaid-K and 2 teaspoon (about 8 grams) DAP
b) Divide into four teaspoon servings (about 3 grams each)
c) Mix one serving with cup spring water or mead must
3) Prep Lalvin 71B 1122 Yeast (No more than 30 minutes before adding to must)
a) In a glass bowl add teaspoon (about 1 gram) Go-Ferm energizer to 1 cup spring water @ 110 degrees F
b) Wait for temperature to drop to 104 degrees F then add two 5 gram packs yeast.
c) Stir until mixed and let sit 20 minutes, no more than 30 minutes before adding to must.
4) Prep water & honey
a) Refrigerate 2 gallons of spring water to 35 degrees F.
b) Warm all 5 honey containers in pot with warm tap water to thin
c) Warm 2 spring water jugs in pots with warm tap water
5) Prep honey, water, energizer & yeast mix
a) Mix 1 1/2 gallons warm spring water (110 degrees F.) & 15 pounds of warm honey (95 degrees F.)
b) Use remaining warm spring water to get honey residue from containers into must
c) Add 1 serving Energizer as prepared in step 2
d) Add 2 gallons refrigerated water (35 degrees F.) to bring must down to about 75 degrees F.
e) Wait for temp to get to 70-75 degrees F.
f) Check & record must SG with hydrometer 1.11 and Brix sugar level 25.5 @ 80 Deg.
g) Warm cup of must to match yeast mix and add to yeast mix (from step 3) to acclimate yeast
h) Slowly add cooled must so yeast temperature matches must temperature
i) Be sure must is within 10 degrees F of yeast then add yeast/must mix to must bucket
j) Slowly mix & aerate yeast & must with mixing rod on drill
6) Install lid & bubbler
7) Move to basement 60-65 degrees F
8) Check & record container temperature 11/24 0600 64 Deg.

Squatchy
02-21-2017, 11:16 AM
It looks to me that your doing things mostly correct. Except your not using the correct amount of Go-ferm and hot water when your doing your rehydration. The proper amount is important for two reasons. One is they figure how much of the goodies they yeast need (dosage). ANd then the second it to make the water hardness level correct so that the transition of particles will flow nicely into the cell structure. It's like an equalization process. If the slurry is to soft when the fluid rushes into the cell it will cause the guts to burst as the heavier portion of stuff is inside the yeast guts and try to hard to blend with the water .

Maybe someone else can describe what I'm trying to say. If they even know this phenomenon.

If you have distilled water (which is totally void of any particulates). ANd blend it with a very hard water that has (lets just say for explanation purposes has 1000 PPM) of particulates in this water. Now you add the two together and the particles all rush to the other side to disperse the particulates evenly. SO they are actually blending the PPM so they are equal in value in both /all parts of the combined water.

This will happen inside the cell. ANd inside the organelle of the yeast is PPM of particulates that will try to Blend/equalize with the PPM of the Go-ferm particulates. If the difference is too extreme it will tear apart the organelle as the walls are very delicate. The equalization forces the blending of slurry and cell. If it's at the correct portion of water to Go-ferm the transition is seamless inside the cell and the equalization is in balance and everything stays in tact. If the difference is extreme it is a violent rush and destroys the guts of the cells.

This is also why you NEVER EVER use distilled water to rehydrate your dry yeast. ANd why you should use the proper amount of Go-ferm to water ration.

Here is the directions from the manufacture. http://www.scottlab.com/pdf/ScottlabsHandbook2016.pdf Page seven I believe.


I have zero experience with your cleaning agents. I know they are legit and I have heard of them. MY very first suggestion would be to switch up to using a different product. They seem to me to stand out as the cause for your tainted flavor.

Maybe try Starsan instead. Let us know if you do. It would interesting to know if that's it.

Lastly. If you wanted to mail me a small sample in a plastic water bottle. I can taste it for you and then comment.

It might just be part of the honey flavor profile. Have you tried different honey or is it all the same honey as well?

I haven't used DAP in 2 years and am glad I moved away from it. But when I did I used 2 part K to every one part DAP. The flavor you are trying to describe could very well be from the DAP. Try tasting some DAP in water and see if that is similar to your UC flavor. Now that I reread your log. It makes me think this is your problem. You will need to refigure your YAN cals to incorporate the changed values of DAP/K so your required value is still the same after you flip flop the DAP/K combination.

