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View Full Version : Series of mistakes on first batch, am I able to salvage at this point?



ayersf
02-23-2017, 07:36 AM
Hello everyone, I received a mead making kit on my birthday back in November which shipped with these instructions - http://data.uncommongoods.com.edgesuite.net/images/newweb/pdfs/25503_1.pdf. Unfortunately, I did not do my homework beyond these instructions and simply took them as is. As far as ingredients go, this is a show mead that had 1 pound Florida Harvest Organic Honey and used Lalvin EC-1118 and intended to make 1/2 gallon.

I did not take any SG measurements at the time. I followed the instructions that the kit came with, and yet there was little to no activity in the airlock at any time which should have been my first red flag, but I ignored it since I had read that this may not be indicative of the fermentation. When I first racked 10 days in, there was still a strong scent of honey/alcohol/yeast. I did not taste at this point.

During the last week of December, I opened up the jug and smelled and it had the same scent as before. I tasted it, and since it was still very bitter at this point, I thought that I would continue letting it age in the secondary container in my closet until the taste improved. Now 12 weeks later, the taste has not yet improved and has taken on a slightly acidic taste - not in a vinegar tasting way but somewhat like a very dry white wine.

As I've researched more in the weeks since (which I know I should have done prior to starting...), I've become concerned that the fermentation stalled out very early. At this point, would you all recommend re-pitching yeast or is my mead not salvageable? It doesn't appear to have an infection at all and I was just curious as to if I should just start over from scratch. http://resizeimage.net/viewimg/TXr4G1VcKe3FaTW8/kEJRi/mead.jpg

Thank you all in advance for helping out a newbie like myself! Apologies for not educating myself enough :(

jeffvenuti
02-23-2017, 08:10 AM
ayersf,

Welcome to the forums. Based on what we know, you likely started with an original gravity of 1.080. EC-1118 would ferment that bone dry down to 1.000 or slightly lower (very little residual sugar) and leave you with a 10.5% abv mead that might resemble a dry white wine. The only way to know for sure if it did is to use a hydrometer and take a gravity reading. Based on your taste description I'm guessing it did ferment dry.

If the fermentation temperature was hot and no nutrients, aeration, or degassing was used then you likely have a mead with fusels and off-flavors that could take a while to age out (months to years).

The bitterness could be the native acidity of the honey leading this mead to be somewhat acidic.

Aside from stabelizing (sulfites) and back sweetening (honey), you might try oaking to mellow out some harshness and give some very subtle perception of sweetness.

Beyond that, I highly encourage you to try again after reading the NewBee guide in these forums, and few posts on the topics mentioned above.

Jeff

Squatchy
02-23-2017, 09:43 AM
If you plan to make more mead in the future a 10$ hydrometer will be one of the first tools you will own. Jeff said it corectly already. The only way you know for sure is with a gravity reading. 99% chance it's fermented bone dry. Have you racked of the sludge on the bottom? If not, you need to.

And welcome to the forums

caduseus
02-23-2017, 10:17 AM
Hydrometer! Hydrometer! Hydrometer!
Please read the newbee guide ASAP.

ayersf
02-26-2017, 09:49 PM
Thank you all for your comments!

My hydrometer came in, and the mead is at a SG of 0.998. After another week after racking, it has lost its acidic taste and now just resembles a dry wine. Now it's time to backsweeten somewhat so that the wife enjoys it as much.

Thanks again to all of you, and I'll make sure to spend a lot more time researching the newbie guides on here before my next batch.

Squatchy
02-26-2017, 11:04 PM
Thank you all for your comments!

My hydrometer came in, and the mead is at a SG of 0.998. After another week after racking, it has lost its acidic taste and now just resembles a dry wine. Now it's time to backsweeten somewhat so that the wife enjoys it as much.

Thanks again to all of you, and I'll make sure to spend a lot more time researching the newbie guides on here before my next batch.

Make sure to stabilize it first so you don't restart the fermentation again.