PDA

View Full Version : tasteless mead



hedgehog
03-10-2005, 12:06 AM
I don't think I have a problem, but just want to hear some opinions from the veterans around here.
My first batch of mead, a "traditional" mead, just finished fermenting after several long months and has no taste. I tasted it several times and it has a generic warm mouthfeel, strong alcohol after-burn, but no taste what-so-ever. I took several sips each seperated by a glass of coolish water to "reset" my tastebuds. Each sip went exactly the same, no taste, not even any alcohol taste until the after-burn. This is a "traditional" mead, so I am not expecting any major flavors, but I would have expected something. I have this batch partially bottled, and the remainer back under an airlock, for the moment. I am not panicking or anything, it is good albeit a bit plain, and so I am just wondering if anyone knows how these meads age out, or if there is a cause. The recipe I used was from a local bee keeper and follows:

1 Gallon Batch
2.5lbs Basswood Honey
1 tsp Superferment Nutrient/Energizer
1/4cup corn sugar
D-47 yeast

Boiled tap water for 20 mins, add honey and corn sugar at 160F, mix, cool, bottled water to almost 1gallon, pitched yeast, airlock and leave alone. The recipe said not to rack, rather to wait until the mead clears then bottle.

I didn't have the toys to take a SG
but my final SG is 1.000

as always, I would appreciate any comments of suggestions you all have..

Tsuchi
03-10-2005, 12:12 AM
is basswood a very light honey? I think i remeber it being so... Any how count yourself lucky I thought to try blending with buckwheet in my first traditional... Can we say "barnyard funk" you at least have a clean smooth blank canvase. Lucky You ;) have fun with it!

Jmattioli
03-10-2005, 05:26 PM
#1 did you boil the honey water mixture??
If so that sometimes takes out a lot of aroma flavor. Aging helps to bring it back out.
#2 It is dry at SG 1.000 so you will not taste much honey without extensive aging especially with the 2 1/2 lbs of honey. I found one needs to go to 3 or more pounds with D47 on a straight mead to end up with more honey taste early on.
#3 I suggest you stabilize it and sweeten it up a bit with 4 to 8 oz of more basswood honey depending on your taste.
#4 Next time pick a stronger flavored honey or add some buckwheat to primary. 4 oz will do to 1 gallon. Unlike Tsuchi, I have had great success with it especially in small percentages. 15% or less.
Just some misc suggestions,
Joe

PS. Leave out the corn sugar. Doesn't do anything for the honey taste. Just makes more alcohol burn. Increase your honey next time.

hedgehog
03-10-2005, 10:38 PM
thanks for the many good suggestions Joe, I will definately keep them in mind for next time. Though I guess I should also point out that I stuck very close to the recipe I was given, which included the corn sugar. Part of the directions said that I would have to age at least 8 months minimum, and I think that might be due to the alcohol burn. The bee keeper who created the recipe loves basswood honey and the mead from it. I have tasted some small samples of his meads and they have a very very mild taste. Though they are very mild, they are REALLY good and have a mild yet sweet taste that is unmistakably honey. I am kinda hoping this will turn out similarly, though it will need some ageing(1yrs +). I am not quite experienced enough to want to try to sorbate and back sweeten..
Though I am mildly curious about something.. how low will a mead go before the yeast stop?? I asked Pewter why he left his Joe's Aincent in a 5 gallon carboy when the SG is 1.002 with this in mind.. My question is this.. If I put my 1.000 SG mead into a bottle without sorbate or anything, am I asking for a bomb? or should 1.000 be low enough that the yeast are pretty well done...
and Tsuchi, I was afraid of the wierd "barnyard funk" as well, so I didn't blend this honey with anything.. I was a bit of a chicken and so I saved the blending for my second batch, which is a dark wildflower- light clover blend.. which isn't quite done, but its good so far.(even though those bees must have found some wild roses or something, cause its got a clear and strong rose smell/taste)

jab
03-10-2005, 11:44 PM
hedgehog, a low gravity isn't enough to say it's done. It likely is but you can't count on it. You can be fairly sure it is done if the SG readings don't change for 3 or 4 days. Other than that you have to do something to specifically kill the yeast off 100%.

It should be noted that even if your SG is stable, racking, bottling, or otherwise disturbing your yeast can nudge them back to life (out of their OH coma). Probably not enough to create a bomb but don't be surprised if you get a nice 'pop' when you open a bottle.

Jmattioli
03-11-2005, 12:46 AM
(snip)Though they are very mild, they are REALLY good and have a mild yet sweet taste that is unmistakably honey. I am kinda hoping this will turn out similarly, though it will need some ageing(1yrs +). I am not quite experienced enough to want to try to sorbate and back sweeten..
Age will help but it won't get any sweeter. SG 1.000 is considered dry. Not enough residual sugar. Try 1.010 for semi-sweet. Sorbate and backsweetening is not difficult.