In any case if you do what I suggest in all areas. You could then be assured your process is better aligned to good mead making and if the flavor still persists it's probably in the honey.

Dadux
02-21-2017, 12:42 PM
What you describe is called cell lysis. It happens because the membrane is permeable to water. The cell is full of salts and ions and the water is not. The difference makes the water flow inside of the cell. If the difference in salts concentration is too big this happens too fast for the cell to adapt and bursts.
And i thought of the honey too. If you are tasting different meads from meaderies near you it could be related. Ask them maybe

WayneG
02-21-2017, 01:16 PM
I know the Go-Ferm was either light or my notes were not showing the correct quantity, I did use spring water for the hydration.
I fixed the Go-Ferm ratio in my Cherry Apple mead, keeping the DAP & Fermaid-K method. The ABV is rising faster in that batch, but I assume the juice sugars have a lot to do with that.

BTW, it is day 17 on that batch and it is at 14% ABV and still fermenting, it uses local wildflower honey and about 50/50 of apple juice & Trader Joe's Tart Cherry juice and even though it is no where near done, the taste is awesome with much less UC notes.

I just ordered a Buon Vino Mini Jet Filter for when that batch is done.

If the DAP is a possible flavor ruining addition, I may try alternative methods on the next batch.


Squatchy, if you can send me an address, I can send you a sample of the first batch.

I was going to order a bottle from Moonlight Meadery to do a comparison test but with shipping, and packaging it was $44 for a 375 ml bottle!
Hell I would expect a good steak with my mead for that price!
I will be heading that way in April and buy several bottles for less money.
Wayne

Squatchy
02-21-2017, 02:52 PM
I know the Go-Ferm was either light or my notes were not showing the correct quantity, I did use spring water for the hydration.
I fixed the Go-Ferm ratio in my Cherry Apple mead, keeping the DAP & Fermaid-K method. The ABV is rising faster in that batch, but I assume the juice sugars have a lot to do with that.

BTW, it is day 17 on that batch and it is at 14% ABV and still fermenting, it uses local wildflower honey and about 50/50 of apple juice & Trader Joe's Tart Cherry juice and even though it is no where near done, the taste is awesome with much less UC notes.

I just ordered a Buon Vino Mini Jet Filter for when that batch is done.

If the DAP is a possible flavor ruining addition, I may try alternative methods on the next batch.


Squatchy, if you can send me an address, I can send you a sample of the first batch.

I was going to order a bottle from Moonlight Meadery to do a comparison test but with shipping, and packaging it was $44 for a 375 ml bottle!
Hell I would expect a good steak with my mead for that price!
I will be heading that way in April and buy several bottles for less money.
Wayne

Hi Wayne

Every batch is a little different. And some are slower than others. ANd the particulars you employ will also slow down or speed up the process some. (And speed is never desired over good flavor. Usually only a sign that the yeast are well care for.) But it's not uncommon to have my batches go a little faster than what yours is running. If your taste good at the end of the day, then perfect. No problem. I usually chew 1120-1140 points for the most part in 14 days, with just the last few points rolling over to the following week.

I do think if you get the rehydration part exact that will help some. And I really can't recommend the use of Fermaid-O, Go-ferm, and the TOSNA protocol enough. It's easy to use, easy to purchase and is pretty bullet proof if you add the other pieces of good fermentation management to it.

I will PM you my address. :)

WayneG
03-01-2017, 05:34 PM
Tonight I am doing a alternate ABV test on Batch #1 Traditional Mead at 3 months in.
Using Grolsch bottles at 450 mL and downing that quantity definitely gives me the feeling that I should not be driving right now.
So for alcohol content, it passes. :)
It is not too harsh on the throat, but you can definitely get the slight burn of alcohol. I assume with more time that will mellow some.
The flavor is what I consider standard mead flavor, a little sweeter that I wanted, but GOOD.
Yes it still has the slight UC background I am use to with mead.
I am waiting for others to chime in.
Thanks
Wayne