Though I am mildly curious about something.. how low will a mead go before the yeast stop?? I asked Pewter why he left his Joe's Aincent in a 5 gallon carboy when the SG is 1.002 with this in mind.. My question is this.. If I put my 1.000 SG mead into a bottle without sorbate or anything, am I asking for a bomb? or should 1.000 be low enough that the yeast are pretty well done...
The mead will go until the yeast reach their alcohol tolerance, until all the sugar is used up (yeast finished their job), until they die from exposure to abnormal heat or abnormal PH or an aggressive preditor or get sufficiently doused with sorbate and sulfite or run out of nutrients. Whichever comes first. If you bottle without sorbate At 1.000 SG you will not be asking for bottle bombs. You will get a little carbonation at the worst. Pewter made my Ancient mead not exactly according to the recipe I posted. He was way low on the honey for either a semi-sweet or sweet mead. I assume he just wants to be on the safe side and get no light fizz since the ancient mead uses no sorbate. It is best not to hurry things with mead. If you want something to drink right away, follow the ancient mead recipie exactly. Its drinkable in a month to 6 weeks depending on fermentation temperature and stops because the yeast reach their alcohol tolerance.

(snip

Joe ...the ancient one.

David Baldwin
03-11-2005, 08:53 AM
Jab,

I would disagree that 3-4 days of no change in SG is enough to know for certain that fermentation has stopped.

My first batch sat around 1.025 for a couple weeks - had even cleared - when fermentation kicked back in. It finally did quit around 1.015, and now has been bulk aging for about 3 months with no further activity. Now I'm sure that it's done.

Jmattioli
03-11-2005, 06:46 PM
Jab,

I would disagree that 3-4 days of no change in SG is enough to know for certain that fermentation has stopped.

My first batch sat around 1.025 for a couple weeks - had even cleared - when fermentation kicked back in. It finally did quit around 1.015, and now has been bulk aging for about 3 months with no further activity. Now I'm sure that it's done.

Ditto. No change for 6 months is not even for certain, especially if yeast are just dormant because of low temperatures. A good way to check if not stabilizing is to put in a room with temperatures in the 70's for a week or so especially if your fermentayion temperature was in the 60's.
Joe

Norskersword
03-11-2005, 07:20 PM
Hey Hedgehog. There is no rule that says you have to backsweeten with the same honey, you can always use another honey like clover or something if you are afraid at all of having funky flavors.

Stabilizing is not hard. Ancient Joe will tell you it could be the best thing that ever happened to your mead in some cases. Especially if you are new to meadmaking.

Sometimes understanding is the enemy of fear. Here is how you stabilize.

1. Chill your mead in the fridge for 2 or 3 days. This isn't absolutely necessary, but doing this puts any active yeasts to sleep and makes them easier to deal with. It also clears the mead a bit.

2. Add 1/2 tsp sorbate to the jug you are going to rack to. Also add a campden tablet (crushed) or 1/2 tsp sulfite.

3. Rack it over and give it a day or two.

Needless to say, the hydrometer is your best friend to insure fermentation has stopped.

Are you interested in a mead that is drinkable in less than a month? Take a look at Joe's 3 week mead recipe. His Ancient Orange recipe gets enough credit but not his 3 week recipe.

Jmattioli
03-11-2005, 09:45 PM
That's a really good post Jeff except #2 should not be 1/2t for sulfite per gallon. More like 1/8t Potassium Sulfite / gal at most. 1/2t would be way too much.

Also I would up the time in #3 to a week instead of a day or two to make sure their is no renewed fermentation.
Joe

hedgehog
03-13-2005, 02:22 AM
Thanks for the instructions Norskersword, and the corrections Joe. They are much appreciated. Honestly though, I think I am just going to bottle this mead as is. I know it seems a bit childish, but I kinda like this mead as it is and wanted to stick to the semi-traditional format. Joe said that I should be ok bottling at 1.000SG and so I think I will do that. Bottle it and then let it sit in my "mead cellar" and age for a good long while. I will however be using your instructions on sorbating/stabilizing on another of my mead batchs. (mentioned in my post "clears too early") I am not in a hurry to drink this mead, as I still have a half bottle of Bun Ratty as well as a batch of Joe's Ancient Orange well on its way to being done(week 7 to be exact). So in the mean time, I will be putting your good advise to use on another batch and bottling this one. Thanks for the good advise guys!!
hedgehog

Norskersword
03-21-2005, 08:35 PM
It isn't childish. Do what you want and according to your tastes. That is the only non-questionable rule about meadmaking.

Bunratty? Heressy! :D Home meadmakers hate the Bunratty "Meade" because it isn't mead at all, it just uses the mead name to sell itself. It is just white wine with honey added. This gives the public the wrong impression about a great drink!